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3 Logo Design Tools

3 Logo Design Tools

It's going to be a quick post this. Things are busy and time is tight. But recently I've come across a fair number of people just starting out with their own businesses. With a necessity of doing everything on a shoestring, a question I'm often asked where can I get a logo made?

Here's 3 solutions*

Hipster Logo Generator

If you need something sleek and monochrome then look no further. Hipster Logo Generator is neat, quick and has a whole host of functionality built in. Perfect if your next business venture is an artisnal burger bar.

Make your logo here.

Squarespace Logo

Staying with the minimalist theme, Squarespace Logo offers simple text and a bewildering array of symbols and shapes to create a logo. This isn't the place to come if you're looking for colour, but at only $10 a logo (or free for Squarespace customers) it's well worth exploring.

Make your logo here.

Fiverr

Let other people do the hard work for you. Fiverr is an awesome place where alongside logo design you can commission people from across the globe to carry out all sorts of creative services; and you guessed it - starting from as little as $5. There's colour. There's creativity. It's just about finding the right person.

Make your logo here. 

Top Tip:

If your new to digital images, then make sure whatever logo you have completed is sent to you in a range of formats including an SVG file. This type of file means your logo will look good regardless of whether your printing it on a billboard of a postage stamp - it means the quality won't be altered.

Show me what you've designed. Tweet me @danwht

*Note, these should only be used if you have an eye for design. To make your business stand out I'd highly recommend you save up and commission an experienced designer who can create something remarkable. After all, your logo is going to be with you for the duration of your business.

 

5 Content Considerations for your next website

5 Content Considerations for your next website

So much work goes into building new websites. Your code is clean, the photography is perfect. And the content? Well you can just copy and paste from your old site can't you?

Don't even think about it.

Your content is the cornerstone to reaching new people and getting them to engage and act. People will use it to buy into you and from you. So when the time finally comes to build your website consider these 5 things when it comes to your content.

Run a Content Audit

If you already have a website then audit the content using Google Analytics data. Identify what pages aren't relevant to you anymore and scrap them. Then, earmark those pages with high bounce rates or low time on page. Now could be the moment to give them an upgrade.

Research before you write

What are you missing? You work at your business day in day out. The expertise you have might be great but it can leave you disconnected from your customers. Use tools such as Answer the Public to search and find out what your customers want by finding their questions that you can provide the answers to. Then ask people! Talk the people that answer the phones, friends, family and anyone who sort of knows what you do. What are the common questions, themes and topics that could be written to help future visitors?

Consider the written word

Yes, Google understands HTML web copy much more than other media types, but stop for a second and consider whether copywriting should be your chosen medium for your content, or whether other methods could be more effective in hitting your audience.

The long and the short of it is maybe what you have to say could be said through other means which align more closely with your target audience. Think YouTube videos, long form research, whitepapers, infographics, images and animations. Could these be more effective?

Commission a Copywriter

If you choose to write, then please don't write your web copy yourself. You hire an expert to code and an expert to design, but just because you're capable to hitting the keys of a keyboard does not make you a copywriter. The pros out there can draw out your skills and USP's to position them in a way which has the right tone of voice and the right messages for your customers - all without a spelling mistake in sight.

Put time into planning

Plan whatever you're doing well in advance. Pulling together content is time consuming - especially when you consider everything else which comes with constructing your masterpiece. Doing it on top of an already busy schedule can mean sloppy workmanship, or no content produced at all, pushing back a switch on date by weeks if not months. 

So, lock yourself away, start planning and give your content the attention it deserves. 

What's your experiences of producing content for new websites. Write it in the comments below.

BrightonSEO April 2016 - 5 key digital marketing takeaways

BrightonSEO April 2016 - 5 key digital marketing takeaways

It's not often over 1,500 digital marketers converge in one place but when they do its done in style at BrightonSEO. So last Friday the Optix Solutions digital marketing team and I spent a blur of a day expanding our skills on content, social, SEO and paid marketing. 

Here are the key takeaways: 

Generation Z is coming...

Yes, the generation that comes after us lot of millennias is fast approaching. By 2020, gen z will make up 40% of all consumers. With completely different media habits they spend up to 25% less time with your content compared to older generations so start to plan future content accordingly. 

