1. Improve your website for conversions

Improving your existing website should not just be about a new look. Your website has to generate leads and ultimately deliver sales in a competitive marketplace.
 
As well as developing a website design brief, we also take account of:
  • Where your website currently ranks on search engines and for which keywords?
  • What your best performing keywords are?
  • What keywords your competitors are using and where they rank?
  • Your calls to action and are they converting?
  • Where visitors are leaving your website pages?
Ultimately, your website has to perform well against your competitors and generate sales. The content on your website has to convert readers into customers and help to rank your pages on search engines.

2. Design

Good design is about capturing the attention of your audience and guiding them to the most important messages on your website.

Using images, illustrations and infographics is a great way of getting your message across. Web designers will use these elements to provide immediate impact, maintain users’ interest and help them to navigate around the site.

UX and UI (user experience and user interface) are about knowing how to blend functionality with creativity. This will provide easy navigation and a design that is informative and interactive by using animation (motion) and video where relevant. UX also includes technical aspects of the page such as fast loading speed and SEO content.

Modern design is moving towards more white space and uncluttered pages to make it easier for the user to find your most important messages, links and calls to action.

With mobile accounting for around 50% of internet traffic and rising year on year, your website design must be fully responsive and intuitive to use on a mobile device.

Designer_making_website_visuals_for_pages


You only have a few seconds to make a good impression and convince visitors they will find what they are looking for when they land on your website.

3. Content

An effective content marketing strategy costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3 times as many leads.

To give your words maximum impact and help tell your story, your content should guide the design of your website. Your content needs to:
  • Convert visitors
  • Perform well for organic searches
  • Represent your current brand values and latest information
  • Be original
  • Be well written with good grammar, checked for plagiarism and spell-checked
  • Include your best-performing keywords
  • Be regularly updated and added to.
Write for your audience first but keep keywords and SEO in mind at the same time for maximum impact and high search engine page ranking.

4. Website page structure

Using your keyword researched content, you should establish an effective page flow for your information by using:
  • Your most searched keywords in the header and subtitles to break the page up into manageable sections
  • Bullet points to quickly get your facts across to the reader
  • Hyperlinks that click through to more information on other pages to help users navigate the site
  • Calls to action on pages to encourage users to click through to a checkout, find more information or complete an enquiry form.

Calls to action
CTAs work more effectively if you can offer the reader something of interest or value. If they sign up to your newsletter or fill in your enquiry form, offer a discount or an E-book that visitors will gain some value from.

CTAs should be bold to attract attention with careful use of colour and information to encourage the user to click through. Using the right colour for a button has been proven to increase the click-through rate.

Website_Content

Tell your story more effectively by providing well-structured pages that will help users find the information they need and take action.

5. Continuous improvement

New content added to your website will keep your pages up to date for your customers and provide more information for search engines to improve the ranking of your pages (Search Engine Optimisation - SEO).

An ideal way to add new content is with blog or news articles. Search marketing is an essential element of the continual improvement of your website page rankings. Regular posting of informative articles on your blog and reviewing and optimising your existing web page content is the most effective way to achieve this.

Without continuous work to improve and add content to your site, it will not be found on the web unless users already know your brand.
In view of the current economic uncertainty, most businesses will be focussing on how to maintain services and minimise disruption to their customers until the worst effects of the pandemic blow over.

Creative agencies will have to adjust to these changes and support the needs of their customers during this period whilst adapting to new ways of working themselves.

Changing the agency structure and model

Creative and marketing agencies provide the support organisations need to keep up to date with the latest marketing trends and are responsible for delivering integrated marketing campaigns that help businesses to grow:

Digital (online) marketing:
  • Website design
  • Web-based apps
  • Search engine optimisation
  • PPC online advertising (Google Ads and Bing)
  • Content marketing (blogs, white papers, case studies and web page content)
  • Email marketing
  • Data analysing (Google analytics)
  • Social Media Management.
Offline marketing:
  • Branding
  • Press advertising
  • Printed materials
  • Events management
  • PR.
A full-service agency can develop an integrated marketing plan tailored to your business and targeted at your customers to generate sales and grow business.

They combine creative and technical skills together with project management, account management and business consulting all under one roof. This usually requires offices large enough to accommodate all of these employees, together with the additional facilities that go with it.

This model works well for businesses that have a considerable marketing budget and multiple marketing personnel to manage and work with the agency.

For smaller businesses without a dedicated marketer or only 1 or 2 marketing people, these high agency overhead costs could arguably be better channelled into areas of the marketing budget that will increase exposure such as advertising spend or increased brochure print runs.

Will this pandemic change the way agencies work forever?

Will agencies find that they can conduct more meetings without the need for travelling?

Can their employees work remotely and remain just as productive, freeing up office space or getting rid of it altogether?

Virtual_agency_future

Growth of the virtual agency

As more services move online, bricks and mortar premises with high rents and rates are becoming an expensive commodity that, in some cases, do not provide any advantage. The high street is a prime example as we see online shopping figures rise year on year.

