The 10 Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Over the last couple of years more and more companies are investing in Social Media marketing. The question that many have not yet answered is if it is worth it. This report presents some of the reasons why a company should invest in Social Networks and supports its statements by presenting data from a research conducted by the Social Media Examiner.

The 10 main benefits are as following:

  1. Reduced marketing costs
  2. Increased exposure
  3. Brand authority
  4. Developing loyal customers
  5. Improved search rankings
  6. Increased traffic
  7. Generated leads
  8. Improved sales
  9. Providing marketplace insights
  10. Growing business partnerships

1. Reduced Marketing Costs

It is undoubtable that Social Media are much cheaper than traditional advertising techniques such as television, newspaper, magazines, radio etc. On the other hand, using Social Media does not negate the need of the rest of these channels unless the business’s aims and goals are achieved.

According to the above mentioned research nearly half of those who devote a minimum of 6 hours per week on SMM (Social Media Marketing) noticed that their marketing costs were reduced. In fact when it comes to smaller companies with up to 10 employees this percentage raises to 62%.

2. Increased Exposure

More than 9 out of 10 marketers who spend at least 6 hours per week on managing their accounts said that they achieved an increased exposure. This percentage is even bigger (95%) when it comes to companies which have been active for more than two years.

But why is exposure so important? Well, there is an old marketing adage which says that it takes 6-8 exposures until a customer proceeds to a purchase. One of the biggest advantages of Social Networks is that you can keep reminding your followers about your products or services without being additionally charged. All it takes is a simple post, tweet etc.

3. Brand Authority

Social Media is a great brand-building tool. When used properly, a company’s recognition can be increased significantly. Additionally, companies can decide how they would like to be positioned in the minds of their consumers; displaying their values and what they have to offer.

Furthermore, since Social Media is relatively new it is often not utilised to its full potential. Correct use of Social Media can give you a competitive advantage and allow you to easily stand out. Now is the perfect time to establish authority in your field and to enable your target audience to reach you for help. To achieve that, all you need to do is to create great content, participate in conversations and in general serve your audience! Social Media has more to do with information pull rather than push.

4. Developing loyal fans

Building loyal fans is a good step towards building a base of loyal customers. Retailing an existing customer involves lower costs and higher profits than the acquisition of new ones.

The Social Examiner showed that 71% of the B2C marketers claim that Social Media helped them in developing a loyal fan base. The corresponding figure for B2B marketers was 58%. It would be an omission not to mention that the time invested also plays an important role in developing good results. More specifically, 69% of those who spend 6 or more hours per week find it beneficial, while 49% of those who spend less than 5 hours on it agree with the above statement.

5. Improved search rankings

After Google’s latest updates, Social Media is playing an increasingly important role to businesses’ search rankings. Nowadays, good content and interactions are possibly the most important factors that determine whether or not a company will appear on the first page of Google. Overall, it seems that 62% of those who have been using Social Media for a period of two years report a rise in search rankings.

6. Increased traffic

The fact that 78% of the research’s participants show an increase in their traffic is highly significant. Moreover, 81% from those who have been investing in Social Networks for more than 2 years testified benefits.

7. Generated Leads

The Social Media examiner found that 64% of the marketers who spend as little as 6 hours per week on SMM see the greatest generation benefits.

8. Improved Sales

It takes time to develop relationships that lead to sales. However, more than half of the marketers who have been using Social Networks for at least 3 years report improved sales. As far as the weekly required hours are concerned, more than half of those who spend 11 or more hours noticed a rise in sales. The same ratio grows up to 62% when it comes to companies who spend at least 40 hours per week on building a Social Network.

9. Providing marketplace insight

Social Media can be a great source of feedback. By creating a dynamic community and by promoting conversations a company can easily find out what their customers like and dislike. While somebody might claim that a bad review can harm a business, this is not the case. To be more specific, it is far better if a customer express a negative opinion somewhere you can manage it, rather than somewhere that you cannot. Furthermore, it has been proven that if a company takes under consideration its customers’ concerns and responds to them appropriately, their opinion might change and the relationship between the two can become stronger.

To continue with some statistics, 68% of companies with a minimum one year experience state that Social Networks enable them to gain useful marketplace insights. To be exact, 62% of the B2C and 71% of the B2B companies agree that their online presence helped them in gathering such data. Social Networks are far more valuable than any kind of paid market research.

