Hungry Vegans… Hungry Jack’s

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Hungry Vegans… Hungry Jack’s

There are approximately 11.5% of Aussie’s who now identify as vegetarian/vegan (I do recognise the difference – but they were the stats I had)… and my wife happens to be one of them. And I can tell you, as a meat eating cannibal, that your vego types can be hard to cater for in a world besotted by meat.

Now, in saying that, there are some sensational vegetable dishes that even the most dedicated meat eaters would really enjoy if they were more aware of them.

But let’s face it the vego/vegan thing is in some ways still seen as an obscure sub culture by many. And so, with just 11.5% of Aussies it is easy to understand why this market is often overlooked.

But Hungry Jack’s recently launched a new Vegan Burger and the subsequent ad campaign and media coverage is for me a masterstroke and no doubt McDonalds will be closely monitoring its success if not desperately trying to conceive their own vegetarian options.

There is a tremendous lesson in this for business. Hungry Jack’s have combined product planning and marketing to effectively own a space. With Australia, the third fast growing Vegan market and them getting a run on their key competition, Hungry Jack’s get to own the space and the narrative. They get to build traction around them and for a time at least have a genuine point of difference.

There is risk in this strategy, but whilst many businesses would overlook the trend or wait to see if there was genuine interest in this vegan thing. Hungry Jack’s have taken a considered gamble that, whilst genuine vegetarians/vegans may only be 11% of the market currently, the trend for healthier choices is growing and whilst many may baulk at the idea of a vegan burger from Hungry Jack’s resembling anything like a healthy option, there may be a few out there sitting on the fringes who will see what Hungry Jack’s have done and give it a go.

And in a market where there are few alternatives (as in “healthy” or vegetarian fast food) and at a time where your key competitor isn’t even in the game yet, these are moments where businesses can redefine their market position and even gain market share by changing it up.


…your key competitor isn’t even in the game yet, these are moments where businesses can redefine their market position and even gain market share by changing it up….


And your marketing and marketing team can play a big role in this too…

Marketing is often overlooked in terms of its role in product development, but in a modern context – user or customer experience is both driven and communicated by marketing. Great marketing should reflect a genuine insight into your customer and those insights can have a tremendous influence on understanding the needs and expectations of your customers. A well-integrated marketing team should be seeing the emerging trends and opportunities for your brand across the broader market place and then suggesting ideas like improvements to service or new products.

Once these recommendations have been assessed and implemented through the various areas of the business that bring them to life – marketing then plays a huge role in communicating that to the customer.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your organisation integrating these functions of your business will better connect it to your customers’ needs, so be sure to get your marketing team or agency in on your planning for future products and service delivery changes, because it could change the way you do business.

Well done, Hungry Jack’s.

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Image Credit Hungry Jacks via Fashion Journal

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Written By: Michael Menzies

Are TV ads worth it? Super Bowl musings Part 2

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IT’S SUPER BOWL TIME
LET’S TALK FOOTBALL TV ADS

If you read our discussion yesterday about TV ads and the cost of a Superbowl, you may have come away wondering how your business could really benefit from such an event.

After all, your budget may not go anywhere near that far and in many respects, whilst the Superbowl provides the ultimate exposure, it simply isn’t open to the average size business.

There are a couple of lessons business of any size can take away from the Superbowl regardless of how big or small you are.

You can reach a lot of eyeballs and it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

There is no doubt that a one off event like Superbowl will throw a spotlight on your brand if you were willing to stump up the cash to buy such massive exposure but buying high quality targeted exposure can actually be a whole lot simpler. The beauty of digital (which is why we love it) is with budgets nowhere near as large we can create immensely targeted campaigns that can deliver real results for your business.

Don’t think just one channel – We deal with an array of companies large and small, and many have a variety of marketing initiatives across an array of channels. What the Superbowl ads often do is create a great narrative and produce a phenomenal TVC, but this isn’t where these campaigns end. The ads are merely the tip of the iceberg for most of the advertisers. Each ad will be supported with search, social and dedicated landing pages to ensure that after the audience has seen the ad they can find it, share it and learn more about it. There is a natural PR aspect to Superbowl that your average campaign may not have, but if you work to create a great brand story there is no reason why you couldn’t integrate some tailored PR around your marketing approach whatever channel you use.

Ultimately, Superbowl is an ad campaign on steroids. Whilst the spotlight shines upon the ads themselves the fundamentals of having a great creative story, a targeted message and a fully integrated approach really apply from the Superbowl right down to the most basic of campaigns.

 

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7 useful steps for scaling your network

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7 USEFUL STEPS FOR SCALING YOUR NETWORK

A business consultant was telling me how “digital is all well and good, but you know that referral will always be your strongest sales machine”. I looked at him blankly for a second knowing full well that he was implying that digital couldn’t provide the 1 to 1 referral opportunity that you get from your trusted network.

