Why you need to be pushing for faster page loading time!

So how fast is fast enough? Well in simple terms you need to make sure your website is fast enough for your visitors and for Google.

In 2018 Google announced a new mobile ranking algorithm called “speed update”, Google stated that the speed update will only affect the pages that deliver the slowest experience.  Page loading time can have a huge impact on your business and online marketing, so below we have outlined some of the benefits you will see with faster page loads.

  1. Better user experience – Today’s buyers are impatient, if a customer clicks on your webpage and it takes forever to load, they are more than likely going to click back off it and go to one of your competitors. Buyers today don’t have the patience to sit around waiting for a slow website to show up, so the longer you make them wait the more interest they lose in your site.
  2. Affects your SEO – As Google started using site speed as a ranking signal in their algorithm, it means that it contributes to where your website shows up in the search results.

So, what is it that is affecting your website’s load time?

  1. Template website or custom designed website – Although the cost of a template website may be less than the cost of a customer design, the template website often comes with additional features built in that are not actually essential to your website’s success. It actually takes more time to load these extra features which in turn means slower page loading time.
  2. Reduce your redirects – Each time a page redirects to another page, your customers face additional time waiting, so reducing this means reducing the time they have to wait.
  3. Optimise images – Make sure your images are no larger than they need to be and that they are in the right format and compressed for the web.

How to make the most of those post-holiday returns

Christmas has come and gone but the aftermath of product returns is well underway for businesses everywhere – in fact, UPS have predicted to process 1.3 million returns in January alone! With an estimated of 25% of online purchases sent back, from unwanted gifts to faulty products, there’s plenty of reasons why you’re seeing an influx of returns this month. The important thing is to continue giving your customers the best experience possible when they are returning items, so they come back in future to buy again.

Convenient returns have become the holy grail of online marketing. Many consumers knowingly purchase more than they intend to with the understanding of a free return policy. To ensure that you provide the most seamless return experience for your consumers an easy process is ideal, for example pre-printed shipping labels. This will save the consumer time and money to print new labels and purchase stamps and boxes. To make sure this benefits you and the business, offer consumers incentives to bundle their orders into one shipment. This will help reduce upfront shipping costs and create a small profit for the retailers that charge shipping fees to cover the risk of returns.

Another way to make the most of those post-holiday returns is to maximise the in-store experience. This means to take advantage of the shopping coming back into your store to return the item by showing them alternatives to receiving the money back, this can include exchange only policies or store credit. This helps to prevent the loss of a sale by keeping the transaction within the store.

Don’t miss the merchandising and marketing opportunities that come with the returns. To make the post of the returns analyse what products are being returned by your consumers. Is there a pattern around those items? Certain styles and colours that aren’t selling.

SeeLocal is the perfect solution to help you make the most of those post-holiday returns. We can help drive additional revenue to your business following the returns period. Help you to reach out to new customers through targeted audience technology and help drive business qualified leads. SeeLocal is a local online marketing platform that has access to all available online networks from one place, allowing businesses to easily run campaigns across multiple platforms.

Why do Businesses need a website?

The importance of a good business website is crucial. In this day and age of increasing reliance on technology, businesses need to be not only marketing online, but present online in every possible way in order to be visible to their target audience.

For small businesses, this can be tricky, as being small often means limited funds, staff and expertise to develop and maintain a highly sophisticated website, so it tends to take a backseat.

It is important for businesses of any size, but particularly smaller companies to focus their attention on digital- it is the future, and is progressing and becoming more advanced every day.

We’ve come up with a few reasons why having a website is so important, and how you can ensure you are making the most of it.

Firstly, you need to focus on your local audience before you start thinking bigger- this goes for all sized businesses, but particularly SME’s and start-ups. How can you expect a nationwide following if you have not saturated the market in your local town or county? Online gives you the opportunity to build touchpoints,  and can be a successful way in building relationships with customers at a local level. At the end of the day, those customers who are loyal, engaged and regular are the most valuable, as they are the ones who come back again and again. Even if your business does not run primarily online, perhaps you have a shop or building, you want to have customers coming back to you again and again, making you their first point of call. Online gives your customers the flexibility to choose to visit you in person or online.

Next, find the channels that will impact your business the most. There are so many different options when it comes to online advertising, so choosing the channels that are worth the time and effort, whilst also painting the picture of your business in the right way is key.

For example, B2B companies may tend to focus on channels such as LinkedIn, more so than Instagram, whereas e-commerce companies may focus more on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc- it’s all dependent on where your customers are. Using your website as your starting point, and as your central online hub of activity provides a solid basis for all of your online marketing efforts.

