Is Your Website or Social Media Presence a Reflection of What You Want?

Have you ever visited someone in their home and almost felt unable to move in case you accidentally disturbed something? Have you ever walked into a store and found that it seemed almost impossible to find a sensible path to the specific items you wanted to look at?

Both of the above can be the result of ‘inside-out creation’. This is where the end result has been designed for the approval of the person creating it, rather than those visiting or wishing to use the facility. This can often happen when a site is being designed to maximise web content, or social media marketing opportunities are being exploited.

Taking off your shoes

The above comes from an old quotation: ‘To walk in someone else’s shoes, first take off your own’. So many people don’t – they, metaphorically at least, simply place them over the ones they are already wearing. The result is that their primary focus is 'inside out'. Yet, to achieve conversion optimisation throughout a range of web or social media activities, the focus can only be on the searcher or visitor. This is why artists, when painting, often step back from the canvas to actually see the work as the audience eventually will.

Four ways that inside-out focus can damage performance

1. Focusing on the wrong areas

An example of this might be the launch of a new product or service. Those producing it are proud of all it can achieve and therefore want to convey this message to the world. However, outside of their bubble, those people undertaking web searches, or visiting social media are much more interested in what exactly it can do for them. The danger is that all the content has to say gains no more than a ‘so what’ reaction from the very people it should be exciting and enthusing.

2. Using inappropriate language

This isn’t referring to rudeness, or a lack of manners, but simply to the fact that every business has its own private language. This jargon is clearly understood by all insiders, who then use it on a regular basis, like a type of shorthand. It’s far too easy to forget that many of the potential customers any company wishes to talk to simply don’t have the same level of expertise. Much as you might hope they would make the effort to find out more, in reality they are much more likely to simply search elsewhere for an easier to understand solution.

3. Ignoring the obvious

If you've ever tried to find a new location by following road signs, you’ll often end up realising that they were erected by people who already knew where they were going! A sign at one turn-off might then be missing at the next, simply because the path to take is so well-known, indeed blatantly obvious, at least to the individual placing those signs. So, if road signs should be erected by strangers, the same can apply to online content. It is so easy to miss out key pieces of information, simply because the person writing that content has known about it for so long.

4. Creating a tortuous or incomplete journey

Like the first three points above, errors here are usually due to what might be called ‘sins of omission’. There is no deliberate attempt to confuse or conceal, simply a lack of taking that ‘artist’s step back’ to cast an outsider’s eye at the work. Therefore, for example, a visitor with no knowledge of the company might find the website difficult to navigate – and then give up on the attempt. A search for a specific item might only take the arriving visitor to a generic homepage – rather than a specifically-designed landing page. Again, asking them to make a ‘discovery’ effort might simply lead to their looking elsewhere.

Gaining that 'outside-in' insight

Asking an outside company to work on your website, search engine or social media marketing, brings that fresh insight of the outsider, married to rich experience in creating optimal content.

However, it is a two-way street. Any company undertaking such tasks needs to burrow inside the skin of your business and find out what really makes it tick. Once this has been achieved, you have the best chance to achieve a great win-win situation – professionally crafted content, created by an outsider, yet enhanced by using the expertise of those within that business.

Giving your website and social media an outside touch will enable you to create an experience for visitors that will drive them to take actions.

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing Newcastle | Web Developer Newcastle


9 Tips For Conversion Rate Optimisation

In the world of websites, there are a few things that people get nervous about. One of those is conversion optimisation. Websites are always changing and evolving, and when it's time to upgrade the site for your business, you might worry that you'll hire a developer to make the modifications, spend the money, and then see it ultimately hurt your business because your conversion rate goes down. They key to success is knowing how to approach the conversion optimisation process properly and make it work for you. Today, we'll give you a few tips to help you do just that.

