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Building a website that looks and feels great is only fraction of the purchasing process. Your online store has to give customers more than a few pretty web designs to look at before they are willing to cash out.
A website should create a sales funnel. This includes components that explain where shoppers need to go to find what they want and make it easy for them to get there. At every stop of the process regardless of which page they enter your online store.
Navigation is the first step to creating a user-friendly website. And this includes mobile users. Actually, your website has to be built specifically for mobile-users. Because Google says so.
Furthermore, websites need to rank high in search engines. Your online store therefore has to be user-friendly and encourage visitors to hang around and explore.
Before you can expect to sell your products or services, pages have to be relevant to the end-user’s search terms, provide content (information) that offers value and make you appear like a trustworthy firm.
Use eye-catching graphics
A web design needs to look cool, but at the same time represent your brand. The colours and typography you choose are just as important as the images.
Visuals should ideally support the textual content on the page and communicate to customers. If you’re selling products, use high-quality images that make the product look appealing. Or at the very least, pique the viewer’s curiosity.
Consumers want information about your product or services. Your product/service pages should therefore provide as much detail about the benefits of your product as possible. Customers want to know what they will get when they buy your product.
As a minimum, Google demand 300-words per page, otherwise it is treated as ‘thin content’ and tanked lower down the search engine results. In other words, buried.
An advantageous method of structuring content is to highlight the best features using bullets. Underneath the bullets, write short paragraphs with subheadings that describe the benefits.
Earning consumer trust
Websites might give your business visibility in the online world, but essentially you are still a faceless firm. And that makes it difficult for online shoppers to trust you will produce what you promise.
You will alleviate fears by providing customer testimonials – both on your site and on third party review sites if they are relevant to your business. Take advantage of third party reviews sites whenever possible.
You can take customer reviews one-step further by publishing a portfolio of your work (if you are in the creative field) or by writing case studies. You can do the latter in blogs and on a dedicated sales pages on your website.
The more credibility you earn with customers, the more you increase your chances of guiding them to the check-out. You will only be successful in making online sales if your website is geared to be a selling machine.
If you have already gone to the expense of building a website, don’t settle for a substandard design that does not sell. If you need to build a website, make sure you have the right elements in place and increase your chances of making a sale.
Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, SEO, it all can seem to much when you already have a business to run and yet the importance of it all is growing more every day, as more and more potential clients head online to find the services they need.
If you’re unsure of what Online Marketing really is, or have already had bad experiences with it there are plenty of factors to consider before ignoring one of the largest growing digital industry entirely. To help, we at Clockwork Moggy thought we’d share a few of the top reasons we recommend every company big or small use Online Marketing.
1. Press You Control
As a business owner you have so many channels that you already own. Be it your own website through blog posts, Facebook post or Google reviews. All these channels give you the position to showcase the benefits of your services or products better than ever before.The ‘Press’ you create is followed by the customers who already love and trust your business making your post updates, discounts codes and major announcements made through social media even more effective.
2. Customer Support
This is the biggie for any modern company. Customer service is more important than ever. Now that clients from all over the world can see you, your business and your services at a click of the button. They expect you to communicate so much more. With properly managed social media not only are your customer able to ask you question about products and services but you are also able to ask them what they think about products, pricing or updates. It is a much more efficient way to communicate with you client base, after all Social Media is public so other potential clients can see just how helpful and friendly you can be. Besides responding to a Facebook comment or sending a tweet is far easier for clients than filling out questionnaire on their experiences.
3. Tracking your Competition
Spying. Okay so it’s not quite James Bond, but Online Marketing is a great way to keep an eye on what the competition in up to. The fact is, a modern customer is likely to look you up numerous times though hundreds of different channels before ever actually making contact with you. If you don’t have the right online assets the odds of them not only finding you but making a sale with you is next to none.
The trick of course that any Online Marketer will tell you is to launch campaign and makes sure you SEO is up to scratch and lastly make sure all your clients are giving you shining reviews everywhere they can.
4. Return on Investment
The return-on-investment for a full online marketing package is incredible. Most companies will charge you a few hundred pounds a month and for that you can spread your company’s brand reach to thousands more customers through organic Google search and Social Media, talk with leaders in your industry through blogs or LinkedIn and ultimately build up a stronger market base.
