Blog: Design Tips Archive

Why You Should Use Email Marketing

Email Marketing is a direct marketing technique that lets you speak to your customers and clients via their inbox. Used effectively, it can be a valuable addition to your marketing strategy. Read below on ‘Why you should use Email Marketing’

Why You Should Use Email Marketing

1. It’s targeted, unlike a flyer drop or TV and radio advertising email marketing is targeted. Spam laws ensure that you are only going to talk to people that already have a connection with your business.

2. It is low cost item to implement and has good return on investment.
Once you have set up your system it is a relatively ‘low cost’ medium to use, and your targeted data base should ensure a higher conversion rate.

3. You can ‘Track and Measure’ your results. Most email systems will give you real time data on your open rates, who in your database is engaging with you and what links get more attention than others.

4. Email marketing is very customisable. You can split your data base into segments, according to industry, location, gender and more. So that the right people get the right message every time.

5. It’s mobile so your message will travel with them.
The majority of people now check their email on the go via a mobile device.

6. You can customise your templates so that they are an extension of your branding. Give your newsletters a personality that matches your branding and core message.

Most importantly paired with other marketing measures such as direct mail, social media, phone and face to face contact, it can yield very effective results.

How To Create A Google Analytics Account For Your Website

Need a Google Analytics account, but don’t know quite how to do it? In this blog, we will walk you through how to create a Google Analytics account for your website, step-by-step.

By setting up a Google Analytics account for your website, you will have access to the data that reports how users are finding your site, what keywords they use to search, what pages visitors spend the most time on and lead sources such as other sites and social media. Using Google Analytics can better help you understand the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, visitors and help you to optimise your conversions and sales.

To get started with Google Analytics, you’ll first need a Google account. If you already have a Gmail account, you’ll be able to use the username and password from that account. If not you can create your Google account via this link.

Step 1. Go to the Google Analytics page and click the ‘Sign in to Google Analytics’  link in the top right corner.

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Step 2. Once you have signed in to Google Analytics, click on Create New Account. This will set up a new profile to track your e-commerce site analytics.

Step 3. On the next screen, choose Website and complete the required details to track your website analytics.

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Step 4. Click Get Tracking ID at the bottom of the page to get your tracking code.

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Step 5. On the following page, you’ll notice that the tracking code has been generated.

Step 6. Congratulations! You should now have a Google Analytics account and tracking code, from there Neon Zoo will request information to add this code to your new website.

 

Why can’t I find my new website on Google?

So, your new website has just gone live – Congratulations!

But all to often the celebration of getting your site live is followed by the question of: “why can’t I find my new website on Google?”

This is a comment we hear all to often about how businesses can find their site when they type in their exact website address, however, if typed into a search engine (such as Google) it is almost impossible to find their site. To this, there a few influencing factors and ways which you can nurture your site so that it indexes (lists, or is found) on search engines such as Google.

As your site is brand spanking new, it will take a few days, sometimes weeks for Google (and other search engines) to index (list) your site. Be patient, this is not something that will happen overnight.

Whilst this is happening, we encourage that clients don’t just wait for their site to appear as there are a few ways to help your site index and most importantly be found online! See below some useful tips:

Why can't find I find my website on Google

1. In-bound links:

Authoritative sites that are deemed ‘credible’, such as industry associations, industry related blogs, directories and industry related websites. If these or similar sites link to your site, then this is considered a ‘good’ inbound link. A search engine such as Google or Yahoo will read this as ‘vote’ to your site by a relevant and credible source, within your industry. By having credible inbound links, it will help to rank your site against industry competitors.

2. Internal links:

Creating internal links between pages within your site will again help to build your SEO (search engine optimisation). An internal link points to another page on the same website and helps to establish link ‘architecture’ and a ‘crawl-able’ link structure for search engines such as Google to read your site.

