It’s not all doom and gloom for businesses that appear to be running ‘business-as-usual’, because they will be the first to receive a positive response from global customers once this crisis is over. The following article landed in my mailbox earlier this week, and it’s based on facts and figures, and includes good, positive advice.
Let’s be honest. Do you think that posting the occasional out of focus photo on Facebook or Instagram is a very effective marketing strategy? I have even seen photos uploaded that are not the right way up and have to tried to tilt my phone and my neck to see what it is.
Apart from being a fool for twisting my neck, more importantly, if someone can’t spend a few minutes preparing a quick post I don’t want to do business with them.
I’ve posted a few blogs recently about improving content with professional photography, planning your content, etc. And when the following article landed in my mailbox it tied all of these topics together and also provided some ‘Visual Best Practices’. There’s not only information on how to define your content marketing strategy, but a great visual of a mind-map to go with it!
If you put in a little thought, time and effort into what you publish, people are going to remember it more. They will link great visual content to your business and you will stand out over your competitors. Think of it as telling a visual story.
What images can you use to help to improve your text content and make it more memorable?
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“Our aim is to help you improve the quality of your customer’s experience and increase the visibility of your business by providing expert advice and offering a range of affordable solutions and services”.
SAA IT Testing – Committed to you and your business
As we move into another week of confinement, I want to reassure all my existing and potential clients that I remain committed to you and your business.
As a responsible business owner, I will be following the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), and all relevant authorities, for country-specific requirements.
I am fortunate that my line of business does not involve face to face contact with my clients and I can work from home. But the same as everyone else, we are being impacted by a downturn in trade as small and medium-sized businesses cancel or reduce their orders.
If there is anything I can do to help you through these difficult times please get in touch. I have extended the FREE business website review indefinitely, and can also offer assistance writing blogs or content to help your business look it’s best.
If you prefer, we can just talk. Sometimes it is just good to have someone to talk to who is in the same situation.
Thank you for your continued loyalty and trust in SAA IT Testing Services
What can you do that is different from what everyone else is doing?
Whether it’s now or in the next 6 months, most small and medium-sized businesses are going to have a few obstacles to overcome. Maybe now is a good time to get creative – start thinking about what it is we do and how can we improve it.
Running a business is hard work. It’s not just doing the jobs that bring the money in, it’s marketing, paying taxes on time, working with suppliers, etc. We learn how to manage these activities, but when something we have no control over impacts our business that’s when we need to stop and think. The situation we now find ourselves in, through no fault of our own, needs to be managed, otherwise not only will our businesses suffer, but our health will suffer too. I’m in the same boat, and I don’t know how I’m going to pay the bills this month. But I’m trying to stay positive. I’m fit and healthy. We have a place to live and food in the freezer. I’ve arranged meetings with the bank and insurance agent to discuss our finances and there’s government aid we can apply for.
“Being creative can involve cooking a meal from scratch, creating a novel marketing campaign, making up a bedtime story for your child, finding ways to cut costs, or even developing a creative solution to a negotiation impasse. Whatever you do, creativity helps you do it better.”
We’re not the only ones in this situation and that bizarrely is what is making me think positively. Now, I need to channel my positivity into creativity. I’m off to do some mind-mapping to jog my creativity.
According to Google Chrome’s blog, some security changes are taking effect in 2020. Insecure cross-site tracking will be limited, and third-party cookies will only be allowed over HTTPS.
DATA PRIVACY – Is this the end of digital marketing as we know it?
Because of growing concerns over data privacy companies will have to rethink their digital marketing. This is because third-party cookies which are used to track user interventions will be blocked by Google Chrome browsers by 2022. Other browsers – such as Firefox and Safari – already automatically block them, but currently with Google, users have to manually amend their settings.
It isn’t the end of digital marketing though. It just means that businesses will have to start using other methods and tools – email marketing, keyword search, social media campaigns, etc.
Now’s the time to start testing new methods and seeing which ones work the best for your business.
As a business owner, the best way to enhance your online presence is by having your own website. And I’m not just saying that because I test websites for a living.
Social Media outlets are quick to set up. They’re fairly easy to manage, and free to run (at the minute). But what happens when they change their policies or accidentally delete your account? It does happen, and when it does you have lost your whole business profile, contacts, showroom, pricing. All gone overnight.
Whereas if you own your business website you have control of your own destiny. You own it – lock, stock and barrel. If anything goes wrong then it’s generally your own fault, but it is recoverable.
Choosing a Website designer
Once you have made the decision to have your own business website, for it to be successful I would recommend using a professional web designer. It doesn’t have to be a big company and it doesn’t necessarily have to be someone local either. It can be more beneficial to have someone based in the same country, because a) if you have any problems they’re in the same timezone and b) they should be familiar with the website legalities for your country.
What else do you need to know? Knowing how much they charge would be a good start, but there a few other questions you should be asking too.
