How to transform your website in 2016

How to transform your website in 2016

As businesses start focusing on digital trends, we realize that a website becomes part of your marketing efforts. If your website is not built as a leads management tool, then it’s time to transform your company website into a functioning system that will digitize your brand and deliver a powerful marketing tool.

Great websites are built from a vision and it thrives on passion.  Through your website, you can be as large as you want to be and maximize your brand.  Here are some tips to upgrade and transform your site.

Keep a consistency and align your brand

Be focused on your messages, content, visual entities, logo and theme colors, which support your brand.  It’s important that your brand messages, call to action buttons, and information can be found at first glance.  

Flaunt your content

Building on content has many benefits. For one, articles enhance your websites ability to be found, maximizing your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It also provides as a credible source of information in a society who are always searching.  Use strong headers on write-ups on relevant topics or products. Blogging provides light conversational discussions to drive engagement for useful information to the user. Your content can benefit by means of a call-to-action, comment and share on social media.  

Build your client database

Building customer relationships is the fundamental step of making your website work for you.  Manage a seamless support structure through your site to answer customer queries, and allow feedback. Make sure your contact information is available and your forms are easy to find with short relevant fields. If you are not quick to respond immediately then create an automatic “thank you” note to your subscribers for a better user experience.  

User experience through your web design

The user experience is a process, bringing all areas of usability to work in harmony.  Research is required to get to know what your clients are looking for. The development will move across all areas to determine what will work for you. What will you need to create the ultimate UX and give your site that cutting edge look?

  • Be mobile responsive, to work on all devices.
  • Great graphic displays, e.g. buttons, boxes, typeface, colours etc.
  • Fluid design with easy navigation structure, search and filtering options for larger sites.
  • Enhanced Visual Imagery content with good quality pictures and illustrations.
  • Clean display of products that meet your client’s expectations.
  • Integration of social media for user interaction.

In a mobile friendly world, ensure that your website fits across all devices efficiently. Develop a custom design to fit the personality of your brand. If your site is not yet mobile responsive, it’s best to upgrade. Visual designs for content display are a transformation on its own. Whether its fine art or great photography, transform the quality of your picture showcases and graphics giving your site a complete hi-end look.  

Sell it online!

Everyone is doing it! Now you can sell anything online, especially if you have a service or product to offer. Create sign ups to your services with payment options or a shopping cart. There are many payment integration options out there… it’s never too late to implement a store extending your business. If you not ready for an ecommerce website, look at Shopify or a Facebook store to get you started, turning leads into revenue instantly.

A website is an important marketing tool. Whether you have a well-built website or think that your website may be lacking, keep developing to make it memorable and informative. Build on your existing website or if redesign is needed but cannot be done in-house, then look towards outsourcing your web development project.

 Written by Fatima Karrim.  Fatima has worked in the Marketing Communications industry for the past 8 years.  She has completed her degree in Corporate Communications at the University of Johannesburg.  Being dedicated to Internet Marketing, Fatima has build an understanding of customer relations, by making use of essential tools.  She specialises in Information Management by approaching it through online and email marketing.  Fatima has had the opportunity to assist start-ups and established businesses with brand identity, concepts, design as well as developing online strategies for marketing communications.

All you need to know about digital marketing trends in 2016

All you need to know about digital marketing trends in 2016

The pace of digital marketing never seems to let up and 2016 is not going to be any different. Most businesses have adapted well to include digital marketing and social media into their strategies, but if you are wondering what to do next to stay ahead of the curve, look no further. Here are some of the biggest digital marketing trends for 2016:

Geo-specific marketing is going to get even more… well, specific

Google ad words and advertising on social media platforms has already changed the way that we target potential customers through paid advertising. As if you couldn’t get any more specific than gender, location and business, 2016 is likely to see an increased effort to narrow this targeting even more. 

Mobile is likely to continue to trump desktop interaction

Largely because Google’s search engine rankings include a site’s mobile-friendliness, this platform is likely to continue trump desktop interaction. There are on average as many active cellphones in South Africa as the population; which is currently more than 50 million. That’s 50 million ways to reach people, so getting this platform right is a must for your business in 2016.

How can we assist you…virtually speaking

Virtual assistants and pop up assistance on websites are about to become your businesses new best friend. Interaction with your customers starts on your website so these platforms need to do more than just list what your business is about. Add a virtual assistant to your staff list for 2016 and your customers will feel like you care about them from the first click.

If you are not videoing, you are not moving

Video was big in 2015 but in 2016 it is going to be even bigger, if not the biggest way to communicate with your customers.  It’s also not just about making a generic video for Youtube anymore; it’s about optimising video to work effectively across all different social media platforms.  So embrace time in front of the camera or at the very least get your business video ready for 2016.

