Software engineering is the process of analyzing user needs and designing, constructing, and testing end user applications that will satisfy these needs through the use of software programming languages.
It is the application of engineering principles to software development. In contrast to simple programming, software engineering is used for larger and more complex software systems, which are used as critical systems for businesses and organizations.
Typical formal definitions of software engineering are: “the application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the development, operation, and maintenance of software. Software engineering is relatively a new area of engineering though, but the scope of software engineering is extremely broad. Being one of the prominent branches of the field of Engineering, it’s growing among the fastest fields in the world today.
It must be noted that the term software development can be used for every type of software development whether it’s as simple as visual basic for applications Modules for Microsoft Word, Excel or Access or developing large, expensive and complicated applications for businesses or creating software for gaming entertainment.
Software engineers are the computer programming professionals. It’s worth mentioning that a software engineer is also a programmer, as he writes codes, but a programmer may not be called a software engineer, because in the former case, one needs to have a formal education.
Besides, a software engineer is the one who follows a systematic process that leads to understanding the requirements, working with teams and various professionals in order to create the application software or components or modules that fulfill the specific needs of the users successfully; whereas a computer programmer can work independently, as he understands algorithms and knows how to create codes following the specifications given by the software engineers.
However, software engineering is a vast field. It is not just limited to computer programming, but it’s much more than computer programming. It covers a wide range of professions from business to graphic designs or video game development.
Not just in a specific field, but every field of work, specific software is needed. Since the software is developed and embedded in the machines in order that it could meet with all intents and purposes of the users belonging to various professions, software engineering is of great application and assistance.
Not only the field of software engineering involves using some common computer languages, such as, C, C++, Java, python and Visual Basic in an appropriate manner that the intended results may be attained, but it also leads to apply the concepts in such a way that the development of the software may be made effectively and efficiently.
Software engineers or developers are the creative minds behind computers or programs. Some develop the application software for clients and companies analyzing the needs of the users. Some develop the system software used to run the devices and to control the networks.
Whatever be the nature of work, software engineering is one of highest-paid fields in this modern day and age. It’s an up-and-coming field, as it’s believed that it’s likely to grow much faster than the average compared to other professions.
If you have strong problem solving skills, an eye for details and good understanding at mathematical functions, then you may consider this lucrative field of study that could give you various benefits including higher level of job satisfaction recompensing your creative efforts.
Also, if you are in need of a software engineer, you can contact FORTRAN HOUSE, our software services are second to none based on out wealth of knowledge and experience on software development, et al, which makes us stand out from the competition.
We all know that wireframing is a great way to test ideas in our UX projects but we also know that there are a ton of wireframing tools available to do it with. It can be hard to choose the right tool but one of the easiest ways to get an idea – is to get hands on with the tool and have a play with it.
The wireframing tools in this article are all free to a greater or lesser extent. Most of them have premium options that let you extend the functionality in some way or another but all of the free options let you get to grips with the way that they work.
Frame Box is completely free to use which may make it the right stop for those teams on incredibly limited budgets. The downside is that it’s a bit basic and perhaps not the best tool for developing a detailed wireframe of a complex project on. It’s perfectly OK for smaller, less complex projects though.
We think it’s unlikely that Frame Box is going to be anyone’s permanent option but it will get you started and without any strain on your wallet.
As the name suggest this tool is designed for iPhone mockups. That’s a feature that’s often included in other wireframing packages but there is something quite nice about a targeted tool. It’s completely free to use and images can be exported as PNGs or shared as URLs with a team. The toolset is simple and clean and you can choose between computer-style mockups or a hand drawn pencil interface style.
Author/Copyright holder: iphonemockup.lkmc.ch.Copyright terms and licence: Fair Use
If you’re into ultra-minimal interfaces then Wireframe.cc is a pretty nice tool. The premium licenses run from $12 to $100 a month depending on your needs, with the top of the range allowing unlimited users and projects which seems like a fair deal. It tries to be intuitive when you’re using the mouse to draw to help deliver only the controls that you need at the time. It’s very easy to turn items on and off when you’re trying to decide whether to include something or not.
There are restraints imposed on free users of the Cacoo service, mainly relating to the number of pages you can create (a reasonably generous 25) and the fact that you can only export projects in PNG format. However, there’s a lot of functionality on offer and the free package does support a number of users rather than just one. The basic upgrade is $4.95 a month for an individual package and runs up to $99 a month for the biggest version (which allows up to 100,000 pages).
Author/Copyright holder: Angelo Su. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Jumpchart, perhaps more so than other tools in this round up, is all about collaboration. It’s very much designed so that a whole team can cooperate easily on a project. One of the nice features is that you can export the project to WordPress as a layout when you’re done and that might sway web designers looking to create a fluid process between wireframes and finished designs.
MockFlow offers a suite of tools for designers. Wireframing is a smaller part of a larger whole. The free account lets you try things out but you’re almost certainly going to have to upgrade to get all the functionality that you need. That starts at $14 a month and has a potentially unlimited cost as you need a license per user (though there is a value 3 user starter pack for $29 a month). In addition to the wireframing tools; you also get – an app project planner, a collaboration tool, the ability to create and publish websites and some content development tools for banners, annotations, and brochures.
Author/Copyright holder: MockFlow. Copyright terms and licence: Fair Use
Wirefy’s a downloadable project which goes through a reasonable number of regular iterations. It’s not web hosted but rather requires installation. It is built with developers as well as designers and is perhaps a touch more complex to get to grips with than most of the other tools in this list. The flip side of that is that it’s probably a little more flexible than the other tools too – you have a greater degree of control in the way that you approach things in Wirefy. It allows easy implementation of wireframes into other projects including but not limited to WordPress projects.
Perhaps the most interesting pricing model of the tools in this round up is the one used byLumzy. The project is completely free to use but if you don’t want regular reminders to support the project you can buy tokens to turn off the reminders. Each token gives you 12 hours of reminder free usage and you can buy tokens in different packs sizes from $5 for 10 tokens to 95 tokens for $25. It’s a very flexible tool with collaboration support too.
This one is popular with some of the biggest names in the industry and Gliffy’s ease of use is very appealing. It’s a multi-faceted package and isn’t limited to wireframes, it has support for a ton of different diagrams including UML support. There’s an online version and plug ins for both Confluence and Jira too. Pricing is reasonable the full featured version is $96 a year with unlimited amounts of diagrams and storage included.
Author/Copyright holder: Joanne Wan. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
As we said at the start; there are a lot of different products available today for wireframing. It’s true that Axure is one of the big corporate names but this is a round up of free-to-use tools and it’s likely that pricing is less of a concern to Axure users than it will be to those looking for free-to-use tools.
If you think there are any others we’ve missed, please let us know on our Facebook page or Twitter or LinkedIn. We’d love to know what you’re using at the moment.
Header Image: Author/Copyright Holder: Aurimas. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-ND 2.0
source: Interaction Design
The differences between responsive and adaptive design approaches spotlight important options for us as web and app designers. Choosing with insight can empower you to plan and execute your designs with better aim, purpose and results.
With the pervasiveness and diversity of mobile devices, as designers we need to cater to the variety of screen sizes. This is a challenge that every web and app designer currently faces. From the giant corporate monitor to the smartwatch, there are a huge number of ways that users can access information online today. Designers looking to bridge the gap between devices have two options for their designs: the adaptive site or the responsive site.