In a presentation he gave later that day he then touted – “that everyone needs an assistant to do the grunt admin work for his or her business…” because how can you possibly grow when you are limited by your own capacity.

There seems to be a contradiction going on here, apparently, some parts of your business function can be delegated but the holy grail of business networking cannot.

He is right, in a way, some things can’t simply be delegated to some junior or outsourced and maintaining your network certainly falls into that category because networking is all about building relationships and trust.

But how do you continue to grow if we are limited in both our capacity to meet new people and service our relationships?

I think this is where the previously mentioned business consultant is wrong – and the answer is Digital!

In this day and age, there are so many platforms in the digital world that allow us to build and maintain “virtual” personal relationships and share what appears to be “personalized” information widely. From email newsletters to social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, or a website/blog – we can keep in touch with our network and remind them of what they liked about us in the first place with solid regularity.

So, if you agree that there is only one of you and that you want to engage your network of referrers more regularly – here are 7 good ways to do it?

Small to medium businesses (we are one too y’know) usually do not have a lot of time or the biggest budgets so in our case we have to choose wisely regarding how and where to invest so as to maximize how we connect with our network.

But regardless of size, you simply can’t throw it to someone else. You need to either dedicate time yourself in crafting your communications or build a relationship with a trusted partner to work with you generating the RIGHT kind of content to engage your network.

Just like a face to face conversation: what you say, the way you are dressed and the way you present yourself is very important – so don’t skimp on your approach to this. Treat each piece of communication as if you are in front of that person and provide them with a quality insight that reminds them of your value. I am not going to lie – it takes time and perseverance to scale your network online and you have to be involved to some degree to keep it authentic.

1. Plan

Spending a bit of time (and money) up front to develop a strategy for your online activities can save you money and countless hours (which is the idea right? We are trying to streamline efforts, aren’t we?) in the long run. Pay attention to how you will choose:
• your platforms and tools,
• how you will create the content
• how you can cross share content and
• how you can engage your network continually

Keep a high standard and try to be consistent in your messaging – the end goal is that your network feels and gains value from their interactions with you and your brand at each touch point.

2. It’s not working – what do I do?

First of all – think back to when you began “real life” networking or implemented referral programs for your customers – The results weren’t likely perfect straight of the bat right?

You no doubt tested a few territories, tested your pitch etc. So if you’ve been trying to get a foothold on a platform for 6 months and nothing is happening it might be the right platform for you… for example I heard recently that the Royal Blind Society gave up their Instagram account… There is an obvious laugh to be had here, but it would be interesting to consider their strategic thinking behind both having it and walking away from it.

The key is experimentation – see what your audience likes and play to that.

As a tradie, if you notice that a video of a job you finished recently really resonated with your audience perhaps consider doing that for each of your projects.

Or if you’re a mortgage broker – could your audience be encouraged by regular video updates of how your customers are benefiting from your ongoing service?

Remember just like your pitch – you must be clear about what you do and remind your network why you do it. Show them the joy you get from the successes you have with your client. And if you can’t seem to find results – it may be time to call in the experts; often they can see you business, your customer and how to reach them in a way you can’t.

3. Referral

So, I am expanding my network but how is this going to generate any referrals for my business?

In any digital strategy, advocacy should be a main theme. We all know that it costs more to gain a customer than keep a customer; hence advocacy amongst your network is crucial on two levels, recommendation and repeat business.

How long has it been since you reached out to your customers?

4. After you’ve reached out how do you turn that customer into an advocate?

From our perspective, we focus on two distinct advocacy pathways “active” and “passive”.

Much of the advocacy in Social Media is passive they may like or comment on one of your posts.

A like = endorsement.
A share = a hearty endorsement
A share with a person tagged is pretty much a referral – one of your circle has seen your content and said, “Hey Jo, you really have to check these peeps out”.

These are valuable and the more touch points where you can engage your network to advocate your brand the better. The wonderful side effect of these sort of environments is they have a capability to improve the reach of your network too….

If you haven’t done so already a more active approach to referrals could be to reach out to your network and ASK THEM TO refer your business. Remind them of their importance to your business and the importance of them telling their network about you.

Many business people will be engaged in real world networking events and clubs and in these environments people are encouraged to outline the types of referrals they are looking for. Don’t feel scared to do the same in the digital world either.

5.Be available.

Be sure to answer comments and respond to questions or enquiries. It’s called a social network for a reason – make sure you can answer any comments or questions in a timely manner.

Don’t be afraid of negative comments – A negative comment gives you an unusual chance to have an even more memorable impact – remember the old adage there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

If someone has a gripe about your service be polite and allay their concerns or consternations as quickly as possible – hopefully it’s a misunderstanding, but if not, you have a direct customer insight into an area where your business might not be providing the best possible service.

Celebrate your wins too. If your winning accounts, selling lots of products let people know – just think how often people have said – let’s eat here, it’s a full restaurant it must be good. If you show your full of happy customers that can have the same effect.

