Tag Archives: website

The 3 Mistakes Small Businesses Make When Creating a Website

So you have decided you need a website! All of a sudden you are faced with a few choices, which we will discuss in-turn;
• Outsource to a Web Design company for a custom-made website
• Use a freelance web designer and adapt a template to suit
• Use a free template based design and do it yourself

We see many small business owners decide to go down the path of having a custom-made website through a web design company. This can require a sizeable investment, with many (by no means all) website companies targeting their product towards larger businesses with charges upwards of $5,000 (we have heard of up to $15,000 being paid).

Mistake One: Not knowing your ongoing costs. The problem here is not so much the quality, as these websites usually look and work fantastic; the issue is cost to manage. We have many clients complain that they have ended up locked in contracts where every little change costs them again, to the point where many have told us they just put up with what they have.

Our Tip: Find out the cost to develop AND the cost to maintain your website
Using a freelance web designer and adapting a template to suit can cost up to around $1,000. That’s factoring in buying a domain and hosting, buying a template and paying for it to be adapted and having a marketing / copy professional write your copy and assist you with targeting your market. This is our preferred method and developing web content and strategy has become one of our most popular services. The big advantage here is you usually get an easy to understand back-end system, which means if you want to change a picture or update some copy, add a promotion or feature a new product, you can do it yourself.

Mistake Two: Being convinced your website has to be one of a kind. The biggest downside here is that using a template generally means your website is not an original – that said does it need to be? If it looks professional, meets your objectives and connects with your target market, it doesn’t need to be one of a kind.

Our Tip: Make sure the web designer and the content writer can work together. You don’t want to ‘middle man’ every question.

Lastly the cheapest option is using a free template and DIYing.

Mistake Three: Not factoring in your time into what DIYing is really costing you. It costs nothing but your time, which can be considerable and sourcing a good hosting company. Be careful though, your website is a reflection of your business and is used by consumers to determine if you are a credible, trustworthy, quality brand. It’s imperative your website communicates that. Only DIY if you have patience, some creativity and great problem solving skills.

Our Tip: Consider outsourcing bits and pieces where you just can’t crack how to do it right.

If you would like a second opinion on a website about to launch or one that’s not delivering the results it should, our Wise Up Online Package includes a website effectiveness audit and a 20 page report uncovering the truth about your website and identifying how you can unleash it’s true potential.

Until next time, W is for Websites. And that just leaves X.Y.Z! Are there any topics you would like covered once we close off the A-Z of Marketing?

Mary-Anne

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Usability – a Website’s Forgotten Imperative

Creating a website is fast becoming one of the critical marketing strategies for launching a successful small business. Time is spent planning content, getting the brand look just right and implementing search engine optimisation strategies; but often web designers or web DIYers forget the basic imperative – is it easy to use?

This post will discuss some key considerations to ensure usability is on the top of your list when designing your website.

Top 5 Tips for Usability

1.Text to Graphic Balance

We sometimes feel the need to say everything on our home page, in fear that browsers wont delve deeper or to maximise SEO opportunities. On the flip side, other businesses put only graphics mixing stunning pictures with graphic text. When it comes to prioritising the browser’s experience, we recommend aiming for balance. A small paragraph of keyword rich text placed towards the bottom ticks off SEO, while an image slider towards the top of the page lets you show case imagery with variation and reduces load time. Break up your home page into sections, use different column configurations to keep it interesting and balanced.

2.Navigation

When I land on a website, I usually want to get to where I need to go, quickly. A clear navigation panel, whether it be horizontal or vertical, is essential. It can be tempting to get creative with headings, but think of your user; will it make sense to your target? Or are your being too creative? Use your navigation panel to organise your content into logical groups. Drop downs and expanded lists off main headings are great if it helps your user narrow down where they want to be. Also consider easy ways for your browser to get back. Whether it be back one page or back to the home page, there should be an efficient strategy in place.

