It’s exciting, isn’t it? Christmas is coming up fast, and a new year awaits us. We thought you might appreciate this round-up of websites to help you get ready and enjoy both.
Sharing our knowledge for your benefit
This term - net-neutrality - has been driving me crazy for a while. I've tried researching it before, and admit that my eyes glazed over before I could wrap my head around it. Now that it's back in the news again, with California just enacting state legislation, I'm determined to at least get a grasp on the basics. Here's what I've learned.
The term "client" stems from the client-server model that has been the foundation of the internet forever. The client requests information and the server gives it to them. "Client" by itself can refer to the device or the human user, while "client application" is talking about the computer software the client device or user is using.
The digital world has a vast number of terms that most of us never need to understand. There are some though, where a common understanding can help us communicate better with the technical folks that we rely on to do those techie things for us. We’re going to look at some of those over the next few weeks.
I drove by a church the other day that had a sign out front, like many do. I thought it said “Help available,” followed by a phone number. I realized a few seconds later, that the sign actually said “Hall available.” An insignificant misread, but it made me think of how important branding is to context.
With the kids being back in school, it’s a good time to review your rules and strategies for keeping their smartphone use positive and productive. Unfortunately, that is not the aim for evil trolls who find their way into the lives and minds of many a young person. So, let’s deal with that first.
In this last installment in this series, we’re looking at geo-targeting – the ability to choose the location of users who will be shown our ad.
In this short series, we’re discussing the tremendous value of online advertising. Last week we looked at targeting age and gender, and now we’re going to add platform and interests.
The reason online advertising is so effective is the precision with which we can now target people who have the characteristics of our ideal customer.
If you value your privacy, this article may disturb you. If you’re looking for new customers, rejoice! We’ve talked many times about various aspects of target marketing and its importance in getting a strong return on investment.
Oooey, gooey, chocolate or fruity, (sadly) those aren’t the kind of cookies we’re talking about. We’re talking about the kind that websites use to track your activities on their site, and sometimes on other sites as well.
Spruce up your website for 2018 (and more importantly, for under $1,000!)
‘Twas the season for spending, so Angela’s in bargain hunting mode. She suggested an article on quick and easy (and therefore, cheap) ways to perk up a website that’s a couple of years old. Great idea, so here we go!
In this last article of the series, we look at one of the most important aspects of Web Optimization – performance. Resolving performance issues are best left to the pros, but here are some things to test (after clearing your cache in your browser).
In this web optimization series, we’re looking at methods to increase conversions – the number of site visitors who respond to your call to action to make a purchase, get a quote, or contact you.
Web optimization is a process used to maximize the number of visitors who make a purchase online or begin the transaction process by contacting you. In this series, we’re looking at some of the factors involved in optimizing your website.
Web optimization is a process used to maximize the number of visitor “conversions.” On an ecommerce website, a conversion is a sale, but conversions include any visitor action promoted on the site, such as filling out a Request for Quote form, sending an email or making a phone call to the company.
We're wrapping up this article series with a few frequently asked questions about Search Engine Optimization, and moving on to another topic. What would you like to learn more about? Send us your questions and suggestions on anything to do with Internet Advertising! Now, FAQs.
Another way to think about quality content is creating a site to meet your customers' needs. While you can't anticipate what an individual customer might be looking for, you can make it easier to find any specific thing on your site, with these considerations.
Quality content is important for a number of reasons, including search engine optimization. But what exactly is it? Here are x of the main factors that will result in quality content.
If you've done any research on search engine optimization, you've no doubt seen the word "algorithm" as part of an explanation about how search engines prioritize or rank results. So what is an algorithm?
If you go to the back pages of a reference book, you'll find a list of key words and which page of the book those key words are on. This is called an index, and while tremendously more sophisticated, Google's index is a digital version of this concept.
First, a little lingo lesson. A “bot” is a computer program that, once put into action, runs automatically. The internet is often referred to as “the web” because it functions much like a spider’s web, with many different ways to connect between two specific points.
Google is the most popular search engine out there and they offer great resources for developers and marketers, so we’re going to use Google as our search engine example.