The game-changer here has been the ability of online retailers to discount products, make returns easy and offer relatively cheap delivery costs.

Will creative agencies go the same way?

Covid-19 is forcing more agencies to temporarily close their offices or operate with a skeleton staff and make employees work from home.

The game-changer is again technology-led, with better broadband, instant messaging, team management software and video conferencing quality getting better all the time to bring team members together wherever they are based.

Can communications be as effective as getting together around a desk?

Maintaining the same formalisation for virtual meetings as for physical meetings will help. Written agendas with clear instructions on who should attend and what outcome is expected. The same structures still apply for managing time, keeping it relevant and making sure everyone is able to contribute. It can be more difficult to stop everyone talking at the same time on a video conference call, especially if there is a bit of a delay on the line. It takes firm leadership and a bit of patience by everyone present.

Management of remote team members is fundamentally no different to them being in the same office. Lines of communication need to be constantly open. Instant messaging services provide an ideal solution. It can be easier to message than walking down the hall and knocking on your colleague’s door. However, this ease of access can cause problems in itself unless you have a protocol in place to manage expectations and response times.

Will more agencies adopt this more flexible and cost-effective approach to working once the pandemic has run its course?

Freelancers have been working this way for years and you can hire a freelancer for any element of your marketing mix. However, if you want an integrated marketing campaign where all elements are connected and visually consistent, you will need a full-service agency with creative, technical and management skills. If that team is used to working remotely to produce tangible results for their clients, the result will be to provide the same high quality of work at a lower cost.

2 years and counting

At Crystal Thought and Mauve Design, we have been running this model for over 2 years now. Our solution focuses on value for money and quality of service. Mauve Design (branding and design for on and offline solutions) and Crystal Thought (web design and digital marketing).

Are we ahead of the curve in view of the current pandemic? We are already set up and well used to working together remotely.  

Using all the latest communications technology for team messaging, management, file sharing and video conferencing, we have learned how to work remotely and stay connected.

Benefits of working with a virtual agency:
  • Low overheads
  • Flexibility
  • Select one service or a range of services
  • Develop an integrated marketing strategy
  • No monthly retainers, unless you need it
  • Future-proof, proven concept.

Plan for the end of the pandemic

While there is a slowdown in activities, now is an ideal time to review your marketing strategy and look at areas that may have to be changed or re-targeted. Using this time to prepare for the upturn, when it comes, will ensure you stay ahead of your competitors:

If you are thinking about:
  • Changing your marketing focus
  • Reducing costs during this period
  • Doing a website refresh or change of content
  • Brochure redesign
  • Exploring opportunities to increase business
  • Working more cost-effectively with your agency.
Call Mark on 01582 890725 or Rob on 0121 353 4016 for an initial discussion to find out how we can help you.

Mark Langston Crystal Thought
Rob Langston Mauve Design
 
These days there are not many businesses that do not rely on their website for generating new leads.

Whether you drive traffic to your website using offline advertising such as adverts in magazines or digital using online advertising, your website will be the first point of contact for new prospects.

Indications are that digital advertising spend will continue to grow during 2017 and with mobile ad spend overtaking desktop in 2016, it is clear where media budgets are going to be focussed in future.

Online advertising provides many benefits over traditional press, radio and TV:
 
  • Online-marketingTargeted to your particular market sector
  • Higher conversion rates due to accurate targeting
  • Measurable results, cost per click and conversion rates
  • Geographic areas can be selected from local radius to worldwide
  • Immediate delivery of traffic to website for information, services or product sale
  • Cost effective, usually pay per click (PPC), pay per action (CPA) or pay per view (CPM)

Online advertising includes social media websites that now incorporate advertising and offer multiple choices of ad formats depending on what you are trying to achieve.

As with the selection of traditional media in the past, choice of digital advertising media depends on your target audience, the business sector you are in, what you want to achieve and your budget.

The digital advertising platforms that are currently leading the way are Google Adwords, Facebook and LinkedIn. Other platforms include Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest and Snapchat.

Overview of the most popular online marketing channels
Google advertising
  • Page one position on Google for your most effective keywords
  • Only pay when someone clicks on your advert
  • Write, change, test and monitor your adverts
  • Set up negative keywords
  • Target your advert to a geographic area or specific radius
  • Set your daily budget
  • Remarketing through Google’s display network
  • Turn campaigns on or off at any time
Facebook post boost
  • Flexible advertising formats depending on your goals
  • Goals include page likes, post likes, offers, show products or services, clicks to your website
  • Measurable results
  • Choose your audience by geographic area and demographic
  • Set your budget and duration of advert
  • Only pay when someone clicks on your advert
LinkedIn advertising
  • New, so fewer competing adverts
  • Ability to target specific job titles, functions and industry sectors
  • Variety of advert formats
  • Set your budget and duration
  • Only pay when someone clicks on your advert
Print vs online
Print advertising is still relevant and can have a place in your overall strategy as the web becomes more crowded and competitive. However, the flexibility, speed and ability to track conversions makes online advertising so much easier to justify and demonstrate a return on investment.

Mark Langston
 

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