3.Key Messages

When you monitor your website traffic, you hear about Bounce Rate. This is the percentage of people that click off your website within 5 seconds of arriving. 5 seconds – it probably took you longer to read that first sentence. With such a small amount of time to make a big impact, it is crucial your key messages are highlighted. What sets you apart from competitors – Free Delivery, Capped Delivery, Free Returns, 24/7 Customer Service, Award Winning; whatever it is, make sure your target will see it within 5 seconds of landing. Is social media a large part of your strategy? Ensure you have sharing buttons, news feeds and sign up buttons, all within sight. If you are aiming to drive blog or newsletter subscriptions make sure you have sign up boxes with clear reasons why browsers should take action “Sign up to our newsletter for the latest info and monthly promotion” or “Sign up to our blog for free property market insight reports every week”

4.Contact Details

Your website probably won’t answer every question every browser has and if it does, some browsers want to make contact with a person or at least know the opportunity is there. Make sure there is a clear call out to your contact page, whether it is on your navigation panel or a button. If you have a contact number, consider putting it on the homepage; and if you have an email address it would be great to put that on the contact form page and if possible on the homepage. I know personally I have been frustrated in the past looking for a contact email address, scouring social media pages and the website and not being able to find one, and have given up contacting them all together.

5.Setting up Links

This final tip for usability is a great benefit for your browser and also for your website dwell time. Set up your links to external websites so that they open in a new window. This means when a browser clicks on that link, your website does not disappear. Instead the new content appears in its own window, meaning your traffic stays on your website and your browser doesn’t have to “find their way” back to you or worse still, forget to make it back to your site at all.

What about Transferability?

When considering usability it not only important to think about who is using your website, but also how they are accessing it.

In our last post I spoke about a major market research project I have recently been involved with under the banner of MumsNow where Wise Up Marketing Solutions together with Motivating Mum undertook a survey of over 1,000 Australian Mums. (A series of reports on Social Media habits, The rise of the Mumpreneur and more, can now be purchased)

We found that Australian Mums are primarily browsing the internet on Laptops (72%), and then surprisingly equally across iPhone and Desktop PC (51%) with iPad creeping up (29%) and with a whopping 50% indicating the next piece of technology on their shopping list is an iPad, we can expect that number to grow.

So before you sign off on your website to go live make sure you check how it transfers across iPad, iPhone, Tablet and Smart Phone. Is it still meeting the key useability benchmarks? (and does it still look great?)

If you would like a second opinion on a website about to launch or one that’s not delivering the results it should, our Wise Up Online Package includes a website effectiveness audit and a 20 page report uncovering the truth about your website and indentifying how you can unleash it’s true potential.

Until next week, U is for Usability and only 5 Posts to go in the A-Z of Marketing! What would you like our next series to be on? Comment below or email maryanne@wiseupmarketing.com.au

Mary-Anne


Mastering Keyword and Keyword Phrases for SEO

Keyword strategies to increase SEO (See J is for Jargon to decipher) is a topic I talk to almost every client about. This post will get you up to speed on what keywords are and how they should form the very basis of every online communication you make.

I have been looking forward to writing this post for a few weeks, as K was a letter in the “A-Z of Marketing” that I could easily define, meaning I didn’t suffer the usual deliberating. I hope my enthusiasm for this topic gets you motivated too.

What is a Keyword?

We can all define a keyword in its traditional sense:

“A word or concept of great importance”

Thankfully the use of the word in the world of internet marketing is extremely similar:

“A word used by a search engine in its search for relevant Web pages” (Source)

So you see Keywords in this sense, are words with great importance to you, your target consumer and your overall online success.

When your target consumer performs a search, they enter a word or series of words into their chosen search engine, then that engine searches for matches. If your web page is deemed rich in those words, you will be returned as an answer to the search question.  These words are what are labelled keywords and keyword phrases.

Now it’s important to note here, it is unlikely you will be the only website rich on those keywords, so there are more complex processes at work to decide who ranks where – more on that in an upcoming post.

Defining your Keywords

Choosing the right Keywords for your business is more difficult than it may seem.

Firstly, you need to put on your target consumer hat. Start thinking about all the ways your target consumer would label your product or service. Think about the solutions you provide, then as your target consumer,
imagine you are searching for that solution. You may be aware of it by name, or you may just search on your need.  Brainstorming for different keyword and keyword phrase ideas is a good exercise to undertake (See I for Ideas)

SEO Google AdWords KeywordFor example, if you sell Sharpie Markers, your keywords to focus on may be Pen, Marker, Purple or Sharpie. Your keyword phrases may be “permanent marker”, “freezer proof marker”, “pen to write on plastic”, “pen for labelling DVD” and so on.

Testing Your Keywords

When I work on Keywords for clients the first thing I do is open up the Google AdWords Keyword Tool

Firstly plug in your website and the tool will show you keyword suggestions based on your website content. If the keywords are aligned with what you do, fantastic – this means your website is already sending out the right message and may just need a tune up. If you the keyword suggestions seem largely irrelevant, you have a big hint as to why your traffic probably isn’t what it needs to be and you’ve got some work to do.

