Bruce says… Continue reading
To Set Up Your E-mail Account in Microsoft Outlook 2003. Continue reading
A friend of mine was telling me a very interesting story the other day. On Good Friday this year, he took his family to a well-known Pizza chain. He is a bit of a regular and quite a fan. Knowing this, he always arrives at opening time so there is no wait and he can grab the good seats. However, on arrival he noticed that there was only 2 staff on which he thought strange for Good Friday, especially as it was the school holidays and the eatery was at a big retail park. Not one to not know a reason, he questioned the manager who replied with “well, we looked at the books for Good Friday last year and it was really quiet”. My friend then pointed out that Good Friday 2012 was a heat wave and most families with young kids would have been enjoying the sun either on the beach, in the park or having a BBQ in the garden. He did not tell me the look on the manager’s face but it was not long before the place started filling up rapidly and sooner rather than later, people were being turned away. Some customers were waiting so long that they lost patience and walked away and some people just didn't go in.
“Car crash at your restaurant, 20+ people turned away due to understaffing.”
Followed up by:
“Car crash customer service. People now leaving without food arriving.”
Well, as this was a bank holiday there was no reply and whoever managed their account was off until the Tuesday, 4 days after the event. My friend was subsequently annoyed that they had not responded but even more annoyed when the reply came through saying: “Here is an e-mail address you can reply to.” In his opinion, and mine too, this this is not good customer service; this is a fob off. My friend understands branding and brand reputation and wasn't going to let it lie, so he tweeted:
“Just like the staff in your restaurant, you don’t appear to be bothered, so no. Bye.”
This did get a response and, following a few DM’s and a phone call from my friend, the pizza company are now looking at how they will improve their social media to improve customer service.
Now, here is what could have happened had their social media been managed better. This tweet would have instantly been picked up by customer service and the opportunity could have been better handled with a tweet saying: “our restaurant is really busy at the moment so might be worth avoiding until it quietens down” followed by the hash tag “#pizzastaff are you free to put in a few hours extra work? #NEfollowers”. Even “apologies for the delays at our restaurant, have a drink on us” would have helped but, most of all, a response to my friend acknowledging and thanking him for making them aware.
I’m sure some of this would not sit well with some corporates, but saying a restaurant is busy indicates that the food is good and it would also avoid disappointment from loyal customers. Remember; if people have a bad experience they will tell about 30 people so if everyone in that restaurant told 30 people, 600 people could potentially be put off going to this restaurant.
Too often we focus on sharing our knowledge on offering special offers on social media without using it effectively to support our current client base. Ivan Misner (@Ivanmisner), Founder of Business Network International, the world’s leading referral organisation, says: “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care” which is very true.
In summary, use social media to show how much you care about your customers and the results will improve your brand and customer loyalty. Too many companies e-mail when they should call or call when they should meet. If somebody has an issue - engage with them. We all make mistakes but it is how we respond to these mistakes that defines how we are judged.
If you would like help managing your social media or digital reputation, please drop us a line at email@example.com or call us on 01325 311 909.
Having a well-built website that promotes your company professionally and effectively is one thing. Having a website that is properly marketed through well implemented digital strategies is another.
It is essential that you market your website, brand and business in order to get people talking about you and noticing what it is you’re doing and why it is different.
As web specialists, we very much believe in the power of web marketing as opposed to traditional marketing methods. I have whipped together 5 reasons why I think this is the case:
In this day and age, we all want everything to have been done yesterday to constantly keep ahead of the times. Web marketing allows you to get your company’s message across to thousands in a matter of seconds. Take Twitter, for example. It takes no time at all to post a tweet that can then be viewed by a huge audience, thanks to the powers of hash-tagging and retweeting alike. This makes social media campaigns, quite frankly, a time saving no-brainer when compared to a traditional marketing campaign.
- Market Size
Distributing marketing materials physically is limited by cost. You can only print out so many flyers and post them through so many doors, therefore limiting your potential market size. On the other hand, posting a blog on your website can be seen by absolutely anyone if the correct digital marketing strategies are applied.
- Search Engines
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) allows any online marketing material to be optimised in several relevant key search terms, something that traditional marketing simply cannot do. Once optimised, blogs, content, newsletters and brochures can appear in Google feeds through various relevant keyword link ups – now, can you do that with a your printed newspaper advert?
Web marketing also has the competitive advantage over traditional marketing as it allows you to publish a blog, for example, immediately with no time or geographical constraints. An idea can quite literally go from inside your head and onto the screens of millions all over the world within a matter of moments.
All of the processes involved with traditional marketing, such as print and distribution management, come at a price. And, although web marketing is by no means free, it is cheaper and provides a much greater return on investment. For example, investing in a PayPerClick advertising strategy will drive traffic to your website, resulting in an increase in sales and/or enquiries.
So, which method of marketing would you rather use?
