Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Five Internet Strategies that could save your Small Business

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Let’s be clear from the very beginning – using the internet for small business is NOT the guaranteed golden bullet solution to all your problems. The addition of an online presence will not automatically turn your fortunes around. Running your own website, engaging customers on social media and selling products online takes effort and hard-work – as will all the strategies outlined in this post.

The internet definitely offers you more avenues to market your business than ever before. You can generate followers and advocates that will purchase from (and market) your business 24/7, sometimes without any one-on-one interaction from you.

Below, there are five online strategies outlined that your business can employ to help raise awareness of your business and its offerings and, most importantly, boost that bottom line.


#1. Boost your Facebook Posts

Facebook BOOSTEver seen the big BOOST button on your Facebook page?

This is the button you will see next to any posts you have made. With the power of a BOOST (and a minimum spend of $7/day), you can actually display your posts in the Facebook feeds of a very specific audience. These people are the prime candidates to which you want to market your products and services.

For example, our local dance shop is selling Fascinators for the upcoming races in town. With Facebook BOOST advertising, they can target:

Women, who like Fashion, and live within 50 miles* of the town, in the 18-50 age group

With targeted boosts, you get your message sent out exactly where you want it to go – much better than casting a broad net and hoping you catch something.

* Not a typo – Facebook, an American company, measures in miles regardless of your location.


#2. Build an eCommerce Store

eCommerce online storeCoupled with the low overheads associated in running an online store alongside your “bricks and mortar” business, there are two major advantages for building your own online store

Firstly, an eCommerce store can sell your products and services 24/7– your customers don’t have to wait for the doors to open or for you to even be available. A good online store is set up to run automatically with payment options and shipping processes integrated.

Secondly – your online store is capable of selling anywhere in the world. Your customer base is dramatically widened beyond the immediate geography of your shopfront. If someone on the other side of Australia (or the world) wants to buy your goods, they can access your online store and make the purchase whenever they want.


#3. Provide 24/7 Customer Service

Customer ServiceGood customer service can be time intensive, and sometimes very repetitive with no immediate remuneration for your time.

With a website, you can off-set some of the repetitive parts of your customer service through the use of frequently asked questions (FAQs), video tutorials and downloadable help sheets (Bunnings are the masters of this) to name just a few. 

Setting up your website’s customer service area properly would be time well spent as the support you provide online can save you hours either on the phone or answering emails.

 

 


#4. Plan and maintain a Content Marketing strategy

Content MarketingContent marketing is a must have on any small business website. To clarify, Content marketing is a strategic approach focused on creating and producing valuable, relevant, and consistent content that attracts and retains your target audience. It is also a key element of the Google search algorithm, helping to determine your website’s placement in search results.

How do you create an effective Content Management Strategy?

  • Decide on your content mediums according to your strengths and your target audience (Blog, videos, podcasts, newsletters….)
  • Generate a plan in calendar format which includes the dates, topics and mediums for the creation of your content. This includes social media updates and blog posts.
  • Stick to the plan – consistency is the key to success!
  • Monitor your traffic to gauge the success of each item. This will give you valuable information in relation to what is working and what isn’t.

#5. Give Email Marketing a try

Email MarketingIf you are thinking of employing an email marketing approach to broadcast your small business, you can’t look past MailChimp (no affiliation with Rusty Mango). It has almost everything built-in to help you create great looking emails, distribute them and, most importantly, keep you within the law regarding SPAM.

Note: You cannot send emails from a business in Australia to anyone you like. You must have the recipient’s permission or an existing customer relationship with that person.  For more information, take a look at the Spam Act 2003.

Using MailChimp (and common sense), you can create an email campaign that drives business to your website and your physical store:

  • Use a pop-up plugin on your website to acquire email addresses from your site visitors. Some of these can be set up to send collected addresses directly to MailChimp.
  • Create list of your existing customer’s emails. Excel is a good way to do this as you can import spreadsheets to MailChimp.
  • Using one of the many templates, create your first email newsletter. Re-purpose some of the content that you have created for your site – blog entries are perfect for this!