Author/Copyright holder: Stéphanie Walter. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
There is a certain amount of confusion as to the difference between responsive design and adaptive design. The boundaries may seem blurred to those without experience of either style of design, but there are clear differences when you look more closely at the two.
Author/Copyright holder: Muhammad Rafizeldi.. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
The term Responsive Design was first coined by the web designer and developer Ethan Marcotte in his book, Responsive Web Design. Responsive designs respond to changes in browser width by adjusting the placement of design elements to fit in the available space.
A responsive website shows content based on the available browser space. If you open a responsive site on the desktop and then change the size of the browser window, the content will move dynamically to arrange itself (at least in theory) optimally for the browser window. On mobile phones, this process is automatic; the site checks for the available space and then presents itself in the ideal arrangement.
Responsive design is straightforward. Because it is fluid, it means that users can access your online world and enjoy as much of it on their handheld device as they would on a massive monitor. For this to be true, responsive design requires a very good conceptualization of the site and a deep knowledge of the needs and wants of the end users!
Adaptive Web Design
Adaptive Web Design was introduced in 2011 by web designer Aaron Gustafson in his book, Adaptive Web Design: Crafting Rich Experiences With Progressive Enhancement. It is also known as progressive enhancement of a website.
Where responsive design relies on changing the design pattern to fit the real estate available to it, adaptive design has multiple fixed layout sizes. When the site detects the available space, it selects the layout most appropriate for the screen. So, when you open a browser on the desktop, the site chooses the best layout for that desktop screen; resizing the browser has no impact on the design.Accelerate your career: Get industry-trusted Course Certificates
Some sites have been quick to embrace adaptive design. Amazon, USA Today, Apple, and About.com configured themselves to be mobile-optimized websites. Have a look at these. Notice that the layout displayed on a mobile website using adaptive design may be different from the desktop’s version. However, this is because the designers have picked a different layout for the phone’s screen rather than leaving the design to try to rearrange itself.
In adaptive design, it’s normal to develop six designs for the six most common screen widths; 320, 480, 760, 960, 1200, and 1600 pixels.
Standalone Mobile Design
There is also the option to create a mobile-only website (these are usually denoted in the URL bar of a browser using the “m.” prefix). This option was once an excellent approach. Designers would create sites for mobile devices, attuning the elements and layout for a dedicated format. Google delivered search engine rankings to mobile sites, but today the same preferences are given to adaptive and responsive sites.
The big drawback of creating a separate site (rather than using different designs or employing a changeable design) is that it requires an awful lot more maintenance in order to keep the two versions of a website homogenous. With no particular incentive to do this, the mobile-only design has fallen out of favor in recent times. It seems unlikely that it will make a comeback anytime soon.
Choosing Between Responsive and Adaptive Design
Author/Copyright holder: Stéphanie Walter. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Responsive design is easier and takes less work to implement. It affords less control over your design on each screen size, but it’s by far the preferred method for creating new sites at this moment. This may also have something to do with the large number of cheap templates available for the majority of Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla, etc. — after all, who wants to reinvent the wheel?
Responsive designers create a single design to be used on all screens and will generally start in the middle of the resolution and use media queries to determine what adjustments will be made for the lower and higher end of the resolution scale. This tends to make users happy, because that familiar web design seems guaranteed to translate across to any device’s screen. Uniformity and seamlessness are crucial considerations in providing a good user experience.Accelerate your career: Get industry-trusted Course Certificates
It’s important to keep an eye on the visual hierarchy of responsive design projects; you want to try to maintain this as your elements shuffle around the screen. That means a lot of testing with many different devices to be certain that you’re delivering the goods. If the design for a site is relatively simple, it will translate well across device screens, flowing like a liquid from container to container.
SEO is another big argument for using a responsive design. Sites that use responsive design (i.e., ones with a URL that serve all devices) are currently more search engine friendly.
The responsive design seems to have a strong case for use. Well, it might; however, bear the following in mind:
- Because your website will “flow” from device to device, adjusting to the screen size, any advertisements that you’ve added may not fit into the space. Suddenly, the “shortcut” offered by using responsive design may need some rethinking and work.
- Download times vary between desktop and mobile devices. The flexibility of images is a big consideration here. A large design that comes through quickly on the big screen at home or in the office takes more time (and data) to appear on your mobile. Might a smaller preview be better for the mobile version?
Adaptive design will (theoretically) ensure the best user experience according to whichever device the user is using to interface. Unlike responsive design, where a screen “flows” from desktop design into a smaller device’s, adaptive design offers tailor-made solutions. As the name suggests, they adapt to the user’s situational needs and capabilities. As designers, we can show users that we’re in tune with their needs on a mobile device by making our design touch friendly. Meanwhile, we can do the same for desktop users. We begin at the lowest resolution version of the site and work our way up to the highest. Six designs are the current standard, but depending on your users’ data, you might be able to use fewer designs.
A strength of adaptive design is that it feels more relevant to the modern user experience, whereas responsive design shows a more desktop-centric approach (with the demands of other devices taking a secondary, almost passive place). As users, we are out and about more with our smart devices. We like to feel that our devices are aware of what we’re going through. Let’s take a literal example; if you were driving through a long tunnel, wouldn’t you rather have a GPS screen that adapts to the environment and adjusts its brightness? That context-based performance and usability is reassuring, at the same time confirming that your smart device is smart enough to adapt and be extra useful.
You can also design to optimize advertisements for your relevant user interfaces with adaptive design. Because you’re designing for different resolutions (i.e., different fields of view), you can access your user’s specific needs. The sheer sophistication of sensors in, say, a smartphone allows companies (and us designers) to know more about our users than ever before. A user frequents a favorite store, restaurant, gym, etc. — by checking in there, he/she creates a profile. From this (behavioral targeting, otherwise known as personalization), we can design finely tuned advertisements.
Another advantage — research shows that a company with an adaptive website will often outperform, on speed tests, a company with a responsive website. This isn’t a small difference either; adaptive sites are often 2-3 times faster than responsive ones and give rather less data to the user in order to deliver the user experience.
Adaptive design has some strong advantages. However, in the game of designing for the best user experience and providing the best solutions, we must remember that we have to take the time to examine our options and the realities of our users.
There are drawbacks to adaptive design. Firstly, it’s usually a lot more work than creating a responsive design. For that reason, the majority of adaptive designs are used to retrofit existing sites to allow them to be used on multiple devices. It appears, then, that the first order of business is to bring traditional sites up to date by allowing them to reach across more devices.
Secondly, adaptive designs can leave out users “in the middle”. Tablet or netbook users might be left “hanging” because designers have only catered to desktop and smartphone users. Therefore, it’s important to offer a link to let the user toggle between versions.
Lastly, while search engine bots are getting better about sifting and sorting through hits to distinguish between your “.com” sites and “m .com” sites, it’s wise to accept the status quo. Most search engines still don’t rank identical content over multiple URLs equally. That means being mindful that an adaptive design might keep you back on SEO.
So, while there’s a definite preference for responsive design at the moment, don’t dismiss adaptive design if you have the budget. Google likes websites that load fast, as do users.
The Take Away
Author/Copyright holder: Brisbane Web Design. Copyright terms and licence: Public Domain
Modern web design gives us three options to use: Responsive, Adaptive, and Standalone Design, although standalone has fallen into disuse.
