How to Drive More People Online Using Shorter Links On Your Adverts & Offline Promo Pieces


Have you ever had a new flyer or an advert done that you didn’t want to link to your website’s homepage but to a special landing page or article on your website? For instance if you are promoting an event, then you may want people to go to a particular page where they can see more information about the event including what would motivate them further to register for the event.
Generally the link to your specific event post on your website will be longer so this could end up looking like www.myeventscompany.com/upcoming-mixer-in-westlands. What you will probably notice here is that the link is already so long and most people won’t be motivated to visit the events page online.

The 2 quick methods you can use here to give people quick access are by:

1. shortening the url

Anyone can quickly do this using any of the many url shortening services available online like bit.ly so that you end up with a much shorter link like 3bit.ly/2kbM703

Additionally you can also get a customized short url for your own domain for instance myeventscompany.com could become myvnts.ly which would enable you to maintain your branding consistency accross multiple plattforms.

2. use a Qr code on the print flyer or advert

This is also another viable option, of course the people accessing this will need to have their own qr code reader already installed on their phones, then their only job would be to quickly scan your ad and access more information online instantly. You can easily create your own Qr code using any of the many free services like qr-code-generator.com

Part of the motivation to use any of the 2 afore mentioned services is that:

  • You gain more insight into how many people are actively engaging with your promotional piece which would help you determine which promotional pieces work best, so that you can run those pieces more frequently.
  • You could use this to try to get them to sign up for a free offer so that you an remarket them using more affordable channels instead of having to keep spending a lot on expesnive marketing channels.

Whatever your reasons maybe, shortening the links on offline media pieces and adverts that cant be quickly clicked to access a long link to an article, landing page or sales page will definately help improve your ‘access rate’ online.

How To Come up With Some Amazing Concepts For Your Next Website


Part of my creative process has always been spurred by what I see on the web on a day to day basis. Whenever I find a site whose design, copy, call to actions, structure or strategy I like, I simply do a screen capture of the site and save it for latter.

Great Artists Steal, Swipe & Deploy

Then on the occasion when am working on a new project and my mind goes blank I dig into this bank of designs & concepts that I’d captured before to ‘borrow’ an idea or two – add my own flavor and voila we have a new design that you can’t usually tell looking at the original since I’ll often usually just borrow a small aspect – like maybe I liked the way they did their footer or the way they worded a particular call to action.

That said here is one site that made into my swipe file in 2015 see below each image for a more detailed description why swapped this site.

So this was their previous site – which I’d swapped sometime in 2015. When I first opened their website I instantly undestood their product – notice how they used very few words to put this message across

 


 

I just swapped this in 2017 – interesting how they found a way to make the site even more clear in communicating the 3 step process to using their service. Also that top area where they ask for your number now covers your viewport / computer screen top to bottom when you first open the website to drive more people to take this one action first.

So while to people who only love design these might not really look that cool, if you visit this actual site here you will see how their main focus is in communicating their message quickly and getting you to take the next action and not much else – which is their core objective.

Going through lots of sites like these and saving those that have an ‘interesting’ idea gives me lots of ideas to use everytime am working on a project and also helps the clients because they are introduced to new creative concepts and ideas and better ways to make their websites work for them. Hopefully in the future I’ll feature more samples from my files.

 

Your Website: The Ultimate Lead Conversion Tool in your Marketing Arsenal


Your website is increasingly becoming the go to place where people can quickly find out more information about you and your organization. This is especially exacerbated with the proliferation of smart phones and tablets that enable people to quickly access you when they hear about you or see your ADs without the need to get behind a computer or step into a cyber. So how do you ensure that when they visit your site they will be convinced that you are the best option in the market?

So how do you ensure that when they visit your site they will be convinced that you are the best option in the market?

First off, you’ll have to understand your target market and also your ideal customer profile. It goes without saying that your site should speak to your audience; it will be easy to determine this if you have been in business for a while. However if you are just getting started then your market research and positioning strategy should be your guide.

In addition to understanding your target market you can also sketch out what your ideal customer profile or persona looks like. For instance it might be a new mother in her 40’s who has just bought a new car thats the ideal customer for your organization.

Once you have figured out your ideal market and customer profile its time to look at your website’s content. Here your understanding of your customer comes into play and you list down reasons why they should choose you over every other option available to them. This exercise should also help you determine your unique selling points.