MailChimp has a built-in unsubscribe option. Recipients of the email simply have click Unsubscribe in the footer of the email and MailChimp will automatically remove them from the list, satisfying another condition of the Spam Act.


Conclusion

The real secret to a successful and productive online presence for your small business is summed in one word – consistency. Your website cannot be a stagnant brochure for your business, it needs to be dynamic, helpful and must reinforce your position as an expert in your field with quality service and/or products. Make an effort to set aside 15 minutes a day and develop each of the strategies into a workable system for you – the rewards for your business will become clear in no time at all.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? If your business needs help developing any of the strategies above, please get in touch with Rusty Mango Design – we love to help small business!

Make Twitter work for your business

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Make Twitter work for your businessA huge chunk of the Social Media focus, especially in business terms, is given to either Facebook or LinkedIn. Poor little Twitter is often seen as the outsider. However, if you are looking to build your credibility and influence in the online world, there can be quite a bit of power in those 140 characters. The trick is to wield that power in such a way that you can build a following that works for you.

Below are a selection of tips that the small business owner can use with (and around) Twitter to create a following that will drive customers inbound to your website and ultimately, your business.

Tip #1 – Become a Tweeter worth following:

  • Whenever you are tweeting, be sure to post a variety of information that is relevant to your target audience. Create a mix of links, quotes, latest news, blog titles and retweets so that your followers can expect something a little different each time.
  • If someone follows you on Twitter, repeat the favour. As soon as they hook with up your Twitter, check out their profile and click their FOLLOW button. You may need to jettison them sometime in the future but, who knows, they might have an audience that you can reach into.
  • Always use hashtags to help your followers and potential audience find what they are looking for. With over 6000 tweets being sent out every second, hashtags allow followers to keep their Twitter viewing relevant.

Tip #2 – Get Visible

  • As detailed in the previous tip, searching is a great way to find other Twitter users in your industry’s area. Use this to seek out KPI’s (Key People of Influence) and industry commentators that you can follow. Two upsides for this trick: you’ll often find great content to retweet or repurpose for your own followers and, you may just score a “celebrity” follower – giving your own tweets more exposure (“Hey, guess who follows me now?”).
  • Don’t pretend to be the only source of information on Twitter – retweet the posts from others that you have found useful. The original poster will notice this action and may follow.  Plus your audience will benefit from someone else’s experience that you share.
  • For maximum exposure of your Twitter efforts, be sure to publish your Twitter tag everywhere (@RustyMango). Put it on your business cards, banners, signage, web sites and any traditional advertising so that you can get the Twitter conversation started.

Tip #3 – Act Strategically

  • Make sure your site has a Twitter FOLLOW button. If your site is built on WordPress, there are many excellent plugins that can help (https://wordpress.org/plugins/twitter-tweets-button/) or, alternatively, manually code the button into your site https://about.twitter.com/resources/buttons ). Your site designer can help with this.
  • Offer value to your Twitter followers with the occasional voucher or coupon – exclusive just to them. Roscoes Piazza in Innisfail does this on some slow nights (“Guess how many boxes are stacked in the store tonight. Closest number wins a free family pizza!”)
  • Twitter only allows a maximum of 2000 people that you can follow at any one time. That is quite a hefty number however, if you find yourself going close, make sure that you unfollow anyone who doesn’t follow you in return. Of course, make an exception for those on Twitter who provide you with worthwhile industry-specific tweets that you can pass on.

To keep a handle on all this Twitter action, use browser add-ons like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. These two “programs” will allow you to tweet, monitor your account, view retweets of your content and provide an easy way to regularly work on your Twitter campaign.

Make it a habit to tweet/retweet every day – it will keep you abreast of worthwhile content and information from around the web and help to establish yourself as an industry leader in the eyes of your followers.  

Five reasons to evolve your business and get it online

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Evolve your Business with Rusty Mango Web DesignIn small towns, such as my hometown of Innisfail, small business owners have relied for years purely on local customers for their income. And this has worked just fine for the most part as these businesses have built up loyal trade and trust with good service.

