Sabrina | Marketing, Services, Social Media, Websites | No CommentsI read a great article on the Smart Company website this morning. Author Craig Reardon argued the case for the ongoing existence of websites as marketing tools amid the wash of social media and sexy apps. Websites, he said, provided excellent opportunities for promoting a call to action within a marketing campaign. And unlike social media sites, where you are constrained by the design confines provided by those sites, on your own website you can do as you wish with the size of your advertising campaign images and the associated copy. Yes, social media is undoubtedly a necessary tool for most businesses these days, especially if you are engaging Gen X and young adults. But don't discount the value of your website, and keeping it up to date and relevant. Don't throw all your advertising into social media and leave your website looking stale. So, think about this. How can you use your website better? Can you offer your clients an online booking service via your website? Can you offer your clients something special if they jump onto your site after finding you on social media? (For example, you have a special landing page for these visitors and you might offer them something for nothing or a 5% or 10% discount on your services only available by visiting that page.) If you sell products via a traditional shop, why not also put a shopfront on your website so people who can't make it to your shop can buy from your site? It's not expensive in the big scheme of things - we can develop and integrate a shopfront from as little as $500 on top of your ordinary website, and that includes your SSL certificate - and your business then becomes national or international... wherever you want to take it, essentially. Websites will stay an integral part of marketing for years to come; they can provide a more in-depth look at what you do than social media does, but both options work hand in hand to promote your business. Chat to us about how we can help you promote an integrated look and feel across your social media and website, and how campaigns could work for you.
excellent resource on Hubspot which explains how social media works to market your company, in case you're unsure or sceptical, and also how to monitor what people are saying about you and how to measure the impact on your business, i.e. what percentages turn to leads. This is a slideshow and while it unashamedly plugs Hubspot at the end, the information supplied is valid and relevant. If you're spending too much time monitoring your social media and wondering what to make of it, I suggest you view the show and enjoy your next morning cuppa. Here it is:
Sabrina | Marketing, Services, Websites, Writing and Editing | No CommentsThis year I've seen a couple of campaigns designed to get Aussie businesses online with free websites and free domain names or free lessons on building your own. I won't mention them by name simply because - well, it's bad for my business! I don't build sites for free (but mine ARE affordable). However with anything that's free, you get what you pay for. (Note that you can have a blog site with static pages hosted on WordPress, Typepad or Blogger, and you can access a range of templates, all for free, however you can't host these sites on your own standalone domain name, and this post discusses sites hosted on your own domain name.) Yes, you can get up and running with your own website all by yourself, but I would suggest that if you go down that route, contact someone like me for assistance with graphics, SEO, and as part of that SEO copywriting. These days anyone can put a website up. You might have the best product in the world, but unless you know a bit about how keyword analysis works, how search engines work, and how to write copy that will use the system to your advantage, you're not going to get found. SEO is a real art, and with search algorithms changing at a rapid pace in line with website evolution, you need to constantly tweak your copy and keywords. I've seen so many small business sites let down with poor grammar and punctuation over the years that I highly recommend having a copywriter help you with your website material. The worst offenders are apostrophes: often popped in where they don't need to be and left out where they do, incorrect tenses and misuse of plurals. Poor grammar and punctuation looks unprofessional. Competition is tough out there. As well as SEO-friendly copy on your site and great graphics and images, telling your own story could make the difference between people buying your product or someone else's. People remember stories; they engage with them. Simply saying "Buy my widget because it's the cheapest" won't differentiate you from the competition, even with a good price. Saying "Buy my widget - I developed my widget as a result of there being nothing on the market that quite did the job. It took me ten years of experimenting to get it right, to tailor it especially for our local market and local needs..." is far more memorable, human and compelling as a sales pitch. People can relate to you and trust you. Look and feel is also a big part of the web experience. You not only have to grab your readers' attention with copy in the first five seconds, your site has to look professional and coherent. With free websites you are often constricted as far as design goes; apart from your logo there won't be much to differentiate you graphically from another business which has taken up the free site offer. Most free sites have a very limited number of templates and unless you're a whiz with coding or know someone who is, a limited number of options you can do with those templates. Often too you may be limited as to the number of pages or menu items you can list on your free site. You might not be able to expand your site in the way you want down the track. Free sites mightn't let you feed in your twitter and facebook feeds or offer a range of widgets and plugins. These are all items to think about if you're considering taking up a free site offer with your own domain name. Unless you're a marketing, copywriting or graphic expert, consider spending some money and getting professional help with your free site, or take the plunge and have a unique site developed. Domain names are cheap at the moment - from $9 a year and hosting with the fab Crazy Domains guys starts at $54/year. I can start you off with a micro-site to which you can add your own pages and menu items from $495, and it won't look like a free site built on the same template 50,000 other Australian businesses are using.
