Category Archives: Web Design

A great post by Jumpset strategies. If you are not using social media this post outlines several incentives for making it your New Years resolution to dip the pinky toe in to building your online presence.

Jumpset Strategies

customer service someecards

Your customers use social media and they aren’t afraid to use it. They use it when they’re happy and use it even more when they’re upset. Even businesses opting not to take part in social media are not immune to negative reviews posted by unhappy customers via review sites and social media networks.

The best social media strategy will do nothing to improve your sales and reputation unless it’s used to proactively enhance customer experience. Keep your customers happy by delivering great products, treating customers well, and by engaging them via the social media networks where the spend their screen time.

Remember, all customers basically the same:

  • They want good products that deliver on promises.
  • They want products that solve their problems.
  • They want products at fair prices.
  • They have choices and vote with their dollars.
  • They want to be treated respectfully.
  • They will tell others when they are unhappy.
  • They want…

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The Value of Going Viral On a Local Level

Many viral videos often happen by accident, not by design.   Videos are posted to YouTube by the casual videographer with a little social network promotion, but the intent is to just sit back and see who watches.  Every now and then such random videos go viral – attracting millions of views from around the world very quickly.  It makes news headlines, is circulated through social media as the newest discovery and creates a flurry of wonder over why and how it got all this attention (Justin Bieber?). Most of the time a viral video is no more than pure entertainment.  We all need a good laugh (Mentos & Coke Fountains) or some inspiration (Susan Boyle).   When a video comes along that fills that need we are more likely to watch it and then share it with our social networks, who, will then share it with their networks. If you are a business, a non-profit or an individual with something to share your main goal should be identifying your audience, their needs and the networks that will get your video circulated. Going viral, on a global scale, is not the goal.

Your Audience and the Relativity of Going Viral

Not every video is meant for a global audience or even a national one.  A small clothing business may choose to highlight its spring line by creating a series of fashion demo videos such as scarf tying, color combinations and accessorizing.  This small, brick and mortar operation may only conduct sales in-store.  It will use their online presence to stay connected to their customers by sending them useful information about fashion and how their product ties in with that information.  Hopefully the information is dynamic enough that it is shared and results in a draw into their store and, ultimately, some sales.

 View Quality, as Defined by Your Audience, Counts More than View Quantity

A video is not going to help your business just by posting it on YouTube.  Video is another tool in your marketing arsenal to help make your audience aware you exist.   A small clothing business with one or two locations in its home state is mainly concerned with targeting an in-state audience.  The fact that their videos are viewed overseas does not do anything for their domestic sales, especially if this small business does not do overseas commerce.  What matters more is that the video is circulated in areas within close proximity to the place of business.  The video should be

  • posted on the company’s website in a conspicuous place;
  • sent to existing customers in e-blasts;
  • posted on the company’s social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages

YouTube has a great statistics feature that not only shows when and how many views a video has but also location demographics right down to the state it was viewed.  If a business really wants to know if a video made a difference, offer a small discount to anyone who purchases something and mentions the video.  The point of the video is to draw more people to your business.  You are not going to get a sales conversion from global viewership if you are catering to a much smaller demographic.  Build and market your video to your target demographic. Two hundred views from your target demographic means more than two thousand from anywhere else.

 The Needs of Your Audience

Now that you have defined your demographic audience you need to figure out what their needs are and how a video can satisfy that.  More often than not, the biggest need is for that of information.

Product demos are a great way to give your audience a 360 degree real world view of the product.  Keep the information centered strictly on product how-to and product characteristics.  Talk about materials that create the product, do a walk through of product setup, and cover all the ways the product can make the consumers life more efficient.

If your product is more service oriented or instructional, consider filming a short lesson. Ask each instructor to film a short demo video that can be posted and shared via the internet.  What you are giving is the opportunity for the consumer to experience your service and decide if it is a good fit.

Do not burden the video with weekly sales information.  People do not want to be sold something.  They want to know if it will meet their needs, will it last and how it works.  Let this timeless information be the main objective of your video.   The most important company information you can include in a video is how a customer can contact your company to inquire about the product.

Sales information can be added independently in the webpage, tweet or post. This method allows the video to get more mileage by keeping the content timeless and relevant to the product.  The video can be worked into temporary sales campaigns or used in other marketing without additional editing.

 It All Comes Down to Networking

 A video is another tool in your marketing arsenal; a proxy that allows you to represent your business, product or idea to the masses when you cannot be in multiple places at once. Video can only do this if people know it exists.

  • Start by making it known within the network you have such as your website, social media, chamber of commerce and e-blasts.
  • Remember to repost the video periodically, especially if it fits in with various marketing campaigns.  People will not see everything you post the first time you post it.  It may also not be relevant to some viewers during the first posting but will be on the second or third posting.
  • Ask your current followers to share the video with anyone in their network who may be interested.

It is important to let customers know they can get the best price from you.  Video marketing is another form of customer service that also let customers know you are the place to go for solid product information.  Both types of marketing require frequent exposure to be effective.  Persistence and patience is key.

In an economy where the consumer wants assurances on the value of their purchase it becomes more important than ever for a company to show consumers where the value is well before a purchase is made.   The mission here is not to post a video that is an overnight global sensation, but to produce a video that meets your audiences needs and makes it easy for them to tell their social network that you can meet their needs as well.

