The importance of product descriptions is sometimes overlooked in ecommerce. Online retailers spend a lot of time on photographing their products to get the perfect images, and of course this is essential, but product descriptions are also crucial in converting visitors into orders.
Product descriptions are essential
With online shopping your customers can’t actually pick up your product, look at it, or test it out before they buy, so your product description is essential for giving them all the details necessary to convince them to make that purchase. Here are our top ten tips on writing compelling product descriptions.
Make the features clear. There are bound to be fundamental things that your customers need to know about your products such as size, dimensions, colour, make, model, and materials. These should be stated clearly and accurately, possibly using bullet points.
Sell the benefits. Once you’ve stated the features you can use the rest of the description to sell the benefits. What is in it for the buyer? How will the product change their life? Will it make them happier, healthier, or more productive? Will it change the way other people see them? Will it save them time or address a specific problem they may have?
Inspire the imagination. An effective product description should give the buyer examples of how the product can be used. It should paint a picture of a particular scene or occasion which includes the product and should emphasise the product’s role in that picture.
Use your brand voice. Product descriptions should be written in the same voice as every type of communication you have with your customers, from advertising to social media. By injecting your own brand personality into your product descriptions you will make them unique and appealing, which will give you an advantage if the same product is for sale in other online shops.
Include targeted language. Think about your target audience and tailor your language accordingly to avoid alienating them. There are many words and phrases that younger people use, and are happy to read online, which could put off the older generation, and vice versa. If you’re going to use adjectives to describe your products try to make use of sensory adjectives that appeal to the five senses, such as smooth, zesty, crunchy, and velvety, as these are proven to engage customers.
Be consistent. We’ve already discussed consistency in voice and language when writing product descriptions, but there are other areas that need to be consistent too. Try to keep your descriptions to a similar length and format, and include a similar level of detail. Once your customers have viewed a couple of your product pages their expectations will have been set and they will become confused if further descriptions are not consistent.
Product descriptions are the ideal place for cross selling
Cross sell other products. Your product description is the ideal place for a little cross selling. Think about what other products could be worn with, added to, or used alongside the product you are describing, and weave links to these products into your description. Ideally this would work alongside images that display the immediate product with additional products.
Answer customer questions. Knowing your target audience is crucial when you’re writing product descriptions. Think about what they might want from the product and make a list of questions that they are likely to ask about it. Make sure you answer as many of these questions as possible in your product description.
Avoid bland phrases. The effectiveness of your product descriptions will be diluted if you start to add bland phrases such as ‘high quality’ or ‘good value’, after all what retailer is going to say that their products are poor quality or a rip-off? Be specific in your product descriptions and highlight details that illustrate the quality and value instead.
Consider the search engines. While product descriptions should be written primarily for the customer, you shouldn’t forget the search engines. Product descriptions should always be unique; don’t be tempted to copy your description from another site or you will be penalised for duplicate content. Ideally they will be over 100 words, and will include the main keyword once in the title, and once in the description, but no more than that.
A well written product description should help your customer to visualise the benefits they will receive from buying your product. By injecting your own brand personality into the description, appealing to your customer’s imagination using appropriate language, and answering any questions that they may have about the product, you are sure to maximise your conversion rate. Keep your descriptions unique and consistent, avoid bland phrases, and cross sell with other products for the most effective product descriptions.
Posted in Ecommerce, Marketing | Leave a comment
Showrooming is the trend that’s getting the blame for the downfall of large retailers such as Jessops and Comet, but what exactly is it and can it really have that great an impact on retail?
Showrooming – shopping around with a new name
Showrooming is the practice of visiting a bricks and mortar shop to research a particular purchase, and then using a mobile device to check out the same product online, potentially ordering it from another retailer for a cheaper price whilst you are still in the store.
Showrooming is not a new concept; it’s just shopping around with a new name. People have always compared the prices of a product they wanted in different shops, or with different online retailers; the difference now is that with the evolution of mobile technology this process is quicker, easier, and much more obvious.
According to the JiWire Mobile Audience Insights Report Q2 2013 showrooming is a phenomenon that is on the increase in the U.S. meaning that the UK won’t be far behind. In Q1 of 2012 only 12% of respondents to a JiWire survey stated that they had made a purchase using a mobile device whilst they were in a bricks and mortar store; a figure that had risen to 23% by the time of the Q2 2013 survey. The survey results also indicated that 40% of shoppers who researched a product in store would ultimately end up placing an order online using a smartphone or tablet.
