Your larger competitors seem to have it all worked out, with their consistent, on-brand messages. How can you keep up? Where do you start?
If you haven’t defined a voice for your business, start right there.
A personality for your business is the foundation of a brand. Your voice is the primary signifier of what you stand for, what your culture is like and what impact you create for your customers.
But hold up – those are all pretty abstract things. Why would your small business need all this? Don’t you just make X for people who need X?
Why develop a voice for your small business?
Well, sure, but most local businesses compete against larger enterprises in some way, and those companies have a brand out there in the world busy imprinting their name in the minds of your market. You can, and should, have the same. A voice amplifies your messages, shows people you’ve got it together, and helps them remember you. We talked a little about this in ‘Does your small business really need Branding’?
We also mentioned in our recent post on Marketing Trends for 2022 that personalisation is going to be increasingly important – and having a unique voice for your business is perhaps the best way to achieve a personal fit for your customers.
The good news is you don’t need to find an expensive branding agency. Anyone can work out their own voice. With it you can confidently engage with marketing and social media, or pass that voice onto any marketing help you engage along the way.
And when you’re ready, you can use this voice as the blueprint for a more detailed brand.
Your voice can inform all of your communications, including graphics and photos. Here’s Alistair and Ben outside KeyTech in Toowong.
Today we’re going to help you work out three things regarding your voice.
Elements of your businesses voice:
When you speak, how do you sound?
When you speak, how do you make people feel?
How do you change your customer’s lives?
The Brand Attributes Exercise
This exercise isn’t that complicated, but works better with the whole team in the room. Of course we’re happy to drop in and run through it with you, but we think you can handle this one. This exercise adapted from our brand strategy offering (bundled with web design) and we’re spilling the beans today.
How to create a voice for a small businesses:
Get a few of the team around a table and caffeinate them sufficiently.
On a white board draw up three columns headed Voice, Feeling and Impact.
In the Voice column, ask your team to list as many words describing your culture as you can. If your business was a person, how. would they sound when speaking? They should be best-case-scenario words (how you want to be).
In the Feeling column, you’re looking for words that describe how your customers will feel when dealing with you. Of course these are likely to be the opposite of the feelings created by the problem you solve, but they might not be. There are no wrong answers, just see how many you can get down.
In the Impact column, you’re looking for words describing how you’ll change your customers life – this could be in small or big ways. See if you can get 20 – 30 in each column. There are no wrong answers, so don’t correct or discourage anyone. You’ll find that some suggestions build on others, some are more general and some are more specific. That’s fine at this stage!
Now that the columns are full, you’re looking to narrow the list in each column down to the top five. You’re looking for general consensus, but vote if you need to The first three will be easier, then there will be some discussion as to which are the next most.
Repeat that process for the top 3 words,
And then again, to find the single, most important word.
You’ll notice some excitement building in the room as you get into this exercise. It’s as if your businesses suddenly has a soul. This exercise is always a honour to be a part of, and we think you’ll know why if you try.
Now you have the words you’ll use to create your impact narrative: the guide for your voice. Here’s what ours looks like:
These three triangles represent steps you take your customers on, which can be represented in your voice. You can use this in all your communications and design, calling on either the primary or secondary word to change things up when needed.
You can see from the above that for KeyTech, we want to sound helpful, make our customers feel valued, and ultimately, give them peace of mind, but we can also say that sometimes we sound human, make sure our customers are heard, and that we make their life simpler.
It’s important to include impact in your voice because good marketing always includes a prompt to think positively and act proactively on the problem. When we interact with our customers we want them to be conscious of the better tomorrow we’ll help them get to.
Now you have your voice!
The best part is you all had a part in creating it, so it’s 100% authentic and will feel real when people hear it across your social channels, advertising and emails.
If you go through this process, let us know how it went, and what voice you came up with!
If you are thinking about changing your digital strategy, your actions may include the redesign of your website. You’re probably asking yourself whether it makes sense to invest money in redesigning your website. Will this help you attract new customers? What you must do so that people spend more time on the site?