10. Growing Business Partnerships

To close with the final benefit that we included in our list, it has been proven that marketers who invest a considerable amount of time in SMM have managed to create new business partnerships by doing so. Half of the companies that had a presence for at least one year, and 62% of those who had a presence for at least 3 years, gained new partnerships through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.

What if you choose not to Use Social Media?

Whether your realise it or not, your prospective and current clients are checking to see if you have an account with some of the most popular networking platforms. Lack of presence or interactions can really damage your image and simultaneously empower your competitors. For example how you would feel if you saw an account that had not been updated for months?

Social Media is not a trend and it is not going to fade away. Even if it is not your number one priority you should have a presence and engage as much as possible with your audience.

Edinburgh Web Agency Seeking a PHP Web Developer

Optimise Web is an Edinburgh based Digital Agency and we are looking for a talented frontend designer to join our growing team.

Following are the kinds of work that you will be exposed to:

  • Work on commercial (retail) eCommerce websites
  • Converting design layouts into WordPress and Magento templates
  • Provide on-going website design and development
  • Support customers by helping them use the content management systems
  • Managing domains, hosting and emails for our clients

Though desirable, you do not need to know or have experience in all of the below. If the below interests you, send over your CV!

We use the following extensively

Technologies

  • PHP (Object Oriented)
  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • jQuery
  • AJAX
  • XML / JSON
  • MySQL – mostly handled via frameworks

Frameworks

  • Magento – for eCommerce
  • WordPress – for business / brochure / bespoke websites
  • Twitter Bootstrap – as a starting point for all website HTML and CSS. Most websites that we do now are Responsive.

Software

  • Sublime Text / Netbeans – for coding
  • Git (Github and Bitbucket) – for source control
  • WinSCP / Filezilla – to manage remote files
  • Google Chrome + Inspect Element – for debugging HTML, CSS and JS
  • Firefox + Firebug – for debugging HTML, CSS and JS

Additional Notes

  • A good awareness and experience of HTML and CSS standards and validation
  • Possess commercial sense – calls-to-action, conversions, etc.
  • Basic understanding of SEO and web accessibility
  • Good communication, organization, and management skills
  • Fierce desire to learn new applications/processes/environments
  • Planning, development and deployment skills
  • Experience in Photoshop
  • Self motivated and confident with tackling projects of varying sizes
  • Ability to organise & manage your own workflow
  • Willingness to do both the boring and exciting stuff
  • Keen to go the extra mile

Salary: £18,000 – £22,000. Negotiable based on experience.

We are needing someone who can start as soon as possible. Apply by emailing your CV to jobs@optimiseweb.co.uk.

P.S. We will not respond to recruitment agencies and outsourcing companies.

The Art of Winning in the Digital Marketplace

“Digital marketing is marketing that makes use of electronic devices such as computers, tablets, smartphones, cellphones, digital billboards, and game consoles to engage with consumers and other business partners.” – Wikipedia

Online marketing is a major part of digital marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) is a major sub-component of online marketing.

The SEO and Online Marketing You Knew Just Died A Painful Death

2012 was the year when search engine optimisation really matured. Google was ruthless and made a clear statement that only the best shall rank high and win. It has now become evident, more than ever before, that providing high-quality content and delivering the best possible user experience and value to our visitors and customers are the only means to succeed in the digital marketplace.

All those who sought quick and cheap results are now cleaning up from the aftermath of Google’s Panda, Penguin and now the frequent algorithm updates. Quick SEO tactics from this year onwards might show signs of a short-term fix at best, but will definitely cause long-term damages at worst.

It’s The Time To Celebrate

The bad news is that Google has become hard to please. The good news is that your competitors are probably struggling to catch up with Google’s rapidly improving algorithms. Google has now offered you a window of opportunity. It is now up to you to grab it and leap ahead or lose it and get left behind.

Becoming A Brand And The Secret To Winning

From 2013 onwards, to win in the digital world gatekept by Google, you need to commit to a strong long-term strategy. You can still build certain legit small wins into your long-term strategy, but only to assist in developing your brand strength. The only available way to beat your competition is to become a brand and establish yourself as an authoritative figure in your industry. Only then will Google allow you into the top league and you will gain increased visitors who will then convert into customers.

What Can We Do For You?

