Marketing

How Often Should A Website Design Change?

Okay, hands up, the web design Windsor team at Cayenne Red might well advise their clients to change their websites on a regular basis, but there is wisdom in our words.

No-one would think of wearing the same clothes, day in, day out, for the whole year (well, maybe some of our designers, but not normal people), so in the same way we change for the seasons, a website needs to have a change of clothes at least twice a year.

We are not advocating a complete change. A good website design should have a shelf life of at least two years, if not five. But twice yearly, there should be some changes introduced.

And the reason for this regular facelift is not to keep web designers in business, but to stop a site looking stale, or boring, or possibly worse, behind the times.

And if you want proof as to whether this is a valid argument, then use one of the tools which allows you to look at sites as they were some years ago, and even five years ago. The results will shock you, because most sites change on a regular basis, not only keeping up with the fashions and trends of the day, but also keeping pace with the latest technology advancements.

Websites are still predominantly text based, but you will notice that around the most active websites, the text is surrounded by all manner of plug-ins and software tools. Text may be the search engines friend, but multi-media is playing an increasing important role.

Sites have to be very strong visually and use all manner of techniques to reinforce the central sales messages and calls to actions. And the worse thing a site can be accused of is, is looking staid and boring.

Surfers are fickle and the more they see of sites, the more demanding they are. This is why, despite users moaning when a site changes (look at how Facebook changes are met); the designers know that they have to remain fresh and innovative.

A website cannot be seen to stand still, because the fear is, a bored user will move allegiances and be gone to a competitor in a flash of an eye-lid. And once one goes, more will follow, given that many surfers are like sheep and will follow their friends, colleagues and peers.

So, we reckon that sprucing up a website to keep it fresh and alive is the best way a website owner, or a webmaster, has of boosting their platform.

And, the changes do not have to be radical, but an enhancement of what already exists. Think of how many products are refined over much iteration so that the basic design concept is not lost, but the qualities that made it a success remain.

The key is to plan at least two minor facelifts a year; it’s a great use of the marketing budget.

Biljana Dimovska, Cayenne Red.

Biljana Dimovska is a member of the digital marketing team at PPC Agency Cayenne Red. She is a regular contributor to the media on how companies market themselves in the digital age.

5 Things Your Dog Can Teach You About Marketing

I have a dog. His name is Dubya. He’s My bestfriend.  (I’d like to avoid any political flaming for having a dog named Dubya, so let’s all pretend I gave him that name because he’s a Welsh terrier.)

My weekends are often spent on my back patio having a cerveza and working on my projects while watching Dub get into trouble in the backyard.  These characteristics he’s developed over the last year and a half can help put some perspective into how you can successfully (or very unsuccessfully) market to your customers or consumers.

1. Dubya is easily distracted –  His favorite toy / best friend in the world is his hippo.  The first thing he does when we get home is say hello, and then go into his home and get his hippo out to take wherever we’re going to be spending the evening.  The funny thing is that he loves his hippo until you distract him with his monkey.. then the hippo no longer exists… until he is re-distracted by the hippo again.

Consumers are Easily distracted and distractable.

Marketing works the exact same way. In a nutshell, I am marketing which toy I want Dub to play with (albeit without any personal gain.) Consumers are easily distracted.  In this era of sensational products changing exponentially quicker than Moore’s law should be accounting for, Marketing is playing a larger role than ever before.  How does apple get users to spend 100’s or even 1000’s of dollars on a product knowing that a “refresh” may launch within the next 10-12 months.  Marketing and Distraction.  It works… and i want the iPhone 5…

2.  Neglect is a BAD Thing –  Dubya doesn’t respond well to neglect. (and I promise we don’t actually neglect him)  Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you have to work late, or get stuck in traffic and you arrive home a little later than anticipated.  Dubya is on a strict schedule, with his diet and bathroom breaks.  Any deviation from that schedule and he will knowingly punish us for making him adjust his needs.  There have been multiple occasions when we’ve been left liquid and solid presents for our less than stellar accountability.

Do Not Neglect your Customers, you will regret it

Marketing requires a schedule and a plan.  You have to be prepared to touch and nurture your clients and customers.  you can’t write a blog post once every three months (which we’ve all been guilty of at some point) and expect your readership or business to grow.  Obviously unexpected life events affect our jobs, but having a schedule and proceeding with as little deviation as possible is necessary for any marketing campaign to succeed. All industries have different levels of acceptable touch. It takes research to know how often you can ping your prospects, but once you’ve figured out those ideal numbers, deviation will result in lost opportunities.

3.  Having a dog is Fun! – It is important to have fun.  I’d be stretching this post way to thin if I correlated marketing in companionship, so I won’t, but having a dog is fun.  Dubya provides entertainment, exercise, and many other endearing traits that increase my quality of life substantially.

Marketing Should Be FUN!

Marketing should be just as fun.  If you aren’t having fun in your marketing job (or any job for that matter) you should consider looking for alternate opportunities.  Marketing departments are the fun departments.  You frequently get to think outside the box and tackle problems in unorthodox and creative ways.  Whatever you’re doing, have fun.

“There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something.”
― Henry Ford

4.  Dubya is Unpredictable – That dog has a mind of his own and he always finds a way to surprise me.  From eating his own poop and watching tv, to jumping into the pool to save my wife when he thinks she’s “drowning,” dubya teaches me something new (good and bad) every single day.

The Market is Unpredictable, so the future of marketing is Unpredictable.

Marketing is completely unpredictable.  A year ago nobody could have predicted that pinterest would become a large player for social media marketing.  People were still discussing how QR codes were going to be the next big thing (fail).  With that, we have  no idea where marketing is going in the next year or two.  Newspapers and commercials are fading out, but what does the future hold.  How will we market to consumers that have been raised with complete access to facebook and how will we market to an entire generation of retiring baby boomers.  It’s all in flux and the only constant is change.

5.  Dubya is 100% Loyal – I don’t think anyone can truly understand the feeling unless they have a dog as well.  Not only is he my best friend, but he’s also 100% loyal.  He “protects” the house and my wife at night, he senses trials and tribulations and offers empathy and affection through thick and thin.  This isn’t automatic.  It’s grown, through nurturing, patience, practice, and time.

Treating your customers right will create Brand Loyalty

This one is a little tricky because brand loyalty can be lost by any department in a business.  If a product is substandard loyalty can be driven away.  If Customer Services is improperly trained or under developed, customers will abandon ship.  If marketing creates a substandard message or over promises on product expectations, then loyalty can be lost.  They say it takes a village to raise a child.  If that is the case, it takes an entire organization to launch and maintain successful products.  Work closely with your coherts and drive for success.  If you have a dog, give him a hug for me.