Then I pop in a few thoughts in the very top box for keywords and keyword phrases. The search results show your words grouped together and then show you lots of suggestions based on your words.

Look for keywords that return a strong volume of searches and medium to low competition, this is a mass marketing approach. Also look for keyword phrases that have low volumes of search and low competition. If 5,000 people search that keyword phrase a month and there is very low competition, you have  an opportunity to maximise your ranking against that keyword.

How to use Keywords for SEO

After you have defined and tested your keyword and keyword phrases, establish a top 3-5 list of keyword or keyword phrases you will focus  on. This list will form an important part of your SEO strategy.

On your Website

Ensure your website Title Tag, Meta Data and Meta Keywords (ask us about these if you’re new to this), are written within “the rules” of  length and use as many of your keyword and keyword phrases as possible.

On your homepage ensure you have at least one text box of information (text boxes are easily read by search engines, words in a picture are not). When you write this text use as many of your keyword and keyword
phrases as possible while still reflecting your brand’s tone and image (B is for Branding).

Using Google AdWords

If you decide to use a Google AdWords campaign make sure the keywords you target are linked back to the ads you write and are the same keyword and keyword phrases you have selected on your top 3-5 list.

On your Blog

Research keyword and keyword phrases relevant to every blog post you write and make sure you use them appropriately. This article http://www.propagandahouse.com.au/blog/seo-2/how-to-blog-for-seo-beginners-guide/ by Propaganda House helped me immensely and I am using Dan’s Blog Plan template as I type this.

So I can’t stress to you all how important keyword and keyword phrases are for SEO and for the success of your online presence. We are currently running a Wise Up to Search package to help small business with their keyword strategy and to trial Google AdWords (who are currently offering a $75 credit for new accounts). Please get in touch if you want to know more information about the package or about this post. I would also love to hear your Top 3 Keyword or Keyword Phrases.

Until next week K is for Keywords and also Key Lime Tart http://www.joyofbaking.com/KeyLimePie.html (why not?)

Mary-Anne

www.wiseupmarketing.com.au

P.s. A quick word on keyword stuffing before you go. Like all loop holes and quick fixes, some SEO companies a few years back recommended that people repeat their keyword and keyword phrases in large blocks at the bottom of every page on their website to “maximise SEO”. Unfortunately most search engines wised up to this and as result they wrote an algorithm that detects keyword stuffing (as it’s known) and will negatively rank sites that go down this path.


Email Marketing Basics for E Newsletter Success

Nearly every small business we talk to is looking for the same thing – cost-effective marketing solutions. “How do I get my business in front of potential customers without spending a packet?”

This post will guide you through email marketing and help you unleash its potential for your business. Follow our easy plan to increase your open rate, your click-throughs and your shares, giving you E Newsletter success!

E-Mail Marketing: The Basics

It is important before weE Mail Marketing even begin, that we clear one thing up, E-Mail Marketing to us does not involve bombarding our potential customers with offers every week in the hope they will buy from us. We are a business that rarely advises you to compete on price, so it should be no surprise that our e-mail marketing strategies will not focus solely on price promotion. Instead we believe you need to value add. You need to give your target customer a reason to open your e newsletter,
over and above this week’s special.

E Newsletters have emerged as a very successful E-Mail Marketing tool, as they give a personality to your business and allow you to connect with your customer over and above a promotion or sale. It’s an opportunity to bring together all your social media platforms and deliver a concise summary direct to your subscriber’s inbox.  Oh and did we mention, it’s free?

7 Steps for E Newsletter Success

1.Gather a great list

 From today, utilise every opportunity you can to grow your email database:

  • Ask permission to email updates and offers from your business. (It’s actually the law – http://www.adma.com.au/regulatory/compliance-tools/spam-act/).
  • Create a database capturing the First Name, Last Name and Email address of each subscriber (at a minimum). This can be in an excel spreadsheet or a mailing list using E Mail Marketing Software (EMS).
  • Remember to delete or mark inactive anyone who asks to unsubscribe.
  • Use a sign up tab /form on your website and social media platforms to encourage sign up.
  • Offer a discount to reward sign up.
  • Run a competition to drive sign up or buy space in a complementary newsletter to attract new potential subscribers.
  • Never email your list using the “To” box, as all email addresses will be visible to all subscribers. Instead use the “BCC” or better still send through email marketing software.

