Customer Testimonial Sources

We all know how important it is to showcase testimonials on a website. It’s certainly worth checking out what others have said about a business to reinforce the decision to try out their product or service. Here, we look at the sources which can be used to generate testimonials on a site, there may be an opportunity to showcase customer feedback which is currently overlooked or underutilized.

testimonial sources blog

Old fashioned ‘thank you’ notes

When you receive a ‘thank you’ by mail it’s not as easy as cutting and pasting to capture the text – or is it? Actually, this kind of customer feedback can come across as the most genuine as its unique handwriting and choice of note set it apart from the more common online text – we all rely on technology for just about everything. Take a picture of the card and share it to social media or copy the text to the website as a testimonial. It will stand out precisely because it is not ‘run of the mill’.
thank you

Feedback from colleagues

When you get great feedback from another professional who interfaces with your team or uses your product, that is just as valid and valuable. For instance, if your cake supplier is happy that you’re always flexible and easy to arrange logistics with, the implication is that your team will bring that professionalism to their interactions too.

Social media comments

If you post to social media and get a great reaction, those comments can be recorded and reused. Better still, everyone else who sees that post will also likely pick up on the positive feedback.

Emails

Similar to the ‘thank you’ notes above but perhaps more common nowadays, emails are a treasure trove of feedback – good and bad. The good ones can help build data for reviews and the feedback which is negative should be addressed as soon as possible.

Video testimonials

Don’t shy away from getting feedback which can be shown as a compilation or featured video. Especially if there is already videography at an event. An example would be a skydive which is being filmed. When back on the ground it would be easy to ask “how was your experience today with this company?” Clever editing would mean no compromise to the skydiver’s keepsake and some great footage promoting the firm.

Quotes

When a customer says something fantastic to you directly, ask if you can quote them. Hopefully, the answer will be “yes” but even if the answer is “no”, nothing ventured, nothing gained!
social media campaign blog
When the testimonials are used, it’s easy to state the source, so look around and make sure your customer feedback is being leveraged. If you are looking for creative internet marketing ideas, contact us today. We can help integrate your reviews into your online presence so that more people see them.

 

Change Control Principles

We all have to make changes to our websites from time to time. It could be a straightforward change to prices or text, or it could be a relaunch of a whole new site. There are some fundamental principles around how we do those changes which can

  • save time
  • save money
  • reduce stress
  • convey professionalism

Plan Ahead

Change Control PrinciplesPerhaps the most fundamental aspect in making a change is measuring the impact and taking enough time to plan ahead so that wherever possible the change is proactive and not reactive. Making changes ‘on the fly’ may affect other parts of your site or cause confusion with your own personnel or customers.

Document your Changes

Take note of what you do and when you do it. Later, when you are measuring the effectiveness of a change it is easy to confuse dates. This also effectively provides a ‘handover’ to colleagues if you are absent or leave your role.

Don’t make changes too frequently

If you are able to spread out changes, then it will be clear how each change independently impacts your business. This may not be possible if you want to present one ‘set’ of changes so that customers only see one design shift.

Schedule Changes Sensibly

This is certainly the case if your change is going to require some ‘downtime’ in the system or site. If your peak hours are 9-5 Mon-Fri, then try to schedule changes at the weekend or overnight.

Communicate Effectively

Within your own company and particularly to customers. You can promote the updates in advance so that regular visitors to your site will expect a different ‘look’ on your launch date. Effective communication will reduce the stress of getting to know a new process and will reduce the load on customer service afterwards. Use your social media accounts to create a buzz around new features or design. You could even ‘trail’ a sneak peak of the ‘new look’.

Provide Customer Service

change control blog contact details copyWhen making changes, update processes and procedures as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). When there is a potential for confusion or new education, ensure a helpline number or email support details are visible and easily accessed.

Break it Down

Change Control PrinciplesComplicated changes may be able to viewed as a series of small revisions. In this instance, even if one component fails, other parts of the change may still be on track. If you hoped to accomplish tasks A, B & C, would A & B alone be enough to move forwards? This analysis should all be a part of the planning process.

