Decoding D-Kode

Digital marketing

D-Kode Tech is a digital marketing company that specializes in helping businesses to optimize their web presence in order to expand global reach and communicate effectively with audiences in an increasingly saturated market. Creating close, trusting partnerships with their clients, D-Kode constructs bespoke, data-driven marketing strategies around the specifics of their clients’ visions and goals. We put together a profile of the firm and its President, Daniel Kodam.

Situated in the San Francisco Bay area of California, D-Kode Tech is a digital marketing agency that is driven by passion for helping businesses and organizations make their mark in the digital world. Specializing in the optimization of web presence and expansion of brand reach, D-Kode’s team of digital and marketing professionals are on hand to help their clients foster and build relationships with audiences around the world.

To achieve maximum results, the D-Kode team utilizes data to build bespoke digital marketing strategies that are far from one-size-fits-all. From the initial consultation, D-Kode creates strong, sustainable partnerships with its clients in order to truly understand their business and its context. With that foundation, the D-Kode team takes an approach that incorporates the specifics of the client’s vision for their business with their own personal goals and what they hope to achieve through digital marketing.

D-Kode serves clients across a broad spectrum of industries, from tech to industrial equipment, home remodeling to garment customization, home security, and more. Regardless of the size of a project, D-Kode is committed to delivering high quality results with outstanding customer service, carrying out much of their work in-house to go the extra mile in providing excellence and consistency for all clients. Moreover, D-Kode prioritizes clear and accessible communication between its team and clients so that, together, they can create a unified vision and approach that stands out on digital platforms.

Every D-Kode strategy begins with the establishment of a clear company vision and brand image which, once defined, creates a strong impact through the clients’ chosen channels of marketing. D-Kode is then able to build accessible websites, develop streamlined, personalized apps, and create expertly run online advertising campaigns that incorporate search engine optimization to ensure that clients are able to make themselves heard and seen by their prospective audiences.

A website is vital in creating an engaging online presence, as it shares all the necessary data about a brand to its users, including the information that will form their first impressions. It also provides the launch pad for greater engagement and is the place from which consumers begin to build their relationship with a brand. D-Kode boasts decades of shared experience and insight into what makes a successful website and is able to create the best user experience through functional, versatile and, most importantly, easy to use websites that highlight the brilliance of each brand.

As a website is such an essential step in putting any business on the map, D-Kode works with non-profits and charities to create websites for minimal or no charge, giving them the platform they need to do good and make change. Whilst it is difficult to take on every project at all times, D-Kode is always looking to help where it can and invites any organization looking to make the world a better place to get in touch.

Mobile applications are designed to deliver the content of a website in a more streamlined, purpose-driven manner, and are fast becoming the primary way in which consumers access online information, services and entertainment. Therefore, a business which is looking to be at the cutting-edge of digital marketing is one that is developing its own apps. D-Kode’s mobile app design services are tailored to represent the aesthetics and identity of their clients’ businesses, with additional features such as special offers and alerts that will keep new and existing customers alike engaged in their brand. With D-Kode’s expert knowhow, brands place themselves directly in the hands of the customers, boosting engagement and facilitating successful brand awareness and growth.

Finally, D-Kode is able to use these resources and a broad spectrum of digital marketing skills and platforms to take a brand’s digital marketing to the next level, allowing it to appear higher in Google search results and benefit from expertly crafted online advertising campaigns. Through targeted and effective digital marketing approaches, clients are able to stay ahead of their competitors, attracting more leads, opportunities, and success. D-Kode provides services in Search Engine Optimization, Content Management, Social Media Marketing, Email Campaigns, and Digital Advertising and Analytics so that their clients have everything they need to take center-stage.

D-Kode’s exceptional offering has been created by its team, and they are instrumental in setting the firm apart from the crowd. The team is led by President and Digital Marketing manager, Daniel Kodam, who is a certified digital marketing professional with more than three decades of IT experience acquired from working with everything from micro-businesses to mega-corporations. His philosophy about creating partnerships with clients to achieve success is what drives his firm’s own people-centric mentality, which has resulted in a consistently growing clientele that come to D-Kode through word-of-mouth and recommendations.

Ultimately, whilst there are many digital marketing services in the San Francisco Bay area, none of them share the same commitment to its people as D-Kode does. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, the team’s priority was the care of its employees as they worked overtime and regularly communicated with their network of clients to ensure they were faring okay in an incredibly challenging period. It is not a business strategy to care for one’s clients, but a belief system that has built a loyal and grateful clientele who know they can rely on Daniel and his team to support them and their businesses on the twisting path to success.

The pandemic has also created an opportunity for D-Kode itself to grow from adversity. With the virtual marketplace’s importance accelerating as a result of the closure and pressures on physical shops, D-Kode’s expertise in optimizing the virtual presence of businesses has seen a rapid increase in demand. This growth has been the cause of a great deal of growth for the D-Kode team, who are truly integral to the firm’s success.

Daniel relies greatly on each of his employees, trusting them all implicitly and empowering them with the autonomy to develop personally and professionally. As strong as they are independently, the D-Kode team have fostered a culture of close collaboration which benefits from the experience and expertise each member shares, supporting one another and encouraging them to be their best and truest selves. The result is positive, intra-company cooperation that translates into excellence in D-Kode’s offering and customer service, which has been recently recognized at the Technology Innovator Awards 2020: Best Website Design & Development Agency in the San Francisco Bay by Corporate Vision Magazine.

