No future for business on Facebook?

FACEBOOK IS ALL ABOUT CONNECTIVITY AND ALWAYS WILL BE. But will businesses continue to have a part in that connection? Or will they be sidelined to pull the focus back to more personal posts on friends and family as looks to be the case.

According to a recent article by Sam Biddle, Facebook is ending the free marketing ride for businesses. This looks to be happening gradually, by reducing the 'organic page reach' for business posts to only a small percentage of their followers, while offering only paid advertising to ensure your followers will actually get to see your updates.

There are split views over this, because of course most of us do not want to be sifting through advertising to view the personal posts that matter to us, yet for those small organisations, such as artists and craftspeople, the investment of their time and their reliance on Facebook posts to generate interest in their business, is what helps them get by.

Three Darts in a BullseyeFor a lot of businesses Facebook has become the number one place for marketing, and the complete reliance on a free media that is so changeable - in both it's conditions and in how it operates - is a mistake.

Remember to direct people to the most important target - your website.

Facebook, like a variety of other Social Media sites, has been until recently a free source of marketing and a great opportunity for businesses of all types to promote themselves. Now, we need to increase our marketing awareness and see Facebook for exactly what it is. An opportunity, and most of all - A Portal.

 

Making Facebook and Social Media your Business Portal

By all means keep using Facebook for your business, keep adding things and keep updating your news, but in doing so you should be pulling people back to your main business marketing investment - your website.

My best advice would be to treat Facebook like a teaser. Say you've done something really cool - your business may have started a new product line or completed an outstanding project - put a couple of pictures on Facebook, and enough information to tease people into following a link back to your website for the full story.

It's your website that you want to lead people to, because it's through your website that you can:

  • Provide more information on your current news and projects
  • Offer your contact details, including a form to make it easier to contact you
  • Provide a map right to your door
  • Offer a wider range of products and services
  • Increase your range of products and services - if you have a good content management system that you can edit easily and independently
  • Provide information that showcases your business as experienced and legitimate.
  • Make your website your best business one stop shop, unchanging in it's location and online accessibility for anytime day or night (and if responsive - on any online viewing platform including iPad and iPhone)
  • Reflect and enhance your brand in what should be a professionally designed site that is easy to navigate, and straightforward in the information it provides

 

Use your Facebook page to start a marketing database

By including "subscribe to our newsletter" functionality on your website, and adding this link intermittently to your Facebook posts, you can turn your Facebook followers into a list of interested people that WANT to hear from you regularly.

This will make using Facebook far more worthwhile, as you never know how much longer you will be able to post for free as a business at all, with online media that offers no guarantees. Your loyal Facebook followers will leap at the chance to hear from you in a regular newsletter, rather than remain hoping to be in the 1 - 2% that will actually be able to see your posts.

Follow this link or Contact Us for more information on our ActiveMail Email Marketing System, where we can enable visitors to "subscribe" to your newsletter list, and where you can create beautifully designed email newsletters for your contacts. ActiveMail also offers the ability to view real-time statistics for each of your newsletter campaigns so you can see what works and what does not, helping to evolve your marketing strategy to benefit your audience.

So Facebook are changing their rules, again. So they're changing their costs and their fees, again. So they're changing what you can do and how you can do it, without consulting you or perhaps without your knowledge, AGAIN.

But what does it matter to you if you're using this free social media platform to invite people back to the online home of your business, your most important business asset and the main port of contact and reference for your customers - YOUR WEBSITE!

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This IS the Web Design Company you are looking for.

What impresses me about this company, as a humble employee, is the advice.

If you're already ranking well then there is no need to launch an SEO Campaign and we will can work with you to advise what will work for you - or what can be done at a later stage. We don't want you to come back to us with minimum results and say - "what did we do this for?"

The same applies if you're not ready to sell your products online. We can create a professionally designed effective online presence for your company. This initial cms website can start working towards establishing trust with your clients through providing valuable information and advice on your products and services. When you're ready to sell online we can make that happen.