Finaly discover your customer’s buying process and what stages they might actually be in. If you are offering a relatively new or unique solution then an explanation type approach may be best. That includes seeking to first introduce a problem the audience probably have, an overview of how you are solving that problem and then the introduction of the solution. A followup with testimonials will serve to dispense any doubts.

By now you should have in place all the materials you need to develop an amazing website – to convert any new leads into clients and customers.

How To Keep Your Website From Quickly Becoming Outdated


How To Keep Your Website From Quickly Becoming Outdated

Lately, we’ve discovered that most people  have a tough time keeping their websites updated – with the exception of a few. The problem this presents is that not only does your website’s content slowly become less relevant to frequent visitors but in addition to this your ranking on Google also slips down since Google aims to provide the most relevant information to people. And oftentimes the most relevant information isn’t the 2009 information but the 2016 information. 

So how can you create your own content and updates in an easy way without having to think too much about it?

1. Create a list of topics 

Suppose you have a ‘news’ section on your website then this will make the job of where to post latest updates easy. Next is figuring out what content to put. The truth is that as business owners we generate a lot of information on a daily basis – yet all this data may not necessarily interest our clients. And so the first step would be to identify the various topics of interest for our customers. 

Suppose you are the Managing Director of an NGO then your ‘partners’ or ‘donors’, who will probably happen to be your main audience, may wish to see what you are doing on the ground and the many lives that are influenced through their financial support. Additionally,  as an NGO you might be targeting new causes/ that you may want to see funded in the near future. Bearing these in mind you can then brainstorm the topics that you will cover for the next quarter or even the next 12 months for your website. For example you may choose topics like:

  1. Margaret – going from strength to strength –in her fight against Lupus
  2. Our new volunteers from Ukraine – teaching in Panda school
  3. Many thanks to our loyal staffer Mary for her love for street children
  4. We are now fundraising for the Mukuru Water project
  5. A video of thanks from Mukuru Girls

This easily gives you an idea of what you can also do to plan ahead for your own website updates. Now please note that once you begin doing this you will start getting more ideas for more topics while at random places. For instance when you out at a meeting or while doing your other work. So you have to have an easy system in place to help you capture all these ideas as they come. One thing you can do is keep a mini notebook with you all the time or install a note-taking app on your phone like Evernote, Google Keep or OneNote where you can quickly jot down an idea and still have it synced on the cloud. 

2. Capture materials during events and activities 

Every time you have an event, an activity you are doing with clients or even where the staff is carrying out their work simply whip out your phone and take lots of photos of the event. This will help you build a large content resource from which you can not only pull out stories but also photos for use in developing future campaigns.

3. Just write

Additionally during those downtimes where you might have speeches or even when stuck in traffic, write 2 or 3 paragraphs of what happened at the event. Most people might actually find this easier since you are not pushed to sit down in a quiet room and forced to write; this can lead to a ‘mind freeze’ and blockage of your creative juices due to the pressure.

If you do the above steps and make them a habit then you shall have more content for your marketing arsenal than you can possibly use. The power however, comes into effect when you realize that you have fresh content to send out to your prospects enough to keep them engaged without having to keep resending the same advert or flyer which can get boring fast.

How Can You Use Powerful Website Banners to Instantly Catch your Clients Attention?


A website banner is one of those things that few people with basic websites know much about. However, this is also one of those elements that you can use to send a particular message to visitors coming to the website. First off we have to understand what a banner is. Most of us have been to websites where we saw an advertisement and if it was something we were interested in we may have clicked on it. This however isn’t the only use of a banner.

Banners can be used for:

  • Advertising other peoples products and services often through a third party ad service.
  • Advertising your own commodities, upcoming event(s) or service(s)
  • Encouraging lead generation 

For now we’ll only cover the last two points explaining how you can use banners to advertise or promote your own product or use it to generate more leads from your website. 

Let’s say you are a new company and you have a new website. What you will realize very fast is that most people won’t really land on your website right through your homepage; instead they will often come in through your blog or one of your site’s pages. Now let us say that you also have a new product that you want people who are coming into your website to be aware of. The easier way to alert them whilst on your website is through the use of a banner. 

But what really makes a good banner anyway? Probably the biggest thing you can do to make the banner striking is to use stronger colours than the rest of the website. Next also consider using a catchy photo. There is a reason why most banners even outdoor banners feature interesting photos – to divert the viewers’ attention to the banner.

