When it comes to SEO, there is always questions about how to use it, how much it should cost, is it worth understanding, and more. I asked a friend and colleague of mine who is the owner of an online marketing firm called PalmettoSoft to come in and talk about these common questions and concerns that people have. Meet Rhett while watching this talk and if you have further questions about SEO or his company’s services be sure to reach out to him or place your questions in the comments below.
Yes it’s here – the apple of everyone’s eye yesterday and today, is Apple’s new iPhone 5S and 5c. And once again, Apple gets an gold star for creating strong marketing buzz and panting anticipation in the mobile device marketplace. Radio, TV, or Internet – news media outlets across the globe are all busy buzzing around Apples latest technological appendage and its new iOS7. Just when you think they’ve outdone themselves with the iPhone 4S operating system and the introduction of Siri, they one up (if not ten) themselves. So let’s look at the multifaceted dimensions of the Apple’s winning marketing strategies.
Marketing the Technology and Software: Apple refuses to be put in a pile of seconds (fruit picking term), knowing their consumer base well and leading this campaign with the technological improvements. Offering a synchronized and integrated user experience across all features, the new iOS7 takes multitasking to a whole new level! Techies and mobile junkies are going to love the new A7 64-bit chip, making the device’s CPU and graphics 2x faster than the iPhone 5. For the snappy Instagram’er, the iOS 7 is designed with multiple enhancements to take advantage of the best photo ops. They even upgraded Siri – I wonder if she sounds like Beyonce?
Marketing the Esthetics – Apple has gone above and beyond in marketing the beautiful color options, as well as, the structural elements. Almost all media outlets have spoken about the product and technology, and as well, the beautiful color options and sleek design. As soon as you log into Apple’s site, you are hit with this on-screen color explosion that causes one to pause. I did – it was just that engaging! What you also see is a link to the key-note speaker which after just a few seconds – you can tell that the company is hearing its consumer groups. Much fun also, is this video, where you get the whole life cycle of the product in a comprehensible, down-to-earth manner.
Marketing the Security: Although the Fall may be Macintosh picking season, Apple has seemingly found a solution to its own Apple picking problem and it’s WOW’ing the digital marketplace. Thievery of its iPhones, commonly referred to as “Apple Picking,” has been a big problem over the years for this mobile technology powerhouse. So Apple has implemented Touch ID, a new fingerprint authentication feature (also known as biometric coding) into the iPhone 5S, making it less appealing and almost worthless to those with sticky fingers. They get my thumbs up, knowing that a fingerprint can also approve purchases from iTunes or the App Store.
Marketing the Price Points: The bean counters have taken notice and Apple is now marketing to everyone – siding with consumers who want the product but are limited economically. Who can beat the 4-inch Retina display, 8-megapixel rear camera (front facing too) and A6 processor with 16GB for only $99? This is smart marketing for all those on limited budgets and feeling the economic pinch. As for those who want Gold Member status, you’ll love the sleek gold tone version that’s just a month’s worth of Starbucks runs. Apple has done a great job marketing both mobile phone options simultaneously, to widen the net for capturing potential and faithful consumers with a strong economical hook. Thanks Apple for advancing mobile technology once gain and giving us better technology for less.
Marketing to the Following: By offering 2 options, Apple captures not only its faithful following who could care less about the price, but also those who haven’t bitten the iPhone apple just yet. Despite the global recession, historically Apple has made no apologies for their high-end products. However, offering a cheaper alternative, one could surmise that the time and sales reports may be reflecting an undeniable truth. Build it better, offer it cheaper and more will come. Kudos to them for acknowledging this and casting a wider net beyond just their faithful following to the soon-to-be’s.
So, as you can see, Apple is strongly considering its consumer’s input and is addressing those needs esthetically and technologically. It’s obvious that they have the fingers on the pulse of their marketplace and following. They continue to be pioneers and leaders, again setting a gold standard in strong, strategic planning and successful implementation.
This is a touchy topic for some people because it involves the main thing we’re all battling with in the current economy – MONEY. Depending on how familiar you are with the web world and which side you fall on (user/consumer or developer/geek), the cost of building/creating a website can be a mystery to business owners Because it’s not just about selling you the service but helping you to understand what goes into the cost and ultimately and why you’re being charged what you are for your businesses website
Most people think its pretty easy to build a website. And for some that may be true. But for most, the key considerations are beyond their level of expertise and a designer or developer is the best options. When contracting a designer or developer, understand that you’re not paying for the technology. You’re paying for their time and knowledge. To be honest, there isn’t anything that a web designer does that anyone else cannot do. So let’s go deeper to understand what the common needs are, clarify some myths about web design and give a clear understanding of what the “time and knowledge” really provides you with.
