With the popularity of the modern mobile web browser, does your business need a mobile web site? More than ever. The digital landscape is changing and more users are viewing the Internet on mobile devices. Depending on the source, it is believed that one in five Americans access the web from their phone every day. The number keeps growing, too. Google believes that 50% of Americans were carrying smart phones at the end of 2011.
“That’s great, Nerdmaster,” you say, “but that still doesn’t explain why I need to invest in a mobile site.”
The desktop version of your site was designed to be seen on a large screen and navigated with a mouse, not your fingers. Take a moment to visit your website on your mobile right now. Is it easy to navigate and find your way around? How much zooming in did you have to do? How fast did it load? Could you find important information quickly and easily? Try putting yourself in your customer’s shoes so you can see what they see. You want to provide them with a smooth experience so not only will they come back, but also so they will recommend your services to others when asked.
An example of how a site will look on a mobile is a great site we just finished: Genesis Systems Group. A mobile site is particularly important if your primary site uses Flash. The most popular mobile devices don’t support Flash, and Adobe themselves will be discontinuing mobile Flash support. A redirect to a mobile site is a quick remedy to that problem, and lays the foundation for a future transition to a HTML5 site. (More about HTML5 in next week’s post.) On a desktop browser, the site flows well and is easy to navigate with drop-down menus and links in side bars. On a mobile, however, things start to get a little squished and hard to read. There will be a lot of pinch zooming and panning around. Not to fear, this is a Nerdwerx design so the transition to mobile was easy. The content was easily displayed in a complimentary mobile design with large branding and touch friendly navigation. Plus, with browser auto detect, it knows when you’ve gone mobile.
A mobile site is particularly important if your primary site uses Flash. Some of the most popular mobile devices being sold today don’t support Flash, and Adobe themselves will be discontinuing mobile Flash support. A redirect to a mobile site is a quick remedy to that problem, and lays the foundation for a future transition to a HTML5 site. (More about HTML5 in next week’s post.)
Making navigation easy for mobile users drives traffic to your site and if you’re a retailer, traffic is sales potential. Businesses have seen of up to 85% increase in traffic with the addition of a mobile site.
Interested in what mobile can do for you? Contact Nerdwerx today for a free consultation!
Notice: Undefined variable: listtag in /home/kickaste/public_html/wp-content/themes/kickasterisk/functions.php on line 325
Notice: Undefined variable: i in /home/kickaste/public_html/wp-content/themes/kickasterisk/functions.php on line 351
10+ years ago content management systems were rare. If you were a web designer or developer and could offer clients the ability to administer their own website, you were ahead of the game.
Then again, things online were a lot different back then…
Even the idea that the average person could update their website’s content easily and quickly was new. In response, many agencies developed their own bespoke (custom) content management systems as a way of providing an important additional service to clients. Great. What’s even more crazy is how many agencies and web design firms that are still trying to push these systems on their clients, because there’s simply no justification for doing so.(in the 1950s, “Duck and Cover” was a good idea…)
If an agency tries to tell you that you should use their in-house content management system today, they’re doing you a disservice. They’re taking advantage of you and your lack of web expertise by claiming that their system is a good deal for you.
In a world of widely available, top quality, open source and commercial content management systems, there’s no upside to using a bespoke system. All the advantages lie with the agency, not the client…which of course is why they try to sell them to you!
Open Source And Commercial Systems Offer Better Quality
I’ve experienced the pain of using proprietary content management systems developed by a single agency. They’re generally terrible. Difficult to use, they lack extensibility and flexibility, and can be clunky and primitive. A decade ago when there were few other options, they were a good deal. Many of them don’t appear to have moved on from that point. Clients are paying us to fix things in their bespoke CMS (created by someone else, of course) that should have been right in the first place.
In-house: a safe place to be?
Compare that to the widely available systems, both open source and commercial. These products are all fighting it out in a highly competitive market. That competition forces them to continually update and upgrade, improving functionality and usability. What’s more, they’re working with teams who are dedicated purely to the creation and improvement of a content management system, not a design or development agency that’s throwing something together as an additional “service”. These content management systems are stable, flexible and of sufficient quality that major corporate and government clients like Ford, Mattel, the US Army are happy to base their websites off these systems.
Still Not Convinced That A Bespoke System Is A Bad Deal?
The most important reason that a bespoke content management system is a bad deal is because it ties the client to the agency that provided the original service. It locks the client in, and reduces their options…
How do you fix a problem?
You’re probably going to have to talk to the original agency, even if you no longer have a working relationship. They developed the content management system, they’re probably the only people who are going to be able to fix it quickly. Your alternative is going to be paying developers who have no prior knowledge of the code, to try and identify and fix a system they haven’t seen before. We do this all the time…
Difficult to escape, and how do you implement new functionality?
You’ve realized the importance of social networking to your business, so you want to add a Twitter feed to your site. Perhaps you’d like to add some video functionality, or a blog. Widely available content management systems, whether open source or commercial, respond to demand. That means there’s probably a “plugin” that adds that functionality to your site quickly and easily. Not the case with a bespoke content management system; you’re stuck until the agency that owns it decides to take the time to implement the functionality (…if they ever do!).
