Traditional offline marketing is dead

Well, that may not be the case totally, and I certainly recommend a variety of marketing methods, BUT – with traditional methods like newspaper advertising and yellow pages losing sales hand over fist, do you have a strong online marketing strategy and presence?

The Internet is the biggest influence — at least from a business perspective — on how we are making buying decisions. Is that important for your business? Are you seeing return on investment for your offline marketing?

There are many ways, free and paid, to promote your brand and business online apart from your website and blog e.g. social media sites where you can build a network of strong supporters who will recommend you to others like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+; free directories; article sites; blog sites; forums; press release sites; pay-per-click advertising; eNewsletters & email marketing; banner advertising and a whole host of other methods. You can even put your logo and some branding onto your PayPal page if you sell products on your website that are linked to PayPal.

To start building your brand recognition though, your brand MUST be consistent across all marketing mediums. First your designer needs to create your ‘look’ which includes your logo, colour scheme, favicon ( a favicon is the small 16 pixel by 16 pixel picture you see beside some URLs in your browser’s address bar, see below.  Often some aspect from the logo is used to keep a consistent look – HotsWots use the cursor from the logo.) and avatar (an avatar is a personalised graphic file that represents a person/business when they post online).  HotsWots FaviconAre you are going for a corporate business-like look or do you want a more casual, fun approach?  Remember that your creative look needs to be completely aligned to your brand.

Some examples of how HotsWots have incorporated our brand on the Internet are:
Social Media TwitterBranded social media pages like the  Facebook Timeline banner (see thumbnail at the start of this post) and Twitter page (on the right).  If you have these designed professionally, you can get your tag line included and key services or products as well as images to support your brand.  It’s important to remember though that most social media sites have strict rules about what can and can’t be included in branded banners, especially Facebook.  So if you are doing your banners yourself, check the terms and conditions before you get started.

Social Media Google+Animated  gif banners on sites like Google+ .  Animated gif banners can move and change, giving multiple messages but are still viewable on iPhones or iPads unlike the Flash banners.  If you are getting your designer to do moving images, make sure you ask for gif.  This means you can get different messages/services/products marketed in the one advertisement.  The Display Picture which appears beside your posts, can also be designed with your logo or image.

HotsWots Gif AdvertisementAnimated gif banner advertisement .  Like the banners above for Google+,  animated gif advertisements are viewable on iPhones and iPads.  They can be used for paid banner advertising around the Internet or they can be uploaded onto other websites or blogs you may have or be associated with.  You may have a good client who is happy to put your ad on their website.  HotsWots has our ad on a couple of different websites and it does drive traffic back to our website.

Facebook TabInteractive Facebook tabs below timeline banner. You can have a Services page linking directly to your website, Welcome page with a give-away and opt-in box to capture visitors’ details, Product page etc linking directly to your shopping cart or PayPal account (Ecommerce). We can even make these pages easily editable by you! Or you can have other social media (YouTube, Twitter etc) and blog links here as well.

These are just some of the ways you can start creating strong brand recognition across the Internet.  The key is to be consistent!

HotsWots is a website design and development business with personal customer service that encompasses cutting edge design with technical expertise and an understanding of online marketing & SEO. Whether you’re brand new to the web or your online presence needs an upgrade, we’re here to listen to you and help you take your next step. http://www.hotswots.com

Facebook video calling vs Google+ hangouts

Facebook and Google’s rivalry is hotting up!! The latest big thing in the social networks is video chat and Facebook & Microsoft (who owns Skype) and have joined forces to joint rival Google after the launch of Google+. Google+ has a video chat feature called Hangouts where multiple parties can participate in video chat and Facebook’s Video Calling is now available and is powered by Skype. Clearly, social networking and video chat is the latest cool thing!

So which one is better – Facebook Video Calling or Google+ Hangouts? Continue reading

Is social media right for small businesses?

Social media is certainly here to stay – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Four Square, Flickr, Blogging and many more. Social media has changed the way businesses are now able to market. No longer is it the big companies with the big budgets who can get the most marketing mileage. The playing field has been leveled and small to medium businesses, even micro businesses, all have the same chance to be found and promote their brands, increase their databases and potentially their sales. It is a great way to drive repeat business and find new customers.
Social media is where people come together to share information or just chat – it is really just word-of –mouth marketing that has been powered by technology and it is all about building relationships and engaging. People don’t want to be sold to anymore and the traditional methods of advertising are just not producing the results like they used to.

Many small to medium businesses, instead of seeing social media as a huge opportunity for connecting with their customers and potential customers, perceive social marketing to be something they do not want to get involved with.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8 Continue reading