How Does Showrooming Impact Retail?
Make sure your website is fully optimised for mobile
Many bricks and mortar stores believe that showrooming spells disaster for their business, as people will only use their shops as showrooms for product research and will then buy online. However, many customers still enjoy going shopping and as long as shops can offer a unique experience, relatively competitive prices, great customer service, and perhaps a few exclusive products, alongside optimising their own websites for mobile use, e-commerce stores and high street shops should be able to exist side by side.
For online retailers, showrooming initially appears to be beneficial. If customers can check out the products you offer in physical store and then order from you that is all well and good. However, there are other factors to consider. If a customer is using their mobile device to check out products online, you can be sure it isn’t just your shop they are looking at. Benefiting from the showrooming phenomenon means being able to compete with other online retailers as well as bricks and mortar stores.
It is also possible that the use of mobiles can actually drive customers into physical shops instead of shopping online. Imagine if one of your customers spotted a product on your website whilst browsing on their smartphone but saw that it would take a week to deliver. Because they wanted the product immediately they then looked for a local bricks and mortar shop that had the product in stock and popped in to buy it right away.
The JiWire report indicated that 37% of shoppers who research a product on their smartphone actually end up purchasing the product in-store. The figures are similar for shoppers who research products using a tablet or laptop.
How Can Retailers Embrace Showrooming?
There are many ways that both online and offline retailers can embrace the trend for showrooming and make it work to their advantage:
1. Make sure you website is fully optimised for mobile so that when customers are researching purchases on the move your website is easy for them to access.
2. Keep your prices competitive, regularly checking prices offered by your competitors, and offering a price match service if appropriate.
3. Use your customers’ browsing history to provide immediate on screen special offers and discounts relevant to the products they have been looking at.
4. Try to stock at least some exclusive products, or offer value-add services such as gift wrapping, which means you can’t be directly compared with other retailers.
5. Provide a wide range of delivery options, including free delivery with a minimum spend, next day delivery, and timed delivery where possible.
With advances in mobile technology, and particularly with the arrival of 4G, customers are inevitably going to be doing more product research and shopping on their mobile devices. Showrooming is an unavoidable result of improved mobile technology, and retailers need to work with it rather than against it to stay one step ahead.
Posted in Ecommerce, Web Design, Web Development | Leave a comment
The four factors which should help your site reach the top spot
Making sense of search engine algorithms is a difficult task, and one that few website owners would care to try, not least because the complexity and sophistication of the algorithms is continually increasing.
However, Search Metrics has recently published a white paper entitled SEO Ranking Factors – Rank Correlation 2013 for Google UK, which does a little of the hard work for you and provides some insight into what Google values in a website. Although the paper can’t reveal the exact criteria that the search engine uses, it has evaluated a number of websites that achieve high rankings with Google UK, and drawn some useful conclusions from its findings.
According to the Search Metrics report, these four factors can have a significant impact on your website’s ranking with Google UK.
1. Social Media Presence
It’s official; an active presence on the major social media networks does have an impact on your Google ranking. Search Metrics discovered that the best ranking sites had high numbers of social signals such as comments, Twitter tweets, Facebook likes and shares, and Pinterst pins. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most positive impact on Google rank came from a +1 on Google+, Google’s own social network.
2. High Quality Content
The findings of the Search Metrics paper support the view that Google rewards high quality content. Despite the fact that modern website design tends to reduce the amount of text on webpages, Google still expects to see a certain amount of original content above the fold. There was a positive correlation between the length of HTML code, word count, and Google rank so make sure you site has plenty of original content.
A good mixture of content types, including images and videos as well as text, was also rewarded. Although it is not advisable to overload your website with advertising, limited and appropriate use of adverts, especially Google’s Adwords or Adlinks also seems to have a mildly positive impact on ranking.
3. Natural Link Patterns
Incoming links are still very valuable, and are Google’s primary method of assessing a website’s worth using PageRank. However, in an attempt to minimise the manipulation of backlinks, Google now expects to see a variety of links that website owners may have previously been advised to avoid. These include ‘nofollow’ links, and links with stop words such as ‘on’, ‘of’, or ‘the’, in their anchor text. Google also rewards sites that have a variety of anchor text in their backlinks and not just their keywords.
Outgoing links to relevant authority sites are also important, just make sure you don’t link to external sites using your main keyword as Google will see this as a suggestion that the external site is more relevant than your own site for that keyword. Internal links within your website are still very important for a high ranking.