Better yet, online marketing can be monitored. This allows online Marketers to quickly move with the times and leave behind anything that is not working for you or your business. Allowing you not only see how effective your assets really are but also drop any that are not working.
Most company use a combination of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, blogging and the perfect search engine for them give their marketer more to work with than traditional advertising would. Allowing for more clients to see them, more clients to interact with them and therefore more opportunities at a sale.
6. Targeting your preferred Market
If you have a strong online presence across multiple platforms and a strong direction with your online marketing, you will be able to target specific groups of customers. Facebook and Google allows you to promote your business page to certain cities and demographics. Meaning the people most likely to buy from you are the people that are seeing your brand the most. Another reason why online marketing can have a much higher return on investment for smaller, local businesses than traditional marketing would.
7. Positive Brand Awareness
Lastly but probably the most important one of all, brand awareness. Businesses that have a strong online marketing strategy can position themselves higher up in search results in places that make a difference to their business, appear more professional to customers and fully reach out to the markets that really matter to them, all the while building a stronger brand.
We hope this helped explain the importance of online marketing for any modern business for more information or a help with your own online marketing, check out our service page or feel free to contact us.
Given Google’s intent to make the internet mobile-friendly, the company has been a long time fixing the reporting feature for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in Analytics.
However, the search engine giant has now announced an AMP filter has been added to Analytics so marketers can test the performance of all AMP pages on mobile devices.
Google did add an AMP filter to its free Search Console Analytics tool back in May. But strangely, the metric did not include the core results. It only reported on the lead stories that appear in the top carousel section.
Reporting on Top Stories only allows publishers to follow news stories, which made reporting on AMP pages practically useless for most marketers. The feature should yield better results now you can filter AMP article results across the board.
What is AMP?
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It is an initiative led by Google to speed up load times for mobile phones users. Because many mobile handsets are not typically connected to fast internet connections, wait times increase.
Whenever you visit a website, each code has to communicate with a server. So the more codes, the longer the communication takes. Hence, websites with a lot of codes take longer to load. In essence, codes disrupt to the performance of a website and negatively affect the user-experience.
To help avoid these problems, Google initiated the AMP Project which is an open source platform where developers can access stripped down HTML codes that do not require as much communication with servers. The result is faster loading websites.
Why do you need AMP?
Google ranks websites based on a number of metrics. Some of the most important metrics are user-engagement. Therefore, if visitors to your website are not hanging round and exploring your online store, search engines will determine you are not providing a good user-experience and rank you lower in search results.
Google says that over 50% of searches are performed using mobile handsets. This means there is over a 50 per cent chance your website will be performing slowly on mobile devices. And if it is, you compromise your ability to climb search results.
Furthermore, Google plans to introduce a mobile-first search index in the early part of 2017. The new directory will rank websites based on their performance on mobile phones rather than desktop PC’s.
This news is a forewarning to online businesses to ensure your website performs well on mobile handsets. And that includes using AMP codes to ensure your webpages load promptly on mobile handsets.
The switch to a mobile-first world will be disruptive. However, online businesses have little option other than to take prompt action – otherwise you risk losing the search engine standings you have worked so hard to build.
Snapchat has been tipped to knock Facebook of its social perch. The increasingly popular social network passed Twitter earlier this year and with 150 million active users a day, Snapchat is destined to be the ‘next big thing’.
The reason why Snapchat is so important for online firms is because it is mostly used by millennials – the 17-34 age bracket. Generation Y generally have the most spending money to squander on goods because they do not have overheads like family and a mortgage to fund.
Furthermore, two out of three companies claim they are becoming more reliant on social media to connect with customers and perform customer service.
Millennials do not trust traditional advertising. Having grown up with technology they have been bombarded with marketing ads and spam that have let them down. Generation Y consumers want authenticity, innovation and active listening.
And social media ticks all the boxes. Especially Snapchat.
Why brands should use Snapchat
Snapchat is a social platform that encourages unique and creative content. Millennials are also brain-trained to reward openness because they appreciate ‘sharing is caring.’ Just remember to publish content that is short and fun. Great graphic designs and videos work well.