You’re Locked In
You’re trapped by a bespoke content management system in a number of ways. You’re trapped with your original agency for your future web design and development needs. That’s probably why they provided you with the system in the first place, it forces long term repeat business that’s good for them.
It’s not just the agency you’re stuck with though. What happens when you need to replace your own webmaster? There’s not likely to be many people out there who are familiar with your content management system. If you were using a widely acknowledged system, however, there’d be a huge pool of talent. People experienced and skilled with administering, designing and developing for both open source and commercial alternatives. A bespoke system doesn’t just tie you to an agency, it massively limits your own talent pool.
Bespoke Systems Should Simply Be Avoided
Any PROFESSIONAL design agency you work with should be able to offer you a widely available content management system, whether open source or commercial. A good designer or developer should be comfortable working with several different systems, so they can offer a solution that’s best suited to your particular needs.
But…I have custom needs!
Even if you have *very* specialized requirements, commonly available content management systems are the best option. You’re far better having a developer create a custom component for a well known content management system. That’s assuming that there isn’t already a component out there that you can simply plug into your content management system; with such a large community of developers, open source software has hundreds of such plugins.
Whenever a design agency insists that their own in-house content management system is the best option for you, query that claim. With such a scope of available options that are widely supported, there’s no justification for offering a bespoke option that’s agency specific.
Want some professional help from passionate Web Nerds? We want to help you out of your custom CMS!
Ready for a great content management system? We’ll demo one for free, integrate and implement it, and support you in the future. Check out Nerdwerx or call (877) 505-6373.
Art is about personal expression. It is about the life, the emotions, the thoughts and ideas of the artist. It matters very little what observers do, their activity is not required, only their appreciation. The practice of Art doesn’t require them. It is a necessary activity for the artist, and the artist alone.
Design, on the other hand, is about use. We as designers need someone to use (not only appreciate) what we create. Design doesn’t serve its purpose without people to use it. Design helps solve human problems. The highest accolade we can bestow on a design is not that it is beautiful, but that it is well-used. Design is always contextual. It matters when a design was created because of the context of its use: what problem is it supposed to solve? And for whom? At what point in time? This is why design is so related to technology, because technology changes so quickly, so must our designs. A design that worked ten years ago might not even be worth considering today. History is littered with wonderful designs that are no longer necessary.
The litmus test. When people enjoy Art, they say “I like that”. When people enjoy Design, they say “That works well”. This is not by accident. Good Design is something that works well.
Great Web Design is Invisible.
An interesting property of great design is that it is taken for granted. It works so well that we forget that creative effort was involved to bring it about. Sometimes, like with the lowly spoon, the object is so simplistic that it seems obvious, and we disregard that at one point in history it wasn’t. Other times, like with the automobile, the object is so sophisticated yet easy-to-use that we’re blinded to the fact that millions and millions of human-hours went into getting it to this point. That’s a shame…every great design has a rich history. And every design has behind it a designer or designers who tried to make the world a better place by solving some problem or another.
Bad design is obvious because it hurts to use. It is awkward, difficult, and complex. In a great irony of the world, bad design is much easier to see than good design. Because of its success, great web design is often invisible.
Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication.
As Saint Exupery said, “In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.”
Simplicity is treading a line: knowing what to keep and what to throw away…it comes across as magic when it works, because none of the complexity is transferred to users…only simplicity.
Think we’re cool? Check out the Nerdwerx Portfolio and call us at (877) 505-NERD.
In the 1960s, business executives marveled at their new organization tool – the Rolodex. This clever contraption made it easy to find an associate’s or customer’s phone number and add or delete contacts in just a few minutes, spinning cards around on its wheel alphabetically. The Rolodex became an essential tool for communication, taking us through the next two decades and into the computer era.
Once personal computers began to populate office desks, electronic mail ensued and business professionals discovered an even smarter way to connect with their customers and foster long-term relationships – email.
Today, electronic communication has become far more prevalent in customer relationship management than the old fashioned phone call or direct mailer due to several key benefits:
* the freedom to review and respond at one’s leisure
* the ability to include supportive documents and hyperlinks
* the ability to carefully plan and fine-tune a message prior to delivery
* the ability to communicate with a larger audience faster and more cost-effectively
* the ability to easily document and archive correspondence
Using Email Marketing to Enhance Customer Relationships
From professional services to manufacturing firms and everything in between, companies depend on email marketing more and more as their primary means for building and sustaining strong relationships with current and prospective customers. Companies may use email newsletters, automated messages and value-added email promotions to enhance customer relationships. Email marketing is effectively used with customers to:
Email Marketing Can Reinforce Your Brand.
Promote your business image, unique selling proposition, corporate philosophy and values using targeted email marketing messages delivered at a frequency most comfortable for your audience members. After repeated exposure, recipients will automatically think of your company’s image and message when they need the products, services or solutions offered.
Use Email Marketing to Share Topic Expertise.