6. Tire Kickers

Am I inviting more timewasters into my circle by doing this?

Ultimately throwing your networking into the digital world opens the potential for engaging the wrong audience.

It is important to understand that this itself presents two distinct opportunities:
1. To better hone your messaging to weed out the wrong type of client and
2. It may reveal an opportunity you didn’t realize existed.

7. Competitors

Aren’t I just showing off all the goods so others can copy me?

ep, if your content is good enough to copy, well then, imitation is the greatest form of flattery. If you focus on your strategy and continually improve your positioning; someone copying you will always be one step behind.

So if referral is your “strongest sales channel” don’t overlook digital as a genuine opportunity to engage,, build or even re-engage your network. And remember there are only so many hours in any given day. Digital offers you a way to be working on your networking almost anywhere at almost anytime.

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Should I go with a big agency or small agency?

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Should I go with a big agency or small agency?

Digital Matters – Bigger Agencies Vs Small
Should I go with a big agency or small agency?

I had to laugh when meeting a potential client the other day… let’s call her Jane… Jane is a middle aged entrepreneur.

We had met me at an event and we got to talking, as you do, and Jane spoke of her desire to find a big agency to help market her product. She had a marketing background herself and loved the idea of working with the BIG names. Jane asked me about about my business and I said I thought I could help her with her marketing challenges. As I discussed my business she said “I’ve never heard of Remember Creative”. I explained we were small, but growing. Later on in the event we had connected on LinkedIn and after looking at my profile “oh wow you have worked for X,Y and Z… You must be really good” I sheepishly thanked her for her kind words. As the conversation drew to a close she said “Why don’t you work for the big guys? You’re clearly good enough”.

I pondered her question on my way home and I thought there was value in sharing some thoughts on big vs small agencies…

 

In the current climate (I know there are digital climate change deniers out there but it’s hard to refute that digital has changed the marketing conditions) it’s hard to know where to put your money when it comes to marketing.

As in-house teams are getting larger (http://www.agencynewbusiness.com/combating-the-rise-of-in-house-agencies/), and depending on which blogs you frequent the generalist and specialist are both growing in prominence, the waters are becoming increasingly muddied – even for the well initiated.

Caveat – I am writing this, and work for, a small agency myself so this list is obviously as impartial as they come.

Less Overhead
There is a bulk that comes from being big that’s the nature of the beast. So if bang for your buck is a major concern then a smaller boutique digital agency might be for you.

History of success
There is a certain comfort going with a much lauded agency – the runs on the board can speak volumes but will the creative team that made you consider company X be the same that will be working on your project?
And yet, the pocket sized agency will usually have a director who have, themselves, been the creatives that have run and been responsible for a number of amazing campaigns – which in turn led to the genesis of owning their own company.

Less polished at presentations
This is a feather in the cap of big agencies for sure, they have the resources to throw at a presentation or pitch meeting and they are doing it far more regularly. Their presentation game is tight!

More Importance
Your business might mean that much more to the smaller agency and with that comes added benefits of your digital agency going that extra mile to make you happy.

A one stop shop
A smaller agency may not be a 360 degree agency which means that you might need to go to more than one source or that the agency will need to collaborate with another niche agency to make the grand vision you have into a reality. This can be a positive in the case of the specialty agency as they have to choose agencies that do good work (to make them look good) and that work well with them (to make everything run smoothly).

More Access
With a smaller creative agency you will find that you have much more access. You might find yourself regularly conversing with the boss or Creative Director rather than a newly vetted project manager.

Familiarity
Perhaps intertwined with access is familiarity – The high demand, churn and burn nature of a bigger digital agency often means that you might have a different person running your account and different team members doing your work often. Seeing as you will quite often be conversing with the senior management and/or owner there is less chance to see the owner moving to another organisation.

And if nothing else, there is the simplest rule Follow Your Gut. Your comfort level with your new agency is tantamount to your sanity, progress and productivity.

If there is a level of apprehension then you will spend more time worrying, checking in and checking up on your new outlay and less time doing what you should be doing running your business.

Remember is a boutique agency and proud of it. If you would like to have a discussion about our processes. Here’s my email.

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The best SEO advice you’ll ever receive

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The best SEO advice you’ll ever receive

The best SEO advice you’ll ever receive

‘What should I do to get better SEO,’ people often ask us?

Their reasoning is usually that Google and other search engines keep changing the rules, so what they do today should be different to what they were doing yesterday.

We tell them that the best advice on search engine optimisation (SEO): give users the content they’re looking for and your site will rise to the top.

It’s such simple advice – yet so difficult to stick to when there are thousands of SEO companies out there promising a quick fix. Before you shell out for a ‘guaranteed’ boost in rankings, consider whether you’ve got these basics covered.

What do search engines want?  