But times have changed. Businesses right through to the early 90’s never had to compete against anything like the internet and the changes it has brought. Nowadays, a huge amount of business is conducted online and, as a small business owner, you are no longer just competing against other local businesses. In fact, for most professional services and especially those selling products, there is no concept of a local business anymore.

Whether you like it or not, you are a state-wide, national or even an international business. Your customers are very aware that if they don’t receive the service they expect to get along with the product they want AND at a price that they like, they are going online to get it somewhere else!

So if your business is unwilling to get online to be competitive in 2015, then you are going to lose a huge chunk of your potential market.

Here’s five good reasons why getting a website is essential to the evolution of a modern small business.

Evolve your Business with Rusty Mango Web Design#1 – A website is available to your customers 24/7

With online trading, a customer can choose when they are going to visit you. They are no longer dependant on when you open your physical store. A website allows a business owner to keep products and services moving all day, every day. A mobile-responsive site takes this to the next level with customers accessing businesses on-the-go with tablets and smartphones.

#2 – Your website opens you up to the international marketplace.

A website means that you don’t have to just sell your products and services to locals in your immediate area. If you have a great product and it is easily found online (with search engine optimisation), you are able to sell to anyone, anywhere in the world. You are no longer geographically locked in.
If someone two thousand kilometres away wants your products – with a website, they can get them.

#3 – Window Shopping has evolved too

Walking down the main street in your town or city is no longer the only way to go window shopping (though some may disagree). Online, your potential customers are always looking and planning where they are going to make their next purchases. They are comparing prices, checking out services and calculating delivery costs. Even if they may not be making an immediate purchase, when they do, those online businesses who have made an impact on their searches will definitely come to the forefront.

#4. Online, you can build your position as a Key Person of Influence in your industry.

Your website and your online presence have become key factors when customers are searching for a new business to deal with. A strong presence is a great way to demonstrate that you are a modern business with its finger on the pulse of your industry. Customers testimonials are also a great way of showing your prospects that you are capable of delivering the products and services that your offer. Social Media interaction (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) will help to build a community of loyal followers that your business can use to develop, research and sell new products. Each one of these components is essential to build your authority as a KPI (Key Person of Influence).

Evolve your Business with Rusty Mango Web Design#5 – On the internet, size does not matter.

A website is a great leveller. Whether you’re a one-man show or a 20,000-employee corporate giant; if you offer prompt and friendly service backed up by a quality product, you can compete head-to-head with the “big guys”. On the other hand, if you don’t have a website, you’ll be losing business to other companies that do.

Despite all the reasons that are spruiked daily about the benefits of an online business, it is estimated that more than half (52%) of Australian small business owners do not have a website. This is astounding considering that 82% of small business owners get new business through referrals. If you don’t have a website, how do these referrals find out more about you?

If you want to evolve your small business and access a greater share of your industry’s market, get in touch with Rusty Mango Design today and we will examine an online strategy that will work for you.

Website Imagery – More important than ever!

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Imagery can make or break your siteWeb design has come a long way since 1991 when a man called Tim Berners-Lee created the first text-only pages of the World Wide Web. In those days, web pages were drab and boring as the technology and slow download speeds didn’t allow for anything else.

There is no such excuse in 2015. A majority of the world has access to high-speed broadband and with that, multimedia websites with video, images and sound are common place. Browsing the web has become a total sensory experience in many ways and text is taking a back seat. The imagery that we see on a website can often determines the success or failure of our interactions with that site. “A picture is worth a 1000 words” has never been a truer statement.

Why are images so powerful for a website?

  • Hot spot analysis shows that images are the very first thing a visitor sees on a website. Text is a distant second!
  • One solitary image can determine the emotion and tone of the website, even before the visitor reads a single word.
  • Visitors like to click on image links more than simple text links. For example, a user will more likely click on a product image to make a purchase rather than the words underneath.
  • Visitors like to share what they find on the web with their friends and it is much more likely that they will LIKE an image to share on Facebook or PIN onto Pinterest.

