Frustrated by Website Service Spam?!

Flooded by emails offering print and website services?

Yeah, us too.

Most of these emails say they have been to your website, analysed it, and can offer to re-design the website, provide an SEO Service and offer additional services.

However, if these emails were for real, if these companies had actually been onto our website in particular, and “analysed it”, they would know that we are a web design company, that we create websites and offer SEO ourselves along with a host of other professional services.

So I must conclude, and feel obliged to warn you, many of these companies are not going to your site first and though they may actually offer these services, they seem to be going about it the wrong way. I don’t know about you but these tactics of sending out bulk spam-like emails are not okay with me.

spamwiches Now I get about 10-12 of these messages every week, offers of SEO and website re-design, as well as ‘photo cutouts’ and print services, and I wanted to assure our blog surfers that we do participate in this type of bothersome marketing.

If you would like a Website created; take a look at our Portfolio Page to see the quality of websites that we produce, then give us a call on 0800 308 8996 or use our Contact Form to send us a message.

We would be happy to come to you to discuss your needs, or you are welcome to come to us for website re-design or a brand new online presence that we can design and build for you.

If you’re out of town be assured we have a lot of experience in designing for companies all around New Zealand and can meet with you via Skype, and alternative communication.

We are a Christchurch-based company, offering great service and transparent prices. If you are looking for quotes on Website Design, Development and Website Hosting, you will be pleased with our competitive pricing and the range of Services we offer, from our ActiveMail Newsletter System, to iPhone and iPad applications and a range of Printed Media.

Don't bother with spam marketing, contact us - the Creative Team at Activate Design.

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Posted in Graphic Design

Yahoo Mail plagued by hackers and compromised security

 ACTIVATE DESIGN'S SOLUTION TO YOUR YAHOO MAIL FRUSTRATION.

mailguy smltallYahoo Mail fixes another compromise in security this week, and publicly admits there is a problem in the on-going issue of insecure yahoo email accounts getting hacked, passwords stolen, and spam being sent from hacked email accounts to all contacts, spreading malware and causing great annoyance to the thousands who keep receiving these spam emails, not to mention the account holders who receive a stream of return emails querying the emails sent from their account.

This dates back to a serious hack into the yahoo email accounts that occurred in early January, when a hacker uploaded a video to YouTube to show just how easy it is to compromise a Yahoo email account. Yahoo was quick to respond, confirming the flaw had been investigated and fixed.

Later in January a company called ‘Offensive Security’ let Yahoo know that their email service was still vulnerable to attack with flawed security. Yahoo again confirmed that these flaws had been fixed.

It was then discovered that the spam in question, that has been sent from compromised yahoo email accounts, had been circulating for about a month, stealing login details and bypassing Yahoo mail security.

Yahoo has again confirmed that these security breaches have been fixed, but should they be trusted? Are you prepared to use an email service, any email service, that is plagued by attacks and flawed security?

Can I change to a more professional email account? Yes, absolutely. A good point to ponder when choosing to move to a new account provider is the professionalism of having a yahoo account for your business. For example, would a company called ‘City Solicitors’ use an email address that was citysolicitors@yahoo.com? No. Most definitely not. Without realising it, some of these email services are actually undermining your business image and professionalism. So why risk it when ideally you can have an email account that is linked to your domain name?

email carriers

What is an example of a more professional email account? As an example, if you own the domain name, “cityflowers.co.nz”, then your own email address could be something like; orders@cityflowers.co.nz. At Activate we create email accounts that are hosted on our secure New Zealand-based server, allowing you to choose from a variety of email software options to manage your emails. Amongst the most popular software for emails today are Microsoft Outlook, MacMail & Thunderbird.

How much does a domain-name email cost? At Activate Design if you already have a website hosted by us, then email accounts are complimentary, and we can setup up to 15 accounts under one domain name. If you do not yet have a website with us, we can host your email account from just $5.00 +gst per month. Contact us for more information or to get started with a new email account today.

Can I get technical support for my software and security? We provide an online troubleshooting guide for email setups, and beyond that we advise those that rely one technology for their business to have an IT Specialist for your company, or to utilise one of the many IT Specialist call-out technician services available today, to assist with any technical issues such as email setups and keeping software and security updated on your computers.

emailservices tall

Why shift to a new email provider? Another reason to shift to your own, more professional domain email account is that Yahoo mail is not good for business because the spam filters are set so high that legitimate business enquiries are often unable to reach you.

What do I do with my existing Yahoo mail account? With your Yahoo email, Hotmail, or other personal email accounts, you can setup forwarders to go to your new domain email account, until those older accounts are no longer needed and can be closed.