I'm a voracious reader; anyone who knows me knows that. But sitting gathering dust in our garage are books we don't even unwrap any more until it's time to throw them away - our telephone directories the White Pages and Yellow Pages. We never read them; never need them. We moved them to the garage a few years back as they were cluttering up our miniscule living room, and there they have remained. At first we consulted them, but once they had a pile of gardening stuff on top of them it was easier to just go online than unpack the phone books. So these days if I want to find a specific person or business, I search online through the White Pages. I don't ring Telstra's 1234 service as it's too expensive. However, people, 1223 is a free directory assistance number from residential landlines on the Telstra network. Remember that and use it. Telstra doesn't promote this free service as they'd rather make money from you. If I'm searching for a non-specific business in a particular industry, I'll use Google. If I want a local handyman I'll firstly ask the neighbours who they used and were they happy with the result, or try the local newspapers. Re the newspapers, I'll then research the handyman on the internet to see what people are saying about him, if anything, or if he has a website I'll read it. If all else fails I'll use the Yellow Pages online. The one thing I don't do any more is read the print versions of the telephone directories. In an effort to win me back to these wonderful tomes that do duty in countless houses holding up broken bookshelves and other pieces of furniture, Telstra has issued our house with a mini Yellow Pages aimed at our section of Sydney. "Glovebox-sized," it markets itself hopefully. Poor thing, it gets no trips in our cars. My husband's glovebox is full of CDs and my old Golf doesn't even have one. Just some door pockets filled with rural maps and umbrellas. I did carry a "Glovebox-sized" Yellow Pages in the back of my car for while, and threw it out when:
- I discovered it was three years out of date
- I'd never used it
- It was covered in oil as my spare oil bottle had leaked
- If you're a business, do you spend your advertising budget on the Yellow Pages?
- Online and/or print?
- If so, do you believe you're getting value for money and the number of customers you want from that ad spend?
- Would you buy, at enormous expense, a large display ad if you're not one of the major players in your industry? (ie if you're competing against Canon Australia, or Harvey Norman, do you match their ad size?)
- Or do you use only Google adwords or a split between Adwords and the Yellow Pages?
- Perhaps you're promoting your business using a targetted Facebook ad campaign?
- Is the Yellow Pages actually relevant to your business?
you can listen to here. It's a keynote address on the publishing industry. The digital age has certainly impacted on non-fiction publishing. According to Godin people who may have bought around 200 non-fiction books a year now buy around 50, and get their knowledge fix from blogs and other alternative media sources. Companies like Amazon provide infinite shelf space, especially for e-books. Traditional marketing methods such as launches and press releases have been superceded by viral marketing via Twitter and Facebook. So how do publishers change and adapt and thrive in the new media? And is it a better world for prospective authors? You'll have to listen and find out. A plug here for my bookshop: Seth's books are here for you in digital and traditional form.
Style Manual produced by the Australian Government Publishing Service. The other is the marvellous Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, which you and your employees will fight over. It's serious, but also seriously funny. Both these books can be purchased at booksellers. End of gripe...go and check your marketing material and website now and consider your apostrophes! If you're in doubt about what's right, contact me to proof read your material for you.