A web design company can, essentially, do anything related to the creative process in the digital economy. This could include creating web pages for an existing site, creating the design, layout, and foundation for a new site, graphics, animation, style guides, corporate brand and identity solutions, video production and on and on. The list of services a quality web design company can provide is truly endless. The simple answer is that some firms specialize in particular areas or techniques such as animation or certain programmatic languages such as j.son. Other firms are generalists where they sign on clients and serve them from soup to nuts. The difference between these two types is that the former will typically have more clients come through the door as they perform their one service and do it well and then move on to the next whereas the latter will usually serve fewer large clients as many more complimentary services are required and far more attention to detail to ensure that all design transfers properly through the full suite of digital tools. It’s a one and done vs. one steady and stable. For all intents and purposes, they could yield the same revenue but typically the clients with fewer large clients fare better as there is a greater level of trust and the client gets used the process at the firm so instead of starting a new RFP process for a new project, they will simply award it to the existing firm. This is a classic example of the power of relationships at work.
The digital domain grows and expands by the day. What is a fact today will not apply tomorrow. What is very apparent, and this does not only apply in web design but also throughout most industries both on and offline, creative elements have no boundaries, they can and will transfer from device to device and format to channel to discipline and so on. Logically it makes sense that the creative team that designs the corporate identity should also have a say in the website and social media banners and visual images and videos, right?
Perhaps a simplified definition is more suitable. Design refers to the branding, the visual identity, the look and feel of a product, service, website, what have you. The design would also encompass Display ads as they include a visual element as well as Facebook Ads and any medium or channel that hosts the company’s brand identity in a visual format.
In contrast, development refers to the actual writing and implementation of the code base that manifests into the visual representation. The creative design process can be an enormous opportunity while development is finite as it’s limited to only the code language. And, a final analogy is that design represents the front end of a website or app whereas development encompasses the backend functionality.
A digital agency performs the same functions as a web design company but also provides a greater set of benefits including SEO, social media and content marketing, thus allowing you to hire a one-stop-shop for all your most critical digital marketing needs. There is an important caveat here. While technically there is a difference between a digital marketing agency and a web design company the terms are used interchangeably. With each day that passes and the more digital marketing features that are introduced both digital marketing agencies and web design firms are essentially one and the same. They are both hiring the full suite of expertise as no one wants to tell a client that they can’t provide a very complementary service and that the client needs to go hire a different firm. The credibility lost in a simple statement like that is not worth the risk of hiring someone to handle an extra service.
If you want to get technical the differences lie in that actual nomenclature. Digital marketing functions fall under the marketing domain, email marketing, social media marketing, SEO, Display Ads, Lead Generation, Affiliate and, of course, Content Development. While it is necessary that a creative presence be available to design the requisite banners or newsletters it is not as technical creatively when it comes to the actual pixelation and/or resolution. These are not typically impacted in any of the marketing channels. Naturally, social media is on the web so it is web development for all intents and purposes, its intent and purpose is significantly different than graphics created on and for a website.
There are so few firms left that are distinguishable one or the other left that few even bother to explain on their websites any longer. The lines have blurred and they are one and the same. Web design firms include digital marketing and digital marketing firms include web development. In the few cases where they are still separate and distinct and prior to now, web development firms can easily find and hire digital marketing expertise as they already have the skill set in place to assist a marketer with adding banners or shifting sizes or resolution should the marketer need. On the other hand, a digital marketing firm lacks the technical underpinnings to instruct or guide a web designer as the skillsets are not the same. Web design is highly technical expertise whereas digital marketing falls under the more creative, sales and communications fields.
There are many potential reasons for hiring a digital agency depending on your wants and needs but there are three resounding rationales that seem to be most prevalent:
Digital marketing is industry agnostic and suitable for any company or industry. In fact, even companies whose primary services don’t operate online still deploy digital marketing. Look at the car manufacturers. While buying and selling of cars can happen online, the manufacturing plants and the driving of cars certainly cannot happen online. Digital marketing applies to any and every industry. All companies have social media pages to build brand recognition for new distribution and to announce the launch of new products. Every company has a need to optimize SERP results, without question. Can you imagine if someone Googled BMW and the homepage for BMW were at the bottom of the page? Digital marketing budgets typically come from the marketing departments of most companies. Once in a while, you’ll see the sales or communications department leading the charge but in today’s day and age, marketing is usually its own entity each with its own budget.
Clients of a digital marketing agency usually represent the B2B universe (why would a consumer need to hire a digital marketing firm after all?) These companies include:
Before we define the three types of digital direct marketing, we deem it necessary to provide a definition of what digital direct marketing is. While Digital Direct Marketing (DDM) is not terminology you hear often, it is, however, a popular practice used by pretty much everyone in the free world. As the name might suggest, Digital Direct Marketing uses three types of digital mediums to communicate the marketing message: email, the internet, and mobile. Digital Direct Marketing disseminates information online, the same way that the postal service delivers direct mail to your house. Similar to how the USPS captured your postal address in the offline world, firms are able to deal with similar addressability synergies today online as every online consumer has an email address, a browser cookie and/or a mobile phone number.
