Social Media Truths for Marketing

January 30, 2013

Social media is the a common new direction many businesses are striving to master. Through this young and hip gateway, the Generation Y demographic can be won over in the marketing industry. By adhering to the ways of the youth, businesses are able to connect with them better as they advertise their products to the public. However, it’s important to understand how social media works in order to use it to its fullest potential.

Social media takes time to build upon. Your Facebook or Twitter page isn’t going to instantly become popular overnight. This is important to understand so that social media isn’t your main marketing source the begin with. A base of followers needs to grow through giving time for those people to spread it to their friends and so on and so forth. Not only is time necessary, but a whole lot of effort is as well. By continuing to post things regardless of the number of followers at the time, you will maintain a stable base of information and people will flock towards your page as they see what you have to offer.

Don’t base your followers on expectations. Just because a professional writer is creating posts doesn’t mean that followers will amass to listen to what you have to say. Most people are interested in what you have to say that’s straight to the point rather than with professional grammar. The great thing about social media is that it is a network of networks where people can find an interesting post and pass it on to friends who can then pass it on to other circles of friends.

Picking which social media network to partake in is important as well. If you dislike the network, you’re less likely to put effort and thrive in using it. Also, one that you use for personal uses shouldn’t be used for professional uses. Use your judgment as to what you feel most comfortable and enjoy using as well as what your demographic uses to decide which social media network to jump into. Through this, it’s also important to understand that you simply can’t be everywhere at once. Start with one base social media network and work from there. Once you have that one established, move on to the next and so on. Through this, you can eventually easily update each network.

It’s called a “Social” media network for a reason. Converse with your audience rather than just broadcasting whatever it is your company is advertising. Get into conversations with clients and respond to feedback. Through this method, followers will come around and the number will grow. People like other people, not words of advertising robots. Communication with the audience rather then to people in general as a whole make them feel important; like they have a say and make a difference to the business. On the other hand, people who act like idiots and just talk to talk can easily be ignored as well. Use your greater judgment in communicating with your audience.

Sharing and retweeting things other than your own business. This may be difficult to do as you want to promote yourself but if you only talk about your own things over and over, people will start to block what you have to say out like an annoying pop-up advertisement. Think about “promo for promos” or voice your opinions about other things to keep your page interesting so people will continue to follow you and spread the word to others.

Think about what would make you follow a page and what would keep you from unfollowing them. Place yourself in your audience’s shoes and you’ll be successful.

Online Video Marketing

January 28, 2013

A picture’s worth a thousand words but can you imagine how much a video is worth? Video marketing is making an impact in the business world as people react to the the action right in front of them. As YouTube is ranked as the number two search engine, it’s clear that people are getting tired of reading text.

Human connections make a difference with video marketing. We are attached to videos as they present humans and reflect upon ourselves. By watching other people participate in using the product or service, people feel drawn to do so as well. The voice of others also bring us in to use the product or service as we feel a connection to the source. The body language and reactions to using what’s advertised in the video help us to visually see what we would be like if we participated. People are very visual and when they physically see what it’s like, they will be more inclined to take an interest.

Not only do these personal associations make a difference with video marketing, but your product or service is more likely to be remembered through this method. The audience can put a face to the name and it’s easier to share video advertisements and engage others. Advertising can be spread to a larger audience this way as well through social media. People are more likely to click the play button rather than read because of what little effort is needed to learn about a product or service in this manner.

Technology is turning the new generation into an audience that wants everything easily handed to them. What better to do that then just send them a video to watch rather than a bunch of articles to read! With this generation, information needs to correlate with the new technology that’s used today. Through laptops, tablets and smartphones, people can access the internet almost anywhere to watch a video and through social media, that video can easily be spread throughout. It’s important to take advantage of this opportunity! Don’t let it just slip by or you’ll lose so many valuable customers! Get started with online video marketing today!

Marketing Mistakes of Small Businesses

January 25, 2013

Small businesses need a great marketing strategy to start out and make a statement in the economy. In these tough economic times, everything can make a difference. However, there is a myriad of mistakes many small businesses make that lead to marketing issues. Here are some common marketing errors seen over time:

1. Sticking to a single, flawed business model rather than several integrated ones can hinder your business as there is only one situation involved. A common example is having an “hourly-payment” model, where you depend on clients to be consistent in paying for your business. If there is a slump and you can’t generate enough clients for a period of time, you will be at a deficit due to relying on your clients to pay for your business. Many companies get stuck in this rut as they don’t want to make the effort to change their model or incorporate another form of income for the business. Having different sources of revenue keeps your business consistent regardless of flaws in a certain area, giving you room to make mistakes or have a slump in clientelle. During these times, you will have time to fix these problems while maintaining your business.

