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!
At KeyTech we believe small businesses need real-world Marketing plans that push them towards their ultimate objectives. So we had a look at growing trends, checked some expert opinions, and came up with some best practices for a business with perhaps a limited marketing budget.
1. Virtual events
2020 changed our lives. The unusual online meetings stopped being unusual, becoming an everyday thing. In 2021, finding opportunities in the restrictions, marketers have taken those changes and created new ways for businesses to reach the world. In 2022 marketing will only continue to evolve to match the needs of restricted real-world business, and the opportunities of online business.
This year we have seen big brands such as Channel and Apple present their new collections and products with online-only events. These kinds of virtual events have exploded in the last year. Although many of us are feeling virtual exhaustion right now, there will still be a place for these types of events, even after we resume the events in person because they are hugely more accessible – for example, they are inclusive to people regardless of location or ability.
You’ve probably come across at least a few in the last year: a virtual event can be as simple as a live stream, a webinar, or as complex as a thousand user conference. The reason for the new umbrella term ‘virtual event’ is most likely the fact that these technologies are replacing real-world events. Whatever you call them, they’re here to stay and will undoubtedly grow in our collective consciousness.
Are virtual events right for you?
For many businesses, especially those that relied on physical-events pre-covid, virtual events are a no-brainer. But there’s also a rising opportunity for other businesses to get into the event space, seeing as virtual events represent the knocking down of the huge barriers to entry. So It is a good time to ask yourself if your customers might appreciate or enjoy seeing more of you, and of each other. What could you teach them as a group, and what could they learn from each other, or help each other with? Getting into the middle of this exchange might help position you more as an essential business partner to your customers.
Let’s say you want to try. How might you go about it? Fortunately, it’s not too hard.
The first thing to think about is what type of experience you want to provide. Microsoft Teams’ Live Events is a solid platform to hold any type of event. However, if what you are looking for are participation and interaction, then unfortunately Teams isn’t your best shot.
Events that run through Microsoft Teams tend to be very formal. Attendees cannot verbally communicate with other attendees or even presenters. The good thing is that this platform does offer a question-and-answer panel so that attendees can submit comments and/or questions during the live event.
If you expect a maximum of 10,000 attendees for your event, and if it does not last more than four hours, Live Events is the platform for you! It’s also worth noting that up to 15 concurrent events can run on a single Microsoft 365 tenancy.
2. Personalized artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence has advanced over the years. Today it’s considered a great opportunity for businesses, companies, industries, and even nations.
AI for marketing seeks to understand consumer behavior: search patterns and interactions. Examples of marketing AI are chatbots.
Mastercard created a Facebook Message bot that uses natural language processing software to decipher what the customer wants and respond as if it were a real person, automating the handling of even some complex queries.
Is a chatbot right for you?
If your business receives a lot of customer inquiries, you could start by expanding a simple FAQ page and. The next step would be integrating those questions into your messaging service, such as your Facebook page. A full-blown, AI-powered chatbot is understandably out of reach for many small businesses, but if you are constantly interacting with customers in predictable ways, it might be worth a look. These Australian companies can help create a fluid chatbot experience for your website.
3. Programmatic advertising
Do you spend a lot on advertising? The same kind of AI advances is helping people manage their ad spending.
One of the new things this year is using AI to automate ad buying so you can target more specific audiences. Real-time bidding, for example, is a type of programmatic ad buying. Automating through bots or specific programs will help you to be much more efficient and faster, which means higher conversions and lower customer acquisition costs.
Although artificial intelligence and programming are a new Marketing trend going into 2022, the truth is that the personalization of a brand will always remain the key.
If you want to stand out in 2022, you need to personalize your marketing. This means personalized content, products, emails, and the rest.
Statistics show that 63% of consumers are very upset with generic advertising blasts. Customizing your content and offering a real experience will increase your sales.
An example of this super customization is EasyJet that launched a data-driven email campaign that uses customers’ travel history with the airline to create personalized stories, which then suggest where they would like to travel next. Approximately 12.5 million unique emails have been sent, which had a 25% higher click-through rate than non-personalized emails.
Another successful example is Starbucks, which uses a gamified mobile app that relies on data like purchase history and location to be as personal as possible. The app allows customers to personalize their drinks and encourages further use with its rewards system, which skyrocketed its revenue to $ 2.56 billion.
Starbucks, which uses a gamified mobile app
5. Video Marketing
Video marketing is still exponentially increasing going into 2022. Forecasts say it will be even more important in 5 or 10 years. Businesses report higher conversion rates with video marketing.
