Wednesday, 11 December 2013

How to Do It and What to Consider

So by now, I’m hoping I’ve convinced you to consider doing a bit of a touch-up of your brand as the benefits can be unbelievable. But now you’re thinking, “how do I actually go about the process of rebranding, and what needs to be considered to make sure it’s effective?” Well my friends, you can stop worrying because I have your guide right here!

Rebranding your business is no easy feat, and not something to be taken lightly, that’s for sure. That’s why it is important to take your time, and understand the direction you want to head.

Justify, Justify, Justify!
One simple rule to consider when doing this is to justify every decision. Every decision needs to have a purpose, and must benefit the business either directly or indirectly in some-way.

This could be decisions such as the colours used, fonts, what aspects you will compete on, and majorly, why are you targeting the consumers you are looking to attract?

If you don’t have a good reason why you are changing your brand image to be a particular way, then you need to look deeper into your business to get an understanding of it.

Find an Edge
It’s all well and good to alter your brand image to be perceived differently in the market, but it’s just as important that your business finds a unique aspect to focus on. This is the basis of your competitive advantage, and is basically the reason why consumers use your product/service as opposed to your competitors.

Don’t change your branding to copy a major competitor, as this will be transparent and ineffective. Discover your competitive advantage, or even identify a new possible competitive advantage, and base your branding around this. Make it the key message in all of your marketing material, and build on it.

Start from the Top and Work Your Way Down
This might sound counter-productive, but think about it this way. You don’t think of the directions you need to follow in order to get to a destination, before you decide on the destination. You choose where you need to get to, and then how you will get there.

It’s the same with rebranding. You won’t know how to achieve the right look, until you determine what the right look is. Then you can engineer all the aspects that make up that perception.

Let’s use an example: a brand that is considered to be in the middle price range for fashion wants to start targeting higher end consumers. Now we can pick apart each element of a brand image that encourages us to perceive this brand as being ‘high-end’ and ‘luxurious’:

  • Classy and elegant logo and marketing material (fonts are either elaborate or very simple, use colours such as black, gold, white, strong imagery that evokes a sense of aspiration)
  • Expensive fixtures and fit-outs for the shopfront, usually in a busy and rich area that is visited by high-powered professionals
  • Prices are much higher than average, as their business model is aimed at selling a small amount of products but at a higher profit margin to promote exclusivity.
  • The uniforms of the employees are classy and they are always well-groomed, polite and in some cases, are even encouraged to act ‘snobby and pretentious’ as this reinforces their brand image.

Let’s look at our second example. A company that has dominated its industry for as long as we can remember, but in more recent times has had to change its branding to capitalise on changing trends, and negate some potentially dangerous events.

This month’s example is McDonald’s. 
After virtually taking over the world one Big Mac at a time, the growing concerns surrounding obesity levels in the developed world threatened to derail the growth and sustainability of McDonald’s as the public looked for more nutritious options, and had a greater interest in the origins of their food. McDonald’s reacted positively, by offering more healthy options and recreating the way they are perceived in the market, catering to existing consumers who were looking for more alternatives, and even capturing new consumers who would have previously never considered purchasing McDonald’s because of their nutritional value.

As well as this, McDonald’s introduced McCafe and high-end, boutique-styled burgers to capture a larger consumer base, as well as improve their product offering reputation in the market.

Love them or hate them, they’ve got a great business model, and know how to capitalise on changing consumer trends, while turning potentially negative PR into a positive.



Thursday, 28 November 2013

Rebranding, Why you should do it and how you should do it.

Ladies and Gentlemen… Test match Cricket is here! To celebrate the next 3 months of emotional exhaustion and hopefully celebration, we at Digerati, are running our own series to be used as light-reading during lunch breaks of the Cricket. This 3 part series on effectively rebranding a business will endure the entire summer of Ashes and will be aimed at growing your business, while Mitchell Johnson grows his moustache. 

Now when experts mention rebranding, most business owners immediately think of changing a logo to look ‘fresh’ and modern. But rebranding is more than a logo; it involves the product offerings, the shopping experience and marketing strategies, all to reposition a business within the market to enable the business to reach their full potential. This may be by appearing more eco-friendly, more established, higher class, or even just appearing more affordable. 