Proving brands cut back on sales pitches and deliver useful information, entertainment and excellent offers, you will be given social acceptance. And Snapchat doesn’t limit the number of people that see your content like Facebook.
Ten billion videos are viewed on a daily basis in Snapchat which presents huge opportunities for forward-thinking brands to connect with tech-savvy millennials.
Furthermore, millennials are open to discovering new brands, more than any other age bracket. And generation Y typically stay loyal to brands they trust.
How brands earn consumer trust
Trust is a principle consideration for millennials. Brands need to make a promise and stick to it. If you can prove this through snapchat, your reputation will grow and you will receive more engagement, leads and sales.
Shoppers are open to receiving great deals and 58% of students confirmed they use coupons brands send to them via snapchat. Coupons also offer convenience.
Publishing quality content is also a driver for earning trust. And now the majority of millennials are accessing the internet and social media accounts with mobile devices, graphic images and videos have taken on increasing importance.
Snapchat users rely on brands to deliver entertaining content through visuals and videos. The social networks challenges brands to be more creative – a tactic and a gift you can use across all digital channels to attract more customers.
Although Facebook, still has the most active users, it is only a matter of time before millennials get bored and look for new experiences. And as the snapchat audience continues to grow, the creative social platform is a natural transgression.
Brands that adopt snapchat sooner rather than later will therefore be better prepared for the mass migration. Given Google’s mobile-first policy is challenging brands to publish creative content that is easy to digest, snapchat is a platform that will help and not hinder.
Google announced dynamic changes earlier this month that will propel us into a Star Trek like future. Google Home Now and Google Assistant will soon change the way we interact with search engines.
As a consequence, the technology will have an impact on how businesses will engage with customers online.
Google Assistant is the search companies answer to Siri, Cortana and Alexa. Voice search coupled with AI will become the mainstay of communicating with the internet. The concept has positives and negatives.
Voice assistants learn what interests you and subsequently delivers information that is personal to you. It’s the idea of personalisation that is both exciting and a little bit scary. For online business owners at least.
Whilst voice activated assistants and AI learning throw in the important element of convenience, it also makes end-users lazy and habitual. Essentially, it promotes people to stick with the experiences they know rather than exploring new websites.
Voice activation, AI and SERPS
Although SERPS will not fade away anytime soon, the means by which AI is shaping the way we use the internet puts the emphasis on personalisation. Voice assistants narrow the view of SERPS even more as end-users won’t have eyes to scan other options from the results.
That makes it harder for online businesses to find new customers. It also makes it harder for customers to find new businesses.
The key factor for online businesses is to personalise content so your website appears in search engine results. And that means focusing content on specific issues end-users are most likely to ask. Or as Google calls it: publish micro-content.
For example, rather than writing a lengthy feature article every week, break the points you want to make down into specific sections and publish several short articles. You can still publish a feature article, but puff your content out with keyword targeted offspring.
If you have been conducting performance analytics over the last half decade or more, you might have noticed a drop in traffic, but an increase in conversions around specific keywords.
The reason for that is because search engines rank web pages rather than websites. In other words, they target keywords based on user-intent so that end-users have direct access to the information they are looking for.
That’s why blogs are so important.
How to target customers through voice assistants
To make best use of the voice technology, you need to know what your customers want. Check out your analytics and determine what information they are searching for and why. Alternatively, make a list of everything your customers are likely to search for.
Then write content based around their questions, needs, desires, emotions, or whatever it is you can offer them. Your content has to be personal to the search intent of the end-user otherwise it will get overlooked by search engines.
To go a little deeper, ask your customers what they want. Conduct consumer surveys, read industry reports, study consumer behaviour and install a heat map on your website so you see what actions visitors take when they reach your website. If you can identify why people leave, you can address the problem and improve conversions.
Although voice assistants play into the hands of well-known brands, digital marketing still has value for small businesses that get content right. Understand what your customers want and you increase your chances of appearing in voice activated SERPS.
Packaging designs have a huge impact on the psychology of consumers. People are drawn to certain colours and designs, and well-packaged products are more appealing than simple cellophane wrapping.