Digital Direct Marketing is a fan favorite amongst marketers due to the fact that it’s cheaper to produce, send or display as there are no printing or postage costs. It reaches your target persona instantaneously. The performance of these messages has trackable metrics for measuring who clicked, opened, and viewed the content sent. It is customized easily with targeted personal information and preferences and it is GDPR compliant so we know each customer opted-in to receive it. And best of all it can be segmented for A/B testing. The primary benefit to all of this is that capturing this rich online behavioral data and combining it with enterprise customer data, it provides a marketer with significant opportunities for message segmentation and targeted offers that would be impossible under traditional marketing methodologies.
Commencing any digital marketing actions without a thoughtful, strategic and well-considered plan is doomed for failure before you even start as there are too many potential pitfalls. If you don’t plan, plan to fail. A solid strategic plan is worth its weight in gold and will carry you in times of difficulty . Make sure your strategy is comprehensive and that you have thought through your target audience, business objectives, the value proposition, what you hope to achieve.
The following is a baseline strategy for you to use as a guideline:
Remember the purpose of this strategy is to document the detail of your plan, in terms of which campaigns and/or actions you will take, your short – long-term goals, how you intend to achieve your goals at the digital level, the channels you intend to use and why, your investment and the overriding budget and, of course, your timeline.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website to receive free organic traffic from eyeballs present on the search engine results pages (SERP, otherwise known as page one of Google or Bing.) In order to determine the proper placement of each site on Google (known as rankings), the search engines crawl/scan various websites looking to define what the site is about by identifying certain phrases, keywords, content or topic that would confirm that a particular site is inclusive of the necessary content and as a result, earns a higher ranking on the search engine results page.
By nature, the higher you are to the top of the page, the more people will see your site which one can assume translates into higher conversions which directly impacts your P&L. Search engine optimization is essential making your website easy to find, use and categorize. SEO is an essential part of any digital marketing strategy.
KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator and is a measurable goal used to quantify the performance of the marketing strategy. Different KPIs are used for different industries as different metrics matter more than others.
Certain businesses need to emphasize cashflow while others are target AOV for new and returning customers. This is why it’s so critical to perform your due diligence early on in your online journey so that you can educate yourself on which measurements are most important to your type of business and which will be most recognizable to keep an eye on for help identifying an area of trouble. KPIs can include user engagement, site visits, bounce rates, conversion rates, referral rates, etc.
A digital marketing specialist is responsible for developing, implementing and executing a company’s digital marketing program. The specialist owns the role and responsibility of supporting the growth and visibility of the company online which, as a by-product, results in encouraging new leads, filling the sales funnel, gaining attraction and promotion by other participants online such as bloggers, influencers, reporters, among others. In the end, the greater the attention, the greater the visibility, the greater the brand is known and eventually the greater are the number of conversions which is the end game of all Digital Marketing efforts. Conversions are the metric of growth, the symbol of revenue.
The .A specialist is typically the digital voice for the company, its digital storyteller if you will while understanding the nuances of the industry and what is expected of a company online. It is the responsibility of the specialist to continuously measure the various tactics and make modifications as necessary. They must be familiar with many concepts, features, procedures and be proficient in analysis, graphic design, layouts, newsletters, online advertising and keep their finger on the pulse of the ongoing changes Google makes frequently to be able to tweak the campaigns fresh.
Most importantly, the digital marketing specialist is an expert in web marketing analytics and many times is Certified in Google Adwords and/or Google Analytics. Everything they do must measure up against some digital metric or KPI. This is where an experienced digital specialist is worth their weight in gold…they know which KPI are relevant and will get you from A to B and then B to C. This value is even greater if they not only know which metrics apply and why but also how to best measure which attributes are contributing, where and why.
There are a multitude of reasons why digital marketing is a key effort in today’s digital world in which we live. One thing is for sure. Digital marketing is a required tool in any company’s toolkit. Some, to be honest, is quite subjective so it’s important you know what is and is not helpful in growing your business, revenue, conversion, number of clients or whatever it is that is the key contributor to your company’s revenue stream. Where digital marketing becomes important is in getting you from a message, the why of your business model, the reason why a client or customer should care about you or your products and making that message be known via digital channels. The main reason is that digital marketing allows companies to interact with their target audience in real-time, which increases the conversion rate significantly and grants more opportunities if compared with traditional marketing.
It should be noted that where, why and how digital marketing is applied, to whom and for what reason is, many times, a matter of opinion as not all industries, practices, business models respond well to digital forums. Digital marketing is important if your target audience is living online and/or through digital channels. If your target audience is a heart surgeon who spends much of his day in an operating room and your product is shoes made to withstand long hours in the operating room, suggesting that you could reach this surgeon by only digital channels may get you nowhere and fast. Do not pass judgment on digital marketing until you have defined your target audience in great detail, who they are, where they live, what they do for fun, how many kids they have, their favorite colors. All the digital marketing in the world is not going to attract your audience if you don’t know who your audience is and whether or not they are online and then if they are, where are they? The name of the game with digital marketing is knowing who you are trying to reach and how to best reach them. Some demographics respond best to email vs. social while other target groups are all about social media and wouldn’t dare give their email out.