We are working successfully with small to medium-sized businesses and have helped them succeed online. While Google and all the other nuts and bolts of the internet keep twisting and turning, we stay alert and up-to-date and make it our mission to deliver results for our customers.

If you would like to succeed online and would like us to put together an action plan for you, speak to Sid Vel, our digital marketing specialist. He is available on 0131 440 9371.

Edinburgh Web Design Company Jobs

Optimise Web is an Edinburgh based internet and software business which provides holistic web and eCommerce sites to positively influence traffic, conversions and profitability by using tech savvy and innovative marketing practices. The company is a small team of software and marketing specialists that have been helping organisations generate online revenue and expand their business and reputation on the web since 2006.

If have specific experience in building up Magento powered websites, or you have extraordinary skills in Web Project Management, please feel free to send a Cover Letter and CV to jobs (at) optimiseweb.co.uk

We are always looking for people based on experience and capacity, not necessarily on formal education. 

Sorry, no agencies please

 

Search Engine Friendly URLs

Search Engine Friendly URLs

Verty Furniture makes Indian Wood Furniture which is hand made by skilled craftsmen in India. All their furniture uses sustainable wood from renewal sources and is sold through the Verty Furniture website.

Problem:

Verty Furniture wanted to improve their search engine rankings on Google. Their previous website was written as a custom written eCommerce site and their URL’s were not very search engine friendly. Rather than a clean category name, their URL’s were a bunch of ID’s and numbers.

For example:
vertyfurniture.co.uk/itemdetail.php?itemid=221

Solution: 

We redeveloped the website, recoding everything through Magento. Currently all of their URL’s now are clean and search engine friendly.

Their new URL now looks like:
vertyfurniture.co.uk/cube-sheesham-tall-chest-of-5-drawers.html

Due to a tight budget, Verty did not want a redesign of their website, however we were able to make some amendments to the Verty homepage to make it more marketable.

We included some Call to Action links.

Very1

The homepage also had no visible products on it, so we included product images.

Very2

We also integrated their site with Paypal using a special Magento shipping model.  We added upsell and fixed the site so that products could be shown in more than one category.

Top 5 SEO Advantages of Magento

Top 5 SEO Advantages of Magento

Magento-Categories Why is Magento the best e-commerce software for SEO? If you want to run a business online, it’s more than just selling products. You’ll have to think about “how” your customers are going to find your products. This is where good built-in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and marketing tools are vital.

1. Search-Engine-Friendly URL’s

The top reason to choose Magento would be its search engine friendly URL feature. This feature allows store owners to customise the URL (web address) of each and every page on the website. These links are beneficial because you can custom-build your URL to specify the product, even if there is only a picture of it on the page. Additionally, having search engine friendly URL’s helps SEO agencies to built great campaigns. So, if your trying to get a good Google ranking for “dining room chairs”, the URL will aide in SEO and conversion optimisation. All the categories (known in the backend as Parent Categories) which you will create in Magento have potential subcategories (known in the backend as Children Categories). For example, if you run a furniture store and have “Dining Room Furniture” as a category, you can have “Dining Room Tables” as the subcategory and below this subcategory a list of all your products. All products can belong to more than one category or subcategory. Your URL would then look something like this: Homepage: www.yoursite.com/ Dining Room: www.yoursite.com/dining-room-furniture.html Dining Room Chairs: www.yoursite.com/dining-room-furniture/chairs.html Dining Room Product Page: www.yoursite.com/dining-room-furniture/chairs/lumbar-support.html In turn, you might have the lumbar-support chair available in both living room and dining room categories, in which case the user can find the lumbar support chair in two Magento categories: www.yoursite.com/dining-room-furniture/chairs/lumbar-support.html www.yoursite.com/living-room-furniture/chairs/lumbar-support.html So whether you are looking for “chairs”, “dining room furniture”, “lumbar support chairs” or “living room chairs” there are several possibilities for your customer to reach that particular item.

2. Google Sitemap

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. Magento allows users to enable such a sitemap which will help you get indexed faster so that people can find your products easier. You can read about creating Google sitemaps for Magento on the Magento website.

3. Magento Top 5 Search Terms

Magento-top-5-search-termsMagento has another feature that helps with SEO and conversion optimisation, the site’s search bar.  You can see the most popular products on your website’s internal search bar so that you and your web designer can optimise traffic in the most popular pages.

