www AKA wibbly wobbly websites

ChapelRoadCreative_websites

Getting out and about meeting people, one of the first things we tend to do back at the ranch is to take a peek at the company website on the back of their business card. Now if the business card is a barometer of a firm’s visual identity, the website often runs in tandem or, occasionally, ranks even lower in terms of self-promotion.

Working on the premise that your website is your shopfront to the world – whether you are selling finance services or couture fashion – it makes sense to ensure this reflects who you are and what you do. Today, not yesterday, and certainly not last year.

Just like most things, website design changes and the site that looked cutting-edge in 2000 or even 2007, seven years on looks, well, a bit wobbly. This isn’t just about changes in design (word is that logos need to be considered as thumbprints that fit within most social media display formats – is yours still the width of a business card?) but also changes to the way that websites are viewed.

Seven years ago we weren’t swiping tablets or looking for the nearest hotel or restaurant on our smartphones, but now you need to consider how your website appears on these devices.

Beyond functionality, there are changes to the use of colour and imagery – the latest trend is for fewer colours and use of imagery as a backdrop, rather than contained items. And is the imagery on your site original or of the stock variety – let’s keep it real, people.

There’s also that tricky issue of content to consider. We’ve seen some absolute shockers lately, with drops of copy in all sorts of places, inconsistent editorial styles and even a few grammatical errors thrown in for good measure. Again, thinking of this as the shopfront, it’s akin to having a business meeting with the boardroom table full of papers and dirty coffee cups. Think about key messaging, what needs to be presented in what order and how will the user explore your ‘store’?

Remember, your business changes daily, and your website needs to mirror this. Have your services or products changed or expanded? Does your website reflect this? If you’re not looking at your website as an outsider might at least weekly, you could be missing out on potential new business. Blogs too are a great way of creating a dialogue with customers, demonstrating your expertise in a particular sector or industry and getting yourself on the map as a thought leader.

Chances are you agree, but you’re busy running the business, right? Time to call in Chapel Road Creative – let us help you to tackle these aspects of marketing, rather than hope your customers don’t look too closely at your virtual presence.

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Good tweeting

@WNTweetup_logo

So, way back in week one, we were asked by smgvirtualpa.co.uk to create a logo for the @WNTweetup – a quick project that we were delighted to turn around after meeting her and a fantastic bunch of tweeps.

Since then we’ve had great fun tweeting and joining in the banter with some amazing businesses across our county and beyond. It’s early days and we’re still very much NKOTB, but what Twitter and other social media channels bring are a strong sense of community, connecting like-minded individuals and companies, all waving their banner.

It has been suggested that social media has eclipsed the website as a marketing tool, conveying far more about a company, its brand, values, customer engagement and personality. While we reckon the ‘old-fashioned’ website is still with us for a while, offering an unmissable shop front with the world, social media marketing can undoubtedly boost your business immeasurably.

To put this in context, we recently helped a client to market a leisure event on the North Norfolk coast. It grew its audience 1,000 per cent year-on-year using targeted consumer specialist display advertising, a regional newspaper supplement and a healthy dose of PR. But the magic secret ingredient? Social media. Each time a tweet or a post went live, ticket sales went through the roof. That’s real time business growth, right before your eyes.

But how do you go beyond the quick hit, keep the conversation going once you’ve caught the eye of your prospective customer? That’s where long-form marketing can work wonders – continuing the narrative, telling your story through blogs, interviews, case studies, articles and thought-leadership features.

If it sounds like an awful lot of effort, think how just 140-characters can boost your business profile – then consider how extending the messaging across all areas of your advertising and marketing collateral could impact your bottom line. We’re ready to help you make every word priceless.