4. The Brand Factor
The Search Metrics paper indicates that, where relevant, Google reserves the top ranks in its search results for brand websites. This is great news for online shops, and businesses with a strong, unique brand name. The findings in the white paper suggest that it is possible for an identifiable brand website to reach the top of the search engine results, even if other ranking factors are quite weak. The paper suggests that the Google algorithm is able to distinguish between brands and keywords, stating that “The decoupling and separation of the “brand” factor from the “keyword” factor has been put into practice very well by Google”.
Many of the factors that used to assist with search engine ranking are now taken for granted by the search engines. Adequate site speed, effective on-page coding, and page titles and descriptions will no longer improve your search engine position, but their absence may have a negative impact. According to the Search Metrics paper, the most important factors for a website to achieve high rankings with the search engines, are social media signals, high quality content, a natural pattern of incoming, outgoing, and internal links, and a strong unique brand name.
The entire Search Metrics white paper SEO Ranking Factors – Rank Correlation 2013 for Google UK, is available at http://www.searchmetrics.com/media/documents/ranking-faktoren/searchmetrics-seo-ranking-factors-2013-uk.pdf
Posted in Marketing, Web Design, Web Development | Leave a comment
An ever-increasing amount of smartphone users are shopping online
A few years ago it would have been unimaginable, but online shopping using a mobile phone is now becoming part of everyday life according to an Econsultancy survey. Ofcom suggests that around 58% of the UK population now own a smartphone, meaning that online shopping no longer needs to be an activity that’s restricted to desktop computers, but can be done wherever and whenever we have the time.
A survey of 1,000 smartphone owners, conducted to form part of the Econsultancy Mobile Commerce Compendium, indicated that 49% had made at least one purchase using their smartphone during the preceding six months. 23% had made more than four purchases, and 30% had spent in excess of £100 during that time.
The Impact of 4G on Mobile Commerce
All these figures illustrate the rapid growth of mobile commerce during the recent year, but is the trend for online shopping on a smartphone in fact only just getting started? The hot topic in the mobile world is the rollout of 4G across the UK. Until recently only EE had been able to offer 4G to its customers, but other providers such as Vodafone and 02 have now begun to roll out their 4G networks, starting in major cities. The main benefits of 4G are increased speed and data transfer, so how will this impact mobile commerce?
EE recently published their first 4GEE Mobile Living Index, which looks at the impact that the use of 4G has on their customers’ lives. An impressive 71% of the customers surveyed said they had used their 4G smartphone for online shopping and the most popular purchases were fashion, apps, entertainment, and electronics. While the women surveyed were more likely to buy low value goods, 24% of male customers spent more than £200 per month using their 4G smartphone.
4G is set to have a dramatic impact on mobile E-commerce
One of the key barriers to shopping on a smartphone has been speed. The majority of consumers expect a web page on a smartphone to load as quickly as on a desktop, and the slow load speeds they have so far experienced when trying to shop on their smartphone may have prevented them from making a purchase. Now the quicker load speeds that 4G is able to provide should make online shopping using a smartphone far more accessible.
Optimising for Mobile Commerce
For smaller online retailers, optimising for mobile commerce might be lingering somewhere near the bottom of the to-do list, but the time has come to make it a priority. Any business that has a presence online should be thinking about optimising for mobile, whatever their size.
The most effective way to achieve this is to make use of responsive design functionality, to ensure that online shops work on any size browser, from a small smartphone display to a large television screen. The alternative is to develop specific mobile apps, but for smaller businesses the costs associated with this can be prohibitive.
Designing a site works on any size browser is the first step in optimising for mobile, but there are other factors that may be considered. There are certain simple functions that are essential for a mobile optimised site such as:
- Easy navigation and large buttons for touch screens
- Simple intuitive web forms and single page checkout
- Intelligent search functions with suggestion as well as predictive text
- Simple clear images and graphics with plenty of white space
Many consumers still have concerns about shopping on a smartphone, particularly regarding security and ease of use, meaning that tablets and desktops still generate higher volumes of online purchases. However, with improvements in the optimisation of online shops for mobile, and the roll out of superfast mobile internet in the form of 4G, the growth of mobile commerce looks set to speed up rather than to slow down, so it’s a great time for online retailers to get on board.
