One important Calgary web design tip that is often missed with small business who setup websites – they’ve paid lots of cash getting themselves online, they have a fantastic product or service but now that its online they’ve chosen to sit back and wait for everyone to stampede on their front doorsteps online…
… and unfortuantely they’re going to be sitting there for quite some time wondering what’s gone wrong…
So have they missed something and have lost thousands of invested dollars?
Nope, but they have lost in terms of forward thinking planning to attract visitors (and customers) to their site.
Most businesses either have an existing marketing system or they might not, and rely entirely on their website to generate traffic to their stores or create sales for their business’ so a website acts as a full-fledged marketing (or salesperson) tool to the online public. Imagine a large corporation like Nike – create product, universal world-wide but what if they didn’t run magazine ads, do sponsorships with major athletes, run TV advertising spots, etc. Retailers wouldn’t know of their product, wouldn’t stock it and the general public would flock to a business that does a better job of advertising and broadcasting themselves.
How can you avoid being left in the dust?
- Create fresh content for your website – update page content, add in new sections featuring new products, services or information for users
- Get up and running with Facebook and Twitter to keep more in touch with your audience
- Add a Blog to your site and post interesting topics on your blog your users will learn from
- Create back links to your site from social media sites online linking directly to your new articles
- Add a YouTube video featuring a particular service or product you offer and visually demonstrate your experience and benefits to your user
Another few important reasons why its becoming super critical for keeping your site current:
- Google has released its new search algorithm called ‘Caffeinated’ which means rankings on the Google search engine are determined not only by traditional search engine optimization techniques, but also by time frame. Reason for this came about by applications like Facebook and Twitter which give internet users real time updates, so Google has started incorporating that into who places where on their search engine. According to Google, Caffeinated allows new pages and links to be faster indexed on the Google search page… twice as fast as it was before.
- And the MOST important reason why to keep your website fresh and current…. if your competition hasn’t already updated their sites, they will… and you’ll be left in the dust and watching your rankings fall…
Does this article sound dire and is leading you to believe your competitors may be getting the leg up on you? Probably.
Can your website succeed with fresh content, encourage users to keep visiting your site and keep up on the first page of Google? Definitely.
For more information on how you can update your site and encourage the search engines to better rank your business online, get in touch with your local Calgary web design firm today and we can discuss your ongoing marketing needs to keep your website up-to-date and performing to your needs!
One of the common things that every business needs to ask themselves before meeting up with their Calgary web design firm, is what kind of budget should I set for my website project?
Amazingly enough, this question can be a daunting one.
Depending if you’re new to the market with a fresh idea or if you’re a established business, your need for spending money to get additional exposure increases depending on your focus. Does your business already have a website and do you need to attain more (or better qualified) traffic levels? Whether you’re needing a website, want to redevelop or expand your website OR expand on your existing marketing campaigns, its always best to plan how much you want to spend, allocate your budget and develop your business so you can focus on making the most return on your investment. Lets look at it in a few perspectives:
Have a great idea and want to start your own business? Fantastic!
Have you been around, but wanting to get your business online or make more money? Fantastic!
Depending on what you prefer, you could open up your own retail shop (or office) and take on the expenditure of monthly rent, taxes, stock, employees, etc. if you see yourself succeeding with your idea. Naturally doing so can cost a lot of money, and you should do a lot of research in advance before doing so (as the Rule of thumb goes, most business’ tend to get phased out in their first year of business, so its best to approach a physical location carefully and wisely).
For a different approach you can always test out the waters with a website, tailored to your idea and industry as a way of attaining sales without necessarily taking on too much in the initial phases of setting up your business.
When looking at your website and budgets, you should be thinking of spending as much money on marketing as you are going to spend on your website.
Sound a bit strange?
Imagine if you did start your retail store – you’ve spent money on stock, fixtures, your rent (usually 2 months in advance up front), hiring some staff, putting some initial money in the till, etc. Ok, and just for kicks you’ve spent some cash on a sign above your shop. So there you are, all ready to go… but no one is visiting your store. By no means should you think that this means your product or service isn’t fantastic – you just haven’t attracted the right customer.
Same idea goes with your website and your marketing budget.
So how much to budget for your website? Depending what you want to do, you can spend as little as $500 and go as high as say $15,000 (or higher) for a website. Ultimately your website will only be as successful as the money and time you put into it, so we usually recommend spending between $3-$5,000 but ultimately its up to you and the functionality you want to have online. Here are some elements you should consider when thinking of spending money:
- Registering your Domain Name
- Getting Hosting for your Web Site
- Buying a template from a web design company or having a website designed for you
- Setting up a Database so you can gather information and market/sell to your clientele
- Determining what functionality you want to have on your website (a blog, twitter feeds, ecommerce, customer/quote management, news, affiliate links, etc.)