It’s not just about being digital anymore, it’s about how good your business is going to be at it in 2016. Check in here regularly to keep up with the latest trends and let us guide you through the digital marketing space in the year ahead.

 Written by Kelly Miller, Kelly’s PR and communications background stems from several years as a political staffer in the Democratic Alliance’s media and communications division. This comprised running several major media and social media campaigns, including for current DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane.  She has extensive knowledge of the media landscape in South Africa and believes in building personal relationships to get the job done.

Step back to create strategy

Step back to create strategy

Consumers are exposed to hundreds of marketing messages every day, some obvious, some subliminal. Information streams to individuals via radio, television, magazines, billboards, in store while shopping and in newspapers and increasingly via the internet, whether on a desktop, tablet or mobile device. 89% of South Africans own mobile devices, 34% or more own smart phones. (*1) Consumers are constantly bombarded and stimulated, via all senses every day, every hour, perhaps even every minute.

What makes your brand stand out?
As a marketer what makes your message any different from the volumes with which she is inundated? What would make her stop and consider it?

You could do the obvious and make it bigger, louder, increase the frequency with which she sees your billboard, or bombard her Facebook newsfeed via advertising. If you are a beverage, food or fragrance brand, you could entice her with the aroma of freshly ground coffee, or a whiff of perfume as she strolls by – that differentiates. You could appeal via any one of the five senses. You could even run up a huge online bill, by following every single digital trend – new website, app, fabulous Facebook, Twitter and Instagram campaigns. You could create amazing, all rounded, omni-channel campaigns, to stop, shock and awe. And it could work. It could be amazing.

But suppose everyone does that? There is a possibility that the consumer will just unconsciously just shut off all the noise – life for her feels like the stock exchange at the morning bell. She has Facebook fatigue, Twitter tedium, digital weariness.
So, the question is, what do you do? The answer is simple. You go back to first principles. You start with strategy.

Start with strategy
What is strategy – more specifically, what is marketing strategy? Marketing strategy is a definitive long term plan to deliver results (usually sales, market share or profit).

In a tough economy, in which competing and complementary brands are competing for share of attention and share of wallet; in a recessionary environment where consumer choices are tough and ruthless, but also where business budgets are tight and need to be carefully managed, I would suggest you use the Pareto principle – the 80 for 20 rule, which states that you should spend 80% of your resources (be they time, money or energy) on the 20% of things that count.
Many organisations have departments working on strategy; there are short, medium, long term strategies. Strategies overlay with intent. Managers do “deep dives” and multi-level analysis on problems and challenges. Consumers are researched, products are examined, and competitors are scrutinized. There is value to all of this, but a crucial aspect of strategy is that it should be executed.

Sun Tzu says, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Effectively, both are important and relevant.
Developing an executable and efficient strategy hinges on how well you define your business objectives. The objectives should…

Be SMART
Each objective in the businesses strategy should be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound; every time, and without exception. More to come on how we do this!

Keep the economic environment in consideration
There is no point in launching high end products in a market in a recessionary environment. Counter-intuitively though, your market may be niche, and wealthy pockets could always exist regardless of economic conditions. Or the time–value of your product could outweigh the cost benefit.

Consider the competition
Competitors’ reactions and actions can impact marketing objectives and there should be a plan to counter this

Consider the supply chain
Without a good relationship with, and steady supply chain, the business will falter, and your client relationships will sink, which is tantamount to business death.

Plan for Risk Mitigation
Understanding how high or low your risk is, will determine the funding you keep aside. It will also manage expectations; your own, your shareholders and your customers’. There should be a risk mitigation plan should something unexpected happen in implementation stage. There should be a Plan B.

Be Supported By An Effective Team
The old adage holds true – a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Similarly, a plan is only as good as those who execute it. Ensure you have buy in and commitment from those who deliver your strategy.

  • If all the above is considered, making your strategy work depends on how well the following points are planned, and covered.
  • Create several specific tactics against each of the objectives
  • Assign deadlines to each, and plot a timeline which highlights key milestones
  • A designated responsible person should be held accountable for each tactic
  • A budget should be assigned to each project (or tactic), with lee-way for scope creep
  • There should be fluidity in the plan to readjust for competitive responses, for market fluctuations and resource planning
  • Results should be measured on a regular basis – a review at least once a month for short projects, and once in 6 weeks for longer projects
  • Iterative management of the project
  • Decision making should be quick and non-complex
  • Execution against a well thought out plan is key to success and should be effected as early as possible. 10% of your energy should be spent on the plan, and 90% of your energy on executing the plan.

Now, stop reading. Go out there – plan, build and enjoy!