In this exciting period of expansion, the future looks bright for D-Kode. Daniel and his team have many plans in store, predominantly focused on the firm’s continued growth to facilitate the support of even more businesses seeking to develop and optimize their own digital presences. With this process already well underway, Daniel and the team are feeling optimistic about the months and years ahead for D-Kode.

For more information, please contact Daniel Kodam at www.dkodetech.com

Marketing in the Modern Day: The Basics

Digital Marketing

Marketing practice and thought have been around for a long time, as those who have services or products to provide have always needed to display or advertise them in some way to get customers and keep their businesses going. As times have developed, so have the technology and the methods that are used for marketing something, from word of mouth in-person, to word of mouth in videos online. Here is some basic information on marketing in the modern-day, how it has developed, and how you can be part of the new advancements.

 

Marketing:

At the most basic level, marketing is the practice of matching a business, service, or product with an audience that is most likely to purchase or use it. There are many methods and processes used to achieve this, often combining creativity and analysis. There are a lot of different fields within marketing and many different roles that you may find yourself working in. With the increase and development of technology, marketing experts have had to adapt to make sure they continue to reach as wide an audience as possible.

 

Marketing in the modern day:

Marketing today looks a lot different than it did previously, and this is mostly due to the advances in technologies. Modern marketing has a huge focus on digital marketing, including social media, website marketing, PPC (pay per click), email marketing, or affiliate marketing. Many potential consumers will begin their searches with an internet search, and therefore it is important to have a good understanding of the internet, SEO, webpages, and other technical elements such as coding and software.

 

Techniques:

There are numerous techniques involved in marketing and also different fields in which they are used. Today, a big focus is put on digital marketing, and the industry has adapted to reach potential customers in this way best.

 

Email marketing

This is a form of direct marketing in which customers who have signed up for email contact are sent emails that keep them engaged and updated with the business or service. This can include using discounts or subscriptions to increase traffic and sales and keep customers returning. Email marketing is a very common technique as it is also cost-effective, but there are often certain regulations involved in email marketing, so it is important to make sure these are adhered to. Furthermore, you do not want to alienate or annoy your audience by flooding them with emails or irrelevant content, which is where the all-important market research comes in.

 

SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, refers to ensuring that a website appears high up on the search engine results lists. This can be done in a variety of ways, including the use of keywords, high-quality content, and a well-built website. Over half of the clicks in a search engine result go to the top five results, so ensuring that a business’s website is in this top five can help increase organic traffic to the site and improve and boost sales.

 

Social Media

Perhaps one of the most popular and powerful modern marketing techniques, social media marketing involves using these platforms to advertise products and services to users. There are generally five pillars of social media marketing: strategy, content preparation, audience interaction, advertising, and analytics. With a huge number of people having an account on at least one form of social media, they will likely see your marketing if they are in your target audience.

Social media marketing can be used in conjunction with other forms and techniques to boost engagement and traffic. For example, advertising a competition on social media that requires visiting the website or signing up for emails. Furthermore, it is easy for audiences to interact with and share your posts, content, and captions with others.

 

Traditional marketing techniques

Traditional marketing techniques are sometimes still seen today and include advertising on TV, radio, or print, such as brochures or catalogs. These techniques are less popular as they are expensive, and it is not easy to track their success, but they do have their modern-day equivalents. For example, mail marketing has been replaced with email marketing, which is fast, cost-effective, and easier to analyze.

One older technique that is seeing a resurgence is that of affiliate marketing or influencer marketing. This involves collaboration with an influential person or company who promotes the product or service to their followers to encourage them to use it. The third-party receives compensation for this and is given an affiliate link which their followers are encouraged to buy through. With the huge increase in influencers and social media personalities, affiliate marketing has become incredibly popular and common.

 

Digital marketing

Digital marketing is much more cost-effective than the traditional methods, can reach a larger audience, and is easier to track and analyze. This can also be used by both big and small businesses, where traditional, expensive methods may not have been possible for new, smaller companies. This means that the playing field is more leveled, and smaller businesses can compete with the larger ones, helping them grow and develop and make industries more diverse.

 

Education and training

There are a couple of different routes you can take to begin to work in marketing. One is to study at the university level for a bachelor’s, and then even an MBA or Ph.D. depending on the role and position you want. Bachelor’s degrees provide you with valuable skills and experiences that you may not have access to outside of an educational environment. They can also help you decide which area of marketing you would like to work in, allowing you to streamline your studies to make this a reality.

Marketing degrees are very common and are offered at a lot of institutions or are offered as part of a business degree. There is also the option to study online, which may benefit those who cannot commit to full-time, in-person study. This could be for many reasons, such as finances or having prior commitments such as a job or family. These online courses are specifically designed to be studied alongside the rest of your life, which also gives you the great organizational and multitasking skills that you will need in the marketing industry.

 

Career options and outcomes

Working in marketing can give you a wide range of applicable skills in many different jobs and scenarios. There is a huge range of different careers within marketing and plenty of roles that look favorably upon people with marketing qualifications and experience. These can include:

  • Fundraiser
  • Web designer
  • Recruiter
  • Media planner
  • Event planner

Marketing is a varied career that can be both challenging and rewarding. You will be performing different tasks and working with many different people. You could work within a marketing agency or even decide to be freelance or start up your own agency when you have built up your skills and contacts.

 

What skills do you need?

To succeed in marketing, you will need a combination of soft and hard skills, and these can be gained and developed through training, study, and experience. Soft skills are non-technical, personal skills that help you excel in the workplace. Hard skills are job-specific skills, so in the marketing industry, these may include things such as computer skills like coding, copywriting, or data analysis. There are many different skills required to work in marketing as it is such a varied profession.