Your website is your digital showcase. Having a good design and easy navigation will not only let customers reach you, but it will also help you position your brand as one that cares about its customers and is on top of usability trends. In this article, we give you to consider as you think about your website.
1. SIMPLE AND MINIMAL
As a rule, when someone visits your website, they may not spend more than a few minutes browsing it – often as short as a few, seconds. At this time your client must find what they are looking for. So, if your main page is saturated with filler text. Take some time to consider how your key value proposition. Could be better highlighted.
Similarly, think about what you want people to do on this page. This is your call to action. Many websites don’t have a clear call to action or have many conflicting ones, meaning they will be confused. Think about what the one most important thing you want your potential customer to do is.
2. EASY TO CONTACT
That could be as simple as making contact. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, your customer must find an easy way to get in touch with you. That is why tools such as chatbots or calls to action that led to contact pages or phone/email details will give the customer the confidence to do that.
3. COMPLETELY RESPONSIVE
Times have changed and now people will visit your website with their mobile devices. Is yours ready for this? If you haven’t touched it in a while, it may not be. Test it and find out.
This is why it is super important your new design follows a responsive structure and is fully adaptable to the mobile experience. Any website needs to work brilliantly no matter the device used.
In short, if your website is “not responsive”, your competition already has a significant advantage, as Google now gives precedence to websites that.
A great way to check how your web page looks on the different devices is responsinator. If you want to do a quick check, Mobile Friendly will also give you the gist of the mobile experience you provide.
4. SPEED DOES MATTER
Website load speed is a key factor in various aspects of your digital presence, including SEO. If your website is slow, there is a good chance it’s either poorly built or using a slow hosting platform, so maybe it’s time for a change. Internet users are not patient: they expect immediate results, just at the click of a button, so we’d better be giving it to them.
If you want to check the speed of your website, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix.
5. Build and follow a brand
It is important that the visuals, whether video, photography, or graphics, reflect the personality of your business. If one thing gives the impression that you have no brand, it’s inconsistent visual. In general, most people want to seem “cool” or new things. Users who are visiting your website are doing so to obtain more information before making a purchase decision. Whatever that decision, your visual resources can make your brand more human and build a real connection with the user.
To have a visually attractive website, you do not need to spend a lot of money or resort to boring stock images. Photos from your own phone will often do, and customers may appreciate the personal approach. Consider bringing in a professional photographer to capture your workspace.
Don’t be afraid to show your office as it is, your staff as they are, or your products (used by real people). These will have manifold more impact than a stock photo that any company around the world could use, and customers can tell.
6. UPDATE YOUR CONTENT
The internet is full of content that used to be relevant, but as the years went on has become out of date. Your content must get updated to suit the era. Businesses change over time too, so it’s even more important that your content is adapted to your current customers by reflecting what matters to them.
For example, imagine that you create a giving SEO positioning advice. Some of these techniques won’t change, but others will become outdated as the search engines change their methods. New techniques will have also emerged.
If you don’t update that content, it becomes irrelevant or even misleading. Google and other engines value this negatively, so you’re your website will lose its hard-won search engine ranking and ultimately provide you less leads, and revenue.
You must also bear in mind that your content needs, internal and external links, proper use of keywords, etc. If you are missing these elements, it’s time to update it. Link’s a change or disappears over time, so even if you do have them, it’s worth making sure they’re up to date!
7. SEO OPTIMIZATION
One of the most constant and lasting marketing strategies that you will have is your SEO strategy. It is very important to work on your keywords and adapt the content of your website to your SEO strategy. This will bring you organic (free!) traffic and improve your position with the search engine, otherwise known as your ranking. This is how you get to that prized ‘page one’.
Without a doubt, the SEO optimization of your website is vital for it to be a productive part of your marketing strategy.
Here’s a breakdown of the key elements of SEO:
The loading speed of the pages.
The use of friendly (human-readable) URLs.
The inclusion of metadata, especially titles and, descriptions.
The addition of an intuitive and navigable sitemap with content that can be easily indexed in search engines.
Good site usability achievable with the redesign of web pages, especially the navigation.
Optimization and updating of all content.
Fixing of possible broken links (these are seen by the search engines and will drag down your ranking).