4. Magento Most Viewed Products

Magento-most-viewed-productsMore of a marketing tool, a potential conversion improver with Magento is the ability to see the most viewed products from the backend. By knowing which products you sell the most, you can target those pages to new customers, via online marketing techniques, Google Adwords or directly on your website. This not only allows you to focus on your niche online but supports you to apply the 80/20 rule to your business – find the vital few and make those products easy for your customers to find.

5. Content Management System (CMS)

magento-cmsThe CMS section of Magento is the place where you can upload content. Most of our clients use it for news or media. This gives you the chance to write about your products, company, or anything else that clients should know about a store website. It also includes keywords and meta title and description. A static block is a Magento custom variable which allows the site’s administrator to add and control chunks of HTML or content that can be displayed throughout the website. This is perfect for seasonal banners, sales, footer links a store map and anything else that serves as relevant content to your site. Magento includes a WYSIWIG editor, much like WordPress. magento-staticblockWhat do you think of these Magento SEO Features? Leave a comment.

Top 3 Open Source Content Management Systems

Top 3 Open Source Content Management Systems

With a quick search on the web, the three most prominent open-source CMS’s are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Imput these names into Google Insights and the graph illustrates WordPress as the most popular.

Best-CMS-graph

 

 

Pro’s and Con’s of WordPress, Joomla and Drupal


Here is some useful information between three major open-source Content Management System’s that can help you decide which one is best for you and why some companies or developers might choose one over another for bespoke web design.

WordPress

Wordpress-best-cms

 

WordPress Pros:

  • Friendliest end-user CMS, easy to create and manage site content
  • The backend is extremely intuitive and easy to navigate
  • Search-Engine-Optimisation (SEO) Friendly
  • Easy to customise as a website with the possibilities to use as a blog later
  • Tons of plugins that extend and enhance the functionality of WordPress

WordPress Cons:

  • Not great for eCommerce
  • Not meant for advanced customisations
  • WordPress updates far too often

Small to medium businesses and freelancers especially would do well to use WordPress as a CMS. WordPress can make inexpensive,  fantastic looking professional sites and if your going to add your own content to WordPress at least once a month, this is the friendliest end-user CMS. It is also tuned for Search Engine Optimisation, so if you hire an SEO they can do great things to make your site appear as a page one ranking. Not recommended if you plan to make major changes to your website in the future.

Joomla

Joomla-best-cms

 

Joomla Pros:

  • Great capabilities to make a website look fantastic
  • Functionality is very customisable, it can be used to make eCommerce, galleries, etc.
  • Great capacity for developers and designers to do interesting stuff

Joomla Cons:

  • Admin interface is not user friendly
  • If you lack good knowledge of the internet, can appear very intimidating to use
  • Have to learn how to use it first before using it

Once you get the hang of joomla, designing sites is fast and simple. Joomla is friendly for all types of users – designers, developers and administrators, but still not enough for everyone to understand.  Developers will choose this system because of its large capacity for development and customizations.

Drupal

Drupal-best-cms

 

 

Drupal Pros:

  • It has over 7,000 plug-ins that help to boost the building capacities of a site
  • Developers are usually really good, you can code Drupal or you can’t code it
  • Terrific developer and user community to help with coding bits
  • Drupal has tools like network integration, feeds, and search engine optimization tools that help you to connect with your viewers easily

Drupal Cons:

  • Need to spend some time to understand the architecture
  • Knowledge of PHP, CSS and DHTML are helpful for more advanced development
  • Back-end is not user-friendly
  • Most expensive developers

Drupal is very flexible and gives you the power to adjust your theme and way you’d like, even the White House has chosen Drupal as the platform for its official web site. However for those small, simple projects it’s simply not a good choice.  Its also described as “written by developers, for developers” so is not user-friendly unless you have mad coding skills. Do you have anything to add? Please leave a comment.

Affordable Web Design for 7Cs Self Catering Cottage

Affordable Web Design for 7Cs Self Catering Cottage

7Cs Edinburgh was a self catering accommodation in Edinburgh. It was located on Newcraighall Road near Musselburgh which is a 15 minute bus ride away from the Edinburgh city centre.

Problem

The business owner came to us in the Spring of 2011 with a new business offering affordable lodgings for tourists in Edinburgh, which she planned to open by Summer in time for Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival. She knew that in order to get bookings she needed an online presence. Unfortunately her budget was very limited so we had to work around how to give her the most value for her money.