If there’s one thing that small businesses do brilliantly, is that they understand their business and why they do what they do. If there’s one thing that small businesses don’t do brilliantly, it is position their brand within a market and sell themselves correctly.   In order to do this, your business needs to understand not only its current consumer base, but its DESIRED consumer base. Your current consumer base may not be the right one for your product, as your offering may resonate much better with a different target audience. 

In a very brief nutshell, this is how you rebrand successfully: 
  1. Understand your product offering, and understand who would want to buy it to identify the most profitable target audience
  2. Position your business and product in the market to reach, and resonate with these consumers 
  3. Make loads of money and take over the world!

Effective rebranding can basically re-create who you are, what you do, and how good you are. Don’t believe me? For this month’s example, let’s have a look at one of the best rebrands ever conducted… Apple.

Believe it or not, Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy a matter of 15 years ago. Sales were falling, and they needed a completely different edge. Their products were deemed inferior and sub-par, and they basically went from zero to hero with a few small strategic decisions. 

Ask anyone who knows anything about computers, and Apple products really aren’t anything special. Ask just about anyone in the normal population, and they’ll practically lose themselves with excitement over Apple products. Why? Because they are perceived in the market as the ultimate product – prestigious, user friendly, and innovative. 

To achieve this, they ‘went against the grain’, so to speak, deciding to make a very dry and technical computer industry, personable and fun by adding some colour and some sleek design. Apple separated themselves from their competitors by positioning themselves as the underdog company that is for the people, fighting against multi-national conglomerate companies and the message resonated with the consumer base - kind of ironic now that they are one of the most dominant brands in the world. 

But in the end, it’s about designing your brand, to make sure it resonates with the right type of consumers, and finding a point of strategic advantage over your competitors. Apple decided to chase consumers who usually wouldn’t be interested in computers and technology, but by making their products LOOK simple, easy and attractive, a whole new market emerged – a market that Apple has dominated ever since. 

Take nothing away from how innovative some of the Apple products are, but the core advantage they have over their competitors, is they know how to make their products desirable, driving demand. As a result, they have gone from being perceived as inferior, and ‘behind the times’, the now be seen as the leading innovator in technology and marketing. 

Part 2 of the rebranding series will hopefully recap some the second Ashes Test with another comfortable win by the Aussies, as well as what to consider when rebranding for success. 





Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Build a Website for a Human, Not a Computer – Exposing SEO Myths for What They Really Are

Today I had two coffees instead of one so I’m feeling a bit weird. As a result, I thought I’d spice things up a bit and interview myself on the category of SEO to make it more interesting (and make me feel like an important celebrity). I call this interview, “Build a Website for a Human, Not a Computer – Exposing SEO Myths for What They Really Are”. I decided to write this blog because of all the enquiries I’ve had from clients who have received spam SEO emails, or think that being ranked first on Google will deliver a pot of gold.

“So Adam, thanks for taking time out to talk to us about the latest social trend on the technology scene. So in a nutshell, what is SEO?”

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and is basically the concept of building, manipulating and strategically updating your website to ensure it has a good chance of being ranked highly by Google for certain searches. As more and more businesses go online, it’s started a whole new competitive battleground with businesses fighting for the top spot to generate more leads. And there are a lot of ‘SEO Experts’ out there looking to exploit the naivety of business owners. They offer quick-fix solutions that seem like a miracle, but you just can’t outsmart Google. If you want top rankings, you have to do it the old fashioned way with a bit of elbow grease.

”So just HOW smart is Google?”

Put it this way, if Google was one of the kids you went to school with in Kindergarten, it was the kid doing algebra at the HSC level while you’re still learning how to do dot-to-dots and building things with Play-Doh. Google has one of the most complex algorithms ever created, and it is tailored to serve the mass public. After all, if it’s not catering to its users, then those users will turn to another Search Engine that is returning more relevant search results.

“So if you can’t trick Google, what do these ‘SEO Experts’ actually do?”

To be honest, a lot of what these ‘Experts’ do, you can actually do yourself given the right tools. A lot of the SEO companies talk about adding in Meta Tags, Meta Data, back links, RSS Feeds etc. most of which are out-of-date as Google continually improves its system to prevent any shortcuts being used. Some of these features are still relevant, but only when used properly. But most of the time, the SEO Experts focus on building the website to attract Google, not customers, because that’s what they’re being paid for: getting you to the top of Google.

“But Adam, wouldn’t all that other stuff not matter as long as you’re on top of the Google Rankings?”

