Why It’s Not Enough To Just Have A Website

Because if you build it, they won’t just come...

Many people and businesses build websites and believe their job is done; it’s time to kick back and wait for the clients to roll in. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work like that. You can build it, but the people won’t just come, essentially because they don’t know it’s there. It’s very rare that people will just stumble across a website without some kind of marketing strategy in place to tell them it’s there, and why they should visit.

Unless your website is simply acting as a statement of your business’ legitimacy, you will need a marketing strategy which includes SEO (search engine optimisation), an ongoing social media presence, content writing (a blog), as well as someone to help you manage the whole process.

If you’re trying to figure out the best way to run your online business, you may have been told by well-meaning friends or acquaintances that SEO is dead. The truth is, if you want to generate traffic to your website, you need to ignore those people. In fact, SEO is more important than ever in a competitive market. Every day, millions of people (your potential clients!) use and trust search engines to find solutions to problems, answers to questions, and products they need. The majority of users tend to scroll no further than the top five search results, so it’s essential to employ good SEO if you want to be ahead of the competition.  

As well as SEO, an ongoing social media presence has a huge potential to increase sales by increasing brand recognition and visibility, generating a loyal following, increasing opportunities to convert customers of another brand to your own, and increasing conversion rates. It may be time consuming, but building up a large, organic social media following has been shown to lend trust credibility to your brand.

Many business owners don’t see the point of having a blog on their website, believing they’re not bloggers; rather they have a product or service to sell. However, you need to remember that a blog is a constant source of outgoing information and a way you can keep customers up to date with latest products and developments, while getting them onto your website.

Your blog is also a way to keep your site higher in the search engine rankings, as you’re consistently producing new content. Think of it like this: If you have a bricks and mortar store, but you never get any new stock, people will stop coming. Your blog is your new stock that keeps customers returning.

Digital marketing can be a lot of work, but it’s essential for an online business. If you have any questions or need help with your marketing strategy, we can take care of everything from building your website, to SEO, social media, and even content writing.

Remember, your best customer is a stranger you have never met, so you need to get the word out there so they can find your business, and keep giving them reasons to come back.

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The Hottest Website Trends in 2018 - What to embrace, what to avoid, and why

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Website design is just like fashion. You wouldn’t be caught wearing super low-rise, wide-legged cargo pants with a spaghetti-strap slogan tank top in 2018, so why would you allow your website (the face of your business!) to wear the digital equivalent (think Flash animation, music, white text, and bobble heads)?

Just like in the world of fashion, choosing a design simply because it’s on-trend right now isn’t necessarily wise. Considering your website is the most important sales tool you have, you need to ask yourself if your chosen design will date well, or whether in a year’s time it will resemble Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake circa 2001.

A new trend can look visually appealing, but if it’s missing the required functionality, it isn’t going to do your business any favours. The competition out there is fierce, and if your website is out of date, slow, or ineffective, your clients are likely to look elsewhere for a positive user experience. We’ve compiled a list of this year’s biggest website trends with advice as to whether you should embrace it, or avoid it. 

Bold, confident colours

2018 has seen web designers move away from the sleek, elegant, and understated monochromatic pallet of past years and embrace the spectrum of exciting colours on offer.

Our verdict: Embrace with caution. Colour can be an amazing tool, and with an array of tools and tutorials available, you don’t need to be a graphic designer to use it. Just make sure you really love what you’ve chosen, because rebranding in six months when you’re sick of the sight of deep plum will be a real pain.

Illustration

Brands are cementing their uniqueness this year through the use of fun illustrations. They give websites a playful vibe, while keeping the user experience simple. Not just for use in logos, illustrations can also be an excellent and engaging way of conveying information.

Our verdict: Yes! Give the geometrical shapes and safe typography the boot and embrace your individuality.

Speaking of typography…

Designers are embracing the power of this tool and taking it to new heights. They’ve ditched “less is more” simplicity and taken to heart a “bigger is better” philosophy. Personality is in!

Our verdict: Step away from the Comic Sans! Just kidding (not about the Comic Sans), but tread carefully. Personality is great, but if you choose to embrace the illustration trend maybe keep the font simply, and vice versa.