Solution

Since the website was for the accommodation industry, the goal of the site was to make her phone ring and generate email enquiries for online bookings. So we made sure the website included the relevant pages such as an image gallery, a contact form and immediate access to a phone number for immediate bookings.

Logo and Brand Development

We designed a logo for 7C’s using the owner’s vision of a fish leaping out of a rising wave, which represents the seven seas. We then based the web design and colour scheme on this logo.

Image Gallery

Images are the heart and soul of an accommodation website and can help build confidence in the accommodation and increase bookings, therefore the image gallery was designed to help to capture the visitors attention.

Call to Action

Having a ‘book here’ or ‘online enquiry’ button up toward the top right hand corner of a homepage above the fold has been known to increase hotels’ online revenues. Therefore the webpage was created with certain conversion goals in mind. We made the call to action button above the page so it was not too overwhelming in the design. Also, several call to action triggers are located throughout the homepage such as an online enquiry form, contact details and a contact-us page. The enquiries through the forms are then delivered directly to her private email.

7Cs-645x695

 

Follow-Up

The owner of 7Cs Edinburgh was not tech savvy and she was pleased that we delivered a great website for her new business.

All your staff I encountered had great patience with me, a known computer novice, and we got there in the end. Thanks guys and gals for the great job on my website. – Margaret Ramsay, 7C’s Edinburgh

Magento Hosting UK

Magento Hosting UK

 

Magento-Open-Source-Ecommerce9

Are you going to set up a Magento store but are unsure of what kind of hosting to get? Web hosting comes in many forms: shared, cloud, VPS, semi-dedicated, and dedicated. It can all be a bit complicated which is why we have written a description for three of the most popular forms of web hosting available in today’s market and why we recommend one of them.

Shared hosting:

A decent shared hosting package will cost about £10 a month. The disadvantage with shared hosting is that your website will be one among 1000 other websites. This could cause your website to be slow and have a negative effect on your search rankings.

Dedicated Server / Dedicated Hosting:

Dedicated hosting is aimed at being a hosting solution for major online businesses, with a powerful server that will put all of its efforts on you and your site alone. This ensures that your IP address remains unique, clean and guarded. We run Magento on a dedidated server and charge £45 per month for Magento hosting. This includes customer support.

VPS:

Though you’ve got control over your service and its highly customizable, it is still within a shared hosting realm which means if someone is heavily using the server your server will be affected. This form of web hosting is often utilized by medium-sized companies and it will most likely cost around $30 to $40 per month.
Google wants to provide the best possible experience to its search users and will favour a faster website that resides in a good neighbourhood – so it uses page speed as one of its key ranking factors! This means that yes, your website’s neighbours can influence its rankings. On a shared server, you have zero control over the other sites that get hosted on the same server as yours. The performance, quality, nature and characteristics of these neighbour websites are considered before Google ranks your website.

The disadvantage with shared hosting is that your website will be one among 1000 other websites. This could cause your website to be slow and have a negative effect on your search rankings. The performance, quality, nature and characteristics of these neighbour websites are considered before Google ranks your website.

Read about selecting a good Magento solutions provider.

Bespoke WordPress Website for Heathers Cakes

Bespoke WordPress Website for Heathers Cakes

Heathers Cakes is a cake designer in Edinburgh. Heather has been designing and creating bespoke cakes since she found a passion for it in 2009.

Heathers-Cakes

 

Problem

Heather was making so many cakes that she wanted to create a website where she could show-case them to potential customers around Edinburgh. Also, since she had actually established a business from just doing it for fun, she also wanted her website to be found in the local community to get more business leads. As a cake company, Heather’s cakes visual presence needed to look creative but also professional without being too cluttered. The new site was custom designed with appropriate place of pictures and the home page show-casing simple and elegant cakes.

Solution

From scratch we created a template wordpress design which was suitable to her business model. The new website aimed to give potential cake customers a comprehensive but friendly browser experience to Heather’s cake expertise, as well as showcasing her very tasty cakes and design styles. Heather can easily add new products herself through the simple yet powerful wordpress content management system.

Optimise Web have been very helpful. They have created a great, easy to use website for me and continue to give me excellent marketing support. They are efficient and friendly. I highly recommend them. – Heather Maciver, Heathers Cakes