We recently started working with a new client named snakevape.co.uk, they sell all sorts of vaping equipment with hundreds of different flavours. The issue we found were that photos wouldn’t do. If there were 20 different flavours from chocolate to strawberry, they all looked exactly the same and the consumer had no idea which one was what flavour without having to read the title tags. Obviously we as web designers wanted to make this different and add a visual element. We implemented what we learnt in article 1 (below) but we went a step further.
Instead of removing the image of the e liquid all together and having a very generic picture of a chocolate bar piece or a strawberry we decided to integrate it with the picture of the cartoon itself. This is great for 2 reasons. The first is the individual can see what flavour it is instantly, and the image is connected as well so its not like the image can be split into 2 separate CSS pieces, its simply 1 jpeg file. But the second and most important part was people could actually already taste the flavour when they looked at both.
You see this a lot in modern day advertising, why people use images of delicious food all around malls and shopping centers, because they know if you see the image rather than just reading the text for the restaurant, it will make you hungry and thinking about the flavour of that food! This is a very easy marketing trick to implement but most people don’t take advantage of it. Especially in the e-liquid industry!
There’s no denying that web design is important. A good looking website will generate more conversions and hence will earn your business more money in the long run. And the key to a good looking website is often the images on there. I’m not talking about the logo, I’m talking about the photos and images used to sell the products or services you are offering. We recently finished a website design for ferrari hire uk, this was one of the easiest sites to design for 2 key reasons. The first was the images we could use were those of supercars, which work well on their own as marketing material, but the second was everything that you need to say about supercars you can do through images. This lead me to writing this post on how exactly you should (or could) use images to aid in website design. This can be used for personal websites or clients sites.
Tip 1 – Location & Positioning
The positioning of an image is probably the number 1 most important element (aside from the actual image of course.) If you position an image in a location that no one can see, then you are losing potentially interested customers and clients. But on the other hand if you put images right at the top of the page with nothing else (text or contact forms) then you reduce your optimisation and more importantly you reduce your conversion rate. Make sure you have enough images on the page but also ones in the right location, in places that will aid the website from both a visual and conversion point of view.
Tip 2 – Sizing
The size of the image is the next tip. Generally you don’t want an image to appear too large on a page or especially a mobile device. Images that are simply too big for a page have a negative impact on conversions and just look out of place. This is even worse when you look at website on mobile devices. For example if you have a background image this can distort text on mobile and if you have a image that appears too small then on mobile devices it may appear tiny. As with desktops too mis-sized images can cause a drop in conversions.
Tip 3 – File Size
The file size is the size of the actual file itself. Regardless of the type the size of a file (image/video/gif) the larger the file size the slower it will load. When you’re a small or medium sized business you may also not have the funds for a VPS or dedicated server, this means large images will load slowly and hence anyone waiting for these images to actually load will be put off and may leave the website. The smaller the image size, the faster it will load and hence the more customers you will keep.
There will be a part 2 to this article, coming soon…..
Over the past 3 years I’ve probably tested close to 50 client generation strategies and that’s not even an exaggeration. The ones that work are generally difficult to scale and the ones that don’t work are well, not worth your time. The problem is everyone is difficult. Some business owners have a lot of time but almost no capital to invest, other people who are just starting off might have no time because they are working another job, but as a result have some funds to invest into the business. The strategy I’m going to outline below I’ve also wrote about this topic on problogger and SBmarketingtools.
The strategy itself involves ranking for a keyword that is super relevant to your business. In the example I used the keyword SEO Cardiff which was ranking my seo company. This gets approximately 700 searches a month and would bring in 2-3 targeted leads every month. This is a great way to have a steady stream of clients to your site forever! Although SEO takes more time than other advertising or marketing methods, it is better in the long run as its a continuous stream of traffic and not just 1 or 2 leads once in a while.
I’m not going to go in-depth on SEO ranking strategies here, I’m just going to bullet point the points I personally used and you can go and individually research those if you don’t understand any.