3. Generate new content:

Search engines use an algorithm when ‘crawling’ the internet to rank sites. If your site is regularly updated with relevant and ‘rich’ content, compared to a competing site which is static, has out-of-date content and hasn’t been updated regularly – then the search engine will rank your site (the regularly updated site) above competing static site. With all websites, we recommend updating your site with relevant and new content as frequently as possible. We encourage clients to try and make sure that each page on their site focuses on the key words that potential clients may use search for their product and/or service ie: ‘Why can’t I find my new website on Google?’. Blog content is generally crawled and indexed much faster than ‘general’ site pages and is a great way to get new relevant, ‘rich’ content on your site, so it’s best to take this into consideration when updating your page content.

4. Social media:

Post, update and encourage engagement via social media. Each time you comment or there is ‘engagement’ (ie; comments, likes, sharing) of your posts or with you via social media, search engines will read this and it will benefit the indexing of your site. If you have a Google+ or Facebook account then you can also ask for reviews from your clients and suppliers which will assist with your overall site ranking.

5. Key words/search terms: 

Try and focus each page on your site to one search term and re-word/re-phrase it organically into your content for that page. This is a great way to generate for you to your key pages based on the products and/or services that you offer within your business. With blog posts, focus on one specific topic, question or tip so that your content is deemed ‘rich’ rather than diluted by the search engine.

Please note: These are just some basic SEO tips that you can do to help index your site once you have launched. Search engines such as Google are continually changing their algorithm with how they read sites and index pages, so watch this space as we aim to keep you up-to-date.

Remember, log on to your Google Analytics account and review the data. See how people are searching for your website, what page they spend most time on and other information about your site that might be relevant to you. I would also suggest taking the time to brain storm key words that customers might use to search for your product and/or service and to try and integrate those search terms as organically as possible into your website content.

For more information about indexing your site, talk to us at Neon Zoo!

What is a Design Brief?

It’s a term we throw around the studio all the time and something we won’t start a project without! But for many clients, they want to know: What is a design brief?

Briefs come in all shapes and sizes and as a designer, it is best practice to for us to understand the project at hand before we get to work on the design concept.

So, what is a design brief? A design brief articulates the desired results and the businesses, persons or organisations need for the design. Rather than focusing on aesthetics, a design brief is what outlines your project goals and objectives. As a client, it is essential to the success of your project that the brief clarifies that we have understood you and your project requirements correctly. Below are a few points we like to give our clients to follow in order to build your design brief:

1. Know who you are as a business.

  • New or established business
  • Product/service offering
  • Point of difference
  • Key brand themes and objectives
  • Business scope

2. Clearly define your project objective.

  • What is the purpose of the project?
  • Is it to educate your audience on a new product/service?
  • Is it to develop a new business brand?
  • Is it to create a website that is easy to navigate for clients and clearly defines your service offerings?

3. What are the design considerations?

  • Market influences, such as customers & competitors
  • Other design materials
  • Is it a new or existing business?
  • What is the context of the design?
  • How will the design be delivered? ie; print or digital
  • Inspiring brands, websites and campaigns
  • Most important message to be communicated to your market

4. Know your target market.

  • Who are they?
  • Where are they located?
  • What is their buying motivations?

5. What is your project timeframe?

  • Project schedule & stages

6. How will the success of the project be measured?

  • Sales growth
  • New clients
  • Repeat clients
  • Increased brand awareness
  • Internal management structures

7. Project specifications and scope

  • Print requirements
  • Digital requirements
  • Copywriting requirements
  • Photography requirements

When we develop design briefs for projects, we pull information collected from conversations and discussions that we’ve had with our clients about the project using the points above. With each of our briefs we encourage clients to correct us if we have mis-heard or mis-understood anything so that we have a clear understanding of the project before we get started on the creative and design component of the project.

When developing a design brief, we will supply this to the client with a mood board (read more about what is a mood board here. A mood board is visual reference of found images for the client to review in conjunction with the design brief.

We will continually refer back to your mood board and design brief as we work on your project to ensure the project doesn’t run off course.

If you have any questions regarding your design brief, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

What is a Mood board?

Mood boards are a collection of found images that help to visually articulate the direction that a design project will take.

You will generally look at a mood board at the start of  a design project and use it to further define the parameters of a brief. Mood boards help when your trying to articulate a visual idea in your head, but are struggling with the words to communicate it. Often in these cases, using reference images to form a mood board can help clients to communicate colours, shapes, compositions and fonts that are relevant, or not, to what they are looking to achieve with their design project.

