New Year, New Resolutions, New Website?

“Statistics, damned statistics, not lies!” to misquote Mark Twain (again) – but this is from Google so it MUST be true…

• 97% of consumers search for local businesses online

And here’s another one from a reputable company:

• A sample of over 8 million clicks on a first page showed that less than 6% went to the second page*

Why are we telling you this? It’s because, at the start of the New Year, many companies have ‘Build A New Website’ or, at the very least, ‘Upgrade The Existing Website’ at the top of their to-do list. In association with Larrytech, the Tunbridge Wells-based web design agency, which is responsible for Mailing Expert’s wonderful website, we’d like to pass on some handy hints.

Building a great web presence

How do you go about this? Let’s ask one of the guys at Larrytech:
“Clients often approach us at a very early stage of their ideas, whether that be a new product or service within an existing business, or for an entirely new concept. This is great, as the sooner we can be involved in a project, the more time there is for ideas to evolve and develop. However, the number of websites I come across that are still in need of a major helping hand never ceases to amaze me!
We tend to find the life of a website is around three years – though this is extended if there is an on-going development plan to regularly review and work on content and features. So – what do you need to look out for, and what are our suggestions for keeping at the top of your online game? First and foremost…

Review your website
Do this as objectively as possible. Imagine yourself as a first time visitor and potential customer. Are you impressed? Is it easy to find what you’re looking for? Does your website reflect your brand? Is there a consistent feel across your online and offline media? If not, it’s probably worth pausing to consider the best route forwards.

Take a look at where your traffic is coming from
If you don’t know – that’s still a valid starting point, and your web company should be able to give you a steer. If you do know, work through a more detailed breakdown. Is a lot of traffic arriving organically (via the standard search results)? Have you been paying for sponsored ads, and are these working? Is social media proving particularly effective at driving traffic? Which of your offline strategies are most successful? Once you’ve identified the strategies driving the most traffic… do more of whatever it is that is working!

How well is your site integrated into your overall marketing plan?
Are you making use of content you are generating for your site in order to create an online or printed newsletter? Are you responding to messages on social media in an appropriate and timely way? And is your offline marketing, whether that be sales calls, advertising or direct mail, all geared up to drive the quality and type of traffic that you are looking for to your site?”

Ask the experts!

Larrytech works with a large number of successful, growing businesses, and are always very happy to take an impartial look at your site and provide our advice and guidance. They’re also a perfect fit with the data, mailing and print services provided by us here at Mailing Expert, all of which can be used to compliment and enhance what you’re doing online.

Together we can make 2016 a happening year for your company!

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*Statistic from Gravitate Online.

Networking at Christmas

Yes, you did read that correctly. Let’s just repeat that to make sure. Networking at Christmas. It isn’t as crazy as it may sound.

Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle!

You don’t have to do anything special. All you have to do is be prepared. We know that the temptation is to forget all about work, break the world record for mince-pie consumption and slump on the sofa in front of the Downton Abbey Christmas special (if sufficiently fortified by sweet British sherry) – but we’d all do well to remember that this time of the year is stuffed full of opportunities to build lasting business relationships. Stuffed like the turkey!

The season for giving…

Christmas is a wonderful time to send out cards and gifts to your clients to let them know how much you value them – and possibly to rekindle fading relationships, exactly the same as with your family and friends. Make the most of it.

It’s party time…

Think of all those invitations you receive to Christmas events from companies, clients, professional organisations, chambers of commerce, networking groups…just go to them.
Of course, socialising is the main thing. Nobody very much wants your slick sixty-second elevator pitch rammed down their throats on these occasions – but socialising is building relationships, and building relationships is how your business will grow. Getting to know people on a personal level as well as a professional level adds a whole new dimension to mutual business connections. How dull life would be if all we ever talked about was the economic climate or sales figures?!

Eat, drink and be merry…

But not too merry. You want to be remembered for the right reasons – ‘This is someone I’d like to do business with’ – rather than, ‘That’s the person who drank too much and danced on the table wearing only a party hat.’

Keep in touch…

The important thing is having the means to stay in touch after the event. Take your business cards, or at least a pen and notebook to jot down numbers. Finish your conversation with a cheery, ‘It would be great to have a chat in the New Year!’ then don’t forget to follow up.
Send your party host a thank you note – that’s a tradition which seems to have died out in recent years. You’ll be appreciated and remembered with warm feelings.
Don’t forget to let clients and business associates know if you’re planning to close the office over the Christmas break. You could also provide suppliers and contacts with details of how to reach someone in case of emergency.

And finally…

Have fun! Use those networking opportunities but also allow yourself time to relax, regroup and revitalise ready for whatever 2016 will bring.

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