Where do I get a domain name? If you do not yet have a domain name, contact our friendly team at Activate Design where we can register domain names on your behalf, or you are welcome to visit our dedicated hosting website www.activehost.co.nz where you can search for the availability of domain names of your choice, with a variety of suffix available such as .com / .co.nz / .net.nz and more.

Simply follow the link above, enter the domain you would like and click "find" to check if it is available. You can purchase your domain right then and there if you wish, or contact us to purchase it for you.

How do I get a website? These days having an online presence is a must. The internet is now the first place most people will go to find a product or service, and increasingly this is being done on mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads. Take a look at our Portfolio Page for examples of websites we have done recently, and for ideas on what we could design and create for you.

The next step: is to contact us to arrange a meeting, where we can discuss the options available, introduce you to our own uniquely developed Content Management System (CMS); created so that you can manage your own content and add images etc, with our easy to use client-friendly system. We can then provide a quote and proceed at your convenience.

Our team at Activate Design can: launch a new or update your existing online presence with CMS websites, Ecommerce websites, and other professional services like email accounts and our easy-to-use ActiveMail newsletter system, as well as iPhone and iPad applications. Our team consists of experienced graphic designers, developers, copywriters, programmers, SEO specialists, and a great sales team to advise you on expanding your company logo and brand into an online presence you will be proud to stand behind.

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Posted in Uncategorized

How to transfer your Facebook Followers to a Subscriber List

Legally, there is no way to just take your whole follower list from Facebook and use if for your own marketing purposes. It simply can't be done.

So how do keep in touch with your 'followers' from Facebook, who obviously already like you and are interested in what you have to offer?

FBthumbSmlStep 1.

You need to have an alternate way of sending out information to your interested followers, and the best way to do this is by sending out a regular newsletter.   Due to the fact that Facebook have introduced fees you must pay to ensure your posts reach all your followers (otherwise they are only visiable to a small percentage of followers), and proven that sites such as this can be changable and unpredicable in the way you interact with them, many people are turning to other methods of having an online presence such as ;

Websites : a website is a must-have for business these days.

Contact us to have a custom-designed website created for your company, or to update your existing website to something stylish and modern.

Newsletters : what better way to regularly send out interesting and relevant information to your clients than an online newsletter?!

Some of the benefits of using our ActiveMail email marketing system;

  • This is a user-friendly newsletter system, so easy to use it will make newsletter creation a breeze!
  • We create a template / or templates for you, then you just choose the template you wish to use and easily upload your pictures, fill in the articles with your own words, send yourself a test newsletter if you wish, then send to your subscriber list. Easy.
  • Easily add links into your newsletters yourself.
  • Subscriber lists that are so easy to manage, you can even have multiple lists for ease-of-use. What could be simpler?

 

FBthumbSmlStep 2.

Pay for a post on Facebook so it's guaranteed to go to ALL followers. The sooner the better! With changes in progress all the time, who knows what future posting prices will be?! - get in quick while posting prices are relatively low.   Your post could be an interesting graphic to intice interest, with a link to the subscriber page on your newsletter where they are encouraged to fill in their name and email to enjoy your future newsletters.

I would advise to keep your Facebook page, it is free social media marketing unless you are paying for posts, then you can pay for a post every now and then to encourage subscribing to your newsletter.

Feel free to contact us to discuss your website or newsletter needs, we are happy to advise on the best solution for your business needs. Visit our ActiveMail Email Marketing System page for more information on this innovative newletter system.

Visit our Content Writing page, if you would like to utilise our creative writers for articles in your newsletter, or content for your website.

FBthumbSml

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Posted in Branding

The trouble with Facebook changability vs reliable Website stability

The advantages of having a website rather than relying on free social media sites such as Facebook, are becoming more and more clear with new information that has come to light this week.

Is the Facebook user audience is on the decline? A report released this week shows that some 61 percent of Facebook users had taken a break from using the site for at least two weeks for a variety of reasons; from taking a break from the screes of gossip, drama, and irrelevant information, to the fact that many people seem to have realised they have been spending too much time on the site, and need to re-think their time allocations. Privacy and security concerns on Social Media sites have also received plenty of media coverage of late.

This shift in user activity may be due to the new charges that were launched in late 2012, where you must pay for the priviledge of having your posts reach all of your followers, or otherwise be satisfied that only a percentage of your randomly chosen followers will be seeing any of your posts at all.

This introduction of charges also had another effect, causing users to realise that websites of this type can change without notice in the form of charges, display and formats, even how they operate. Facebook offers you no control over how you can utilise this marketing tool. It's a take-it or leave-it social media platform with little or no stability.