Posted in Ecommerce, Web Design, Web Development | Leave a comment
Internet explorer has long enjoyed a dominant slice of the web browser pie, only in recent years has the competition opened up thanks to the increasing popularity of Google Chrome with Firefox remaining a strong favourite.
Whether you’re highly opinionated on the matter, or whether you’ve always been satisfied with the blue “e” that came with your computer, it’s fair to say that browsers are currently changing at an alarming rate.
Thanks to a current boom in developing web technology, web browsers are constantly battling to update their features and abilities. If you’re using a browser like Google Chrome or Firefox, you will likely be notified by your browser of choice that an update is available.
The Firefox update window
These updates might not bring forth a plethora of noticeable changes, but under the hood your browser is being educated in new web page technology, technology it will likely have to deal with in the near future.
When we refer to “web page technology” what do we mean? Well, it could be something relatively insignificant, like understanding a command which makes corners on a web page round instead of pointed. However it could be something fundamental like interpreting the code that creates the layout for an entire website.
Without these updates your browser will display the page incorrectly, worse still it wouldn’t know that there was something wrong and would have no need to inform you that it needs updating.
Chrome and Firefox users enjoy these regular, frequent updates, ensuring you get the most out of the modern web experience. The Internet Explorer update procedure however, is a little different. The strong ties with Internet Explorer and Windows means that each iteration of Microsoft Windows can only support specific versions of Internet Explorer. Let’s look at Windows XP for example, XP is considered an old operating system that was released in 2001, XP users can only upgrade up to Internet Explorer 8, a piece of software that’s over 4 years old and which Google no longer supports.
Users of Internet Explorer 9, 8 and below are likely to see web pages differently as more web authors produce content that embraces modern web standards.
If you believe you are using an old version of Internet Explorer or any browser for that matter, try these steps to kickstart your web browsing experience:
1. Determine which browser version you’re on and whether an update is required. Typically this information appears in a browser’s “About” window.
2. Should the option be available, update your browsers to the recommended version number. You may also want to check that any automatic update feature is enabled because it’s important you receive any security updates as soon as possible.
3. If your operating system prevents you from updating your browser of choice, then it might be time to trade in for a newer model. head over to browsehappy.com and sample the best browsers around, the best part? They’re all free.
Posted in Web Design, Web Development | Leave a comment
One feature that always impresses clients about our websites is the responsive design functionality that comes as standard with our flagship e-commerce solution. So what exactly is responsive design and why has it become essential for a successful online business?
Helix Responsive Solutions
Responsive design is a concept that allows a website to work effectively across a wide range of devices. The rise of mobile technology in the form of tablets and smartphones, as well as the huge range of screen sizes available in laptops, desktops, and TVs has created a demand for websites that can be viewed equally well no matter what screen size they are being viewed on.
How Does Responsive Design Work?
Because the width of the browser is measured, rather than the width of the actual screen, you can see how a webpage will look on a smartphone screen using your desktop or laptop simply by resizing your browser to make it mobile sized. Why not try it out with this page?
A responsive design website won’t have an indefinite number of browser widths to work to. Usually there are around six sets of parameters that will work for a portrait smartphone, a landscape smartphone, a portrait tablet, a landscape tablet, a laptop or small desktop, and a large desktop or TV screen.
The Benefits of Responsive Design
Mobile technology has now reached a level where all businesses should be optimising their websites for mobile use. Responsive design has a number of advantages over building an individual website or app for each new device:
Ease of maintenance Because a responsive design website works with just one set of content you only need to update one site rather than updating a number of different sites with repetitive content.
Full user experience When a user accesses a responsive design website on their mobile device they have access to all the content they would be able to view on a desktop. If they are using an app or mobile specific site the content may have been reduced or scaled down.
Consistent user experience With a responsive design site the customer can access the website via their smartphone, tablet, or desktop and still see the same content, just in a different format.
Reduced development costs To create a new website or app for each new device can be very costly as the range of mobile devices available is increasing all the time. With responsive design you only need to develop one site with a variety of formats.
Of course developments in responsive design are ongoing, and the current hot topics are how to work with tables, forms, and videos on a responsive design website. This vital functionality is the key to keeping up with the fast pace at which mobile technology is growing, so improvements in responsive design are occurring all the time.
Any business will benefit from a website that can easily be used and viewed on all types of web device, so if you’d like to know more about our responsive design websites, give Helix Websites a call and we can schedule a demonstration for you.