Copyright © 2012 Digital Design Digest

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Website Design 101 – All the Basics from Domain Names to Social Media

Whether you are planning an overhaul to an existing site with a new designer or building a website for the first time, understanding the following details will lay the groundwork for you and your team to work with efficiency as you build the communications hub of your business.

Where Does Your Website Live?

A domain name is the address where your website lives on the internet.(ex. http://www.xyzcompany.com).  If you already have a website then you already have a domain name.  Domain names are purchased on an annual basis through companies like GoDaddy, Network Solutions and Rick’s Cheap Domains.  You can also purchase domain names in blocks of time such as 3, 5 and 10 years packages.  The more years you purchase up front the lower the cost becomes on an annual basis.

For first time domain name purchasers I suggest writing out a few different domain names you would consider for your address.  You may not get your first choice so it is good to have a backup plan.  My website domain name was a bit of a compromise(www.visual-clarity.com).  I did not want the hyphen in there but the unhyphenated version was not available at the time I was ready to purchase.  When it became available the price was just too steep.  The hyphen grew on me and once people book marked the site, remembering to type the hyphen symbol was not the concern I thought it would be at the time.

.What?

The most common domains out there end with .com but there are at least a dozen extensions out there you can purchase such as .info, .org, .biz, etc.  The .com extension mainly signifies the address leads to a commerce site.  A .org extension is generally used by organizations and .info has been used for more informational sites.   When it is time to purchase your domain name you will be given the option of purchasing your domain name with multiple extensions (xyz company.com, xyzcompany.org, etc).  There is not an overwhelming need to do this and it can become pricey overhead to carry because each extension is considered a unique domain name.

Choosing your domain name is more art than science.  It is, for all practical purposes, a first impression of your website so you want to make sure that it represents you and your company in name or occupation.

Buying Storage Space for Your Website

A hosting package is the space you purchase for storing the pages, graphics, photos and videos that create your website. Hosting packages come in different shapes and sizes with pricing determined by how much space you need to store files and how much traffic you expect to visit your domain address to view those files. Your hosting package may be purchased through the same company as your domain name or through a different company.  Take into account the type of website you are building (business, information, video streaming) and, if you already have a website, its size and current traffic rate.  It is always wise to buy a little more space than you need and do so with the comfort that you can always buy more space as your website and number of visitors grow.

Content

The sky is the limit as far as content for your website goes.  You can have graphics, videos and blogs.  Your site can provide visitors with information, tutorials and product demonstrations, testimonials and shopping carts if you have items for sale.  Include all of these items or just a few of them but never more than what makes sense for conveying your message to your audience and achieving the level of interaction desired for your business.

Start with deciding what sections your site will offer.  There are givens on all sites such as a home page, a contact page and an about page.  Commerce sites will have a products page and even some non-profits will have a similar page for registering for services or classes. If your site is purely informational you may have sections dedicated to different topics.  Deciding how many sections and pages is needed for a site comes down to simply listing all the topics and subtopics you wish to cover and how much detail you will be providing for each.

Copy

When it comes to writing copy, use words sparingly.  Yes, I recognize the humor in this statement as I type my way well into page 2 of this blog post.  Most people who visit websites want to be able to get the gist of things in a 30 second or less scan.  So keep your topics well organized and your copy short, sweet, in bullet points where possible and provide a link to lengthier copy if needed (like a blog).

Photos and Graphics

A picture speaks a thousand words so if you can say it with a photo, graph or animation, do it!  The visual eye candy not only breaks up text that can be overwhelming in a lump sum but it also dynamically enhances your message. A photo can convey emotion and sometimes instruction in less time and space than the written word.

If a picture speaks a thousand words then a video is the next best thing to meeting you in person or seeing the product up close and personal.  Video is a great tool for presenting your message to your audience anytime and anywhere.  Greet your customers personally with a video message from you, the business owner.  Let your consumers experience your product virtually with a video demonstration.  Let them hear from satisfied customers with video testimonials.

A website is a dynamic tool that can be scaled up and scaled down as needed.  It is better to start off small with a clear, engaging website and expand it slowly where it makes sense.

Social Media

There is far too much to address in this post when talking about social media. There are a variety of social media sites out there that allow you to connect with your audience in a variety of ways.  They all have their unique features, levels of privacy and require varying levels of interaction and response from you.  Look at your options carefully and only engage in a social media site if it makes sense for your business.  Social media provides avenues for you to reach your audience, hear from your audience and drive viewers back to your site.  If you are not committed to maintaining those avenues of communication there is little point in opening them in the first place.

Maintenance Plan

A website is an evolving entity. As your business changes your website should reflect those changes appropriately in content.  A good design is crisp, dynamic and provides a well-organized structure for your content.  Maintaining and updating the content is often overlooked in design plans.  What you do with a site after it is designed is just as important as your plans for the actual site design.

Consider what sections of your site will require content updates and how often this will need to be done? Consider any social media services you are using such as Facebook, YouTube or WordPress and how those will be updated and integrated to your website.  Will your designer also perform this ongoing site maintenance or will this be done by you or your staff? A maintenance plan should be considered while planning the design of your site.  While typically a separate budget line item, considering ongoing maintenance will assist you in your long term budgeting of funds and staff time.

 

Copyright © 2012 Digital Design Digest

http://www.visual-clarity.com

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