For those who have spent vast amounts of time setting up their business pages and marketing hot spots on Facebook, it has come as a huge disappointment that free social media sites cannot be relied upon to work as they previously have. We have people just like this come to us and we are able to create a client-friendly, editable website for them, as well as the ability to have a Blog streaming through their site, and a customised Email Marketing Newsletter to reach their target audience.

The time to have your own website is now. Facebook is a free media site that can still offer benefits, but not stability. I would encourage everyone currently advertising on Facebook to invest in their own website where your followers can find your permanent, reliable internet presence when they want it.

I say it is time to action your own website presence now because you want to encourage your Facebook audience to sign-up to your Newsletter, and you want to do this NOW before Facebook change their charges or conditions on the way you can advertise to your followers.

Contact us today to discuss your website needs and how we can conceptualise, design and build a stunning website that will best reflect your style, as well as offering easy-to-use editable features allowing you to control, change and add your own content at your own convenience.

See our Portfolio page for examples of our previous website design projects.

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Posted in Branding

I.T. Support

- When do you need it?

- Who provides it?

- What is the purpose of having it?

There have been a lot of companies pop up in recent years, specialising in I.T. Support. These companies provide excellent technological support for your home or business needs, and developing a good relationship with a local I.T. support company that are ready to assist you at a moments notice is a great way to start the new year with peace-of-mind in all things technical, especially ensuring that your business can run smoothly, and get any repairs, reconfigurations and support that you may need - fast, and whenever you may need it.

At Activate Design we can design, build and host your website and add and host any email accounts you require. We are not, however, equipped to offer full I.T. support for your company. So though we can ensure everything is running smoothly at our end, that your website and emails are securely hosted on our trusted New Zealand based server and backed up by the support and know-how of our team's ingenuity, we also encourage you to develop a good relationship with an I.T. Support company for the on-going needs of your business technology.

I.T. support companies are expert at offering prompt and focused call-out support people for all those home or business I.T. issues such as the setup and maintenance of email accounts on your personal computer/s, ensuring you are using the latest website browser and updating when necessary, offering support for wireless network setups, computer configuration and related I.T. infrastructure, and ensuring your computer and network/internet settings are secure and protected from outside influence.

At Activate Design we do all we can to ensure the services we provide are seamless and reliable, that we offer clear communication between you and our team of experts, and we encourage you to take those extra steps in ensuring the security and on-going support of your technology needs with an I.T. Support Company near you.

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Posted in Website Design

Best Blogs of 2012

Happy New Year everyone!

On thinking of a new blog topic to write about for 2013, I was scrolling through some of our older blogs and realised what a wealth of free website, design and hosting information we have available to you!

For your interest I have highlighted some of the best and most informative blog topics below. If any of them interest you simply click on the heading to go directly to that post or scroll down through all of our posts to locate them, and read on!

Posts listed in order of most recent to older entries.

  • How Much Should I Be Paying For Website Hosting? - an informative look at important aspects of website hosting and points to consider when looking for a reliable website hosting company.
  • Update Your Browser - offering some very encouraging information as to why keeping your browser updated is of benefit, and links for where to go to get updates.
  • Modern Marketing vs Traditional Marketing - offering both established and new ideas for marketing your business.
  • Is Your Website Climbing With Sales Or Sliding Downhill? - this post offers some great insights into looking at the purpose of having a website, and is a good checklist for you to see if your website is working for you.
  • Christchurch Website Design Process - excellent information detailing the process of website creation, letting you know exactly what to expect, and prompting ideas for focusing your website on your target market.
  • Activemail - Our Simple Email Marketing System - if you've ever wanted to send out regular emails to your clients, our ActiveMail system is one of the easiest to use. How do we know? Well, we use it ourselves of course. Read this post for more information on this excellent, online email marketing system.
  • Website Landing Pages - providing clear information on how 'landing pages' on your website can generate and encourage new traffic to your website. This is just one of the S.E.O. (Seasrch Engine Optimisation) services that we offer.
  • Website And Server Security - good information to know about the hosting of your website and the importance of ensuring your site is hosted on a secure New Zealand based server.
  • Graphic Design For Printing And Website Challenges - this post offers a variety of free design information, especially targeted at those who wish to create some of their own graphics to include on a website or for print, and details the requirements of both media.
  • Website Search Engine Optimisation - interesting introductory information on a variety of SEO services we have available.
  • Get Online: The Problem With Free Websites - this is as great post for anyone tempted by "free" offers, read on to know just what you could be getting yourself into.