Small Budget but Big Ideas
There are plenty of you out there that are either thinking of starting a business or at the beginning stages of developing your business. Chances are you don’t have that huge SBA loan or a stockpile of start-up cash, so penny-pinching and sweat equity is you’ll be building on. As a small, budget conscious business owner you might have a great idea in your head but are unable to bring it to life because you don’t know how to or have the necessary tools. You could spend hundreds of dollars on buying a tutorial software program, spend hours to learn from them all in hopes of a “DIY” success. Just the thought process of designing your own brand takes time. Then bringing that vision to a digital medium takes some additional time and skills. So what’s more likely is that it might be cheaper and faster (and less of a headache) to hire a designer who can make your vision a reality with a little less Advil.
Why You Don’t Know-It-All
We love these types of people. Why? Because they likely already have a plan and concepts for what you want your website to look like and convey to your consumers. Which is great that you’re that clear about your market base and what they need or want. The only drawback, is you usually believe the building process is as simple as copy and paste. Know-It-Alls sometimes will sign up for a trial version of some web-based CMS (Content Management System), built a few pages of a simple website, and now assume that it’s a quick and easy process. Like some .99 cent WYSIWYG app which can would work just the same as every app that a seasoned developer must be using. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Here’s what that time and knowledge consists of a seasoned web designer and developer offers:
- Knowing how to build page structures
- Creating responsive designs for a better user interface and user experience
- Adapting the website for optimum browser compatibility
- Ensuring all necessary software updates
- Typography for a better look and feel
- Working with image sizing and quality
- Optimizing page loading times
- Creating content for landing pages
- and so much more
If You Want Full Control
I have no argument with clients who want to manage their websites once it is completed. The ability to update content, images, links and so on without having to contact your developer is truly ideal. We used to sell desktop programs for this back when we primarily built HTML websites to allow this indulgence. Now with WordPress, not only is the learning curve smaller, there is no cost for additional software. Now because most people aren’t looking to change the base structure of their websites; WordPress is a great option to self manager. But here’s the warning. Be aware that with a few wrong clicks or improper coding edits, you can actually break your website. These types of mistakes can render your site with a 404 error quick and in some cases may not have an easy fix. This is just one of many examples why its better to leave it to the professionals. If we break it you justifiably can yell at us!
When Time is of the Essence
There are plenty fly-by-night and quick turn around website builders out there. Also some software programs available from your local Best Buy or Office Depot, as well as online with quick setups that seem like great financial options. . I’d like to raise just a small, red flag on this seemingly time and cost-effective option. You technically don’t “own” the software. What I’ve seen happen countless times is that after purchasing the software, the software developer goes out of business. Or worse, no longer cares to update their software for the most current browsers and security loopholes. So you the consumer are left holding the empty bag and spending hours Google’ing how to fix something you had no part in creating.
So what’s the best option when you need to get online with your website within the next few days and don’t have the time to learn, study, design, or build it. Most designers and design firms can accommodate your prompt request, but may entail a slightly higher cost because of the quick turnaround.
BYOS (Bring Your Own Stuff)
If you want to see a designer or developer do a face-palm smack, tell them you need a website, but you’re not sure how many pages; don’t have any content; the pictures you have are all on your cell phone as text messages; and oh your favorite colors are all in the rainbow. Sure my example may seem a bit comical and slightly unrealistic but I can assure you those requests have come to us. Clients who come to web designers unknowingly unprepared should be prepared for higher costs as a result. Additionally some of these issues which may come up haphazardly during the development process, can require redesigns, restructuring and reorganizations, shooting the cost up even higher.
To keep costs at quoted or at priced levels, clients must BYOS or prepare to PMM (Pay More Money). Lack of preparation can also hold a project at a standstill or cause a push back the launch date. Additionally, when those requested materials are inadequate, there might be more incurred charges for the designer to find stock imagery, perform research on your industry for content as well as securing a content writing for your website. So before you sign on the dotted line, think about what you’re able bring to the table to mitigate costs, both time and money. If you’re not a great content writer, admit it and pay for someone to write for you. If you don’t have time to take product pictures, let a photographer come in and do that.
The Wrap Up
Know that most designers and developers who have been around for more than a few years, do what they do because they really get joy out of it. We enjoy seeing a happy client at the end of a project that’s excited to tell the world about their new worldwide face and presence on the web. One of Design Theory’s “theories” is that we don’t treat businesses as a one time sale. Me and each of my team members maintain good working business relationships with each of our clients. They know we’re always looking out for their best interest as we offer the right products and services to make their project a success.
