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Google+ Sign-In Introduced

Published on April 8, 2013
Tags: Web Design London

Google+ has received mixed reviews from the online community – both from individuals and businesses – and it seems that Google has taken the negative comments on board in order to offer brands a reason to use the social media/business marketing platform. They recently introduced their Google+ Sign-In feature, an authentication method which works in a similar way to other social networking authentication tools such as Facebook Connect. It allows users to sign into a website via Google, taking along all of their personal information and preferences. So why should businesses be interested in Google+ Sign-In? Here are a few ways it differs from its rivals.

 
It has the backing of several top brand names
 
Google has enlisted several popular launch partners in a bid to engage with customers and get them to use the Sign-In Feature. These include USA Today, The Guardian, Flixster, Shazam, and more.
 
It takes mobile platforms into account
 
The Google+ Sign-In feature works well with mobiles – especially Android devices – giving mobile users several advantages. For example, an Android user will be identified by websites when they use Sign-In, and will be asked to download the corresponding Android app which will update itself without being instructed to by the user. As many mobile users are turning towards apps and away from mobile sites, a business who uses apps will undoubtedly get ahead of their competitors when it comes to mobile marketing. Sign-In also makes use of interactive posts, enabling shares via any Google+ authenticated site or app.
 
User Control
 
Other social networking sites – such as Facebook – publishes the activities of users without giving them any say. This can include statuses, games they’ve played, articles they’ve read, invites and so on. There are no different privacy settings and the user is left with no control over what gets sent out to their online friends. Google+ Sign-In actually allows users to have more control over the information that is shared on their behalf – their content will be able to be shared ‘publicly’ or ‘privately’ (just within their Google+ Circles). This level of control will no doubt attract new users to Sign-In.
 
Data, Data, Data
 
Google+ Sign-In will prove to be invaluable to brands, in terms of how much data they will be able to gather on users. This exchange of data already occurs with other social authentications (such as Facebook Connect), but businesses will be able to access a whole range of data in the Google API: the full name of the user, their online ID, information about their contacts and their Circles, their profile pictures, and other demographics such as their language and age range. The sheer amount of information that can be gathered (additional services on Google such as Gmail and the Calendar can also be accessed – through a consent dialogue box) gives brands valuable data about their customers that could drastically improve their online marketing strategies.
 
There are some downsides to Google+ Sign-In (such as the limited amount of data regarding keywords that can be gathered on users through search), but generally it looks like it could be a game changer for Google, using the ideas of existing social networking authentications and taking them to the next level.
 

By Chelsey Evans

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Mobile Advertising: Paid Search on Smartphones & Tablets

Published on April 8, 2013
Tags: Web Design London

The popularity of smartphones and tablets has rapidly increased over the past few years, and this huge change in how people are using – and searching – the internet has forced businesses to improve and adapt their marketing strategies. Those companies who ignore the potential of mobile platforms for their business could end up losing a lot of their customers as they flock to other firms who can offer them what they want, when they want it – which, with mobiles and tablets, is all the time. Customers even use their mobiles to search online while they’re actually in a physical shop, making sure they’re getting the best possible deal or just to compare the physical products in front of them with what they could be buying online. 

 
With Google Adwords, businesses can set their online advertising budget depending on keywords that their target customers use when searching for specific products, but how much budget should you be setting aside for searches from mobile devices? Smartphones, in particular, have completely revolutionised the way in which customers interact with brands and decide on what they’re going to buy, and so you need to make sure that your marketing strategy fully incorporates mobile platforms – especially with regards to paid searches.
 
So how do you make sure you stay ahead of the game?

With smartphones and tablets soon expected to make up a third of the paid search clicks generated by Google, advertisers need to ensure that they are constantly developing their search campaigns in order to accommodate these mobile users.