We hope the information provided in our posts is both interesting and informative, and we encourage you to contact us if you would like any further information on any of the topics we write about, or for any other queries regarding website creation, graphic design, digital printing and offset printing, or any of our other services like iPhone or iPad apps and SEO services.

We wish you all the best for a successful and productive 2013 !!

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Posted in Branding

How Much Should I Be Paying For Website Hosting?

WHAT IS THE REASONABLE PRICING FOR WEBSITE HOSTING IN NEW ZEALAND?

WHAT IS WEBSITE HOSTING EXACTLY?

 

HOW MUCH SHOULD I BE PAYING FOR WEBSITE HOSTING?

Most people need managed hosting, and we provide it at very affordable rates for managed hosting, often more that 50% cheaper than some of our competitors.

Hosting prices are based on server space and bandwidth.. the smaller and simpler the site the cheaper the package is.

Important aspects of website hosting to consider ;

  • Will my site be hosted on a New Zealand server?
  • Will there be top notch security to prevent website hacking?
  • Will there secure, reliable back-ups in place?
  • Does the hosting company offer on-going website support or once my site is live is that it?
  • Will there be good access of communication between my hosting company and myself?
  • Will the server provide fast performance for a fast loading website?
  • Will the hosting company care about my needs or am I just another partition on a server?

If you’re looking to hosting with an overseas company, you may have to compromise on many of these points above. Overseas hosting may offer a cheaper alternative but you may find that you are just another number, a website space to be crammed onto a server amongst hundreds of other sites, much like chickens kept in battery cages, something we feel strongly against.

Hosting your site on an overseas server will also likely mean slower loading time and slower website speed overall. Something to be aware of is that there are New Zealand hosting companies who host their websites on overseas servers, so if you don’t know where your website will be hosted – ask!

At Activate Design we offer more "free range" hosting, as opposed to your "battery hen" type hosting. We host all of our websites right here in New Zealand with Servers based in Auckland and Christchurch from respected companies who assure ultra-modern facilities with full redundancy in connectivity, power and cooling, as well as a priority to maintaining the highest levels of server security.

We look after you. And that’s an important part of who we are, being accessible and knowledgable to offer website support for all your potential requirements.

We have automated systems that manage your hosting and domain names, allowing you to manage your invoices, domains, and to process payments conveniently, all in our online system. We’re also right here in Christchurch, and at the end of the phone if there’s anything you need assistance with, or send us a support ticket for faster action from out team.

WHAT IS WEBSITE HOSTING EXACTLY?

Here is a brief layout of just exactly what website hosting is, and the basic steps involved in having a website created for your company, before hosting becomes a factor.

A definition of Websites, Website Hosting and Domain names

A Website is your place on the internet. It needs to be run in a program and there are many to choose from. At Activate Design one of our most popular programs is our WEP system. This is a unique website system that we have designed and developed to be user-friendly, specifically so our clients can access and edit their own sites with ease and simplicity, and at their own convenience.

WEBSITE HOSTING is the physical place where you website is located. While your live website is available on the internet it needs be hosted somewhere, on a server. Servers cost money, so the hosting costs money, and that cost is dependent on the size of your website and the type of website you require whether it be a simple CMS website or an eCommerce site where you wish to sell your goods and services online.

A DOMAIN NAME is the address of your site. If you think of your website like a car, then the hosting is the carpark where it is located, and the domain name is the signpost directing people to your parking space. Website Hosting and a Domain name are both part of having a website.

The hosting of your website and the domain name may be more convenient if they are managed by the same company, as we do. We have our uniquely developed ActiveHost system which automatically notifies you when your domain name is coming up for renewal, and also sends out your hosting invoices automatically.

We offer the convenience of being able to log-in to our ActiveHost system so you can view your invoices and domains online, check the availability of new domains and purchase them if you wish, and pay at your convenience.

Next is a brief summary of the steps that are involved in having a website created, just to give you some idea of what need to be done in creating a website, and things to think about before undertaking the process.