Among the many reasons digital marketing is important is because it is assumed today that most people are spending time involved with digital channels whether it’s reading the news or catching up on the NBA’s scores from last night while you eat a quick sandwich or you are the type who makes time to sit down each night and check your profile pages or read what your friends are up to or read any new articles from your favorite CEO or thought-leader. Perhaps you are trying to beef up your understanding of a new set of golf clubs, whatever it is you do in your personal or professional life it has been proven that we live in a digital society. If everyone is living in this digital domain then that is where you want to market your product or service.
Web development also includes the process of creating creative graphics that make digital products look and feel nice as users experience and interact with them. This is where web designers come into play and you hear software brands such as Photoshop being used come. Web development is typically divided by either the front end and the back end. The back end refers to the development piece where the foundation of the website, the backbone is created to support the front end which includes the design and content and UI/UX.
Also included in the web development process are the functions of cloud computing, hosting/server support (also called web services), network security configuration, content development, graphic design, APIs, CMS, and quality assurance.
Back end web development is essentially the backbone of the web interface, the systems, tools, and programs that make a website run. The back end represents the server support of an application and all that communicates in between the database and the browser the user is actually interacting with. The back end requires highly technical skills some of which are learned in a classroom but many simply by practice.
The back end team is responsible primarily for the site’s responsiveness and speed. Back end developers would also be responsible for third-party integrations and APIs as a means for feeding information to or from the database. As a point of reference, front end developers naturally are focused on the look and feel of the customer-facing part of the interface. There is another term that you will hear frequently and that is “Full Stack Development.” The full-stack developer boasts a skill set born in both front end skills and back end principles. They are a bit of a generalist of sorts as they may not have the same depth and breadth of those who specialize in either front end or back end exclusively.
Albeit sometimes used interchangeably, web design and web development each represent considerably different skill sets. Web design refers to the look and feel of a website, its aesthetics. Web design is also responsible for the usability of a website. Web design falls on the creative end of the spectrum, in essence, a digital graphic designer. Web designers use software such as Photoshop to create the layout and visual elements of a website. The onus is on the web designer to bring the management’s vision to light in a visually pleasing manner. It is their job to effectuate the visual perspective of the words and/or messages the management team is trying to realize. Web designers are visual storytellers. The greater they can bring forth engagement and attract users to an interface the higher the likelihood of ROI.
Among the many differences between web design and web development is the scrutiny of the public availability of design and, thus, greater vulnerability. If web developers make a mistake, cause an error few know who is responsible, they are safe. Each discipline has its benefits and its risks, opportunities, and liabilities but the most challenging comes down to web designers needing to design for a world full of people. When designing a new interface, it theoretically needs to appeal to many preferences, those who prefer red to blue, thin to fat, dark to light, modern to ornate. Each individual on the planet has a separate and distinct opinion and preference. A designer’s mandate is to attract as many of those opinions and preferences all at the same time. If you’ve ever met a designer and didn’t pat them on the back, please do so now. When web designers are good, they tend to be great as it is no easy feat designing a public forum that literally anyone anywhere has access to view. Imagine carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? This is why web designers are so highly celebrated for their work.
An eCommerce website is a terminology used for an online portal that facilitates transactions in the buying and selling of goods and services. By nature of the word “Commerce”, we incorporate the terminology of transacting, buying and selling of goods and services, represented by the transfer of funds between two entities. ECommerce, or electronic commerce, allows a customer to purchase a product and pay for that product through digital funds transfer either with a credit or debit card, electronic payment methods such as PayPal, Apple Pay or Google Pay and have their purchase delivered directly to their home.
The rise of eCommerce relates to convenience, the myriad of savings vehicles availed online that was limited in the physical world including high-value digital coupons and vouchers that aren’t always available in-store, extra rewards such as points, miles, and Cash Back that get layered on top of credit card points, miles and Cash Back, making shopping online a cost-effective process for both buyer and seller.
Further, if you consider the savings on gas by not having to drive to the mall, time from not having to drive around looking for a parking spot or waiting in line at a checkout counter, the benefits of eCommerce give rise to an important lifestyle change. It is these essential factors that explain the unparalleled growth of eCommerce globally.
eCommerce stands for “electronic commerce,” the common terminology that defines the buying and selling of products and services online. In the early days of the internet, eCommerce and other corporate businesses with digital representation, whether the trade was involved or not, started from entities that were offline-first businesses who dipped their toes into the digital world. It wasn’t until a few years later when “digital-only” companies….Google, eBay, Amazon launched, despite some apprehension of the viability of a business operating exclusively online, that the digital world as we know it truly started to emerge.