Responsive Design lets designers show content based on the browser space available. This allows consistency between what a site shows on a desktop and what it shows on a handheld device. Responsive design is the “traditional” option and remains the more popular approach to date.
|Uniform & seamless = good UX.Abundance of templates to use.SEO friendly.Often easier to implement||Less screen size design control.Elements can move aroundAdvertisements lost on screen.Longer mobile download times.|
Adaptive Design, developed in 2011, is more involved in that the designer has several fixed layout sizes. It offers an alternative to the “one-size-stretches-to-all” approach.
|Allows designers to build the best UX for the appropriate device.Mobile devices can sense their user’s environment.Designers can optimize advertisements based on user data from smart devices.||Labor-intensive to create – most adaptive designs are retrofitting traditional sites to make them more accessible.Tablets and netbooks can have trouble with site configuration tending to be smartphone- or desktop-oriented.Challenging to SEO — Search engines have trouble appreciating identical content on multiple sites.|
Choosing between a responsive and an adaptive design takes careful consideration. While it might be prudent to stick to a responsive design for the sake of expedience (saving cost, improving SEO, and keeping users content with a seamless experience between devices), it’s crucial to check the pros and cons of both designs in full. Adaptive design can tune in more to users’ varying needs in the field; thus, it’s vital to keep a finger on the pulse of change.
We might best picture these changes as evolution. Charles Darwin noted that the individuals in a species that survive aren’t the strongest or smartest, but those most adaptable to change. We have only the dinosaurs to consider in light of that.
Think about your product or service. Does it access users in a specific setting? What is it about their behavior that you can use to keep them informed and engaged? Remember, it’s not just mobile devices that are getting smarter. In our homes and offices, we have more than traditional desktops. Now, a wide range of smart devices sense and react to the environment, from clocks and heaters to a host of devices that comprise the “Internet of Things”. It’s an age that’s full of smarter objects. We must design with that smartness increasingly in mind.
Resources & Where to Learn More
Hero Image: Author/Copyright holder: tfinc. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Holst, C. (2012). “Adaptive vs. Responsive Layouts and Optimal Form Field Labels”. Smashing Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/11/08/ux-desi… [2014, Sept 1]
Itzkovitch, A. (2012). “Creating an Adaptive System To Enhance UX”. Smashing Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/12/creating-an-adaptive-system-to-enhance-ux/
Knight, K. (2011). “Responsive Web Design: What It Is and How To Use It”. Smashing Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/01/guidelines-for-responsive-web-design/The Smashing Editorial. (2012). “Responsive Web Design Guidelines and Tutorials”. (NB – This is a great resource for locating the best articles Smashing Magazine has regarding Responsive Design.) Retrieved from: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/responsive-web-des…
Cao, J. (2015). “Responsive vs. Adapative Design: What’s the Best Choice for Designers?”.Studio by UXPin. Retrieved from: http://studio.uxpin.com/blog/responsive-vs-adaptive-design-whats-best-choice-designers/
Bin Uzayr, S. (2013). ”Responsive vs. Adapative Design”. Torque. Retrieved from: http://torquemag.io/responsive-design-vs-adaptive-design/
Source: Interaction Design
eCommerce, a big-time word which we hear every day. Whether, big or a small enterprise, eCommerce website development is an unsaid must for your business if you are into trading.
With the digitalization, customers now prefer to shop online more than they do for offline. Thus, it is the mandatory stand for business now to consider going online and be available there where their customers prefer to go.
eCommerce Website development asks you a sort of investment and being a business owner; you want some numbers to justify that need.
Well, here we are with some statistics. A survey on eCommerce anticipates an increase of 246.15% in the global eCommerce sales, from the US $1.3 Trillion in 2014 to $4.5 trillion in 2021. That is a vast number to turn the tables.
You have got the statistics now; however, We would like to share some tips before you start building your online store or eCommerce Website Development with some of the top eCommerce development services.
1. START AUTHORIZED AND STEADY
You involve your business into commerce, where it very much necessary to have the legal authority of trading those particulars products and services.
Understand thoroughly and pin down the rules and regulations about trading certain products whether online or offline.
Also, you need to register yourself with the authorities to trade as all the banking transactions will occur from legal bank accounts and it is horrible if it makes unreliable to transact.
Register with the authorities. Make sure you get the relevant certificates from them and make it accessible on your online store as well if the customers want they can review your credibility.
You have got the authorities but wait; don’t hurry your launch yet.
Your eCommerce website is the online store of your business.
Treat its opening as cherishable as you would do for your physical store.
Make necessary advertisements online. Create the buzz, tell people that something grand is coming. Delay the launch if possible, but make sure it is worth the delay.
2. PERFECT AND ROBUST PARTNERS
Getting the functioning and dynamic eCommerce website solutions are not enough to run the eCommerce store effectively.
You need to have some perfect and robust partners by your side.
First of all, you need to partner with an eCommerce development company who is proficient in providing eCommerce website development services as per the business requirements and niche.
A best eCommerce website design company can help you get the best eCommerce store developed and designed for your business because they understand what having and being the best means.
Browse through the top eCommerce development companies and then hire eCommerce Development services suitable to your business requirements.
Secondly, for an eCommerce store, it is highly necessary to have a shipping partner who is reliable and active.
You need to maintain specific promises with your customers. A customer while placing an order online, checks how soon they can get the delivery in their hands.
You need to mention on your store the specific number of days it may take to reach the delivery.
Making the promises to customers means you need to stand by your words. Thus, you need to have a promising shipping agent by your side, who takes care of your deliveries to the customers in time and with perfection.
3. FOCUS ON CUSTOMERS’ CHOICE
eCommerce is sheerly focusing on customer requirements.
Smart business owners know what their customers want and accommodate their services according to the customer requirements and likings.
Keep the trend maintaining in all your products. Check if it is matching your niche.
Assure customers of full comfort from your products and show them that you stand by your words, while they surf on your store and while they receive their package.
Along with products, focus on the design of your store.
Get the most compelling eCommerce website design services for your online store as it is a branch of your business in itself.
Check that it is easy to navigate through the pages, products, and services.
A user will turn into a customer only when he finds what he wants on your online store.
4. MAKE YOUR STORE MOBILE AS WELL
You are a smart entrepreneur and aware of the fact that mobile has become an all-time tool in every other person’s hand around us.
Well, if you keep a step back while eCommerce development of your store for your mobile, I am sure you are losing thousands of customers.
However, we know that you are smart and would not make such a mistake.
Make your online store mobile responsive and friendly.
Develop it as easy to use on the mobile phones as well. Take assistance from a mobile app development company who is proficiently an eCommerce website development company as well.
Check the same aspects as you checked on the desktop version of your online store.
Customers love mobiles; remember, to trade you should consider what the customers like.
5. SUPPORT AND POLICIES
When you hire eCommerce Development service, you need to make sure that you cover all the aspects for your online store.
Don’t skip out the essential things such as the –
“About Us” page – It seems quite creepy to not know the people you are trading with. Update the page with all the necessary information about your company and the dealings.
Active Support system – you expect your customer to be online on your store any and every time of the day; so you need to make sure that you provide them the active support at any hour of the day.
Refund and Return policies – It is not necessary always that the product will look the same way as it looked online and whether the customer will like it the same way as they did online
Keep friendly return and refund policies. It is okay if they returned once but open the doors wide enough for them to come and shop again.