Website Steps To Creation;

  1. WEBSITE QUOTE - we talk to you in brief about what kind of site you need, what you need it to do and the audience it will be aimed at. We then propose a site that would suit you. We have developed our own CMS (Content Management System) which is the background system that runs a website, and we have created this to meet the needs of clients who need a user-friendly website that will allow them to make changes to their website themselves with ease and efficiency.
  2. WEBSITE CONSULTATION- this may include time for the consultations on exactly what you need from a website and how it is to look and to function. This may include more than one meeting to discuss your ongoing requirements.
  3. DOMAIN NAME– if you do not already have a domain name that suits you company name and the business you offer, we can assist you to pick one, or two, or more! You need a main domain name to direct users to your site, but you can also have additional domain names that also point to your website as required. For example, you may wish to have; kiwiknifesharpeining.co.nz – as your main domain.But you also may wish to have additional domains, for example; kiwiknife.co.nz / kiwiknives.com / kiwisharpeningservices.net.nz – which can all be signposts to direct website surfers to your website.Additional domain names can be added at any time, but one domain must be registered to you to direct people to your webiste when it goes live.
  4. GRAPHIC DESIGN for your Website – once we have a target and know the style and look that would suit your business, our designers will attack a project with gusto, creating backgrounds and buttons, header bars and the overall style and imagery of your website.
  5. WEBSITE WRITTEN CONTENT– any content for your website can be written by our clever wordsmiths, who will usually meet with you in person and take notes on your business in a comfortable interview-like situation, finding out about you and what you do and writing it in a way that will appeal to your client base while targeting online search engines to ensure optimal web traffic will find you.Copywriting is usually an additional service on request, and not included in the overall cost of building a website unless discussed previously.
  6. PUTTING THE WEBSITE TOGETHER– programmers take all the design and content information and put them together adding functionality and consistency. Our programmers seamlessly make the buttons work, align the navigation, add any additional functionality as requested, and get the website to a finished stage.
  7. WEBSITE GOES LIVE - Once the website has been put together we ask you to review your new website and let us know of any changes you would like before the site goes live.

How much should I pay for website hosting?

We have heard stories of people being grossly overcharged for their website hosting, so we just wanted to ensure we are transparent on the subject of the hosting charges you would expect to pay for having a website online.

In all website hosting companies there will be a variety of hosting packages available, some may say free hosting – but that does not necessarily mean free!

Be wary of companies offering "free hosting" or "free domains", there is no such thing. It could be a matter of that cost being applied to you under a different guise or having a website that is undermined by annoying pop-up advertising that most web surfers will steer well clear of.

It could be that the cost of hosting has been built into the cost of the website build, but this gets a bit fuzzy when you realise that a website build will take a fixed amount of time to complete, but the hosting will continue indefinately... it seems strange to combine the two - and how do you know what you’re really paying for?

Website hosting fees should be separate. There should be a cost for building the site. Then there may be additional costs for content writing if requested, or any functionality above and beyond what was initially discussed and quoted for - which will be clearly laid out and agreed to by you before being undertaken. Then there will be the cost of a domain name which, with us, you are able to register it yourself through our easy to use ActiveHost system.

Registering a domain name means it then belongs to you, and if you wish to keep it you need to register it annually, or for multiple years as convenient. If a domain lapses there may be a small window with which you can re-register it, otherwise it will be available to be registered by anyone else and you will not be able to reclaim it unless by negotiation with the new owner.

If we manage your domain name this will not happen. We will not allow your domain it to expire without you being notified well in advance as we closely monitor all of the domain names in our care, and our automated system means you are notified well in advance of domain expiry. Lastly there is the hosting fees, dependent on your website size and type, and these fees will be ongoing for as long as you wish your website to be live on the internet.

Website hosting should be based on the type of website best suited for your needs.

Basic categories of website available

  • A simple view-only website This is a website for viewing, for providing information and can be edited by us as required.
  • A CMS Website A CMS or Content Management System website, is one that you can edit yourself when and how you see fit. We provide training on the use of our unique wep-site system so you can have control over your own website content.
  • An E-Commerce Website This is a website in which you can edit the site, and can sell your goods and services online. If your site gains more products and grows in size you can easily purchase more space on our server to allow for further website growth.

For a detailed list of our website and hosting packages visit our website hosting page or contact us to discuss your needs.

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Posted in Graphic Design

Update Your Browser!

- Well, Why Should I?

Your browser works fine, internet speed is okay, your emails are readily accessible, credit card transactions process fine and the sites you visit work as expected, so why would you need to update your browser?

Website design and functionality is great to work with, design and build … until we get to the stage of trying to make the website function consistently across a wide range of different browsers!

There are so many new features available to website designers and programmers and we like to utilise all the creative potential for website design that we can, to ensure we are creating modern websites, stylish websites, fast loading websites, creatively unique, appealing and cleverly designed websites.

If you are using an older browser you simply may not be seeing the new effects and features that are available on modern websites. If your old, outdated browser does not understand the code it should be displaying, it will just ignore it and show you what it does understand, it may display as broken pages or links that won't work.

The simple truth is that different browsers work differently. They perform differently in searches, speed and performance and you can choose whichever browser you like best... just keep it updated would you please?