Animation

Taking the illustration trend a whole leap farther, animation is helping businesses promote their messages in a fun and engaging way. Some companies are even using animated logos to set their business apart from the rest, and with the plethora of programs and apps on the market, anyone who’s willing to sit down and learn can produce a decent animation. GIFs are right on trend at the moment too, and they’re super simple to make and use.

Our verdict: Animation is an exciting development, but it won’t be ideal for every business. Ensure it fits your vision, and is consistent with your brand.

Being mobile friendly

Mobile web browsing overtook the use of desktops last year, so it’s no wonder there’s a huge focus on making websites mobile friendly.

Our verdict: Go where the people are, and give them what they want. Hint: They’re on their phones and they want intuitive, mobile and touch screen friendly websites (or apps!).

Whether you’re trendy or not won’t matter one iota or not if your website is missing the essentials: simple navigation, contact information, and “about” page, calls-to-action (for example, a signup), beautiful images, web fonts, and a well-thought out layout.

For a beautiful website designed for your individual needs from as low as $500, contact us today. 

New Year, New Goals, New Digital Strategy 

Happy New Year. I hope you partied like it was 1999. But now that it is 2018 it's time to buckle down and take a good look at your Digital Strategy for the next 12 months. 

Setting goals 

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SETTING GOALS

You can try to float through the air and hope to pollinate a decent flower, but the reality is, unless you have clear goals for what you want your business to achieve, you probably wont get there without a solid plan. Noone successful got there by luck....well perhaps with the exclusion of a few. I'm looking at you Donald J Trump. Successful business people plan, set goals and have a clear vision of where they are going.  

Now I'm no life coach, leave that to Tony Robbins, but I do know that goals are an important part of moving forward and increasing the bottom line. So how do we set goals and apply them to your Digital Marketing Strategy? 

First, take a look at how your business fared in 2016 and 2017? Did you increase your profits, activity, client base? Were there any significant changes year on year? List the growth and the strategies you used.  

Did you add new products or services? How did they do? 

Based on patterns over the last two years, try to come up with a conservative growth figure for 2018. Say 10% on top of 2017. Okay now double it. Still too low, triple it. Aim for the stars! 

Look at your products and services and imagine where you'd like those to go based on the pattern, now double or triple that too. So if you have 10 products, increase it to 20. If you offer 3 core services, double or triple the number of clients you aim to service this year.  

You may also want to look at goals around staffing or contractors, manufacturing, branding and design, or office location. 

Make the goals actual and tangible and set timeframes, for instance instead of saying "I want to double my sales from 2017" try "I want to turn over $50,000 more by the end of the financial year" - doing this will allow you to break down into quarters and weeks and set actions to ensure you are moving towards those goals. 

Now that you have a vision in place you can begin to build a digital marketing strategy around it.  

Take a digital marketing audit

Now let's take an audit of your digital communication channels and how you used them? I am talking about your website including your (blog), social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and so on), Google listing, directory listings and your newsletter.  

Did you use any of these channels during the last 12 months? How did it go? 

How is your website looking? Is it user friendly? Is it SEO friendly? Is your website doing what you want it to do? Did you write blogs? Did you monitor your website traffic? Were you happy with that?  

Do you have social media accounts? Are they set up correctly and linked to one another and your website? Did you post regularly with intention or randomly post things when you remembered? Did you hashtag the posts? Did you link all the posts to your website to increase traffic? Is your website registered with Google? 

Did you run any paid advertising campaigns through social media? How effective were they?  

Is your Google listing up to date? Are all the details, including your location correct? Does it come up on Google searches when you type in your business name? It should. 

Did you keep your database up to date and communicate with them throughout 2018? 

Did you create directly listings and ensure they were up to date? 

Do you have an idea of your "return on investment' from last year's digital activities? 

Now that you have a snapshot of what you did last year it's time to formulate a plan. 

Creating your digital marketing strategy

Your digital strategy should include the following elements: 

  • Website 
  • Blogging 
  • Social media 
  • Paid social media advertising 
  • Newsletter 
  • Directory listings 

First, make some decisions about which of the above you are going to use? Which do you have time to manage? 

Once you know that, you need to ensure they are up to date and all information and images are correct. This includes consistency in branding. 