Soft skills that are incredibly useful include:

  • Communication- you will need to be great at talking to a wide variety of people, from clients to teammates. Communicating your ideas and listening to others is incredibly important and can help you work better as a team.
  • Teamwork- you will be working as part of a larger team, and so collaboration is vital to ensure that all work is completed to a high standard and on time.
  • Time management- you will most likely have multiple projects or clients on the go at one time, and each needs to be treated with the same level of expertise and professionalism.
  • Adaptability- your clients may change their briefs at the last minute, which means you cannot cling to your ideas too tightly and must be able to problem-solve and adapt when the situation calls for it.
  • Creative and critical thinking- being able to solve problems, analyze your work and that of others, and come up with solutions helps you be flexible and work as a team and make sure work is completed efficiently.

When you work in marketing, you will be a very skilled individual with plenty of transferable skills that are used in lots of different industries. Modern marketing has much more of a focus on the digital world, and so it helps to develop great computer skills to understand how digital marketing works, and how to analyze the data you receive. Within the marketing industry, there is such a wide variety of roles and jobs available that you will be able to find a position that you succeed in, and that allows you to use your varied skill set.

Using Your Employees as Brand Advocates will Maximise Your Marketing says Brand Experts

employees

In today’s world, brand marketing goes much further than marketing campaigns and advertising.

When it comes to brand advocates, we typically think of social media influencers and the more traditional brand ambassador. However, what better brand advocate than your very own employees?

Matthew Hayes, managing director of brand agency Champions (UK) plc, explains the importance of using employees as brand advocates and the benefits to both the brand or business and its staff.

 

What is a brand advocate?

A brand advocate is somebody that shares the same values and ethos as a brand, representing them in a positive light, often helping to increase brand awareness and even sales.

Typically speaking, a brand advocate is often a social media influencer, a brand ambassador or there is some sort of mutual, or contractual agreement in place.

However, who are the most powerful spokespeople for a brand or business? The people who work there, of course. These people are often the living embodiment of the brand and front-line representatives that can make or break that brand interaction.

It may not be the most traditional concept or the one we necessarily think of first, but it definitely makes the most sense. Particularly in a time where employee retention and communication are so important.

Brand advocates are a way to drive organic and authentic traffic to a brand or business. Whilst the Internet and social media are incredibly powerful tools for raising brand awareness, nothing quite beats word-of-mouth marketing.

In 2016, a global study found that 50% of employees share something on their own social media channels about their employer. And given that social media has upped the ante over the last few years, I expect this figure to be significantly higher in today’s climate.

So, with that in mind, brands should be working towards improving their internal communications to create a better relationship with employees, promote their vision and mission, and raise brand awareness through organic brand advocacy.

 

Brand advocacy builds brand love

When done correctly, brand advocacy can build brand love and there are a number of ways to do that.

Whilst many brands focusing their attentions to external communications, however, many neglect or overlook the importance of internal communications and training.

Internal communications are a phenomenal way for brands and businesses to collectively communicate with their employees. Whether this is done via training courses or conferences, internal Intranet or even an email newsletter, this can help improve employees’ knowledge of the business, the brand and the products or services.

Not only that, but internal communications help boost staff morale, providing them with motivation and detailed information ensuring they are involved and up to date with all aspects of the business.

They also provide a sense of togetherness, connecting employees through a series of shared visions, missions, goals and objectives.

 

Shared values

Here, is where consumer and employee sentiment is key. Consumer sentiment has always been an important variable in businesses, allowing owners to forecast production, plan ahead or adjust their output depending on popular opinion – and the same goes for employees, too.

And if brands aren’t entirely sure how to turn their attention to employee sentiment, the first step to make is investing in a brand audit or brand value proposition. These can help to educate and ensure stakeholder and employee perceptions are aligned, as well as making sure people are communicating the same messages, vision, mission and values of the brand.

A brand vision is simply intent. The vision should support and reflect the long-term business strategy and help guide the future. And a brand mission, is a statement that communicates the purpose and objectives of a brand.

And with the vision and mission of the brand in mind, it is important for brands and businesses to consider both employees and consumers to ensure values are shared across the board.

 

Employees are key

Employees are a pivotal part of any business. And quite simply, without them, businesses wouldn’t be able to function. It is the employee’s business just as much as the employers, so it is only right for them to play a part and get involved.

We are beginning to see more well-known brands implementing this strategy and using their employees as a face of the brand, rather than just working their magic behind the scenes. Disney are a great example of this as its employees have been the embodiment of the brand and its ethos for years.

The likes of Sass and Belle, Lindex and Zoella are all putting staff at the forefront of their brands, getting them just as involved as main stakeholders.

Sass and Belle, for example, have a website filled with images of their employees and often share quotes and content from them, too. This in turn, creates a more personal and emotional bond between the brand and the consumer, as the brand is no longer faceless.

Similarly, in 2015, Lindex launched an underwear campaign and instead of tapping into their network of professional models, they used their own employees and have continued to do so. Again, this improves their position in the market by appearing more relatable and creating that all-important emotional connection.

And Zoella often shares content, crediting employees for their ideas, allowing them to take part in social media takeovers and truly getting them involved. By doing so, they are adding personal and humanistic elements to their branding – and it’s paying off, too.

In doing this, the brand achieves an even wider reach as employees share the brand’s content across their personal channels, get to know their online connections and create organic relationships with potential consumers themselves.

Not only that, but this creates reputation, making brands come across as a desirable employer and recruiter, as well as helping to retain current staff and employees.

Listening to new ideas, accepting criticism and being transparent is also paramount. Your employees may well be your consumers too, and as they say, the customer is always right.

