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Is your website delivering a return on investment? How effective is your brand presence and web design online?
Today the most commonly used tool when searching for information is the internet. Every business requires some sort of online presence with an ongoing strategy which is driven by, and supports, the business objectives and brand marketing strategy.
A successful online presence and the activities around your brands online presence are determined by a combination of chosen strategies, the application of which is determined by what is most appropriate to your brand, your target market and the results desired e.g. a fast moving consumer brand will have a very different requirement to a business to business brand offering (product or service).
However there are some fundamental requirements, standards and best practice protocols which should be adhered to, regardless of your business type or target market, to achieve a strong online brand presence which generates a return on investment.
What is online brand strategy?
Every business needs an internet strategy. Web or internet marketing strategies form the cornerstone of your online business. Much the same as an offline marketing strategy defines what is needed to make your offline business successful, an online strategy defines what is required to make your online business a success e.g. driving potential customers to your website to take a defined action.
A comprehensive web marketing strategy defines the effective marketing tactics required to ensure your online business is a success. It helps you plan how to attract new prospects and / or satisfy the needs of existing customers so that both ultimately convert into sales. It also helps you plan how to continue to add value on an ongoing basis for your customers so you can sustain their interest and maximize the lifetime value of those customers into profitable returns.
Why use research to build your brand online?
Like any offline business activities it’s just as important to define your online audience, understand what they are doing online, their usage patterns and their core needs so that your brand design and web presence aesthetically and functionally meet those needs. Understanding of and insights into your sector, your customers and the trends shaping your online business are critical to your online success.
Good research also identifies the opportunities and the risks, supports management decision making such as strategic planning, marketing campaigns, promotional activity and publicity campaigns.
The importance of usability and user experience
Web usability is all about making sites easy for the user to browse and find the information they need without any training. To be successful it should be an effortless, enjoyable experience.
Usability and strong visual design can determine the success or failure of your website. After all, if browsers can’t use a feature, at best, it may as well not exist, or worse, frustrate your potential customer so they leave your site never to return.
User-centric design is our standard approach for developing successful, profit orientated web solutions. Good user experience should be:
To achieve this it is vitally important to understand who your users are and what they want to achieve using your website. We use the process of Interaction Design and Persona & Scenario Building so that we fully understand who will be using your website, how they will use it and the goals they want to achieve. We combine these goals with the company’s business goals to develop a successful, profit-oriented website congruent with your brand.
In conjunction with good brand design we also advocate:
• Handcrafted Compliant XHTML/CSS Websites
• Multi Browser Compatible
• Smart Phone & iPad (Tablet) Readable
• Easy to use Content Management System
• Responsive Web Programming
• Social Media Optimised & Integrated
• Socialised Website
• Search Engine Optimised
• RSS, Blog & News Enabled
• Google Analytics & Webmaster Toolkit Setup
Writing compelling web content that expresses your brand’s purpose, vision, mission, values and stories in your brand’s own unique voice so you stand out and attract your ideal customers
Good site content is king to both visitors and search engines alike. It should never be an afterthought but a carefully planned and executed requirement using a style congruent with the company’s brand. Good content is as important, if not more depending on your target market, as images, video or flashy multimedia presentations.
Planning your copy in terms of outline, structure, tone, style etc. is equally important as all the other aspects of your site design. It keeps you focussed because it imposes discipline and acts a reference point to keep the content writing on track and on brand.
Good verbal communication skills are not the same as online writing skills. Equally white paper or cumbersome document writing skills are not appropriate online unless you are writing exclusively for an audience that requires that weight of content, detail and format e.g. government agencies, legal or medical document content for people in those target markets or professions.
People don’t read web pages the same way they read books or magazines which means you can quickly loose readers if your material is not good and well presented.
Good online content should:
• Be informative and relevant
• Communicate customer benefits
• Use short easy to read sentences and paragraphs
• Be structured with clear headings to break up content
• Keep your language friendly and informal (unless otherwise required)
• Focus on the “you” the reader and not “me” the writer
• Be factually correct and succinct
• Use good grammar, punctuation and correct spelling
• Carefully proof read before publication
• Provide good quality, fresh, new, unique material
Online content should preferably avoid the following:
• Avoid using industry jargon or terminology a layperson can’t understand
• Avoid over optimising text, you’re writing for humans not search engine spiders
• Avoid unsubstantiated, overt sales pitches (unless otherwise required)
• Avoid reprinting articles already published elsewhere, although reference can be made with permission of course.
In essence when writing good content for the web you should focus on the reader, their needs, their wants, their problems and how you can help them. By focussing on your reader, why they should care and the benefits they can receive from your brand, you will engender goodwill between you/your brand and your potential customer which becomes the fertile grounds for building a positive lasting relationship.
Consistently and congruently marketing your brand online
Internet marketing, also referred to as i-marketing, web-marketing, online-marketing, or e-Marketing, is the marketing of products or services online to generate leads, build brand loyalty and produce profitable returns.