Welcome to our new article series. Don’t worry, this one is information only – no homework! Well, that is true if you actually did do your homework last time and wrote your marketing plan. Why? Because a great SEO program needs a lot of the information you complied in your plan.
Welcome to the final edition of our Marketing series. Over these past months, we’ve dedicated each newsletter to one component of a Marketing Plan, and how you can do the research and strategizing needed to develop a plan for your company. In this last installment, we’ll summarize some highlights and provide links to the related article for each component.
The most common theme throughout the development of a Marketing Plan is knowing everything you can dig up about your customers. That information helps you think the way they think, so you can meet their expectations in every facet of your business operations.
Generally speaking, advertising is any form of promotion where you pay to display content at a particular venue. In this article, we’ll discuss the different kinds of advertising and the best methods to use for different types of companies, products, services and audiences.
Effective advertising has three objectives:
Let’s look first at each of these separately.
Over the past months, we’ve looked at six different marketing topics that will become components of your Marketing Plan. This month, we’re going to talk about the steps in devising your marketing strategy.As you’ve no doubt gathered by now in this series, the differences between different areas of marketing can be rather subtle. So, perhaps the best way to explain how Public Relations differs from Reputation Management or Customer Relations, is with some examples.
Setting objectives for your marketing plan is all about math. Considering your business model, overall business objectives, and customer purchasing data, think about what you need to accomplish with your marketing. If 50% of your existing customers spent an additional $10 a month, would you reach your business objectives? Would a 25% increase in your customer base be sufficient, or do you need to double it? Is there a sufficient population of your target market in the geographic area you currently serve or do you need to expand? When you’ve done your research and calculated the various options, your objectives should be stated as precisely as possible, and in measureable terms. For example:Over the next three years, we will increase our customer base by 25%, bringing in 500 new customers.In each of the next three years, we will increase the average sales per customer, per month by 10% to a total of $60.By June 2019, 20% of our customers will be in the United States.
In the digital world, public relations has become more important than ever before. Why? Because even if your customers are happy, upsetting the “Internet” or the “Twitterverse” can have devastating repercussions. Making your brand and good reputation known well beyond your customer group can help protect you from the trolls, as well as increasing awareness to grow your customer base.
As you’ve no doubt gathered by now in this series, the differences between different areas of marketing can be rather subtle. So, perhaps the best way to explain how Public Relations differs from Reputation Management or Customer Relations, is with some examples.
The term “Customer Relations” pretty much says what it means – it’s how you interact with your customers and the quality of the relationship that forms as a result. The secret here is viewing your customers as friends. That means listening as well as talking, being fair, staying in touch, living up to your good reputation, and not taking advantage. If you are good to them, your friends will support you, and not just in terms of sales. Here are three principles to guide your Customer Relations policies and procedures.
While your brand is something that you create, your reputation is what others really think of you, and “others” are fickle creatures ready to pounce in cat-like fashion. Your company’s good reputation is essential to success and can be ripped from you in the most unexpected of ways. Remember the guy who kicked the dog in the elevator and lost his job as CEO? Or the Olympic swimmer who exaggerated a drunken encounter with a police officer in Rio? He lost four sponsorship deals.
The power of the internet is a double edged sword that can make you or break you. As the examples of poor research, poor behaviour, poor customer service, etc. explode, pundits are cautioning that reputation management needs to become reputation development and reputation marketing.
You already know what you have to sell, but do you understand what your customers are buying? Do you know who they are, why they want what you have, how they make the decision to buy from you?
One of the most basic premises of marketing is matching – matching what you have to sell with customers who want buy. That means that you have to understand your customer base, and the segments within it, so you can tailor your marketing plan to find new customers like them, appeal to them, and convince them to buy from you.
Let’s look at a few basic demographics first. You can download your own worksheet here. In the first column, list your products or services. You can add up to 20, so group items together if that makes sense. For example, if you sell auto parts, you’re not going to list each individual part, so use groups like engine parts, wipers and exterior products, etc.