In a study by website designer Joseph Putnam – 94% of people couldn’t trust a website that was unattractive, had navigation problems, or was challenging to access on a mobile device
What’s included in the price?
Does it include registering a domain? Will the domain (mybusiness.com) be registered to you? Does is include hosting? 24/7 support? Does it include Search Engine Optimisation? Does it include making changes if you don’t like the first draft?
If any of these service aren’t included ask how much extra they cost, and get everything in writing.
How long have they been in business?
You want someone that’s been around a while, experienced and isn’t going to disappear in a couple of weeks. Ask for recommendations and also ask to see their portfolio. Do they have designs that appeal to you? Do the websites look professional? Can you view the websites fully on different devices – laptop, mobiles, tablets?
Obviously if you are paying for a service you want to have some input. You’re the business owner, you know your business and should have an idea of the kind of image you want to present. You need to get this across to your website designer and make sure they understand it fully. Show them some websites that you like the look of and ask them whether they will be writing the content or whether you need to provide it. Have you got a logo? What about your colour scheme?
Update 03/08/2020 – some of the web designers that I have spoken to recently about Cookie and Privacy policies have informed me that it is the client that should tell them if and how they want the cookie banner to be displayed. The onus is on the website owner to make sure the website is legally compliant, not the web designer. So please, bear this in mind and check out the legalities for french business sites
How long is it going to take?
Before you part with any money find out how long it will take them? There’s no point placing an order for a website if it isn’t going to be ready when you need to start advertising your products and services. They need to fit your timetable, not the other way around.
I have worked closely with website designers over the years and I now focus on testing website from a user perspective. If you need any recommendations from me then just ask. I’m always happy to help and can give you some hints and tips on what to look for in a designer’s portfolio. In fact I’ve even written a couple of articles on it recently. Check them out.
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If you have a website, blog or app on the Internet then you have to comply with privacy laws. Regardless of whether your website is professional or non-professional, you must display certain mandatory information. If you don’t comply with the website legalities then you risk being fined €1500.
In the worse case scenario, unauthorised computer processing of data you’ve collected could result in 5 years’ imprisonment and a €300,000 fine.
Have I got your attention now?
Websites legalities is a fairly hefty topic and the mandatory information depends on whether you are an individual, company, type of activity, etc. So I’m going to break it down into smaller chunks and just cover Cookies and Privacy Policies here.
Cookies & Privacy
Business website owners aren’t the only ones who have to comply. Theses website legalities apply to professional and non-professional websites.
A professional website is one that is used by a business, either an individual or a company. The compulsory details to be displayed will depend on the type of activity.
A non-professional website is one that’s used by an individual and is not used for business. For example, a blog.
Apart from the risk of a fine, non-compliance could have other more serious effects. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that users will avoid interacting with a website if they think their privacy is at risk. You need to comply with the law if you want to be seen as trustworthy.
Choose a policy that’s most relevant to your website activity, personalise it and display it prominently on your website. Enable a Cookie pop-up so it displays when visitors access your website. This allows them to accept, reject or change their preferences. Also consider adding a link to your policy on your Contact page. Prove to your customers that they can trust you.
If you have any problems with setting this up, get in touch and I will do my best to help you out. If I can’t help then I’m sure I’ll find someone that can!
I hope this article has been useful. The next one in the Website Legalities series will cover individual entrepreneurs exercising commercial, craft and regulated activities.
I pick one from the list ‘The Marker Hotel’. It’s a bit out of my price range but the room photo has piqued my interest. There are over 1000 photos, but check out the Room/Suite ones and tell me which ones you prefer. Scroll through them and it’s pretty obvious which are professional and which are guests photos.
If you’re looking for a hotel you don’t just want to see a hotel room. You want to see the bathroom, the dining room, the pool and spa facilities. But they have to be captivating, good quality images in order to entice you in, like The Marker Hotel.
Now apply that principle and search for your product. Better still get someone else to search for your product and give you their honest feedback.
Regardless of what you are ‘selling’, good quality images are going to catch the shopper’s attention before they read the description. You need to showcase the whole product, from different angles, and in different settings if possible. Think about what you would want to see as a potential buyer.
“We are highly visual creatures and repeatedly buy with our eyes. This is especially true when it’s time to book a hotel room. Potential guests want to see where they will be staying”.
Hiring a professional photographer might sound like an unnecessary expense but, if you want to boost your sales, your photos need to be good quality images. High resolution digital photos will give sharper results, and hiring a professional photographer may turn out to be the best business investment you ever made. Ask for recommendations, check out their website portfolio and chat with them about your product requirements.
If you want to boost your sales, think like your customer or ask someone else to. Then act on their feedback.
Most buyers are looking for inspiration so good quality images will capture their attention and help to create a picture perfect ordering experience!
I hope you found this article useful.
If you think there is anything that could have been better, let me know.