Don’t just advertise your industry expertise. Demonstrate your knowledge by sending regular email newsletters with relevant articles that set your products or services apart. Offer tips and strategies that your readers can use to improve their own lives, work or productivity. Increase customer demand by suggesting creative ways readers can use your company’s products or services. For example, a financial consultant may send email newsletters complete with personal finance articles or strategies for higher education or retirement planning.
Email Marketing Can Build Trust and Loyalty.
Email marketing offers an effective means for fostering interaction with your customers. For instance, companies may implement automated triggers that send valuable and appreciated messages to customers immediately following a sale to recommend similar products or other relevant content. They could also send a message a few weeks following service to gather valuable customer feedback through an online survey or poll. Marketing and sales departments also use scheduled birthday and anniversary messages to make their customers feel more appreciated.
Optimizing Your Customer Relations Email Campaign
Investing some time and effort to develop a customer relations email campaign can pay off handsomely in the long run. Email marketing provides an efficient means for message delivery, tracking, assessment and analysis. A permission-based email marketing solution helps companies manage their lists of prospective, current and past customers in the most cost-efficient manner possible.
When launching an email campaign to optimize relationships, you’ll first want to develop a strategy that pushes relevant, timely and value-added news and information to your contacts on a consistent basis. This content might include featured and guest articles, Q&As, product reviews or recommendations, special promotions, news or other company announcements. You can get to know your audience and their preferences by implementing a web-based survey or assessing purchasing habits.
Welcome recipients to your list right away, establishing expectations and describing your company’s trouble-free email opt-out processes. Interact with your readers by encouraging comments and feedback. Stay mindful of your goal in building long-term customer relationships and brand awareness, avoiding the natural inclination to push a hard sell. Keep messages brief and interesting, with new installments delivered on a regular and predictable schedule.
List segmentation and targeting tools can take campaign relevance to a completely new level, offering the means to present communications based on the recipient’s location, interests or behaviors. Companies are able to design sub-lists based on age, geographic location, purchasing habits, customer need or location within the sales funnel. Segmentation capabilities also help email marketers better understand their customer’s behavior. As results are analyzed, marketers can fine-tune messages and delivery schedules to align with their readers responses. Like segmentation, message personalization further cultivates rapport and lets readers know you care.
Building your own customer relationships with email has never been easier. Nerdwerx can help bring your creative ideas to life and allow you to communicate in a meaningful way with thousands of customers, without spinning the wheels of the Rolodex. The possibilities are virtually unlimited — but call the professionals.
Email marketing, you say? Isn’t that so 1999? I mean, seriously… there are blogs, interactive multimedia, RSS advertising, PPC marketing, SEM, SMM, search engine optimization and so much more, and you want to talk about email marketing? By the way, Nerdwerx does all of the above. Hint hint.
First, though, let me clear up a misconception or two. By email marketing, I do not mean SPAM. In fact, i mean the opposite of SPAM. Rather than send email about things they don’t want to people who do not want to be emailed, we will talk about sending email to people who asked to get email from us. This is called opt-in email, and properly used, it is extremely powerful. Savvy marketers have seen the value in building a list of opt-in subscribers who have raised their hand and said “market to me”.
Imagine how much easier your life as a marketer would be if instead of marketing to the Internet at large you had a list of 5000 people who knew you, liked you and wanted to buy what you sell. Impossible, you say? Not at all.
If you did nothing more but put a form on your web site to collect the addresses of those who came by and asked to be on your mailing list, you would be ahead of the game. Email marketing is push based marketing, as opposed to more trendy pull based options. With pull marketing, you post content on a blog, you build a widget, people come by and see it and talk about it. With email, you are sending them the marketing message, when you want them to see it, in a format you control.
Over the past ten years email marketing has been an effective way of delivering a message directly to a selected audience. Over time however other seemingly more measurable channels have become available.
Reports of low conversations and poor open rates have tainted that once effective direct marketing tool.
Apart from conversions, how do you measure an effective email campaign?
How many emails were sent out to the list?
How many emails were read?
Click Through Rate (CTR)
How many readers then clicked through from the email message to a landing page?
These metrics can be skewed however. Open rates are often measured by the amount of times a tracking image is loaded, however most email clients by default don’t load images. Some subscribers also choose to receive text emails, this again makes it difficult to measure as it’s not possible to embedded an image into a text-only email.
Recent studies by eMarketer and Epsilon shows that email marketing is still viable. Top level figures report that with a correct creative and a clean targeted list you can achieve very good results from a email marketing campaign.
“Q1 2009 Email Trends and Benchmarks”
- Delivery Rate 94.1%
- Open Rate 22.1%
- Click Through Rate 6.1%
Whatever your business, there is no doubt that adding email marketing to your marketing mix can help you achieve your business goals faster. Savvy marketers have been doing it for years. The question is, will you get on the bus, or are you going to be left at the station?
Notice: Undefined property: stdClass::$error in /home/kickaste/public_html/wp-includes/rss.php on line 498
- No public Twitter messages.