We're here to work with you to ensure your website, your biggest form of marketing, effectively portrays your business. We will work with you to ensure you have a site that you can be proud to have representing your company 24/7.

Reduce Spam Prevent SpamSay "NO" to spam.

We get a lot of customers that ask us about emails and phone calls they've received to offer them SEO services, better rankings and website re-designs. That fact is - so do we!

On occasion we ask these companies; "do you know who we are and what we actually do?", simply because we do SEO and create websites ourselves. But in the blanket-marketing of contacts that we receive, the common theme seems to be that no, they don’t know what we do because they haven’t taken the time to find our what we do.

Blanket emails are a problem because they waste the time of the people receiving them. If you are thinking about having a website developed, redesigned, or to undertake an SEO campaign by a trusted New Zealand company who will not only do the work themselves with in-house designers and developers, but who will also host your website on a secure New Zealand-based server, give us a call.

We offer free no obligation quotes, and will find out about your business and the benefits you hope to achieve by having a strong and professional online presence. We’ll be able to offer suggestions and a solution to suit your needs and budget.

Don't get caught out by spam troopers

  • Ensure your design company do the work themselves, and don't outsource oversesas
  • Ensure your website will be hosted on a secure New Zealand based server
  • Ensure you will own your website and all content
  • Can you edit your website? It may be worth the extra cost in the long run to have a Content Management Website (CMS) this is simple for you to edit and keep updated.
  • Use a professional email address using your domain name, ie. admin@supertrooper.co.nz - this email address can forward to your usual email account, but looks a lot more professional on your website and printed stationary than an .xtra, .hotmail or .paradise account etc.
  • Find out if your design studio can be a one-stop shop for logo design and branding, website design, development and hosting, domain management and printing services to save you time and to ensure the continuity of your brand.

If you're thinking of having your website re-designed, would like advice on SEO or website hosting, or for any other queries relating to marketing your business, give the team at Activate Design a call today on 0800 30 8996, or email the team if convenient.

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Send Your Newsletters With ActiveMail

ActiveMail is your simple newsletter solution for sending beautifully designed emails to your customers.

 

Do you need more regular contact with your clients?

  • Do you have list of clients that you don't keep in contact with?
  • Would you like an easy way to let your contacts know about your latest news?
  • Would you like to create your own separate clients lists in one system, to provide relevant information to the right group of people?
  • Would you like to promote your projects, products and experience.

YOUR BEST CHOICE FOR NEWSLETTERS

At Activate Design we have a unique ActiveMail system that allows you to easily setup contact lists and create beautifully designed newsletters to send to your clients.

Our ActiveMail system will let your customers easily unsubscribe, should they wish to, without the worry of your newsletters sending spam or becoming an annoyance.

We can create an attractive Newsletter template for you so that every newsletter you create has your own unique ‘look’. See newsletter examples below;

Email Newsletter Examples

 

 

BUT HOW SIMPLE IS IT, REALLY?

Once you have a template, creating your newsletter is very simple. Your unique template will have areas for your images and text to be inserted, and you may have more than one template to give you more options on how many articles you wish to send on each newsletter.

As per sample below, this shows editing of the main newsletter article, by simply clicking a small "edit" button in that area. The photos work the same.

You are able to see the final newsletter before you send it, and you are able to send as many test newsletters to yourself or workmates as you choose, to ensure you are happy with it before it goes out.

ActiveMail Email Newsletter Editor

WHY SEND NEWSLETTERS?

Newsletters create loyalty. Having a newsletter that you can send out monthly, or when you have news or events to promote is a wonderful marketing tool and the best way of ensuring good communication between yourself and your customers.

With professional newsletters for your small or large business, you can keep your customers in touch with all things related to your business.