It’s the process of developing target market awareness of your brand online through:
• SEO (search engine optimisation)
• Social networks
• Email marketing (ezines, enewsletters, eshots etc)
• Mobile phone marketing
• Mobile phone or device specific apps e.g. iPad applications
together with other marketing activities to achieve stronger brand awareness, and ongoing target market engagement with your brand, to ultimately achieve a more successful and profitable return on your online investment.
The marketing channels you use are based on what’s most appropriate to your brand, your target market and your online strategy. It’s extremely important to ensure that what ever medium or combination of mediums you use, that they are congruent with your core brand offering and consistent across all platforms.
Activities known as Black Hat marketing are considered unethical, dishonest and should be avoided. This is a form of marketing using subterfuge, deception or less then truthful methodologies to drive traffic to your website to achieve higher search rankings.
Typically it breaks search engine rules and regulations e.g. involves spam, keyword stuffing, invisible text, cloaking within search engine pages or routing users to pages they didn’t initially request. It generally creates a poor user experience which is less then conducive to building positive brand engagement with your market. It’s also actively discouraged by search engines such as Google and can result in your site being penalized or blacklisted if used.
Using analytics to measure your online performance, engagement and return on investment
Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data to develop better understanding of site performance and optimization of web use, to generate improved results and more profitable returns.
It includes information such as:
• number of visitors to your website
• traffic source overview (search engines, referring sites, direct traffic)
• keywords used to find your site and their relevancy
• number of page visits
• content overview with list of pages visited
• conversion rates tracking number of leads or sales achieved
• length of time spent on your site
• origin of visitors to your site
• bounce rates (visitors who leave your site rather then continue to peruse other pages within your site)
Key performance indicators are determined by what activity matters most to you / your brand as a measure of success. It’s only when you know what data matters most, can you then use it as a tool to measure the success of your website. It takes the guess work out of your online marketing.
Design and Development
At Persona Design we develop creative and technical solutions that enable companies to successfully do business online. Great web design and development combines all of the items mentioned above:
• Online Strategy
• Compelling Copy
together with a blend of . . .
• Strong Branding
• Powerful Ideas
• Stunning Design
• Arresting Images
• Clear Navigation
• Free Quality Downloads
• Logical Site Architecture
• Clear Calls to Action
• Excellent Project Management
Great web design and development also requires excellent:
• Planning & Management
• Standards Compliant Coding
• Software Development Skills
All to achieve maximum natural search engine rankings, visitor attraction and sales/enquiries conversion rates. This is applicable whether your requirement is a full e-commerce website, brochure website, landing page or micro site.
Whether you want to streamline your business to improve efficiencies or provide your customers with added value functionality, we can develop bespoke software solutions and web applications to meet your specific business requirements. The results, websites and apps that look and feel great.
Training, mentoring and support
We can provide training and mentoring for your organisation inhouse on a one-to-one or group format in either half day or full day workshops with a very hands-on approach to learning. Our training is typically tailor made to suit our clients needs.
If you would like further information on any of the services or items mentioned above please don’t hesitate to get in touch, we’d love to talk.
You can call us at T: +353 1 8322724 or email us at E: [email protected]
Got a question or need some help with your brand?
“I recently organized a large Business Forum for business owners and stakeholders entitled ‘After the Storm – New Business Opportunities’ to highlight the challenges and changing face of doing business in 2013. I was delighted to engage Lorraine Carter to speak at the Forum as I have seen first hand her expertise in Branding and Design.
More importantly I know Lorraine as a Professional Speaker who delivers not only excellent content but is passionate about the positive financial impact of great branding and design.
Lorraine’s talk entitled ‘Brand Your Way Out of Recession’ was extremely well received. Her clarity, eloquence and use of storytelling evoked clear examples of how both big, medium and even small businesses have reached the top with successful use of effective branding and design.
I’d recommend Lorraine as a Speaker at your next event or conference. She is an expert in what she does but more importantly she is an expert who knows how to speak about it!”
“I have had the benefit of working alongside Lorraine Carter with mutual clients and will happily do so again.
Lorraine understands the power of brands for businesses in a way that makes practical sense to businesses. Her dedication to her craft is a great credit to her along with her attention to her clients and the details that matter.
Lorraine understands how to work with people who don’t work with brands on a daily basis and above all Lorraine has a bottom line value orientation. I look forward to continuing working with Lorraine and her team at Persona Branding & Design.”
“The Maguire & Paterson brand was established in 1882 and therefore the rebranding and new packaging had to be managed in a very sensitive and caring manner.
Persona Branding & Design worked very effectively with the M&P management team ensuring that the findings of consumer research were correctly interpreted and factored into the brand revitalization and new range designs. We found their ability to steer us of significant benefit.
Persona Branding & Design also ensured that we kept our focus on core objectives and diplomatically challenged us at various stages on our thought process, ensuring that any brand preferences did not stray from the core objectives.
We would have no hesitation in recommending Persona Branding & Design and we would be very pleased to speak with any potential client(s).”
“Lorraine Carter creates meaningful and immaculately designed brands based on a deep subject matter expertise. She, through Persona Branding & Design, provides a world class professional services for all sized enterprises.
Her understanding of target markets results in memorable and distinctive work that empathises with end customers. Lorraine brings a uniquely positive energy to every meeting that leaves her clients engaged and delighted.