Search engines vary in the methods they use to crawl and rank sites, but they’re all essentially hunting for content that is:

  • It’s not enough for your site to focus solely on the hard sell. To outrank the competition, it’s important to offer content that helps those looking for information, along with products and services. Ideally, your content will also be the kind visitors want to share with their network and other sites will want to link to.
  • Search engines look at the usability of your site as a whole when they serve up results. This means that everything from your site’s URL structure to mobile optimisation and internal links need to support a streamlined, logical user journey. If not, a more user-friendly option will outrank you.
  • Sites that are search engine friendly are those that meet key accessibility guidelines. All text content should be marked-up to reflect its importance in a given page hierarchy (not just for style). Meanwhile, essential non-text elements like images, banners and even embedded files need to have text equivalents that search engines can actually read.

What makes your SEO ranking drop?

  • Landing pages stuffed with keywords. We still hear stories of keyword stuffing and even find sites hiding keywords against a background of the same colour. This is a huge mistake that could get your site penalised.
  • Pretty, unreadable images. A full bleed, full colour landing page is lovely, but can a search engine read it? Everything you want your users to see needs to be readable by a search engine too. This goes for every element, from banners to buttons.
  • Black hat tactics. There are still so many SEO services out there promising huge, instant improvements for a fee. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Search engines know about these companies and being connected with them risks a ban that could take months to lift.

Track and tweak to improve your SEO

Like any other aspect of good website management, SEO requires vigilance. Once you have an SEO strategy in place, it’s important to keep tracking your performance so you can find any drop in rankings early and take steps to counter this.

We know how important it is that your site ranks first and how frustrating it is to be outranked by competitors.

For expert advice on reaching your SEO goals, get in touch with our team today.

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Why strategy is key to digital growth

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WHY STRATEGY IS KEY TO HOW YOU USE DIGITAL  TO ENHANCE THE GROWTH OF YOUR BUSINESS

The digital environment is HUGE…with so many options to successfully reach your customers and promote your business – but many businesses think of Digital as some sort of abstract THING that sits over in the corner on its own – they have someone “look after the website” once or twice a year and they spend a little bit on AdWords but aren’t really sure if it does anything.

In the same vein, I don’t know how many times I have heard someone say to me “we’re doing some stuff in social – we’ve got a Facebook page”.

How many of you are like this?

If you are – don’t worry you are not alone but if you are it is time to change up your thinking – its time for a truly integrated and strategic approach to your digital marketing needs.

We have a wide variety of customers across a wide variety of industries and each face there own unique set of marketing challenges. So today I am going to take you through three examples of how your digital approach should be both inclusive and complementary to your REAL WORLD product and marketing initiatives and how doing  so will dramatically improve your business.

Your Database

We had a client that had a very nice website. They had got good traction with it and have over 3000 customer email addresses for interested customers who had previously enquired about their products.

When we began working with them on their new website – we asked them how they utilised their database.

“We don’t” they replied.

When we re-lunched their site, we also worked with them to develop a strategic approach to utilising their database to engage these already interested customers.

In a very short space of time – they have begun reaching out regularly to their database with a variety of content we have helped them generate. The upshot is they are regularly seeing 35%+ of that database reacting to their communications. They have improved there enquiry rate and generated sales they had not budgeted for.

We tied this approach directly to their traditional print offering – making the online offering for products that they wanted to move more quickly and thus differentiated the offers across print and digital – giving us real world feedback on the specific interest in the digital product offering but also using the instantaneous nature of digital to strategically promote products that had a shorter sales lead time.

Why?

Because they thought they were doing enough by having a website. If you have a database make sure you are using it. You are 60% more likely to sell to existing clients or clients that have been engaged by your brand previously, and like this client, you can use digital to compliment your existing initiatives and delver a different sales channel for your business.

Your Social Approach

We met with a client the other day. A well established business and they asked for some advice.

They were a logistical service business looking to communicate with their audience in the big bold world of social media.

So they began to tell me their “Facebook strategy”….. it involved finding some fun videos and images she felt were related to their business/audience  posting weekly. After a good ten minutes I stopped said client and asked – “so who are you talking too?”

Her response was “business owners looking for logistical services with a turnover of $20 million plus”.

I said – “Do you think these clients are searching for you on Facebook”?

Her response was simply – “but everyone is on Facebook right?”

There is some level of truth to this no doubt with almost everyone having a Facebook account, but just because everyone has one, doesn’t necessarily mean this is the most ideal way for your business to find its customers.

Whilst, I wouldn’t discredit having a Facebook presence in this particular example my recommendation would have been to look at some alternate social channels that perhaps better suited her business and her customers. And besides the channel selection – the other key consideration is content. Leveraging content from around the web is great, but in the case of this client they needed to truly showcase their skills and expertise – something that found content wasn’t likely to achieve

So embarking on a social path isn’t as easy as a few posts here and there – so consider investing in quality content – in the case of this client my recommendation was to create a YouTube channel and set aside some budget for some quality video content that showcased their capabilities and offered insights and advice (often what people are looking for).