After all, employees are the ultimate representative of a brand, and Amelia Neate, Senior Manager at Influencer Matchmaker says, “It’s important to remember we’re living in a social age where employees are becoming micro-influencers in their very own right.

“For example, Emily Rose Moloney started out as an employee for ASOS and now, working as a fashion influencer, is promoting them on her social media channels, with her Instagram account gaining almost 80k followers.”

 

Togetherness

What employees think of a brand or business they work for speaks volumes. And employees help to drive brand awareness, so empowering them through a plan of brand advocacy is a sure-fire way to achieve great results.

So, next time you are seeking to boost stats and see results, consider the power of your employees and come together to create your very own culture.

Lead by example, work together and invest in your employees.

Why Is Personalized Marketing Beneficial for Your Business?

Custom marketing

People like being heard, recognized, and respected. So shouldn’t your marketing strategies take this into account? From tradition to modern marketing methods, it has become more important than ever to adopt an individualized approach when interacting with customers. 

 

Today’s consumer is not just expecting personalization in emails, but rather at every stage of their interaction with your business. They want you to anticipate their needs and accordingly tailor communication and content. Personalized marketing can be beneficial for your business in a number of ways. Here’s how:

 

1. Find & Segment Target Audience

Sharing generic content with all of your audience is perhaps not the best option. There is no point in creating high-quality content if it’s irrelevant for your target customers. 

As a modern marketer, you have access to a variety of information that can help you easily find and segment your target audience. By analyzing surveys, purchasing history, locations, and other factors, you can learn more about your customer’s interests. You can use this knowledge to create content that your audience finds useful.

 

2. Curate High-Quality Content

There is so much online content created every day. Just like you, other businesses are trying to catch the audience’s attention. So how do you make them notice your brand? Personalized marketing strategies help you stand out from the crowd by sharing unique and high-quality content. A customer is likely to see an email that addresses them by their name instead of a generic salutation. 

 

3. Build Long-Lasting Relationships

The goal of a great marketing strategy isn’t just making a sale but rather nurturing a long-lasting customer relationship. Instead of interacting with customers only when they purchase your product, you should express your gratitude on a regular basis. For example, it’s a good practice to send an email wishing Happy Birthday or Happy Holidays to your customers. 

 

4. Improve Customer Engagement

Not every customer that visits your website is doing so intending to purchase something. They could just be casually browsing. That’s why customer engagement is necessary to keep your target audience interested in your brand and build strong relationships. Instead of focusing on making a sale, pay attention to creating the right impression with personalization. 

 

5. Achieve Consistency Across Channels

Since you are using several channels to connect with your customers, they are likely interacting with you through various channels. If a customer usually shopped on your website but recently downloaded your app, then both of these platforms should deliver similar standards of user experience. With personalized marketing, you can achieve consistency across different channels. 

 

6. Boost Conversions

In addition to engagement, personalization has a direct correlation to increased conversions and sales. Using personalized marketing strategies, you can urge visitors to convert into paying customers. For example, if you pay attention to your customer’s buying history and accordingly offer a suitable recommendation, this can encourage them to complete a purchase. 

 

7. Gain Customer Loyalty

As previously mentioned, a one-time sale is not the goal. You want to satisfy the customers to gain their loyalty in the long term. And this can be achieved with the help of personalization. Personalized marketing tactics involve learning customer’s behavior and accordingly delivering content and recommendations. 

 

8. Humanize Your Brand

At times automated messages are convenient, but they usually lack ‘human touch’. Personalization is a reliable way to humanize your brand. Rather than feeling like they are talking to a faceless entity, customers may feel more seen if you personalize your emails by signing them off with a real name.

You can further make the most of this by picking a brand ambassador for your brand. Someone from your team or a celebrity can serve as the face of your organization. 

 

9. Create Better User Experiences

A personalized marketing strategy allows you to provide your visitors with targeted recommendations. You can create a better user experience by understanding your customers’ needs and past purchasing behavior to offer personalized product recommendations.

Are you wondering how you can get started with personalized marketing? Take a look at some easy ways to implement personalized marketing.

 

Product Recommendations

Collecting customer data is a crucial element of personalized marketing. Businesses use such data to fine-tune their recommendations. Whether you offer a product or service, improving your product recommendation is a worthy strategy. If customers can instantly find the product they are looking for, they are likely to have a positive experience. 

 

Customized Video Messages

Many businesses out there are sending personalized messages and emails. If you want to set yourself apart, then impress your customers with customized video messages. For example, Spotify annually creates ‘Spotify Wrapped’ that gives listeners a rundown of their favorite music and artists from the past year. 

 

Start Rewards Program

Rewards programs aren’t anything new, but it remains a relevant strategy because it works. From Sephora to Starbucks, many big and small brands offer customer loyalty programs. Such programs considerably increase customer retention by encouraging them to become repeat customers. In addition to increasing revenue, loyalty programs can also create brand advocates who will refer your products to family and friends. 

 

Personalize Your Product

In the past, Coca-Cola created one of the most successful personalization marketing campaigns, ‘Share a Coke’. By replacing their logo with consumers’ names, they encourage customers to share the brand’s campaign on social media. In addition to increasing revenue, this campaign also significantly boosted customer engagement. 

In recent times, Lays launched the Smile campaign, where customers could nominate their (or someone else’s) smile and see it on the packaging. 

 

Personalize It All

Instead of only personalizing certain customer interactions, you can take it to the next level by personalizing the entire customer experience. You can analyze a user’s past behavior and accordingly customize your website or app. This implies that different customers will view different content and offers based on their unique profile and past behavior.