After doing a bit of research on what does and doesn’t make a good website, I’ve stumbled across a bit of internet psychology that makes it incredibly easy to write cracking content and a brilliantly engaging blog. It’s all down to the curly third letter of the alphabet…
The first C, which your web content needs to be, is Contemporary. First impressions really are everything and if someone flicks onto your site and what they immediately see is dated, bland and boring, chances are they won’t hang about for very long. Also, get rid of Flash. It doesn’t work on some Apple devices such as iPads and iPhones, limiting the types of media your site will function properly on.
The second C is Compatible. The key to engaging with your target market is knowing exactly who they are and what they want. Therefore, you can create internet content that is perfectly compatible with your audience and their wants and likes. So, whether it's a comment about Facebook or the British weather, if it shares an interest with your audience, they are bound to engage.
The third C is Curious. The content on your website needs to catch your user’s attentions by sparking an interest within them. If someone is not fascinated by some element of your webpage they will not hang about for long and a competitor’s website that captures a user’s curiosity will win their business. Content needs to be that little bit out of the ordinary through words, pictures, tweets or pins!
The fourth C is Controversial. When it comes to web content, being out there and daring is the best method. You want your blog to make its readers question their own way of thinking every now and then, or they will simply pass over it and it won’t cause the desired effect. You want your web content to be debatable to cause maximum engagement and ideally you want it to be spoken from a position to make it more personable.
This leads me nicely onto the fifth C: Characters. Personable web content gets people involved with identifiable characters and names. Make your story relevant - drop a few names! If your content provides human interest, it ensures greater engagement.
So, if you want great web content that creates a bit of a stir and increases the chance of engagement, cram those five Cs into your blog and watch your business boom.
Happy scribbling peeps!
Social Media is a vital tool for any business, proving to be a powerful way to not only get your name out and about but to essentially engage and interact with current and potential customers.
Social Media marketing is an excellent way of gaining website traffic and attention, and as long as your site is sharp, effective and scattered with calls to action, there is a great chance potential clients will pick up the phone and contact you.
It is also an easy way of connecting and networking with other businesses, and we all know the benefits of establishing new referral partners whom may also fall into the customer category.
Like all forms of web marketing, social media marketing differs from offline marketing as its progress can be easily measured. The success of social media channels can be measured by likes, followers, connections etc. Therefore, you’re getting a solid figure at the end of every month of how many people you have reached and interacted with.
Social media can be easily accessed through numerous media including PCs, Apple devices, smartphones and tablets. This literally leaves the power of online marketing at your fingertips, taking just seconds to write and post a tweet which can then reach hundreds of viewers, driving them towards your website.
Here is everything we can do for you and your business through the power of social media...
Facebook is growingly popular and more and more businesses are setting up profiles and pages to gain likes and spread brand awareness. Facebook also offers an advertising scheme where you can advertise specifically to your target market using a pay per click system. We can engage your clients and potential customers through conversational posts, photos, polls and much more. Facebook is very much suited for B2C brands but can also work for B2B purposes too. Facebook can easily link up to Instagram and Twitter so you can continuously provoke interaction through multiple media.
Twitter is currently very much the up and coming social media channel amongst companies. We can spread the word of your business through tweets, replying to tweets, retweeting and favouriting. A Twitter feed can be anything from personal to specifically business orientated, but once you have a good following from other businesses it is a great networking method. Hashtagging is a main feature of Twitter, as placing the # symbol in front of key words and phrases (e.g. #busydayattheoffice or #nefollowers) will get your tweets (and therefore your profile) into search results. This often triggers retweets. Twitter doesn’t just have to be limited to you or your business. It has proven effective having a company ‘mascot’, complete with their own quirky personality, to have their own Twitter feed, posting interesting facts and industry-related quotes and jokes. We can run numerous Twitter accounts for you, which can really increase the engagement with followers and if they are replying/retweeting tweets, it is directing more and more traffic to your website.
Pinterest is ideal for businesses within the ecommerce industry. We can manage pin boards which can showcase your products, divide them into categories, emphasize sale items, tag your photos and much more. Re-pinning is an important aspect of Pinterest, because if users don’t see your pins through searches, they will see your profile when we have re-pinned their pins. We can link Pinterest with your other social media channels so that as soon as your profile pins a new picture, it will appear on your Facebook or Twitter page immediately. What was that phrase again… Hitting two birds with one stone?
Instagram is an online photo sharing and social networking service which works well alongside numerous other social media channels. It’s an effective way of sharing pictures of your produce, your team or just general shenanigans taking place in your day-to-day business happenings. This application adds a digital filter to your photos, creating a unique and attractive image. It’s a great way to demonstrate the personality behind your company which is always well received because people like companies who come across as personable and friendly. This method can work particularly well for companies running ecommerce websites as when new stock comes in, taking a quick snap and uploading it to Instagram can instantly interest hundreds if not thousands of people, and drive them to your website to take a closer look. Instagram also uses hashtagging which will enter your picture into searches seen by millions of other people. Pictures can gain ‘likes’ and be instantly shared through other social media channels including Facebook and Twitter.
This is a professional network where your company can have its own profile, as can all of your employees. It has been designed for B2B brands and so is better suited for networking and exhibiting purposes. Your company profile can gain likes as more and more people gain knowledge of it and employees can connect with clients, contacts, suppliers and other business acquaintances. Employees can also regularly write updates on their profile about your company and their connections can like and share these posts. These connections drive traffic towards your company profile and then onto your website.