Considering these tips, these would be the steps you have to take to meet your goals when redesigning your website:
1. Be clear about your goal
Your first step will be to work on your goals. Ask yourself a few questions: What services or products do you want to highlight. What is your target audience? Which pages get the most visitors currently – are these the right ones? What are your competitors doing that you can do better?
2. Step into your customer’s shoes
Now that you’ve thought about what customers use your website for, consider how they’re going to use it. Is it easy for them to visit pages with the information they’re looking for?
3. Information architecture
This will lead you to a review of your information architecture. Typically, websites, follow a classic inverted pyramid structure. That means first showing the most important information first and breaking that into various levels of detail so that a user can follow the thread that matters to them.
4. Find a balance between text and images
Renew images, videos, and photos, making sure they’re up to scratch and on-brand. It is important that all content adds value and isn’t acting as filler. All this really does is make your calls to action weaker.
If the visuals aren’t consistent, it might be better to not have any at all, to protect the integrity of your brand identity.
Remember, less is more on a website. Always look at content from the perspective of your customer. Is it helping?
5. Optimize navigation
Website navigation must be clear, concise, friendly, and simple. Make it easy for a user to jump around your website is how you’ll doubt and convince them you really do have the solution to their problem.
6. Take care of your SEO
Make sure your pages load quickly. Under 5 seconds is a conservative target. Ensure all content is quality and reflects the right keywords. Check and update your sitemap, make sure it adheres to best practice and makes sense. Ensure all pages have the right metadata in their titles, tags, descriptions. Make sure URLs are human-readable (but ensure they redirect to new URLs if you change them).
7. A/B Test
A/B testing is next-level, but if you’re up for it it can provide invaluable insight into your market.
For example, if you’re not sure which colour, call to action, image or copy is right, run an A/B test. You can run these as long as you like and collect data that will help you understand your customers better and optimize the website for them.
If you’re still not sure…
If after reading this article you’re still not sure what to do with your website, please that, redesigning your website is to invest in your most important digital asset.
In essence, a website is a communication tool. If your potential customers cannot communicate with you through your site, you’re missing out on revenue.
We’re here to help. If you need a professional eye on your site, we’d be happy to take a look and let you know what needs attention.
We found this article on Microsoft’s blog. It is outlining the new capabilities of the collaborative workplace coming to Office 365 users.
New to Office 365 in November – new Collaboration Capabilities & more
This month, we’re announcing several updates to the Office apps to help you easily and effectively collaborate with others. This includes real-time co-authoring in PowerPoint, the ability to upload attachments to the cloud directly from Outlook and other collaboration capabilities.
Expanding real-time co-authoring to PowerPoint
When we launched Office 2016 last year, we said we would expand real-time co-authoring to more of our native apps beyond Word on Windows desktops. We are excited to announce that real-time co-authoring is now available in PowerPoint on Windows desktops, allowing you to see what others are typing as it happens on a given slide.
Real-time co-authoring is now available in PowerPoint on Windows desktops.
Availability: Real-time co-authoring is currently available in PowerPoint Mobile on Windows tablets, and it is now also available in PowerPoint on Windows desktops for Office 365 subscribers in the Office Insider program.
Use Outlook to move attachments to the cloud and share with others
Outlook already lets you attach cloud-based documents to an email, helping you better collaborate with others using a single version of the file. Now you can easily transform a traditional attachment into a shared cloud document right within Outlook. Upload a file to your own OneDrive or a document library as part of an Office 365 Group. Then specify sharing permissions for the email recipients. Get started with cloud attachments in a few easy steps.
Easily transform a traditional attachment into a shared cloud document in Outlook.
Availability: Uploading attachments to the cloud is currently available in Outlook on the web, and it is now also available in Outlook on Windows desktops for all Office 365 subscribers.
Stay on top of changes to shared documents with mobile notifications
We’re introducing notifications in Word, Excel and PowerPoint on mobile devices to alert you to activity with your shared cloud documents. Notifications let you know when changes are being made while you are away from a document, so you can stay connected and know when you need to act. Together with the integrated activity feed already available on Windows desktops, you can collaborate more confidently. Commercial customers and consumers receive notifications when documents are shared with others. Consumers are additionally notified when documents are edited. We’ll continue enhancing notifications to provide more detail and transparency around activity in shared documents in the future.
