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It’'s fair to say as business owners we love to talk about our businesses. The thing is, with our enthusiasm to tell potential customers about our business, we fail to tell people why would pick your business - should they be in the market for our product or service. So take the time to work out what the benefit is to the customer and tell them. Spend less time “we’ing” and more time “you’ing”. If you can make it clearer how you stand out, you’ll attract more people to your business. So the next time, before you wax lyrical about your business, tell people how many staff you have and how much you’ve invested - equate it to how that benefits to the customer - or leave it out.

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Imagine going out to visit your customer. Its the first day of the new year. You have your brand new wardrobe at your disposal. You don your brand new shirt and suit. Put on a smashing pair black shoes and head out the door. Now lets say that you never returned home for a year. Sounds ridiculous. But keep with me. Your clothes would look great for a week or two. But would be walking off you after a month. Those brand new shoes would have seen better days. All in all you would look tired and unloved.

And the same goes for marketing messages - especially on a website. Keeping the same message, images and informaiton on a website for longer than a few weeks, could mean that your message becomes lost - or never looked at - or somewhat bedraggled! Keep content fresh, keep your ideas flowing and above all - keep people coming back to your website.

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We have long been the advocate of making sure that your website is "mobile-friendly", however some businesses don't see the need. It is however becoming clearer that search engines - such as Google are driving the wedge even further into the divide of mobile-friendly/unfriendly websites. They have started a pilot on their search engine that displays an icon to show whether a site is friendly or not. The icon is a small mobile device with a slash through it to portray non-mobile-friendly.

 

You can bet your bottom dollar that once this has been tested and rolled out - it will have an impact on SEO. Those which comply to more of the areas Google wishes to promote will be higher in the rankings than those who are not. Our advice - if you haven't already done so - ensure your website complies!

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Having received a mixed bag response from many businesses, it seems that in the UK, Googles Pigeon update has matured into a positive experience for many. Those who found little or no difference have, more recently found Pigeon to have put them back into the position they were in before May's shake up of ranking algorithm. Which goes to show, if your business relies on internet marketing as source of business - you need to ensure that you are watching out for curve balls. One client noticed a drop off of over 50% in enquiries - through nothing they had changed - but have now having had their site restored onto page one - enquiries have picked up. This was bad for them in the interim - but important for them to understand how important their website was for their business.

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Googles recent update dubbed Pigeon by Search Engine Land had SEO boffs flapping this week. Many local found businesses suffered as directory listings made significant ground in search engine rankings. In some respects however other local businesses are showing signs of improvement. The key thing - as ever is relevance - but what it is that makes one site more relevant than another is at the moment anyones guess.

 

Some directory listings have jumped up - temporarily, but are not showing relevant copy - and so we would conclude that Pigeon is a working progress for Google and that it will take a while for the dust to settle. We'll keep you updated!

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LDS. The longest established leaflet distributors inCambridge and the surrounding area have had a site designed by It Genetics. LDS wanted to have a simple, no nonsense approach to a new site - that gets noticed and has clear messages for those visiting. The site has some striking photography and some really interesting tips and trixks on how to get your elaflet noticed above the others that come through your letterbox. check out LDS website.

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At It Genetics we always strive to bridge the gap between online and offline examples of marketing. We came across iBeacons, a small computer that sends signals to passing Bluetooth devices to tell them proximity and a unique ID. This in turn - via an app can tell the passing mobile device to:

 

show a message

show a page of information

make a noise

give a voucher

 

Imagine walking through a shop and being able to check the size of an item of clothing on your phone, or check out the offers without scouring the shop for the offer board. Well now you can. We are currently developing a prototype solution for a retailer right now and will report back when we have it complete and ready to demonstrate. The future is iBeacons!

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Who is your most valued sales person? Is it you? A sales professional? It's more likely to be your website. The unsung hero of any business. The asset that doesn't ask for a pay rise or time off at the most inconvenient times. Your website is on call all day everyday to promote your business at the touch of a button. Your website backs up what you say to clients - or even talks to clients to warm them up a bit. Isn't it fair to say that we can all be a bit guilty of neglecting our best sales asset?