1. Remove unnecessary form fields

Yes, adding additional form fields might allow you to gather more information more easily, but customers don't really enjoy filling up that many blanks. It's not worth sacrificing conversion rate just to make the work easier on your end. Some companies have seen as much as 160% conversion rate by decreasing form fields from 11 down to 4. Make it easier on your customers, and they're more likely to stick around.

2. Choose a unique call-to-action colour

One of the most important parts of any business website is the call-to-action button. Every click of it means a visitor becomes a customer. You want to choose a colour for the button that will make it stand out. It's all about making the button pop against your website's background colour. You may have heard that red is a great colour for improving conversion, and that's true. However, it's not the colour itself that makes the difference. It's the contrast between the button and the background that matters, so red won't benefit everybody. Be sure you check and verify which colour will work best for your website.

3. Drop the stock photos and image sliders

Photos can make or break a website. It's a fact. However, it's not just the photos you choose. It's also how you use them. Image sliders are used quite often these days, but they don't yield the best conversion rates. Customers tend to enjoy exploring a site for themselves, and image sliders make it more difficult for them to do that. Try a static image or advertisement instead. Also, stay away from stale stock photos. It's far better to have original photos that flow well with your website and it's message.

4. Make good use of videos

Yes, videos are valuable. If your website offers advice or instruction about any topic, providing videos is an excellent way to improve conversion rates. Customer tend to enjoy watching a how-to video more than reading a long article, especially for things that might be a bit harder to learn. Just be sure you keep them short, about 2 to 3 minutes in length, so that your customers won't get burned out watching a long, boring video presentation. Make great use of videos, and your conversion is sure to improve.

5. Keep your headlines clear and phone numbers visible

You want to be sure your viewers have a clear picture of what you're offering or what your business does. Having a clear and visible headline is a must. By making sure your headline is easily seen and, most importantly, easily understood, you can boost your conversion rates by a good bit. Another thing to focus on is your company's phone number. Make sure it appears in the header of your homepage. This lends weight to your credibility, and it also make you feel more approachable to your customers.

6. Stay true with your testimonials

When visitors are trying to determine if your website is worthy of their business, they look at many things including testimonials from your previous customers. Some websites come up with fabricated testimonials in an effort to boost the credibility of their business. They don't say anything untrue, but still it's not a real customer's opinion. This isn't a good idea. The best way to boost your credibility and your conversion rate is by including real testimonials from real customers. They may not always be as perfect as you'd like, but being real makes all the difference. Remember, the truth is what earns trust.

7. Wear your badges with pride

Trust badges are an excellent conversion rate booster. Trust Pilot is a great site that offers badges for businesses with a history of good reviews. If you have that, be sure to show it on your website. You can also show off other badges you may have earned from sites such as Yelp or Glassdoor. Having these on your website is tantamount to word-of-mouth advertising and can make a big difference in customer conversion.

8. Stay current with your security

A big issue with websites these days, especially online stores, is security. Customers want to be sure that their credit card information will be safe before using any online store, and the best way to give them peace of mind is to show off any security seals your site has earned. One case study showed that websites with a Norton security seal had 11% more sales than those without one. If you have seals, show them.

9. Don't be afraid to say "free"

It's true that nothing much in this world is free, but in most cases your call-to-action will be. Usually it involves simply registering for the website which doesn't cost anything. Don't be afraid to tell your customers that by including the phrase "it's free" along with your call-to-action. Some sites have seen as much as 28% conversion improvement by using this tactic. If you're not already using this handy phrase, give it a try and see how much it helps your site.

There is far more to conversion optimisation that just the tips we've discussed here, but using these handy techniques will get you pointed in the right direction and well on your way to improving your conversion rates and with them your customer base as well. Give our tips a try and see the results for yourself!

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing Newcastle | Web Developer Newcastle


Five Reasons Why You Should Choose Digital Over Traditional Marketing

The dynamics of business and marketing have shifted quite dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years. The way we interact, consume and do business has changed. This change has created & been created by many new ventures that have disrupted the old & traditional ways things have been done. Can't think of any? Here are just a few to get you thinking:

Google

Google has changed the way we find information. Rather than looking through books or consulting with someone who is an expert in their field we can type anything into a computer and find the answer to pretty much anything.