Video is a key factor in decision-making. 52% of consumers say that watching product videos gives them more confidence in making buying decisions online. Video is the simplest and clearest way for customers to obtain information about a product or service.
If your site includes video, it is 50 times more likely (50 times!) To generate organic search results compared to text. Not only do people find video content super attractive, but Google also supercharges the SEO of pages that include videos.
The great thing about video content is that it makes it easy for your content to be reformatted for other platforms. For example, information from a video can be transcribed and used as content for a blog. Adapt and share that video on other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram TV or even cut out small bites for Instagram Reels or TikTok. Another idea is to use the audio from that video to have an episode of a podcast.
Lsd statistics show that the opening rates of an email campaign are higher if you include the word video in the subject, so consumers are drawn to it.
Live video is particularly popular with many companies who use it for interviews, product/service demos, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the brand, such as office life, how products are made, company events, etc.
But Should you bother with video in your own small business?
You might feel that it’s something only larger businesses would invest in. And you’re right, in a sense. But there are many ways to do video, and having a smaller marketing budget does not mean you have to miss out completely.
Have a look at your competitors, the ones you know are a similar size to you. If you see any video in their marketing, this is a big warning that you’ll need to start with video just to remain competitive. If they don’t have a video, great, this could be an opportunity for you.
Your first videos could be a topical discussion with an expert on your team, embedded in your blogs. You can do it with a phone – as long as you and your business look professional, consumers can forgive underproduced video as it’s becoming very normalized. In short, underproduced is better than no video.
They could be as simple as a walk-through of your premises, introducing yourselves and what you do. Especially for small businesses, whether b2b or b2c, customers appreciate realness and integrity.
This is unless part of what makes your business work is shine and polish, in which case you probably should invest in professional video production.
6. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is not a trend. A Mediakix study predicts that the ad spends for influencer marketing could reach $ 10 billion by next year:
The reason for the success of influencer marketing is due to trust, naturalness, and personalization. Consumers trust the opinion of an influencer on a brand or product much more than they trust brands themselves. The trend is clear and 58% of people have bought a new product in the last six months due to the recommendation of an influencer.
Influencer marketing will also be affected by artificial intelligence. Every year AI makes it easier to find the right influencers to partner with by identifying those with better engagement, fewer fake followers, and a higher likelihood of generating a positive return on investment (ROI).
You might consider working with an influencer if your market is an active consumer of influencer content on social media. You’ll still need to propose a campaign, with a defined period of collaboration, and whether you want to bet on micro or macro-influencers.
7. Messages through apps
Social messaging apps are not just for sending emojis to your friends: look at these numbers:
Companies are increasingly using social networks to interact with their customers. On Facebook Messenger alone, an average of 10 billion messages is recorded between people and companies per month.
These statistics show the popularity of social messaging applications. It makes sense to market your company’s products and services where your potential customers are.
Social apps allow you to send messages to your clients directly and in a personalized way. It will also allow your clients to have direct and natural contact with you in a medium they are already comfortable with.
63% of customers return to the website of a company that has live chat. The idea of this type of strategy is to cultivate contacts, deliver information efficiently, increase sales, find your potential customers, and provide real and immediate support and assistance.
8. Smart Speakers & voice search
In 2020, 50% of all searches carried out were by voice and this trend is growing. 72% of people who own voice-activated speakers say that their devices are used as part of their daily routines.
Smart speaker purchases almost tripled between the first quarter of 2018 and the second quarter of 2019, from 9.36 million units to 26.1 million units.
Voice search plays a growing role in providing all the relevant information that people need. Many brands are already including voice search in their digital marketing strategies. This especially focuses on content strategies and actions applied to SEO. It is therefore about thinking about the passages that people will speak instead of writing. Remember to write in a conversational tone, focus on getting featured snippets on Google, and think of keywords people will be talking about instead of typing.
9. Sale on Social Networks
The integration of e-Commerce into social platforms is another Digital Marketing trend for 2022. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest are working to make it possible to buy from the publishers via tags, so the transaction can happen without having to leave the app.
It’s definitely a new twist on Social Networking, making them not only a place to find leads but to convert them as well.
Does this mean anything to your business? If you know your market is active on social media, and you offer products that can be sold online, you should probably start looking at your options here, so you can potentially cut out the middle man (advertising).
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 use WordPress because it’s a perfect blank canvas for any website. But out of the box it’s fairly basic.