Pointing with images drives attention to the textUsing images has distinct benefit to a website:

  • Site analysis has shown that images increase the average number of pages visited within a site, reducing bounce time and keep visitors longer.
  • 60% of consumers are more willing to consider local businesses that include images on their websites.
  • ALT tags (the labels that pop-up when you float your mouse over an image) help to improve the general SEO on your site. Google scans these each time it visits your website.
  • Online store products with effective imagery have a much improved chance of product sale than those without.

Message: Don’t Skimp on the Imagery

It’s always evident when a business skimps on images for its website. Even if the text content is compelling and the “call to action” actually works, the whole site can be let down by poor quality imagery. Conveying an emotion is one of the most important parts of a business web design – you want the site visitor to “feel” something towards your brand. You may want to generate excitement through action shots, warmth through family images or compassion for emotional situations around the world.

Creating this emotion is the hardest part. Only well-framed and purposeful imagery has the strength to convey emotion which will affect nearly everything else on the page.

Now to get on my soapbox: Only a professional photographer (or at the very least an experienced amateur) has the experience to capture these images. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that a couple of shots taken on a smart phone will have the same effect. Shots taken by your employees often won’t meet the bill either.

If you have contracted a web designer to build your small business site, than you have made a serious dollar investment that will ultimately benefit your business. Don’t hamper that investment by reverting to using poor quality images on your site. Outlay a few extra dollars (do a little research, it’s often cheaper than you think) and hire a professional photographer to create the emotions that your site needs for its success.

Your site will be better for it!

How to choose the right Social Media for your Business

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Social MediaWhen it comes to choosing a suitable social media platform for your small business, there is no shortage of options. But with most business owners being enthusiasm rich but time poor, not every single one can be covered. In an ideal world, the small business owner would be able look into each and every social media channel and determine which would deliver the best results for them.

There are a whole range of factors that determine the success of a particular social media for you: your products / services, human resources, audience and financial resources all need to be taken into account.

Let’s look at the five big ones that may be useful for your business:

Google +

Google Boss Larry Page has trumpeted the growth of Google+ at every opportunity but you need to wary of this – his company has made “membership” of Google+ mandatory for usage of Gmail and Youtube. Apart from this, who actually uses Google+? I tried for a short time but found that the circles concept is fundamentally flawed to reach a larger audience with update posts.

On the plus side, Google+ is powered by Google so it isn’t disappearing without a fight. It’s also intrinsically linked to Google search so there may be benefits to some benefits in that one fact alone.

You, like me, may need to test this one out for yourself.

Instagram

Essentially an image sharing platform, Instagram is slightly more suitable for business than the other image sharer platform, Pinterest, through its clever use of hashtags and plugin integration. Whereas Pinterest allows people to collect images that are of interest to them, Instagram can be integrated directly into business websites allowing site owners to draw in real-time content from their own customers.

A great example is used in online fashion stores – with a simple WordPress plugin, a site owner can display their products as worn by their customers – after purchase! The customer simply has to take a photo and upload to their own Instagram account with a suitable hashtag. The website detects this tag and displays the image in the online shop. What a great way to show your products in use by everyday people – not shop models!

Instagram is great for businesses with a teen/young adult market – they are all over this!

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has been designed from the ground up to cater for the Business to Business market. At current, over 2.7 million businesses are represented on the platform but it may not suit your needs if you cater to the public consumer.

If your small business provides services to other businesses (large or small), LinkedIn is ideal for creating connections within your industry. By simply “connecting” with one person, a whole spider web of possibilities opens up to you. Your connections still need to approve your invite to connect, but this is lot more personable than a cold call.

Facebook

Facebook is the one Social Media that everyone knows and everyone is on. Luckily for business, it is fantastic no matter what service you provide or products you sell. If there is one social media you must be on, in my opinion, this is it.

Facebook not only allows businesses to build a fan-based community around their brand but it also enables the business owner to directly target their ideal audience. Is your target audience 15 year old boys who love to surf and skateboard? Facebook has them covered. What about pregnant 30 year old mums? Too easy.
By ensuring that users enter information about themselves, Facebook can specifically target these audiences.