 

  • Make sure you are optimised for mobile platforms. So many business websites are still not embracing the need to have a mobile optimised website – unreadable text, difficult navigation and slow loading times will put users off. This can be easily remedied by making use of responsive web layouts, and minimising the steps needed for a user to make a purchase. User experience must be considered at every step of the development process.
  • Track your sales conversions. Of course, you will already be doing this, but separating sales made through your main website and those made through mobile devices will allow you to change your budget accordingly. Are customers using your click-to-call function in order to complete a transaction or to find out more information? Do they look at the map for your physical store with a view to visiting the shop when they’re in the local area? Just how much revenue are you generating through your mobile-optimised site?
  • Constantly review your marketing strategy. With more and more people using their smartphones and tablets to browse – and purchase from – the web, you need to make sure you’re aware of all the latest developments that could help your company. Keep on top of the best mobile-optimised website designs, and be creative with offers and rewards targeted specifically at your mobile users.

 

Some reports estimate that by 2016, Google could be generating over $20 billion just from mobile devices, so make sure you get in on the action now and re-evaluate your mobile advertising budget. 

 

 

By Chelsey Evans

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Tips on Using Pinterest for Business Marketing

Published on March 25, 2013
Tags: Web Design London

Compared to some other social networking sites, Pinterest is relatively new, but over the past year or so it has gained millions of users and become one of the most popular ways to promote businesses in a fun and interactive way. As you probably know, the site allows people to create virtual pinboards, where they ‘pin’ their favourite images to express themselves and share their interests online. It can be used to help organise events such as weddings, save inspirational images for future ideas, and collate useful-looking businesses and products. 

 
Here are just a few tips on how to get the most out of Pinterest when promoting your business.
 
Optimise Your Pins
 
As with other content marketing, you can apply SEO techniques to your pins and actions on Pinterest. Add categories, keywords and phrases, hashtags, URLs and other relevant text to both your pins and your profile – make it as easy as possible for potential clients to find you amongst all the other businesses listed. Planning the content you place on Pinterest is just as important as, say, planning which articles you’ll put on your blog. Creating unique, interesting, creative new ways of promoting yourself through photographs and images may be challenging, but the more you think outside the box, the more repins you’ll get. Include a call-to-action on your pins to ensure users carry out the desired response – visiting your site, repinning, etc.
 
Make Use of Business Tools and Features
 
Pinterest has recently created business accounts, so make sure you’re signed up properly and are aware of all the tools and features available to you. Use the verification badge to verify your site – this allows users to find your business easily in the search and to identify your brand as being a high quality content source. Make use of the buttons and widgets Pinterest provides: these include the follow button, pin it button, profile widget and board widget, and will help you to gain more traffic to your website and interact with users (or ‘pinners’). With a business account, you’ll be able to keep up with new management tools, and you can download the Pinterest app for mobile to keep in contact with pinners on the go.
 
Research and Review
 
Like with any marketing technique, you need to carry out some research before you start with your Pinterest campaign: take a look at what your competitors are doing (and think of ways to do it better and more creatively than them), and make a note of what your target audience are pinning and repinning. You can track ‘Recent Activity’ to see repins, comments, followers etc, and Google Analytics will be able to tell you more about the traffic you gained from Pinterest. 
 
Pinterest won’t be right for every single business, but if you have products to sell – and interesting, unique photographs of them – it can be an extremely useful marketing device for your company. And with the site recently updating their policies to offer business accounts separate from personal accounts, it’s now easier than ever to get your business up and running on Pinterest.
 

By Chelsey Evans

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The Importance Of Customer Loyalty And How It Can Help Your Business

Published on March 18, 2013
Tags: Web Design London

The focus of many businesses always seems to be on getting new customers: how can we attract new clients? What will make them want to use our services or buy our products? What incentives can we give them to come to us instead of our competitors? While getting new business is obviously extremely important – and always will be – the amount of resources spent on this area of marketing can be out of proportion with the returns. What will really help your business is identifying your most loyal customers and keeping them happy, instead of spending all your time on tracking down new clients.