2.  Misplaced focus leads to mixed up business as the priorities aren’t set straight. Many companies feel the need to jump into the advertising field with social media networking and the marketing aspect. However, it’s important to have your products or services down first. Check what you have to offer and make sure that your product or service is set to be the best it can be before bragging to others about how great it is.

3. You’re not sure what audience to target. This is a big issue as businesses need to understand which audience would demand the product and have the money to afford it as well. Many businesses look toward other businesses in the same field and try to mimic their ways towards success. Although this may seem like a great idea, small businesses need to start smaller to trial their products. A one-on-one small tutoring company can’t look towards a large corporation and see that they have large classes for a much larger fee and expect to have their own clients jump at this decision as well.

4. If you don’t like your product, service or audience, it won’t bring you positive results and sales either. Passion and confidence for your product is important because audiences will see that you dislike the product and dislike it as well. People shouldn’t make products or offer services because they feel the “need” to please others. They should do it because they themselves have excitement for what they do. If you don’t like your product or service, change it to make it what you want it to be. This idea seems sensible but many people are unable to shake themselves out of their original plan. It’s important to understand that your feelings about your business truly reflect onto your audiences’s feelings as well.

These are some of the few marketing mistakes many small businesses have. With these in check, your business will have the ability to become more successful in the long run. As a small upcoming business, it’s important to work these mistakes out as they can hinder you greatly.

Web Design Trends of 2013

January 23, 2013

wireframes2013 comes with a new year and new technology that our industry needs to adapt to. With this in mind, everything from touch screens to retina display makes a critical difference to how customers view our designs. Here are several things to be aware of:

1. Responsive Design isn’t only for mobile devices anymore. There are now tablets and touch-screen laptops that are included in this fluid design technique. In 2012, responsive design flourished and expanded as THE way to design. Mashable‘s website redesign has taken advantage of this technique to neatly distribute its content throughout a vast array of devices.

2. Retina Display causes sites with heavy images to have a “grainy” effect. It’s important to have clear high-resolution images to make sure the high-definition display doesn’t hinder the site. For coding, web developers and designers have also adapted with retina.js and pixel query solutions. Retina.js checks images on the page when a user visits to see if there is a high-resolution version of that image on your server. If a high-resolution variant exists, the script will swap in that image in-place. Pixel query solutions involve multiplying standard pixels by 4 to show more pixels on the same surface area, making the image clearer.

3. Fluid Yet Definitive Framework such as Bootstrap is necessary for the future of your designs as its is sleek and minimal with great navigational design. It is the perfect framework for any device as it can adjust to any dimensions. It has simple yet advanced javascript and customizable components. These features make up the crucial parts of a site in the modern world that can easily adapt to the new technology of 2013.

4. Traffic depends on content quality over quantity. This is a major change and people always embed keywords and a lot of text to take up a page. Minimalism in the layout is similar to the minimalist sense of writing as well. People enjoy going to a site and finding exactly what they came for rather than having to search between all the useless information. Only valuable, useful and helpful content should be included. Everything else is unnecessary. 

With these ideas in mind, a site can achieve success or at least keep up with the top sites in this economy and state of technology. The world of technology and the minds of customers adapt over time and without analyzing the changes, a business can move from the top to the bottom easily. It is important for one to understand that knowing and keeping up with customers is how a business can run and stay successful.

Twilio: Cost-Effective Communication for Small Businesses

January 22, 2013

Asahi Technologies presents “Twilio” as the new leading communications application platform interface (API) by enabling users to embed voice messaging and Voiceover Internet Protocol (voIP) into its applications for business communication. This useful API presents easy communication of the highest quality, giving small businesses an advantage to make it in the industry compared to companies with larger funds.

Twilio is seen to become the future of telecommunications due to its simple usage, advanced quality and cost-effectiveness. It allows typical web languages to instill SMS messaging and voice applications globally using short codes. International languages are also capable including Chinese, Russian and Greek.

In 2011, Twilio enhanced its customer base by 400% with customers including Uber, Ebay, Hulu, Walmart, Intuit, LinkedIn, GroupMe and many others. This platform allowed such companies to send and receive SMS messages from the U.S. and Canada to over 150 countries all over the globe.

With application features such as API Queing, Usage API and call recording, it is the ideal communications platform for a small business. By meeting the requirements necessary for a business communications platform and the budget of a cost-efficient business, Twilio is bound to be the leading API platform.

Influence Marketing

January 18, 2013

Social Media. Ego. Trends. Popularity. These things influence the market and determine product sales to mass audiences. Most people purchase things they want more than things that things they need. The “want” is driven by how an individual feels with a product and how they feel when others see them with such product.