Have a backup plan

What happens if your changes don’t work or are not well received? Make sure you know how to either revert back or create a workaround. If personnel are key, ensure you have cover or on-call resources.

Measure Effectiveness

change control blogIf your change was designed to increase traffic to your site or increase calls to your business, measure the success. Take time beforehand to quantify your goal and then review after a reasonable time. You may be able to use analytics to help with this.

Be Flexible

When everything goes as planned, great! It takes experience and confidence to adapt when things go wrong. Bring in your experts, make sure you have done your research up front and then be prepared to improvise.

If you’re looking for help with Change Control Principles and adapting your website, why not contact us today  info@trulium.com

How Often Should I Post To Social Media?

It’s impossible to give a blanket answer to such a broad question as every business is different, but there are factors to consider in helping you find the right balance for you.

Time Requirement

It’s fine deciding to launch a social media marketing campaign and obviously, the hope is to reach new prospects, engage with current clients and promote your brand.That’s easy to say although the time commitment involved may be more than you anticipated. There are ways to mitigate the time outlay, one is to choose a single social media platform only – ideally the one favored by your customer demographic – and focus on doing one campaign well. This could be a better strategy than spreading your time too thinly across multiple platforms, being unable to do a really good job on any. Another way is to hire a social media marketing agency to action the posts on your behalf.
The time commitment is not merely in creating content for social media as a good campaign should be interactive – this means in addition to posting, time needs to be scheduled to monitor feedback and engage with any customer comments or questions.

How much do you have to say?

It’s difficult to rework posts with little or no new content to share. Conversely, when you have exciting news or are frequently launching new products, this lends itself to being able to post more frequently. If you’re lucky enough to have news to share maybe twice a month or more, posting will form its own natural schedule and you needn’t try to bolster the post numbers.

Don’t be over zealous

We all have one (or more!) friends on social media who share everything, it can be exhausting trying to keep up! In the world of social media, quality posts will beat out quantity any day. Raising brand awareness is most effectively done by creating interesting content rather than creating an overwhelming barrage of posts.

Use insights to drive strategy

Check out the data available within the social media accounts to see what are the most popular times of the day or days of the week to post. Tailor your plan to optimize the time you post. If in doubt, switch up your schedules and then record the results. Maybe posting at the weekend is better, maybe posting at 6 pm is your perfect time. Take a mix of the data already available to you and then periodically review your strategy and fine tune your schedule.
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Drip feed over time

Maybe your jewelry business has just started selling a new line of necklaces. You have beautiful promotional shots and want to share them on Pinterest. You have an established following who eagerly await new pins for inspiration. You could stretch or drip feed your new material over time to fill your social media posting schedule rather than pinning 50 images and then having nothing new to pin for a few months.

 

If you’re ready to start your own social media marketing journey, Trulium can help. Contact us today to get started.

10 Ways to Use Your Website to Upsell

There is an art to using your website as a sales tool. Some companies are creative in the way they offer their products or services so that they can upsell seamlessly. There are many strategies employed and perhaps the best way to hone in on what might work for you is looking at the techniques that have worked for you already as a consumer. Here we explore a few options.

 

1. Make the product look like a bargain
Every shopper likes to think they are getting a great deal so if your original price appears to be slashed, this makes it look more attractive.

 

2. Make the mid-priced option the default
By making a mid-priced option the default, your buyer may not notice (or may not care) that there is actually a cheaper alternative if they looked around. An analogy with a hotel room would be making a ‘pool view’ room as standard and if the visitor clicked for a view of the car park, they may save $20 per night.

 

3.  Make the mid-priced option visually more appealing
By presenting a variety of options online, it is relatively easy to make one package stand out over the others. This could be with a different color background or border, it could be with a different size of text or it could be with a ‘ribbon’ or ‘badge’ proclaiming the most popular or best value for money.

 

4. Bulk selling
Set up your online marketing and cart to offer a discount for buying multiple items or bulk packages. If a customer is looking to buy a gift, they may be more tempted if they can get a perceived bargain. Ironically, it can be easier to sell 3 products for $30 versus 1 for $13. This same theory works in offering a discount for an annual subscription versus a monthly renewal.