Close, but no cigar my friend. Having a good ranking on Google may give you more leads, but unless done properly and organically, you won’t be capturing many of these leads. Before you ask, this is because the website will be built for Google, a computer, and not for human consumption. You may have a lot of users clicking on to your website, but if the website isn’t built for humans, you can guarantee not many users will take part in a call to action.

“So Adam, what should I do to make sure I get a good Google ranking, and convert the leads I generate?”

It’s actually pretty straight forward – think of it like weight loss. You have two options: a Fad Diet that promises to help you lose 10kg in the first 2 weeks or your money back, or you can change your overall diet with the help of a nutritionist, and exercise regularly.

The Fad Diet may be cheaper and deliver immediate, short-term results, but it won’t be healthy and it won’t survive the test of time. However if you do it properly, and in a healthy manner, the sky’s the limit. A few tips and tricks:
Ensure your website coding is clean and high standard – if you have a Digerati website you can be rest assured that it is!

  1. Update your content regularly, keeping it fresh and engaging
  2. Use keywords in your content that are applicable to your industry and product offering
  3. Use social media integration, blog and event feeds, as well as using videos
  4. Be active on social media, linking back to your website
  5. Look at introducing a sitemap
  6. Have REPUTABLE websites link back to your website, and in-turn linking to other reputable websites from yours.

It’s great if you can improve your SEO in a healthy and organic way, and we can help you with some ideas of how you can improve and build an SEO strategy, give us a call, and we’d be happy to take a look at your website and let you know of some improvements that can be made.





Friday, 27 September 2013

Get Your Business In Shape For Summer

By now you’re probably receiving a whole bunch of newsletters from gyms and lifestyle companies asking the guilt-ridden question, “Are you ready for Summer?” Well it’s time for me to pile some more guilt on to your already motivated self. It’s time to start thinking about your Summer Campaigns people!

So while you’re following the instructional DVD on how to get  washboard abs in seven minutes, you should also start to think about how you can drive sales and grow your business. Making your business more profitable sounds way more fun than rolling around on the floor in pain trying to look good for Summer, I don’t think I’d have anyone object to that.

But how can you really nail your Summer Campaign Special? It’s pretty simple actually, and it can be much more cost-effective than you think. Here’s a few tips:
  1. Plan
    People are smart, they will know when something has been poorly planned or planned at the last minute. A poorly planned campaign can do more harm than good to your brand, even if you have the best intentions. So start planning nice and early and you will reap the rewards!

  2. Budget
    Don’t try to extend yourself too much. A good Summer Campaign doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. It can be something small or creative. Your customers (on the most) don’t care how expensive the gift is, it’s the thought that counts. It’s important that the campaign either makes you money, or builds brand recognition/positivity, just make sure it doesn’t send you broke.

  3. What can my Campaign be?
    Discounts, new products, free trials or a small gift - which one do I go for? It all depends on a few things:
    a) Your branding
    b) Your customer base
    c) What you want to achieve out of the campaign

    Branding
    It’s a good idea to always keep any promotional products or discounts in-line with your branding. If you have gone to extensive lengths to make sure your brand appears down-to-earth, fun and relaxed, don’t go giving away an expensive, executive style pen to your clients. Give them something with a bit of humour and life (I’ll shamelessly self-promote Digerati’s last two Xmas specials of BeachBalls and Frisbees…. they were a stroke of genius). It’s important to keep your branding consistent in all aspects of your business and marketing.

    Customer Base
    It can be difficult to nail this, especially for businesses who don’t really have a ‘typical customer’. But it’s common sense if your business serves a very specific market. Eg. if you sell baby clothes and equipment, don’t give out beer coasters as promotional items… that’s just silly. 

    Achievements
    Any marketer will tell you, before you start a campaign, you have to know what you want to achieve out of it. Otherwise, you’re just blindly clutching at straws. If you know exactly where you want to go, it’s a lot easier to get there! If it’s simply to say thanks to your customers and build some customer satisfaction, a small gift is the best way to go (kill two birds with one stone and have some branding on it… FREE ADVERTISING!), but if it’s to drive sales, a bonus offer, free trial or discounted price is the way to go!