You can boost your posts on Facebook through the usage of paid advertisements or, in the initial period, try it out with your own audience (people who click LIKE on your website).

Twitter

Another must in the Social Media arsenal for business owners, Twitter is great for a whole range of reasons. You can use it to start or participate in trending topics (once again using hashtags), both locally and worldwide. Better still, you can graphically the trends across the world.

Announce your latest news, products, blog posts and anything else you want to share, instantly. Start instant competitions for your business with no need for outside promotion (great for those times when business is slow).

Hashtags are the key. Before posting anything on Twitter, do a quick hashtag check (I use Tweetdeck) and see if there is a similar tag that you can use. This way, you will “hook” into a movement that has already started.

On top of the five mentioned above, there are many more Social Media channels to choose from, including the popular Foursquare, YouTube and Pinterest options.
When choosing the platforms that you want to use, don’t forget that nothing is set in stone. If, six months down the track, you decide to try something else, there is no barrier to stop you.

Just remember that as a small business, being on too many platforms can spread you out too thin, effecting your productivity and results. Hopefully, armed with the information written above, you can make an informed decision on which platforms to focus on to help boost your business.

You’ve got a great site…. but no traffic!

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Great site but no trafficYour website is built and ready for the influx of customers you are expecting. You’ve done your research into a successful website and you’ve put in the hard yards and used a reputable designer to get it all done.

Your “Call to Action” couldn’t be clearer if it jumped out and bit your site visitors on the nose. The content of the site is fresh and full of juicy but useful information. Products in your e-commerce store scream out for someone to buy them – they are just that good.

Everything is perfect.

But no-one is coming.

What’s gone wrong? When everything else is in place – how do you get that all important traffic through the front door of your website?

Tip #1: Identify your ideal customer and then hook them

Sit down with your business partners or employees and grab a pen and paper. You need to do some brainstorming and map out who is most likely to purchase your products or services. You need to examine aspects such as age, gender, social status and location amongst many others that may “pop up” in your discussion. This process is vitally important as it clearly identifies who you should be targeting and can often determine how to grab their attention.

For example, If you are in retail selling women’s clothing of a certain kind, your ideal target audience may be women over the age of 40, on an average wage, who are looking for clothing that is affordable and makes them look younger/slimmer.

Once you have identified your ideal customer, brainstorm again to find ways to connect with them. What does your ideal customer read, watch, listen to or even do?

Some possible courses of action include using Facebook advertising that allows your business to target directly to the market you want with specifics such as gender, age and general interests. You could also look at traditional marketing through magazines, radio or newspapers. What other interests does your ideal customer have that you can hook into? Write them down and test them out.

Tip #2: Identify your current customers and leverage that relationship for your website

While the last tip identified your “ideal” customer, you can’t ignore the others than may fall outside that “ideal” bracket. If you have been in business for a while, you will have customers who have bought from you in the past and continue to do so. You can use this relationship to build traffic for your website.

  • Set up a referral program with a coupon giving discounts to referring customers.
  • Give out your web address with each physical purchase or even on your invoices in the form of a simple, plain business card (your logo on one side, web address on the other).
  • Run competitions through your social media contacts that can expand to an outside audience and draw them to your site.

Tip #3: Use your industry links

Look at the contacts you have already have through your industry and look for like-minded businesses that you can link through. You may even pursue the idea of package deals: for example, a wedding MC may team up with a venue, local band, florists and a photographer to promote a full package deal. Set yourself as the prime organiser of the package and get customers flowing your site for the full details.

Tip #4: Sponsor your local community

Sponsor an event in your local community and be sure to brand it with your website details. You might sponsor the local rugby league competition, a charity event or even part of a large festival in your community. Purchase some large banners (the rollout ones are perfect) and get them into the public eye. Place business cards, brochures even sample bags where they are highly visible during the event and make sure that you are hand to answer any questions and prompt people towards your site.

As you can see, there is a multitude of methods and tricks that you can implement to get your site pumping with visitors. Literally thousands of articles have been written about just using Social Media to drive site traffic in favour of your business. You only need to try something and see what works for your particular industry.