 

5. Offer free shipping and handling
Customers are often frustrated when the ticket price is not the eventual cost. Additional charges (like shipping and handling or expedited shipping) being dropped can make the difference between making a sale or deciding to choose one company over another.

 

6. The name game
Offering an ‘ultimate package’ or a platinum service automatically infers a hefty price tag. By naming the tiers cleverly, it may be easier to upsell without raising apprehension. An example would be using a term like ‘premium economy’ which still carries the impression of being priced like an economy brand.
website upsell

 

7. Time sensitive pricing
Order within the next 24 hours to lock in this price … or similar! Giving the impression that it will be raised may give the impetus needed to make a sale.

 

8. Cool off period/cancellation policy
If you offer the option to edit or cancel the order within a period of time (even if that is 30 minutes), that may be all it takes to entice a consumer to click on ‘buy’.

 

9. Show the upgrades on your main image
If someone is drawn to your site because they saw your product in an ad then use that image to showcase the best you have to offer, the upgraded version which will encourage them to take the upgrades available to mimic the style that captivated them in the first place.

 

10. Offer a store credit for a future purchase
A business goal is to get return clientele and one way to promote loyalty to your brand is to offer an incentive to return. An upgraded sale which also includes a promotional voucher not only makes that sale more attractive, it encourages your customer to check back for another transaction.

 

If you are looking for a new website design to optimize your Website Upselling, Trulium has the experience to help find your niche and connect with new clients. Contact us today.

Website Content Expiry Dates

When your business website has been serving its purpose for a while, it’s easy to go into ‘autopilot mode’ and just let it be. If nothing seems to be going wrong and you aren’t hearing any complaints then it is natural to assume everything is OK.

In truth, there are very good reasons to periodically check your website because whereas those very familiar with the content may skip over blocks of text, a potential new client will be reading it from a different standpoint and will notice all the out of date material. This looks unprofessional or neglected and they are then less likely to continue exploring your site, products and services.

Let’s get specific, here are a few examples where maybe the content should be removed or swapped out.

Seasonal Promotions

If it’s the middle of winter, your site probably shouldn’t still have a link to that ‘summer cool down’ promo you ran over the summer holidays. It was a great promotion at the time but it is really easy to leave the link in there and forget to swap it out for your ‘winter warmer’!

The exception is if your business takes advance bookings and you are currently taking bookings for next summer, in which case make sure you’re happy with the same price being applied to next year (if the price is quoted) and make sure the text makes sense for advance bookings.

Broken Links

Managing internal links within your own site is easy and when the status quo remains, you can expect these all to remain in great shape. If your site has external links (linking outside your site to another), then  they should be checked from time to time to make sure they are still valid.

The flip side of the same coin is that when you have a website redesign or you switch up your page names (to improve your SEO for instance), think ahead to those websites pointing back to yours. It is courteous and professional to either let them know the changes or apply redirects. This is especially the case if they are sites which could refer traffic back to you to get new clients – each broken link is a missed opportunity.

‘Old Brand’ images

When you have re-branded your company profile with a new color scheme or a new logo, look out for images on your site which still feature the old scheme. Whilst they look nostalgic to you, they dilute your current brand to a new visitor.

Old Testimonials

website content testimonialTestimonials are fantastic – they are golden snippets on your site where real customers give you glowing feedback, truly influential in the eyes of a new business prospect. If you don’t have recent testimonials or if you are not able to frequently update them online then consider a testimonial without a date attached.

Dated Music

If you have audio clips or music on your site, it’s safest to stick to timeless tracks. Likewise, if you are referencing a track, stay away from terms like ‘newly released’.

Now the good news

A few tips to help you look ‘evergreen’

  • Plan ahead with expiry dates in mind. If you always run a contest in December, stay away from Thursday December 1st 2016 and instead write your start date as December 1st. That way, the material can be reused year on year.
  • Work out a page naming convention that works for your business and stick to it. That way, when products are retired or replaced, you can easily isolate the pages affected.
  • If you make revisions to a document or file, use version numbers instead of dates as they will carry you through without looking outdated.
  • When you get a new employee, it is likely that one of their first jobs will be to get to know your business by exploring your site. This is a valuable opportunity to get ‘fresh eyes’ to click around your site and report back if anything looks amiss. They will value your trust so it is a win-win situation.