Uber

The way we move around has changed & shifted. The traditional methods of catching a bus, taxi or train has shifted to more personalised and on-demand transport.

E-Bay

With the introduction of E-bay so came with it the rise of online shopping and the buy and sell online marketplace. No longer do you need to have a garage sale or visit the local market. Just put your product up and start selling.

What This Means For Your Business

There are many more companies that have shifted the landscape of business and how your potential customers and actual customers consume information, services & products. What does this all mean to you? If you're a business that has been operating for longer than 10 years or a new business to the market the impact of how people interact on a daily basis is going to have the same effect. The potential impact it can have may be greater if you're a long standing business stuck in traditional ways of doing things. Flexibility & the ability to be dynamic as a business has become increasingly important as things now change so rapidly. So that's where we get to the argument of where you should invest your marketing dollars. Let's be clear from the start and identify that every single business is different and no one strategy is going to suit every business. What is important to see is that digital marketing has benefits that traditional marketing potentially can't compete with.

Why Choose Digital Over Traditional?

It's a question we get asked multiple times a week. Why should I do this when I've always done it like this? Why should I be doing digital marketing? What's the benefit for my business? Our website isn't that important to our business, so why would we do it?

We believe that every business should be doing some form of digital marketing whether it being optimising their website for conversions & implementing an inbound marketing strategy, working on an SEO campaign for keywords that are relevant to their business or running a paid Google advertising campaign. The opportunities are endless and the potential return for the business is vast due to the sheer number of consumers that are looking for them every day through digital channels even if they don't think that it's important. Some simple research into things people are searching for that are relevant to your business can be an eye opener.

Why Should I Do It Though?

Ultimately for every business it comes down to justifying the cost vs return when any type of marketing campaign is implemented. How many people can I get to see what I do and how many of those can I convert into real paying customers? The problem with many traditional marketing activities (not all of them) is the inability for you as the business owner to understand your real return on investment, how effective your marketing activity is and what results it can deliver for your business. With digital marketing whether it be SEO, Social Media, Content or Adwords you have the ability to measure, review and improve. It's not just a nice to have, it's a must have. To better understand how you can acquire more customers you need to know how much it costs you to get one, what you're willing to spend to acquire a customer and how you can continually improve your return on investment. Digital marketing gives you that opportunity and it is something you should take advantage of. Always take the time to thoroughly assess traditional vs digital channels and make sure you talk to a digital marketing agency that understands the importance of conversion tracking, reporting and return on investment monitoring.

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing Newcastle | Digital Marketing Newcastle


5 Tips On Improving Your Website

If you have a business usually a website is a critical component as it becomes the online face of your business and gives customers the opportunity to get a first impression of what you do and how you do it. Unfortunately many businesses don't take the time to consistently review their website and make necessary changes to improve how customers perceive them when visiting their website but also how they can turn visitors into actual customers buying their products and using their services. Here are some simple tips that can help improve your website design, compliment your digital marketing campaign, boost your search engine optimisation and take advantage of your search engine marketing traffic. Ultimately it comes down to how you present your business in the form of your website, what functionality you require and how you can use your website as a tool to increase conversions & sales.

Always Think Mobile First

I'm sure you've heard this a million times by now about how you need to be mobile friendly and you need to ensure your website stacks up when viewed across multiple devices. It isn't just a nice thing to have anymore. It is a must have for a few reasons:

1) Statistics now show that internet usage on mobiles is growing every year with bigger screens and more opportunities to access products, services and businesses online from your pocket.

2) Google now takes into account how mobile friendly your website is when ranking sites on mobile devices. If you aren't mobile friendly your rankings will now suffer

3) It should always come back to keeping your customers happy. Accessibility and useability will dictate whether they want to use your service or product. If you don't make it easy for a customer or potential customer they will simply go to one of your competitors.

