Do you need a website?
Many marketers would be astounded that I have even asked the question. In today’s modern world and circumstances, how can anyone not have a website? Surely a business can’t survive without a website to attract, inform and convert people into paying customers?
Do I need a website for my business?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I continued to come across businesses who didn’t have a website - yet they had been in business for a number of years, rather than weeks.
These businesses had survived on other tools and techniques. The independent cafe that attracted customers through Google Search (using Google My Business), a Facebook page and word of mouth, the coach that built his reputation from a heavy investment in networking and referrals and the construction company that partnered with key suppliers who would ‘throw work their way’ on a regular basis and they did very little marketing at all.
Survive or thrive?
From the above examples, it’s possible to run a business without a website (Shock! Horror! Really?). These companies are clearly the exception and the number of business that can do this over the long-term has to be dropping*. While some businesses without a website have been able to continue to thrive and grow, I believe that most are simply surviving. Without factoring in COVID-19, If you asked them how business is going, they would respond “it’s ok. Not brilliant but you know. We are still going and earning enough”.
“If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten” - unknown
… or maybe not?
If a business is happy surviving and has no ambition to grow or take their business ‘to the next level’ then it might be possible to survive by doing very little marketing or without a website, but this is a very risky strategy (or should I say a very risk not-a-strategy?). As much as I love the above quote, there’s an equally powerful quote for businesses that I like:
"If you don't drive your business, you will be driven out of business" - Forbes
Standing still on activities could actually mean going backwards. Not doing marketing activities or not having a website doesn’t mean your business will continue to generate business at its current level. It means you could lose business, sales will most likely decline and survival is less likely. I remember meeting a business owner, who provided trade services, at a networking event a few years ago. He said that, after around 10 years in business, he was networking for the first time and having to look at his marketing. They had relied for many years on word of mouth, but business was, in his words ‘beginning to dry up’.
The benefits of a website for your business
We won’t go through all of the benefits of a website here, but having a website means you can be found by more potential customers through channels such as Google Search. Potential customers are more likely to trust your brand and therefore use your services, and you can also create more marketing activities that generate a higher conversion rate. Examples of the latter include a simple landing page with a special offer or using Facebook Pixel code to drive down costs and better target your audience when running an Ad.
You probably knew the answer to this already but, if you are serious about staying in business or growing it, then a website should be at the heart of any sales and marketing activity. Yes, people buy from people and referrals are a powerful form of marketing, but this has its limits - especially over the long term.
If you are still in ANY doubt then do a quick calculation - how many customers do I need to generate to pay for a new or an updated site? For many businesses, an effective website will help attract a much larger number of paying customers. It’s almost, if not completely, a no-brainer.
If you would like to find out more about effective websites and pricing, visit the Think Twice Marketing web services landing page.
*I don’t have stats on this but I’m guessing it’s a pretty good gut feeling I have.
Visual content is more powerful and more effective than text based content and highly visual, engaging videos are more effective than images.
The reason for this is that our minds process information better when it's visual and while images might get our attention, videos are better at keeping our attention. Having the right video can also provide more information about the benefits of your brand and what you offer.
In this blog post, we will discuss the various types of video that you can use in your marketing. You migh also be interested in our blog post Do you need videos in your marketing? (which goes more in depth into the benefits of using video in your marketing activities.
What types of video can I use in my marketing?
When creating videos for marketing, there are various types of videos you can use. The type of video you use will depend on your objectives and other factors such as who your target audience is.
Here are some of the most popular and most effective type of videos you can use:
(Note: You may come across different names for some of these videos. We mention some of the alternative names where possible).
Also known as dynamic illustrations or explainer videos. Animated videos can contain cartoon-style drawings and animation such as a hand, writing the words across the screen. Animated videos are normally very short (up to 2-3 minutes) and have a very high tempo.
Animated videos are great for explaining how a product or process works which is why they are referred to as explainer videos.
Here’s an example of an animated video we did explaining how Google Search works.
Animated videos are great for keeping the attention of your target audience but on the downside, they don’t have real people in the videos and possibly lack the personality of some of the videos mentioned below. A video featuring you, people in your business or your customers talking about your service allows potential customers to become more familiar with your brand and to build a stronger bond.
Corporate videos are a great way to show how professional and established a business is. These videos tend to be longer than animated videos and for best results, they are typically up to 10 minutes long. The video might include shots of the offices, the manufacturing or design areas, staff and possibly customers. A mixture of music and spoken audio (whether that’s someone in front of the camera or a voice-over) brings the video to life.
Corporate videos promote the brand and the company as a whole. They are useful for presentations and for showing to potential clients when bidding for business as they give valuable insights into how the business can help.
These types of videos, however, aren’t usually the most exciting videos, and they only connect with customers on a higher, possibly more superficial, level.
Is your product or service any good? How can anyone trust that you deliver a good service or that you will deliver on your promises?
The ultimate way to do this pre-sale is to be referred to and recommended by another customer who thinks what you have done for them is amazing. Of course, this isn’t always possible and many potential customers will find you through various marketing campaigns and channels. Having testimonial videos on your website and that you showcase on social media is a great way to convince people to buy from you.