2.Cut through with your subject line

E Newsletters cop a bit of flack for being lost in a sea of email. It’s a fair point too. That’s why you need to ensure your subject line connects with your subscribers:

  • Keep it brief, too many words will get cut off.
  • “What’s in it for me?” Highlight the most exciting reason why your subscriber should open the email.
  • Think about your inbox; What gets instantly deleted? What gets opened? Why?
  • Mix it up; call out your promotion, ask a question, highlight brands.
  • Introduce your newsletter at launch “The Monthly Hoot: Launch Issue”.

3. Create a template that is easy to use

Set up a template whether in Word or using EMS and aim to use that template every month with minimal changes. This builds consistency and helps give a professional look.

4.Balance the content

You want to get opened, get read, be clicked and be shared! This can’t be achieved with just one type of content:

  • A personal message, aim to have a short message from the business owner or the nominated voice of the business. They should wrap up what’s been going on and what subscribers should look out for in the newsletter.
  • Recap the month; share a post from Facebook that got people talking, perhaps include a paragraph of the best blog post for the month and a link to read more
  • Feature a reader of the month, product of the month or special of the month
  • Add some value to newsletter by adding an educational article, a humours anecdote, a recipe, a local restaurant review. Something readers look forward to every month that is more than just a plug for your business.
  • Run promotions, competitions, special offers sometimes. Not every time.
  • Use a variety of methods and learn from what works best with your subscribers.
  • Open it up to subscribers to supply content. Content co creation can be a great way to foster valuable connections.

5.Send at the right time

Based on your business type, establish the best time to send:

  • Mainly Business Customers? Usually around 3pm Tue-Thurs is a good time.
  • Mainly WAHers? Try after 7pm on a weeknight.
  • Is your business focussed on the weekend? Thursday 3pm – Friday 3pm

6.Encourage sharing

  • Create content that people just have to share. Added value and co-created content will be especially popular.
  • Make your email easy to forward. Use a “Forward to a Friend” form in your EMS or simply add “If you enjoyed this issue, please forward it to a friend” at the end.
  • Run competitions via the newsletter that use “Refer a Friend” for more entries into the draw.

7.Check your stats

Most effective tracking will come from using EMS, as you will be able to analyse your open rate, click-through and your shares. You may also be able to look at the most popular time of day your email was opened.

  • Use your stats to learn what your subscriber base is really looking for in your newsletter.

Start today by committing to a monthly newsletter for your business and pick a date to send out your newsletter every month (e.g last Wednesday of the month). Consider writing a plan for the next 3 months of what you will feature in each newsletter, so you are not overwhelmed as each month rolls around. Monitor the success of each newsletter, compare the results and uncover the best formula for your E Newsletter Success.

Using E Mail Marketing Software

Just before we wrap up, one last word on EMS. Although we guided you through our 7 Steps to E Newsletter Success, with the choice of using EMS or going it alone, we must stress our advice is to use it!

EMS allows you to:

  • Manage your database subscribers and unsubscribers easily, professionally and most important of all, in accordance to anti spam law.
  • Create a template to use for each mail out that is professional, structured and can manage technical requirements like including plain text elements to not get misread by spam filters.
  • Create ease of sharing with “Forward to a Friend” forms.
  • Create ease of sign up with links on your website and social media being directed to a form that automatically updates your mailing list and validates the subscriber.
  • Personalise your newsletter, so you can send 1,000 emails with one click, yet each recipient can be addressed by their first name.
  • Easily analyse your statistics to make changes and increase effectiveness of your newsletter.
  • Do all this for free (within limits) – check out Mail Chimp and Send Blaster.

Have you launched an email newsletter yet? What you would consider changing after reading this?

If you are procrastinating about it, contact us and we can help you with a plan to launch your businesses email newsletter.

Until next week E is for E Mail Marketing and for … (no really it is, click to find out)

Mary-Anne

Wise Up Marketing

Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


The Decision Making Process of the New Consumer

What did we do before Google, Facebook, Twitter, Trip Advisor, You Tube and everything in between?

The ability to research has become quicker and easier than ever before. As consumers we are presented with not only an increase in information, but also the falling away of geographical barriers to purchase.

The new consumer is influenced less by what they are told and more by what they uncover. This post will look at the decision making process of the new consumer and how to use the internet and social media to connect from awareness to purchase and beyond.