References
Pew Research Centre
http://www.pewglobal.org/2015/04/15/cell-phones-in-africa-communication-lifeline/

 Written by Jainita Khatri. She is the founder of Prana Business Consulting.  She has 15 years of practical experience in marketing for blue chip organisations and has consulted extensively with entrepreneurial and medium sized businesses.  Jainta’s passion lies in digital marketing – helping businesses to build their brands and businesses.  Jainita is a speaker at conferences and guest lectures Monash University and UJ on vaiorus marketing related topics.
The 2015 Social Media Year in review

The 2015 Social Media Year in review

Another year, another surge of social media innovation and trends. If you were too busy to keep up, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered and have everything you need to know right here. This is what happened in the world of social media in 2015:

Pinterest embraced e-commerce…and we love it

Finally, all the pretty things on Pinterest are for sale, at the Pinterest Shop!

You no longer need to go researching where to get that beautiful bag or cushion you want, just click the “buyable” pin and your Pinterest dreams become a reality. If you haven’t done it yet, go check out the Pinterest Shop which is available on both Android and iPhone platforms – be warned though, it’s addictive.

Move over selfie, we want video!

Facebook tested a new looping video profile feature, which is currently being rolled out. The new feature allows users to shoot a video for up to 7 seven seconds with sound. The looping video will automatically play without sound however, unless clicked on by your friends. Get practicing people; video profiles are about to make 2016 very interesting!

Periscope shows us why video is the future Development of video platforms such as Twitter’s streaming video app, Periscope, continues to show us why video is the way of the future. Real estate brokers took this app to a new level this year when they used it to do open house live steaming viewings. This saved potential buyers the need to travel and allowed the brokers to show more people a house at once. Watch this space, video features such as this are going to change the way that we do business.

 

Instagram got advertising

One of the last advertising-free social media platforms has fallen – Instagram. The good news is if you are looking to advertise your business, Instagram may very well be the way to go. According to World Wide Worx and Fuseware’s SA Social Media Landscape Report, Instagram has seen the fastest growth of any social network in SA this past year; more than doubling it’s numbers from 1.1 million users in 2014 to 2.68 million in 2015. It also shows the highest planned use by major brands for social networks not currently in use; with 24% saying that they plan to do so in 2016.

Temporary profile pics on Facebook

This one was rather quietly rolled out, which is a pity because it’s great for temporary campaigns or business promotions. Facebook’s temporary profile app allows you to select a temporary picture and set its duration. After however many selected hours, days or weeks, it reverts back to your original picture. Great if you are running a promotion and don’t need to remember to change back to your basic branding. We think anything that makes life easier is one for the books.

If your business is not using social media platforms yet then you should think about doing so in 2016. Check in here at our blog to keep up with the latest trends!

 Written by Kelly Miller, Kelly’s PR and communications background stems from several years as a political staffer in the Democratic Alliance’s media and communications division. This comprised running several major media and social media campaigns, including for current DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane.  She has extensive knowledge of the media landscape in South Africa and believes in building personal relationships to get the job done.

Author Bios

 Written by Kelly Miller, Kelly’s PR and communications background stems from several years as a political staffer in the Democratic Alliance’s media and communications division. This comprised running several major media and social media campaigns, including for current DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane.  She has extensive knowledge of the media landscape in South Africa and believes in building personal relationships to get the job done.
 Written by Emiryl Paul, she is a trade marketing specialist.  She has worked in the FMCG industry for 12 years and has built capabilities with cross functional roles.  She has worked on market leading brands and medium sized brands.  Emiryl has an interest in entrepreneurship having assisted start up companies, within local and Africa markets.
 Written by Jainita Khatri. She is the founder of Prana Business Consulting.  She has 15 years of practical experience in marketing for blue chip organisations and has consulted extensively with entrepreneurial and medium sized businesses.  Jainta’s passion lies in digital marketing – helping businesses to build their brands and businesses.  Jainita is a speaker at conferences and guest lectures Monash University and UJ on vaiorus marketing related topics.
 Written by Fatima Karrim.  Fatima has worked in the Marketing Communications industry for the past 8 years.  She has completed her degree in Corporate Communications at the University of Johannesburg.  Being dedicated to Internet Marketing, Fatima has build an understanding of customer relations, by making use of essential tools.  She specialises in Information Management by approaching it through online and email marketing.  Fatima has had the opportunity to assist start-ups and established businesses with brand identity, concepts, design as well as developing online strategies for marketing communications.
 Written by Anneke Louw.  Anneke is a certified video editor with over nine years of experience in the broadcast industry.  She is multi-skilled in the visual communication sector with her expertise ranging from video editing, graphic design, kinetic typography, creative writing and e-learning.  She completed her BA Communication Studies degree at the Northwest university and thereafter her Honours in Audio-visual communication.  She has a strong creative vision and a passion for the art of visual storytelling.