  4. How do I Make Sure it’s Successful?

    Again, this all ties back to what you want to get out of the campaign. If you achieved what you wanted it will be successful, so your implementation strategies need to be in-line with your goals. Needless to say, no matter what campaign you decide to run, you will need awareness! You want people to know about your new product, of how much you appreciate their business, and you want people to sign up for that free trial! So how do you create the awareness? Use some of the below:

·         Integrate your Social Media: This is probably the best place to advertise first and foremost. People on Facebook LOVE to hear about free stuff or discounts, especially if they like your business! It can not only lead to a more effective campaign, but a stronger social media presence.
·         Email Campaign: Great way to reach your database of clients because it’s cost-effective, time-efficient and you can track exactly who opened it, and what they clicked.
·         Advertise the campaign on your website: your website is one of, if not the most important marketing tools of your business, so use it!
·         Adjust your Email Signature: Just think about how many people see it every day. It’s basically free and very effective.


So, hopefully I haven’t taken too much time away from your exercise routine, but if you follow these tips, I’m sure your business will be in its best possible shape for Summer! 




Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Building a relationship, not just a database!

You would be hard pressed to find a website these days that doesn’t try to capture your details and add you to their database. Maybe they lure you with the idea of a VIP club, or promise exclusive specials. Maybe you get a free eBook or tips sent to your inbox. Or perhaps you can’t buy anything from their website without adding your details or even enter the website at all?!

As a user, it can be a real pain can’t it?! But what about from the perspective of the business? Generating a database of potential customers is incredibly valuable and being able to ‘speak’ to this clientele regularly is a fantastic way to grow your business and generate more sales.

Many people are happy to sign up to a database, if they can see the value in it for them! This is why specials, free downloads and free information will often work to grow this database for you… But if you don’t deliver, after a while, many customers will inevitably unsubscribe and get more frustrated with your business (definitely NOT what you intended to achieve, ay?!)

How can you prevent this?

Let’s give credit to our customers, they are more savvy and in tune with motivations than perhaps we realise. Therefore, if you hook them in by offering giveaways, and then just sell-sell-sell, they aren’t going to be impressed.

A better way to think about your database is like a list of your business’s friends… People who have opted in to keep in touch with you. This is a gift! So don’t focus on selling, focus on building a relationship with these people. Tell them about what’s been happening within your business, give them updates, specials, recent changes, staff changes and more. Make them feel part of the family – and with the growing relationship, they will be more inclined to buy again from you.

At Digerati we have a campaign system that allows you to easily keep in contact with your clients. You can email a whole database in a simple to use system, and see all kinds of reports and data. You can also integrate this with your website, so your customers get added to various lists without the need to do data entry.

Get in touch with us if you would like to know more about building relationships with your clients!



Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Fall In Love With Your Website

Just imagine your ideal partner, your perfect match that ticks all the boxes in that internal check list you assess on every date (don’t lie, you all have one and it’s nothing to be ashamed of). They’re good looking, smart (but not too smart that they make you feel inadequate), cultured, and fun aren’t they? They’re easy to get along with, and they’ll age like a fine wine… am I right?

Chances are, without getting too specific and without showing any gender bias, these are the criteria just about everyone has. Now let’s take these same criteria, and apply it to an equally interesting and romantic concept… WEBSITES!

No seriously, stay with me on this one, we’ll just make a few slight adjustments to make my theory work. So what makes a great website?

A Damn Good Website Your Ideal Partner
Nice appealing design that captures your attention and stands out from the crowd “They’re really, really, ridiculously good looking” – Derek Zoolander
The content is relative, informative, but in a casual enough language that users don’t need to start looking for a dictionary to comprehend you Smart, without being intimidatingly smart (it’s hard to love a know-it-all)
The website should be easy to navigate, so users can find the right information and quickly creating an enjoyable user experience Easy to get along with… it might also help if you can actually understand them and their actions (although this is pretty rare to find)
Something engaging and intriguing. A real wow-factor feature that sets the standard Cultured and fun. They’re a bit different, a bit quirky but in the best possible way
An innovative design and construction that pushes the boundaries, but won’t look tacky or ancient in 5 years’ time They’ll age like a fine wine harvested from the best vines in the South of France

As you can see, the same principals apply. When you think about what you want your website to be like, think about your perfect match. It’s a much better starting point than most would think.

You can try and stay in denial all you like and try to separate the two, but face it, everything you want in a website, is everything you want in a partner. We might not be able to help you find your future partner, but we can make a fantastic website to keep you happy until then!