Advantages of updating your website browser regularly;

  • More Security
  • Better Privacy Settings
  • Faster Browsing Speeds
  • Continuous Updates Made Available
  • Browser Extension and Application Add-ons
  • Cross Platform Browsers – to adapt to Mobile and Android devices

What you will miss out on by not updating your browser;

  • Features, Enhancements and Nuances of new website design
  • You are accepting potential security risks and bugs
  • Older browsers become unsupported

We create fantasitic websites, brilliant websites, stylish websites and modern websites all for the enjoyment of you, the web surfer. But we can’t be sure you are getting the whole experience if you are using an out dated web browser version!

So don’t miss out on enhanced website surfing pleasure – updated your browser today, right now! And look to update your browser every six months to a year.

How do I update my website browser version?

WINDOWS USERS:

If you use Window, to update your website browser visit; windows.microsoft.com

If you use Firefox it will normally auto-update, but to ensure you’re using the latest version visit; www.mozilla.org//firefox

If Chrome is your style, this normally auto-updates as well, but to check visit; www.google.com/chrome

MAC USERS:

If you use Safari, visit this link to download the latest website browser version; www.apple.com

Firefox usually auto-updates unless you’ve told it not to. To check if you’re running the latest visit; www.mozilla.org/firefox

Chrome also auto-updates but to check for the latest version visit; www.google.com/chrome

If you’re browser is not listed, visit www.google.com and type in “update my browser” – then enter the name of the browser you use.

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Posted in Graphic Design

Surviving the Facebook conspiracy - the truth behind Facebook

SURVIVING THE FACEBOOK CONSPIRACY

- the truth behind Facebook and the new fees for posting

Facebook has been and will continue to be, a great source of free marketing for businesses. But as some of us have just learned the hard way, Facebook as an alternative to your own website is a mistake.

As you will now be aware, Facebook has just recently added fees to their site, so that for your posts to reach all of your fans you are now required to pay-per-post, otherwise only about 1/4 of your fans are even seeing your posts at all.

Facebook can still be used as a source of free media, but the reality is that the rug can be pulled out from under you again at any time. You have very few rights when using Facebook and no input as to what fees or changes may arise in future. Additionally your posts are not going to reach all your fans unless you pay whatever amount Facebook deems necessary. But why do we think we should have control over something that is by nature, a free resource? Perhaps we have been naive to think that social media would remain free, as no other advertising method has.

This new pay-per-post feature is being called Facebook's "Promoted Posts" feature, and comes at a cost dependent on the amount of recipients you wish to post to.  This same feature is available to individual users who use Facebook as a non-related media source, offering to make your posts available to your whole friend list rather than just the small percentage that now receives your updates. Ironically these new charges come at a time when Facebook's shares have dropped dramatically, and right on the heels of what some might call their "IPO disaster", and subsequently there has been a lot of speculation on the timing and reasons behind these new fees.

Although Facebook have been clear on what these this new pay-per-post feature offers, they have not stated WHY we are now being charged for something that has been a free resource for so long. I believe that in making these changes many loyal Facebook users are now waiting for a Facebook alternative so they can once again enjoy the openness of free Social Media with more stability and less surprises. The lesson we must take away from this experience is that in future there will be NO GUARANTEES that Social Media sites such as Facebook will not flip the coin on their processes, fees, and your rights as a user.

WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT THESE NEW FEES?

Here's what we suggest; if you have spent copious amounts of time arranging your Facebook page to just how you want it, attracting hundreds or thousands of fans - then like so many others you will be feeling the frustration of these new Facebook fees while your posts will only be reaching a very small percentage of your fans.

What we advise is taking advantage of those fans who are already interested in you, and enticing them over to your website. Don't have a website? Then Contact Us today and we will talk you through the process, and get your started on having your own permanent place in the world of online marketing.

Enticing people to your website may require that yes, you need to pay for a post or two on Facebook, to ensure you get the message out to ALL of your fans; that they can now visit your website and be guaranteed to see all of what you have to offer, not to mention that having a website increases the legitimacy of your business, and offers up your website as a permanent port in the storm of online advertising.

• Talk to us about creating a website for you. We are passionate about building websites, mobile website, iPhone or iPad applications and a larger range of online marketing tools to help you promote your products and services. See our Website Portfolio Page for examples of our website design excellence.

• Apply your Facebook Marketing skills and enthusiasm to your website. Take what you have learned about marketing through free Social Media sites, along with your enthusiasm about connecting with your client base, and let us work with you to take advantage of and improve, these marketing methods.

