Digital Marketing

Digital marketing in Singapore is changing very fast. If you are in touch with what your competitors are doing online, you will notice that some of your more savvy competitors pick up new digital marketing strategies every now and then. One of the up and coming aspects of digital marketing is marketing automation. 

Marketing automation is the bread and butter of any modern marketing, but for various reasons, many businesses in Singapore are not using it. The potential for marketing automation to change your business positively is huge. Among the many benefits, marketing automation can produce up to 451% of increase in qualified leads, and improve sales productivity by up to 14.5%.

In this article, we’ll cover how marketing automation can be relevant for different types of business, the benefits of marketing automation, the key to marketing automation success, and factors to consider when implementing it.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation has been in the market since 2005. There are many different definitions of marketing automation. But to put it simply, marketing automation refers to using software to help automate marketing tasks. These tasks are generally related to engaging with your customers or prospects, social media, email. Marketing automation software helps you do these tasks at scale, hence, it’s becoming more important for digital marketers.

Benefits of marketing automation

#1 Scale

Any business that requires you to engage with your customers at scale, will benefit from marketing automation. Regardless of whether you’re a B2B, B2C, small brick and mortar business, or an eCommerce shop, you will benefit from marketing automation as long as you need to engage with your customers.

Have you ever experienced the pain of copying and pasting a text message template to each customer, replacing the (name) text with your customer’s name? Marketing automation software allows you to do such things within a few clicks.

#2 Personalized messages

Personalized messages

Whether you’re creating email content, social media content, digital marketing ads, or any follow-up messages, it’s important that content is personalized and speaks to your customers, because personalized and highly relevant content generates huge ROI. 

Some statistics report a 20% increase in sales due to personalized content. Personalized email marketing campaigns have a 26% higher open-rate than generic email content. Some digital marketing campaigns even have 700% increase in ROI from segmented campaigns.

#3 Segmentation

Not all leads are the same. Some leads are easier to close, some leads need more nurturing before you can close the sale. That’s the idea of segmenting your customer database. You can set various permutations so that your leads can see content that triggers their interest in your service/product. 

#4 Holistic view of your customers

Marketing automation software allows you to see the full picture of how your customers from each marketing channel are engaging with you. Whether it’s Google ads, social media marketing, events, email marketing etc, you will benefit from seeing the full picture of how customers are engaging with you at various marketing touch points.

#5 Productivity and reliability

Because we are using technology to do repetitive tasks, human errors can be reduced. Recently, a client told me that he hired a new staff to follow up on new leads that came through Facebook marketing. They get a few hundred leads a month, so it’s difficult to manage the leads by themselves, that’s why they got a new staff to do that. Little did they know, a few weeks after, that the new staff forgot to follow up with a BUNCH of new leads.

It’s too late to follow up with the leads by the time they realized. With technology, you won’t have this problem. Marketing automation software follows up with your leads according to the algorithm you set, and the cost of this type of software is definitely cheaper than hiring a staff to do this.

#6 End-to-end customer lifecycle management

Marketing automation allows you to manage the whole customer journey. It begins when a lead first contacts you through your online ads, or through your telemarketing/sales team, then continues through the stage of education, which leads to a trial, then the first actual purchase, followed by retention and loyalty building.

The Key to Success with Marketing Automation

Many companies use marketing automation but see no significant improvement in terms of sales or customer retention. The most common question they ask is: What is the best marketing automation software out there?

That is the wrong question to ask.

Having the right software will not give you success. The key lies in the marketing strategy. But not just a marketing strategy. Most companies’ marketing strategy just involve getting the customers to the door. After that, the process of following up and retaining them is non-existent.

You need to have the right end-to-end marketing strategy to see success. 

Choosing the Right Marketing Automation Software

There are many good marketing automation software out there, Hubspot, Infusionsoft, Marketo, Eloqua and etc. Tt can be overwhelming to find the best one for your business. The criteria to based on your decision on depends. It depends on your business requirements, and how your company is structured

Think about how it’s going to sync with other parts of your business, such as:

– CRM system

– Website analytics

– Online booking/payment platform

– Email marketing software

– Telemarketing tools

Does the API integrate with your other tools?

Defining your Processes

What are the processes at the different parts of the marketing funnel? 

How do you handle enquiries? Most customers would ask common questions such as “What’s your price?”, or “Why should I choose you over your competitors?”. Do you have a good standardized answer?