Friday, 28 June 2013

The Power of eCommerce - Part 3

The final instalment of the ‘Power of eCommerce’ series, will be talking about which features are best for your business. There are a multitude of online stores out there, with varying complexities and features. In some cases, less is more, but in other cases, a small, additional feature can mean the world of difference. Here’s a list of the most common additional features used in online stores, how to use them, and how not to use them.

Wish Lists/Saving Orders

Built to target three types of consumers in the online world that these features are aimed towards:

  1. The ‘Hesitators’: your friends who take 30mins to decide if they want coke or lemonade at Macca’s Drive-thru – they get too emotionally unstable that they just need to take a break and come back to decide later.
  2. The ‘Comparers’: bargain hunters who will judge products with a set list of criteria to ensure they get the best deal – they’ll grab wish lists from as many websites as they can, and assess their options with a fine-toothed comb.
  3. The ‘Regulars’: that guy who orders the same subway sandwich, with the same salads and dressing, with the same bread, from the same subway, every day – sometimes, you just shouldn’t mess with a good thing.

These features are usually used exclusive of each other depending on the business and product line, but can be a huge success if used properly and in the right context.

Be Warned: the ability to save orders might take away some of the revenue created from your impulse buyers. Give them the chance to think, and they may think saving their money is a better option.

Quick Tip: if you’re going to have the ability to create a Wish List, the best way to approach it would be to allow the customer to email their wishlist to themselves or a friend, as this will help remind them of the products, (and if you want to be a little bit naughty, their email address can always be stored for later use in campaign efforts).

Promo Codes

Promo Codes are a great way to start a feeding frenzy, or reward customers for their loyalty. It adds extra incentive for potential customers to finally take that leap and buy the jacket they’ve been eyeing off for the past week, throws a little bit of brand loyalty their way, and it’s a great way to launch a new campaign/brand/product.

The Big Questions: Should it be a fixed price, or a percentage discount? Should it only apply for purchases over $XX? Should it only apply to certain products, or product categories? Simply, there’s no one way to do them. It depends on your business model, your product line and what you’re looking to achieve.

Be Warned: if you’re going to use a Promo Code, run some sort of Campaign to go with it. Your Profit Margins will be smaller, so your sales need to be bigger!

Quick Tip: It might seem pointless, but the actual Promo Code to be entered to receive the discount is a great opportunity for the business. A strategically designed promo code can actually be really effective. People pay attention to the codes that need to be entered, instead of wasting an opportunity using the code to be ‘XH7dsgJ’, make it something relevant, eg. ‘SuperSummerSale’, or even have a bit of humour, and use something like ‘GiveMeFreeStuff’. It all contributes to your brand image, and the message you are trying to send through the campaign efforts.

Members vs Guest Checkout

It’s your old fashioned Catch-22 scenario. If I force them to become members in order to purchase, some may choose to purchase elsewhere. But if they do register as members, I have all the details I need to sell them more stuff!

Members sections are great for products people will purchase regularly as shipping/billing details are saved, consumers are likely have a good relationship with your website, so would want to know about regular sales and promotions, and it generally streamlines the purchasing process.

Guest checkout options are perfect for my rule of thumb: if people are forced to sign up to your mailing list, they probably aren’t going to read your emails anyway, but if people have the option and choose to sign up, then you’ve got the best of both worlds - you keep a good relationship with your customer, and you’ll have a mailing list full of interested contacts.

Remember: 1 willing subscriber is worth 10 unwilling subscribers!



Friday, 31 May 2013

The Power of eCommerce - Part 2

Last month, I spoke about the effect designs have on the effectiveness of eCommerce stores, and the strategies employed to increase sales. In this month’s issue, I’ll be revealing reasons why you should take your business online!

First off, I’d like to reveal a few interesting facts to capture your attention.

  • 77% of Consumers will visit a physical store to research a product, knowing they will purchase this product online at another time
  • 30% of customers trust a company’s website, compared to 22% for newspaper ads, and 21% for TV ads
  • 22% of consumers learned about the last product they purchased via the internet
  •  By the end of 2013, it is expected that mobile commerce will account for 15% of all eCommerce
  •  Global eCommerce sales are expected to reach close to $1 Trillion USD this year
These facts are about as convincing as it gets, in terms of identifying a growing market, and forecasting a future trend. The risks and costs involved are dwarfed by the potential growth and profitability at hand.
A global push towards the online world has been largely driven by convenience, availability and price. Consumers can now shop high-class, boutique fashion stores in Paris, from the comfort of their lounges in their pyjamas whilst they watch Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be shopping from the comfort of my own home, at whatever time suits me, without having to worry about finding a parking spot, navigate my way through crowds, only to find out they don’t have the right size or colour in stock.