- From Nichola Stott speaking on 'How and why UX must be front and centre to your technical strategy' 

Becoming a featured snippet... 

It isn't as difficult as I thought. It means more traffic more exposure and like in Snakes and Ladders means you can jump to the top of a SERP without being an official number 1 organic result. Well hopefully. A combination of choosing the right topics, using the correct HTML table elements and using a Q&A format for single questions works best. The talk had so much useful data it's well worth a look through.

- From Rob Bucchi - Deep diving into featured snippets

Links, redirects and your domain...

If you have another domain pointing to your site with a 301 redirect then any negative equity or penalties are automatically passed on. That means running a regular link audit just on your own domain could mean everything looks fine but issues could lie elsewhere. Fortunately, Link Research Tools is bringing out a chrome extension to help identify these. 

- From Christoph Cemper - Link KnowHow: 7 things you didn't know about links, redirects and rel-canonical

Forgetting other touchpoints...

We all know that digitally a customers journey doesn't just take place with your website. As well as other digital channels though the skills of every good digital marketer should be translated across the company to every touchpoint. A great website doesn't make up for god-awful customer service for example. Fixing this comes from training which is aligned to your strategy and audience personas which all stems from your businesses vision. Doing this helps all of your employees successfully market a business.

- from Mike Essex - how to turn your employees into your greatest marketeers (he's the guy in the image!)

Site speed should be compared to your competitors...

There isn't a universal benchmark load time which Google looks at when deciding how your site speed should determine rankings. Essentially you need to be faster than your competitors so benchmark your performance against them using GTMetrix before launching into optimisation work.  

- from Tom Bennet - Site Speed for Content Marketeers

Want more?

As well as the blog posts from everyone else popping up over the next few weeks if you've got the time then work through the recordings from Authoritas. 8 hours of free knowledge isn't a bad thing. 

Here's to next September.  

 

Insights Profiling - How It Helps My Marketing

Insights Profiling - How It Helps My Marketing

I'm not normally up for corporate-y things. Team building days and the like. But the last few months have seen the team at Optix (where I work) embark on the Insights Personality Profiling. And while this isn't going to be a transformative 'oh my god I HAVE to tell you how much better my life is' kinda post, there are a few nuggets of information which are certainly worth mentioning.

What is Insights Profiling?

At first glance if you look at Insights it's one of those slightly bland, corporate affairs which talks about personality testing. On second glance though and after 30 questions to assess whether you're essentially and introvert or extrovert things suddenly become a whole lot more interesting. 2 weeks later you get a full personality profile which aside from being spookily accurate splits your personality into four colour types:

  • Blue - Organised. Cool. Detached. Methodical.
  • Red - Brief. Top Level. Independent
  • Green - Empathetic. Aware. Democratic
  • Yellow - Bright. Involved. Fluffy and Positive.

Each person has a different percentage of these 4, with one being a dominant trait. If you hadn't guessed already I'm mainly Blue, followed by a chunk of Green and a dash of Red and Yellow. Apparently the perfect combination for a Digital Marketing Manager. 

How Insights Helps:

Firstly it's made communication with colleagues and clients a whole lot easier. If you know someone is always red then you align your communication to that colour. So, an email would consist of bullet points, rather than full sentences. If you've made it down this far you're probably not a red.

So, you can structure emails. Big deal. But it works in other ways;

  • Presentations can be visually inspiring or quirky if you're red or yellow. Detailed and text heavy for others.
  • Initial chats with clients can be warm and woolly talking about pets and holidays if you're green or yellow. Straight questions on how business is if you're red.

As mentioned it's not revolutionary but has been making a big impact on in effect how I'm marketing my communications to others. If nothing else, a lot of businesses we work with have also been profiled by Insights (or by DISC which operates along similar means) so clients can get to know us more quickly too. So rapport and relationships can be quickly and firmly established.

The Takeaway:

You might be doing the most amazing marketing, but if you can't effective communicate it to your client, then you're going to struggle to succeed. Spend some time thinking about how, and how often, you're communicating with those paying for your time to make a relationship work.

My Digital Marketing Predictions for 2016 and a review of 2015.

My Digital Marketing Predictions for 2016 and a review of 2015.