How do you follow up with these leads? What’s the nurturing process? Do you get them to come down for a free trial, or a discounted first-time trial? Do you share with them certain series of content depending on what they are interested in, how they behave, and how they respond to your content? There are multiple scenarios of a customer journey, and you have to think about that. Come up with a nurturing process for each of these common customer journeys.

What’s your digital marketing strategy? How are you ensuring that you are constantly getting streams of new leads enquiring about your services/products everyday? If you are not getting new leads consistently, then your marketing funnel is not growing. One of the main benefits of marketing automation is scale. When we talk about scale, one of the best ways to scale your marketing efforts is through digital marketing.

Getting the right digital marketing team in place. Getting the right digital marketing team in place is not easy. There are many digital marketing strategies, and each requires different skillsets. SEM, SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, and etc. If you are hiring a digital marketer, you will need to ensure that he/she has enough experience to advise you on what are the digital marketing strategies to implement. Depending on the strategies, the digital marketer needs to be good at designing, writing social media content, copywriting, analyzing and optimising digital marketing campaigns, to name a few. It’s almost impossible to find someone who can do all that, that’s why most of the time, it’s better to hire a digital marketing agency. You get a team of experts working for you, from the campaign manager, designer, copywriter, to the account manager.

 

Let’s face it – there are tons of digital marketing agencies in Singapore, probably more than we ever need.

You might have been on the end of cold calls and cold emails that blatantly pitch SEO or SEM services. These generic, no-value pitches are probably hung up on all the time.

But when you really want to take your company to the next level by outsourcing your digital marketing, how do you pick the best digital marketing agency to work with?

We have come to realise that good digital marketing agencies share 6 factors in common.

Simply run through this 6-factor checklist to pick the best digital marketing agency for your company: 

1. Focus on Returns 

At the end of the day, a digital marketing agency’s role is to help you grow your business. There is no way around this fact. Creative artwork, cool graphics, nice user-interface, funny posts and etc are good, but they shouldn’t be the focus of an agency.

You don’t hire a marketing agency to help you spend your spare cash. You hire a marketing agency to help you make more money. 

Therefore, a good digital marketing agency should always put your business objectives and return on investments as the sole priority. This means doing possible sales projections, understanding your margins, and gearing their strategies towards helping you make more money.

Unfortunately, very few digital agencies in Singapore do this. And that’s what makes Canny digital different – our entire company is founded upon the premise of generating a positive ROI for our clients.

2. Accessibility

We know that you want to get access to the people who are running your marketing campaigns as much as possible.

There’s no such thing as Monday to Friday, 9-5 anymore. Although many companies generally do not work on weekends, a good agency should reply to emails, text messages and phone calls, as soon as possible within reasonable boundaries. They should understand that sometimes, urgent matters can arise that need attention immediately, and they should be ready to respond fast.

3. Accountability

You need your agency to do what they say they are going to do. That means bringing in walk-in traffic, increasing your brand awareness, increasing the number of appointments that you have etc.

At Canny, we put a high emphasis on deadlines and working with the client’s budget to achieve their goals. We also constantly update clients on our work progress and the campaign results, because we are interested in your business growth.

4. Advice and Leadership

You want your agency to lead and give advice as a trusted expert.

You need an agency that proactively brings you ideas, listens to you intelligently, and ask you insightful questions. Order takers and “yes men” are not good enough. If an agency is just executing your ideas, why not hire a full-time marketing person in-house so that you can monitor him/her 9 hours a day.

At Canny Digital, we provide strategic advice on marketing. We pride ourselves on being leaders and giving sound advice to our clients for all our projects. We never take things at face value and are not afraid to voice out when we feel there is a better way.

5. Cost Effectiveness  

The best digital marketing agencies are usually not cheap because they do high quality work that gets results. And like all things in life, you pay for what you get. 

But this doesn’t mean they are extremely expensive either.

It’s all about cost-effectiveness and good value for money.

A good digital marketing agency should advise and help you spend every dollar wisely. It’s about having a big picture vision so that all of the money/efforts are investing in the right areas.

6. Business Acumen

In today’s world, marketing touches every aspect of a business. You should expect your digital marketing agency to understand your business as much as possible. You need someone at the table who can recognize and solve business problems.