Payment Options – With the variety of products, customers prefer a variety of payment options as well. Try to keep as many payment options as possible for your business to handle. Also, don’t forget to allow the choice of cash on delivery.
6. ANALYZE AND ENHANCE
Like the way you analyze in your business about the possible profits and losses; you need to examine your online store as well.
Collect essential data and researches. Check the traffic and conversions.
Analyze them. Build up new strategies. You are the captain of the ship to take charge. Enhance with new tactics. Apply new strategies.
If you are falling short of the strategies, take assistance from the top eCommerce development service that you hired for the eCommerce development. They are proficient with these and always up with the market trends.
Once you have completed the eCommerce website development process, you need to test every aspect of your store.
Take assistance of the eCommerce website development company to apply relevant testing techniques on your application and website to check if there exist any bugs or are there any flaws in the store.
Check it yourself once again; as a user, how does it look like, how is it likely to feel and how it is likely to use and navigate.
Make the amendments whatever necessary to remove the flaws and improve the usability of your online store.
8. SEO AND OTHER SOCIAL ELEMENTS
Its important you optimize your online store efficiently for the search engines.
Create efficient SEO strategies and make sure you apply them in the stipulated timeline before launching the store.
Also, consider marketing on social media as well. The more people know about your services coming, the more traffic you will get after you launch your store.
Further, consider hiring eCommerce development service who are proficient with the SEO part and know how to bring out the results.
Moreover, the above are the prime basics which being a business owner you should not avoid implementing in your online store.
Keeping a keen eye on all these aspects can make your online store soar up high in the competition with impressive economic numbers.
Also, consider hiring the top eCommerce development services whenever you think of initiating the eCommerce website development.
Its one of the first questions we get asked as kids, what is your favourite colour? Each of us probably had a different answer, and what’s more it probably changed over time. But why, what effect does colour have on us? It is a widely discussed topic, what impact colour has, especially when it comes to emotions. So can colour influence how people perceive your brand or the impression they have of your website? What impact does colour have on your website?
Lets look at what is generally perceived to be the effect of each colour:
This one is fairly well known. Red is a dominate colour and can elicit feelings of passion and anger. It is also widely used to signify that something is important or dangerous. The colour red can actually have a physiological impact on us, increasing blood circulation, breathing rates and metabolism. For this reason, it is a colour that should be used with caution, whilst a great colour for attracting attention its other side effects can cause tension to the viewer.
Orange is a happy colour, it brings about feelings of warmth and excitement. It is a fairly playful colour and is often used to signify youthfulness. Orange can create haste and stimulate acting on impulse. It is a colour of comfort and can focus the mind on things that provide physical wellbeing such as food, warmth and shelter. It is a fun colour. However, be wary of over-usage, too much can suggest frivolity or a lack of serious intellectual values.
Yellow is a bit of a contradiction when it comes to the effect it has on our emotions. It is often seen as a happy and friendly colour, however it also activates the anxiety centre of the brain. The shade of yellow in use is very important. It is an energetic colour and can be used to stimulate and revitalise. It is also a common colour of warnings. Use the right shade of yellow and it will boost self esteem, confidence and optimism. Too much or the wrong tone can have a very negative impact causing feelings of fear and anxiety.
Green is another one that has very common connotations, particularly for being natural, stable and prosperous. Because of its tie with nature it is a colour of growth and is often used in financial markets. It is a colour of balance, it is the middle of the spectrum, and is reassuring to us on a primitive level. It is a good choice for calls to action because it stands out but more softly than the likes of red and orange. However, like most colours green can also have a negative impact if incorrectly used, it can generate feelings of boredom and stagnation.
Whilst often considered a cold colour, blue is probably one of the most popular colours in the world of web design. Blue is the colour of the mind and effects us mentally, in contrast to the physical reaction we have to red. Blue elicits a feeling of calm and serenity, and inspires feelings of security and safety. It is often seen as a colour of trust, which is probably why it is seen on so many bank websites. Despite not being the easiest colour for us to see it is often used for clear communication. The only thing to be cautious of with blue is, because of its connections with coldness, it can be perceived as unemotional and unfriendly.
The colour purple has long been associated with royalty and luxury. The use of purple is a quick and easy way to create a sense of elegance and communicates the finest possible quality. It has the shortest wavelength and can take awareness to a higher level of thought. It is, therefore, also connected to wisdom, spirituality and mystery. The colour purple is also highly introverted, and can be used to inspire feelings of deep contemplation. Beware, excessive use of purple or using the wrong shade could bring about too much introspection.
Of course, there are many more colours that you can chose from, including:
Pink, which is linked to femininity, youth and innocence. But, can also be physically draining and somewhat emasculating,
Brown, associated with the earth, being rustic and sturdiness, can evoke feelings of reliability and support. But can also be linked to heaviness and lack of sophistication.
Black, the strongest of the colours, adds sophistication and elegance, but with bold confidence. It communicates absolute clarity and creates a perception of seriousness. Be careful, however, as black can be perceived as menacing.
White is probably the most used colour. It pairs well with every other colour and draws out the elements of more stimulating colours. White is associated with being pure, clean and sterile. It adds a perception of space. Sterility can also be a negative connotation so use wisely.
Thinking about your website, what colours have you used? What impact does colour have on your website? What emotions and perceptions are you creating in your customers? It is hard to take our personal preferences away and to look at these things objectively. Think about what you want customers to feel about your brand and work backwards, in both colour and content.
How is social media marketing different from content marketing? What is the point of difference between these two marketing strategies? And which is the best marketing strategy? If you are still unaware of the core differences between both marketing terminologies, then let’s dive into this and know more.
Content marketing is content production and creative thought; whereas social media marketing focuses on making social media a successful delivery mechanism. However, the difference between the two is not as simple. Content marketers are highly focused on methods of sharing and receiving content. Social media marketing focuses on making social media a successful mechanism for delivery of the content.
Content marketing is considered a starting point for digital marketing campaigns. If a small business owner wants to attract a large number of customers and webmasters are looking for more visitors on their website, then content marketing would be the best solution for them. Content marketing deals with social media marketing and social media marketers are using content to get their message across to their audiences. Granted, there are various overlapping characteristics between the two rolls, but these are two distinct entities with different focal points, goals, and processes. Let’s have a look at the major differences between social media marketing and content marketing.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Social media marketing is making use of social platforms where existing and potential customers interact directly. Social media marketing is all about using websites and social networks for marketing products and services of a particular brand. Social media marketing is the type of marketing which influences companies to reach new customers and increase brand engagement with their existing customers. In other words, we can say social media marketing is a way of marketing which extends the reach of content marketing through multiple social media platforms. Social media marketing pushes the marketing strategy; which pushes the content and drives people from their current state.
Social media marketing is a kind of direct and indirect marketing which promotes a particular business on the social web with the help of sharing and interaction. Social sharing is a simple and personified way of marketing. Companies can enhance brand awareness and brand engagement through a one-click sharing method. For successful social media marketing, marketers are required to keep the conversation and sharing related to business. For the indirect promotion of products and services, they have to effectively start the conversation and encourage sharing it among users for strong customer relationship management. Social media marketing allows small businesses to build brand awareness at a larger scale.