If you do all these things you will rank! Remember to not go too competitive with a keyword, this means it will a.) take longer to rank. b.) cost more to rank. You are better off targeting smaller keywords that you can rank more quickly and with less funds. Then you can reinvest what you earn through the clients you generate into the new keyword rankings.
On this blog we’ve talked a lot about marketing for a specific company, generally web design marketing tips, but if you are trying to market yourself, this can sometimes become more difficult. For example if you have a strong personal brand you can vary between the companies you invest in, work in and own and will be able to promote from all of them as you have built such a good personal brand.
On a smaller level building your online resume through Linkedin, or a personal CV is just as important. We have almost 300 words to say about what you should do when it comes to resume writing and also what to AVOID!
Building a Personal Brand
The resume most people is the starting point, you write your CV and then you apply for jobs, but it really shouldn’t be considered this way. You should think about everything else you do as much as your specific “skills” or “interests” you include on a piece of paper or word file you sent to a potential company or employer. Most people simply do not think about this and in the long run it ruins there chances at getting a good position in the company they might be applying for. This is also the case with CEOs. Many think they have been at such good positions and “turned companies around” but that’s not always the case, I know I wouldn’t want a 50 something CEO coming to work for me in my web design agency, that’s crazy!
Another tip is to avoid using “career objectives” in your resume. I’m sure your career objective if you had to choice one would be working 5 hours a week from anywhere in the world getting paid £10,000 a day, let’s not lie we would all love that! So when you put that you are looking for a mid-level digital marketing or even a higher level CFO role in a company you are just saying that you are settling for their company, remove it completely and you will be better off for it, building your personal brand is something that takes time, and people know you might not be at their company forever, if you’re really as good as your resume says you are, then its the company’s job to keep you on, not your job!
Finally I wanted to talk about the interviews. If you have reached an interview its because your resume was good. Well done you are through stage 1 of a potentially long and tedious process, the interview in a way is easier as you are just turning up and re-saying what you have already mentioned in your resume. The interviewers just want to check you are a normal guy and have some skills when it comes to social talking! Social is such a huge part of most businesses now, not just social media marketing but when it comes to actually talking to people in your office, a healthy office is always talking and will help each other, there is nothing worse than walking into an office and instantly being turned off by the awkward silences.
Finally (again) remember that the job might not be right for you! There is no point being depressed in a certain position just because you need the money. If your resume got you this job, you add your experience to it and then you go job hunting again, it will only be a matter of time before you find the one you want and when you do, you will be glad about it!
If you don’t already know, an affiliate website is a site you create and market yourself and earn income through selling other peoples products AKA affiliate marketing. Although this use to be a hugely popular earning method for internet marketers and web designers, it seems to have been on the slide for the last 12-24 months, and I think I know why. It’s due to the rate at which Google is ranking website now. You need to be in the game for a long time and be willing to put in a lot of effort if you want to make it now, there is no quick way to earn from these sites anymore.
Step 1 – Keyword Research + Brand Building
In 2012 and before you’d start by buying a domain with your most competitive keyword in it. This was called an exact match domain and it ranked great in Google. Then came the Panda and Penguin updates and well to cut a long story short it doesn’t really work anymore. Instead you should start with keyword research and create a list of semi-competitive long tail keywords you think you’d be able to write about 1000 words each on. Obviously you can start by finding the offers first but I prefer to start this way, especially if you go into highly competitive markets such as the ones we went into with our forex trading strategies website, although this gets a bit of traffic now we aren’t interested in the earnings, instead we want to seriously build the brand of the site.
Step 2 – Content
Content is the most important thing as this is what the readers (and the search engines) are going to be picking up on your website. This has to be engaging for the users, so you can utilise the social share features of the internet nowadays, but also it has to be well written from an SEO point of view. Get both right and you will have a successful site.