The quality of the packaging design can affect the performance of a product in a retail environment. When products are stocked on the shelves against competitor products, it is often the packaging that stands out to buyers.
The packaging design you choose for your products should reflect your brand identity and be consistent with the colours of your logo. You also have to consider the structure and size of the packaging together with the information you include on the outside.
Why is packaging design important?
Consumers resonate with colours, shapes and patterns. They are typically drawn to products that have packaging that is most agreeable to their tastes. The features of your product packaging should therefore reflect your brand image and the audience you want to attract.
For example, if your product is at the higher end of the market, the packaging design should exude an air of sophistication, elegance and style. The look and feel of the outer layer projects the perception a buyer will have of your product.
If you wrap a product in packaging design that suggests it is expensive, but the product is intended for customers at the lower end of the market, you will lose faith in the buyer and they will not trust you as a brand.
What information should packaging designs include?
The packaging of a product should also reflect the type of product that is inside and what purpose it serves. Most packaging states exactly what the product is, and often includes an image to give customers a visual aid.
The visual images can also affect purchasing decisions. As part of the design, high-quality images can catch the attention of customers and compel them to make a purchase on the basis they like the box the product comes in.
Other than information that has to be included on packaging as a legal requirement, you could also add a tagline. This can be a statement or play on words that suggests a benefit or feature of the product.
The detail you include on your packaging can appeal to impulse buyers that like the design, and careful shoppers that are looking for something specific in the product. How the information is presented is important as you need to catch the eye of customers so your product stands out above the competition.
There also needs to be a balance. Too much information can negatively impact a buying decision because the box is too busy and shoppers are unable to work out what the product is at a glance. On the other hand, you may have an exclusive product that is packaged with a plain, unassuming design which raises curiosity.
Given the number of similar products available on the market in the modern age, product packaging designs have an extremely vital role for attracting customers. So make sure your product packaging appeals to your target audience.
Google recently launched the latest update of Google Penguin 4.0. The week of the launch we noticed a bit of wobble, but that soon stabilised. However, some website owners experienced a dramatic fall.
So why are some websites affected by Penguin when others are not?
The reason for that is simple. Penguin is part of Google’s algorithm that identifies bad links that have been placed around the internet in order to boost search engine rankings for the recipient website.
The problem is that many inbound links have been purchased rather than earned on merit. Attempts to manipulate search results is something Google want to stamp out, and whilst some SEO companies persist with unruly black-hat link building tactics, it is their clients that ultimately suffer.
Now Google has incorporated Penguin as part of their core algorithm, an unnatural number of low-quality links will be penalised immediately. On the upside, sites that are penalised and rectified straight away will also be re-ranked immediately without suffering hammer blows. It would take around two years for brands to recover previously, now it can be pretty much immediately.
What are best practices for Penguin?
It’s been said a million times before, but the only way to rank in search engines is to publish premium content that engages readers. High-quality content will naturally receive inbound links whereby websites will benefit from higher ranking positions together with better trust and authority scores.
The focus of your content marketing strategy should therefore be based around building a brand rather than links. When consumers trust your brand and feel confident about buying products for your online store, they are more inclined to stay loyal. Changing brands carries a risk, and many people are resistant to change because it is a human condition to fear the unknown.
If your content marketing strategy is focused around building inbound links, you will not feel the benefits for very long. Search engines measure trends and can determine the likelihood of a website receiving an average number of links within any given timescale.
Black hat SEO agencies that offer link building services tend to buy four or more links for their clients a month. If a brand was not getting any links, then suddenly starts being tapped four times a month, it’s a red flag to search engines.
The Google algorithm is more sophisticated now than it was three years ago. And since Penguin was released in 2013, thousands of websites have suffered because of poor content strategies. Now, digital marketing agencies will not be given the time to get away with manipulating search rankings and swindling their clients out of money for producing good results.
Google has always been intent on encouraging online businesses to publish premium content. Now they have figured out how to prevent SEO practitioners from cheating the system, end-users should expect to find more quality sites in their search results.
Online businesses on the other hand have no option other than to produce premium quality content in order to rank in search engines. If you want to know more about Websites or Online Marketing check out our service pages.