What can you do to focus on your current customers? And what are the benefits of this?
 
1. Reward Their Loyalty
 
Your current clients already know your company and have proven their loyalty by sticking with you when there’s so much competition in your market space, so why not reward them for standing by you? You could offer them early access to your new product or give them a discount on one of your services. It shouldn’t just be new customers who get all the incentives to sign up with you. Pay attention to your existing client base first and ensure that your loyal customers will be there for your company’s future; businesses often make more profits from current customers than they do by going after new ones, and the cost of marketing for this is a lot lower too.
 
2. Building Your Brand
 
Word of mouth has always been important, and in today’s digital age, it’s more important than ever before. Not only can customers tell their friends about their experience with a certain brand, but they can also like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter, and share any of your blog posts they like with the click of a button. Thousands can be spent on social media marketing to boost your brand to new customers, but encouraging existing clients to effectively be free sales people for your company will cost very little and can see a huge ROI.
 
3. Getting Reliable Feedback
 
Getting feedback from your existing customers will not only help you with improving your products and services, but it will also let your clients know that you haven’t forgotten about them and that you care about what they have to say. Quick surveys and emails asking questions are all very well, but if you have a chance to personally talk to even just a few, you’re likely to get a lot more out of it. Loyal customers are more likely to tell you what they actually think, as they already like your brand and probably want to help out as much as they can. Utilise their answers and improve your business where needed.
 
There are so many more advantages to focusing on customer loyalty, but in today’s fast-paced world of business, existing clients can all too often be forgotten. Do them and your business a favour by rewarding them for their long-term support.
 

By Chelsey Evans

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The Importance of Offering a Mobile Website

Published on March 15, 2013
Tags: Web Design London

Having an easy-to-navigate glossy website which includes all of your company information is essential for any business; everyone knows this and it’s certainly nothing new. And yet it’s amazing how many firms effectively throw away frequent business because they don’t pay as much attention to offering a mobile version of their site. 

With smartphone users on the rise – as well as the popularity of other phones and mobile devices such as tablets – it is vital to offer people a quick, easy-to-use mobile website that they can look at while on the go. Depending on your type of business, a good mobile site could drastically improve your profits: for example, if you run a café and someone in the vicinity searches on their phone for somewhere to eat. If you don’t have a mobile site or have a very slow one, you could miss out on their custom. With many people using their mobile devices to shop online, having a simple but effective ecommerce mobile site will also help increase your sales.
 
So what are the most important things to consider when it comes to mobile platforms?
 
1. Make It Easy To Load
 
No one is going to give your site a second look on their phones if it hasn’t loaded in the browser within ten seconds, so make your site as simple as you can. Get rid of any videos or large graphics: you don’t need them. When users are looking on their phones, they generally want useful information, not a beautifully-designed website with hundreds of images. 
 
2. Make It Easy To Find The Important Information
 
Ensure that all your important business information – name and type of company, phone number, address, email address, hours of business if needed – is displayed in clear text at the top of your page. Text is better than an image not only for the load time but also because on mobiles, clicking on a phone number will let the user phone the company, and the same for email addresses. You want to make it as easy as possible for your site visitor to contact you.
 
3. Go Responsive
 
Responsive layouts are website designs that work on all devices – from laptops to netbooks and tablets to phones – without losing any of the integrity of the site. It isn’t just about scaling down your existing website; this will result in mobile users having to pinch and zoom the browser, which they won’t put up with for long before closing the window. Responsive design often starts with the minimum required for a mobile site and then builds its way up to a full-sized monitor version. Mobile sites will include less images and just the important information, with more elements being added for bigger devices with bigger screens. It also means you don’t have to pay for two separate website designs.
 
Whatever you do to improve the mobile version of your site, test how it looks and works on a variety of different devices and networks to ensure maximum potential custom. 
 

By Chelsey Evans

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