Step 3 – Design
As well as high ranking website with the correct keywords your site now also has to look good from a design point of view. User experience is a Google ranking factor on its own, which means if people visit your site and bounce straight off it, you won’t rank in Google and worst than that, you won’t make any sales or income, so its a lose lose situation. Instead have a clear and simple design, don’t be afraid to spend money on this if you aren’t the best designer in the world, it will pay for itself in the long run!
Step 4 – Know your end game.
Most people who start their affiliate websites don’t know their end game, instead they are just hoping to make a few quid, which is the worst attitude to have. Treat your affiliate websites like mini businesses. Part of this means you should know your end game, do you want to sell this site in 12 or 24 months? Or do you want to build this into a product business, maybe having a physical product to sell to your email list which you have been building at the same time right!?
There is so much to an affiliate BUSINESS nowadays, more than just a website. So remember don’t bother going into a site half heartedly as you won’t get any results! All or nothing now.
Marketing is the number 1 aspect people who create a business tend to avoid. “Oh its spammy” “it takes to much time” “it costs to much money!” All very common excuses to individuals who don’t market enough.
But the truth is marketing or advertising is the one thing that can actually make your business. Sales can cover almost all aspects of a business and marketing is the number 1 way to get sales… So make use of it!
In this article I’m going to talk about some of the top free advertising websites and techniques you can take advantage of. These are for the entrepreneur that is very “time rich” but “cash poor” which is quite common when you are starting a business for the first time. You will likely have a lot of time but not a lot of money!
5 “Close to” Free Advertising Techniques for your business
Email marketing – This is the NUMBER 1 way to launch your business. Emailing relevant prospects in the right way can lead to hundreds or sales and more importantly contacts for life! In my experience with our fitness company’s first launch, we were launching gym straps and had sold exactly…..4! In the first week…. But I did all the things in the books right, my product was great, there was a huge market for the lifting straps at the time but yet I had sold 4! I was so naive. But after I finished crying I looked into the Guerilla marketing technique of email marketing. We utilised this technique of email marketing to generate 10 new customers all of which will (fingers crossed) continue to buy from us for life. That’s huge when you first start a business! And although the research and reach out is time consuming. It’s 100% free!
Social Media “The Free Way” – Don’t forget that people buy because of reviews from other people! If you’re seen as an individual people will listen to you! Don’t forget to search facebook, twitter and Instagram’s tags to find individuals looking to buy what you are selling! People complaining about their current service or product are great people to follow and interact with. These are the people who, at the end of the day will go on to buy from you.
Forum marketing – Another relatively simple method is signing up and becoming part of a small business forum and contributing to it. They also have their own list of 101 advertising ideas for small businesses. This is advantageous for 2 reasons. The first is you can promote your business in a non-threatening way, the second is you can actually learn some advice from the great business minds that go on these forums and directories. Most of the time they have golden information for small business owners that you won’t learn from your business books or podcasts!
The Get Off your A** Method – How many times do you see wanna-bie business owners talk the talk but when you ask them what they have done about it, too many people say “oh I was to busy” – Seriously? Your last tweet was about how you loved the first season of Game of Thrones! That’s about 10 hours there you tit! Seriously, you’re too busy? No you just sleep too much, watch to much TV, play too many games. Essentially you don’t have the commitment to really do what it takes. And that’s fine, the business world is definitely not for everyone but don’t for a second say to me or anyone else (mainly yourself) that your too busy to do something! You simply don’t value it highly enough! That’s not being too busy!
Youtube / Blog comments – This is probably the most time-heavy, boring method on this list. It involves manually finding blogs and youtube channels in your industry and going into them, reading/watching and making a good comment. This in turn will earn you a link back to your website or channel and people will see your brand. For example if you are commenting with your brand name, people might think “hmm that sounds good, let’s have a look”. Times this process by 1,000 and you’ve just landed 10 new customers @ 1% conversion rate. The most important thing for new businesses is to get sales as early as possible. If you can’t then, well you have no chance!