While you are doing this, keep a close eye on your site statistics and engage with your new customers to see where they are coming from. This will give you the data to determine what is working and what is not.

No-one, but the very naive, will pretend that running a successful website isn’t hard work. But all the heartache, effort and time spent will be quickly rewarded when you start to see new customers coming through your site’s front doors and more importantly, buying from you.

 

Why IS your business on Facebook?

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Why IS your business on Facebook?Facebook is a powerful force in the online marketing world, easily second only to Google. You won’t find a member of Gen Y who isn’t using it and, over the past couple of years, Facebook’s “mature” user base has grown considerably. This growth is continuing with the increasing use of the platform by businesses around the world. The general attitude towards FB is becoming “if you are in business, you must be on Facebook.”

But why? If your business is only doing Facebook because “that’s what the others are doing”, then you might just be wasting your time.

But a small business owner doesn’t have any time to waste!

You should only get into Facebook if you have established a real goal for doing so. Your particular business’ goal for entering the world of Facebook could be to:

Humanise your business and brand in the eyes of your customer.

Genuine interactions and their associated connections are integral to any form of Social Media and Facebook is no different. It allows a business to put a human face to a brand that people can actually relate to. Through Facebook, your business can engage in one on one conversation with customers, share tricks and tips about your industry or display your latest wares after a customer has bought them, encouraging others to do the same. These types of “relationships” with your customers, draws them closer to you and much more likely to use your services or purchase your products.

Get people talking about your business.

The average user has, on average, 130 Facebook friends to share with. Imagine what could happen if you could get in front of those 130. If your brand is compatible with these people and engages with them, they might just LIKE you as well!

If only ten from that number decide to LIKE you, pure mathematics shows that the growth of your exposure would be exponential (10 x 10 x 10 x 10…..). There is no other (free) marketing method that can match this. Facebook also has paid options that can expose your brand to even more around the globe.

Directly target your ideal demographic.

Facebook knows everything about you. In your profile, you have entered your location, age, hobbies, even your favourite brands in some cases. A user would be naive to think that Mark Zuckerberg only wanted this information to help you share with your friends. Zuckerberg wants this information so that his company can sell targeted advertising.

As a business with a little advertising cash to spend, this is a golden opportunity. With such detailed information on hand and using Facebook’s paid advertising, a business can market more directly than ever before. For example, if you wanted to target expectants mothers, aged between 20 and 25 who live on the Sunshine Coast, you can. Your business information, once you set up an advertising account with Facebook, will appear on the pages of your exact target audience.

Put your business in front of your customers every day.

Even if you don’t opt to pay for advertising on Facebook, once a (potential) customer has liked you, any posts that you make on your Facebook business page will automatically appear on their feed. Don’t abuse this by posting multiple items a day (which will lose your following) and you have a “friend” for life.

Continue to offer conversation and social interaction, build that relationship up and you have a client who won’t look elsewhere for your goods and services.  A branded Facebook page is a very powerful way to expand your audience and increase the overall awareness of your business online.

I’ve got a new website for my business – now what?

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I’ve got a new website for my business – now what?Although the internet and it’s billions of websites have been around for quite a few years now, some small business operators still fail to grasp how vastly different an online store is to a conventional ‘bricks and mortar’ site. With the latter, a physical site is set up that all passer-bys can see it; both while it’s under construction and afterwards, when the doors are thrown open for customers for the first time.

With an online store, the construction is done under a “veil of secrecy” but when it’s finished and ready, most site owners automatically expect a flow of traffic through the virtual front door. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. People need to know that the site actually exists before they can visit it!

Google doesn’t help – it can often take two to three weeks for a site to get listed on search results and even then, you may not even make the first page.

So here is my advice, don’t wait for Google – promote that new site of yours right now with the following tips:

Tip #1 – Build your website marketing into your conventional promotions

This simple tip is often overlooked because some business owners believe that a website is marketed through online methods only.

Not true.

Start getting ready for your site’s launch by updating all your promotional materials – business cards, brochures, roadside signs, clothing, pens, company cars,  exterior signage, invoices, everything.  Anywhere that a current client sees your business name should have the new web address in bold lettering.