Here are some ideas for your newsletters;

  • Additional services
  • Free quotes or free upgrades
  • Resources related to your business
  • Articles of interest
  • Announcements such as moving premises
  • Upcoming events
  • Invitations

A newsletter is the perfect compliment to your website as it is the best way to give people a reason to return to your site. Your website should be your online one stop shop, providing all your information to new and existing customers 24-7, and if you are keeping it updated with new images and information, then you will be earning good rankings, and encouraging new people to visit.

Use your newsletters to entice people to visit your website, where they can see related products or services that they otherwise may not know about. Here are a few ideas for newsletter topics to entice people to visit your website;

  • Offering newsletter articles that draw people back to your website for "the full story"
  • Mentioning new events with a link back to your website to see more images
  • Having a link to your website to signup for a free trial or voucher
  • Talk about events or holidays that they can book for on your site

Get in touch with us to have your own newsletter system as a valuable tool for the promotion of your business, and for the interest of your customers. And remember, if you have a Facebook page then now is the time to invite your Facebook audience to sign up to your newsletter. That way, in the midst of the changing tide of how Facebook operates, you will always have that valuable list of customers who are genuinely interested about the products and services you provide.

Contact us if you would like to find out more information about ActiveMail newsletter system, or give us a call on 0800 30 8996.

If you would like to signup to our newsletter click here and fill in your details underneath the contact form for monthly news, marketing tips and special offers.

Follow this link for more information, and to view our ActiveMail Newsletter Pricing.

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Mobile Website ~ recent development

New Mobile Website for Harris Mountains Heli-Ski

~ the ultimate experience for skiers and boarders, transporting you to untouched powder-kissed paradise.

Harris Mountain Heli-Ski Mobile Website Images

A Mobile Website is a copy of your website that has been re-focused to offer only the most important aspects of your business, reducing loading time and streamlining the viewer experience.

Important aspects may be contact details, a map of your location, and items for sale / open hours / menu / booking info etc. For more information on ensuring your website is easily on all devices, visit our page on Mobile Website Development.

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Christchurch Website Design

Welcome to Activate Design

Activate Design is your local website and graphic design company, producing top quality websites, as well as graphic design, logos and branding, smartphone applications and mobile websites.

king tiger logo design logo development

Example of logo design for King Tiger. For more logo examples visit our Portfolio Page.

What your local Website Design company can offer

We have a great team of specialists at our Christchurch office on Durham Street. Our team is comprised of programmer and server specialists, graphic designers, website designers, development experts, friendly office staff, and everything in between.

We have an excellent automated host-management system called ActiveHost, which regularly manages our clients' website hosting at a very, very competitive rate. With our ActiveHost system our clients can log-in to view their hosting invoices, manage their domain or search for new domains, and more.

 

An example of recent Christchurch website design for local accounting company

This website was recently created for Clarity Accounting in Christchurch, who provide personal financial organisation and business planning. Clarity needed a site that could present large amounts of information in a way that was simple enough to view, in a website that was thorough, yet easy to navigate. The design was created to compliment the Clarity Accounting logo and incorporate the brand that we had previously created for them.

clarity accountants website design

For more examples of our recent website design, see our Website Portfolio.

The results of a new or refreshed brand

Many of our customers have found that with a newly designed brand or logo, or even refreshing their old logo and launching it into the Christchurch marketplace, this gives them a stronger and more recognisable presence in Christchurch. For more information visit this page for Logo Design Packages.

A logo refresh could mean that you wish to keep an aspect of your existing logo, so there is a part of it that can connect to a new, more recognisable logo. For our designers, this sometimes means using an existing colour scheme or perhaps a font structure that transfers into a fresh new design.

 

The results of having an easy to use website

The results of having a website that is clean and clear and simple to navigate are that you don't have to worry about it. You can relax knowing their is a home base for your company that is offering your products, services, address and contact details, and information about your company 24-7. Like having a secretary that never sleeps, your website showcases your company and experience, and allows enquiries to reach you through your website contact form at any time.