Did the person who sampled the new Doritos chip flavor end up buying the full bag? Did she buy that book that was featured on Oprah’s book club list? Did the T-Mobile customer change services when all her friends said that Verizon was better? Did people continue to eat Chik-Fil-A when they donated money to anti-gay organizations? It isn’t enough to just see if people buy a product is what salespeople and marketeers mainly check. Analyzing WHY people purchase a product is the main concern as it’s what drives sales.

Marketeers should focus on customers talking about their new product after they buy it. When customers rave about how great things are, their friends and family are more likely  willing to purchase it as well. Through social media, people can get positive feedback, pictures, videos and examples of how to use their products. This influential marketing tactic will be sure to drive sales as the business can see how others feel about their product and what they need to change to make it better as well.

Online Marketing & Design: The Source to Success

January 16, 2013

Great communication is the main reason for a successful business but how is this achieved? Online marketing and design is what brings audiences and businesses together to give both groups what they strive to accomplish.

Why Online Marketing?
Many believe marketing in general to be dead when on the contrary, it has evolved more than ever today. Online marketing should be the most implemented when it comes to businesses these days. In this generation, people look towards the internet for almost everything as it gives almost instant gratification when it comes to research. Because the world is so fast-paced nowadays with technology people are impatient to wait on the phone for answers or feel the need to travel for services without looking them up first. By being invisible online, the business may as well be invisible to audiences as a whole. As technology is advancing, old-fashioned ways including phone calls, letters and e-mails just won’t cut it. It is important for businesses to understand that in order to make it in this industry, they must keep up with the market and in today’s economy online marketing is the way to go.

To Crowdsource a Design or Not?
Anyone can crowdsource a design but what are your benefits? Does it give value to your business? The designs may seem appealing at first, giving it the “glam” appeal. However, investing in these designs isn’t smart as they aren’t demographically based or as appealing to designs that are created by your market for your audience. These wouldn’t work well in the long run and don’t communicate effective as the creativity would be lacking for this marketing strategy. This hurts your business as creativity is a vital part to your message to your audience.

How the Combination Works Effectively
Marketing and design go hand-in-hand as they fulfill each other’s needs. Marketing creates the plan for sending a business’s message to its audience as design delivers the message to the right demographic effectively.  Marketing involves taking into account who is using the product/service, how audiences will interact with it and where to place it. The design aspect shows audiences what there is to offer, why it would appeal to audiences and why people should invest in it. Through this combination, audiences will receive your message clearly and hopefully, invest in what your business has to offer.

Parallax Scrolling: For Your Business

January 14, 2013

Parallax scrolling is on the rise as one of the most intriguing website techniques today. This technique involves layering images so that background images move by the screen slower than foreground images as you scroll through the site. It creates a dynamic view of depth through a two-dimensional screen. Things can also appear as the site’s code uses the navigational perspective of the scroll bar.

Through this method, viewers have an experience that is more intriguing and visually appealing. It is effective as a modern design with fluidity and easy navigation. The creative appeal to this is that it is very different from most sites, giving the ability for remembrance with consumers. It also gives the look of professionalism and effort with the appeal of being fun and modern. This technique places personality into the site with consumer interaction rather than just the placement of text and images. With dull industries such as banking and insurance, this method can increase the stay-time of users and keep them interested in the content.

The uniqueness of this technique locks down audiences regardless of the industry involved, giving an eclectic field of options. This method is effective to display information about the business in a memorable manner as well as a professional one. The balance between creativity and professionalism is often an issue but parallax scrolling fits nicely between the two, making it the most appealing method of today.

Common Mistakes in Web Design

January 9, 2013

Marketing your business through web design can either enhance or hinder your relationship with your audience. It’s important to keep certain factors in mind while designing your site. Many flawed designs are seen throughout the web and these mistakes are detrimental to the success of these businesses. There are numerous errors that are seen across the web and here are some of the biggest ones that make a difference.

1. Throwing registration in their faces is a one of the most common mistakes found in business websites. Don’t force consumers to sign up for your e-mails or enter their personal information. Think of your business like an online store: You find what you want and then you enter your information when you pay for it. This method can reel in gives you the upper hand and you have the services or product the consumers want and then take their information.

2. Remember the purpose of your site. The reason for the site is to sell your product or services. If you don’t explain the who, what, where, when, why and hows of what you can give people, they won’t know either. Don’t expect everything to be so self-explanatory but don’t state the truly obvious either. Make your purpose and reasonings clear and your customers will respond confidently, knowing they are getting what’s expected.

