Friday, 6 February 2009

RSS feeds – what’s in it for me?

RSS are data streams that keep you updated with the latest news from all your favourite websites without actually having to keep visiting them. However, using a feed your computer can tell when these websites have been updated and will let you know when updates are available.

RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to keep informed by retrieving just the latest content from the websites you are interested in. Saving the reader time by not needing to visit each site individually, RSS also ensures privacy as users will not need to join a mail list, as needed for newsletters. The number of websites delivering their news via RSS is growing and includes names like Yahoo and the BBC.

When I ask my clients if they are using RSS feeds, 4 out of 5 answer ‘no’. But, if they are much better and easier to maintain than e-newsletters, why is everybody not using them? The answer is simple – they just don’t know about them. Albeit, yet!

An ever increasing number of websites are using RSS feeds to communicate with their readers and with that, more of their visitors familiarise themselves with RSS feeds.

If you already send regular email newsletters, what a better way to launch your news feed and draw your client’s attention to it. They will learn what a feed is and you will be thanked for offering something not so well known to all.

An RSS feed will improve not only the search engine optimisation of your web pages, it will get your new content indexed by major search engines in less than 2 days as well as channel traffic from different sources such as feed engines and other websites. More importantly it will keep your website automatically updated with fresh content, deliver information in a more efficient way and grow your subscribers without maintaining email lists and getting them foiled by spam software. What’s more, it will increase your repeat business.

Art Division will soon launch a product called EasyFeed (www.easyfeed.co.uk), which will allow businesses to create and update RSS feeds in minutes and link it to any website, or a multitude of other websites, through using no special knowledge of HTML.

If launching an RSS feed is something that sounds good for your business or you are looking for a London branding agency or a good web design agency, simply visit www.artdivision.co.uk

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Email marketing – does it still work?

Email marketing is not nearly as effective as it used to be few years back.

Maybe because we are all jaded from the hundreds of emails we receive every day or because web users are relying on more sophisticated channels and have started using RSS feeds and browsing the social networking sites to receive their updates.

Either way, just putting few paragraphs together and distributing them to your contacts is not enough to garnish positive results from your e-newsletter. You need to consider spending more time on the message and on cleaning your database of contacts in the first place.

Of course most small businesses don’t have the time for all this…..so email marketing is either not done well or not at all.

Today’s readers are inpatient. They prefer to scan through emails, if the subject line is interesting enough to open, and will only read what catches their eye. This is why newsletters should not contain the whole article, but just a taster, a title and subtitle or few lines which will filter those interested in the subject.

Even paired with images, which make the newsletter more eye-catching, it still is a numbers game combined with consistency.

Sending a newsletter once in a blue moon will not generate the same results as a monthly campaign, covering topics relevant to the business producing them.

Each newsletter should link to a website, blog, or RSS feed in order to achieve the most out of it. If you are selling products, it should promote the latest rage and offers listed on your website. If you are promoting services, then it should educate and create an interest in those services.

Email marketing is only a part of the arsenal of tools a business should use. Combined with a good and updated website, a blog, RSS feed or a profile on a social networking site, it will help increase the number of enquires your business receives, but don’t JUST reply on it or you may be disappointed.

For more information on brand consultancy on email marketing visit http://www.writeaboutnow.co.uk/ – a bespoke email marketing publishe.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Updating your website – why do it?

There are 2 fundamental marketing tools each business needs to have; a business card and a website. Whereas a business card doesn’t change, unless the contact details do, websites provide the latest updates within the business and therefore should be maintained and updated on a regular basis.

If you aren’t tech-savvy, updating your website with new content, whether personal or products related, used to be a chore. Until recently, you had to either contact the site developer to update the content, call the IT team for help, or purchase a complicated and intimidating piece of software.

Today, thanks to a simple Content Management System (CMS) designed for novices, you can maintain your own website from any computer with an internet connection within minutes. This system gives people with no programming experience or knowledge the ability to alter a website as easily as editing a Word document.
Why update my website?

There are many reasons why every business should refresh their content on a regular basis. Here are some:
  1. To provide the latest information on the services and products offered
  2. To educate the reader
  3. To improve the search engine ranking for selected phrases
  4. To encourage sales
  5. To encourage stickiness and increase repeat visits
  6. To build trust
  7. To promote competency and express an opinion or point of view
Not every website has pages which can be updated regularly due to their content. If your website is one of them, you should consider adding modules such as ‘news’, ‘case studies’ or ‘events’, which can be updated with fresh and relevant content.

Those sections allow businesses to add new content on a regular basis, even if the services and products themselves have not changed. This will improve your page ranking and increase your repeat visits and with that, your sales. Or if you don’t have a CMS and can’t update your website in-house, creating a blog or RSS feed and linking to them is a must.

If you already have a website, but not one you can freely update, this can be added as a bolt on.

For more information of CMS’ and other modules you can update yourself, please visit www.artdivision.co.uk

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