• Offer something to entice your Facebook Fans to your website. You will likely need something more than just "visit my website" to transfer your Facebook fans to your website. Some sort of offer, teaser or sweetener may provide the necessary motivation to encourage them to follow you. A printable voucher or similar special may be just the ticket to pulling all your Facebook fans through to your website, and we can work with you to find just the right Pied Piper to lead your fans directly to you.

• Keep posting via a newsletter. Encourage your fans to 'subscribe' to your newsletter. We have a fabulous newsletter system called "ActiveMail" that is so easy to use you probably won't even believe me till you see it! We create a newsletter template for you, working with you to get the look and layout that suits you, so you can add your own articles and images and send out to your clients as often as you wish.

• Keep posting via a Blog on your website. Keep up your posts hourly, daily, whenever you wish by having your own blog on your site. We will show you how to create keyword-rich text that search engines can pickup on to both generate more traffic and keep the interest of your current fan base.

• Stream your Twitter feed through your site. Again using keywords and moments of interest, fed through your site, to stream your fans back to you. Twitter is enjoying a boom while many of us are Tweeting about all kinds of business events and activities from open days to new product launches, keeping our client base up to date and INVOLVED.

WHY HAVE MY OWN WEBSITE?

• Legitimise your business and run your business properly with your own website. Let's face it, running your business solely through Facebook, TradeMe, or any other such free Social Media site does not generate faith in your legitimacy as a business. People are taking a "risk" on you, and customers are more likely to believe in your value and reliability if you have a website with clear communication on who you are, where you are, and how to contact you in the event that sales do not go smoothly.

• You have more control over the look of your site. You make the decisions on what you want in a website, and we will show you the options available to you, and guide you along the way. Our goal is for you to have a site that you're proud of.

• You are not at the mercy of "fad" Social Media sites. If a site becomes unpopular, stop using it. Generate interest that will direct back to your own website from your own site, or from a different Social Media site. In that way you will remain up-to-date, and will not be at the mercy of sites that have become greedy or unpopular by investing all your time posting on sites people no longer visit.

• You have control of the features you wish to have available to your fans and clients. We have many options available such as creating a Mobile-friendly version of your website, portfolio pages, eCommerce sites for selling your products online, full editable access for you the client, our ActiveMail email system and more!

• Be aware of the costs of creating and hosting your own website. We will layout exactly what's involved in having your own site, with no surprise charges or changes that may leap out at you in future such as what you may experience from Social Media sites turned greedy.

• You can have a website that YOU can edit yourself. Your website will be more editable than Facebook in that you can have access to the whole content and can make changes to the information displayed at any time, or our friendly team can update the site for you at your convenience. Training on editing your site is included in our website packages.

• Facebook is not under your control. Whereas your own website would be, and the Activate Design team is here to offer full support for your ongoing website needs.

• Anything you post to Facebook belongs to Facebook - in that they can use your images for their own marketing, as you gave them permission to do so when you signed up. This is not so when having your own site. Your website will be SECURE and all your files remain your own.

There has been many successful business stories come out of the free marketing that is available on Social Media sites such as Facebook, so we know that online marketing works. What is now frustrating for so many of us, is that the time and effort that you have put into making Social Media work for you, can so easily be taken away by corporate decision making beyond your control.

I like think of it like this, anchor yourself with a website of your own, where content remains in your control and where you can rely on it always being there. Where you can change or edit, refresh or re-brand, add and remove products and alter pricing at your own convenience, and have the peace of mind that the website is YOURS.

Once securely anchored with your own website then by all means, go sailing in the sea of Social Media, utilising Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blog, UTube, and any other sites that take your fancy - knowing as you do so no matter what may change on those sites, the interest you are working to generate will be diverting back to your permanent website. Your website becomes your lighthouse in the storm of constantly changing Social Media.

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Visit our Website Portfolio page for examples of our website creativity and production experience.

CONTACT US to discuss having a new website created, updating your existing website, or leading your current Facebook fans over to your website.

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Posted in Branding

Modern Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Modern Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Print is not dead. Just to put that statement right there, out in front.

At Activate Design we are web designers and web developers, we make software applications for iPhones and iPads and even iPhone versions of websites and iPad versions of websites. We know the technology because we develop the technology and THROUGH this technology the marketing of your company is accessible, FAST, available on a variety of platforms and EASILY UPDATEABLE!

But is all this technology better than traditional marketing methods?

I think to answer that question we need to look at how our consumers shop for the products and services that they need. But I can tell you this, our graphic designer is kept VERY busy creating flyers, brochures, business cards and banners for local Christchurch business and many other business around New Zealand. Print is very much alive and kicking.