3. Don’t leave out the important details as it can be used to reel in customers. Sometimes companies leave out a lot of crucial features of their product or service in an effort to keep a “clean” page. Don’t be afraid of content. The more content there is, the more informed customers are about your product. However, don’t burden your viewer with pages of text. Negative space is a nice touch as it looks very sleek and modern, but if you have a lot of information, include some places to rest their eyes with images, videos, etc. This will help your consumer continue to read and stick with the information as well as let their eyes and minds flow with visuals.

4. Legibility seems like an obvious necessity but sometimes businesses get too caught up in the design concept visually that they forget to make sure the information is readable. Everything from font size, type, style, placement and color make a difference. Make important text stand out with bold font, italics, or color. Have informational text be large enough to read. If the text seems too small or compressed, think of a wider layout such as horizontal columns rather than vertical ones. Choose a color scheme that doesn’t hinder the viewer such as darker or muted colors. Neon colors may seem appealing but think about how long a viewer can stand staring at that for more than a few seconds. Everything makes a difference.

5. Flash may seem cool to look at but think about the functionality. This is a big one, especially for companies that just want a “pretty” site rather than one that is practical. People may get frustrated having to waiting for the next image to appear or for the animation to finish to get to where they want to go. Don’t trap your site into following the trend of new technology. A site with simple navigation and functional graphics is all it really needs. The extras may be overkill sometimes. This method also helps your site go on several platforms with different screen sizes including mobile ones.

6. Don’t be outdated either. There is a balance between choosing what is acceptable without being dated and overdoing the technology. Steer away from the stereotypical HTML colors including bright yellow, cyan and magenta. Choose more unique colors such as mustard yellow, navy and maroon. These colors give more of a serious or calming tone and is easier on the eyes. Also, stay away from flashing text and huge banners. As the years go on, everyone is heading towards a minimal outlook with less jumble and messages that are straight to the point.

7. Targeting your audience is important. If you have an older audience, think about making a larger font as their sight isn’t as good as younger crowds. If you have an audience from Wall Street, don’t worry about the edgyness of the design as much as the information conveyed. Tone down on the colors in this case as well. If you have children as your audience, add more colors and interactivity as they like to feel involved. These are just some of the many decisions that can be influenced by the demographic.

8. Call to Action should be on every page of your site. Whether it is to sign up for news, buy a product or receive information, people need to see that chance on any page of your site. They can decide at any minute and if they need to go to another page in order to join, they may not find the opportunity or change their mind. It’s important to get people involved once they decide to. A popular marketing strategy is AIDA which involves these steps: Awareness, Intention, Desire, Action. it is very effective and should be on every marketeer’s list.

9. Badges and certification are cool and all but sometimes, you just need to relax with them. Put the important ones up and leave the rest for your office or meeting. Having a few big awards already attracts customers for reliability. They don’t need it all up in their faces. Plus, having too many badges on a site causes clutter making it hard to create a clean site. It also shows that you’re trying to hard to impress people. If you know you’re good and can convey it with a few accomplishments, customers will see that and will respond accordingly.

Although these are not all of the mistakes seen on the web, these are probably the biggest  and most common ones. It would probably take an entire book to explain all of the mistakes. Hopefully this post helps you achieve success with your site and if not, just contact us to do it for you as we love getting new customers everyday.

Mobile Web Design Fundamentals for Success

January 7, 2013

Creating a mobile website can help your company/brand flourish. However, it’s challenging to design an enriched user experience for smartphones and even tablets. Here are some tips to help your mobile web design influence the Web business:

1. Simplicity is the key to a great mobile design. There is less space on a mobile device and over-designed sites can hinder its usability. It should only feature the most important aspects in a user-friendly way. This omits large graphics and extensive coding as it takes longer for pages to load in this manner. One column navigation should also be used to prevent scrolling. If there are more underlying pages, collapsable links can be used. Mobility should involve quick-to-access sites so consumers can receive the information easily on the go.

2. Touch screen tapping is how most mobile devices are accessed. It’s important for links and navigation buttons to be large enough for users to tap with their fingers. This also involves an easily navigable format so users know where to click to find what they need. The content should be organized logically and be clearly labeled.

3. Focusing content is important and you need to keep your objective in mind. When categorizing the content of the mobile site, it’s important to understand why users are going to your site and what they are looking for. This will help determine what content should be written and where it should be placed.You can determine this by using programs such as Google Analytics to pinpoint where traffic is coming from.

4. A solid backend will make it easier to modify the mobile site once it’s up and running. Through this, you can spend less time editing the site and more time focusing on other aspects of your marketing strategy and businees goals.

Going mobile may seem like a lot of work but once you get the important fundamentals down, you can achieve a successful mobile site and increase your profits exponentially.