Having worked with Taubman’s in the past – I can testify to the success of their approach using You Tube – https://www.youtube.com/user/TaubmansAustralia

What social channel you select is vital to the success of your approach. So consider who your customers are and where they are likely to be looking for your types of services online. Really consider the content – your content selection should show off your brand, your capabilities and it doesn’t have to be done with a massive budget – Here is a great example of a similar approach taken from a fantastic Aussie business: SORTED EVENTS

https://www.facebook.com/sortedprojectsandevents/videos/1171049916265447/

Now, Hailey’s audience is considerably different to the example I gave above and when you look at her demographic it makes total sense to be showcasing her content on facebook, but the principle remains the same –insightful content that is targeted!

Once you have created great content, however, don’t leave it in the digital space. Tie it back to your other activities and marketing initiatives.

In the case of Taubman’s, they brought there content to life at large housing expos and got the likes of Shaynna Blaze to work the crowd; SORTED are offering a range of paid short courses in event management building a paid product offering around a broader marketing objective.

The content will generate interest across her broader service offering but importantly she has considered how to build an integrated approach to using digital in this way and leveraging her experience.

Search

Search and cost per click can be expensive if they are not carefully considered. Some of the keywords we would want to target for our business for example are upward of $15 click if we wanted to bid eagerly for them.

Adwords and search is a genuine science. But so often businesses, much like social,  think if they throw a few bucks at it and they are “doing search”.

I was talking to two distinct clients recently, I asked both how they were using adwords. And both basically said we throw a few dollars a month at it.

I asked how it performed? And both couldn’t tell me if “doing search” had delivered one single client to business.

Now a few bucks was between $750 and $1400/month – which, whilst not a fortune, is hardly small change.

So there are a few things to consider to make search work more effectively for your business.

  • First try and understand your customer and what they are wanting to find. Try and put yourself in a potential customers place and even develop some “personas” that emulate particular clients.
  • Utilise the tools within the adwords platform to help select the best set of keywords for your business.
  • You can also use these to identify what people are searching for, which can both help better select your keywords and understand what your potential customers are searching for will also help develop your content, which in turn will complement search.

The other key aspect to search, from our perspective, comes down to taking an integrated approach, as in the other two examples. For example, consider how the content of your newsletter grows from the content you are generating in other channels and how does your search strategy helps define the content you are producing. Moreover, think, how does your website complement each?

The key takeaways

If you read our blog, you may recall I recently talked about a range of things you may not know your website could do  – One area you should be particularly thinking about in terms of “what your website does” is how it integrates with your search and social/content strategy. – Think about how all these things play together.

The phenomenal thing about the digital environment is you don’t always need to be “selling” your product to “sell your product”.

We believe your content should reflect your skills and expert knowledge, your strategy should be to engage your customers in your brand personality and guide them on how and why your brand, your products and your service are their best choice. And the wonderful thing is in the digital environment you have an opportunity to do all of this 24 hours day

It takes work and careful consideration – but digital can engage your clients far more often and for far longer helping grow your business like few other media.

Give us a call or drop us an email to discuss your strategy. Do it now… seriously we won’t bite… except for Tim* but we don’t let him meet with clients.

*Tim is fictional – none of the Remember Creative staff have ever bitten a client… yet.

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What can a personal website do for you?

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What can a personal website do for you?

Most of us know the benefits of a company website. They’ve become our first port of call for checking out what that organisation offers; we use it to find out what they do and how they do it differently. We compare that business with its competitors and see whether we want to buy from them or not.

From the business’s point of view this is fantastic – not least because their website lets them control the message you’re getting about them. Sure, you can google them and find out reviews and try to track down people who’ve had a positive or negative experience. But if they do it well, give you the right experience and make it easy to buy, they may be able to convince you that they’re the one to go with – then and there.

Guess what, all these same benefits apply to a personal website too. If you’re in the market for a job, if you’re looking to grow your profile, or even if you’re after a promotion or pay rise, a personal website can be gold. After all….

You are not a company

Consider this… the average length of time that someone stays in a job in the United States is now just 4.6 years. In Australia, it’s probably not much different. That means, statistically, you’re unlikely to be with your current employer for that much longer.

So, if you’re hitching your mast to your employer’s, hiding your skills behind their branding and letting their website and positioning in the marketplace sell your skills and expertise, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

If you’re in any kind of services industry – such as real estate, law, financial advice, accounting – that’s probably obvious enough. That’s because you, as the professional, really are what brings value to the business, Everyone already knows that. Without your knowledge, experience and networks the business wouldn’t be able to survive. So the need to position yourself properly if you’re ever going to build a career is obvious.

Another group for whom a personal website is a no-brainer is franchisees. Often the franchisor will only do so much for your marketing and branding. A more personal touch that speaks directly to your clients or customers and speaks to your individual market can work wonders.