 

When was the last time you added a blog? Or changed a page or even added a picture? If it is over a month ago - shame on you. You are already losing out on traffic coming to your website. Why I hear you ask? Well, look at it in a shop perspective. If a shop you frequent never changes its offers or shop window for that matter - would you keep visiting?

 

Unlikely - why? because you already "know" what they sell. Doesn't matter if you have changed your offer - if you don't show that to your prospective clients they don't know.

 

So take some time today to promote your website, give it a little tender loving care and help customers see why you are the best in your field.

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When asked how a clients website is performing - more often than not the client is too sure. "We get a lot of phone calls - but I don't think that is to do with the website" said one client. When asked what other marketing they are undertaking "none" came the reply. that means that somehow - clients are magically contacting my client for no apparent reason. Curious.

 

Of course this is not the case at all. As was proven when we utilised a little know way to close the loop between online and offline marketing. It has been long regarded that many visitors contact a company by different means - i.e a phone call. This has been difficult to track - but with some clever wizardry we can link a telephone number - specifically for the website to place data straight into Google Analytics.

 

Imagine being able to see how many calls and how long they were, when they were made and from where. Well that just became possible!

 

If you would like to bridge the gap between analogue and digital marketing - you know where to call. It Genetics - 01223 650009

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It's fair to say that your website is you best salesman. It never sleeps, never asks for a payrise, is always on message and doesn't have costly expenses bills! That being said if we were faced with a salesman coming around every two weeks with exactly the same sales pitch - never changing - always constant, in all likelihood we would give them short change after a few visits. But isn't that the same with your website? If you never change anything you never give yourself the opportunity to pique someones interest or inspire them to try something different.

Keep your website changing - add new content, write a blog, offer suggestions and success stories, people love to hear how your product or services have benefitted clients. Visit your site with fresh eyes and think "have I read this before?" and most importantly MAKE THE CHANGE. Have a goal of changing one page per month - you'll have new, fresh content in no time.

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It's funny what greed can do to some people. To frame that statement let me tell you a short story about a company we have been working with. They are a trusting company - who had some years ago employed a web developer to create their second website. This designer was friends with the family who owned the business and therefore was deemed to be "trustworthy". It had transpired that the previous web company had registered the domain name of the company into their own company name - therefore taking legal title to the domain but "charging the client" yearly to "use" the domain. This had been news to the client as they thought all along that they had title to the domain.

Enter the apparent knight in shining armour - who managed to broker a deal to get the title of the domain for the client. You have probably already guessed that the "knight" had in fact changed the details into his own name - again scuppering the client when - fast forward 3 years we came on the scene, he pulled the same stunt. This time however the demands were so ridiculous that they have had to buy new domain names and start again.

The moral of the story is to ensure that you have checked who owns YOUR DOMAIN - do it today. Go onto any website that checks domains: for exmaple http://www.whois-search.com and look to see if YOU own the domain. If not - find out who does and have a sensible conversation about getting the title changed to your name.

Having spoken to Nominet - it is very difficult to successfully claim a domain is yours without the courts and a LOT of money. There are some things that can be done and can sometimes work out OK - but normally - getting it right the first time is key to success.

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Have you heard about Panda 4.0? Well its the latest significant update in Google's SEO algorithm changes. This is where authority is put to the test. What does that mean? Well rather than just writing for the sake of writing things - it needs to mean something to "real" people - rather than only meaning something to the search engines. Interesting huh? So when you're thinking of writing a page on your website - or a blog that just has a load of keywords stuffed into it - think - "is this written to help, my clients or my rankings?" If the answer is the former - do it! If the answer is the latter - think long and hard about how you could make it help your clients more.