A testimonial video involves having one or more customers on camera explaining what you did for them, the benefits and how it made them feel. Videos can be as short as 20 seconds with one customer or as long as 1-2 minutes with several customers giving very brief feedback.
The main challenge with testimonial videos is having customers who are willing to go on camera and finding the time and resources to record and edit the video. Having written testimonials is much easier and still powerful, but nothing is better than seeing a customer saying how delighted they are!
Live (and recorded) social videos
These types of videos can vary in style and length. They can be the ‘on-the-fly’ style videos - you’ve probably seen the guy walking down a busy street using the camera on his phone, telling you what he is up to and sharing his top tip or thought of the day. They can also be a carefully planned out Facebook Live video recorded from your office that lasts anything up to an hour! (personally, I think that anything over 20 minutes is too long but there are circumstances where longer videos are needed).
Live videos are great for engaging your audience on social media and allow your fans to build familiarity with you and your brand on a personal level. Done properly, they can even be recorded and used in an Ads campaign to promote a service or special offer.
One speaker personal videos
This type of video is very similar to Live social videos. The only difference is that they aren’t live. These videos typically involve one person, talking on camera about a topic that interests your audience. This might be a special promotion you are running or it could be providing some great advice. A business coach, for example, might do a quick video to discuss the importance of delegating or how to motivate and lead a team for effective results.
Presentation style pictures and sound
There are a number of apps available that allow you to upload images and select a background soundtrack. The app then creates a video which involves playing the images in a sequence with the background soundtrack. You can also add overlay wording and special effects such as having an image fade out or zoom in. Using these apps are generally low cost and relatively easy to make compared to hiring a professional. They are also very effective but lack the personal touch that live social or testimonial videos provide.
Presentation style videos are great for presenting products such as tasty food dishes for a restaurant. They are also great for providing a summary of a blog post that you have written.
At Think Twice Marketing, we convert many of our blog posts into a video you can watch. See the video at the bottom of this blog post! We also offer this as a service to customers. Get in touch to find out more.
Desktop/Webinar style videos
Webinars involve sharing your screen, PowerPoint slides and possibly your face on the screen. They are a great way to interact and explain how something works and are often used with an educational focus. These videos can be used as part of the sales process by capturing leads (the people who attend your webinar, for example). Webinars can be delivered live or pre-recorded and hosted online, for example on your website.
GIF images are very short videos with no sound. You can source ready-made GIFs from websites such as Giphy and you can also make your own GIF image by using a third-party app to combine images together. GIFs are great for social media and email marketing as they are quick and easy to source and can grab the readers attention. You might point out that they aren’t really a video as there is no sound, they just bring images to life and they are very short but we have included them as they can provide a sequence of images like a video and they provide animation.
Above are the main types of videos you can use in your marketing. It’s important to use the right type of video for your objectives and to plan in advance what the video will include. You don’t, for example, want to start a live video and then realise that you aren’t sure what you want to cover in it!
If you would like help understanding how to use videos in your marketing, get in touch. We are happy to help.
why write blog posts?
If you aren't sure of the value of writing blog posts for your business then this article is a MUST read. Over the years, I have had many conversations with business owners who don't understand the benefits of writing a blog post.
Added to this, writing a blog post can feel overwhelming. If you are worried that you don't know what to write about then visit our blog post What should you write about in a blog post.
Why write a blog post for your business?
There are various reasons why your website should have blog posts. Here are the main ones:
To drive people to your site
If you write valuable content that's relevant to what you offer then you can use blog posts to drive visitors to your site where they can then find out more about your products or services.
To get found on Google
If blog posts are written properly then it's possible to be found in Google search. Let's say you sell skincare products for acne and you write an article 'does toothpaste work on acne'. If the blog post is written with the right keywords and URL and holds the readers attention then your post is more likely to appear in search engines when someone types 'does toothpaste work on acne'.
To provide proof of your credibility
Imagine you are looking for an accountant or a bookkeeper and you come across a website offering these services. Up to date blog posts with top tips for managing your finance or how to be more efficient with your bookkeeping would help convince you that they know what they are talking about.
Adding a personal style also helps the reader to feel more familiar and comfortable with you as well. Something that's easier to do with a blog post than in general on a website.
Your own personal development
This might not be considered as important compared to the previous points but writing blogs is a great way to re-enforce what you know or are an expert in. You will most likely learn more and develop your thoughts. Quite often when writing blog posts or preparing for training I find myself double checking the facts and researching to see what else I might not be aware of.
Whether you use blogging for all of the reasons above or not, there are clear benefits to blogging for your business. Think Twice Marketing offers blog post writing to help you grow your business. Get in touch for a free marketing review or to find out more about our blogging services.
As a recap, why not watch this short video 'Why write blog posts?'.
If you would like tips on how to make content visual then check out this guide to using visual images for your business.
The opinions in these blog posts are those of marketing expert and book author Darren Hignett.