Having business acumen and understanding is a big part of what makes Canny Digital different. We always aim to understand our client’s business deeply and tailor our solutions to achieve your business objectives

If you are looking to hire a digital marketing agency to help your company grow, you will never go wrong by running them through this 6-factor checklist.

 

Anyone can run a Google ad. Just search how to do it on Youtube.

Anyone can run a Facebook ad. Again, you can find out how to on Youtube.

It’s the same for running Facebook ads. In fact, Facebook even offers free videos on how to set up your own Facebook marketing campaign.

The point is that anyone can run their own digital marketing if they put the time and effort in learning how to do it.

But why do so many digital marketing campaigns fail if it’s so simple that you can do it yourself?

The reason why so many digital marketing campaigns fail is precisely because many agencies just simply help you create and upload a Google or Facebook ad. 

At the end of the month, they then report to you the number of impressions and clicks you get for your respective keywords.

This is an extremely limiting view of digital marketing. 

So limiting that, as mentioned, you can actually do it yourself. Save yourself thousands of dollars. 

But for campaigns that are wildly successful, there is a key difference. Assuming factors like brand recognition and industry are equal, the one key factor that determines success and failure is… 

Strategy.

But what really is strategy?

Strategy is defined as a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall goal. 

Creating and uploading a Google ad is not a strategy. It’s just manual labor. You can learn how to do it yourself.

Strategy in digital marketing or lead generation mostly, consists of 3 key parts:

  1. Brand positioning – How will you stand out from your competitors? What messaging will you use? 
  2. Lead magnet – A lead magnet is basically what you will offer to in exchange for a new lead’s name, email address, and even mobile phone number. This is one of the most effective ways to lower your cost-per-lead. Common forms of lead magnets are first time trials or discounts, free previews, free consultation, and etc. The decision to pick the right lead magnet is key in attracting qualified leads. You don’t want freebie seekers.
  3. Lead conversion sales process – When you generate new leads, do you have a proper system to effectively convert these leads into actual sales? How are you going to maximise profits for customers that buys your products/services?

These 3 things when done right, will make your campaign successful and give you the positive return on investment (ROI) you are looking for.

Without these 3 things, your campaign will likely be underperforming to its full potential. 

Sadly, many digital marketing agencies’ view of a digital marketing campaign is to simply send traffic to a generic home page or product page. 

At Canny Digital, we pride ourselves on providing superior digital marketing strategy so that your campaign has a much higher chance of being successful.

If you’re looking to take your digital marketing campaign to the next level, and achieve various success similar to that of our clients’, then simply call 6966 7424 to speak to one of our consultants today.

Online marketing, also known as digital marketing or internet marketing, is mostly about getting visitors to your website or landing page, and most importantly, converting them into customers. By getting as many targeted traffic to your site, chances are you’ll get more phone calls, email enquiries, store visits, purchases, bookings, and many other ‘action’ identified as your goal for the campaign. It’s important to have goal(s) for your campaign, otherwise it’ll just be an awareness campaign. By having goals, you’ll know what to measure and identify which element helps to convert higher and bring more sales. Before we dive into the ocean, let’s start from the shore.

Why You Should Start Digital Marketing

A big part of online marketing consists of content marketing. What is online marketing? It’s creating relevant and valuable content through a variety of channels.

This usually involves providing people with relevant industry information that offers an insight to audiences. This allows your business to steadily build a rapport with your key target demographic and develop a loyal community. Content marketing is one of the main methods that businesses use to secure market authority and dominance, and gaining of consumer trust. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the top Business to Business [B2B] content marketing strategies involves the social media, articles on a business’ website, eNewsletters, case studies, videos and articles on other websites.

By using one of these channels, say, articles on your business website, you can build a positive reputation within your industry. This trend also suggests that [traditional] interruption marketing to the masses like television ads, radio ads, or even ads in magazines are becoming less effective. They typically have a low conversion rate anyway. Instead, it’s better to focus on permission or inbound marketing by producing valuable, relevant and engaging content designed for your specific audience.

What You Need to Start One

Check out the various forms of delivery methods of Online Marketing. They include:

  • Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the use of online social platforms to conduct commercial promotion [as opposed to personal]. Many companies have already started doing this by posting frequent updates on sales and providing special offers through the social media profile such as ‘members only coupons’. Facebook and Twitter are examples of the most common social media marketing platform.