I hope you enjoyed the post and I didn’t scare you too much. Below is a very motivational video by Gary Vee who talks about the people who made it “overnight” it doesn’t exist! Put the work in!
When you start a marketing or design agency one of the firs things you must estalbish is your client base. We have had all sorts of clients, random, non-profit, flyer design, hobby and more. You will have to do quotes for almost every industry and if you are a well sort after design agency you may have quotes in the 5 figure range, which means these are huge contracts for your business. BUT one aspect to never forget is the basics. In this post I’m going to talk about the basics for design and the top 13 beginner design tips.
Get it simple – Have only 2-3 elements in each design and never exceed 7.
Limit fonts and colours used. Keep with the brands colour scheme where possible too.
Utilise scaling and background imagery to achieve extra depth.
Spacing – Get it right. Have too little and your text will be difficult to read, have too much and it just looks weird. There is a big difference between minimalist and wrong. Be minimalist but never take this too far. Especially when it comes to spacing.
Use Tones – Gradients and different tones of the same colour help shape a page or graphic without over complicating or worrying about colour clashes.
Clear – Make all your images and graphics clear and to the point. Nobody should ever think WHY or WHAT a graphic is, if they have to do that then you might be a really good designer, but its terrible from a conversions and business point of view! Become an artist instead!
Be unique – Having a unique style isn’t a bad thing for a designer. The client is very rarely right and if you have the balls to tell them, they might actually appreciate it in the long run. If not then just carry on churning out content for clients with no love!
Utilise symmetry of branding – Many people forget that logos 90% of the time can be seen backwards! This is a technique used frequently by corporate branding agencies in the UK and all over the world.
Be memorable – Sometimes you have to create something so simple, it’s memorable… The Swoosh for example.
Graphically design data. Sparkle boring data using info-graphics and bright colours to make it seem like you are FUN!
Research the prospects business – Research and analyse what they do. Sometimes you can create shapes and ideas simply be imagining you are in the business location itself. This is similar to how most people create brand advertising campaigns.
Modern vs traditional – Generally everyone is looking to be as modern and futuristic as possible nowadays, but sometimes looking back to move forward is actually your best bet. For example if people already associate your business with the best. For example “pizza” why not add the classic theme to the branding? Could work. Usually Does.
Trial and error – Clients don’t know what they want themselves so it does take a lot of trial and error from our ends. But we can usually overcome this and prove we are a good web design agency! Well at least I think we are!
This is one of the age old debates in both the internet marketing and website design industries. Should you hire a freelancer or an Agency? Seriously this is a decision of most marketing managers and small business owners. The pros and cons tend to always cancel each other out. So what we decided to do was interview 2 different individuals about what they are and why they recommend themselves over the opposite.
Recently we embarked on our most enjoyable website design ever! This was designing the website: http://www.astonmartincarhire.com/ (let us know what you think.) Although the site is pretty different to the Aston Martin main site (which looks awesome) we had to design something for conversions and not for “design purposes” but researching the cars was enjoyable. But instead of being annoyed at the specs of the job, we decided to write an article on how you can design a highly converting site, whilst still having some good design elements.
Direct mail marketing is creating flyers, leaflets or letters and sending them to your clients. There are many varieties to this. For example you can create a personalised mail, with the clients name, personalised information and manually send and follow these up. The next option is semi-personalised mail, these are generally seen when you receive a letter with your name on but there is nothing related to your business, business type or anything to do with what you need or why they contacted you individually. Finally is the spammy mass mailings, that you probably receive on a weekly or maybe even daily basis. These usually look like flyers with bright colours.
All of the above methods have a place in marketing, for example utilising a professional leaflet distribution agency in your local market can actually give you a big influx of clients in that local area. But if you think of doing this nationally then I’d quickly advice against it. In this article we are gonna look at how you can utilise direct marketing for a web design business.