But it’s broader than that

Because, while professional services and franchises are the most obvious examples of where this problem lies, I don’t think they’re the only ones who could do with a personal website. No matter what line of work you’re in, a personal website will let you speak to future employers, clients and others in a way that’s just not possible through other means.
In the creative industries, designers, art directors and copywriters have been doing this for years: having their own room to show a portfolio of their work: ad campaigns they’ve worked on or ideas they’ve developed.

When it comes time for a pay rise, when they’re considering moving on, when a business is out there looking to headhunt, this is what they can point to and what states their case.

Why shouldn’t people in other industries take a leaf from our book and build their own online portfolio of work too, in the form of a website?

Isn’t that what LinkedIn is for?

I can hear the response already… I already do that, it’s called LinkedIn.

Well, yes and no.

Sure, Linkedin is great if you want to display what you can offer in a format that’s built around a CV. But really, can a CV show off all your talents and achievements and position you the right way? I don’t think so.

It’s also built around words, and while there’s now the ability to stick up a video to support what your content, even that’s a bit limiting and one-dimensional. There’s not really much scope for story-telling or narrative.

But there’s even more to it than that…

We’re not rational

Like it or not, we don’t always connect with things rationally, and LinkedIn provides little scope to do anything but that. It’s formulaic. There’s little scope to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ and there’s very little room to engage people with anything other than a brief summary of who we are and the projects we’ve worked on.

I think it’s pretty hard to get a full sense of who someone is and what they do just through a LinkedIn profile.

Besides, most of us aren’t solely word-based people. We like visuals, we like colour and we connect with information on many levels. Unlike LinkedIn, a personal website lets you:

  • Use visuals to reinforce your message
  • Give people a three-dimensional experience
  • Show off your projects in a way LinkedIn simply can’t
  • Use SEO keywords to drive people to your site
  • Connect with people emotionally, not just rationally
  • Be as creative as you want to be without having to worry about templates
  • Become a publisher and drive people to your site with high-quality content
  • Emphasise whatever you want and provide whatever experience you want.

You’ve taken time to build your relationships

And it’s often your skills that your business’s clients or customers are benefiting from. A personal website can let you take advantage of that, giving you repository for all your experience that’s transportable, rebrandable and lets you maintain a relationship with your clients regardless of where you end up.

It also lets you position yourself the way you want, not the way a social media platform tells you to. Who could resist that?

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss how a personal website can help you.

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Written By: Michael Menzies

Why $5,000 is all you should ever pay for a website

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Why $5,000 is all you should ever pay for a website

When I ask SME owners how much they want to spend on a website they usually tell me the same thing: five thousand dollars.

I don’t know how they’ve come up with this figure, whether there’s some club all SME owners are all part of that sets this benchmark and tells them that’s what they should be paying. (If there is I haven’t been invited.) But it’s more likely that $5,000 is just one of those numbers that doesn’t sound cheap but doesn’t sound too unreasonable either.

The interesting thing is that $5,000 is probably at the high end of what you should pay. That is, so long as you see your website as some kind of basic online brochure. For that amount of money you should be able to get a nice enough looking wordpress or squarespace template, a front-end developer and a project manager to help you put together something you’d be happy to show your friends.

Sure, it couldn’t pay for the services of a decent copywriter or designer. But if all you’re after is web presence and you’re paying anymore than $5,000, you’re a fool.

 

So why then would you pay more…? [So why then would you try to sell more?]

The Remember team recently went to a seminar for SMEs. We looked at the websites of the businesses attending and more than 80% were just like the ones described above.

I asked the group who was happy with their site. Almost 100% of hands went up.

This was despite Remember’s analysis revealing that more than 60% hadn’t updated their content for over a year. For more than a third of the group it was two years.

These were business owners who were hoping to win business through their web presence and they were missing any chance to make their sites a living, breathing embodiment of their brands.

The quality of your website, the relevance of its content and the amount of thought you give to how your visitors will interact with it, all go a long way to converting browsers into customers or clients. There’s a place for the $5,000 site but it’s usually not going to be very effective at doing this.

However, if you consider a slightly bigger investment, then you’d start moving into a different looking space.

You could then start with copy that actually sells your business the right way helping convert customers and increasing your sales. You could inspire your customers with quality design and original photography and you could spend some time thinking strategically about how to position and properly differentiate your business from your competitors.

Even a budget of $10,000 will often give you a more engaging and tailored solution that actually starts working for you. You may still want to view your site as a brochure – but you give yourself the chance of having a far more sophisticated brochure: one that has clarity around your brand, and your messaging.

 

 

Your site can be so much more

It is, however, only when you sit back and ask what your website can do – and how it could link to and reinforce your business objectives – that things really start to get interesting.

That’s why before you start building your site or briefing a designer or web developer you should sit back and ask yourself what is it that you want your website to achieve?