Finally, make sure you are accessible at all times. Having a secure,  clear and functional website is the best way to do this, so that you can be confident that your customers can contact you at any time online, and in a way that suits them. To do this, we recommend having various different contact options- links to social media pages, phone number, email address  and contact forms in order to provide your user with their preferred contact method. From these contact methods, make sure you are answering queries and questions quickly and efficiently, giving simple, uncomplicated answers wherever possible.

If your customers, particularly those in your local area, are consistently thinking of your business as accessible…why would they have nay reason to go elsewhere? This is the basis of forming solid relationships with loyal customers who will keep coming  back again and again. And let’s face it, that’s all business owners really want at the end of the day

 

 

 

Online marketing at Christmas

Starting Christmas  online marketing early  is sure enough best way to ensure  you are keeping up with your competitors , but exactly how and why?

Key Christmas shopping dates now span across two months- November and December with Black Friday, and Cyber Monday marking the beginning of the Christmas shopping season towards the end of November, and often beginning weeks before leaving a good two months of Christmas shopping madness for retailers.

We’ve put together a few tips on how to ensure you are using online marketing  in the right way this year, and why you should be making the  most of it and getting your digital strategy sorted…

As mobile usage continues to grow, it is estimated that an approximate 45-50% of Christmas sales take place on mobile- and is continuously growing as the use of mobile phones and tablets ever increases. For this reason, it is important that you ensure you website and buying process is always compatible with mobiles and tablets and easy to navigate on smaller phone screens. If not, you could be saying goodbye to hundreds of potential customers who would prefer to buy on their mobile, simply because your site does not support their preferred method of buying.

Secondly, you need to ensure you are getting in front of your target audience in as many ways as possible, 57% of shoppers have no idea what they want to buy when they go online to start Christmas shopping, so it’s up to you to persuade them  that your product is the one they didn’t know they needed so much.

Targeted online advertising is a highly effective way to target specifically online,  ensuring that ads are shown to relevant audiences based on

Multisensory Marketing

With so much going on in everyday life, creating ads that actually stick into the minds of your target audience is really difficult, as grabbing the attention and  manipulating it in a way that evokes emotion is the way to create that lasting effect. It creates a powerful, physical connection to a product or brand through engaging in human senses. According to research, any kind of media whether it be printed or digital that appeals to more than three senses can increase engagement with the brand by over 70%- that’s huge!

But when you think about it, it makes perfect sense- considering how the human brain is wired, and in the way our senses are directly associated with past experiences and memories it’s no wonder we are more likely to remember a brand when they appeal to our senses.

Brands are always evoking multiple senses in their advertising, we just don’t always notice it…

The multisensory marketing experience is a revolution in grabbing the attention of audiences, in a world with so many distractions. Although most commonly used in printed media, and in television and video ads, multisensory marketing is beginning to creep into other areas of online advertising campaigns such as display advertising, and we’re going to tell you how.

International fast food chain, McDonalds is a typical example of multisensory marketing. Their iconic red and yellow logo is prominent in all their advertisements, there’s your sense of sight, and the recognisable five note jingle used throughout their video campaigns is always present in some way or another- there’s your sense of sound. The brand is so recognisable across the globe, as it is encoded in our memory by both visual and audio elements.

Multisensory marketing has also made it’s way to print advertising, as the integration of language and imagery to evoke the senses.

Brands are increasingly using imagery of objects strongly associated with smell, along with language that evokes taste, so that the two are intertwined to evoke multiple senses within the ad, and can be done in a variety of interesting and creative ways.

The term used for this, is called ‘linguistic synaesthesia’ meaning a type of metaphor created by combining words that are associated with different senses.

A good example of linguistic synaesthesia are phrases such as “sweet melody” and “soft voice”. If similar phrases can be relevant within your marketing, it’s well worth using them in some way to make your brand more recognisable.

As well as using language and imagery, imagery on it’s own can also work in a similar way. Advertisements with bright colours convey positive feelings, so using bright colours in your ads rather than black and white images will help portray a positive image of your brand.

Overall, appealing to the senses within your marketing plan is a really effective and important technique to use. It may take time to find the right working and imagery to create, but once you get it right you could be seeing very positive results from campaigns, as well as a well-known brand identity that holds positive imagery from your customers.

 

What is Seasonal Business?

No matter the business, there will always be particular seasons that are busier than others. For some businesses, particular times of the year are vital for the business to continue trading for the following year, therefore marketing in the right way to maximise profit at this time is really important and can make or break a company.

Seasonal business refers to the various fluctuations in business, that correspond to the different seasons within the year.