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Have you noticed that your site has dropped a little (or a lot) over the yule period? Yes? You are not alone. An algorithm which targeted (amongst other things) PageRank - something that was considered unloved by Google. There were good and bad points that resulted in a shuffle in rankings for website owners. You may have already felt the results with your website dropping down the rankings for apparently no good reason. There is always a reason. It is really important to understand why a website is not performing as one would expect. Sometimes it is obvious - with design being a key aspect - other times - not so. Your website should be an important part of your marketing mix and having it fail to perform and not planning to change that is a flaw in business growth.

 

If you need help in getting your website seen by potential clients more often - and for the right reasons - contact us today!

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Do you have a new years resolution that reflects onto your business? Are you looking to increase your sales or increase awareness - cost effectively? Creating or re-creating a website is one of the most cost effective ways to do just that. we have undertaken to work with clients in and around the Cambridge area - who want to make their business different for 2014. Thanks to the experts who work within our business - we have saved our clients a lot of money by talking with them about their aspirations and working through a successful online campaign to achieve their goals. If you would like to be our next success story - call us on 01223 650009. If you're serious about making a change - we're serious about meeting with your to talk about your needs.

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As the google glass phenomenon approaches, potential users have become inquisitive as to the specs of the device it connects to. We already know that it is only partially compatible with Apple devices - and also needs an app to work fully on Android mobile devices. The diea is that the Google Glass is almost autonomous - almost being the operative word. The thinking behind harnessing the mobile device is to stop the owner having to pay our for yet another SIM card to match the phone, the tablet and the glass. That thinking is good. However the device really needs to not rely on the mobile device for anything other than mobile communication. We understand taht this is now the intention of Google.

An insider intimated that the ideal is that Google Glass stands almost apart from the mobile devices apart from the mobile signal - therefore practically making it autonomous. The idea is that you won;t need to download an app or driver - it will just need pairing with a mobile device and you should be good to go. not only will this open the market for Apple adopters, but it means that whatever technology changes may occur in mobile devices the Google Glass SHOULD be untouched in functionality. We wait with baited breat as to the outcome - but we sure are excited to see how useful this device will become!

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Wikipedia define Social Media as:

 

Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.

 

OK - that's great, but what can it do for  the online business or retailer? I have had many comments about social media, many of which are that people just "don't get it" and so they disengage because it all seems like mumbo jumbo. Simply put, social media can not only give the "instant hit" potential of the sale -  but will also continue to promote, even when the customer isn't buying.

 

Every business that successfully employs social media in a winning format employ three very simple but effective secrets to engage visitors and to get the tills ringing.

 

Firstly - Getting the interest in the first place. You need to acquire enough followers on twitter or LIKEers on Facebook and in short enough interested parties to make a social media campaign work. Your target is end-users which is why I am referring to Facebook and Twitter. YouTube is also a good outlet, but normally takes a little more time and energy invested to get something that would reflect your brand. What I would say on that matter however is that if a picture paints a thousand words, then a video paints a million - plus search engines love video! Anyway, getting people interested is paramount to the process.

 

Secondly - planning. Whilst it is great to have people tweeting about the weather and how nice their drive into work was. The reality is that potential customers generally engage when there is something "more" on offer. By that I mean an article on how to plant a tree for example or maybe "The Top 10 mistakes when .....". You may decide to create a series of 10 articles that you can slowly release on your blog and "tweet" that there is a new article. During your series you may decide to employ the simplest, but most effect secret. Having a call to action. By that I mean remember to tell your customers what they need to do and when they need to do it.

 

An example of this is a retailer who ran a very successful campaign using Facebook and Twitter. They decided to celebrate National Friends day (5th August - if you were unsure) by offering a 20% discount voucher. The offer was for both the recipient and a friend were entitled to the discount if they visited the store together. The offer was valid through August. The campaign was a 3-pronged approach - by emailing their customer database, tweeting and Facebooking all at the same time. This provoked a two-fold increase in shop traffic during August - not to mention a 33% open rate when the email hit the inbox of the recipient - which is very high indeed. This prompted several similar campaigns that yielded increases in footfall and trade over the next 12 months whenever an offer was run. The results were not only because of the initial Tweet, Facebook and Emails - it was because the offer caught the imagination of the readers and went viral in the area. This prompted a mini stampede at the store. Plus, being online meant that once a model was proven to work - adapting it for the next offer was a snap! It was also relatively simple to organise and of course it was very cost effective. This is a great example of a well planned campaign with a clear call to action - come to the store with your voucher and bring your friend - you both get discount.