Posted in Ecommerce, Web Design, Web Development | Leave a comment
On first glance West Malling may not seem like the obvious location for a modern business. The historic Kentish market town with its fascinating buildings and links to the Second World War might seem more suited to the tourist trade than to a contemporary web design business, but once you look carefully there’s a lot more to West Malling than you would initially suppose.
Here are just a couple of the reasons why we decided to base our web design company in West Malling:
Independent Local Businesses
West Malling and the surrounding villages have a surprising number of successful independent businesses, from small family run organisations to large private companies. The entrepreneurial spirit created by these thriving independent businesses provides a stimulating atmosphere in which to run an organisation of our own. These types if business tend to be forward thinking and open to new ideas relating to ecommerce, social media, and web design. West Malling also has its fair share of independent restaurants, cafes and shops, so working there is never a chore.
Kings Hill Business Park
Next to West Malling is one of the Southeast’s most prosperous business locations, Kings Hill Business Park, offering state of the art facilities and flexible office spaces. The business park attracts a good mix of well-known global players banking and finance to smaller independent firms like ourselves that specialise in marketing, recruitment, and of course web design. West Malling and Kings Hill provide a pleasing contrast to one another. While West Malling features historic buildings and quaint winding streets, Kings Hill Business Park in made up of contemporary style offices with plenty of open green space.
Transport links by rail and road
Just because we’re based in West Malling that doesn’t mean that we work exclusively with local businesses on their web design. We are fortunate to enjoy working with a great range of businesses and organisations from a variety of locations throughout London and the South East. West Malling benefits from superb train links, with central London less than an hour away in one direction and Ashford International, a gateway to Europe, just over 30 minutes away in the other direction. The road network is equally convenient, and with access to the M20 in just a couple of minutes we can easily visit clients all over Kent and the southeast.
Located in the Garden of England, West Malling is surrounded by beautiful countryside. Rolling hills, open farmland, endless orchards, and dense forests, as well as the odd oast house, all contribute to a charming landscape that helps to inspire our creativity. When we’re practising web design in West Malling we have all the advantages of working in a city, with the knowledge that the lovely Kentish countryside is just a few minutes away.
So you see – this part of Kent is the perfect place to set up any business, whether your speciality is fashion, finance, law, or web design. West Malling can provide superb facilities, excellent transport links, and a wide range of organisations to do business with, all against the lovely backdrop of the Kent countryside.
Posted in Ecommerce, Web Design, Web Development | Leave a comment
So your customers have found your website, selected their purchases, added them to their shopping cart and then … well what exactly? Checkout abandonment is a real concern for online retailers, so it’s good to have some understanding of why customers choose not to proceed with their orders and what you can do about it.
Understanding why customers choose not to proceed is part of the puzzle
Before we look at maximising your conversions, we should clarify that some degree of checkout abandonment is natural. If you think about shoppers in a physical store there will always be people who pick up an item, carry it around, maybe even try it on, but them ultimately decide not to buy it. Maybe they decided it wasn’t their colour after all, or perhaps they realised they were late for a meeting and dashed off without making a purchase. You won’t be able to eliminate checkout abandonment altogether, but the aim is to reduce this as far as possible.
As we look at the potential reasons that customers may be leaving your site without completing their order we will be using the results of an Econsultancy online shopping survey. This asked customers what would make them abandon their purchase when they had added items to their basket, and also what would make them abandon their order at the checkout stage. Here are some of the reasons your customers may be abandoning their shopping carts and the ways you can prevent this from happening.
Perceived payment security issues
Security is a big issue when shopping online. Although well-known and established online retailers have less of an issue with perceived security, smaller businesses will have to work harder to convince their customers it is safe to shop on their site. 58% of respondents to the survey said they would abandon the checkout process if they had concerns about payment security.
To gain the trust of your customers you need a professional looking, well-functioning site, with clear contact details. Trust marks are very important and the best known are Verisign, Comodo and Paypal. Applying even a basic SSL certificate to your website will provide customers with the reassurance that your website is secure and shows the dates that the certificate is valid – this also means that the “green padlock” is shown in the bar along with https:// again reassuring buyers that you take security seriously and they are dealing with a business that understands this.
Including payment options such as PayPal can also help sometimes, as customers don’t need to enter their card details, just log into PayPal.
3D Secure is a recommended additional process to secure the transaction for both customer and retailer, but 23% said they would abandon the checkout because of the use of security features such as Verified by Visa or Mastercard Secure. Even though these theoretically increase security people often have trouble remembering their password. Unfortunately, you can’t please everyone!