For example, we are soon to be entering the Christmas season, which for most businesses, particularly in retail, is the busiest and most important time of the year and can have a major impact on the success of the company for the upcoming year.

Marketing for a seasonal business can be tricky- when’s the best time to start?

Well, the trick is, never stop. Marketing needs to be an ongoing process for any business, but the extent and reach of your activities is the aspect that changes with the seasons.

For example, a business that sells lawnmowers would concentrate on spring/summer time, running bigger marketing campaigns, trying to generate as many sales as possible to compensate for the fewer sales they are likely to receive in Autumn and Winter. Their marketing strategy shouldn’t simply disappear in Autumn and Winter, as when Spring comes around again they want to be at the forefront of their customers minds. Low level marketing campaigns during the less busy months ensure that when the time comes for the surge in sales, customers are aware of the company, the brand and the product and are then more likely to choose them over their competitor who may have stopped their marketing altogether during the Winter months.

In order to be consistently marketing to the right people, online advertising is the way to go for seasonal business in particular. Marketing online with SeeLocal, ensures that only those who have shown genuine interest in your product or service, or in your competitors, are shown your ads. This can work in brand awareness during the quieter months, ensuring the brand name is continuously shown to the target audience despite the fact that they are less likely to convert at that time, then shown more during the busy months in order to generate leads, enquiries and, the ultimate aim, sales.

SeeLocal is the perfect solution for this, as using highly targeted audience technology, your target audience will be seeing your ads continuously making them more and more likely to convert, or at least to know your brand in time for when they want to convert, protecting budgets every step of the way.

 

 

 

 

 

What Facebook video streaming could mean for online advertising.

The new Facebook Watch feature was launched in the US in August last year, and just a couple of weeks ago was revealed that it will be launched in the UK and Europe in the coming months.

The new feature on the phenomenal social media giant  is just the latest  extension of the platform to directly compete with other video streaming platforms such as Amazon prime, Netflix and YouTube. Just like current platforms, the video streams will range from mini documentaries to live sporting events.

But how will Facebook Watch differ from other video streaming platforms?

  • Original video content exclusive to Facebook watch
  • Monetized by ad breaks, so users do not pay for subscriptions unlike current platforms.
  • Facebook watch will be hyper-personalised thanks to the detailed targeting available within the Facebook platform, in a way no streaming platform ever has been before.

Facebook has over 2 billion active users per month, who check on a daily basis, most often multiple times a day. The scale of the Facebook platform is huge, and any extensions on it is definitely something marketers should feel excited about.

Reports are suggesting the new Facebook Watch platform will be integrated into news feeds, as the platform has seen great success in the past using the news feed to drive success of new features.

This means more and more people will be paying attention to their news feeds, spending more time on the news feed which in turn will increase ad impressions. The increase of impressions, often leads to increased clicks.

The feature also opens doors to highly targeted video advertising. Combining the success and engagement levels of generic video ads, along with the detailed targeting available on the Facebook platform could be a new and exciting extension to online advertising campaigns.

Accompanying targeted video ads with highly targeted static or HTML5 ads is a great way of ensuring your ads are seen in every aspect of the Facebook platform in particular. Running campaigns across all marketing channels is undoubtedly the most effective as you are targeting audiences in all aspects of online, rather than just one social channel. However, extending your marketing within individual channels is also highly effective, particularly if Facebook is one of the main channels your target audience are likely to be.

 

 

 

 

The importance of digital strategy

With the change and evolution of modern technologies, businesses of all sizes, but in particular the small and medium sized, are having to do everything and anything they can to keep up with the growing technology to ensure their business is up-to-speed.

Bricks and mortar businesses especially are beginning to move may of their services online, some are becoming online-only businesses as a bid to save money and keep up with the technological advances in business. The majority of companies now, no matter the size have specially designed, online marketing strategies in place to capture the growing online marketplace.

But why is it so important for businesses to have a digital marketing strategy in place?

  1. Level playing field- for SME’s, marketing online allows them the chance to target and capture leads that would not otherwise be accessible to them. The sales and marketing processes were once only available to large corporations with bug budget, leaving SME’s fighting for the small proportion of targeted traffic with much smaller budgets and staff to monitor the process. With developments, improving at the rate they are, the processes that were once only available to the larger corporations are now much more easily accessible to smaller and medium sizes companies.
  2. Cost effective- small businesses with limited resources and budgets simply can’t afford to partake in marketing activities that are of high cost as their budgets often don’t allow for major losses. Online marketing allows companies to track and monitor their campaigns in real time so they can easily see the results of their campaign, and make changes and alterations if necessary to lessen their loss of budget. With a SeeLocal campaign, we have developed a unique algorithm, Campaign Guard™, which works to protect budgets by pausing and reoptimizing campaigns if they begin to underperform.
  3. Targeted audiences- real-time engagement points allows businesses to see exactly what their audience likes and dislikes based on click-through-rates and social media likes and comments. This then improves customer retention and satisfaction, leading to more precise and effective targeting, increased sales and overall marketing efficiency.
  4. Access to ‘the internet of things’- Getting involved in online marketing at this stage is really important, as more and more appliances are running through the internet, technology is only going to get more complex. For businesses just starting out online, getting to grips with how everything works now is key to understanding the digital world in years to come, setting up a stable, internet based future for the business to ensure stability and longevity.