If you’re ready for a new website or a website redesign, Trulium can help you with your project. Contact us today if you’re ready for a change: info@trulium.com

Practical Hints and Tips for Website Content

Some advice on creating websites and website content is so academic, the nitty-gritty helpful tips are overlooked – so this is a common sense guide to setting off on the right path.

 

Only List Prices in One Place
It’s a slippery slope when you start listing prices across your site. Sooner or later, the inevitable will happen and you will update some – but not all – of the new prices. What’s the guessing that your next client finds the only one at the discounted rate and holds you to the bargain? Use links to track back to a master price list if required.
website content blog

 

Think Generic
If you can reuse content at some point in the future then think generic. Avoid mentioning current events or pinning down dates on a calendar. A good example would be a campaign designed for the Holidays. Choose your colors and style then rotate out the look when you’re ready. Next year at the same time, dig out your generic campaign and it will only need a minor revamp instead of a major rework.

 

Naming Conventions for Pages
The links are displayed at the top of the browser so keep them consistent and logical. They may follow your menu structure but plan ahead in case your menu structure changes, does the page name stand alone and make sense? This also helps with any optimization of your site – thinking ahead about the perfect page name will help later.

 

Naming Conventions for Images
When a picture is new and you can’t wait to showcase it, you’ll upload it immediately. Perhaps the name is a filename like DCS00345.jpg. Take a few extra seconds to rename the file first and adopt a naming convention that works for your business eg sunflower design fluffy pillow. In the future, whenever you need to find that great picture again, chances are you’ll search on at least part of the title and will find it. Spending too much time  thinking of how best to rename the images? Just stick to sunflower fluffy pillow1, sunflower fluffy pillow2 etc. They’ll still come up on the search and you won’t agonize over how many permutations of the words you can find.

 

Don’t Duplicate Content
Utilize internal links to other parts of your site. Not only does this ‘de-clutter’ the pages, you will only have one source of data to update with changes. If you want the same data displayed on multiple pages there are better coding solutions (eg widgets, headers, footers).

 

Open Links in a New Window
Especially if you are linking away from your site, make sure to select ‘open in new window’ so that if your viewer clicks and then looks around on the new site or gets distracted, your site is still open and they are reminded to continue on your page.
website content blog

 

Responsive Design
It’s not enough to use a responsive design template. Take the time to look at your site on a variety of mobile devices. Check out not only the layout, but the page load times and the ease of navigation.
Website Content

 

Organize your Source Data
When you start a folder and have maybe a few dozen files, it’s easy enough to see the screen and find what you need. As your number of source files grow, this can become a time burden. Start out with logical folders and subfolders then stick with your system. It is your own personal virtual filing cabinet. This also reduces the need to fit every keyword into a filename, if a picture is within the ‘summer’ folder the need to add ‘summer’ to the title is negated.

website content blog

Planning ahead is critical and can save you many hours in the long run. If you want help with a website design project or want to refresh the look of your site, contact us today at  info@trulium.com

Your Website – what first impression are you giving?

Over time it’s easy to become so familiar with your website that you lose sight of how it appears to a new visitor – a potential client clicking into your site for the first time. That first impression could be the difference between winning their business or losing them as they click into a competitor’s site.

What to avoid

  • excessive load times
  • be responsive and mobile readylimiting your audience by not being responsive – if your site can’t easily be viewed from a phone or tablet, your online visitor will find a site that is simple to navigate and read when it is convenient for them
  • error messages
  • outdated content
  • poor quality images
  • a confusing layout which makes the site (at least appear) difficult to navigate. This includes a page ‘heavy’ on text with no natural breaks or images. Nobody will read the entire page before they decide to find out more, they will jump between headings and scan the site to decide if they like it enough to keep looking
  • a generic site which hasn’t been branded – when a search pulls up your site and your potential customer clicks in, they scan the page to check they recognize a logo, location or slogan which reassures them they are on the business they thought they were

 

The next consideration is what first impression you would like to give. Are you trying to present information or encourage your visitor to explore your site?