Then, for each item or group, put an x in the column that best represents the age groups of customers who purchase that item, and in the last column, enter an m or f to show whether more buyers are male or female. If you really have no sense of your customers’ ages or gender, best to figure out a way to find out. Could you take a guess based on names in your database? Ask your front line staff what they think? Keep track for a few weeks and estimate on that info?
Here’s an example based on our business.
Video is a powerful marketing tool for any business. Sometimes words and images just aren’t enough. It’s never been easier and cheaper to produce and promote video. A lot of small companies are using video to showcase their products and services. But some videos seem to get more traction than others. Here are a few simple tips on how to make a great video and get it out there.
1. Consistent, creative quality content.
Give the people what they want! Make videos people want to see not what you want them to see. I hate to break this to you, but viewers initially may not care about your new product. They want to be entertained, learn and solve problems. Take one of those elements and use it to promote your product. Do it right and watch the views role in.
YouTube ranks videos by the amount of seconds people spend on a video, the number of comments, the number of likes, the number of times your video is shared on social media and the number of times your video is displayed on a website. So make sure your video is well connected and worth watching.
Welcome to the first edition of our Marketing series. Our intent is to share our knowledge of the timeless basics of marketing and business development, and how these translate into the current sales environment. Our hope is to give you greater insight into the consumer perspective and show you how to use this information to grow your business. You’ll have the option to just read and learn, or to put the information to use to create your own Marketing Plan. So, the first order of business is to talk about what Marketing means in today’s world.
Annoying, time sucking, distracting – we all hate junk mail; and it’s especially infuriating when it’s email. Yes, there’s always a yin and a yang, but here are five ways to stave off chaos in your inbox.
The truly devious hackers and spammers don’t follow the rules, but chances are that most of the unwanted email you get will have the legally mandated “unsubscribe” link somewhere. Most of the ones I’ve found are in teeny tiny font at the very bottom of the message. Admittedly, it’s a constant battle, but you can save yourself some time and annoyance by unsubscribing whenever you can.
I had yet another experience last week where the services provided did not live up to the advertising. This time, not only was I disappointed, but the venue rooked itself out of many planned return visits and the revenue that would have gone with those. The visit itself would have been a positive one except for the misconception created by the ads. So as the summer migration begins, and with more locals opting for stay-cations, a few tips to ensure that you profit from the short summer season and boost, rather than ruin, your long-earned reputation.
The practice of hiring younger personnel for older workmates to learn from is referred to as “reverse mentoring.” While that notion may not sound like a great idea to everyone, reverse mentoring can have incredibly positive results. Even if your target market doesn't include those under 25, young adult mentors are worth considering. Here’s why…
When you own your own business, taking time off can be tricky. You want to be the “go to” person for your clients; the one who is always there for them, at the ready to solve whatever problem they may have. You don’t want to miss calls from potential new customers; and announcing that you’re on vacation makes you look like a slacker, even if it’s the first holiday you’ve taken in a decade. The solution? Taking a vacation without anybody knowing you’re taking a vacation. Here’s how:
We all get complaints. No matter how great our products are, there will be those that are unhappy and eager to tell you about it. More importantly, they will also be eager to tell everyone they know, and that’s why you need to take a strategic approach to dealing with complaints. Here’s a four step plan to converting complainers into promotional advocates for your business.
A timely comparison, the March Hare of Alice in Wonderland fame is described as “silly, ill-mannered, and loud;” all of the characteristics you want to avoid in your marketing. While the March Hare demands attention, gimmicks don’t give you the return on investment you can get with a less obtrusive, more logical approach. Here are the three basic steps that will earn the loyalty of your existing customers, and turn them into advocates for your products and services.
If you remember the Kojak television series and the detective’s now famous phrase, you’re old enough to also remember a much simpler time in the world of business. As long as your regular customers loved you and your products or services, that’s all that mattered. Well, we’re coming up on Valentine’s Day 2016, and things are a little (a lot?) more complicated. Customers new and old, are comparison shopping online before they ever venture into your shop. And you aren’t just competing with the business across town, you’re now competing in a global marketplace where everything from appliances to zinnias can be delivered.