  • Mobile Advertising

Mobile advertising involves an ad copy delivered through wireless mobile devices such as your smartphones, mobile phones, or tablet computers. These usually take on the form of a simple short message [SMS] text, or even multimedia messages [MMS]. Mobile advertising has been growing rapidly for several reasons. There are more mobile devices in the field, connectivity speeds have improved in many places, screens have become bigger with colours, screen resolutions have become more advanced, and then there is the fact that consumers are using mobile devices more extensively.

  • Email Advertisements

Email advertisements are similar to the mobile ads. Email is an online communication tool between you and your consumers. By having email accounts, you will be able to generate and send emails, eNewsletters, White papers, etc. to your consumers without having to wait for them to come to you physically [in your brick and mortar shop] or virtually [or online website/shop].

  • Content Marketing

Once you think of creating your business website or an online blog, you are entering the territory of content marketing. It’s any marketing that involves the creation and the subsequent sharing of published contents and media in order to acquire and retain customers. The information can be presented in a wide variety of formats, including news, videos, e-books, infographics, case studies and how-to guides. Considering that most marketing now involves some form of published media, it’s the case that content marketing is sometimes synonymous with online marketing, or even just ‘marketing’. Having a website or a blog can be an infinitely useful content marketing channel. You can easily be found on the internet, where your potential consumers will be able to find out about your products and services, your policies, your prices, and how to contact you.

  • Online Classified Ads

Online classified ads are the advertising of specific products and services in a platform with categorical listings. This would include online job boards, online auction-based listings such as eBay and Craigslist, online real estate listings, online yellow pages and so on.

  • Display Advert

Display advertising usually conveys its advertising message virtually on your consumer’s computer monitor by using text, logos, animations, videos, photos, or other infographics. Such advertisements frequently target users with particular traits and profile to increase the ad’s effect. For example, cookies can track whether an online user has left the shopping page without buying anything, so that the advertiser can later retarget the user with ads from the website the user previously visited.

  • Search Engine Marketing [SEM]

SEM is a form of digital marketing that involves the promotion of your website by increasing its visibility in search engine results pages through advertising and search engine optimization [SEO]. To avoid any confusion, SEM can be seen as a wider discipline that incorporates SEO. SEM can include the paid means of improving the ranking of your website in the search results, using tools such as Google AdWords, or Bing Ads. It can also include the use of SEO for organic search results.

Leveraging on Digital Marketing

There are many benefits that online marketing confers of course, hence your consideration of it in the first place. Here’s a list of them:

  • Costs

The lower costs of online marketing comes as a consequence of the lower costs of electronic communication, and this reduce the costs of displaying online ads as compared to offline ads. Online advertising, such as social media marketing and a business website provide a low-cost channel for advertisers to engage with large, yet dispersed, communities. Studies show that advertising online offers better returns than in other media.

  • Measurability

Online marketing also offers a form of measurability. You can collect data on your ads’ effectiveness, such as the size of potential audience vs actual audience response, how visitors react and respond to the ads. You can even run regressions on how your advertising output [expenditure, number of actual audience response, actual ads sent out, number of new members, etc.] has affected your sales. Measurability allows you to analyse, review, and importantly, to improve your ad campaigns in the long run.

  • Targeting

Through online marketing, publishers have the added ability to reach an intended and very narrow market segment for targeted advertising. Online marketing has the advantage of using geo-targeting to display relevant advertisements to the user’s geography. This means that if you know the interests and preferences of your target consumers well enough, you can customize each individual ad to a particular user profile based on their previous preferences. You can also track whether your target consumer has already seen a particular ad in order to reduce unwanted repetitious exposures [again useful for regression analysis] and provide adequate time period between exposures to the same ad.

  • Speed

Speed is another benefit since online ads can be deployed almost immediately once the backroom work with the ad design is completed. The delivery of online ads do not need to be linked to any publisher’s publication schedule, and not queuing and bidding involved such as those in television marketing. It is also worth noting that in case a glaring mistake was made [touchwood!], you will be able to modify or replace the ad copy more swiftly than advertisements offline.

  • Coverage

Of course, the advantage of online market marketing on the World Wide Web, means just that. You can potentially target pretty much anyone in nearly every global market, without being bounded by geographical constraints. Potential Concerns and Pitfalls A disciplined thinking disposition, useful to have for businesses, is to keep in mind both sides of the coin. Given the benefits, there are also potential concerns that should be noted.