As a mood board is made up of found images your designer is not asking you to pick which one you want (that would be copying)! Instead they are after clues about what does and doesn’t appeal to you, your market and your project brief. You can look at a design as a whole and say which ones you do and don’t like. Or you can look at smaller aspects such as size, colour, type, composition, shape and feel.

Responses that will help your designer, when providing feedback on a mood board, would include things like;

  • I like the colours used on ‘A’
  • I really dislike the font on ‘B’
  • ‘C’ has great feel to it, I really like it
  • I don’t like anything about ‘F’
  • I like the arrangement of the type on ‘G’
  • ‘H’ is a little too corporate for what I’m after.
  • ‘D’ is my favourite of all of them
  • I really like ‘G’, but I think it is wrong for my market.
  • I like the icon used on ‘E’

Remember when giving responses about your mood board, try to think about it in terms of what will appeal to your target market, not just you.

Your designer will read your responses use them as part of their research and to help guide their designs. Remember, a mood board is a guide only and occasionally your designer will suggest something that contradicts your responses. When this happens though they will have a rational and explain why. For example, “I understand you said that you didn’t want any red in your logo, red is s a very appetising colour so as but as you are a fast food company we though we should explore the option.”

See below for an example of a mood board.

What is a Moodboard

How can a brand increase your businesses value?

A good brand takes an investment of a lot of time, effort and creativity but when assessing a businesses value, this investment can some times be overlooked. But can a brand really increase the value of you business?

When assessing a businesses value there are many elements that can be considered,

  • Reason for the sale of a business
  • Age of the business
  • Assets such as property, machinery and stock
  • Past financial statements and forecast sales
  • Market conditions
  • Brand equity or brand value

Many of these are tangible items or figures that can be worked out using formulas. But can you really value a business based on it’s brand?

The short answer is yes.

A strong brand can influence buying decisions and create relationships between a business and it’s consumers. A strong brand could therefore generate more income through consumers choosing their product or service over another based on brand elements (name, logo, packaging etc) and people’s perceptions of that brand.

A company with a strong brand has better potential to expand its product range, maintain and grow their market share through repeat business and consumer loyalty. It also gives businesses the power to charge a higher fee for for a product or service that is the same (or very similar) to another product in the marketplace.

Think about some of the go-to brands? Apple, Bonds, Nike, Coca-Cola. Why does the public continually support these brands? What factors affect people’s buying decision and to pay more for their products?

So how can you strengthen your brand?

  • Create a great brand (this can include name, logo, packaging, web design, language, advertising etc)
  • Secure your brand by Trademarking it.
  • Continue to develop, strengthen and grow your brand and it’s personality (it does not stop with just a logo).
  • Get brand advocates, i.e people who will speak favourably of your brand.

How can a brand increase a businesses value

Setting yourself up for your best year yet: 2015

The new year always brings big plans and resolutions, but like most people we start the year thinking we have plenty of time to achieve our goals and then quickly let the year slip away.

We all know you can’t eat an elephant in one bite, so we have decided to share our goal sheet that we use to help us prepare and reach our targets. The planner helps to break down goals into bite size chunks, set a time lines and gives us a motivational reward for when we reach our target.

Download the PDF here to set yourself up for your best year yet and to achieve the goals within your business or personal life.

Don’t forget the SMART rules when filling in your goals:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Time Bound

Enjoy!

Neon Zoo goal planner

Google Helps Users Find Mobile ‘Friendly’ Sites

I don’t know about you, but I find it pretty frustrating when I find a website that I want to check out on my phone, only to find that I have to ‘zoom in’ and ‘expand’ to read the site content because it’s not optimised for ‘hand-held’ devices.

Lately, we’ve been encouraging clients to build or update their website to be responsive – this means the site is set up to be mobile and tablet ‘friendly’. Now, whilst this is great for user experience and location based searches, it has now become even more beneficial to businesses with Google now promoting sites as ‘Mobile Friendly’ to it’s users accessing the search engine from their phones.