Another really important thing to look at is the main title of the ad banner which has to be very prominent; this will encourage viewers to click on that banner. Think of when you pick up a newspaper and the ‘headline’ grabs your attention and makes you want to turn to page 6 to read the full story; this is how you want your banner to sell, leading viewers to click on it to find out more. 

Of course in order for the headline to really work you must understand your audience and also know who it is you are targeting with your message. This of course is the whole foundation of your website – that it is actually addressing a particular ‘persona’ who fits the profile of your target client(s), customer(s), member(s) or visitor(s) of your organization. 

Finally, It is mandatory that the banner must call the viewers to a clear action. A call to action could be to have them click the banner, or simply to inform them about an upcoming event, or it could be that you want them to call you on a specific phone number. In the future we shall look at other ways you can improve your website to maximize the ROI you can extract from your website.

 

how to integrate your website into your advertising and promotions to catapult your results


Most people wrongly assume that once they have a website, then they can go ahead with running their offline marketing campaigns. Few however take the different approach of sending people to a relevant website page or even a landing page.

If you are marketing aggressively and want to see your website give you results then you need to realize that the messages in your offline marketing campaigns have to synchronize with the weblink you drive people to. This means that its not always such a good idea to drive people to your homepage most of the time.

So how do you then structure all this for the most bang for your buck?

Lets use a simple example first. We have a company that sells water pump products in residential areas. Now on the website homepage the company talks about it’s heritage, what it does and who it has worked with. Unfortunately, the latest product that it is selling is not highlighted. So suppose you put a link or a banner would that be enough? Well that would certainly be better than nothing although not nearly effective. 

The better option in this case would be to first understand how your campaign is being run. The strategy behind your campaign will then dictate the rest of the tools that you will need to develop.

For instance you might want to sell a new type of water pump – your current ‘hot’ product. Now assuming your startegy is door to door marketing in your neighbourhood, you may wish to take your startegy to a new level. Remember, that most people don’t buy the first time they hear a message and that it generally takes 12 touches before they buy. Keeping this in mind we may want to ensure that we ‘touch’ ‘potential’ customers multiple times using multiple media.

So how can we then improve this company’s campaign, to increase the sales and boost the return on investment in this particular campaign? Simple. Shift the focus from just trying to sell to trying to get the contacts of potential buyers. Now this would involve a shift in the design of the flyer towards trying to get them to get something for free. Instead of the call to action pushing them to call you and order the pump now, why not push them to call you or visit a special page to download your detailed brochure with photos, product details and pricing as well as videos showing the installation and how it works. 

The reason you will want to do this is twofold,

  1. More people will not necessarily want to call you. Instead they may prefer to go to that relevant website page and download your brochure and watch the video first before calling you; either because they are just thinking about it and aren’t really ready to buy but want more information.
  2. You want their contact information so that you can do a followup. This is especially because (like we mentioned above) most people won’t buy immediately and some people are many months off from buying – yet we also want to capture these people incase of other future ‘hot’ sales.

Now back to your flyer; the person has just seen it, has many questions and doubts which you have promised will be answered when they receive your free information pack online where they will see how other people are saving time and money using the pump instead of working manually. To take it further this information is only available for 30 days.

When they visit your special site (they don’t go to your main website or even your homepage – instead they visit www.magicpowerpump.com or something relevant). This special site is simply a one page website where they enter their contacts and download the information. Now two things happen here:

  1. People who want to order from you today already called you from the flyer.
  2. People who were interested but not sure when they will make the purchase or who are just on the fence have just given you their contacts and you can do a followup and maybe later on close those sales.
  3. Now that you have a complete contact list you can ‘touch’ these potential buyers with more media such as emails, sms, phone calls and social media (facebook, whatsapp, etc).

Would such a campaign be more aggressive? Absolutely! And would it cost you so much more to do it? Not really, in fact the biggest drawback for most people is that such a campaign would require you to think more and get yourself better organized to implement it well. However, as entrepreneurs we prefer to just print out the flyer and get it out there as quickly as possible which isn’t always the best way but its way better than not doing something or just waiting.

Coming from this example you can see that different products and services can be marketed in a similar way, whether you use flyers,magazine and newspaper adverts, facebook adverts, letters/emails and so on … having a strategy behind your media push will always help you to be more effective and spend less in the long run.