Yes, it's another one of those annual review posts, but wow, it's been a busy year.  I like to kick things off with a recap of what I've achieved in the last year which includes:

It wouldn't be an award without an official photo. That's my boss - Alastair Banks. You can see more about him at  @banksy6

It wouldn't be an award without an official photo. That's my boss - Alastair Banks. You can see more about him at @banksy6

So what did I predict at the start of last year

•    This will be the year of the smartwatch. Although there are already watches available to buy the release of Apple's smartwatch will push them mainstream.

The Apple Watch came and then rather faded. For now it's anecdotal but they haven't made the massive impact that I was perhaps expecting. In it's place we seem to have a variety of other smarter watches, perhaps most noticeably the rise of other wearable tech such as FitBit. 

•    Google Glass will finally fade from the mainstream.

This Google trend chart seems to agree:

UK Google Trends chart for 'Google Glass'

UK Google Trends chart for 'Google Glass'

•    Mobile and tablet devices are going to continue to gain an increasing market share.

This seems to already have happened. See this rather good article from Smart Insights here.

•    The internet will go nuts when on October 21, 2015, will be the very same date when Marty McFly went back to the future. 

This happened in a big way. And the world compared our 2015 to their 2015. What, no hoverboards?! We'll just have to make do with revolutionary technology instead.

Paid advertising on social media channels is going to increase as brands find it gradually more difficult to engage with fans organically.

Again, for me personally we've had to persuade multiple clients to start advertising to pay to promote content. Organic reach is getting tougher - due to the likes of Edgerank on the one hand and an increasing sea of voices on the other.

So, my Digital Marketing Predictions for 2016

Live Penguin updates will be a wake up call for websites.

Once Google come back from their Christmas holidays the Penguin update will finally be running constantly rather than with periodic refreshes. Naturally this is going to massively impact on SERP's. I'm expecting clients to start paying a much greater attention to what their backlinks are and how frequently they should be monitoring them as their rankings get shaken up.

Content Marketing will continue to grow

Not just regular blog posts, but I think video is going to the one to look out for in the year ahead with businesses increasingly creating content on there. Whether it's vlogs, ads or guides it seems like a sensible place to be investing your time. 

Paid advertising will become increasingly targeted.

For certain industries you can already target Facebook ads to an insanely specific levels; like people whose insurance is up for renewal. It makes sense to take advantage of these new roll-outs as quickly as possible before everyone else climbs on board.

Customers will demand more

As big businesses invest more into their digital experience, the rest of the world will follow. That means though offering trying to offer your customers the very best. That means fast load times, excellent customer service, informative and good quality content; as well as the products and services you actually sell. So, many markets are becoming increasingly saturated with competitors, so you need to do what you can to stand out.

So, let's see what 2016 has in store.

The Battle of the Christmas Adverts 2015

The Battle of the Christmas Adverts 2015

Last year I got quite heavily into the morality tale of the battle of the 2014 Christmas adverts? Should Sainsburys use the spirit of the First World War to flog a few more turkeys? The answer is still a resounding no. Nevertheless, it's kept me keenly aware of what's going on when it comes to the Christmas adverts and to see what's winning and losing in the digital world...

The Christmas Adverts of 2015...

Naturally, in pole position is John Lewis with another heart-warming childhood story of the Man On the Moon. Personally, it wasn't as heart-warming as previous years but enough for most of the office to crowd round my laptop when it was launched.

Next was Sainsbury's with a genuinely amusing resuscitation of the accident prone Mog. This actually won in my opinion for being downright more interesting than the Man on the Moon, but bizaarely I haven't actually seen it aired on TV.

Finally, a late entry and a brilliant attempt from Aldi's agile marketing department with their 'Telescope' Christmas Ad. The publicity was wide. The results - not so popular.

And trying to capture the gluten free market was Tesco with their incredibly generic, unfunny ad series. The less said about them and 'The Lattimer's the better. I haven't even the interest to embed it, but if you're desperate you can view it here.

So the results...