If you live a smaller town as I do, get your local newspaper on board for the launch. For a relatively small cost, you can grab some great exposure with an editorial feature. Often these include a half-page “story” on your new site with the other half-page including an advertisement with all your details.

Tip #2 – Utilise your Social Media presence

One of the great advantages that Social Media has over Google is the instant gratification that it gives to every one of our updates, pins, posts or tweets. We don’t have to wait for the search engines to index and archive our information – it is instantly out there.
This makes it ideal for promoting a brand new site.

Most of us already have a Social Media presence so why not use that to your site’s advantage. Announce to all and sundry that you have a new online store and ask your social media “friends” to pass on the news.

Don’t leave it at that though – make sure you create a plan and use your Social Media power to drive everything that your site does. Running a pizza shop with online ordering? Hold instant competitions (like my friends at Roscoes Innisfail) to boost slow nights. Got a brand new outfit in your e-commerce boutique? Get one your staff to model it and post it on Instagram and Pinterest. Offering free shipping for today from your e-store? Get the word out instantly with a tweet on Twitter.

Tip #3 – Create Fresh Content for your site.

I know – you’ve just opened the doors on your online store. So why do you need fresh content straight away? Simply because Google likes sites with fresh, distinctive content and without it, things can go stale very quickly. Pre-empt this by having a content plan for how you are going to update your website on a regular bases. Sit down and plan out articles for your store’s blog (try five for a start) and schedule one for release every week. If you don’t have a blog, you could be missing out on a massive opportunity to define your site as an industry leader.

When you are creating blog topics, be sure to think from a customer’s point of view – write a list of the top 10 questions that your customer’s have and blog an article about each. Include keywords that relate to your online business and this will ensure that the Google and Bing “bots” will keep coming back to your site every time you post new content.

Conclusion

Try out those three tips and will be giving your e-commerce store a red-hot start in its online “life”. Don’t procrastinate and wait for people to find you – get out there and “grab the bull by the horns.” A site owner is in absolute control of the future (and potential success) of their online business. It won’t happen by itself – hard yakka is required!

Now – go and give your new site (or old one) a real boost into the new year of 2015!

How to make your website #1 for your clients in 2015

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How to make your website #1 for your clients in 2015The New Year has been ushered with a flash of fireworks and cheers of excitement. People around the world will be opening their bleary eyes with the hazy promises of New Year’s resolutions swimming in their heads. Most of these will be along the lines of losing weight, getting fit or maybe saving more money; all personally focused ideals.

So how about a couple of New Year’s resolutions for your business website?

Maybe the site hasn’t performed up to your expectations in 2014. Perhaps you didn’t get the bottom line via your site that you hoped for. Or is it sitting dormant and not doing a thing for the customers that it is supposed to attract?

There’s no time like New Years to take a good look at your site and resolve to make it into a site that your clients really need. Here’s three tips to make it their #1 choice when searching for anything in your industry.

Tip #1: Create helpful and informative content

Take a look at your site content and make sure that your site offers more to its visitors than just items or services for sale. Statistics have shown that a site that provides helpful and informative content has a lower bounce rate (people who bounce in and out) and a higher conversion of visits to sales.

Your content could include a blog (just like this one), how-to videos (embedded from your YouTube account) or downloadable fact sheets. There are a multitude of ways that you can help your clients – choose something that is suitable to your industry.

Tip #2: Make it easy to find your site in Google

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is no longer the realm of the experts. Sure, they may be able to squeeze out those last couple of places but with easy-to-use plugins such as Yoast SEO and All-in-One SEO, page optimisation can be done quickly and easily. In most cases, it can be done when the new content is being created.

Just by adding a simple description of the content and a few carefully chosen keywords to every page, you increase the chances of the content being found on Google. And by improving your chances of your information being found, you are making it easier for people to actually find it.

And that, ultimately, is the whole purpose of SEO.