What followed were many years of new genres of eCommerce sites, apps, tools to service them, and an entirely new digital world was born. It was the older, stodgier, well-known conglomerates that were among the last to the e-table as they struggled with how to balance their in-store model and replicate it online. Once they realized that abandoning the in-store model for their online presence created significant savings, synergies, and growth in revenue, they figured out how to use their physical stores in the role of distribution warehouses deriving an entirely new purpose and resource positive opportunity to make money. Now the tides have turned and some of the largest shopping brands in the world have migrated to a far larger digital presence over their physical stores as the cost for carrying tangible realities is quite expensive and draining on some businesses that operate with already tight margins.
In addition, in the latter part of 2019, companies such as Amazon and Google began the whispers regarding establishing a physical presence in a meaningful way. Not all industries have realized great success online and many continue to struggle. Industries that are popular with consumers such as food and grocery, have the most difficulty maximizing performance as the margin available for supporting physical presences is awfully low and the struggle to deliver fresh food, produce, the shipping and packaging considerations have caused many food and grocery to lag in their establishing a destiny online.
B2B eCommerce refers to exchange of goods and services between two or more companies online. Similar to its B2C counterpart that represents consumers purchasing goods and services from companies and transacting for those purchases online, B2B commerce is one business buying a good or service to be used by another business. For example, a B2C transaction would be when you, as a consumer, buy a book from Amazon, a sweater from the Gap or a cell phone from Best Buy or AliExpress.
A B2B purchase would be for goods and services used by a business such as a hosting company that supports a companies website or an email server that hosts another business’s email operations. Other examples of B2B purchase would include a phone company that provides phone service to another company, commodities that might be used in a manufacturing process, a service such as a marketing firm or a web design firm whose clients are other businesses.
An individual consumer wouldn’t likely need to hire a web design firm for personal use but another business would. It is important to note that there are some companies that are part of both the B2C world and the B2C community. Take companies such as HP or Dell. They are computer manufacturers that are used by people. It is the use of these people that define whether it is B2B or B2C.
If your company buys a full suite of computers and products from Dell to support its employees in doing their jobs each day, that would signify a B2B transaction. Alternatively, if you buy your son a new gaming computer for his 16th birthday that would constitute a B2C transaction.
eCommerce marketing is the process of building a presence, raising visibility, sharing features and benefits and generally promoting an eCommerce business online. eCommerce firms will use a variety of channels and disciplines to advertise their wares from content management, social media, email newsletters, SEO, affiliate sales and the like are all examples of eCommerce marketing channels that a commerce merchant would use to attract new users to its website.
There are various techniques and methodologies for eCommerce marketing depending on what the action or behavior business is trying to render from the traffic they are attempting to generate. A newspaper or magazine service would likely embark on a lead generation approach to marketing to action new potential subscribers of their publication whereas a fashion brand might solicit the help of a blogger or influencer for their eCommerce marketing campaign to take advantage of the writers rich descriptions of the collections that speak to fashion fans in a language they understand.
eCommerce marketing is as much about the person you are targeting to buy your product as it is about the actual product you are trying to sell. eCommerce as an industry has been a key contributor to the growth of digital marketing as a whole.
The process of developing an eCommerce website is not all that different than any other segment or sector. Other than the addition of payment functionality, the balance of the process typically mirrors that of any other industry. That being said, from a web design perspective, how your layout, sales funnel and conversion optimization tools play into the process would be relevant to eCommerce and not likely other industries.
Present products and services on an eCommerce site so that they appear attractive and conducive to conversion is of paramount importance when building an eCommerce marketplace or portal. Due to the transactional nature of eCommerce sites, network security configuration, payment processing, and checkout testing take on a far greater meaning when your entire business depends on the success and favorable user experience.
In addition, when a consumer purchases a product from an eCommerce portal, the portal has an obligation to send confirmation of the purchase details that are accurate and complete. It is important to consider when integrating with payment processors and related commerce services, the web development process will typically require a longer timeline as greater tools and resources must be implemented for functionality, security, and regulatory purposes.
The importance of eCommerce is relative to the individual the question is addressing. Different strokes for different folks. In general, eCommerce does many things that were previously unavailable, or at least limited. eCommerce opens up the world to receive goods, services, products, opportunities from other areas of the world that were previously unavailable. If you look at important world economies such as India, those countries with enormous populations.
Prior to the internet, to buy a pair of shoes in a rural area of India could take 2 hours of travel to visit one store that might not have your size and then another two hours to the next store who had the wrong color and so on. You might have to visit 5 shoe stores to find a pair of shoes that fit you. The stores in India carry limited products due to limited resources, supply cannot keep up with demand and income is so low that, for some, shoes are a once a year luxury. With the growth of the internet and eCommerce, the world’s borders have opened to anyone from anywhere. This growth in commerce has provided cost efficiencies making some products even cheaper and more available to rural India then in prior generations. Other key benefits of the introduction of eCommerce include:
Before we define what a good eCommerce conversion rate is we need to know how conversion rate is defined. We went right to the source of all things analytics, Google. ECommerce conversion rate as defined by Google is:
The ratio of transactions to sessions expressed as a percentage. For example, a ratio of one transaction to every ten sessions would be expressed as an eCommerce Conversion Rate of 10%.