Total Views:

Sainsburys win with over 25,000,000 views closely followed by John Lewis at just shy of 23,000,000. Aldi, by comparison only received just over 2,000,000

Social Shares:

The runaway winner was Facebook for all 3 of the ads, completely dominating the social media marketplace with well over half a million shares for Sainsburys and John Lewis.  It just goes to show how much power Facebook still has when trying to reach a wide audience. I've included the full stats below on each of the other channels which draw out some of the more interesting data on the other channels. Google+ for instance still had a surprising amount of sway, when compared to say LinkedIn for this sort of thing. 

Channel Sainsburys Aldi John Lewis
Facebook 614,200 50,100 544,500
Twitter 11,900 4,000 21,400
LinkedIn 2,700 1,200 10,100
Google+ 19,900 2,000 32,400
Pinterest 104 0 0

Naturally, this doesn't equate to any direct sales. Plus, the traffic figures are only for the YouTube ad itself on the main channel of each of the stores. With plenty of other forms of publicity for their Christmas campaigns it's not definite, but does provide an interesting insight for what works, and what doesn't over the Christmas months.

Note: All the data was recorded on the 21/12/2015 via Buzzsumo.

Audience Profiling - How I'm Doing It

Audience Profiling - How I'm Doing It

If you're going to be targeting a new demographic, or researching your business for launch you need to know who your customers are. Obvious right? 

These days though it's not simply a case of saying you're targeting teenagers in the UK, or mothers in London.

You need information, lots of information. It's time to get Sherlock and understand anything and everything about your ideal customers - that can give YOU the understanding of what they do, what they like, dislike, hate and hope for.

Get in their mindset. Structure your business and marketing around them and give yourself a competitive advantage.

This is audience profiling.

How to profile your audience:

Benchmarking with Google Analytics:

If you're already up and running you should have Google Analytics installed. From this you should be able to tell:

  • Where in the world your customers are. Work out what regions and what cities love you. You can access this at: Audience > Geo > Location > City

  • The age and gender of your customers. Find this at Audience > Demographics > Age / Gender

  • What device their finding you on. Are your visitors desktop fans, or finding you on the go with mobile? Find the answer on Audience > Technology > Browser & OS and Audience > Mobile > Overview

This shows your current audience. Now we're going to find your 'ideal' audience.

Facebook Advertising

facebookadexample.jpg

Your first port of call should be the Facebook advertising platform. Even if you're not planning on spending your cash with the social media giant it has a nifty tool for showing how many people it can serve ads to.

The best bit? You can narrow down your audience based on things like, Age, Gender, Location and Interests and Behavioural Patterns

So if I want to find everyone who might be interested in, lets says contents insurance for first time buyers I can find 2,500 people just around Exeter who fall into that category.

All in all, it should give you a damn good idea of if you're idea has a viable audience. Start researching them here.

Hubspot: Make My Persona

If you're going to be heavily focussed on understanding a B2B audience then Hubspot is the place to go to. With their Make My Persona tool you get to answer a range of questions from the point of view of your customer. Pretty simple to be fair. 

It helps massively though with starting to understand where your clients are coming from. What are their pains? What do they have to report on to measure KPI's? How to do they need content to be structured. Short and visual or text heavy reports? 

You can check it out here.

YouGov Profiler

Lastly, my firm favourite when doing audience profiling is YouGov Profiler. It's made up of thousands of datapoints that people contribute via YouGov surveys to build up a picture of who likes what - and more importantly what they also like alongside this. It's not always 100% accurate, but it sure is worth looking through. (FYI - you'll need to sign up for a free account if you want to look at brands).

So let's take Downton Abbey for instance. The average viewer: female, age 55+ from the South West. Most people could probably guess that. But then we start digging a little deeper; they shop at Waitrose, prefer ITV to BBC, drive a Nissan car, likes Call the Midwife & Mr. Selfridge, looks at findmypast.co.uk, has probably seen the new film 'Suffragette'. Plus they have a  thing for Take That.

downtonabbeydemographics.jpg

The Demographics of Downton Abbey - YouGov Profiler 

Why this is important? If you're marketing is targeting that demographic that's literally given you an ultimate source of things to write about via content marketing. Plus the right things to talking about on social media. No need for guesswork. The information is already there.

Bringing this all together...

If you ran through all three of the above tools you've probably got a bundle of information on your customers. But it's time to lay it all out and build up a picture of who your customer is. And keep in mind you're business doesn't always just have 1 single type of customer...