  • Banner Blindness

Eye-tracking studies published in the Review of Marketing Research Journal has shown that internet users often ignore [or become cognitively blinded] by web pages that likely to contain the display ads, and this problem is worse online than offline. Then again, studies also suggest that even with ‘banner blindness’, users may still be subconsciously influenced by the display ads.

  • Fraud

There are certain paid means that you can adopt; one of them is the Cost per Click [CPC]. Such means can leave you vulnerable to fraud. For example, a click fraud occurs when a third party click [manually or through certain automated means] on a CPC ad with no legitimate buying intent. This could be done for numerous reasons, one of which is to deplete your advertising budget, or when third party publishers want to artificially manufacture revenue.

  • Ad-blocking

Worth noting is that many ad-blocking or ad-filtering applications are available out there on the market, many free, that allows users to block out things such as pop-out ads by default. There are also software programs or browser add-ons that block the loading of ads, or block elements on a page with behaviours characteristic of ads such as HTML auto playing of audio or video.

  • Privacy concerns

The collection of user information by publishers and advertisers has raised consumer concerns about their own privacy according to the Wall Street Journal. Some internet users even go to the extent of using Do Not Track technology to block all collection of information if it were in their means. According to USA Today, Gallup finds more than half of all Google and Facebook users concerned about their privacy when using Google and Facebook. It is true that tracking your users’ online activities allows you to understand their interests and preferences better, but consumers have reservations about such data mining and online behavioural targeting.

  • Spam

Since online marketing is heading into a all-time high, it is unsurprising that the number of spam would increase too. The internet’s low cost of disseminating advertisements contributes to the spam as well, especially by large-scale spammers. This means that while you are busy designing your online ad copies and distributing them honestly, there are others who have committed to combating spam, ranging from blacklists to regulatory-required labelling to content filters. Some of these can have adverse collateral effects on your online advertisements, such as mistaken filtering.

  • Trustworthiness of Mobile and Email Advertisements

Finally, the scammers themselves could take advantage of your consumers’ difficulties in verifying the source of their online ads. These can lead to artifices like phishing, where scam emails are generated to your consumers’ inbox that look identical to those from the original source and a well-known brand owner [like you]. According to the year 2012 Internet Crime Report, the Internet Crime Complaint Centre has received over 250,000 complaints in 2012 alone, totalling over half a billion dollars in losses, most of which originated with scam emails and scam ads. Note that even though the Adware software is actually a delivery method of online marketing through ads, if they are installed without the user’s permission, it becomes a type of malware. Consumers needless to say, face also malware risks when interacting with online advertising.

Choose Wisely

You should have an idea on what online advertising is by now, what options you have for delivery methods, the benefits and potential pitfalls [if any] that goes with it. There is no one option where we would say that it is categorically ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. You may settle and focus on one option, or you may even go with all of them. Which option[s] you choose to go with really depends on where your preference is, what goal you have in mind, the budget and target consumers you have. Check out our other articles if you need for more information on [Marketing through blogs] or [Beginner’s Guide to SEO].

 

Quick question: What’s the true goal of your website? There are probably many answers to this: To improve my brand, to have an online presence, etc. At the end of the day, these answers all point to one common goal: to help you get more business. The goal of a website is to help you get more business. There’s no way around it. And that’s why the only meaningful way to design a website is to make sure the website captures your customers’ attention and then persuades them to do business with you. But how does one achieve this? To design a website that gets you more customers, keep these 6 principles in mind:

1. Clear Value Proposition

A value proposition is a statement that shows your customers what your company is about. It must be simple and most importantly, persuasive enough to capture your customer’s attention. In this digital age, your customers have too many options when it comes to choosing who they should buy from. A value proposition helps you win them over. And this value proposition must be place at the top of your website home page so it is visible for all customers to visit your website. Here are some examples:

POS system Intelligent online pos software from Wallmob Wallmob 

View at Wallmob

Yogurt Lab Frozen Yogurt Shops Self Serve Frozen Yogurt

View at Yoghurt Labs

Curt s Special Recipe Salsa BBQ Sauce Bloody Mary Mix View at Curt’s Special Recipe

2. Less Clutter

Take a look at this: Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 2.22.17 PM

Would you ever read the website? I’m guessing not, and I don’t blame you. We all have very short attention spans these days. Clutter is the enemy of readability. If your website looks cluttered or messy, then no customer will take the time to read your content. A sales-driven website should be cleanly designed, use easy-to-read fonts, and have key pieces of information placed in strategic locations, all for the purpose of helping the customer actually read more about your business. Compare the website you saw above to this:

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 2.40.03 PM This difference can lead to more customers or the lost of it.