Traditional Decision Making Process

Marketing theory has traditionally painted the consumer decision making process to move through 5 stages, with strategies to maximise the opportunity to attract and maintain the consumer through each stage. The process has looked something like this:

  1. Need recognition. When the consumer feels they have an unsatisfied need, this creates a motive to act.
  2. Identification of alternatives. Consumer research begins; this might include different categories to fulfil their needs as well as different brands or providers.
  3. Evaluation of alternatives. The consumer compares their options; they might seek out offers, opinions of friends, relatives and respected bodies.
  4. Purchase decision. With the decision made on what to buy, the consumer will now make a series of small decisions including where, when and how, until the actual purchase is made.
  5. Post-purchase behaviour. The consumer will either be satisfied or dissatisfied with their purchase.

Think back to the late 90’s when the humble DVD player launched. Your decision making process went something like this:

  1. Need Recognition: Saw an ad on TV or in the newspaper about DVD players and how the quality of DVD is far superior to that of Video. Thought about never having to rewind a video again, this motivated you to learn more.
  2. Identification of Alternatives: Looked at catalogues and at Harvey Norman and found out there were two brands you could choose from.
  3. Evaluation of Alternatives: Talked to friends who had bought a DVD player about what brand they got and what they thought, talked to a few salesman about the different brands, read an article in Choice magazine.
  4. Purchase Decision: After deciding to buy a Panasonic DVD Player, you reviewed the newspaper and catalogues and decided to go to Harvey Norman on Sunday and buy their advertised deal.
  5. Post-purchase behaviour: You watched your first DVD that you hired and felt satisfied that you just eject it and return it.

The Online Effect

Fast forward to the year 2010 and you hear some buzz about a new personal computer called an iPad. Let’s review the decision making process:

  1. Need Recognition: You saw Steve Jobs on the news talking about the iPad, your friend also sent you an email with a You Tube clip of a leaked iPad, your friends are debating on Facebook which store they will camp at for an iPad,
    iPad is trending #1 on Twitter. The hype is getting to you and you can’t imagine not being able to have your photos, music and apps for business everywhere you go.
  2. Identification and Evaluation of Alternatives: You go on the Apple website and read about the different sizes available and that you can also choose to have Wi-Fi compatibility. You don’t even consider any other brand as you are an Apple devotee. You check out blogs in the US of those who got an iPad on pre release, read reviews on how much space you might need, you sign up to Optus and Telstra to find out what their data plans are. You sign up to Apple to be notified when they are releasing the iPad.
  3. Purchase Decision: You order your iPad online and it gets delivered to you on the day it launches. You get the 32GB with Wi-Fi.
  4. Post-purchase behaviour: You sit on the couch and update your status on Facebook to say how in love you are with your iPad, you Tweet that you can’t work out how to get your wireless printer working and post on an Apple Forum how your iPad has completed your world.

With the increase of information, we see the identification and evaluation of alternatives merging into one step; they are done concurrently as the consumer gathers information from multiple sources.

How to win the New Consumer Over

I love this illustration from Orbital Alliance: I look at it to draw ideas for marketing to the new consumer. I see this as the new consumer decision process; the online stratosphere has increased the information available to consumers. The inputs are greater than ever before and (literally) at their fingertips.

My tips for maximising your connection with the new consumer

  1. Increase Awareness
    1. Optimise to be seen in search results
    2. Use social media to create a brand name
    3. Use pay-per-click advertising to get in front of your consumer
    4. Advertise in popular newsletters of complementary businesses
  2. Maximise your Consideration
    1. Make your homepage work harder (you only have seconds to convince them to stay)
    2. Use a blog so your consumer can get to know you better
    3. Make your offers clear and easy to understand
    4. Use press releases to ensure there is hype about your product on multiple platforms
  3. Convert to Sales
    1. Offer service that your competitors don’t (or can’t)
    2. Reward regular purchases
    3. Add value (don’t just try to cut the price)
  4. Compel to share
    1. Asks for reviews and recommendations
    2. Use Social Media to thank major customers

The new consumer is just like you, they have changed a lot in the last 10-20 years. Don’t lose sight of how differently you make your decisions as a consumer and make sure you are adapting your business approach.

How has your business evolved to maximise the new consumer? Our Website Effectiveness Audit gives a third-party review of your website and helps you ensure you are maximising awareness and consideration to help you
convert sales. Click this link for more information – Package Info

Until next week, D is for Decision Making and also for … the coolest Alphabet Book that I just bought for my son’s birthday

Mary-Anne

Wise Up Marketing Solutions


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