In a world that is becoming busier by the second, a lot of us don't have time to shop around for what we want by visiting stores, we simply look online for what's available. We find what we want, then the hours that store is open, and much like a typical Kiwi bloke in a mall we go straight in for what we're after and straight back out again.

 

Gaining brand loyalty through good website design

The trick of it is that once a web surfer has found your site, as a result of something specific that they are looking for, then you have their attention and the opportunity to offer your wider selection of products and services. To hold their attention on your website, your site needs to be very clean, clear, well designed, easy to navigate and informative.

To be found online you need a website that is a good introduction and representation of your business. Content must be presented in a way that will appeal to both viewer and search engines, and the site needs to be simple and uncluttered, while also being inviting and specific to what you do. This can be achieved by our experienced Christchurch website team, using relevant imagery, concise content writing and more.

Contact Us to discuss having a new website designed and developed, a new logo designed or an existing logo refreshed. If you're in the Christchurch area we can visit you at your premises or you are welcome to make an appointment to visit us at our Christchurch Activate Design office at 336 Durham Street.

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The constant growth of online technology, systems and education.

The future of business is growing on the internet.

The key to this future is websites.

Website growth website project startBecause of this focus on internet systems for business, to be competitive you need an online presence. Where we once looked to printed directories for business information, we now turn to our cellphones for mobile websites, or access the internet via our iPads and Laptop computers while on the go.

But not only has the way we view information changed, so has our attitude towards it. A website with animated introduction, sound effects and buttons that move and become visual features actually works to your disadvantage.

We can access the information quickly, thus we want to view the information quickly and simply. We want no-frills information without flashy effects and neon sign in-your-face advertising. Internet users want standard button navigation and pages. Home page should be home page and contact page where your contact information is found. There's no need to get too clever - accessing a website for information should be an act that requires an absolute minimum of thought - everything should be quick, and plainly obvious, and that is what your audience will appreciate.

website development project growth

  • Home Page - loaded and ready with a concise explanation of what you offer. Clear, large headings and clean navigation should be offered. This is your chance to get people to stay on your site, which they won't do if it's complicated, animated, or too clever.
  • Contact Page - clearly list all of your contact information. Open hours are always helpful for your customers, as is a map to your premises.
  • About Us - if viewers are not in a hurry they will take the time to learn more about you here, on additional pages that go more in depth into your business.
  • Image Gallery - the quickest way to see what you offer is to look at the pictures. Ensure you show only good quality images, and a brief description under each image is a bonus.

Click here for a recent blog on Almost Perfect Websites, and the small things that are missing or overdone. Great tips to turn a good website into a great one!

Click here for some excellent pointers on Effective Web Design. Great for when you're thinking about launching an online presence or improving on an existing one, this page also offers some clear information about Activate Design's unique Web Design Process.

More recently there has been growth in students training to be “white-hat” hackers. These skilled people are in great demand by Government Agencies, private Cyber Security Firms, and many major software and internet-based companies. Students are trained to hack systems, then report any flaws in security so they can be fixed to prevent future hacking. The way internet technology is advancing, companies will need more and more people trained to test their online systems, websites, payment areas and more, to prevent security lapses and constantly improve methods of maintaining online security.

Website growth website developmentNowadays students are learning to identify and solve issues in internet systems, ultimately to prevent hackers from gaining access and causing havok. An increasing number of companies with internet based systems have come to realise the importance of employing such people.

What can you do to ensure you have the best website security? Ensure that your website is being hosted on a local New Zealand based server.  You can get cheap website hosting in India or various countries around the world, but what you are risking is the security of your website. Good server security prevents hackers from accessing your website and online systems. Local servers mean a better chance of contacting your host provider should you need too.

It is also important to note that the server your website is hosted on can effect your websites performance and speed in a negative way. It can also effect your site if the server is too full, crammed with other websites and thus becoming comparatively slow, or by not being maintained to highest standards.