The main thing for seasonal business owners to remember, is that there is no quiet time when it comes to preparation and advertising for the busy period. Keeping active and present online even in the quieter months will help ensure that the business is the leading brand when the time comes.

Benefits of Live Reporting

Live reporting allows advertisers to see data results as and when they happen, usually in the form of a dashboard. The benefits of this are endless, allowing advertisers to gain a deeper understanding of who customers are, and how they react to, for example, an ad campaign, and to quickly make any changes necessary to maximise impact of the campaign.

This limits the amount of wasted time and budget, as changes and alterations can be made almost instantaneously, so users can easily measure just how well a campaign is doing.  At SeeLocal, our online dashboard not only offers real-time reporting of your campaign, it also allows you to see exactly where each of your display ads are being shown, as well as how well they are performing in terms of analytics such as click-through-rate and cost-per-click.

Another element of live action marketing is real-time bidding. Realistically, you would think the most relevant ads would be shown to you when you load a webpage, when actually, the amount these advertisers are willing to pay for a click is also taken into account. Advertisers bid against each other to appear onto website pages, with the most relevant and highest paying ad being displayed when the website loads. This all takes place in a matter of seconds, and can be changed in no time by advertisers simply increasing their cost per click to become the highest bidder for each particular webpage.

With online marketing, there is always something going on, and opportunities for changes and alterations to be made in a matter of seconds. At SeeLocal, our network captures real-time results, monitoring and changing cost-per-clicks according to the campaign budget and real-time bidding prices.

The benefits of real-time bidding, has enabled advertisers to target ads to specific users of particular sites, ensuring that the position of every ad they show is not only relevant, but grabbing the attention of audiences with a genuine interest in the product or service.

For more information about how our live reporting dashboard, and real-time bidding service could benefit your business, get in touch by giving us a call on 01295 817611, or through our website contact page.

 

What makes a good Banner Ad?

Banner ads are one of the most common forms of online marketing- they’re affordable, measurable and effective in building brand awareness and generating leads.

We’ve put together a few tips on what it takes to make a really successful banner ad…

 

  1. Use effective standard banner ad sizes.

At SeeLocal, we recommend using ads in the following sizes only:

  • 336 x 280 pixels
  • 300 x 250 pixels
  • 728 x 90 pixels
  • 300 x 600 pixels
  • 1200 x 628 pixels
  • 320 x 120 pixels

This is because ads in these sizes will be visible across all online networks, and will work on any device such as mobile, tablet or desktop. If ads are in  any other sizes, they risk appearing distorted, hidden or not shown on sites at all.

 

  1. Place your ads in correct places

Online advertising is all about where you put your ads. It’s no use having beautifully designed ads, if they are being shown in the wrong places, to the wrong audience, there really is no point. The SeeLocal network specifically chooses sites relevant to each campaign, and ensures ads are only shown to audiences with a genuine interest.

 

It’s also important that banner ads are placed above the fold of a site, i.e. in the first section, not requiring the user to scroll down to view. This is because, the majority of website users will not scroll further down, so the likelihood of your ad being seen is significantly less than if they were placed at the top of the page.

 

  1. Logo, Value and CTA

The three key things that NEED  to be on your ad, are your logo, clear indication of what you’re advertising ( including images) and a clear, creative call to action.

 

Your logo should clearly show your logo, and be designed with your branding in mind so it is recognisable to your customers. We recommend using images of your product, or using images of people, as these tend to get higher engagement. You also need to include your proposition, such as a special offer or trial in a clear position on the ad.

 

Finally, your call to action needs to be short, punchy and inviting. CTA’s are usually positioned inside a button, so that they become a focal point of the ad. We recommend avoiding phrases like ‘click here’- it’s overused, obvious and generally unexciting. Try to some up with something different, to draw customers in.