There are many factors which can threaten a successful transaction
Slow and complex checkout process
37% of respondents said they would abandon the checkout process if it took too long, and 44% would do the same because of technical problems or slow loading pages. Keeping your checkout process as short and simple as possible, ideally with just one screen (one page checkout), can help to reduce checkout abandonment. Using a well-designed and robust ecommerce platform such as Magento will also help to keep the process quick and easy, minimising technical problems. Use address lookup facilities to speed up form filling but make sure there is a manual option for unusual addresses, and use a system that recognises postcodes in a variety of formats.
Another factor that might make the checkout process slow and complex is mandatory registration, and 26% of respondents said this would prevent them proceeding to the checkout. Registration is advantageous for retailers, but try to include guest checkout or perhaps voluntary registration after payment so that this doesn’t become a barrier to sales.
Hidden costs and high delivery charges
Hidden costs are clearly a concern for online shoppers. 75% reported they wouldn’t proceed to the checkout because of high delivery charges, and 71% said they would abandon the checkout because of hidden costs. Making your delivery charges, and any other potential costs, clear on your website will help to set your customers’ expectations and will mean they don’t get a shock when they arrive at the checkout. Many small retailers won’t be able to offer free delivery as standard, but consider offering free delivery with a specified order value or discounted delivery for longer delivery times. Check out what your competitors are charging for delivery and try not to exceed that level.
Distractions from the checkout process
Another important factor in checkout abandonment is distractions that might prevent the customer from completing the order process. These often include links and ads in headers, footers, and sidebars that can take the shopper away from the checkout. Many retailers are now enclosing their checkout screens. This means that they remove sidebars, headers and footers from the screen, perhaps just leaving a logo at the top that links to their home page. They may also have a couple of links to important information about payment, delivery, and returns, but these should open in pop up boxes so that they don’t take the customer away from the checkout screen.
Another potential distraction might be a voucher code box. This tells customers that voucher codes are available and they may abandon the checkout process to search for them. Think about how and where you place a voucher code box so customers only see it when they have a code and are looking for it. The aim should always be to keep the customer moving in one direction; towards confirming their order.
As you can see there are numerous reasons that a customer may abandon the checkout, ranging from concerns about payment security and technical issues, to unexpected costs and distractions from making their purchase. Using a robust ecommerce platform that really works, keeping the checkout process quick and simple, enclosing the checkout, including security trust signs and a variety of payment options, making your delivery charges clear, and making registration optional are all ways that you can reduce checkout abandonment and maximise your online conversions.
Posted in Ecommerce, Web Design, Web Development | Leave a comment
Now is the time to utilise the marketing power of video
Think about the last time you watched a video online. You’re probably only going back a couple of days, a week, or perhaps a month at most. Even if it’s just snippets of news, interviews with sports personalities, or funny YouTube clips, watching videos online is now a way of life for most people, which is why video marketing has suddenly become so powerful. Creating a marketing video for your business can bring a huge number of benefits, and here are just a few of them:
Videos are more engaging than text or images
It’s no surprise to learn that most people would rather watch a two minute video than read a whole article of text that will take them ten minutes or more. A video can entertain them as well as providing information, and they are more likely to remember something they have seen and heard on a video that something they have read.
Videos also engage customers on a more emotional level than either text or still images. If a picture tells a thousand words, then a video must surely tell a million. If a potential customer watches a short video about your business, they will feel they have already made some sort of connection with you even before you have ever been in direct contact with them.
The team behind Concrete 5 (www.concrete5.org) created a video to help sell their product’s flexibility and ease of use. Concrete 5 is a website content management system, despite naturally being a technical and often complex subject the video does fantastic job at communicating to the audience at a human to human level. The video also provides some brief demonstrations which highlight the usability and interface of the product.
The Concrete5 introductory video
Videos add value for your customers
Think carefully about the content of your video. Customers are more likely to watch videos that provide valuable content than videos that are blatant sales pitches, and the search engines tend to feel the same way. Use your video to teach your customer something or provide a practical demonstration.
Videos work particularly well on ecommerce sites and many retailers are now combining product images with videos. A great example is fashion, where a short video of a model walking in a dress can tell the shopper more about how it looks, hangs, and moves, than a written description or still image ever could. Videos are a fantastic way to show your products in action.