Click the link for more information on our Secure Website Hosting in Christchurch.

Once your know your website hosting will be secure, ensure your online presence is a complimentary reflection of your business.

See our Online Portfolio for recent examples of our work, and contact us to see how we can raise the bar on your website so you are competitive within your industry. Ensure that your website is attracting new and repeat customers with the right amount of information, professionalism, clarity and functionality that your website presence should project as a front for your business.

CONTACT US to make it happen.

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Could we survive without internet?

We have embraced the Internet through business websites, Blogs, Mobile Phone Apps, Online Booking systems, Facebook, Linked In and Twitter, as well as many other modes of social media, Internet banking, online business software, internet based communications software, and more.

It’s all a bit overwhelming to realise just how dependent we are on the internet. To realise how many services would be lost if the internet went down for an extended period of time, not to mention jobs and business, as more information is being stored and accessed online as a part of our everyday lives.

Internet technology website projectMost businesses these days rely on their internet services in one or more ways, with a website being a first point of call for most clients, as well as a reliable method of contacting a business through an email form, an online quote request or by simply providing all necessary contact information in one accessible location.

Online purchasing through E-commerce sites  is a constantly growing trend, making the purchase of goods online a much easier process than negotiating busy streets.

In a recent isolated incidence of internet being lost, in a small town in the Australian state of Victoria, a fire damaging the Telstra exchange resulted in no internet or phone for the unlucky residents. Local service stations and stores would take cash-only, bank machines were out of order, and cash withdrawals had to be limited to $100 with “IOU’s” being hand-written by bank staff. Work nearly ground to a halt as communication became limited to radio, and thousands of dollars were lost due to businesses being cut off from their systems and customers.

Internet technology website developmentThis is an eye opening account of what could happen and how entwined we are in all that the internet can provide. So what can we do but embrace these new technologies? Moving forward into a world that is more connected and fast-paced than ever before, and ensure we make the most of these opportunities and the new level of 'connectedness' that we now enjoy.

As for the risks, simply ensure you have a copy of your images and written content, logo and brand elements saved in a safe place, and trust that the systems that we have all come to accept as the norm will be carefully monitored, maintained and updated as the integral part of modern society that they have become.

So to grasp how fully emersed we are in all this relatively new technology, we must also realise the huge growth we have experienced as a direct result ; products and services are more easily acquired, businesses are far more easy to locate – and you can view a business location on a map, right to the door, using directions on a website, or from mobile applications that will give verbal directions as you drive.

Do you have a website presence? Are you a part of this growing technology? To embrace these modern technologies – from Social Media to Websites, Mobile Websites, Content Management Websites and E-Commerce Websites, Smartphone Apps and SEO - CONTACT US to discuss how we can use our decade of experience as Activate Design to brand, market, produce printed materials, and create and enhance your online presence, today.

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New Logo Design : Bentim Global

Recent logo design for a dynamic company: BENTIM GLOBAL.

bentim global clever logo design

For more information on renewing or refreshing your logo and brand our visit our Logo & Branding page.

We recently celebrated our 10 Year Anniversary as Activate Design, so let us share our decade of experience in graphic design and marketing to create a fresh look for your existing logo, or to launch a brand new company identity you'll be proud to stand behind.

Contact us for an appointment today!

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An effective website is a regularly maintained website.

You have a website - fantastic!  But don't walk away just yet!

For a website to be effective you need to keep it up to date, keep it interesting and keep it relevant.

You can do this by utilsing these marketing techniques ;

  • Having a Blog linked to your website and adding regular updates.
  • Having a Facebook page to add interesting events, products or customer feedback.
  • Having a YouTube account and linking your uploaded videos to Facebook & Blogs.
  • Having a Twitter feed to keep tweeters updated on your posts.

imagesYour website is your most effective marketing tool. It's your backstop, it's your billboard, it's your flashing neon sign working 24 hours to ensure that your info is available - even when you're not.