 

Another social media-centric idea that yielded a good success was: check in at our store on Facebook - let the person at the till know that you have checked in - by showing your smartphone and get a 10% discount. Now again, this wasn't something that was sprung in the morning and then run in the afternoon. No! This took preparation and planning - but the call to action was compelling. They prepared the Facebook page, they prepared the people who worked on the checkouts and they ran the campaign with the call to action - "Check in before the check out and check out with a discount" - catchy eh? The benefit with this was that they acquired around 100 Facebook followers in the week and subsequently ran the campaign again a month later.

 

The important point to all of this is that social media WILL make a difference to your  business. It will make a difference like a leaflet or website would. Because it is so easy to use and a synch to get started on - people assume it is easy to drive business to their door. But like any form of marketing - taking the humble leaflet as an example - if the leaflets have the wrong information, or the design is awful, or worse still they stay in a box under your desk they won't yield any business either. Like any sales and marketing tool the use of social media "in anger" - i.e to drive traffic with intent and using a call to action - requires planning. Without a clear, time-bound call to action, the campaign will fail.

 

Many businesses fall at the first hurdle in the "call to action stakes". They fall because they think by saying things like: "we have some a beautiful widget ready for the summer and only £14.95 in store" is a strong enough message.  The belief is that it will get people to smash the door down to buy the widgets. Why should they? There was no call to action and no timeframe - so it becomes non-urgent and gets buried with every other non urgent action in our minds. To drive people to your store, firstly ask what would motivate them to come. Normally an event or offer. Then make sure all of the people involved are well versed in the offer. Next, create the offer. Make sure that the actions you want your customer to take are clear, concise and timebound. Then release the offer. With some imagination and creativity your store could be the next viral movement on social media. So take action today and drive social media business to your store now! And yes - if you hadn't noticed that was a call to action too!

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What a thought provoking question . . . 

 

When asked about whether their contact form is effective - generally - most clients initially say - not really - or 1 or 2 a year (YEAR!!). Let's face it, filling a contact form is hardly an exciting prospect is it? Commiting yourself to a lifetime of "crap" is hardly the most compelling reason to complete a contact form is it?

However, people will complete ANYTHING if you give them a good reason to. They won't complete war and peace, but they might give you their email address and maybe even a phone number! So how could you make this happen? Well - simply put, calls to action. Yes that's right a "call to action". Be very clear - do this and you'll get that, or complete this and we'll do the rest. You get the idea. Make your offer compelling, using freebies or giveaway items. An email address that you can market to is really important, and moreover if someone has completed your form they are at least half interested. Make sure that you actually do what you say you will do. Make sure you do it quickly. Finally, one of the single biggest own-goals I see on peoples website - is that their contact form is hidden away in the bowels of their website. Point to it - make it clear!

And yes that too is a call to action!

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If you want to elevate to the top of a search engine tomorrow - don't even consider SEO. Search engine ranking is a gradual process. Most SEO companies who are worth their salt will suggest a period of at least 3 months to have an impact on the rankings you currently have. But it doesn't end there. It is so vitally important that the correct search terms are agreed at the outset. Wanting to be found for "small widgets in Cambridge" is great if that is what people are likely to be searching for. The reality is that the widget is the cause of a larger service problem like "my big widget has stopped working" and therefore you may wish to rank for that instead or as well as. So having the best search term for your business will certainly help you get found more easily. Do not be fooled that getting it wrong will get no traffic - get it right and your phone will ring off the hook! Once SEO has been refined and is working at getting your website to the top it will slowly move up through the rankings.