Content marketing is all about creation and distribution of valuable, relevant and consistent content. The objective of content marketing is to attract and retain clearly defined audiences and profitable customers. Content marketing is an integral part of social media marketing. It is a method for companies to educate, inform, entertain and inspire the action of existing and potential customers. Content marketing promotes the product or service by raising brand awareness and by shaping the consumer perception.
Proper marketing and consumption of content drive behavioral change among customers by providing useful information to the audience. Organizations publish the content typically on websites, but there are other print campaigns where marketers can incorporate a content marketing strategy. They also integrate content marketing with social media marketing. doing so establishes an enterprise and demonstrates added value to the target market. By sharing quality content information, content marketing plays a significant role in building the brand indirectly and building trust among customers. Content marketing is the marketing strategy which is used by the marketers to establish credibility, trust, and loyalty among customers.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONTENT MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING!
SOCIAL IS A CHANNEL; CONTENT IS A TACTIC
Social media is a game changer in the marketing sector. The birth of social platforms has made custom targeting of perspective audiences easy for marketers. Social media is the greatest innovation of technology, which has not only enhanced the ability of communication, but has also enhanced the ability of organizations to market directly. Social media marketing is the channel where organizations can find potential customers. Social media has emerged as one of the most popular marketing channels for companies. It is a great strategy for listening and gathering insights for your business, as well as finding and engaging with prospects and customers. Social media marketing strategies work best when integrated with other marketing tactics.
Social media marketing is the channel where organizations can find potential customers. It has emerged as one of the most popular marketing channels for companies. It is a great strategy for listening and gathering insights for your business, as well as finding and engaging with prospects and customers. Social media marketing strategies work best when integrated with other marketing tactics.
On the other hand, content marketing is a tactic. It is a way of marketing that enables organizations to add value for potential customers by creating and distributing valuable content. Content marketing includes collaterals such as blog posts, videos, and web pages. These pieces of collateral help organizations to educate and entertain their target audiences. Content marketing is a tactic of marketing, which is intended by marketers to generate interest in offerings by reinforcing any problems, challenges, or solutions.
CENTER OF GRAVITY
The center of gravity is another difference between social media and content marketing. Center of gravity is defined as the focus of marketing activity. In the case of social media marketing, the center of gravity is within social media networks. Operating a social media campaign is like operating within social networks. When marketers are operating social media campaigns, they are actually operating inside Facebook, inside twitter and inside google+, etc. Social media marketers produce content inside these networks.
On the other hand, the center of gravity for content markers is the website of a brand. Social networks play a significant role in increasing the success of content marketing efforts. Social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and google+ are primarily used as distributors of the link of the website. In the case of content marketing, marketers do not make use of social media platforms as a container of the content itself. In simple terms, we can say that social media marketing makes use of social media platforms as primary sources of marketing. Whereas content marketing uses social media platforms as a distributor of a link back to the content on the website of the brand.
Objectives Of Both Marketing Techniques
The multitude of purpose in both marketing strategies is different. Social media marketing strategies are marketing strategies designed with a target to increase brand awareness among potential, targeted and existing audiences. By generating activity and discussion around the brand, social media marketers play a significant role in increasing brand awareness. Social media is also used for increasing customer retention and customer satisfaction. Social channels are open forums for direct dialogues with their clients on questions and issues in which they have. In a nutshell, we can say that the objective of social media marketing is to increase brand awareness, customer satisfaction, and customer retention. On the other hand, the objective of content marketing is demand generation. The quality of content brings prospects to the site of the brand and enable the brand to develop healthy relationships with prospective customers.
Social Media Marketing And Content Marketing
There are vast differences between content marketing and social media marketing. Social media marketing is a new channel of marketing which is competing with other channels of marketing. On the other hand, content marketing is as old as human beings. There has always been a need to find ways to convey important information in useful and entertaining ways. The goal of content marketing is the consumption of content AND THEN behavior; whereas the goal of social media marketing is participation AND THEN behavior. This is the most fundamental difference between these two marketing strategies.
Social media is the latest evolution in the way we can tell stories. It is evident that in terms of business activity, content marketing will rise and grow on a continuous basis. The increase of content marketing is not going to replace social media marketing because these strategies are two very different things with two different functions.
Social media is the mean of extension of content reach. It provides the opportunity for a direct communication with customers and prospects. Social media is playing an important role in ranking the content within search engines and social platforms. Although Social media is playing an important role in ranking the content within search engines and social platforms. Although content and social media marketing are two different strategies, at the end of the day, both will break out of their respective rolls and pull together as essential parts of integrated marketing strategy.
Content marketing and social media marketing are two separate entities with some overlapping characteristics. The Integration of content and social media marketing is the best way of promoting blogs, businesses, and brands. Social media marketing vitally supports content marketing. The goal of content marketing is to acquire a large number of subscribers to the original content for lead conversions.
Social media is a great source of publishing content. It can potentially amplify the brand and guide people towards your content. As far as marketing strategies, social media is a great way to start marketing for any brand. This plays a significant role in making and keeping a particular business successful. The effectiveness of content marketing for goal achievement takes time, but in order to start the business immediately, you can start marketing through social media marketing strategies.
Source : MarketingSolved
Have you ever wondered what is the driving force behind successful online businesses? It’s not SEO or social networks but it’s Content Marketing.
Content marketing, when done right, can change the fade of any website.
Follow our 15 content marketing tips below and boost your rankings and traffic.
What is content marketing?
There are many sophisticated definitions of content marketing but my own simplified version is:
Content marketing is the process of creating content for the purpose of increasing your web traffic, getting new customers, making more sales or simply increasing brand awareness.
Take a moment and think what does the Internet actually offer to people – it’s various types of content through different channels (websites, social networks, email, apps, forums etc).
Content marketing makes this kind of communication more official. In other words, instead of just publishing content on the Web with no purpose, you create and distribute content for satisfying specific marketing objectives.
What is content?
In the context of content marketing, content is everything that can be published on the web. For example text, videos, images, infographics, graphs, audio, pdf, podcasts, slideshows etc.
It’s information that can be made available in digital format.
Related Guide: What is Digital Marketing
What are the advantages of content marketing?
Content marketing has many advantages to offer to an online business since content it’s the starting and ending point of any online campaign.
In particular the benefits of content marketing are:
- Get more targeted visits from Search Engines – Good content can get your higher rankings and more targeted traffic from search engines
- More visits from Social Media – Good content is more likely to be shared on social media, which in turn can generate more website traffic
- Increase User engagement – User engage with good content by providing comments, reviews, ratings.
- It’s good for SEO – Good quality content is the heart of SEO. Websites that combine good content with proven copywriting tips are better off than websites that don’t have good content.
- Increase brand awareness – Publishing great content is one of the best ways to promote your brand and online reputation.
- More conversions – Good content can generate more leads and sales.
Content marketing tips
1. Create a content marketing plan
2. Publish evergreen content
3. Write for users, optimize for search engines
4. Content marketing, SEO and Social Media are best friends
5. Build topic relevancy
6. Publish thorough content
7. Publish shareable content
8. Pay attention to content formatting
9. Publish content consistently
10. Create catchy titles
11. Create content that is better than your competitors
12. Promote your content
13. Organize your content into categories
14. Optimize content for conversions
15. Approach content marketing as long term investment
1. Create a content marketing plan
A successful content marketing campaign starts with a good plan.
When we talk about content marketing, the fist thing that comes in mind is blogging.