TRADITIONAL MARKETING TECHNIQUES

1. Radio Ads. People still listen to the radio and radio advertising still works.

2. TV Adverts. Most of us still watch some television, so that method of advertising remains relevant.

3. Circulars. Most of us still receive circulars, so print will continue to have this edge on marketing for as long as we can put up it filling up our letterboxes.

4. Flyers. We still like to pick up a flyer when it takes our interest, so printing is ever popular. By this I do not refer to circulars, but the brochures we see available in our salons, our coffee shops, our art shops, video rental stores, even our hardware stores. The printing of flyers will endure because it is less "in your face" than television or radio advertising - which is harder to ignore and therefore MORE ANNOYING. Advertising by the use of flyers retains a customers sense of privacy, allowing them to browse products/services in their own time, and offering them something free that they can take away with them. Also giving you the chance to add your website address, physical address, contact details and other information to further tempt them to you. If a brochure is done right, a customer may pin it to their wall or stick it on a fridge - which is a sure sign that YOUR PRINT MARKETING IS A SUCCESS!

5. Business cards. You don't have a business card? Contact us quick! Business cards are a tool that will forever endure, and whether you believe me or not you should have business cards on you right now! You never know when someone you meet will want to grab your details in a second - after all, handing over a card takes a second of your time, it takes a lot longer to add a note or contact into a cellphone!

MODERN MARKETING TECHNIQUES

1. Websites. For an increasing number of us, the internet is the FIRST place we check to find products, services, contact numbers, business trading hours, maps, and a whole lot more. If it were up to me, websites would be on the top of the marketing methods list. You've just got to have one these days, because if you don't - your competitors sure will, and you've lost customers before you even knew they were looking for you.

2. eCommerce Websites. In addition to just having a website, selling from your website (as in, having an eCommerce website) is just taking the convenience that one step further. Having a personable website is pushing your potential even higher! And what I mean by personable is that you need to let your customers know that there is a person there, behind the scenes - in case anything goes wrong with a sale, and just so they know who they are dealing with. For me, one of the off-putting thing about eCommerce sites is that there are no names or faces for me to associate the business with. It's like doing business with a machine! And what happens if the machine breaks? You need to sell your products online but just as importantly, you need to sell you, your business, and the sense that your business, products and services can be TRUSTED. Trust me on this.

3. Video advertising through websites / youtube. What better way to show how to use your products, to demonstrate your knowledge, to add interest to a product or service, to direct people to your site, to make people laugh (or cry) and share your video with others than to get our snazzy team to create a short video to showcase your awesomeness. Just saying, there's a lot of untapped potential there... How would your company benefit from a short video? Take a look at our Website Video page for more info.

4. Facebook and Twitter. With both of these marketing platforms, the technology is continually developing to make this FREE marketing worthwhile for your business. Adding these as links to your site is also of benefit, and nowdays you can even stream your tweets through your site - very appealing if done right. (We can do it right - contact us today.)

Now let's take a wee stroll into ;

WAYS THAT AFFECT HOW WE SHOP

strolling... strolling...

1. Downloadable Coupons - coupons can now be downloaded or sent to cellphones. This negates the need for a printed coupon and means a customer can simply show a coupon from their phone to get a discount. Companies are getting ahead of this technology by creating online vouchers to send to their clients.

2. iPhone websites / iPad websites / Mobile sites - these are reduced versions of your website that we can create, so that your customers can easily view your website on their own portable technology, encouraging sales and visits and marketing your products.

3. eCommerce websites / websites selling products online - in the realms of convenience eCommerce sites are growing ever more popular. From used goods to beauty products to ordering your groceries, the popularity of buying online is a growth industry so if this is something your business has the potential to do - contact us today so we can work with you to create an eCommerce site for you.

These are just a few things that are going to have an impact on how we shop and whom we choose to buy from. Are you ahead of the game? Are you keeping up? Would you like to contact us to talk about how we can put a rocket pack on your company and boost you into the technology age? Sound like fun? It sure does to us because marketing through BOTH traditional and modern technology is what we do... is what we do darn well.

Even if this is all new to you, give us a call to discuss the future of your business. As well as marketing we can refresh or rebrand your business, design your stationary, offer an EASY TO USE email marketing system so you can contact your client base, we can design, develop and host a website for you, we can do almost anything given a chance! We have the team, the passion and enthusiasm and the skill - now we just need YOU!

See our Graphic Design Portfolio and our Website Portfolio for further proof of how awesome we are.. in case you're not yet convinced.

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Posted in Branding