Sure, for some, the answer may just be that you only need a simple web presence. That’s especially the case if business comes through word of mouth and there’s no inclination to use the power of the web to grow. Having a prominent phone number, your address and your opening hours displayed is probably enough.

But if you do want to utilise the power of the web to drive more sales, you should start thinking vary carefully about things like user experience – or UX: part of which is the art of guiding potential customers or clients through the buying process from curiosity to conversion.

If you need a real world example of what I’m thinking about, consider the way supermarkets place key items like milk at the very back of the store, so that you’re always tempted to buy at least some of their other stock, Or the way that what they really want you to buy (the stuff with the highest markup) is at eyeline.

Getting this right will almost certainly cost upwards of $10,000. But if you’re heading down this path you can also stop seeing your site as a cost and start seeing it as an investment. Quality web design applies both strategic and logical insights to your site’s structure. And this alone can provide a solid return on investment by boosting in your sales volume, increasing the value of the average transaction and even improving your business efficiency.

 

Then there’s getting found…

And because your site isn’t worth building at all unless people come to it, you should also probably consider how people will find you in the first place. Will it be through social media campaigns (if you’d better take these into consideration), Google adwords or good old-fashioned SEO? Will you be building a mailing list and hitting that list with regular articles and promotions?

What about when people arrive at your site, will they hang around for a while and get a good sense of who you are and what you’re brand is about through quality content, such as articles showing off your expertise, videos, quizzes, calculators or other tools?

However, if is you decide you’re going to talk to your audiences, you’re going to have to play a long game that requires ongoing maintenance. After all, Google rewards constant updates with higher search engine rankings. And customers reward quality social media and blogging with deeper brand engagement and often more sales.

The net effect should be extra money in your pocket and a website that’s turned into a lead generation machine.

 

It depends on you…

So I guess what I’m saying is that $5,000 is more than enough to cover the costs of a basic website but whether it’s enough for your needs depends on how you want to grow your business and whether or not you want to use digital, great design and & online strategy as part of that equation.

Only you can answer that.

Have your say – Is the $5000 website a myth. Tell us your experiences. The good, the bad and the ugly!

Read more:

http://onstaging.com.au/remembertest/index.php/2016/03/21/look-and-feel-of-a-website/
http://onstaging.com.au/remembertest/index.php/2016/03/22/why-hiring-a-web-writer-makes-good-business-sense/

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Written By: Michael Menzies

Why Apple’s removal of the headphone jack is GENIUS!

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Why Apple’s removal of the headphone jack is GENIUS!

There are two aspects I find fascinating about Apple’s decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone port….

The first is – Apple has always touted its user experience credentials. I wonder if this move truly considers the users experience. I mean we can look at at their historically bold moves such as removing floppy disks and CD drives and in doing so we can say they have done this before and got it right! But is this the same? After all, those technologies were on the way out when Apple made those decisions. The same can’t be said for Wireless headphones, which have some serious drawbacks from charging to reduced sound quality; so, while wired headphones can be frustrating getting all tangled up – they are still a great solution within the realms of our existing technology.

Will Apples move push the technology to improve rapidly? Time will tell. But for now we are going to see some people frustrated by having to buy a dongle to charge their phone and listen to music should they chose to do the two things at the same time! Which for me at least given my iPhone 6 battery lasts about 3 minutes these days is virtually a ritual.

So from that perspective, as a client, I question Apples decision and the cynic in me thinks it is really about me going out and having to buy dongles, new head phones and the likes of all the little purchases that no doubt make Apple a fortune.

But there is another side to this story that has little to do with user experience aside.

I once again credit Apple with being the PR powerhouse it is. Seriously since iPhone 4 virtually nothing of significance has changed and yet in the media this morning you would swear that the pope had died – there is that much coverage over iPhone7 and the death of the headphone jack! What blows my mind even more is that despite this phone having just been released its lack of revolution (headphone jacks aside) means the world has already begun speculation about the next iPhone… “Will Apple wow us on the 10th Anniversary of the original?” the media is touting!

What a strategy!

When you think beyond the iPhone, Apple has really played this strategy out across almost all their products successfully for a long long time. After wowing us with the original of “said Apple product” the rest is a steady evolution – filled with mass speculation and then not unexpected restraint and the occasional controversial exclusion. Its genius that offers longevity to their primary investment and the great lesson here for business, large and small alike, is you don’t need to wow the market every time.

You do, however, need to invest heavily in your brand – ensuring that it stands for something. Make sure that from time to time you step it up with innovation – it doesn’t have to be at an Apple level but do something that gets your tribe talking. Be planned in how and when you do that and in the mean time both your competition and your customers will be eager to see what comes next. After all that anticipation = engagement and when your audience is engaged – your brand, not your competition, are front of mind – Exactly where you want it to be.

 

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7 things SMEs/small businesses need to know about social media

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7 things SMEs/small businesses need to know about social media

For small and medium-sized businesses, social media has the potential to bring so many benefits. Done well, it can build deeper relationships, keeps you front of mind with potential buyers and shows off your products and services in a way that no other medium can match.