So, take a piece of paper- 

  • Find an image of your ideal customer.

  • Give them a name, age and location.

  • Give them a back story - where have they come from?

  • Why would they be interested in your business?

  • What kind of device do they use to access the internet?

  • What kind of content do they enjoy? Viral videos? Or would they prefer technical guides?

  • Why would they choose you over a competitor?

Write it all the answers down and stick it up to remind you and anyone else working in your business who your customers are.

This helps to structure your advertising, alters your content and helps to know what you should include, exclude, emphasise and ignore when it comes to creating marketing which truly resonates with your audience. Whether it's for social media posts, or full on content marketing strategies it can all help. 

Any Other Ideas?

This is still very much a working model for me at the moment so if you have any other ideas of ways to profile your audience then let me know! Add them in the comments below.

BrightonSEO: A Review

BrightonSEO: A Review

Yes it was amazing. Yes there were lots of freebies. Yes there were loads of talented speakers and yes Brighton is a lot further away from Exeter than Google Maps suggests.

That's my review. If you want to see the full details then just search for the thousand other BrightonSEO reviews already out there. 

What I have is 12 essential key takeaway's one from the content and social talks I went to from each speaker. The top three slots go to my favourite speakers of the day who were:


1) Cathal Berragan:  Lessons Learned on the way to Half of a Million Twitter Followers

Their best point: Don't give your social media to the intern. It's sounds obvious but happens too often. Just because they're a millennial doesn't make them qualified to be the voice of the business. Plus, his talk was by far the most funny and enjoyable.

2) Paddy Moogan: A Process for Reverse Engineering Successful Content

Their best point: Create a document to brief people before you go into a brainstorm. It cuts through the crap, gives people a focus and generates better ideas.

3) Stacey Macnaught: Your Content is Awesome – Now what?

Their best point: Have a comprehensive content marketing plan. Brainstorm, research, write and promote. Not just one of those components. Plus, use PPC to bid on low CPC keywords to promote content further


And in no particular order - the remaining talks...

4) Kelvin Newman: How to Have Less Rubbish Ideas

Their best point: Use the 'Heuristic Ideation Techniqeue' and pair unusual things together to see what random ideas come as a result. A great method for brainstorming.

 

5) Paul Madden: A Systematic Approach to Managing Relationship & Links

Their best point: When it comes to digital outreach the best results come from long term, emotionally involved relationship building. Not through crap, auto-populated email spamming of webmasters.

 

6) Pippa Moyle: Merging your business into the 24 hour news cycle

Their best point: We've all heard about the Protein World 'scandal', but did you know that Carlsberg, SimplyBe and Dove all did some pretty cool campaigns off the back of it.

 

7) Shelli Walsh: How to have ideas for Creative Content

Their best point: There was so many I'd encourage you to download her free e-book and have a read through yourself.

 

8) Charlie Williams: Understanding your audience; Agile thinking and our content.

Their best point: Use Google Analytics to set up and see what people are looking for via your websites internal search. If people can't find whatever it is, you can provide them with some extra content.

 

9) Jess Stiles: How to win Facebook fans and reach people

Their best point: Their biggest source of additional engagement and conversions was by adding a 'Do you want to share this' button at the end of a transaction on e-commerce sites. Something I'm definitely going to be trying out.

 

10) Michael Stricker: Dark Social, Dark Web, Dark Hat, Dark Times

Their best point: A crazy amount of your 'direct' traffic might come from dark items. Everything from texts and Whatsapp counts as dark. So if you want accurate analytics you're going to have to dig a hell of a lot deeper.

 

11) Christoph Cemper – How to Measure the Real Success of Content Marketing

Their best point: It's easy to fall in the trap, but focus on meaningful metrics for measuring successful content marketing, rather than just the number of 'likes' its received. If you produce an amazing technical whitepaper, the social buzz ain't going to be high, but the number of downloads? Now that's a true indication of success.

 

12) Hannah Thorpe – How to Create and Sell a Digital Asset

Their best point: Talk a client through how you came to the decision develop a piece of content over another including all the 'hidden' work of the ideas you discarded along the way Not only does it show the client the effort you've put in, it helps explain why content marketing works the way it does.

That's it. Hopefully see you there next year?