 

The Bottom Line

Saying that personalization is the future of marketing won’t be an exaggeration. Putting your customer first in communication is essential for an effective marketing strategy. You can streamline your marketing strategy by adopting new technologies such as Live Chat Support and email personalization software.

 

Becky Halls is a Co-Founder of Hyperise, a Hyper personalization toolkit for B2B marketers. She’s an experienced Growth Marketer, passionate about product design/development and online marketing. 

Inimitable Mixture Of Intuition, Joy And Enthusiasm

haufe group

Based in Freiburg, Lexware is the leading business software provider for small and medium sized businesses. Lexware is a part of Haufe Group, which stands for a radical change from a traditional publishing house to a group of companies that makes over 90 percent of its revenue with digital products and services. To find out more about Lexware and its portfolio, we got in touch with Carsten Schröder, President of Cloud ERP lexbizz.

For more than 30 years, Lexware has been providing innovative software solutions for small and mediumsized businesses. One of the latest solutions the firm has created, is the XRP lexbizz which becomes a digital transformation hub for its clients.

To begin with, Carsten offers us more of an insight into the firm’s specialisms and its client base. “As a cloud ERP provider, we offer a 360-degree corporate platform for the German mid-market segment which aims to digitalise value chains, connect companies with their markets and help them adapt to business models. Moreover, with our standard cloud ERP offering many industry-specific extensions, we are able to serve the B2C/B2B trade, distribution, service and production industries.”

Recognised as leading innovators in software solutions, Carsten believes that Lexware’s bespoke ERP system is one of the major reasons why the firm has been so successful in its attempts to move ahead of competitors in the industry.

“With the ERP powerhouse Acumatica as our core software solution and the financial software expertise of the Freiburg-based software manufacturer Lexware, we offer medium-sized companies a complete solution that paves the way to the digital economy. lexbizz maps the business processes of all departments in one system. Unlike any other ERP solution, ours can also be easily extended with industry-specific functionality, as well as numerous interfaces to third party-software.

Today, there is more than one million customers who work with Lexware’s business solutions. The initial challenge for the firm has been taking the enterprise Cloud-XRP lexbizz from Acumatica (the biggest growing CloudXRP in the world) and making it conform with German requirements, as Carsten further explains. “Given our financial software and mid-size market know-how, we have high expectations of the software that we want to provide to our customers. It needs to be intuitive, deliver the relevant feature-sets in excellence and most of all conform to all legal requirements in Germany. We are now excited to have released a market-proven software, that will hopefully revolutionise the way Germans view ERPs going forward.”

As part of a dynamic and family organisation, employees of lexbizz aim to develop successful solutions for the working world of tomorrow. Moreover, as Carsten explains further, employees play an integral role in helping the firm achieve their targets.

“What distinguishes our people is an inimitable mixture of intuition, joy and enthusiasm. Our team thinks the unthinkable and does the impossible. This is what drives us forward time and time again.”

Finally, Carsten comments on the future of lexbizz and even delves into the firm’s plans for the years to come. “Going forward, we want to be the digital transformation hub for the mid-size market in Germany. With a strong nucleus ERPSoftware, industry-specific extensions and a widerange of interface extensions, our customers will never have to re-platform again and will always have one central truth of their data. Modern technology allows us to support our customers with machine learning and artificial intelligence, making our platform a system of learning and results. Rather than just storing data, our platform will give recommendations, next best actions and streamline workflows based on learning algorithms.”

Five Issues Web Designers Should Address

web design 3

Whether you are just beginning your web design career or you have years of experience under your belt, mistakes can happen, and issues can be overlooked. Here are five of the most common issues every web designer should address.

 

Designing without Considering the Target Audience

One of the most common mistakes web designers make is coming up with an enticing design that stands out of the crowd but does not cater to the target audience. You can design the best-looking website in the world, but if you have not first identified the target audience and customized the design and content accordingly, you can easily fail in your design task.

 

Making Websites User-friendly and Accessible             

It’s essential that a website is user-friendly and easily accessible by all. But too many web designers make the mistake of trying to make a website look different from others. While an innovative approach is welcome, if you change design elements so much that users can’t even find the navigation bar, they will soon leave the site and search for another. Web designers can also fall into the trap of providing too many options. Overcrowding web pages with pop-ups and content that vies for attention actually causes users to feel like there are no options to pursue. You must ensure audiences don’t get confused after a few clicks if you want to avoid a high bounce rate. Take inspiration from the top web design companies on the planet to ensure the sites you develop are easily usable and accessible.

 

Making Websites Responsive for Different Devices

According to Statista, mobile devices now account for around half of all web traffic. Therefore, it’s vital that you make websites responsive for mobile devices as well as desktops. If users have to spend lots of time pinching-and-stretching on mobiles to access information, they will soon look for a better source. To make web pages responsive for mobile devices, use a fluid grid, adaptive images and text, and media queries appropriately.

 

Making Websites Compatible with All Browsers

Websites do not just need to be compatible with different devices. They also need to be compatible with all browsers. So, make sure your web design is code optimized to suit the needs of different browsers. You can use validator to avoid coding errors and utilize CSS reset rules to fit all browser needs. Also, be cautious when using JavaScript, as not every browser supports it.

 

Avoiding Slow Loading Speeds

If users have to wait more than two seconds for a web page to load, they usually won’t wait. Instead, they will find a faster-loading website for their needs. If the web pages you create take more than a couple of seconds to load, you must address the issue. You can create faster loading times by getting rid of any unnecessary media, such as images and videos. You can also compress images using software like RIOT. Another option is to split pages by taking one page’s content and creating a new page for it. Multiple short pages are much better for quick loading. Clean coding is also a crucial element so that website crawlers and basic bots can understand the simple programming language.