How to Avoid Getting In Legal Trouble over Your Web Photos


You may know someone who has had trouble from photos that they used either on their website or their print materials like brochures, flyers and so on. I recently learned that someone I know was taken to court for using some of the photos he took at the school on their prospectus and a parent wasn’t amused. One thing led to another and before long he was in court staving off a civil suit. But what can you do to prevent this from happening to you?

1. Use public domain images

The cheapest solution for getting a few photos to use may be to consider simply getting a few public domain photos. However please note that simply because a photo doesn’t have a watermark or a copyright mark doesn’t make it public domain. Consequently photos taken by other people on social media sites also aren’t in the public domain.

To some public domain photos you can use some free public domain websites by simply googling this. The only challenge you might find with this though is finding just the right photo to use with your design piece.

2. Get consent from people to be used in the photographs

The best photos for use in your marketing are however going to be real live photos of your organization or events. However before you use these photos you may wish to get consent from the people in the photos just to avoid any bad reactions when you finally use them in your bill board. As you will discover when you ask most people are happy to have their photos used in most design pieces as long as the the photo flatters them and makes them look good.

3. Take strategic photos

Another option you may choose is to take photos but in a clever way as to ensure that one can be identified. this can be achieved by:

  • Having the photo taken from far – consequently the final images to be used won’t obviously be high resolution / raw images that be zoomed in, instead it would a compressed version of the photo.
  • Specific details are blurred out from the photo e.g. faces & license plates, this can be done where the camera lenses only focus on the close up object and the background objects are all blurred out. Also it can be after the photo is taken and you use photo editing software to tastefully blur out specific areas.
  • A third option is to have the photo taken at an angle o the object for instance from the back, at an angle to your face, capturing the ear and cheek as the person looks out into the crowd who are blurred because they are out in the distance.

4. Buy premium stock photos

Finally if you aren’t really keen on using live photos and the public domain photos arent that pleasing to your eye (which most are) then you may opt to purchase some premium stock photos. you can easily find such sites online for instance istockphotos and others. The only challenge at the moment is probably finding highly relevant photos that your live photos would easily provide.

The 5 Step Process To Selecting & Vetting Your Next Website Designer


So you’ve decided to work on your website and you maybe even have several websites that you have looked at and would like to implement a website along those lines – but who do you hire? 

Most people have heard the horror stories of hiring website designers. Some people have experiences where the designer fled leaving them with an incomplete job or where they designer got a big tender or some job elsewhere and the website was abandoned or in other cases their website’s look missed the mark leaving them frustrated. 

in other cases the designer takes months and months to update the client on what is happening with their website before finally choosing to hire someone else.

So what can you do to avoid some of these pitfalls?

1. Look at their portfolio

Although this is no gurantee that they will do the same level of work for you visiting their website, checking out their portfolio will still go a long way in vetting them and ensuring you are hiring the right person fr the job. often hat you should be looking for in this case is not just the 1 or 2 websites they might have done but several websites they have done themselves.

2. Ensure they aren’t a broker but a real designer

This is perhaps more difficult to tell since they might have a ready portfolio & might even speak the websites lingo, however if you don’t mind paying more as long as they deliver – then this is okay. However if you prefer to work with someone that actually does the job then please consider hiring an actual web designer and not the sales person.

3. Ensure this is their full time job

You will want to make sure that they are available for you and that your project is also a priority for them, in addition to getting a person who does this full time you are assured of better support in the future when you need it. Most web designers work on websites as a transition job, and when a better job presents itself they abandon ship and client service g=is gone. 

4. How long have they been doing this and do they seem like they plan to be around

It goes without saying that a more experienced designer is a better bet for your organization – since like any other business the truly passionate and serious people are those that are doing this for the long-term as a serious profession. Anyone that has been at this same profession for over 5 years is obviously here to stay and building a relationshi with this kind of person is far more beneficial for you as you will be assured of good service due to their experience as well as ongoing support when you need extra work done.

5. Web design specialist

You want someone with Graphic Design Experience in addition to web development skills – this is the ultimate tipping point and what separates the designers from the developers. Web Designers will often not deal in software since this is again a deep specialty the same way mastering design for the web is. You want a specialist designer not a generalist who does it all from software to hardware.