This is not wrong, but having a content marketing strategy, it’s not just about setting up a blog and start publishing content.
Blogging is an important aspect of content marketing but that’s not the end of the story. It’s only one the mediums to execute your content marketing plan.
A well constructed plan must include all the tips outlined below.
2. Publish evergreen content
The first item in your plan is what type of content to publish.
For long term success, you need evergreen content.
Evergreen content has the following characteristics:
- It’s unique and original
- It’s useful
- It’s always relevant (not associated with a specific time period but it’s relevant whenever you read it)
- It is thorough, detailed and informative.
- It is searchable – it covers topics users search for in Google
Evergreen content will help you establish a solid online presence and overtime will also help you to build high rankings on Google, which in turn will get you more traffic.
3. Write for users, optimize for search engines
I know it’s a cliche to say it, but it’s the truth. When thinking about content, you should write for users and optimize for search engines.
I know that a number of people disagree with this approach, but let me explain why both are equally important.
Search engines serve one purpose, to make users happy by answering their questions or queries.
If you only care of what people want to read without taking into account what search engines can understand, at the end of the day you will publish great content that nobody reads.
On the other hand, if you first think of your users and the type of content they need and then optimize it for search engines, you have a win-win situation.
Related Guide: Read my previous guide on content SEO to learn how to optimize your content for search engines.
4. Content marketing, SEO and Social Media are best friends
If you manage to make these 3 tools work together, you have more chances of succeeding online.
You need content to boost your SEO and you need content to feed your social media networks.
Anything that you publish in your blog or website has to be part of your SEO strategy and in-line your social media marketing strategy.
Before creating a new piece of content, make sure that it’s aligned with your SEO and social media efforts.
5. Build topic relevancy
When you start publishing content on your website or blog make sure that it is related to your niche and area of expertise.
For many this might be obvious, but some people still get it wrong.
For example, if you are running a tech blog you should not publish a post about cooking just because you like it. Nobody will punish you for doing so but the chances of getting any benefits from that post are minimized.
The best approach is to publish related content that is aligned with the overall goals of your website.
For example, if you are selling coffee makers online then besides providing all the technical information about your products (specs, photos, reviews, videos) you should also provide a blog with articles related to coffee (making, drinking, recipes, advice etc).
6. Publish thorough content
When it comes to text content like blog posts, various studies identified that lengthy content (above 1500 words) ranks higher in search engines and it is more shareable in social media.
The lesson we can learn from these studies is that it is better to publish a long detail post that covers all aspects of a topic rather than publish 2-3 smaller articles.
Since lengthy content is more shareable in social media this means that you are not only fetching food to search engines but you also give users what they want.
7. Publish shareable content
You need to search social networks and find out what type of content people like.
For example, people searching about fashion might want to see more images and videos than text content. This means you should adjust your content marketing strategy to satisfy this need.
Some ideas for shareable content that are suitable for all niches are:
- Top 10 lists…
- Best of lists…
- How to …
- 10 ways to…
- Most popular ways…
- Best tips for…
8. Pay attention to content formatting
Good content provides for original, well-researched and unbiased information about a certain topic.
Even if your content meets the above criteria, it still needs to look good as well.
By good looking content I mean text that is beautified by the use of paragraphs, bold, italics, headings, good font size etc.
Taking care the formatting of your content is also good for SEO and a sign that you are trying to build a high quality website.
In general, if you manage to combine different types of content together (i.e. text, images, videos) then this makes the user experience better which will generate a number of other benefits.
9. Publish content consistently
Besides providing for up-to date and accurate content, another tip you can follow is to make sure that you keep a consistent publishing schedule.
Having a pre-defined publishing calendar will help you organize your time better and will also help you build a list of loyal fans.
Do not forget that new content is also an incentive for:
- Search engines to visit your website
- Get more visits from your newsletter and RSS feed
- Get more visits from social media
- Keep your repeating visitors happy
10. Create catchy titles
The title of a page or post is very important for many reasons. This is SEO 101 but it is worth mentioning that a good title will:
- Help search engines understand what the content is about
- Help social media sites understand what you are sharing
- Attract or not users attention and encourage more clicks to visit the particular page
So, before hitting the publish button make sure that your content has an optimized and catchy title.
Related Guide: How to optimize your page titles
11. Create content that is better than your competitors
Content marketing is a great way to increase traffic and sales, but that’s only the good news.
The bad news is that you are not alone and if you want your content to perform good, it has to be better than your competitors.
Before creating your content search Google, Facebook, twitter (or the network that is closer to your target audience) and analyze what type of content comes in the top positions.
Notice things like content length, content type, quality and format and try to make your content better in all aspects.
Content that is not better than what is already ranking in Google, has no chances of getting high rankings.
So, better spend more time and make the content better than rushing into hitting the publish button and lose your time.
12. Promote your content
Don’t expect that your potential customers will search to find your website, make a visit and buy your products.
When you publish a new piece of content you need to go out and promote it so that it gets the attention it deserves.
There are many ways to promote your content without exaggerations and without taking any risks so the next immediate step after hitting the publish button is to do a good promotion.
Your best bet is social media because results are extremely fast and immediate but never underestimate the power of email and RSS.
13. Organize your content into categories
When you do content marketing consistently for a number of months (or even years) you will end up with lots of content and if it is not organized correctly then you will get lost.
The best strategy is to organize your content into relevant categories and use tags, keywords and descriptions for searching purposes.
Related Guide: How to optimize your site structure for SEO
14. Optimize content for conversions
Last but not least, don’t forget that the main reason you create content is to increase conversions.
Depending on your case, conversions can be different things from getting email subscribers, to banner ad clicks, to more product sales.
If your content does not produce good results then you need to change your content strategy and think of alternative ways to produce and promote content.
Hiring a professional company is always one of your best options not only for getting better results but also to give you more time to concentrate on what you are doing best.
15. Approach content marketing as long term investment
To make money from content marketing, you first need to spend money and time.
If you have a decent amount of traffic visiting your website and following your social media pages, then with content marketing you can try and turn those visitors into customers (it’s not that easy but this is the theory).
If this is not the case and you are just starting out then this means that you need to spend money (or your time which is still valuable) to create good quality content to build your social media following and rankings.
Eventually you will get more visits and gradually these will create enough business (or clicks if you are using adsense as a way to make money) so that you make profit from content marketing.
What I am trying to say is that content marketing can help a business grow financially, if you have the patience and money (or time) to do it correctly.
If you need faster results you can start with adwords but if you want consistent results that can generate a long term stable return then invest in content marketing.
How much does content marketing cost?
Let’s assume that you have a small business selling diet related products. Your products are good, your website is modern and SEO friendly, but the niche is so competitive and you hardly get any traffic from Google or social media.
What is the solution, how can you grow your business?
You can use Google Ads or Facebook ads to get traffic to your business and hopefully make enough sales to cover the advertising costs and generate a profit.
If you keep on advertising you make sales, if you stop advertising sales drop to 0.
That’s a model that works but let’s see how content marketing can turn things around and why in order to make money from content marketing, you have to spend money.
You decide to start a blog and provide advice to people looking to lose weight or start a diet.
People will read your articles and some of them will buy your products, right? Wrong.
First of all if you start a new blog in a competitive niche you will not get any traffic unless you advertise your content.
Even if you advertise your content you won’t make any sales unless your content is of top quality and this is the part of ‘investing in content marketing’ comes into place.