If you have questions about our pricing, (or our competitors), don’t hesitate to call our office at 888.603.1090.
(image credit from RGBStock.com)
While talking to a client about her new website that Design Theory is currently creating, we began discussing and distinguishing the differences of websites similar to her industry. During the discussion I asked her if she wanted a Pop Tart vs. Toaster Strudel design and content. We both chuckled while I explained the difference and how that would affect her readership and visitation numbers. As I explained my breakfast treat comparison, it occurred to me that this would make great content itself for a blog. So with sweet treat comparatives, tongs in hand, let’s see what the difference is and what to look out for when designing your own personal use or business website.
Sticky Jelly or Oozing Content
Pop Tarts Toaster Strudel
Can be stored at room temperature Must stay frozen until ready for consumption
No need for refrigeration Leaving it out over 12 hours may make it unfit for consumption
What does this say about the quality of your content & about your website? Quickly written, often plagiarized content will only be worth the effort put into it. However content that is fresh, witty and deliberate will evoke the proper response for the goal set before it. It will be more pleasing and can easily be distinguished. And that’s exactly what you want and need to get your product and/or services sold. Once again, it’s a distinction between what looks good and achieves the goal that should direct the content accordingly.
Static or Creative Icing
Is your content very cookie-cutter, stationary or could be considered stale? Or does the verbiage move, flow and swirl to create interest and hold your reader’s attention? Is your use of imagery typical or often used stock photography or is it distinctive and has an artistic, creative flare to it? When choosing imagery, keep in mind that it should enhance and not compete with your written content to give a cohesive and an overall polished look to your website. You can have fun and go outside the box with most industries. Even content that is more factual and less opinionated can be creatively distinct while getting your message across and conveying important information.
Sometimes Pricing Makes a Difference, Sometimes Not
Pop Tarts Toaster Strudel
$3.99 for a 8 piece box $3 for a 6 pastry box
Being in the middle of the pricing spectrum for websites, we at Design Theory have had to burst the bubble of misconceptions when it comes to our prices versus the quality of talent/work we do. Our goal is to match the goals and level of business of a client’s company with a website that will do just that within the confines of their allotted budget. Now sometimes we have to push back and encourage a particular client to go beyond their budget and give them some industry inside look as to why. And because we do what we do well, it’s usually not hard for them to acknowledge the benefits of doing so and agree. But for other companies, just be aware that all that glitters may not be gold and likewise, the cheapest design/pricing may not be tarnished brass. Remember, there’s a difference between cheap and affordable web designs. I believe you have to ask the right questions, look at a company’s track record/dossier and determine what’s best for your business. Then you can make an educated decision about how much you NEED to pay for a website that fulfills its purpose for your business or personal objectives.
So depending on what your business palate wants and needs, you can determine whether you choose a “mediocre but gets the job done” website & content, or if you’re in need of a step-up, more sophisticated level design. Whichever works for you, make sure you choose well and always consider the palate of your consumers.
True Ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance,
As those move easiest who have learn’d to dance.
~Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Criticism”
For those outside the marketing realm, let me help define “branding”. Branding is a signature ‘look and feel’ that leverages all of the resources our industry has to offer to make sure that you will be noticed and recognized by consumers and like industry companies.
- Branding is an essential component to any business therefore it’s something you should consistently think about and ensure it evolves on an ongoing basis. Taking time to think about and employ opportunities to promote your brand is both fundamental and key to its success.
- Your brand and marketing materials should precisely detail & sell your product and/or service. If they’re not, they’re wrong. You know the old adage of “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it”…well if it is, it’s time to re-think and re-brand.
- C’mon, get focused! Your view of your product/service can sometimes be narrow and if it’s your “baby”, it can be hard to be a tough critic. So if you can’t afford to pay for a professional focus group, here is a suggestion. Get together a group of professional friends from various industries and present your products/service. Offering hors d’oeuvres and beverages is a nice form of compensation. What’s most important though is getting their feedback in writing and implementing their suggestions (if they are good ideas…) into your brand/marketing strategies and promotions.
- Know your street credibility ~ Your brand image as well as its reputation is vital. It’s super important you know what your client base is saying about you…and even your competition. Being armed with this information will allow you to evolve your branding & marketing strategies to thwart the effects of the good or bad press.
- Promote your brand across all landscapes. This should include at a minimum:
∞ direct marketing via mailers;
∞ email campaigns and promotions;
∞ online & in-store promotions; and last but surely not least…
∞ social media, etc.