Not only do physical stores have to compete with the availability and convenience of online, global stores, but they have to worry about overheads such as rent, floor staff, utilities etc. From a marketing point of view, the competitive advantages that physical stores once had, are rapidly diminishing.

I also thought it was quite interesting to see how often people are buying online using their mobile devices, as well as tablets. It seems that responsive websites are becoming more and more important, allowing users to view websites in an easy-to-navigate layout no matter what device they are using to browse with. It’s quite clear to see, that it seems very dangerous to ignore the rise of eCommerce in the global market, because it could have enormous ramifications in the growth of your business.



Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Power of eCommerce


The retail landscape has seen dramatic changes over the past two decades. Businesses that have not been able to keep up with technology and move with the times have fallen away. There is an ever-increasing focus on the online world, which has seemingly broken down all geographical boundaries that once existed.

Considering how many people are not only searching for information about products online, but actually purchasing online, it seems like pure common sense to have an online component to your physical store – especially considering how cheap they can be.

But what makes a successful online store? Over the next 3 updates, we will be giving you an insight into how to create an effective eCommerce website, to provide a great return on your investments.

Design


The best eCommerce stores are the best for a reason. They know their consumer, they know what they want, and they cater to their needs. In almost all cases, it comes down to easy navigation, and a simple purchasing process.

It also has to be clean, with space for the eye to navigate easily around the site and find what they are looking for as quick as possible. If there are too many steps or too much wrong navigation the consumer will leave your site very quickly – and it’s hard to re-capture a lost client (don’t believe me? Just ask Nokia).

The best and clearest form or navigation is through a series or buttons, easy clicking from step to step with prominent, well labelled buttons. A logical and easy-to-follow structure, with limited steps and a streamlined process, will result in a higher conversion rate.

A Few Easy Tips

  1. A sense of comfort and surety stems from creating goodwill. Great ways to do this include: Free shipping, Spend over $X and receive a gift or discount, Returns and refunds welcome. These all instil confidence and credibility. They are most definitely a worthy investment. All these things convince customers to go nowhere else.
  2. Promote links to your social media. Online stores often find it much easier to get people to Like their page and share their pictures through competitions. This is largely due to consumers being more receptive to eCommerce Social Media offerings than other business sectors, as most do some sort of online shopping anyway.
  3. Product reviews by peers and multiple images from different angles are a great way to boost consumer confidence and brand credibility.
  4. Make Contact Numbers and Security Badges prominent to help ease any stress or hesitation from the consumer.

Just think of reasons why people would hesitate to buy online, and fix those issues. The lack of overheads and increased reach and exposure could make the world of difference for your business.




Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Responsive Design


For the first time since 2001 computer sales are expected to be lower than the previous year[1]. This has coincided with an increase in other devices sales, such as tablets, laptops and smartphones. Over the past few years there has also been a 30% increase in mobile site traffic and mobile internet usage is predicted to overtake desktop internet usage by the end of 2014[2].

With this changing landscape comes a change in expectations; users expect to browse websites just as easily on their mobile phones as they do on their desktop computers. Currently, the majority of websites are created with a one size fits all philosophy. Websites are designed with desktop computers in mind, and their appearance will occasionally scale down to squeeze onto other devices.



Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we design and build websites, allowing for customer expectations to not only be achieved but exceeded. Mobile ready design allows websites to respond and adapt to a specific screen size, orientation and platform. It provides an optimal viewing experience – easy reading and navigation while keeping resizing, panning and scrolling to a minimum.




One of the most appealing aspects of mobile ready design is the fact that Google recognises and recommends its use[3]. In contrast to separate mobile sites, responsive websites use the same hyperlinks and code. This allows Google to access and index your site as efficiently as possible, which is essential when it comes to search engines.

Responsive design is all about automatically delivering your audience the content they want, within the context that they’re viewing it. Given the rapid advancements and adoptions of smartphones and tablets it’s inevitable the responsive web design will become the norm. As Ethan Marcotte, the author of the book Responsive Web Design explains, "Now more than ever, we’re designing work meant to be viewed along a gradient of different experiences. Responsive web design offers us a way forward, finally allowing us to 'design for the ebb and flow of things.” [4]

Speak to one of the friendly staff at Digerati Solutions about making your website optimised for a range of devices!