Conversions are the actual orders/visits. Conversion rates vary by types of products, industries, by source and by user intent. Comparing a buyer of a luxury car in Malibu cannot be compared to a new mommy buying formula online in Egypt. As with any unit of measurement, you must align against another complementary/similar unit. Now, that being said, there is this very old, very generic, very misleading number that says average conversion rates are anywhere from 1 ½% to 2%. Similarly, newsletter open rates are said to be at 1 ½% to 2% and just about every generalized metric known to man at some point has been designated with the 1 1/ 2% to 2% Conversion rates vary by industry, product, margin, a region of the world and a host of other metrics or KPIs. What is a good conversion rate for an airline that might be poor for a car manufacturer? More important than this is that every user of every website is going to have a different feeling that causes a different behavior which ultimately affects whether or not a conversion occurs. If I am a loyal shopper of Walmart and shop every month for the last five years, won’t the conversion rate on my purchases be different than someone who has never visited Walmart at all?
By way of a few examples, the gifts category enjoys the highest conversion rate of all eCommerce categories, approx 4.9%, and the popular apparel and footwear category is typically around 4.2%. Compare these to the electronics category that boasts a conversion rate of 1.4% and the DIY & Tools category, approx 1.7%. If you look at the source of the traffic this, too, changes things quite dramatically. For example, conversions driven from social media current are 1% whereas paid search as the traffic source has a conversion rate of 2.9%. Several research studies have documented without question that when users have intent, meaning they are proactively looking for products, those sales, as you might expect, result in higher conversions. Conversion rates also vary by device.
When it comes to off-the-shelf eCommerce platforms, there are quite a few options available. As you might expect, large companies build their own proprietary platforms and plug-in whatever features and tools they wish. Smaller companies, those with fewer resources to invest in a customized platform will typically go with one of the pre-packages plugs and play eCommerce providers. These platforms are very popular and have become very easy to use. The companies that built them have invested in upgrading the various tools and features the platform offers and the prices for using these platforms have decreased as demand has increased. The providers of these infrastructures have done a masterful job at keeping the technology associated with using these sites to a minimum so that pretty much anyone with basic computer knowledge can navigate through launching on one of these platforms with little outside technical support.
Do a Google search for the best eCommerce platforms and you’ll likely see a Top 5, Top 10, Top this or that list for this category and each and every list will have the same platforms in a different order. The bottom line is that they are all good. You are not going to lose with any of the top 10, really! They are all great platforms with slightly different features and tools. A few are more flexible in one set of functions than the others and the others do a better job with a different set of features. At the end of the day, a consumer is not going to know if you use Shopify, WooCommerce, WIX or Magento. If you are looking to purchase one, you can spend hours and hours studying each feature only to arrive at the same answer you likely had when you first look at it. First impressions are a powerful tool, trust your gut. In this case, it’s hard to go wrong. eCommerceCEO.com ranks the top 10 according to several categories including ease of use, design & themes, performance, integrations, etc.
At its core, business development is how the various opportunities, partnerships, relationships, forces, etc. all integrate to create new and future growth opportunities for the business. It is essentially what it says, developing the business. When you think about the definition of development it means to create, combine, build, support different applications, exercises, functions towards creating a new opportunity for your business or for expanding upon an existing part of your business by taking it to a new level, trajectory, peak, goal, etc. Business development could be similar to sales in that it brings new clients or customers into the revenue stream or it realizes new revenue from existing clients. Business development could bring new partnerships or integrations into the business thereby creating a new form of opportunities or profit centers. Similarly, a business development team could be responsible for finding new technologies into the company for combining with other tools resulting in a new product or service offering.
While it sometimes appears as a generic title or role, the importance of business development should not be minimized as, when done right, it could be responsible for the entire revenue stream of the company. It is the implementation and execution of growth opportunities within organizations and between multiple organizations. The beauty of business development is that it is not pigeonholed into any department or role, it is open-ended and covers a wide area in my company. At the end of the day business development is about creating sustainable and valuable opportunities over the long-term.
“Agile” has emerged as one of the most popular buzzwords in IT development today. Agile dates back to 2001 when a group of developers wrote a software development document that they aptly titled the “Agile Manifesto” which has since emerged as the bible for web developers. These developers drafted 12 principles that suggest the process of how software is developed.
To best understand Agile development it helps to understand the historical process of software development which was based on the Waterfall Method. Conceptually, the Waterfall Method called for a grand plan, essentially a step-by-step process to follow from start to end with a complete layout of what section will be built, in what order and following or preceding which other elements. After the complete process was built with each and every element in exact order, they would go ahead and execute step by step, sequentially in the predetermined order. No one was to deviate from the plan, they were expected and required to follow only what they were expected to do during each phase of the timeline. Once this process was completed, the project was complete, whether the product worked or not, whether there was any supply or demand, consumer attraction, etc. None of it mattered as long as you finished your steps in the correct order and then could put a final/approved stamp on it. What worked well with the Waterfall method is that many people think linearly and ask them to follow a logical, thorough and complete project timeline, they accept that as a useful process and can put the project to bed and move on to the next.