3. Email Marketing

Email marketing is simply the art and science of using email to market to your consumers. Harsh truth: Most of your customers leave your website after they visit it. It is estimated that only 3% of customers buy immediately, 45% want to consider their options, and weigh out pros and cons for their needs and the rest will never buy. That is why every website should make it a priority to capture the email addresses of these 45% potential customers to gain more revenue and market share. How do you capture email addresses? You implement an email lead magnet – giving away something of value to potential customers, in exchange for their email address. Some examples here:

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 2.51.46 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 2.58.25 PM

When we work with our clients, we help them plan and think of the best email lead magnets to use for their business.

4. Proof Elements

People only buy from you when they trust or believe you can solve their problems. Without belief, there is no sale. Period. So in order to get people to trust you, you need to include proof elements on your websites. Proof elements are basically things that build proof of your credibility. Examples are testimonials, endorsements, video demonstrations, content that demonstrates your expertise, social proof like number of Facebook likes, and etc. With more proof comes more believability, and more believability means more clients. Here are some examples of the use of proof elements on a website:

Personal Trainer Your Doorstep Results Personal Training SingaporeScreen Shot 2015-05-04 at 3.05.09 PM

5. Persuasive content

Visitors who arrive at your website are looking for a reason as to why they should choose you over your competitors. Therefore the content on your website must be persuasive and benefit-oriented. It must be written in a way that shows tremendous benefits to the visitor, and persuades the visitor to choose you. Write your content for your customer, not for yourself. Focus on what benefits they can get from your company.

6. Call to actions

After you have done your job winning the customer over, he’s now ready to buy from you. The website’s job is to guide the customer and make it easy for him or her to order or call you. An effective website should have call to actions located in places easily visible to customers. Having your phone number at the top of website, in the navigation bar, and in the footer is always a good idea. Having call to action buttons on your home page is always a good idea.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 3.09.40 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 3.13.11 PM

Call to actions make it easy for your customers to take that next step, which means more revenue for your company. Using the 6 principles above, we have personally revamped websites and seen 200% increases in sales for our clients. Having an effective website can make a world of difference to your business. If you are looking to get your website designed, then get in touch with us to turn your website into a sales-generating machine.

 

As a small business, your website is a critical marketing and branding tool. People are coming to your website for a purpose, and you want to make sure that you answer their queries and use your website to sell your products/services effectively. If you get your website designed wrong, you could lose thousands of dollars that you could be making from a well designed website. Grow your bottom line by avoiding these 11 commonly made mistakes among small business owners.

1 A Lack of accessibility

What we mean here by accessibility is the ease with which a wide spectrum of users can access your website. It can refer to many things, such as the languages and jargons you use, to the operating system and browsers required to surf the website. Considering how the use of mobile phones is ubiquitous in this generation, remember, assess how your website looks when it is accessed from a mobile phone, or even a tablet. Does your website design look different when it is on Opera OS versus Safari OS? Believe it or not, there are still many users out there running browsers that are 5 years old. A good website design would take advantage of newer formatting and presentation capabilities, without preventing accessibility on older browser versions.

2 Paying too little or too much

You don’t know how many times people have come to us after theyve hired a cheap website designer, let them make branding decisions that are poor, and ended up with a horrible looking website. On the other hand, there are companies who get distracted by expensive digital marketing agencies that work with big brands, and dont realize these big agencies might not be able to help a small business thats ROI-focused. To put it simple, dont blow your budget on a website design, but do your research before hiring a web designer.

3 Lack of contact information

When you own a local business, you want your clients, clientele, consumers, potential customers, or whatever term it is you want to use, to be able to get your contact information. Is there a hotline they can call, if so, have you stated both the number AND the working hours? Do you also run a brick and mortar shop? If so; once again, have you included the full address with postal code, and your operating days and operating hours? Maybe you should also include simple directional instructions on how your clients can get to your office or store or cafe even. Make it extremely easy for your clients to be able to reach you by placing your contact information in your header, footer, and sidebar.