So how much to budget for marketing your website? Getting to the top of Google, achieving superior rankings over your competition and building an online community of customers is always an ongoing task and you need to budget both your time and money each month. Its our experience that you should spend a few hours each week posting updates to various media online, building back links to your site and writing useful articles for your customers.
A Calgary marketing firm will probably either provide you with training and support for you to do so, or can help assist you with doing these kinds of updates online. Support for these types of actions, tends to start at $250/month and can go up and down depending on what you’re wanting to do but a good rule of thumb is: spend the equivalent of what you did on your website on marketing and spread it out over the course of several months.
Here are some online marketing elements you should consider (and update) when thinking of spending money on marketing all of which help support your website achieving better rankings in the search engines:
- Facebook maintenance, customer support and postings
- Twitter customer support and postings
- YouTube video posts
- Blog posts for articles related to your industry
- Creating sales or product/service ‘features’ on your website
- Email newsletters to your customers
- A strategy for creating links to your website from reputable, authoritative sources online
- Updates to your website to keep it current and fresh (this is UBER critical now with search engines)
- … and a whole lot more…
So just to wrap up, spending money on your website just makes sense – and even more sense on an ongoing basis. Setting a budget too low will get you out there online, but without the right site for your customers or marketing to get your customers, you might not experience your full potential online. So just to reiterate, when you’re setting a budget for your website its best to think of two things:
- How much you want to spend on your website.
Depending on your needs this is usually between $3,000 and $5,000 – be sure to ask your Calgary web design firm if they offer monthly payment financing
- How much you want to spend marketing your website to attract (and retain) your customers
Be sure to think about spending a few hours each week building yourself online. Take what you’ve spent on your website and spread your budget out over several months or the year. A Calgary marketing company can provide you with consultations so you can succeed on your own, or they can help you succeed at $250/month and up depending on your budget and what you want to achieve.
If you have any questions about setting your budget to your website project, be sure to contact your Calgary web design firm to discuss your project needs further.
In today’s world of up and down economies, any Calgary web design firm will tell you that it’s increasingly harder each day to run a retail business in the traditional sense.
A Time For Change…
Speaking from my own retail experience, I’ve seen consumers change shopping habits, advertising methods change and the need for business’ to update how they approach their core business practices. For example, years ago a retailer would succeed over another if their Yellow Page advertising print ad was larger than the next – or a larger store with more staff would triumph over a smaller store without as much resources. Fortunately, times have changed – and those business’ not keeping up with the times have seen sales slump or have even disappeared all together…
So the big question that all business owners needs to ask themselves in order to succeed in this day and age:
How do I keep and get more customers, advertise my product offering better while keeping my costs low?
… Develop a website featuring e-commerce!
Your website can be your best “salesperson”, your most efficient “marketing manager”, and your most professional “customer service rep” for a fraction of what you pay now and your Calgary web design firm can help you build your e-commerce solution.
- How much unnecessary commission do you pay out each year?
- How much do you spend on ineffective advertising each year?
- How much do you spend on order processing and tracking each year?
- How much do you spend on customer service and client interaction each year?
Yes – websites can replace staff, but in most cases the most successful sites perform the tasks that don’t require human interaction freeing up your staff to do the tasks that generate revenue for the company.
Ecommerce websites are not only for large corporations; small and medium size businesses can now afford to capitalize on today’s technology to improve sales, reduce costs, and connect globally to new and existing clientele.
~ Inventory Management
The key to a successful Ecommerce Website is convenience for both your customers and staff. How efficiently an order is entered, processed and delivered is the measuring stick for customer satisfaction which in turn results in repeat business. Display product that you have both in stock, but also can easily order for customers and expand your product offering without sitting on expensive loads of product! Or unload product you don’t have a local market for and recover some of your costs!
~ Customer Management
Our Ecommerce sites allow clients to easily navigate through items, add them to their shopping cart and pay using a number of methods. Once the purchase has been made, your online shop stores the transaction and alerts the appropriate person(s).
~ Order Processing
Track orders through all stages from purchase to after sale follow up. Easy interfaces allow you to provide your customers order updates online via automated email.
Reduce administrative time and costs by printing invoices, packing slips and shipping labels.
Creating an ecommerce site (or adding one onto your already successful website) allows your products & services to reach even further online and increasing your revenue without breaking your budgets. After all though, if your customers are online (and more importantly – your competition is online selling), you’re probably loosing out on customers and sales! Lastly, one thing I’ve noticed with ecommerce sites – you’ll be amazed at how much local traffic will come to your location *just because they were enticed by your site! Just ask your customers how they heard about your shop when they come in – their answer may very well surprise you!