Google+ is a social networking and identity service which forms just one social layer, covering many of Google’s online properties. It integrates social services such as Google Profiles, Circles, Hangouts and Sparks. It is another social media channel that allows you to regularly post comments, photos and events to engage and interact with other businesses and potential clients.
YouTube is an excellent video sharing network which suits both B2C and B2B brands. A recent way of grabbing attention and spreading brand awareness has been through viral videos and video channels. Creating your own advertisement is quick and easy to do and, if executed well, can be an extremely effective way of rapidly spreading brand awareness. YouTube is a great way for supporting campaigns for B2B purposes. After all, videos have proved far more attention-grabbing and engaging compared with just words.
Flickr is another image sharing site great for both B2B and B2C markets as it is a great way to spread awareness of business campaigns. It is also ideal for companies in the ecommerce market as posting pictures of new stock will stir up interest and encourage customer engagement, driving traffic towards your online shop. We can also ensure photos are tagged to increase SEO and viewers can like, comment and share your images. Like Pinterest, we can share other users’ photos, nudging them to share yours.
Social media doesn’t stop at the channels that are proving more and more beneficial to your business. Blogging is also a brilliant way to gain excellent SEO and swiftly boost your Google rank. As you can blog about virtually anything you fancy, it is a great method to broaden the amount of search results your website can pop up in.
Too busy to blog? Don’t have the time to tweet?
Well, this is a minor problem which we can easily resolve. We will do it for you! We will schedule weekly or monthly updates so that we can find out what you want your business to be talking about and we ensure everything is done and dusted. Wordpress will tell you how many people your blog has reached and how many people have responded to it. This is part and parcel of the beauty of online marketing. The numbers do the speaking, so you can see in black and white what works and what doesn’t.
So, if you’re interested in:
- Enhancing relationships with your customers
- Continuing to build and improve your company brand
- Providing excellent customer service through a multitude of media
It’s pretty simple really. Love Google and it will love you right back.
All the search engine asks for is a bit of respect. No spamming, no inaccurate tags – just some truth and honesty. After all, what goes around comes around…
The Google-Bots run a pretty tight ship when in terms of rules and regulations, so I’m afraid it is simply impossible to cheat your way to good SEO.
So, what works in the land of Google? Links. The bods at Google find your site if it is well linked up, so make sure you are well connected. However, all of your links must be accurate. Participating in link schemes can have the reverse effect as Google will detect it as spam.
And what doesn’t work? Breaking any editorial policies. Pirated work will quickly be taken down and spam will be notified to Google through spam filters which they solicit. Sneaky redirects and hidden text and links are also frowned upon by Google-Bots.
Here are my top 10 tips of what to do to make Google love your site and to maximise your SEO benefits:
1. Search Engine Friendly URL: Page names should be accurate, full of researched keywords and different to the H1 and H2 tags within the page.
2. Title Tag: This needs to be unique and applicable to the page content. Google may override your title tag if it thinks it is not strong enough or irrelevant.
3. Description Tag: Independent and unique page descriptions are critical. More and more of these pages need to describe your product and service in layman’s terms, but include researched keywords relevant to that page
4. Keyword Tag: Independent and unique page keywords, although not directly used by Google, are used by other search engines so should be considered.
5. Menu: Item names should be independent of page headings, with manually set hyperlink titles.
6. H Tags (AKA Page Headings): Formatted in H1, H2, H3 HTML tags independent of menu names works best.
7. Image ALT Text: These can be based on file name or include the image name, although we do think in the future Google may want these to be description based.
8. Image Names: When saving images, it is recommended the name of the image is changed to something relevant and not the nondescript.jpg often saved by default camera settings.
9. Content: Needs to be unique on each page and informative. It also needs to be keyword-rich and relevant.
10. Techy Bits: The site needs to have a robots.txt, Google XML site Map and HTML sitemap.
Good luck and happy SEOing!
Does Adwords really improve your Google rank?
Now, I’m the kinda primate that sees the glass as half full, so I’m going to say it is highly likely that the second statement is just coincidence, as it would be pretty outrageous for the search engine to be coercing more money out of unsuspecting business people.
However, the true fact of the matter is that only the bods at Google will ever know the answer to this one.
On the whole, it is generally agreed that using Google Adwords ‘correctly’, with well set-up, targeted campaigns, will increase traffic to your business. Plus, if your website has good conversions, it will independently increase sales without any further assistance.
New e-commerce website!
Splat's Print Factory provides an affordable and efficient way to buy quality full colour print.
Design365 have created a bright, modern and stylish e-commerce website to sell printed business cards, leaflets and stationary online. The website includes a Twitter feed integration, links to social media and a newsletter feature.
Life Changing Challenges offers safe, environmentally responsible affordable challenges to the charity sector that inspire people to make a real life changing difference - for themselves, for local communities and for the charities that they support.
Design365 have designed the branding / e-commerce website to promote the company. See their website for more information about their Life Changing Challenges!