The Diamond Store (www.thediamondstore.co.uk) utilises video in their product pages, providing an insightful demonstration for each of their jewellery items. This video (Youtube) for example reveals a great deal of visual information about the ring which would otherwise be absent on a static product page.
The Diamond Store provides insightful videos for each of its products
Videos increase traffic and search engine rankings
Search engines just love videos. Google especially will give priority to websites with video in its search results, so posting a video on your own site can improve your search engine rankings. Customers also seem to love video as search results with videos have a much higher click through rate than those that are just plain text. Videos are much harder for search engines to index than written text, and they are continually improving their algorithms. Currently videos will be ranked higher if they are watched for a substantial period of time, rather than just for a few seconds, so again you need to make sure your video is worth watching.
Posting your video on other sites such as YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ can also increase traffic and search engine rankings as long as the video links back to your site and it is well titled and tagged. Videos are very easy to share on social networking sites and if your video goes viral in this way it will give your search engine rankings a huge boost. Pinterest has recently opened its boards to videos as well as images, so make your videos visually appealing and get pinning.
Although video marketing is certainly on the increase, it is still relatively underused, so creating a marketing video right now can really give you a competitive edge. Producing a creative, high quality video that provides value to your customers is fairly affordable compared with the cost of magazine advertisements or similar, and it can provide far more exposure for your business. Remember to make it appealing to your customers so they will want to watch and share it, which in turn will make it appear valuable to the search engines.
Posted in Ecommerce, Marketing, Web Design, Web Development | Leave a comment
Social media has completely changed the way we market our businesses online. It’s a quick and easy way to spread the word about your business and to interact with your customers. Social media is fun and it’s free, two words that are very rarely combined in the world of business. However, it’s easy for companies to get caught up in the whirl of tweeting, posting, and pinning, and to forget that a robust online marketing strategy does also need something more tangible.
Social media is fabulous – as part of a wider strategy
Often the benefits of social media are also the factors that limit its effectiveness:
- Social media is immediate, meaning that your customers see your message instantly and can follow your call to action. However, it is also fleeting, and the moment that your update leaves Facebook walls or your tweet falls off the bottom of Twitter feeds it will disappear, never to be read at all. The buzz created by a social media post is usually short lived.
- The content of social media posts is very limited, meaning that your customers receive messages that are short, sharp, and to the point. However, this can prevent you from providing detailed information that could engage your customers more deeply.
- Social media allows you to reach a wide audience very quickly, but that audience won’t necessarily be totally committed to your business. Liking a Facebook page or following a Twitter account is a lot less of an investment than signing up to on online newsletter, for example.
Twitter – great place to start new relationships
While nobody would argue that social media isn’t important these days, there are many other aspects of online marketing to integrate it with. One of the key purposes of social media is to attract visitors to your website, so this is a great place to start. Making sure that the content of your website is well displayed, up to date, and informative will help you retain the visitors that arrive from social media sites.
Having a blog integrated into your website provides current news for your customers as well as supplying valuable content for the search engines. Posting at least once a week will keep your website fresh and will give your customers a reason to visit your site. In addition try regularly adding static pages to your website such as articles and press releases. You could also release a monthly newsletter or e-zine to your website’s mailing list.
Publishing content on your own website is very important, but only visitors to your site will see it. Publishing content on third party websites will help you to be seen as an authority in your field of business. This could include syndicating articles and press releases, guest blogging on a relevant site, or writing for an appropriate online trade publication.
Don’t limit yourself to written content; videos that are posted to You Tube as well as your own site can generate a huge interest in your business. You could also register for targeted business directories that allow you to upload detailed information about your company. Creating valuable web content is an important part of any online marketing campaign, particularly if that content has a link back to your own website.
Once you’ve published content on your own website or a third party website, your social media networks are a fantastic way to publicise it. Blogs can be set up so that a Facebook update and a tweet are automatically generated when you publish, saving you time and effort. If you’re publishing on a third party site, you can post your own links and engage the followers of that third party site at the same time. While social media on its own can be a little transitory and insubstantial, when you combine it with more durable content it can be a very powerful tool for your business.
Simple, careful planning of your social media activity and how it fits into your online marketing strategy is a really great place to start. And remember, creating fresh and interesting content is important and also gives you something new to shout about and valuable to share as well as the opportunity to create a buzz which is fun, sociable and will engage existing customers and reach potential new ones too.
Enjoy yourself online!
Posted in Marketing | Leave a comment