Interested in getting going with a Calgary ecommerce initiative like adding some online ecommerce sales to your site? Call our Calgary Web Design team today and we’d be happy to get you up and running quickly!
As a Calgary Web Design firm, we often discuss website marketing with our clients throughout a project – be it a website design project, an upgrade or a general site review. Many business owners we talk with have indeed heard of Twitter – potentially know that their customers use the technology to talk with friends, but many don’t understand the benefits of what Twitter can offer their businesses.
Twitter is what we call a web 2.0 technology which allows users to type in short messages, known as Tweets, up to 140 characters in length. These Tweets then go to a list of subscribers called ‘followers’ who are interested in hearing from you and can be re-Tweeted to their friends if it sounds of interest. These messages are short in nature and are accessed either at a users computer or directly their phone.
In today’s competitive marketplace, its more important than ever that your business stand out from your competition, be informative and build a community of loyal (and repeat) customers. Your customers also want to better identify with you, so its increasingly important that your customers get to learn and understand you better.
After all, what if your competition is informing customers (potentially your own customers) with better information, faster and encourages the sale before you have a chance to react?
So how would your business succeed more by using Twitter?
Your Calgary Web Design company will agree – information is key online and demonstrating your industry knowledge is key to gaining followers. Keep posting relevant information to your industry and tie this in with your other marketing efforts – display the Twitter logo and your link on your website, print advertisement, in-store signage, mail-outs, etc. You can also yourself follow industry-related sources on Twitter and re-Tweet messages that apply to your consumers to continually keep them informed.
As you continue to build your market base of Twitter followers, you can keep them informed of promotions which they might enjoy – or possibly highlight a promotion that applies only to them, with a link to your site as an incentive to come to your Calgary (or other) location.
Imagine sending out a message in the traditional sense – be it a sales message, promoting a new product or service, or perhaps hyping a limited time offer – typically involved doing a radio advertisement, a print flyer, signage at your location or perhaps a banner ad or highlight on your website. You used to either spend a lot of money (with the hopes that it might reach your audience) or hope that your existing customers would return to your location/website to participate.
Now imagine if you had a legion of dedicated (and qualified) followers who are interested in hearing from you. They’ve already identified that they’re interested in learning from you more about your industry, so consider them a good positive lead in terms of being your customer. Now imagine posting your sales message or highlighting a new product or service with a link straight to your website which they would get in real-time. Now imagine if your Twitter follower re-Tweeted and forwarded this message to their friends, then onto their friends… this would be the online marketing equivalent of friends favorably talking about your business to other friends with a click of a button.
Does Twitter actually work for business?
One online case study which is often referred to, is an example of coffee shop business (without a website) which used Twitter to double their clientele:
Things you can do to integrate Twitter into your business aspects to grow your online presence and results:
- Use regular Tweets to demonstrate that you’re a leader of knowledge in your industry.
- Broadcast a Twitter Promotion or promote an ongoing promotion linking to your site to encourage sales
- Display your Tweets on your website or Blog to keep your audience that much more in-tune with industry news
- Connect your Blog posts/feeds to Twitter to keep your audience up-to-date
One important thing about Twitter though which should be recognized – as with real world relationships with customers in your store, always be courteous to your users. If you only blast out sales promotions, your customer base will consider that to be spam and could stop following your Tweets. It’s always good to mix up with both sales focuses as well as useful information for your audience.
Interested in learning more about Twitter and getting your business started? Contact your Calgary Web Design company today!
Welcome to the new Calgary Web Design blog! Here we will be discussing a wide variety of topics pertaining not only to the online world, but also business strategies, industry news and even some personal stuff to let everyone get to know us better.
Our main website, www.fimedia.ca is where we do all the fun, creative stuff – creating unique websites for local business here in the local Calgary web design market to develop their online presence for their customers here and abroad. Our team specializes in a wide variety of areas including design work (online and print), e-commerce, dynamic websites, marketing strategies and the whole realm of online search engine optimization.
Unlike other Calgary web design firms, we have several key strengths which set us apart from everyone else:
- Our team has experience in business first hand, so we know where our clients are coming from, and potentially their web needs before they’ve even identified them.
- With our experience developing effective web solutions, we have the tools to have you benefit from the advantages of being online – and keeping your focusing on your core business.
Keep an eye on this blog for insights and techniques that we can use to help your Calgary business succeed online through solid Calgary marketing techniques, resources, tips and a whole lot more…