“Lorraine Carter is a true marketing professional. She is highly creative and has delivered impactful, innovative brand solutions for my business for almost a decade.”
“Persona Branding & Design supports our company with an excellent level of creativity in all areas of branding, design and marketing. They listen, understand and interpret our needs perfectly with a formidable proficiency in execution. It is only fair to say that our company expectations of original briefs have always been exceeded.”
“I have worked with Persona Branding & Design for more than 8 years. They have become an invaluable extension of our team, working with us in a flexible, intelligent and pragmatic way.
Once commissioned, they became part of the business extending their expert opinion and brilliant creative solutions in total harmony with our requirements which has achieved great results. This is important since it is often the detail that can make or break a business relationship. Their work philosophy is the best contract a client can hope to receive.”
“Persona Design successfully applied their extensive branding experience from consumer goods directly to an important industrial B2B product range within our organisation. This was pivotal in the formulation of our brand communications strategy which also included design, packaging, point of sale material and brand promotional plan, all of which contributed to a very successful commercial outcome.”
“Lorraine is an excellent start to finish project manager with tremendous creativity and ability to work budgets and timelines effectively.”
“I can’t say enough about the excellent work that Persona Branding & Design has done for us. They didn’t just look at our design requirements but challenged us to really look at the fundamentals of our brand and our target market.
They fully engaged with our team and questioned our thinking, providing strong guidance when needed to keep us all on track. Not only is their work exceptional but it’s an absolute pleasure to work with them too.
The end product has evoked huge comment from customers and buyers alike as to its thought provoking branding, design and uniqueness, thus putting Country Crest into a whole different zone of marketing.”
“Lorraine Carter from Persona Design recently presented at our Dell Social Media Event on the importance of Brand for Corporate and Self. Lorraine provided great tips, many of them thought-provoking from her vast experience in developing brands, as an individual, for customers and the importance of building relationships.
I would highly recommend Lorraine as a trusted advisor on Brand Development and Management.”
“Persona Design has always exceeded the objectives of our briefs. Their level of interaction and creative rigour offering a range of fresh concepts is brilliant.
Apart from being great people to work with, Persona Branding & Design offers an unbeatable combination in their level of service, lateral thinking, attention to detail, strategic focus and commitment to all projects undertaken. They are a key asset within my company and I would be delighted to personally recommend their services.”
“Persona Design are very talented brand consultants and packaging design experts. They are knowledgeable, creative and highly dependable. My company has hired them for a number of projects and we have always been very pleased with the results.
In fact, several of their projects for us have won prestigious awards. I highly recommend Persona Branding & Design.”
“Persona Branding & Design has adroitly managed several of our most important brand design briefs over the past couple of years and in doing so brought a high degree of creativity plus in depth knowledge in dealing with packaging and print suppliers that was vital for the completion of the successful end product.
Their attention to detail and open book costing consistently ensures no surprises on design or origination quotations.”
“I was delighted to be a participant in Lorraine’s Master class on Branding, Packaging and Design. Lorraine has extensive experience is this area and her third party examples of clients she has worked with really drove the message home on the importance of one’s brand and how powerful it can be.
She is passionate in her message and delivers it with conviction. I strongly recommend her as a trainer, speaker in the area of branding, packaging and design as she is truly an expert.”
“Persona Design has worked with Wavin on the creation and development of the new branding and marketing collateral for the launch of a new range of premium products.
They worked closely with our commercial team during this period to deliver a fantastic launch, on time and within budget. I would highly recommend Persona Branding & Design to anyone who is looking for a company that adds value through innovative ideas.”
“Lorraine is a highly experienced and expert marketing professional. That’s just one way of putting it. She is an expert public speaker and her passion for subject matter shines though when she presents on a subject that is obviously close to her heart. Highly professional and credible, she is always looking for the best way to apply her talent for her clients best interest.
Her firm is highly successful in delivering strategic marketing projects for their prestigious client base. I have no hesitation in offering my highest recommendation for Lorraine and her team at Persona Branding & Design”
“Lorraine’s depth of knowledge in branding is immense. I have attended some of her courses and also see first hand the benefits Persona Branding & Design can bring to a business. I am always happy to recommend Lorraine.”
“I have known of Lorraine’s high quality work for a number of years and in late 2008 I finally had the opportunity to work with her in developing a brand and marketing strategy for an upcoming awards ceremony.
Lorraine patiently guided the team through the process and was excellent in identifying the nuances, do’s and don’ts of our target market. We started out thinking a brand was just a logo but now know better!
Before this however, Lorraine had sat down for coffee on an number of occasions with my colleague and I on a different venture and was very generous with her time and sharing her knowledge. I aim to call on Lorraine many times in the future and look forward to it.”
“I’d be happy to recommend Lorraine Carter and her company, Persona Branding & Design, to any client who wants an enthusiastic and passionate business partner to produce compelling brands built on a sound strategy.”
“Lorraine is both highly creative and strategic. Her professional and flexible approach combined with her attention to detail resulted in exceptional work which perfectly met the clients needs. A pleasure to work with. I’d happily recommend her for any brand project!”
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