You have to spend time and money to create a content marketing plan that will identify the content (in this case the actual blog titles) that can make your users happy and also give you more chances in ranking.
You have to spend money to create the actual content. In the particular example you have to hire dietician to write the articles so that they are accurate and convincing.
You have to spend money to do the above 2 steps consistently for a number of months (or even years) until Google trusts you and until you have enough followers in social media that will LIKE and distribute your content for free.
What is the cost of content marketing so far?
Assuming that you publish 3 articles per week for 6 months and you spend on average $150 for each article (that’s a low amount for top quality content), you end up with an initial investment of $10800.
And that excludes any money or time needed to create the plan, publish the posts and make sure that they comply with SEO practices etc.
The point I want to make with the above example is that while content marketing works and it is the way to go, it is not a low cost approach (either in terms of money or time) and this is why most businesses fail with content marketing.
Creating a blog and throwing content without purpose or value is a waste of both time and money.
Content marketing is important for all types of businesses. The benefits from content marketing are a lot and recent studies have shown that a large percentage of people (more than 70%) prefer reading articles about a company rather than reading advertorials.
When designing your content marketing strategy you need to find the right balance between content creation, user satisfaction and conversions
Source : Reliablesoft.net
Email marketing is not dead, actually it is still one of the best ways to find new customers, make more sales or create a tribe of loyal followers.
Small businesses have a lot to gain from email marketing but yet many of them ignore it, losing many opportunities.
Whether you are running an online shop, blog or small business website, email is a great way to retain your current customers and one of the most efficient ways to convert new visitors into customers.
Many people believe that the growing use of social media altered the role of email as a powerful digital marketing tool but this is far from truth.
Recent email marketing statistics indicate that:
- 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email.
- 7 in 10 people say they made use of a coupon or discount from a marketing email in the prior week.
- 48% of businesses say they plan to increase their use of email marketing in 2019
- For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.
Email Marketing Tips
At the core of every email marketing campaign is the email list and having a quality email list can make the difference when it comes to conversions and ROI from your campaign.
Growing your email list takes time and effort and the following email marketing tips will help you do it correctly.
1. Give them different options – Make it easy to register
This is the first and perhaps one of the most important steps. You need to make it easy for people to register to your list.
No need to ask for too much information (a name and email is enough) or to have long and cluttered registration forms.
Try to make it ‘single click’ i.e. people enter their name and email in the registration box and they click ‘Register’.
Once they confirm their email, they are on your list.
If you want to take it a step further you can also allow people to register to your email list using their social media accounts. It’s easier for them and you also get to connect with them on social media as well.
2. Offer incentives – Why should someone register on your list?
Why should someone give you their email address, what is the benefit for them?
Make sure that the benefit is shown clearly in the registration form/box. Are you going to help them with something, do they get free ebooks, discounts for their next purchase, coupons etc?
3. Position of the registration box does matter
The position of the email registration box, affects the number of people that will register on your list.
Best practices include having the registration box:
- Above the fold (i.e. in the part of the page that is visible without scrolling)
- Top right sidebar – if are using sidebars then the top right is ideal for the email registration box
- At the bottom of your articles – if someone reads your articles till the end, then most probably they like what they are reading and are more likely to register to your email list.
- Footer – Another high converting place for email sign-ups is the footer. This is especially true for online shops and websites that have pages and not posts
- Homepage top – Many popular websites and marketers use this method to get more email subscribers. Having the sign up form on the top of your homepage will generate more signups.
4. Set proper expectations
Tell your subscribers what kind of information to expect from you (new posts, infographics, coupons, offers, etc) and when (every day, every week, whenever you have a new post etc.).
Be honest and try not to promise something you cannot deliver otherwise your email marketing efforts will fail.
5. Make it personal – Customize your messages
Try to make the registration process easy and inform the users what is happening at each stage.
For example once they enter their name and email the first time, let them know that they need to confirm their email address in order to finalize the registration.
Spend some time and customize the messages that go out with each email. When you send an email, greet them by their name and avoid too general terms.
6. Make the text easy to read and use alt tags for images
Don’t expect that people will read your email every time or that they are willing to spend too much time on it.
The best practice is to assume that you have a couple of seconds to grab their attention (from the time they see the email) so work on your titles and the formatting of your email to make it easy to read but and scan.
Use headings and small paragraphs and if you decide to use images make sure that you also set the ALT tag since most email clients do not show images by default.
7. Use social media as the medium to get more email subscribers
Your website is not the only medium to increase your email subscribers. You can use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social network you are using to get more emails.
Don’t be afraid to ask your followers to register on your email list but don’t forget to also explain the benefits from doing so.
8. Don’t overdo it and don’t break your promises
Sending our more emails than promised will not necessarily generate better results.
If you promised to send one email per week then do not start sending more but create a weekly digest instead. You can give them options to change their subscription preferences and get more emails from you but don’t break your initial promises.
9. Send them the info they need to read in the email
Yes, emails are a great way to get more visitors to your website but when running an email marketing campaign to increase sales, you primary objective is to generate more conversions and not more visits.
For example let’s assume that you are selling online SEO courses and you run an email marketing campaign using the targeted list from your blog.
In the email, make sure that the recipient can read everything they need about the course within the email content. They should only need to visit your website to make a purchase.
10. Most emails are read on mobile
It’s no surprise that:
- 46% of emails are read over mobile devices and this is expected to rise to more than 50% by the end of 2019!
- 39% of marketers have no strategy for mobile email
The above statistics show two important things. First, is that your emails should be mobile friendly and second that you need to have a mobile strategy.
So, before finalizing your next email marketing campaign, make sure that it is tested against all major mobile devices (you can use mobile emulators to see how the email looks on different devices).
11. Monitor results and take corrective actions
Whether you are running an SEO campaign, social media marketing or email marketing campaign it is important not to ‘set it and forget it’ but to run it, monitor the results (email open rate, click rate, unsubscribe rate, conversion rate etc.), take corrective actions and run it again.
This is a continuous process until you get the desired results. As you get more experienced, you can also do market segmentations and pre-pilot and pilot phases but in the majority of the cases what is important is to perform some basic monitoring and control.
12. Keep an eye on your competitors
Register on your competitors email list and see what techniques they are using, what kind of emails they send out, how often, what kind of products they promote etc.
Your intention is not to copy or mimic your competitor’s practices but to make sure that you are ahead of them.
13. Make it easy to unsubscribe
Don’t try to hide the unsubscribe button believing that this will keep someone on your list. It’s better to have them unsubscribed rather than have you on their spam list.
14. Create a content marketing strategy for your email marketing campaigns
You should clear out some basic concepts about marketing strategies. Content marketing is not the same as social media marketing and certainly not the same as an email marketing.
On the contrary your email marketing campaign needs to have a content marketing strategy i.e. what type of content to deliver by email and when to deliver it.
In simple words make a plan on what type content you will send out in the next few months and ensure that it has a purpose and meaning. You can also use some of the content marketing tips to make your content more interesting for your subscribers.
15. Use email to make cross selling and up selling
If you haven’t already registered with Amazon.com, make sure that you do so and watch what they are doing with their email marketing strategies.
When you view a product on amazon you will receive an email in a few days with similar suggestions and when you buy a product you will receive an email with more products to buy.