 

  1. Use clear fonts

It is advised that you avoid script fonts, i.e. any fonts that could be difficult to read at first glance. You want to keep your font as simple as possible, making it easy for users to read straight away. We also recommend keeping text down to a minimum of 3-4 lines, and having your headline and body text in different sizes for maximum impact.

For more information on banner ads, or if you’re interested in running a campaign with us, get in touch!

Common Mistakes Made by Start-Ups.

Running a start-up company can be a very exciting task, but also challenging. The first few months of a business are crucial for growth and success, having long term impacts on the performance of your company as a whole.

We’ve put together some common mistakes that start-ups often make, which can have detrimental effects on the companies as they try and grow.

Firstly, market research is the key, so businesses who slack in this part often struggle further on down the line. It’s all very well having a great idea, but the way to turn that idea into a great business is with thorough market research. This research ensures that your idea will fit into the desired market, and if it doesn’t, your research will allow you to change your idea so that it does.

Secondly, all too often start-up companies try to force a model on themselves, because it has worked for other companies, even though it doesn’t suit their company or product. Just because something was successful for a similar company to yours, it doesn’t mean you will see the same successes as these companies. For example, particularly with quick trends, these may work In favour for products developed by companies similar to yours, but then when you come to develop a product, that trend might not be as popular, so you won’t see success building from this in the same way. Focus on the long term- what do your customers need and how are you going to provide them with it?

Once you know who your target market is, and exactly what your product is offering, this is the ideal time to invest in a small online marketing campaign, to build a following of customers who will be with you throughout the process. SeeLocal is an online advertising platform which allows businesses of any size to run and monitor advertising campaigns across a variety of online networks from one easy to use platform. Using online advertising that focuses on the local area is a great way to build up a name for your business locally before branching out nationwide or internationally.

You are likely to get a large amount of positive feedback from family, friends and colleagues when starting your business, but it is important that you don’t bank on these positive notes and overvalue them. Ultimately, until people are actually buying your product, it doesn’t matter how much positive feedback you get from anyone, that is all you are left with until you begin to see consistent sales and profit.

Poor hiring decisions can drastically affect a start-up business, by not taking on staff who genuinely care about the growth of the business and want to see it thrive. Take notice of references given (or not given) and gather what you can about the person, if they are unable or choose not to provide references from previous employers, ask yourself why? Those who do provide references, and who those references provide positive feedback, are always a sign of  hard workers who maintain good relationships with past employers.

Finally, one of the biggest mistakes start-ups make in the early stages is trying to scale up before they are ready. The best way to tell if you are ready to move onto the next thing in your company, is to evaluate if what you are doing is fixing a problem, by providing a valuable service that your customers are hiring you for? If not, keep building on this as a foundation before taking on any further growth in new areas.

 

How to Increase Your Online Sales This Christmas.

You may think you’ve left it too late to up your online marketing game this Christmas, but you still have time to ensure that this Christmas is a success for your business.

We’ve put together a checklist of ways you can ensure your online sales increase this season, with just a few things that SeeLocal can help with, that can make a huge difference.

  1. Mobile User-Friendly: People are increasingly using mobile devices to do their Christmas shopping, with so much to do and places to be, Christmas shopping has taken a much more mobile approach. It is essential that your website is mobile friendly, and can be easily accessed and navigated just as easily as if on a desktop.
  2. Paid Online Media- Christmas is the ideal time to be sponsoring your posts and promoting your website, with the increase in demand, and of people using the internet to buy and find inspiration for gifts. Retargeting really comes in handy at this time, as ads can be shown to people who have shown an interest in your products or service in the past, but have not converted into a sale yet. This can be hugely effective in convincing these people to then buy the product, by reminding them of it as they browse.
  3. Preparation- You will need to have a plan as to what special offers you will have during the Christmas season, how will you encourage sales and traffic to your website? Approximately half of all the money at Christmas is allegedly spend on gifts alone, so if you are in the gift retail market, you really need to be utilising this. The other half is apparently spent on decorations, food, drink and travel, so still a huge amount of money. It doesn’t matter what kind of online shop or service you have, with more people online than at any other time in the year, Christmas is a great time to build your brand awareness through a campaign, competition or advertisements- but make it Christmassy! You can send out customised Christmas emails to your clients, with exclusive offers to help get your brand noticed, and generate new sales.
  4. Christmas Theme- Decorate your website with a Christmas theme, to get your customers in the right mindset for spending. It doesn’t have to be drastic but elements of red, white, green and gold can ensure your website feels festive and will help in giving your customers the feeling of wanting to spend. Emulate this theme onto your social media channels also, which will hopefully encourage website traffic from your various channels, and increase engagement.

For further information on how we can help you run a Christmas marketing campaign, contact us– we’re happy to help.