Keep Your Branding Consistent

The biggest thing we see when people create a website is that they don't keep their branding consistent especially as their business changes and evolves over time. Your brand is the key to the identity of your business and it's important to keep that fresh and consistent online. This means that your website should be aligned with your social profiles and if you update your physical branding make sure you do the same online. Colours, typography and the images you use should be thought out and aligned with your businesses brand and style.

Know Your Stuff? Share It Through Content

You may be a leader in your industry and you may also have some untapped knowledge that differentiates you from your competitors. What's one of the best ways to get customers? Use that knowledge and information and create useful, interesting and informative content that people will be searching and looking for. People constantly type questions into Google as they are looking for answers and solutions to their problems. Not only can you build authority for your website, you can also become a knowledge leader in your industry and it's a perfect way to engage and acquire new customers. Running a simple blog and keeping it updated regularly will not only keep your website fresh it will also help with your search engine optimisation and give you a variety of sources to share on social media.

Focus On Conversions

The best way to improve your website is to focus on opportunities to increase conversions. There are some simple things you can do that can potentially improve your conversions:

1) Create a call to action on every page - you want people to do something when they visit every page on your website whether this be directing them to your contact page or signing up for your newsletter for further marketing opportunities.

2) Ever thought about a live chat? Are you running a marketing campaign where you will have consistent traffic? Implement a live chat so you can try and engage these visitors. It may give you an advantage over your competitors if you can reach these customers early and try and solve their problem or answer their question

3) Give your visitors something, whether it be a free book download or a special discount or offer. It is an easy way to entice a potential customer to engage with your business.

Conversions are the key to the success of your website and make sure you implement conversion tracking so you can monitor and analyse the results of implementing any conversion improvements.

Get a Professional to Redesign Your Website

There are loads of do it yourself website builders out there, however most of the time these create more problems than the money you save. If you are really looking for a website that can deliver results for your business and create a good first time impression use a professional who understand your industry and what will potentially deliver results, more customers & increased sales.

We hope these 5 tips will help you improve your website and assist in creating a seamless experience for your customers online. Got any other tips? Comment below.

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How To Be Smart With Your Digital Marketing Spend

Running a business isn't easy and many of the decisions you make come down to how much you can afford to spend or what kind of risk you can afford to take for a calculated return. If you are thinking about marketing online, whether it be through search, social media or content there are some ways you can be smart with your spend & actions to make sure you aren't wasting money or dedicating resources to areas that aren't delivering a return for your business.

Do Your Research When Choosing A Digital Marketing Agency

Just like any decision you make when spending money especially when investing into growing your business make sure you do adequate research on the company you want to partner with. More than anything this relationship should be a partnership where the agency has a vested interest in delivering tangible results for your business & helping you grow. Here are some simple questions you can ask and make sure you compare the answers from a couple of agencies both locally and outside your area:

1) Tell me about your experience?
2) What makes your agency different?
3) Can I see some examples of results with other clients?
4) What are your biggest strengths?
5) Can I see some samples of your reports and what kind of information I will expect to receive?

Cost is always a factor that should come into play, however make sure you get an understanding of the business, how they track results and how they can deliver value to your business. Making the right decision from the outset can save you money, time and can start growing your digital strategy from day one.

Put Some Time & Effort Into Your Tracking & Reporting

Like anything you get out what you put in. With digital strategy everything should be able to be measured and tracked. This will enable you to find areas where your performing well and others where you aren't. If the company you've engaged isn't giving you information around what your results mean for your business & the dollar return you should expect to receive you should be asking for it.

You should also being putting time into understanding Google Analytics, so as a business you can track and measure traffic & conversions.

Investment vs Return

You should be investing time into understanding & analysing your investment v return. Before you start investing in your digital marketing plan put some effort into understanding your customers, the dollar value an individual customer acquisition returns to your business and the number of referrals they provide you. This will help you assess your cost to acquire customers and the return that your marketing efforts will deliver to your business.