In theory, Waterfall was enticing as it allowed you to plan ahead, run its natural pattern/course that falls within reasonably logical terms but that doesn’t mean it goes without issue and it doesn’t mean you have planned each step properly and in the correct order. And, what happens when something does go wrong? It’s similar to trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Waterfall works flawlessly until it doesn’t and then it fails miserably as there is no margin for error. We live in a world full of errors so executing a strategy that has no disaster plan is doomed for failure.
Enter Agile Methodology. Agile forces unconventionality. It fosters a give and take that allows the users to weigh in on the process early on and enables creative thinking to take precedence over the process. It forces out of the box thinking and gives everyone a voice. What happens with Agile is that a project is initially put together based on loose guidelines, opinions, nothing quite as rigid as Waterfall. Agile users see the product early on in the development process and get to weigh in on what they like and dislike. Developers introduce an early model for users to poke holes, give feedback, and offer suggestions and recommendations. Most of all, users are asked what feature is most important to them and that is the primary starting point and where the developers start their work. Once the first feature is completed, they move on to the second most important user feature. And then repeat. Sound innocuous? With this method, you are continually delivering your project over and over throughout and consistently receiving feedback so even if its not 100% complete, it will be somewhat usable and functional, it has been reviewed several times already, a lot of great thinking has gone into it. In addition, you may find that the features your team thought were most important turned out to be completely irrelevant to the user so not only did you avoid wasting time on unimportant features but your project is far cleaner and less complicated and much more in line with what a user wants.
At the core of Agile is simplicity. How can you make this development process any more simple than this? For starters, Agile integrates user stories into the process which is a beneficial tool. If you build your project up against user stories, you are setting yourself up for success as you are already building the development strategy based on the user’s needs. Who is using the feature and how are they using it? Working in small sound bites will produce far more effective results than trying to define a laundry list of features and benefits long before anyone can think about them, let alone build them. That is what Agile is…setting the intention against who the user is, how they are using it and why they are using it. That’s it, that’s all. What more could you need? Why would you need anything more? User stories allow you to break a large project up into much smaller sound bites that are not only more manageable to construct but also prevent that feeling of overwhelming doom of meeting a deadline which is not conducive for creating solid work.
By its common definition, web development is a process of building a website/web service development for the local network or the Internet. It includes all functionalities that are required for building, managing, hosting, using and supporting including web design and content development, testing, network security configuration, hosting.
Branding is an essential marketing function that is responsible for creating or identifying a company and/or product name, the symbol or design that embodies and personifies the meaning of the name, or the graphical expression of how a name brand and its symbol are perceived. Brands are what differentiate and distinguish one product from another. Effective brand strategies give companies and their products a significant competitive edge. Branding is what generates awareness and to what credibility is built upon. The brand is what creates loyalty. As such, it takes time and resources to build a sustainable brand, it is not built overnight.
Hey, after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. A product, service, person or place that is branded develops a personality and a reputation. Such attributes warrant advantages and benefits far beyond those of lesser-known or generic offerings.
What makes branding important is more than just what provides a memorable impression on the minds of consumers. Those who understand the importance of the brand development process rarely complain about the cost as they instinctively know the value. On the contrary, professionals who dismiss branding as an important marketing function tend to struggle with mediocre projects and a faulty conviction that limits their potential earning capacity.
A brand also becomes an indication of the reputation of a product or service and what a consumer can expect from the product and/or you. When you see the Nike Swoosh, you immediately and automatically know that it represents quality, sports, superior craftsmanship, popular, coveted and a host of other emotions and feelings that the brand and its logo represent as-built over years of practice. The brand name or symbol carries a meaning of what the brand stands for, what it represents. A brand distinguishes one product or service from another.
Branding is an essential part of building the name, reputation, visibility, and popularity of a product or service presenting it as an attractive option , as it is:
When it comes to bidding strategies, Google has thought through potentially every need, option and alternative to give advertisers a wide variety of bidding choices. There is something for everyone regardless of the type of campaign.
Experience has taught us the advertiser who is brand-focused, particularly those looking to increase brand awareness (as opposed to driving traffic) is best suited by focusing on viewable cost per thousand impressions (vCPM), a manual bidding strategy for putting their ad message in front of consumers. You can set the highest amount you want to pay for 1,000 viewable ad impressions on Google Display Network.
A brand agent represents a brand similar to how a celebrity agent represents a movie star or a sports agent represents a football player. Their role is to create the brand persona, give it a voice, an image and then manage the image, the presence, and ultimately where and when the brand resides, how its used and where/how it earns money.
Brand agents are the brains behind a brand ensuring that they are where they should be in terms of sponsorships if celebrity talent is supporting or representing the interests of the brand. A brand agent is also the brand strategist and the voice of the brand from behind the scenes. The brand agent decides who gets to use the brand, where and how and negotiates the fees.