Working From Home? Tips for Decorating Your Office to Reduce Stress

office decor

Your workspace is your home away from home, but now for many people home is where their workspace is going to be for the foreseeable future. In fact, many people have decided that even when the quarantines are lifted and the world goes back to the new normal, that they may continue working remotely anyway. 

However, working from home causes a certain amount of stress. That’s why you need your office to be decorated in such a way as to reduce stress levels. Here are a few tips for decorating your home office in a way that stress levels will become a thing of the past, or at least not so bad anyway. 

Decorate in a Style That Fits Your Personality 

If you’re flamboyant and have an out-there personality, then you’re not going to be happy in an office that’s sterile and all business. Decorate your office in a style that fits who you are and you’ll be a whole lot happier. For example, if you love antique furniture, then scour far and wide and find the perfect antique desk and bookshelves for your office. You’ll love the new look and be happier about it as well. 

Decorate with Things You Love 

As with the furniture that you put into your home office, you should also decorate your desk and the walls with things that scream you. For example, do you write horror for a living? Well, you probably wouldn’t want to decorate your walls and desk with cozy decorations. There are many sites out there that have the perfect horror decorations for you to display, and they’ll even give you inspiration when you go to work on your next best-seller. 

Declutter on a Regular Basis

Keeping your office decluttered is important whether you’re working at the office or working at home. Clutter takes away from all of the decorating you’ve done so far to make your home office your own. Take a minute every weekend, or even during the week, to clear out the things that you don’t need. Paperwork that needs to be filed, things that need to be tossed in the trash, and stuff that you’re not using at the moment cluttering your desk should be dealt with at least once a week. Decluttering will give you more room to work and make you feel less stressed about work, to begin with. 

Take Advantage of Natural Light

If at all possible, you want your office to be in a room with a window. It’s not good for you physically or mentally to be cooped up in a room that doesn’t allow natural light to shine in. If you do have a window in your office, try to open it when the weather allows, to let in the light and fresh air. For those times when it’s too hot or too cold to open windows, keep a couple of plants in the office with you. They help to relieve stress, freshen the air, and lift your spirits at the same time. 

Have Storage Options

In order to declutter and keep your office neat, clean, and a place you want to be, you’re going to need storage options. There are many options for file cabinets on different sites online, plus bookshelves and desks with drawers make great storage as well. 

These are just a few tips to help you make your home office stress free. Remember, your office should reflect who you are, not what the business world thinks it should be. Decorate the way you choose and you’ll be happier for it, and stress-free. 

Marketing During the Pandemic: Time to Adapt and Double Down

marketing covid

This Pandemic has flipped the world upside down. Compared to last year’s revenue, if your business is struggling to keep up, you are not alone. However, if your business is still up and running, you are better off than 100,000 businesses that had to shut their doors due to the Covid outbreak.

The biggest mistake most businesses are making is cutting back on their marketing expenses. Which means there’s an opportunity for you to shine brighter than the competition.

But times have changed. Marketing campaigns that were a hit in 2019 have become redundant or, perhaps, insensitive in 2020.

We had a chance to interact with the core team of Odyssey New Media who are a digital marketing agency in Birmingham, and here are a few do’s and don’ts that we’d like to share with you. You can implement these insights right away and save your business from getting lost in oblivion.

 

Don’t go off the grid

While it’s natural to stay low-key under such circumstances, that is only going to keep you out of sight, which is not good for your business. You are no health expert to advise people, but you can at least acknowledge the situation, talk about it and let your customers know you are always there in case they need you.

In short, don’t slash your marketing budget. Instead, find cheaper and organic ways to advertise your business. Which brings us to the next point.

 

Focus on Organic SEO

Running paid ads on Google requires a lot of capital, which is in short supply these days. But that doesn’t mean you cannot reach your prospects in the virtual world. Where every business is calling off their SEO campaigns to save pennies, this is your chance to double down. By the time everything returns to normal, your business will be on top of the SEO game. 

 

Rethink your automation activities

Automation has become an integral part of online marketing, and it might be a great aid in driving your revenue. But it’s time to rethink your automated activities to reflect changes that this pandemic has caused. Review and adapt your automated email response, chatbots and other activities to the current scenario so that your business does not come across as insensitive or profit-oriented during these trying times.

 

Reintroduce Your Brand

Your customers know who you are, but do they know what you stand for? Consciously or subconsciously, people love to buy from businesses with whom they can connect on a deeper, emotional level. And the best way to trigger emotions is to weave stories around your vision and how you are responding to this pandemic situation in order to reinforce trust with your customers. 

 

Establish Your Employer Brand

With the effect of the pandemic fading and the supply chain getting back to normal, businesses are going into hiring mode. You can leverage your marketing campaigns to communicate your company’s culture and encourage like-minded people to work with you. Fun and creative campaigns will show that your company is a cool place to work at. And who doesn’t want that?

 

Participate in Virtual Events

People can’t gather in auditoriums but there are no restrictions on virtual events. See it as an opportunity to make yourself visible to your future prospects and talk about your organisation, product launches or anything of value to your prospects. This can also be a great way to collaborate with other businesses for mutual benefit. 

Nobody knows when this pandemic will be over. So, instead of looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, adapt and improvise. Ask yourself, what you can do at this moment. Even if you can’t take a big leap forward, take one small step at a time. Stop for nothing!