Pick Your Channels

Ultimately you know your business and you understand what your customers want and the type of customers you are trying to target. If you're a business to business client in an obscure industry social media may not make sense when choosing where to invest your money & resources. Take time to understand the different channels you can market to and how they suit your business. If you've engaged an agency get them to detail why they suggest a certain channel to market your business and how it fits with your overall marketing strategy.

It's a Long Term Investment

If you're thinking about marketing online and you only want to dip your toes in the water you should probably think about spending money elsewhere. You need to be committed to developing a long term strategy as you will only start to see results and a return on investment when the cumulative effect of your marketing efforts start to come to fruition. This is especially important when undertaking search engine optimisation which is always a long term investment for your business. Talk to your agency partner about the long term goals & plans for your digital marketing plan and remember to measure and track everything against your goals so you can continually refine & improve.

Related Tags: Web Developer Newcastle | Digital Marketing Newcastle


Are You Tracking Conversions On Your Website?

Every business that has a website or undertakes any kind of digital marketing strategy should be focused on conversions. They can come in a variety of forms depending on your business, whether it be an enquiry via email, a phone call, a ticket sale or a product purchase. Why are conversions so important? Ultimately tracking, monitoring and analysing conversions will allow you to assess whether a particular marketing activity is working and most importantly if it is delivering value and a positive return on investment. Analysing the performance of a particular campaign, social media post or optimised keyword via SEO will give you so much more confidence about your digital marketing and it will also allow you to dedicate resources that are generating income for the business and dollars to your bottom line.

It sounds simple right? For the majority of businesses it is actually a lot more difficult than you would think. If I told you that we are going to allocate $10,000 of your marketing budget to a billboard on a busy highway for two months but you weren't going to know if it delivered increased sales or more customers would you do it? Potentially given the sheer exposure of the billboard people would assume that their sales are going to increase. There is no guarantee and there is no possible way for you to track if it's going to work. Sure you will hear statistics about how many people drive past the billboard, the demographic and how they are right in your target market. How do you know that this billboard will deliver results? Is it a blind leap of faith? Is it a traditional marketing avenue and it makes you feel more comfortable? We see this everyday, where a business will allocate a marketing spend to an activity that can't be measured and may in the end deliver zero value.

Your website is the equivalent of a billboard on a busy highway with the exception that you can understand who visits it, how long they stay, how they got there and most importantly if that visitor attempts to become a customer. If I said to you can either invest $10,000 and directly analyse the return on that spend and the value delivered to your business as opposed to spending $10,000 and having no understanding of what the outcomes of that spend were, which one would you choose. Clearly we would all choose the first option. If this is the case why do more and more businesses fail to engage in the appropriate management and analysis of where their enquiries come from online and what the overall return of that customer generated online means to their business. The reasons are simple:

Lack of information

Many businesses aren't being supported with the right information. Many companies will promise you first page rankings, amazing website traffic and significant exposure. What does this mean to you at the end of the day? It doesn't mean much. You're simply placing your billboard in a more prominent position. You need to understand what the outcomes you are getting from that traffic. It's not just limited to a search engine optimisation campaign. It may be an Adwords campaign, social media marketing or a content marketing plan. Take the time to not just fall for the easy and quick guarantee about getting your website on the first page of Google or in a prominent ad position. To really become a digital superstar you need to understand what those people are doing once they visit your website. It's not enough these days to just have your billboard on the side of the road. Become better than your competitors, gain more insight and use it to your advantage.

Can't somebody else do it?