Done very well, it can even build a community of enthusiastic brand advocates who will willingly spread the word about what you’ re doing – an army of salespeople willing to spruik on your behalf. But if you’re hoping social media will take your business to these dizzy marketing heights, there’ s a few things you should know first.

SMEs must use social media as part of something bigger

Small business owners are usually doers. So, true to form, when it dawns on them that they should ‘ be doing social media’ , they take the expression at face value and just do it. They open a twitter account, start a Facebook page and then begin posting about whatever comes into their heads. It’s the wrong approach entirely.

To work effectively, your business’s social media needs a strategy behind it. And that social media strategy must be tied to your business strategy. If it’s not, your social media efforts will be scattered and inconsistent. You’ ll be sending out the wrong signals or sending people down the wrong path and, ultimately, your social media will do your business more harm than good.

We can show you some pretty good examples of where this happens. Then again, we probably don’t need to. You’ve no doubt quite a few yourselves. And yet, many business owners still think that just by turning up they’re “doing social media”.

SMEs need to know that social media is a regular thing

Some small business owners will do one mailout or post one article to social media, then sit back and expect the world to change. It won’ t.

Very rarely something you do on social media might ‘ go viral’ , moving well beyond your immediate circle of followers and customers to get shared and talked about by people you never dreamed of reaching. But more often than not, building this kind of audience takes time, application and trial and error. Social media is marathon – or at least a middle distance race – not a sprint.

SMEs need to be comfortable with ambiguity

The way television, radio or print advertising works is reasonably immediate. A business pays for the ad, the ad goes out, and then hopes this is followed by an immediate spike in enquiries or sales. Social media is a little more ambiguous. It can take time to see a return on investment, at least several months. And, when a sale comes in, it can also be hard to know exactly what role social media played in it all. That’ s why….

SMEs need to keep doing other things

Social media is not enough on its own. Although some rare businesses may have achieved all their business goals with nothing more than a facebook account, that’ s very much the exception, not the rule.

Most businesses still need to invest in other marketing tactics, such as a web presence, seminars, advertising, good old fashioned networking and PR. In fact, the final one of these methods and the traditional media coverage it can being can be the best of all complements to effective social media.

Regardless, what social media can do is to amplify each of these old school marketing tactics, giving you the chance to give people the full story in a slow and more interactive way. That means, when they do come to you through another touch point they are likely to know a lot about what you do and how you do it. And that knowledge builds a level of familiarity and trust, that makes them much more likely to buy.

SMEs need to put themselves out there on social media

Social media, by its very nature, is uncontrollable and somewhat anarchic. That alone is enough to put many SME owners off investing too much into it. What happens if you get a bad comment? Or if you put forward a point of view that doesn’t’ t go down well? What happens if people start complaining on your social media pages?

It’s true that social media gives someone who has an issue with your business a ready forum in which to air their grievances. But, while negative social media can and does happen, it’s probably not as common as you might think.

And, even if someone does complain there can often be a positive side to using social media. For starters, you get to better understand the grievances of your customer and make sure it doesn’t happen again. In that sense, it can offer a unique forum for listening. Better still, social media gives you the opportunity to respond.

In other words, people get to see two sides of an argument – they don’ t just have to take the dissatisfied customer’ s word for it.

SMEs need to demonstrate personality through social media

While we’ re on the subject of risk management, it can be tempting to play social media safe so that you avoid stirring the pot too much. But, if you do, you’ ll run a much greater risk: the risk of failing to cut through and therefore talking to no one but yourself. Doing social media in a way that attracts followers and builds an audience, means doing it with personality. It means being strong and confident and unafraid to speak your mind. Only then can you hope to give people a glimpse into who you are, what you do, and how you do it differently to anyone else.

This is your chance for your BRAND to express itself and define its unique position in a loud and busy marketplace

SMEs need to be prepared to invest in social media

Finally, social media can be a very cost-effective form of marketing, but there’ s a difference between being cost-effective and being free. And, like any form of marketing or advertising, those willing to invest in quality will almost always see better returns. So be prepared to invest in quality. Don’t try to cut corners. And don’ get one of the manager’s 17 year old to do it on the cheap – especially if you’ re not targeting 17 year olds.

And finally…

We’ve been around this space for some time. And can confirm that social media doesn’t just give small businesses anxiety. Even the biggest companies debate endlessly about the risks and return of an environment that opens them up to criticism and isn’t necessarily a forum for direct sales.

But what we can say for sure is that social media genuinely has the power to transform both your marketing efforts and your business and bring an almost unique opportunity to broaden the reach of your brand.

That’s why we love to talk to business owners exploring this space and doing it properly. After all, to do social is easy – to do it well and get the most out of it you really do need to be strategic, considered and bold.

Remember Creative can help you be all three.

Get in touch to find out more.

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Written By: Michael Menzies