Finding the Right Outside Professionals for Your Business

freelancer

There is a moment in almost every business when outside help is needed to get some specialist job done. For example, almost every business will grow to the point that it needs a professional accountant to take care of the books and tax preparation. Businesses might also need lawyers to deal with legal problems. No matter what outside help you need, you have to choose the right person, or you could be put in a worse position than when you started.

 

Freelancers

Freelancers are almost always going to be the most common outside professional help you can get. When it comes to hiring a great freelancer, you almost always get what you pay for. The majority of people will hire cheap freelancers, which is usually going to lead to a lot of problems. The freelancing world is organized such that the best freelancers are the most experienced and the busiest. Those freelancers are going to command the highest rates in the industry. However, for most industries, an expensive freelancer is going to be worth every penny.

 

Contractors and Subcontractors

You need to understand what you are doing when contracting out work to outside companies or people. You need to know the answers to questions like what is a contractor versus a subcontractor. When people talk about contractors, they are most likely talking about the people who you hire to manage the construction of a building. However, legally, a contractor is anyone who does work for you without being an employee. It is the formal legal definition for the term freelancer. You need to figure out which contractor has a track record of success based on a resume. It might seem easy, but it isn’t easy in a world where people like to exaggerate how good they are.

 

Builders

A contractor can usually hire professional builders. However, in certain cases, you might want to be your own contractor. It then gets to a situation where you don’t know anyone in the industry, but you are then tasked with hiring someone who will build something on time and under budget. The most important thing to know in this case is to figure out who has a reputation for honesty and dependability.

 

Consultants

Consultants are associated with big corporations having a professional to come and give a big speech to motivate workers. However, consultants can be a great benefit to your company, if you know who to choose. The biggest thing you need to know is that consultants should come in and teach practical things. Motivation will always go away, so you need to have someone help with practical things in your business.

 

Recruiters

Every business will have turnover. Professional recruiters are a great source of new hires, so you need to choose wisely. It might be tempting to hire new recruiters, but the most important thing is that the recruiters have a good understanding of your business model. For example, if you are going to hire recruiters to find software engineers, these recruiters need to understand computer programming and the software engineering process.

 

Marketers and Advertisers

Marketers are essential for getting the word out about your business. When it comes to marketing, you need forward-thinking people to understand where the industry is going and get ahead of the competition.

 

Sales Professionals

Finally, sales professionals will help you get more customers and grow your business faster. Depending on your skill level, you might be able to train your own salespeople rather than find professionals outside of your business. However, if you can find a great salesperson, you must hire and keep them happy.

Establishing Departments in Your Home Business

business departments

If you have a home business, you probably set it up yourself, and you take care of everything from creation to sales to shipping. And while it can be difficult to hand the reins to someone else, the truth is you can’t do it all and expect to grow. Continuing to juggle all the tasks that go into running a successful business will not only burn you out, but it will deprive your business the opportunity to thrive.

 

Be Honest with Yourself

Take note of all the tasks you complete in a day with regard to your business. Are there any areas where you struggle? Maybe you don’t update your website as much as you should or have trouble keeping up with hashtags on Instagram. Are your tax receipts sitting in a shoebox so you can deal with them at year-end, or worse, absent altogether?

On the other hand, identify your business strengths. What are some of the things regarding the business that only you can do? For example, if you own a jewelry business, you are likely the only one who can create the jewelry because the product reflects your creative process.

If you don’t have to be the one to complete the task, there’s a possibility you could farm it out to a contractor or hire an employee.

 

Know When It’s Time

Obviously, if your business is brand new or if you haven’t turned a profit, you’ll continue to take care of business matters yourself. But once your business brings in an income and you feel like you’re treading water and not growing, it may be time to hire help.

Remember, you don’t need to establish different departments and delegate all at once. Start with your weak points and do a cost-analysis to see in what areas hiring an expert will benefit you the most.

 

Determine Your Wants and Needs

Once you identify your strong points, weak points, and the areas you want to outsource, it’s time to look for an expert. Establishing a department for a home business simply means that everything about that task is now the responsibility of the expert you either contract or employ. Your only remaining role there is for oversight and monitoring for effectiveness.

For example, if you hold inventory for a product you sell online and want an expert in logistics optimization to handle all your shipping needs, you only need to make sure the department is effective and running smoothly.

 

Contract or Employee

There are two ways to bring in paid assistance for your business. You can either employ someone or hire a contractor. If you hire someone as an employee, you retain control over how they handle their responsibilities. Not only that, but there are tax implications you’re responsible for paying to the government for that employee.

An independent contractor is someone you pay outside of your business to complete a job. You have no control over how they complete the task; they work independently of you. And you don’t pay taxes for a contractor like you would for an employee.

Before you decide what type of help you want, familiarize yourself with the differences between the two.

 

You Are Not an Island

Yes, you brought your business into this world, but you don’t have to run it alone for the rest of your days. For growth to happen in life, and in business, change has to occur. Deciding to piece out parts of your business into departments is a smart way to continue to build your creation into something bigger while keeping it manageable.

WFH Halloween Event Boosts Team Engagement

halloween

A South Yorkshire-based printing company, adamant to keep traditions alive despite working from home, has adapted their annual workplace fancy dress contest to take place online.

Hosted by the largest UK-based online printing company, instantprint, The spooktacular fancy dress contest set out to help maintain both staff engagement levels and personal relationships amongst the team as one of the initiatives helping drive the printing firm’s people strategy.

Staff were encouraged to go all-out with a ghoulish get-up and could enter to win an individual prize or as a group, who would win the coveted title of ‘instantprint’s Halloween Champions 2020’. The contest was designed to encourage team members to talk to each other about things not related to work, help improve communication and also provided a safe corporate social activity.