It's too hard. This is something that I would tend to agree with. Understanding Google Analytics & understanding what a conversion means to your business can be difficult. The information is overwhelming and the ability to use that information to develop a plan of attack isn't easy. There are some simple techniques that we are going to unlock over the coming months that can make your life a whole lot easier and hopefully allow you to easily monitor & track your website traffic & conversions and use the information to make actionable decisions for your marketing plan. Always make sure when undertaking any kind of digital marketing campaign that you ask questions about not only when will I be on the first page or where my ads will sit but also about what kind of information do you provide around traffic, how do I analyse my return on investment and how do I improve conversions every month.

I've got no time

I don't have the time. It's common for small business owners to be time poor. If you are planning on running your own analysis on your website traffic and understanding conversions take the time to do it properly. 30 minutes to 1 hour per week may save you a lot of money and effort when deciding where to invest resources when marketing online. If you don't have the time make sure the professionals you engage deliver timely and relevant information that is directly relate-able to your profit, customers and sales.

Like traditional marketing promoting your business online requires an investment of money and time to deliver good results. The major benefit you get when advertising online is that everything is measurable and can be analysed in terms of the return you obtain in relation to effort & dollars. Avoid companies that only want to show you rankings because the real value comes in understanding your traffic and how it delivers results to the bottom line of your business.

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How To Create Content For Your Website

Creating, crafting and publishing content online can be time consuming and difficult. It also has many benefits for your website but also your business in general. Content or inbound marketing has become a hot trend in the digital world with many businesses now spending large amounts of time and money creating amazing content to attract and entice visitors & customers and ultimately drive conversions. We know it's important to create content for your website but in reality who has the time especially as a small business owner to create content for your website on a consistent basis. 9 out of 10 people would typically say they don't have the time or worry if the investment of time will deliver results.

When creating a content strategy you should be thinking hard about addressing a need or solving a problem. Think about your customer base and your audience & how your content will engage them, drive social sharing and be a useful piece of information that people want to read. Just like every other marketing plan you implement you should have a specified goal and how you are going to achieve it. Creating amazing content that is specialised to your industry or niche can allow you to gain a competitive advantage and become the expert or leader in your field. One of the best examples of content marketing boosting a product to success is the story of Mint. They grew to 1.5 million users in just over 2 years thanks in large part to their easy to use product but also the content marketing strategy they implemented based around finance and managing your money.

So the question ultimately comes down to how do you create that stand out content that will set you apart from your competitors, help you rank highly on Google and generate leads. Here are some simple tips that can help you become a better content marketer.

Build a foundation of good topics that form a content plan

Make sure you research topics and ideas to see what people are searching for. Use the Google Keyword Planner Tool to identify longtail keywords and potentially high traffic, low competition search terms that can form an article topic. Make sure every article you create is part of your overall plan and is contributing to your message.

Structure is important

Make sure you structure all of your content in a similar way. One of the best ways to create great content for your website is by coming up with a catchy headline. This has two fold effect in that in can entice people to read your article and it can also stand out amongst the crowd of search terms on Google. Some examples may be "Seven Cars You Must Drive Before You Die", "The Secrets To Success With Four Simple Tips". Make sure the headline is relevant and on topic and incorporates some of the keywords you are targeting as part of your overall plan. Don't stop with the headline. Make sure you include an image, structured information on your topic, ask for feedback and include an option for social sharing

Check out your competitors

It is essential to know what are your competitors doing? Are they running a blog and if so what kind of content are they creating? Are they missing vital information that you could be sharing? Make sure you review your competitors and ask yourself these questions. Think about how you can do things better then them and start to create your content plan.

Online tools to help you with ideas

There are some tools available online that can help you come up with interesting blog titles and topics if you are stuck for ideas. HubSpot have a blog topic generator that can help you overcome that writers block when thinking of content you want to create. Remember to stick to your plan and utilise keywords that are part of your overall plan.

Use a copywriter

Stuck for time and don't have the energy, resources or skills to create your own content. This is the case for a lot of people who run a website so don't despair. There are thousands of great content writers, copywriters and blog specialists online that you can outsource your work to. A small investment in terms of dollars can help your blog on the way to being full of well written content that is on topic and delivering value to your readers.

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