Tip #3: Get your Social Media happening

Here I go again – harping on about Social Media. I still firmly believe that the secret to success behind most websites is an integrated Social Media approach. If you can make people like your business through your Facebook posts or Twitter tweets (or whatever your poison), then the chances of them visiting your site increase tenfold.

You can use Social Media to help your clients find what they want with the implementation of a carefully planned approach. Whilst building a new ecommerce store recently, I came across a number of ways to use a social presence to make any site an essential visit to prospective customers.

  • Integrate a Wish List system into your ecommerce store. Customers visit the site and create a wish list which they then post to their Facebook page for others to purchase for them. Very helpful for prospective mothers and brides-to-be (as a couple of examples).
  • Utilise a Social Media login for regular customers (i.e. people can use their username and password from Facebook, Google+, etc. to login). Saves the needs to invent a new login for every site a person visits – no-one likes to do this!
  • Integrate Instagram tags into with product pages so that whenever a customer displays your product on their Instagram account (using the tag), it automatically appears on that product’s page. Great for clothing sites – your clothes can be seen on everyday people just like you and me as opposed to the models that may be used on the site. Check out Black Milk Clothing for a great example of this.

If you can get those three strategies under your belt early on in 2015, you have put yourself in good stead for the remainder of the year. As any seasoned website owner or manager will know from experience, running and maintaining a successful website is not a “cake walk”, you must constantly monitor a multitude of site components to ensure that your site is working as you want it to. Running a website is hard work.

With a New Year’s Resolution using the above tips, your website is on its way to becoming the site that your clients really need.

Social Media finally shows it’s heart!

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After the events of the past week here in Australia, I’ve decided to take a step away from web marketing for this week’s blog. In fact, there’s real no takeaway for small business at all. This post is however about the way that Social Media has allowed us to connect with and support each other in one of the saddest days in recent times.

Social media has been bashed by many critics for its detriments and the way it has been used to bully and harass but the tragic passing of young cricket player, Phillip Hughes,  last week has finally brought to the fore that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others can be used for so much more.

Very few people could have missed the news of the tragic accident at the Sydney Cricket Ground that has led to the death of one of Australia’s most promising young sportsmen. This single event has affected every day people from all walks of life and not just Australians, thousands from around the world have joined us in mourning one of our own. No-one can quite pinpoint why – was it because this young man died playing one of nation’s favourite games? Was it because he was so young and so promising? Or was it because of the nature of Phillip Hughes himself – so cheerful, uplifting and unassuming? Whilst we can’t understand why this event has driven so deeply into our hearts, we have shown that we stand united in comradery for Phillip, his family, friends and the man at the other end of the pitch, young bowler Sean Abbott.

This show of unity really began shortly after the passing of Phillip Hughes was announced through regular media. Tweets and posts started to appear with the hash tag #63notout. Images of Phillip in his baggy green cap (number 408) began to circulate through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Baggy Green #408But a real phenomenon really began when Sydney man Paul Taylor decided to put his cricket bat at the front door of his house, took a photo of it then sent it out on Facebook with the hash tag #putoutyourbats. Within minutes, this tag took hold and soon everyday Australians were heading out to their backyards, grabbing their trusty willows and putting them out the front to show a rare form of condolences for the passing of Phillip Hughes.

Soon, it wasn’t just just Australians taking part – the movement spread across the world. From Pakistan to England and beyond, individuals, sporting clubs and even businesses were putting their bats out. Even Google placed a simple cartoon cricket bat onto their main search page in Australia.

It was through this simple gesture, people were allowed to connect with what had happened and really take part in an amazing tribute to an amazing young man. I actually got a lump in my throat as I put the bat out the front of my house and uploaded the image of it to Facebook.  The family of Phillip Hughes, despite the terrible loss they have suffered, must be completely blown away by the outpouring of support for them and the young fast bowler, Sean Abbott must know that we have got his back and that no one blames him for what was a simple, unfortunate accident.

This whole outpouring of support not only allowed us to show support for the family and friends of Phillip Hughes but it also banded “us aussies” together in a way that has not been seen before. And none of it would have been possible without the power of Social Media – finally being used for something truly amazing.

 

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