In today’s digital age, having a breakout brand is critical if not imperative to achieving a leadership position. Anyone can be average, the average isn’t worth an investment in brand strategy. If a company is serious about shooting for the stars, taking market share from its peer universe, creating a business worthy of notoriety and success, it must buckle down, get serious and define who and what its brand stands for. Half measures availed us nothing. There is only one Nike, one Google, one Amazon. Smart branding is not an option, its requirement for differentiating itself from its competition.
In short, business branding is defined by a complete and total message as the voice of the company and its products or services by using names, logos, signs, logos, slogans, copy and any other collateral. All brands seem to live in a constant state of pursuit. The pursuit of more. More visibility, more recognition, more experience and touchpoints with consumers. Your brand is the public perception you hope resonates with customers every time they interact with your brand.
Business branding is not rocket science but does require a certain level of creativity and a whole lot of strategic thinking. A company’s brand is the single largest intangible asset it will own.
A brand strategy defines what the brand stands for, believes in, the promise you make. While the brand strategy includes your colors, fonts, slogan, etc. these are only the creative elements of the brand. A brand’s meaning and value are what drives the strategy which ultimately defines how it will outperform its competitors and reach its goals. The central feature of any brand strategy, the core, is the positioning in the marketplace.
There are several measures of the cost when discussing a brand. There is the cost for creating a brand, the creation of corporate identity which includes the naming, development of a logo, and could also reflect business cards, stationery, email signatures or any other position where a name and/or brand will be used to represent a company or product.
There is brand equity, which is the total measured value of the brand if an owner were to assign an actual monetary value to it. For example, to use Nike again. If you were going to assign a dollar amount to the Swoosh, how would you do that? You would likely consider the value the impact the logo brings on the emotion of a consumer, i.e. a consumer will likely be willing to pay more for a product by Nike as they know it stands for quality. “willing to pay more” represents brand equity. It is assigning a qualitative and quantitative value of a brand based on its ability to deliver to some metric of value. You pay more for Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags then you for others, right? This is partly because the product is more expensive to manufacture due to superior materials but it is also a result of these companies being able to charge a premium to reflect the brand equity they carry. There is no standard value of such a premium. The premium could be 5% for certain brands where Louis Vuitton or Gucci could charge in excess of 100% as the consumer pays for the cache and distinction of association with the finest of quality.
Mind you, these are distinct charges, they are emotional fees that are typically built into a product price with a margin of valuation relative to those to similar value as well as those on opposite sides of the spectrum.
Brand design is the practice of creating a corporate identity for a company, its product or services. This practice could include the development of the entire image of a company or product. When creating a corporate identity image, brand designers would consider the representative visual identity, i.e. logos, graphics, fonts, colors, etc. as well as defining the meaning of such visual identities. Good brand designers understand how to strike a balance between building both a visual appeal to a brand that complements the emotional hold. For example, it is highly unlikely that you would find a product or manufacturer of men’s rugged work boots for coalmine work with a font in lowercase and a shade of pink. The visual appeal would not be synergistic with the emotion that men’s work boots exude. Brand design, therefore, is the process of actually creating the design for a new brand.
Brand design is among the most important of all marketing functions. It is the practice of creating the name, logo, design elements and symbols related to the brand that gives it a distinct identity compared to other brands in the market. It is a point of product differentiation. Brand design, by nature, must be exclusive and unique and must include the following:
What a brand looks like is just as important as what it means and what type of emotion it generates in the mind of the user. When developing a new brand it’s important that you integrate its framework and characteristics as well as marketing and promotional activities. There is usually a tremendous amount of brainstorming and research in the development process and includes team members across the entire organization as the brand needs to be well aligned with the objectives, values, ethos, and fundamentals of the company and needs to communicate the same message up and down your organization. The selection of design elements such as color, typography, message, story, etc. should complement the personality of the business and its product offerings.
Brand design is not only about catchy logos with memorable taglines and designed stationary. It enjoys an expression, the demeanor of the brand and how employees address stakeholders, whether customers, partners, vendors and meeting their expectations towards the brand.
Corporate branding is the process of promoting the brand as a corporate entity as opposed to products or services. Corporate branding is relative to the company as a whole, on a broader level whereas a product or service brand is representative of just that product or service and its respective functional and visual appeal.
Corporate branding, unlike product branding, relates to the business interests in creating and maintaining a good reputation. Corporate branding reflects the entire organization, regardless of division, products, department, employees, corporate culture as well as corporate social responsibility which has become a prevalent topic over recent years. Every action by a company has a positive or negative effect on its reputation. A wrong decision can have an overarching adverse effect on a corporate brand.
Product branding is the most common form and the easiest type. A product brand is a symbol or design that identifies and/or differentiates a product from other products. When walking through a supermarket full of different products, have you ever noticed how some products are easily noticeable, they literally jump off the shelves at you?