[1] http://www.slashgear.com/pc-sales-to-decline-in-2012-for-the-first-time-in-11-years-10251339/
[2] http://tag.microsoft.com/community/blog/t/the_growth_of_mobile_marketing_and_tagging.aspx
[3] https://developers.google.com/webmasters/smartphone-sites/
[4] http://www.abookapart.com/products/responsive-web-design




Thursday, 28 February 2013

Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Business

With an abundance of social media platforms to use, a lot of business owners out there will be wondering where to even start. Each platform offers something completely different to the next, so then how do you know where to invest your time and money?  One of the biggest mistakes that a small business will make in its social media marketing is to try and be everywhere - it simply just won't work. Stretching yourself across a broad range of social media platforms will mean you are spending more time as a whole with fewer results.

So what are your options?

Facebook
Facebook business pages allow you to connect with your audience by posting to them about what you are doing and also allowing people to engage with your brand by posting to your page. There are a few reasons that make Facebook a great platform to use:
  • Reach - it has 1 billion monthly users so you will struggle to find many people who won't be online.
  • Variety - Facebook offers the chance to use video, photos and text as well as being able to create interactive apps.
  • Tailored towards business - Facebook offers advertising which can be utilized.
Twitter
Twitter is a great way to post small snippets of information to your followers and a great way to keep your customers up to date. It is heavily geared towards people with knowledge to share over those who are selling physical products. In saying this it does not mean that if you are selling physical product you can't be on twitter. Nike (while on a big scale) is a great example of a twitter profile that creates hype around their products and brand without trying to market them directly.

Pinterest
Pinterest is a cross between twitter, a bookmarking site and a global game of show & tell. Users find interesting photos online and 'pin' them to 'boards' (or save them into categories). It is important to remember that Pinterest is not a platform for shameless self-promotion. Instead it should be used as an ideas/inspiration board or just as a way to have a bit of fun with your brand. Again while most small business won't have the money or time - Peugeot is a company who has done a great job with its Pintrest board.

Instagram
Instagram is the most recent addition to the social media bandwagon which both individuals and businesses have jumped on. Instagram at its core is a mobile app which is used to edit and share photos and, as they say a picture is worth 1000 words! At this stage Instagram is probably the most pure of the social media platforms, in the sense that there is still no advertising or revenue to be made from it - it is purely social (this may change in the near future with Facebook recently purchasing the app as well as an increased pressure for them to become more profitable after going public). The fact that Instagram is not made for business probably benefits those who use it well - people don't like to think they have been marketed to and Instagram is a way to market your products without it even seeming like you are trying to sell.
Tips on using and when to use Instagram:
  • If you have products, show them in their use - a great way to create a need/want for your product.
  • Show your products as they are being created - this gives customers a bit of a behind the scenes look.
  • Engage with your users where possible - this can be by answering questions or commenting on photos which have been added by customers
YouTube
While most people will use YouTube to watch videos of Korean men pretending to dance like a horse, there is a lot of value to be found in one of the most popular social platforms. Below are a couple of great uses of YouTube for small business:
  • Building a brand - because video is so easily accessible now (through the use of smart phones and tablets) building your brand around video can be a lot easier than it once was. Videos do not have to be a high quality - a home-shot, monthly update is a great way to help build your brand.
  • Product support and training - There are 22 400 000 videos on YouTube with the phrase "how to" used in their title's - I can only imagine how often the phrase is searched. Video is a great way to teach people how to use your product and as YouTube is the most popular of the social media (along with best suited to video) why wouldn't you use it.

How to choose the right social media
So now the big question - how do I know what will work for me? Below are a few key things to think about when you do take the plunge:

  • Know your target market - know who you are going to try and target with your Social Media campaigns. This gives you vital information into which platform is the best one to invest your time and money into.
  • Know your business - this might seem like a worthless piece of information but you would be surprised how many people get it wrong! If your work is visual - don't tweet about it! If you are an accountant - you probably don't need to be on Pinterest.
  • Trial and error- as with most marketing, no matter how much research you do you won't know the effectiveness until it is tried. Try new and different things with your social media, make sure you adapt what you are posting based on the effectiveness of previous posts. This may be both the time that it is posted as well as the content.