We start each new site by adding a set of plugins that have proven to work for many of our customers. Without further ado…
1. SMTP Mailer (aka Postman)
By default, WordPress uses our hosting server to send mail. That is find in many cases, but for professional use it’s ideal to use your own mail server, which means for our clients, their Microsoft Exchange account. It’s not a big deal unless your website is generating and sending emails to clients, as an ecommerce site will do. Postman configures WordPress to send all mail from your own account via the SMTP protocol.
2. Yoast SEO
There are only really two main SEO plugins that have stood the test of time and we choose Yoast because it provides the most insight, and guidance, into a site’s SEO performance. We can see at a glance when our pages and posts aren’t setup the way they should be for maximum exposure to search engines. This allows people who are not the web designer to add content with confidence.
3. LiteSpeed Cache
There are a few good cache plugins freely available for WordPress and LS Cache is the one that works best with our hosting environment. You can try that one for yourselves, or give W3 Total Cache.
4. Really Simple SSL
Having a valid security certificate setup on your website is really important these days. Not only is it a non-optional for ecommerce, it lends trust to your content-only site as well. While many web-hosts give SSLs to their customers automatically, WordPress does not automatically use a SSL address. Really Simple SSL ensures that not only your site’s URL, but all locally linked content such as images, resolves to a secure URL. It won’t give you a SSL certificate, but it will make sure your site is setup to work with the one you already have.
While seeing overactive due to the amount it is doing for your website, Wordfence is last but not least. It prevents almost all predictable malicious activity on your site. While the free tier is generously capable, we suggest businesses invest in the premium tier for the most up to date protection.
Google has just updated the way their search engine ranks websites, which they do a couple of times a year. While the results are generally not drastic, this does mean that your site may gain or lose traffic. We’ve noticed that some of our clients have gained traffic for content on their site that is particularly useful for searchers.
What is Google looking for in terms of content that will rank highly for you?
Write content that is relevant to your audience and addresses their specific problem. Be natural and write for people, not a search engine. Ideally, it should be content that others will want to link and share.
Include graphics and video when relevant and when it adds value to your readers.
Make sure the page title, headings and sub-headings are relevant, but don’t try to stuff them with keywords.
Use internal links, such as linking new pages link to important pages of your site when relevant.
While the new update may not have caused big shifts in your web traffic, it’s a reminder that the game of getting traffic and ultimately business online doesn’t stand still, and you need to keep monitoring your results and improving your site.
If you have decided it’s time to up your SEO game and would like a hand, give us a call. We can put together and help implement a strategy to grow your business through SEO and digital marketing.
Just when you thought you had your site’s SEO under control,
Google announces they are rolling out new ranking factors, known as Core Web
But don’t panic just yet. SEO is not going to change, and
this is a good opportunity to check if your site is serving up the best
possible user experience, which is ultimately what both visitors and Google are
So firstly, what are the Core Web Vitals, and secondly, what
action should you be taking? Let’s take a look.
The CWV are a set of three new metrics that Google will monitor
as signals for its search engine rankings. Note that there are certainly other
important metrics for your SEO, but these three are a little different from
typical SEO factors used in the past. They relate to speed, responsiveness and
page stability, and the beauty of them is that they are very specific – “loading speed” for example can be measured in
different ways, but Google is now defining the metric more specifically, which
is actually super useful when you’re working on SEO.
So what are they?
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). This relates to page
speed. You’re already optimizing for speed (or should be!) but LCP measures the
loading speed of the largest element on the page, measured in terms of screen
First Input Delay (FID). This measures the time
before the user can interact with the page, such as by clicking a button. Developers
will be incentivised to build pages that get to the relevant interaction as
quickly as possible.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). There’s nothing more
annoying than trying to click on a button or field on a loading page only to
find it replaced by another element mid-click or while your finger is hovering.
At worst, you end up clicking on the wrong thing, only to waste more time
loading an irrelevant page.
What should I do about the Core Web Vitals?
First up, it’s easy to check how your site is stacking up through
your Google Search Console. You’ll find the new metrics prominently included
under Enhancements on the navigation column. Performance is given for mobile
and desktop, and each metric is flagged as Good, Needs Improvement, or Poor.
Once you’ve identified the elements holding back your pages,
you can start knocking them off. The good news is that if you have a large
number of pages with problems, there’s likely to be only a small number of
issues to be fixed. For example, compressing an image file may be all you need
to do to improve your LCP performance across all the pages that feature that
In addition to the normal methods of speeding up page loading, fixing FID and CLS may involve a bit of page redesign. Good practice is to keep things simple, but you may need help from your developer if there’s a lot going on with your page and your Core Web Vitals need attention.
Overall, the addition of these new metrics will lead to
better page experience and gives you the chance to optimise and beat your competition.