See below an example when searching our own Neon Zoo website:

Neon Zoo website design mobile friendly for google searching

To ensure the ‘Googlebot’ reads your site as optimised, you can check out their latest Google Webmaster blog here to for their handy tips and tricks. Google notes that this is the first step in promoting optimised sites and will look at ranking those sites that are optimised above those that aren’t in future site ranking criteria.

Whilst having an optimised site is beneficial for businesses and their site ranking, it also makes web browsing a better user experience for clients and consumers.

 

 

How Can Instagram Help Your Business

Part 2 of our social media focuses on Instagram (See our post on Facebook here)  and how you could use it to market your business.

Instagram

1. Engagement 
Instagram achieves a greater level of engagement (likes/comments and reposts) than all other social media platforms. See the Forrester study here.

2. Exposure.
Each of your posts will be highly visible, there is no algorithm (like Facebook has) that controls your feed. So everything you post will be seen in the feed of your followers.

3. Hashtags
You can use hashtag to help your content be searchable, (Don’t know what a hash tag is? Read Alexa’s article on hash tags)

4. It’s extremely easy.
No need to over think it. Take photo and post….that’s it.

5. Instagram can give you an opportunity to market your products and services in a creative way.
Ditch the catalogue images and show your products and services being used in real situation.

5. It a great opportunity to add personality to your brand.
Show some behind the scenes image, celebrate milestones, support good causes and generally have fun with it.

Want to get started? First you need to download the app on your iPhone or tablet.

Here’s some businesses that are using Instagram for business really well

1. The Little Veggie Patch Co.

2. Nectar & Stone

3. The Luxe Nomad

4. The Lair

5. Pappa Sven 

Want to learn more? Take a look at the Instagram blog

 

How Can Facebook Help Your Business?

Getting your ‘Insta’ confused with your ‘Pintererst’ or your ‘Facey’ mixed up with your ‘LinkedIn’? When talking to clients we get a lot of questions about which social media platforms they should be using for their business. This is the first in a series of blog posts where we explain the benefits of different social media outlets and how they can work for you.

First up is Facebook  with some of the benefits of using Facebook for your business listed below.

How to use Facebook for business

 

1. Out of sight, out of mind.
Facebook is another way of keeping your brand on peoples minds. It’s also another way for existing and potential clients to find your contact details via a Facebook business page. Business pages will list your phone number, address, reviews and opening hours.

3. Drive traffic to your website
Reposting articles from your blog will help to generate clicks through to your site, which will in turn build your website SEO.

4. By building a network or following on Facebook, you are building a network that can potentially share your message.
Any post that is shared by your audience will be seen by a larger audience. But don’t expect everything you put up to be shared, just like anything else it’s all about having good content. It’s best to try to find a balance between helpful, informative posts and fun posts.

5. Facebook is a low cost marketing tool.
You can create an account in seconds and it won’t cost you a thin! Don’t be fooled, to do it well you must invest the time in your Facebook page if you want to see any results and drive engagement.

6. Help show your brands personality.
Facebook is a way to reach out to your audience and talk directly to them. No need for stuffy corporate messages, use Facebook to show your brands personality and further build the connection between your brand and your audience.

7. It’s instant.
Social media is fast. Having a flash sale? Have some information on a current event? If you have a message to get out there, there’s no quicker way than social media.

 

Remember these golden rules for social media.

1. Be Authentic, the voice you use on social media must accurately represent your business.

2. Be Responsive, if someone interacts with your page, respond to them (even if it’s negative).

3. Post Regularly, inactive Facebook pages will not bring you any benefits.

 

Here’s some examples of businesses that are using Facebook for business really well…

1. Design Files , this is a good example or reposting articles to have people then click through to a website.

2. Doughheads, really good example of instant communications. Doughheads uses Facebook to let people know which markets they’ll be at and when, to generate excitement about new flavours and announce competitions.

2. Pet Rescue, Pet rescue is a Not For Profit organisation and they use Facebook to generate awareness, encourage donations and most importantly help many needy pets to find their ‘forever’ homes.

3. Threadless, They post a lot of fun content and get their audience involved by asking their opinion on designs – engagement!