Following the competition, managers noted an uptick in engagement, productivity and overall happiness, which was reinforced by the results of their monthly employee satisfaction surveys showing a boost of up to 20% in engagement and happiness-based rankings.

Speaking to Head of Team Experience at instantprint, Vicki Russel, she told us:

Like many businesses, we run a series of seasonal events so our team can bond outside of working hours.

While our full office teams are working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been keen to maintain this same level of commitment, especially since it can be more difficult to feel engaged and connected during lockdown.

Events like this present a multitude of benefits for employees and, ultimately, the business as a whole. As well as engagement, it keeps our strong team culture alive while we’re away from the office and offers a sense of togetherness, which has never been more important than it is right now.”

Vicki’s Tips for Banishing Disengagement Demons

There are a number of disengagement demons lurking in the shadows when it comes to remote working. These 6 tips can help you combat them this Halloween and beyond.

 

1. Don’t be terrified by the tech

One thing we had to learn quickly was to embrace technology – we still have a lot of face-to-face meetings, just over video call now. As well as offering all of our in-house training digitally, we also provided every member of the team with the equipment they need to complete their jobs to the best of their abilities, including laptops and extra screens.

 

2. Value your heroes

Every story, especially the scary ones, need a hero to save the day. One of the ways we banish disengagement demons is by encouraging the team to nominate each other as brand heroes, or value champions. Not only is singing each other’s praises engaging, but creates a positive work culture as the team is always on the lookout to show their appreciation for one another.

 

3. Dust away the cobwebs daily

Not saying we have any lazy Lucifers here at instantprint, but by introducing daily check-ins for our teams, we can help make sure everyone’s on track with their tasks. We have team meetings every morning to catch everyone up on where we are with our latest projects and troubleshoot any progress blockers and find solutions to these as a team.

 

4. Exorcise the demons

One policy that hasn’t changed during the pandemic is our dedication to providing monthly 1-2-1s to give employees a chance to give honest feedback on the month to their managers. Scheduling regular 1-2-1s is a great opportunity to refocus any negative mindsets and offers both parties the chance to give feedback to each other which is a fantastic way to keep staff engaged.

 

5. Apparition appreciation

A little staff recognition goes a long way! As well as sending out certificates for our brand heroes, we also celebrate milestone employees’ anniversaries with the business by giving them a special gift and handwritten card from a manager.

 

6. Channel your spirits

There’s no such thing as over-communication. Not only does effective communication between staff lead to better relationships, but it also means a smoother journey for the customer. No need to get out your crystal ball – just have a team leader in each department send out a team-wide email with any important updates once a week to keep everyone in the loop with business developments. 

4 Instagram Marketing Tips for Brands

instagram

Your Instagram marketing strategy shapes the success of your Instagram presence. Amazing content is nothing without the right kind of exposure to the best kind of audience. Brands often overlook the importance of some of these marketing tips that could be a lifesaver on Instagram.

From the content you make to everything in between – this blog is meant to help you utilize this platform in the best way possible. Some of these steps are your one-way ticket to real organic growth. The better you are at executing content, the more people will want to gather around to see it!

But without any further ado, let’s begin with the basics.

 

Business for Business

When it comes down to utilizing, there’s no better way to begin than by switching from Personal to Professional account. 

The Business features connected to this specific account are out of this world. Instagram has made sure to create a comfortable atmosphere and space for growth for all businesses on its platform.

Using that welcoming nature for your own business is what you should do.

 

This is how to switch to business mode:

  • On your profile, Tap Settings.
  • Then tap Account.
  • If you have a Facebook business page connect it to your Instagram account.
  • Add business information and details.
  • Press Done.

And that’s it! It doesn’t take more than 10 minutes for potential internet stardom.

 

Optimise Your Instagram Account 

Information should be optimized and spoon-fed to your audience as well. You have to find a silver lining between not overwhelming your folks and not being too reserved.

Here are some guidelines on how to practice this important step:

  • Username: Make it short and clear, no need for special characters. 
  • Name: It’s up to 30 characters, but being straight to the point works here as well.
  • Category: Pick a category that best describes what your business is about. 
  • Your website: A URL that’s clickable and changeable any time you want to change it. 
  • Call-to-action buttons: Give your audience the option to connect with you from the get-go.
  • Contact information: Don’t make it difficult to get in touch with, you’re no Beyoncé! 

 

Expand your Community 

One of the things Instagram is known for is giving an opportunity to its creators to create a community around their brandThese are not just physical numbers on someone’s page. These are real people with genuine interactions and thoughts on both you and your business. Here is where Flock Social comes into the picture. Their organic growth service can help you immensely! From actually growing your business to how to get shoutouts on instagram. The possibilities are endless and their free trial requires no credit card! They are a great way to get you started off on the right foot!

 

The Content & Caption Duo

Your content is as valuable as the marketing strategy itself. You need quality posts to carry your top-notch exposure game. Especially if you sign with Flock for example. Take your time to capture and edit photos. Even if you need extra time, take it. That’s the part of your brand and account people will connect to the most. As for the captions, make sure they are both words of value and engaging. You don’t them to be too long, so people won’t be bothered to actually read them. Try giving a question to your audience or something that’s going to provoke their thought process until they comment on it. That’s the real trick right there!

There are many aspects to social media strategies, especially on Instagram. Testing most of them out until you find what works for you is the best policy. Until then, try giving your account to the pros of marketing. They might take your brand to heights you ever thought were possible!