4 Publish quality content

Content is king, as they say. By publishing quality content, you’re demonstrating to your website visitors your expertise. You’re helping to boost your site’s SEO. But small businesses aren’t big, media companies. Meaning, you don’t have to blog several times a day, tweet several times an hour and so on. As a matter of fact, the most successful small business websites created around 2 posts per month. Think about it. Do you want your home renovation contractor to blog 3 times a day? Probably not. You want them to renovate your house in the quickest time with the best effort. So, if you’re a small business owner, publish less often but keep the content high quality.

5 No background music

Seriously, do not use them. It is hard to find a situation where they are appropriate. We are pretty sure that your clients will not care about whatever music or soundtrack you put on your website. Never mind having a new track for each page or internal link, just don’t use them at all. If absolutely necessary, remember to include user controls so that they can adjust the volume of the music, or even stop the music if they so choose.

6 Bad navigational issues

Navigation within your business website should be seamless and smooth. You want your users to be able to find their way around easily. While there is no measurable standard for how easy navigation is within a given website, it is still important for us to appreciate the fact that navigation should be intuitive and natural. Here are some basic guides to get you started on the idea. If text is used as navigation, it should be concise. If visual metaphors are used, stick to the conventions, avoid reinventing them for style. Hyperlinks should be outstanding from the body of text, and make sure that there are no dead links anywhere on your website. This is not only confusing for your users, it can be a waste of time. Another one that should be avoided, something that is not as uncommon as you think, is links on a webpage that links back to the same page, or even dead links.

7 Poor colour schemes and readability

This is a crucial design aspect for your business website. A good interface design will grab your users’ attention, sure, but can they also read the text to pull out the information they desire as well? A poor colour scheme should be avoided if it will distract your users from what your ‘key take-away message’ is. We promise we have seen plenty of websites that use outrageous colour combinations and bizarre font styles that make the reading a migraine-inducing task within seconds. Also important is to keep the visually-impaired users in mind. If your website uses a coloured text on a coloured background, help them out by offering a high contrast option.

8 No clear call-to-action

What do you want your website visitors to do once they land on your website? Do you want them to call you, email you, subscribe to your e-newsletter, or buy your product? You need to tell your visitors what you want them to do. Your content should answer the question, “what’s in it for me?” and then the call-to-action button tell them what to do next.

9 Pop-up Windows

Cut that out. Not every user is equipped with a pop-up blocker app on their browser. Like the background music, unless you have a very good reason, avoid the annoying pop-up windows and links.

10 Where is the Search Bar

The web is like an archive of information, much like a library, and it helps to have a system through which you can pull out the relevant information desired. Your website is really no different, and a search box is essential for your clients to find what they want. Sometimes your visitor may be looking for something that is not made explicit on your website, and a search box can come in handy. Also, make sure that the search box can be easily spotted by users. We have seen websites where finding the search box is like a mini game of ‘Finding Waldo’.

11 Are your FAQs really FAQs?

Of course, having a Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs] section on your website can be a great idea. It can be a cost and time effective way of providing answers to common questions without having them contacting you. But are you sure that the questions listed have ever been asked, let alone frequently asked. Do not make the mistake of irritating your users by having them go through a list of infrequently asked questions, only to still go away having their query unanswered. Worth noting is the fact that many websites have dispensed with the FAQs section. This is not about how fashionable the FAQ is or isn’t. The point is that ALL of the content on your site needs to be relevant to the people who are going to visit it. Relevance is a rule that should be followed throughout the designing of your web; from its inception to its maturity as you monitor your site. If a question is truly frequently asked by your users, perhaps it is time to update your website to incorporate that information into your website. Relevant content will give your visitors a good impression and it will increase the likelihood that they will take the next step to join your client base.

12 Not Keeping Track of Your Site

Finally, to ensure that the information on your website are always up-to-date and relevant to your users and clients, you have to monitor your website even after it has reached a certain level of maturity. Check your inbox and comment boxes [if any] and see what your clients and users are saying, what they are asking. This gives you an idea of questions that are frequently asked, or even if there is a need to create [remove] a new [outdated] section on your site. There are numerous tools out there that can help in monitoring your site as well. With many that are free of charge, there is really no excuse for you not to monitor who is visiting your site and what they do when they get there.

 

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