 

For more immediate impact - look towards Pay Per Click - again it is vital that a business is prepared to speculate - but also to ensure that the keywords are relevant and drive prospective clients straight to your door. A well crafted PPC campaign will bring more traffic and normally will bring leads and enquiries.

 

Another way is to use e-marketing. If you have a database and you haven't kept in touch lately, think of some interesting information, products and services and send them  - on a drip-feed to your clients over a few weeks or months. Keeping in contact is a sure fire way of being the first person thought about - even if you email ends up in the junk-mail. It is still more likely to get seen there than if your sent by the post a letter addressed to your prospect! Secretaries are pre-programmed to filter junk snail mail. However with e-marketing generally it reaches your recipients!

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Search Engine Optimisation is indeed a dark art. Once upon a time, it was a case of jamming as many keywords and quality descriptions into a page, and waiting for the robots to index. Nowadays the whole process is much more protracted and ambiguous. For example, did you realise that the weighting between on-page (what you type into your website) and off-page (links from other places on the web) are now around 70%/30% split in favour of "off-page" optimisation! We have wracked our brains and ahve come up with a list fo 5 top tips for SEO:

 

1) Write for humans. Seems like a daft thing to say. The truth is that many "SEO" experts still insist on jamming pages wiht keywords. Newsflash! It is not half as effective as it used to be. Write your copy in an interesting and compelling way. Make people want to read it. It will get shared more and your site will ris ein the rankings (SER).

 

2) Keyword density is not proven one way or the other to work. Stop cramming keywords into your copy. If Google DOES rate the density - you can guarantee one thing - that is you won't be right. So lay off being too clever and concentrate on other areas.

 

3) Get you content out and syndicated. That's right, if you don't have followers - syndicate it yourself. by that I mean - tweet about it and FB it - add a link on Google Plus. All of these actions will get you noticed and push your business higher in the SER.

 

4) Speaking of Google Plus - it is here to stay - for the time being. Embrace it. Set up your Google Plus profiles and authorship profiles. you can guarantee that Google want you to use their service - and they will make it worth your while if you do.

 

5) Stick with the basics first and formost. Compelling title tags and snippets are key to getting noticed on the web.

 

Following these simple rules - will help get your website noticed on the web.

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I had a meeting a couple of weeks ago that really got me thinking about how different products and services that are called the same thing - can be so very different. Take for example, the humble website.

 

The customer could pay anything from free - to £10,000 and anything in between. So what are the differences?

 

1) If a website is low-cost or no-cost. Think about why. The old adage of "owt for nowt" - not getting something for nothing. Some of the common caveats are: advertising is added to the site, can only use templates from a restricted range, restricted add-ons, restrictions on pages, low or no support, no human interaction and no sense checking from a known and trusted expert.

 

2) Editing Access. Most free to create sites, heavily restrict how much you can or cannot eidt or create. Therefor, if you suddenly decide to add a new element to your website - you may find it limiting, stifling your creative flow - so to speak.

 

3) The design aspect. Many sites are based heavily on Flash. As I am sure that many of you already know, Flash is outlawed on Apple devices - meaning that those elements built in Flash won't show. Because of the one size fits all concept, many sites are not optimised for mobile viewing, which makes the site look like its been thrown together - and that is NOT the impression you want a custoemr to walk away with!

 

4) You become an "also ran". Yes that's right. Although a free to build website company may boast (hundreds of templates to choose from) you end up looking like your competitor. The whole thing about business is that you should have a unique offering - which if you use this type of website - you won't have.

 

5) So lets say that your business is thriving and you now want to get serious online. You have been playing with your free site, but realise that it is now limiting your potential. You want to get stuff off the old site. But there is no clear and easy way to do it. You are then faced with a choice of spending a great deal of time (and cash) moving information over - or the other option is to just ditch the whole thing.

 

The long and short of it is that these websites have their place. They're great for small events, school fetes and kids to mess around on. But are they a serious business tool? Compared to a professionally designed site - no. They are less money, but cost you more in lost opportunity and credibility and not to mention the support aspect.

If you're serious about your business speak to an online marketing company that can help your business achieve great things!

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