If you are trying to draw clients literally to your place of business, consider maps and clear directions from major nearby cities.

First impressions count imageWhen your business is visual eg. florist, artist, designer, showcase your work so that a glance conveys your colors, style and design. Put your best images in the most prominent place as they are your ‘hook’ to spark more interest in exploring your site. Brand the image if necessary so that it is clear the image is your own and not a generic stock image. If you can’t choose or your product range is diverse, consider a scrolling gallery with 4 or 5 images which rotate.

Checklist

Imagine yourself in a potential client’s shoes (or ask someone you trust who is not familiar with your website for their opinion) and consider:

  • do the colors appeal
  • are my service or product clear to see
  • do I appear an expert in my field
  • does the site look professional and trustworthy
  • is any of the content out of date
  • do I have better images to represent my brand
  • is it clear how to contact the business
  • are the navigation menus intuitive
  • are there distractions drawing a client away from my content (eg excessive links or ads)
  • does the site reinforce the other branded material you are distributing? (business cards, shop front, advertising)
  • is there a link to social media so that it is easy to ‘follow’ you

 

first impressions countA website that looked great a few years ago may look tired to your audience today. If you are spending money on SEO (search Engine Optimization) to drive your site higher up the rankings, you need  positive first impressions to capitalize on your advantage and persuade prospects they have found exactly what they need as soon as they find your site.

 

If you’re ready to revisit the first impressions you are giving , contact us today  info@trulium.com

Is WordPress good for SEO?

WordPress is a hot topic and the most popular CMS (content management system) out there. To say it is good for SEO can be a little misleading, in truth it offers the capability for fantastic SEO but it takes skill to find not only a workable solution for your business, but the right one. Easy to use and free to install, WordPress offers literally thousands of plug-ins to help you customize your site with endless possibilities. Its growing popularity drives new updates and assures a reliable platform. Setting up the site initially may seem daunting, but in fact that is only the start of the challenge. SEO is a moving target, where the rules of the game constantly change. Every time your site is updated with a new plugin or new content, your rankings could change, the site loading speed could increase – or worse! It’s therefore critical to conduct regular SEO audits to make sure you’re where you want to be.

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What sets WordPress apart?

WordPress has several SEO plugin options to take much of the legwork out of basic SEO. Choosing which one is right for you depends on the compatibility with your existing site, the level of support you need (initially and down the line) and any future development you have in mind.

WordPress generates a friendly, intuitive URL structure by handling the creation of each URL via its permalink feature. That means by cleverly and inventively titling your pages, you’ll end up with the perfect URL with the keywords you’re trying to highlight. Keywords in the URL are a ranking factor so thinking ahead rewards you with higher ranking on searches for your keywords as well as easy to remember URLs (instead of some kind of ?pageid=1234)

Originally developed as a blogging platform, new content published through WordPress can also be quickly created and easily published. Once you find a format and naming standard that works for you, building the site follows organically. With millions of WordPress sites around, search engines easily crawl them and are able to index and rank the content.

With a massive community using and contributing to the gallery of plugins and WordPress tools, chances are that if you have a niche, someone has already been working on whatever solution you are looking for – it’s a matter of honing in and finding the best fit for you. Look to popular plugins first as they have been tested widely and are popular for a reason!

Trulium blog ranking image

Is WordPress right for you? Well, more and more people are switching to WordPress daily and it has great momentum, with no sign of slowing down.

When your business isn’t SEO there are literally millions of options and it can be overwhelming when your competitors seem to be able to achieve a higher visibility no matter what you try. The good news is that professionals who do understand SEO make it their business to keep up to date with the latest releases and industry best practice. At Trulium, we learn who you are, what you do and about your services and products – then we can tailor a solution to you. A generic ‘one size fits all’ solution may technically give you a presence but to be unique and reach the clients you want to, you need more than a good product to sell – you need a site with great content that has the SEO behind it to get you noticed.