Certain products carry distinct brands whereby their color scheme, package design, images, symbols, and logo make them recognizable without even having to read their name. Back to Nike, you’ll find a Swoosh on every Nike product, some of which don’t ever say the name Nike anyway, we instinctively know that an orange box with a Swoosh is a Nike product.
Local SEO (Local Search Engine Optimization), also known as local search engine marketing, is an effective method for marketing local businesses online, as it allows them to promote their products and services to local consumers at the exact time the consumer is looking for said product. Thanks to Google’s forward-thinking, there are a variety of methods for promoting products at the time when customers are searching for them, some of which differ greatly from what is done in standard SEO.
According to Google, 46% of searches have “local intent.” If you look at standard search, anyone with good enough SEO and authority can rank for a search query such as how to fix a broken light bulb. However, if the query includes purchase intent behind it, it then becomes electricians near me or electricians in Miami. When a local search is performed that includes a location or a “near me” the search engines read that as a request for a location-based request so what they offer on the local search engine results page (SERP) is a list of local search results.
Because the difference in local intent derives from a different local result, one more in line with what exactly you are looking for, certainly makes the case for the value local SEO brings, especially for a smaller company, and definitely illustrates that local SEO is well worth the investment in addition to standard SEO.
Local SEO marketing is a set of activities to make your website easy to find, use, and categorize in local search. This applies to all company sizes.
What local businesses need to improve local traffic to their website or their physical stores is visibility on what is known as the “local pack” or “3-pack”. This is the list of three businesses that appear directly below the map in the results displayed after a Google search with local intent.
If you look at the listings you can see a dramatic difference between what is typically found on SEO search results. Google pulls these details directly from Google My Business listing, a critical part of local SEO marketing.
Lead generation is a process of initiating new interest in a company’s products or services. Depending on the product or service, a lead can take on many forms. If your product is a subscription or insurance, for example, you would start by capturing a consumer’s name and contact info. If your product is running shoes or cell phones, a lead would take the form of a consumer clicking on your banner from a search engine in order to visit your product landing page, or it could be submitting your email address to download a white-paper on the benefits of running that was sponsored by the running shoe company. The white-paper, of course, will have banners and/or ads of the various runnings this is all about.
A lead could also come in the form of a coupon or voucher that a company sends to a consumer who expressed interest to give them an incentive to sample the shoes for themselves. Essentially, lead generation describes the process of stimulating new interest in a product or service for the purpose of generating a sale and/or for building a sales pipeline.
B2B lead generation is a process of generating interest in a company’s products or services, specifically oriented when one company’s products or services are for use by another company. A popular form of lead generation for B2B is often capturing other businesses’ contact information using a web form.
B2B is for products and services that are consumed by another business rather than a consumer audience so the types of lead gen tools will vary from those of consumer-oriented products and services.
Leads are potential customers who are interested in your products or services. To capture these leads and fuel your sales funnel, you will leverage various marketing tactics and tools to encourage the user to sign up for something online by completing a form, contacting the business directly or even walking into a physical store (if applicable.) Whether you need new leads right now or not, there is no harm in continuously priming the pump with cost-effective tactics that deliver results. Constantly feeding the sales funnel with new leads will protect you should times of weakness fall upon you.
There are a variety of lead generation tactics to help you scale your business including:
Lead generation is a process of generating interest in a company’s products or services. This is usually achieved by collecting customer’s info contact info using a web form.
When commencing your search for an agency to support your web design project there are a variety of factors you should look for and questions you should be prepared to ask. Before you speak to anyone, however, do your homework. There is enough research and reviews online that you can find quite a bit about most firms, their pricing structure, services, team, expertise, etc. There is no reason to fly blind in this day and age. There are several key criteria you are going to want to have available to discuss from your perspective and also to question them. Keep in mind, the initial discussion with a web design firm is similar to a job interview. You are feeling them out as they are you. Bring the following with you to the first discussion:
Remember working with an agency as a human component to it. You are working with people, not just a design shop. Most people are able to tell in their gut which is the right match. If not and you find you have made a mistake don’t force the issue. Cut your losses and move on.
The cost of SEO services depends on quite a few variables and several objective and subjective factors. New York agency prices tend to be higher than any other part of the country. But you do get what you pay for, NY is known for attracting leaders in many fields. You can easily find the best of the best, the cream of the crop if you’re willing to pay for it. It is not necessary, however, for a small company to pay for conglomerates prices.
There are many firms of various sizes that are all quality, award-winning design houses. While there are far too many variables to assess for suggesting a definitive fee, it is safe to say that a well-qualified firm is within your reach, especially in NYC. There are also simple SEO plans vs highly comprehensive projects. A lot depends on what you are trying to accomplish, how many keywords you will bid on, will you be engaging in PPC or banner ads? Retargeting? Generally speaking, in 2020 SEO projects cost between $750 and $2000 per month based on the scope of the project.
If you’re looking to try a one-shot project for a set period of time, it could run between $5000 and $30,000 and hourly rates for freelance consultants fall between $80 and $200/per hour.
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