Perhaps you want to update your website too, either visually or just the content. 2018 may be the time for a new website altogether. 

Now, based on your goals and the digital channels you have chosen and updated, you must now build a schedule, decide on your target market(s), write your key messages, create campaigns and begin roll-out. 

It all seems too much  

To make this more stomach-able break the year into quarters, use quarterly goals to build digital communication plan. 

If you have a new product or service you want to launch set your launch date, work backward at least a month or more and decide:  

  • Content for website/ blog 
  • Social media content across all social media platforms you intend to use 
  • Paid advertising content 
  • Database communications   

Create a schedule that will work with your ability to do the work, there is no point in doing all the planning and then finding you don't have the time to actually complete the tasks. If you only have an hour a week then schedule your campaign accordingly. 

Ensure you decide on your hashtags and be consistent. Choose images for the campaign and stick with them. Link all posts back to your website content, share content on all social media platforms, create a video about the product. Post video and blog content on article sites, social media and in your email communications. 

All social media posts can be pre-created and pre-scheduled using scheduling tools. Facebook has it's own, however, if you want to be consistent, a tool like HootSuite can be very useful. HootSuite will also allow you to monitor and measure the engagement. 

Create a paid campaign 

If you don’t have many social media followers, paid campaigns are a great way to reach more people. You can specify if you want more followers to your page, to promote a product, drive traffic to your site and more. 

Many platforms allow you to create paid promotions (that's how they make their money after all). If you're a beginner I recommend sticking with Facebook. It has the largest number of users and it's a given that your customers are on Facebook whether professionally or personally.  

There are two ways to create a paid campaign on Facebook. You can either 'boost' a post' or create an advert from scratch. Both have a user-friendly workflow.  

Decide on a budget, but remember, on Facebook you can review and change your budget at any time, you can also stop the campaign at anytime. 

A WORD TO THE WISE: Set a spending limit and payment schedule from the beginning so if you accidentally set a campaign for $10,000 instead of $100, you won't wake up to a million followers but/ and a huge debt with Facebook.  

When you create ads on Facebook you acknowledge that you agree to their terms, one of which is that it is a user self-service and that you understand you cannot renege on any advertising you have placed because you 'made a mistake' Check the Facebook policy if you are unsure.  

Share your news with your database 

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Those who choose to be on your database can be your best customers and your greatest advocates. 

  • Sharing news of a new product or service using email is a great way to create engagement with your new venture, increase website traffic, build a social media following, and make sales.  
  • Here are some simple tips 
  • Create MailChimp account. 
  • Add a link in your email signature linking to opt-in for the newsletter, remember that under the SPAM ACT 2003 you need to have permission from someone before you send them an email that is commercial in nature. A tip for asking your existing contacts or customers to join your database is to send them a personal email (not in bulk) and ask if they would join your list. 
  • Create several lists and segment accordingly (property, personal, business). Keep one main list of all contacts for general announcements. 
  • Create opt-in form on website, offer something in exchange for details such as a free initial phone consultation or a guide to wills, a guide to conveyancing or 10 tips for small business 
  • Create Opt-in on your Facebook page 

All emails should be short and sweet, minimal scrolling required, the more it looks like an email and the less it looks like spammy promotions, the better response you will get 

Load your email with links. Links to website content and links to social media content. 

Roll out 

Now you have a strategy you are ready to roll it out like a boss. 

If you find you have over-committed yourself, hiring a student or an air tasker is always an option. You can try a site called Upwork it is a low-cost task-based recruitment website which allows you to choose workers for all over the world to do online work for you. I cannot speak for the quality as sometimes you get what you pay for, but it is an option.  

Pre-schedule as many posts as you can. This will save you a lot of time. 

Monitor your activity daily, respond to any messages and comments on your posts. Make changes if you need to. Place extra posts or change your advertising budget and schedule if you want to try to change your reach and engagement. 

Report on your campaign 

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Practise makes perfect

Remember reporting and analysing is the key to learning and growing. Learn from what you have created, make the adjustments necessary to make it better next time.  

That's it from me, good luck 

Enjoy your new digital marketing in 2018 and remember I am always here if you want to ask any questions. 

Digitally Yours 

Ala Pietranik