Contact us today  info@trulium.com to start improving your SEO and attracting new clients.

 

Why Does My Company Need A Blog?

It should go without saying that in this day and age, a business needs to keep up with the marketing trends of the times to stay relevant. What worked for a company in 1915 isn’t necessarily going to work for a company in 2015. Still, it is hard to keep up with what actively works when it comes to marketing for your business.

Blogs do everything from updating clients on news and events to setting you apart from the competition. It is a glimpse into the unique world of your business (and the unique skills you possess). People want to know at the end of the day, why should they chose your business? A blog breaks it down for them, post by post, and makes the decision easy.

The benefits continue from there:

  • Exposure
    It is nearly impossible to tell how much a person knows, and how valuable a person’s information is, without examples. A blog is a huge light that shines on your knowledge, giving prospects a reason to consider you.
  • Becoming A Thought Leader
    The more information you prove is hiding in that wonderful brain of yours, the more visitors are likely to consider you a thought leader. Your blog post on ‘The Ramifications of Social Silence’ may just be what eases a great prospect into your corner. It is giving the right information that is important; the right time to receive such information is different for everyone. That is why consistency is key when it comes to posting relevant information.
  • Consistency
    A frequently updated blog keeps you at the forefront of minds so that when the time comes to choose a business, yours is the first considered. This is also a huge plus in a time where the customer usually makes the first move toward a sale.
  • Personalized Social Media
    Curation is only half the battle on social media. Without original content, there is no draw to your site. As great and essential as those curated posts are, it means nothing if it doesn’t bring your audience to your services (and pricing). Blogs create a funnel from your social media audience to your site and then to your business.
  • Site Traffic
    When it is all boiled down, the biggest plus of a blog is site traffic. Your website is the official online home for your business. It is what gets you leads from around the world, inquiries from prospects, and lasting clients. Getting people from point A (your well-run social media posts) to point B (your contact page) takes more information than social media affords. Be sure to keep your site up to date and make all your information easy to find.

A blog breaks down your worth, post by post, and makes the decision to work with you easier. It brings people to your site, informs them that you are knowledgeable, and keeps them coming back. These points make blogging for your business an essential part of your marketing plan for 2015.

Visual Content Creation – 4 Ways to Produce Visually Pleasing Content

Without a doubt, visually pleasing content is time consuming. But, with just a few minutes of extra effort, your content can bloom from ehh to awesome! Below are four ways that can get you on the road to success…

1. Keep it Simple
Less is more! Only a small percentage of visitors will actually read an entire article. We are programmed to quickly scan articles on the internet, picking and choosing the data that is most relevant to our needs. About 90% of information processed in the human brain is visual and messages using visuals are processed about 60,000 times faster in the brain than words. So, simple and easily digestible content is your best bet.

2. Design
Having an understanding of basic design is critical to visually pleasing content. You only have eight precious seconds to capture the attention of readers. Don’t waste your message on poorly laid out content as this could lead to high bounce rates and negatively affect ROI. Keep your message easy to digest and attractive to readers, and always make sure to keep your target audience in mind. Are they seeking long documented articles or quick bites of entertaining facts? These are all factors that should be taken into consideration. Sub headers, high quality images, and well-designed graphics will make your content pop and keep readers engaged!

3. WordPress Plugins
You can use simple plugins to make your content more shareable; this in turn can help with social media efforts. Twitter cards, Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol are just a couple easy and free ways to control how your content looks when it’s shared on social networks. Jetpack, a wonderful tool we utilize in house, offers great tools to harness the visual impact of your content. Be proud of your content and equip yourself with the tools necessary to feel confident about how your content looks.

4. APA & MLA
Regardless of where your loyalty resides, keeping the basic principles of APA & MLA formatting will help you in the long run. These styles of writing help to convey your message in a clear, concise way and help translate ideas successfully. The most helpful way to apply APA & MLA techniques to your content is through editing. Having carefully edited content will give your voice more authority, in addition to making the content more authoritative.

Aesthetically pleasing content can be achieved through well thought out ideas, organization, and loving execution.