Mobile notifications alert you to activity with your shared cloud documents. Availability: Sharing and editing notifications are now available for consumers in Word, Excel and PowerPoint on Android and Windows Mobile for Office Insiders. Sharing and editing notifications for consumers on iOS are coming with next month’s updates. Sharing notifications for commercial customers in all Office mobile apps will be available on all platforms in the coming months.
Find, open and save documents more easily with Shared with Me and Recent Folders
We’ve added a Shared with Me tab in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Just like in OneDrive, this view makes it easy to find and open documents that others have shared with you without leaving the app you’re working in. We’ve also added a Recent Folders list in the Recent tab, making it easier to navigate to the right place to find or save your files as desired.
The Shared with Me tab helps you find and open documents more easily.
Availability: The Shared with Me tab is now available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint on Windows desktops and Macs for all Office 365 subscribers, as well as on iOS and Android. It is coming soon for Windows Mobile. The Recent Folders list is now available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint on Windows desktops for Office 365 subscribers in the Office Insider program.
Looking at upgrading your business PCs to Windows 10 but not sure when to do so?
Volume licensing customers will be able to download Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education on Volume Licensing Service Center from 1 August
Windows 10 arrived 29 July
According to the experts the standard policy of waiting for the first service pack to arrive before rolling out a new Operating System is now no longer needed, but some may still prefer to wait for it to mature a little before they jump in.
Companies should wait until it’s clear if the line of business applications they use work happily with Windows 10, and whether they can find enough expertise to make sure any rollout is a smooth one. “All of that has to build up before you want to jump in and start running it in your production environment,” Stephen Kleynhans, research vice president at analyst Gartner said.
Kleynhans said businesses need to spend some time testing out Windows 10 in a controlled fashion: “Bring it into a lab, bring it into a test environment, let some folks run it for the rest of this year. Then, in 2016, get serious about it, start looking at it in a real test environment, start piloting it with some real users to see how it’s performing.”
He said that if all goes well companies should be ready to start deployments in the second half of 2016 or the beginning of 2017, depending on how large and complex their IT environment is.
As Ed Bott notes over at Tech Pro Research, other missing features will include the new unified sync client for OneDrive (the consumer cloud storage service) and OneDrive for Business (the cloud storage service for business Office 365 subscriptions). He predicts these will be wrapped up by late October, in time for Windows 10 PCs to hit the retail channel for the festive season.
Other factors to consider: at a prosaic level, the upgrade will inevitably cause disruption so don’t plan it for a busy time of year. If you’re in retail, starting the upgrade in November or December might be a career limiting decision for the CIO.
The state of your current infrastructure is another element to take into account. Gartner says that companies planning Windows 8.1 deployments should instead redirect their efforts toward earlier deployment of Windows 10.
“In almost all cases, enterprises currently planning to deploy Windows 8.1 should switch to Windows 10. Enterprises that already have Windows 8.1 deployed should continue with those deployments for the time being. Customers on Windows 7 with no plans for Windows 8.1 should begin evaluating Windows 10 for deployment in 2H16 or later,” the analyst firm said in a research note.
Equally, for some, the upgrade may never take place. David Gewirtz has no plans to upgrade any of his Windows 7 devices to Windows 10: “They work, they’re rock solid, and all their drivers are perfectly tuned to the hardware they’re running on,” he notes.
However long enterprises will take to change over, Windows 10 is likely to become widely adopted, if only because most firms will need to move off of Windows 7 eventually, while the relatively few who did move to Windows 8 will also update sooner rather than later. The pressures that forced companies to migrate off Windows XP and onto Windows 7 will eventually make them move from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
“Windows 7 comes to end of life in January 2020. That’s only four and half years away so you’re going to see the same sorts of pressures mount to get off of Windows 7. They need to go somewhere and they’ll go to Windows 10,” he said.
Talk to the Key Technologies team on 1300 755 615 If you are interested in a truely integrated business