Monday, 30 November 2009

Shock! Web agency reveals - you can spend too much on a website!

I’ve heard a couple of people say recently “I can’t believe I spent all this money on a website and I’m not getting any sales. In fact I’m not getting any traffic.”

Now my blog title might seem a little strange coming from a web design agency – however it’s absolutely true. You might have a budget of £3k or £33k. It doesn’t matter. If you spend the whole lot on a website you’ve spent too much.

There are some websites (and these fall into the <1%>

It is visibility in the search engines and in/on various platforms online (such as social media platforms, blogs, forums etc) that ensure your site actually gets linked to/clicked on/visited.

I advise prospective clients who want a new website to think of a web project as exactly that; an on-going project. Not a one off cost.

It doesn’t mean you have to spend more money!

The options available are growing with every week that passes. Search engine optimisation seems to become more complex and online marketing appears to have more and more ‘must use’ tools.

The crucial thing is to understand that as soon as a website is built it requires on-going management to ensure people know/hear about your site.

Whether it’s SEO or online marketing will depend on a whole host of factors, starting of course with what it is you have to offer via your website and any subsequent aims you have for it.

What happens if I don’t do this?

Simply put you’ll probably spend more in the long run. Even if you don’t, your initial investment is almost certain to be a waste.

After all, you can have the best website out there but, if no one knows about you/where to find you (and you’re not found in the search engines), you’ll join the large group of people/businesses with overlooked sites… and that’s not a good group to be part of.

There are simply too many websites out there for the right people to find you by chance!

Think: Annual Internet Budget = Website + SEO + Online Marketing.

Monday, 16 November 2009

5 star rated products get my money every time

I was sifting through a particular section of Amazon books when I suddenly realised how many products I was ignoring. Not because of titles or front covers but because of user reviews; if a book had less than 4 stars (out of 5) I was moving on.

Was this a fair strategy? On reflection I figured that, if the book had a good number of reviews (and therefore screening out the extremes), it probably was.

Then I started to wonder why I had chosen this particular filter to select the books I should or shouldn’t buy.

When I start reading a book it’s usually because of positive word of mouth. Whether it’s a magazine review, TV interview with the author or a friend telling me about the latest must read.

Now when I go online looking to buy something I want the same level of trust that I associate with the aforementioned sources.

Is this just me?

Since my time on Amazon books I’ve asked several people how much faith they put in user reviews. The answer? An overwhelming amount used and were influenced by what others had to say.

One person I asked chose their holiday destination and accommodation almost entirely on the user reviews left on trip advisor.

And that’s not all. If the reviews others are leaving (on sites such as Amazon) are anything to go buy, people seem to be following suit. People often leave reviews referencing comments or opinions of others which ‘made them buy the product’.

How does this affect business?

With social platforms continuing to grow online and with people able to share opinions, content and comments on products and services, businesses should be considering the buzz/word of mouth about their product, brand or company and how they can influence it.

Taking a tip from Emanuel Rosen the best way to achieve this is to start with maximising positive customer experience. Enabling users to share and comment on your offering would also be a good start.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Good or bad I want you to gossip!

By Jon Paget
10 lessons for generating buzz - from Emanuel Rosen

I recently attended a seminar with Emanuel Rosen, considered one of the leading experts in word of mouth, or buzz, marketing.
Buzz has become so important (in large part thanks to how easy it now is to pass and share content and opinion online) that I felt compelled to share with you the 10 key points (along with my comments) to maximise your chances for creating your own buzz:
1) Make it easy to spread the word – such as having share options on your website with links to bookmarking sites
2) Create opportunities for visual buzz – such as packaging, bags etc (think Harrods – everyone goes for the bag)
3) Give your target market something to talk about – rumours of a new product (think Apple and their tablet rumours)
4) Encourage participation – this could be as diverse as holding a seminar to offering downloadable logos (think Earth Hour)
5) Encourage self expression – This is what Earth Hour did so well. By making their logo downloadable they encouraged enthusiasts to devise their own campaigns
6) Tell a good story – Tom’s shoes has a great story. For every pair of shoes sold, they give away a pair to impoverished children
7) Work with hubs – make sure you raise awareness to others who have influence
8) Seeding – know who you’re targeting and how your market is segmented
9) Uneven distribution of information – a small number (as a proportion of the whole) of influential people know something others don’t (think Harry Potter and the small number of fans invited to advanced screenings)
10) Stimulate interaction – such as twestival (the local annual offline event for twitter fans)
Buzz affects every business, irrespective of industry. From a doctor’s practice to health clubs – word of mouth is having a profound impact on your business. And, it’s not just those who use your products and services that affect buzz. 30% of your products'/services' buzz will come from people who have never used it.
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Wednesday, 4 November 2009

4 year old beats grown man

By Jon Paget

I found myself in London’s Apple store over the weekend, desperate to test the new iMac. Through the crowds of people I spotted a pair of eyes, small hands and half a crop of brown hair. As I walked round the table I saw a 4 year old stood on a box engrossed in a game online.

She was doing rather well…

Fast forward 6 hours and I was sat on a train listening to hip hop. Not deliberately of course, the 20 something man was generous enough to share it with the rest of us in the carriage. Whilst admiring the music I noticed it came from a 1990s walkman. I had believed them to be long since extinct. 

I then thought back to the Apple store and the comparison could not have been more stark. The technology gap which is currently emerging between the existing and next generation in the workforce is vast, even for those in their twenties.

Working with many SMEs I do understand the fears and reluctance that most companies have when considering online marketing and its investment – however just around the corner is a workforce that is keen and knowledgeable about working online and this means businesses are likely to follow suit.

With the thousands of contacts young computer users are now building recruitment, trade partners, customers and contacts will all be found and used differently. More specifically; socially.

Now with that in mind which of the two characters above does your business represent?
After all the gap is growing faster than you think.

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