Maybe you don’t have the means to do this kind of analysis but if you get to know your list better, you will also understand your customers and niche.
16. Include your social media profiles in your emails
I already mentioned that you should use social media to grow your email list, but you should also use your newsletters as a way to grow your social media profiles as well.
The simplest and most effective way is to add the social media buttons in your newsletter so that your subscribers can share the content but also connect with you in the various social networks.
Most common email marketing mistakes made by small business owners
Besides that above tips that will help you increase your subscriber count, you can also learn from the mistakes of others and get better results by avoiding these common mistakes made by small business owners.
17. Not having an email list in the first place
This is silly to even say it but the first email marketing mistake is not having a list in the first place! There is absolutely no excuse for not maintaining an email list for your online business or website.
If you are reading this and have no email subscriber list yet, you now know the first thing you should do, after you read this article.
18. Having a list but not sending out newsletters
Second mistake, it to keep a list and gather customer emails but never send them a newsletter or email.
This is perhaps the most common mistake I’ve seen all these years and the excuse is always the same: “We were planning to send out a newsletter but never made it”.
There are no excuses, you have many benefits to gain from communicating with your customers or readers and if you can’t do it, hire someone to do it for you.
19. Not offering incentives for signups
If you have a content driven website the incentive to signup is the content itself but if you are selling goods or services then you may need to give some incentives (i.e. discounts, special deals) for someone to sign-up.
Not taking the time to think about incentives and others ways to increase your email list is a major reason for not getting a good return from your investment.
20. Buying emails from other sources
Shortcuts do not bring results – this is true for almost all online activities. If you think that you can have success by purchasing emails from some site on the Internet then you are wrong.
Try to grow your email list naturally using white hat techniques and don’t get into troubles by buying email lists or false hopes.
21. Not asking for email verification
It’s an extra step but what is important for email marketing success is the quality of your email list and not the quantity.
Better ask for email verification and get less subscribers rather than not using verification and be loaded with inactive email accounts.
22. Not following best practices for sending out the emails
When you want to send bulk emails you need to follow best standards and practices otherwise you will be considered a spammer.
For example you need to have your address in the email together with an unsubscribe button, you need to remind subscribers where you got their email address and you need to send both an HTML and text only emails. These are just some examples, your email vendor should be able to guide you through the process.
23. Use an email marketing service for sending bulk emails
It’s a mistake to try and send emails without using a vendor. Many people think that they can use outlook or Gmail to send bulk emails but this is far from recommended.
As explained above, there are many risks involved and it’s better to use a pro service that will protect you from making mistakes. Most email marketing companies have free packages for small businesses so cost is not an issue.
24. Not doing A/B testing
An email marketing campaign is far from static. Besides monitoring the performance you should also make several tests and find out which of them produce better results. A few examples of tests you can perform:
- Time to send emails – What time/date converts better
- Position of the signup box – What position of the sign-up box brings in more subscribers
- Type of emails – Do plain emails perform better than emails with more text, headings, images etc.
- Subject titles – Which titles have the bigger open rates (long titles vs short titles etc)
- Use of images – When you use images in the email does it produce more clicks?
25. Not asking users to add you to their contact list
Last but not least, it is not bad to ask from your subscribers to add you to their contact list. This will ensure that your emails will not be considered as spam and you increase the number of people that receive your emails.
According to a statistic there are over 3.6 billion email accounts. Almost everyone online has an email address and it is still one of the most effective ways to contact and engage with your customers.
Small businesses MUST have an email marketing strategy and take advantage of the many benefits a successful campaign has to offer.
As discussed in our previous blog post, What Is Cloud Computing?, we talked in depth about exactly what this latest fashion is and some of the core reasons to consider switching to the form of document saving.
In a nutshell, cloud computing is effectively the storing and accessing of data online, where everyone with permission has access to view and edit accordingly. Data sheets and documents can be saved to a drive, whereby you’ll require a login to access. This avoids the need to save files to your computer and email them over to colleagues.
With cloud computing you can easily edit and save the changed data, so someone else can quickly view the amendments. This whole process is much more time efficient.
Of course, the Internet has taken off over the last 15 years and everything now seems to be online. For the younger generation, the Internet is like a third hand, coming naturally to them. However, for those born and raised in a time when the Internet wasn’t in existence, it can be a little more difficult to get your head around all the ins and outs.
Whichever category you fall into, cloud computing is certainly the future of data storage. It’s growing in popularity year-on-year and it is predicted that in 2020, small businesses would spend a massive 300 billion naira on cloud computing services.
If you want to find out more on cloud computing, simply read our previous blog post. But here we’re going to take a closer look at the ten core reasons to consider cloud computing.
1. Flexible and adaptable
Flexibility is a crucial part of any business and that’s exactly what cloud computing offers. If you need more bandwidth, these requirements can be met almost instantly and 65% of people believe this is one of the most important reasons to pay close attention to a cloud-based service.
2. Disaster recovery speed
By taking on a cloud-based service you’ll no longer need to worry about disaster recovery. Not only will the provider manage this for you, they’ll also be able to recover your data quicker than in-house teams. For those with cloud computing there’s the opportunity to recover at four times the speed to those without it.
3. Software is automatically updated
You’ll no longer have to worry about any of the software you’re using being outdated – This includes security programmes such as anti-viruses. According to a survey in 2010, businesses in Nigeria spent an average 18 hours each month managing security programmes – Cloud computing solves this headache. Your provider will carry out all the maintenance, leaving you more time to take care of more important matters.
4. Reduced costs
By taking on a cloud service you won’t have to worry about capital expenditure as most companies offer a pay-as-you-go scheme. As well as this, start-up costs are typically cheaper and the system is quick to deploy. That’s several excellent reasons all bundled into one.
5. Improve team efficiency
As mentioned at the top of this blog post, cloud computing offers a way for employees to have access to the same data without the need to keep sending updated spreadsheets over email. No matter their location, employees can sync data and receive updates in real-time. This will improve efficiency in the workplace and also accommodates those working out of the office.
6. Access from around the world
We’ve touched upon this slightly in number five, but with cloud computing you can access applications worldwide and don’t need to be in the office. This is ever important in the 21st Century when more and more people are taking time to work from home. A cloud service better supports a work-life balance and you can remain productive even when commuting on the train to work or client meetings.
7. Have better control of documents
One study suggests: “73% of knowledge workers collaborate with people in different time zones and regions at least monthly”. By harnessing the power of cloud computing you’re able to eliminate problems caused by overseas communication – No longer passing documents back and forth by email.
With cloud, all of your important files are kept in one location and people can talk in real-time whilst making changes. This improves both team collaboration and efficiency.
8. Boosting security
If documents are all kept on your laptop, what happens if it’s stolen? All those many hours spent on a presentation or spreadsheet would be completely lost. As well as this, the thieves would then have access to your sensitive data. 800,000 laptops are lost at airports alone each year and without cloud data you’ll simply have to start from scratch.
9. Opportunity to grow your business quickly
With cloud computing your business will have access to some cutting edge technology designed to help expand your business. With a cloud service you can quickly challenge the more established companies and grab your share of the market.
10. Eco-friendly service
We’re all a lot more environmentally friendly now, so it’s no surprise cloud computing helps on this side of things also. By utilising cloud you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and consume 30% less energy than before on average. SMEs get the best results from this and in actual fact, energy saving could be closer to a whopping 90%.