But when we look at all of the factors now in play to attract new business, there is one that rises to the top of the list – Google. As the most frequently used search engine in the world, what Google knows about you is going to determine who loves ya and who doesn’t. Here’s why.
Happy New Year! Time to get back to work, set new goals, and refresh your marketing. We’ve read the pundits’ predictions for web design trends this year, and found two we’ve held dear for a while now, along with two that were a bit of a surprize. So here they are, as they say on Sesame Street, brought to you by the letter C.
TED won the 2015 People's Voice and Webby Award in the Best Home/Welcome Page category. In addition to a colourful display with lots of topical news options, they had a simple menu: Watch, Read, Attend, Participate, About. Makes perfect sense.
With Halloween just around the corner, we thought it was timely to share a few of the scariest things we’ve heard about in the past few months. BOO!
Ah, September... the morning air is refreshingly crisp; you're wondering how long you can wait before putting the winter tires on the car; and the kids are heading back to school.
That got us thinking - what do our clients, most of whom are business owners, need to learn more about?
Here's our top three suggestions
Almost all, 91%, of large Canadian companies have a website, and of all companies in Canada who have the ability to sell online, almost 25% of their sales are made via the web. Yet more than half of all Canadian companies don’t even have a website, let alone a good one.
We’ve just been notified that we’ve won Gold at the 2015 Summit Creative Awards for the category of Educational Institution Website! The winning website was developed for Kosmetae Academy (kosmetae.com) and was one of 5,000 submissions from 23 countries.
We always strive for excellence and awards like this provide an international benchmark. Receiving an award is great, but more importantly, these competitions give us an assessment of our work from experts all over the world. We’re very proud to be ranked so highly on a global scale.
We’re always excited to win awards (Yay!) but international recognition makes us especially proud. Paul, Andrew, James – way to go team!
Summer's coming and we all need a vacation! Save a few bucks for the holidays and get those projects wrapped up faster with these great tools, available free on the web.
Apache Open Office
Open Office offers a suite of office software including word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations that you can download for free. It looks and works very much like Microsoft Office and can load and read MS Office files.
You may not pay much attention to the latest fashion trends, but as the core of your online marketing strategy, the look of your website needs to show potential customers that you are up to date with the latest and greatest. So, let’s take a look at what’s “in” for 2015.
Large Background Images
Great photographs that start telling a story from the first glance are becoming more popular as backdrops. You do need to choose the image carefully though – favouring the one that will generate an emotional response. Our own avant garde design guru Paul has used this technique with some fabulous results. Have a look at these two examples:
The World Wide Web traps everything that hits it, and you aren’t the only one publishing information about your company. There are directory sites that collect and compile information, customer review sites open to public commenting, social media sites and search engines that create pages in organization names, and many more ways for others to create confusion and mistrust about your business.
At least once a year, you need to take the time to have a good look at what others might be seeing when they come looking for you.
Start with your own website. Does it still accurately describe your products or services? Scan each page for phone numbers, addresses and other contact information. Look in the footer (very bottom of the page) and throughout the text, as well as on the contact page. Send a test message to email addresses given, and through the contact form, to make sure they are getting to the right people.
Is it time to update your look? Marketing and innovation play a critical role in sharpening your competitive edge. Businesses that stay the same and never change get left in the dust. Updating your brand is a natural part of moving forward. Here are a few helpful tips for captivating attention and increasing sales.
If you build a house you have to start with a good foundation. The same goes for your brand. Be clear about what you do. “I do this primarily, but I also do this and this.” What’s your one best quality? Are you dependable or quick and cheap? Do you provide a high level of service or good deals? Giving your graphic designer a clear direction will not only save you time and money but give you a far better end product.
It may not be beach weather yet, but it is definitely time to start planning your summer marketing program. Whether the warmer months are usually peaks or pits in business volume, you need to take advantage of the lighter hearted, spend-friendly mood that comes with the summer sun.
Show them some love! Valentine's Day is a great reminder to think about ways you can show your customers how much you value them. A little appreciation goes a long way in building solid, long term relationships which means repeat business and word of mouth referrals. Here are a few ideas to get you started.