If you don't currently have one of the suggested marketing techniques running through your website, contact us to have a Blog page added, and a link to your Facebook page or Twitter feed to get your business profile, products and services out there for added brand recognition.

Having a Facebook page is still an effective method of free marketing, but remember that as a free resource, you will have very little control over it. This system has been evolving towards being a user-pays resource with increased limitations as changes are implemented without warning, and posts are no longer visible to all unless paid for.

Having your own website is still the #1 best online tool you could have, and using free media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to direct them back to your website is the way to go. Better yet is to have a newsletter system - such as our ActiveMail customised newsletter system - so you can transfer the interest from other marketing methods into a subscriber list that you can send relevant news and information too, at your own convenience.

It is often a surprise to me when companies come to me for updates for websites that they have not themselves visited in quite some time. I would recommend as a minimum, to be checking and updating your website every fortnight. Keep in mind that if you have something such as a regular blog or "recent news" feed on your site, this gives people a reason to keep coming back to your site to see what's new - especially if they can see that your posts or updates are fairly regular.

If you simply don't have the time to do updates to your site, contact us to utilise our Website Copywriting service, where we can write some keyword-rich, relevant content for both your customers to view, and for search engines to recognise that your site is being maintained, so they will keep coming back to index your site, resulting in increased rankings.

To get a major boost in site rankings - contact us about our Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Service.

It's hard to keep up your enthusiasm but if you put the same passion into your website as your do into your business, that will reflect in your website content and your website will start working for you - bringing in contacts and queries and more work. The more you get into the habit of making small updates and adding images, the easier it will be, and if the content is interesting enough then your customers may refer other people to your site to see what you do, resulting in increased brand exposure! Remember to add testimonials and images, which are great for most of those web surfers who will just be quickly skimming your site.

Contact Us at Activate if you would like any updates or changes made to your site, or any features added that will make it easier for you to manage your content.

Keep up the maintenance!

doozerworking

 

 

 

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QR codes : what, why and how

QR Codes are not a new technology, but they are frequently proving their worth as a quick-link to direct a person to a specific website page, promotion or event. The technology is now being included in later models of smartphones and is easily downloadable for most other phones.

QRcodeScan

QR Codes are becoming a far more utilised tool for marketing, especially with our generation Y's (born 1977-1994) who are technology-wise, expect instantaneous results, and are immune to most traditional marketing as they have been exposed to it since early childhood. Marketing to Generation Y needs to be fast and effective and actually offer a good benefit worthy of their time. This is what makes QR Codes, when used correctly, a subtle advantage.

QR Codes can be included with all other marketing, printed on posters and business cards, and even included on car signage, building exteriors and all printed media. A British film company recently marketed a new movie using a billboard with only the QR Code printed on it, generating curiosity of passers-by and directing a wide audience to their website.

QRcodeKids

QR Codes are best described as a two-dimensional barcode which, when scanned by smartphone application, open up a specific webpage. Although this is a great use of directing people to your website, the most effective use of QR Codes are in targeted marketing campaigns, giving the viewer a real incentive to use them.

For example if you were printing posters to a music event, and the incentive was to "scan the QR Code to get discount tickets", then the QR code would direct the user to a webpage that is only accessible through the code.

Another example would be : "scan the QR Code to receive today's special discount" where the user can save a mobile-voucher for later use. This is the kind of instant-gratification marketing that is proving effective to a growing technology-savvy market, appealing to smartphone users through providing a simple yet effective way of accessing a company, product, service, discount or promotion.

QRcodeScanningTo stay on the crest of this fast-moving technology, Contact Us today to have a unique QR Code included in your promoting and marketing, signage and printing.

Click here for more information on our Branding and Marketing expertise.

Click here for more information on our Website design & development skills.

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Posted in Branding