Personas: a waste of time or an insightful tool?

What are personas?

Personas are a UX tool, designated for a segment of the user experience research process that helps designers create a somewhat fictional user. What do designers do with these fictional users you ask? Well, quite plainly they are meant to navigate the gauntlet of buttons, pages, and text of a primordial product.

Personas consist entirely of personal information, skills, interests and other information that makes up a real human’s personality. You could potentially look at a persona as being a CV. But in this case, they are not applying for a job, they are simply there to help designers discover if their newly thought up product is navigable or not.

Personas can be old or young, tech-savvy or technologically challenged… however, the primary direction designers take when creating a persona is that of their target market. This aligns their fictional user’s interests and skills with the newly produced product in question.

Are personas useful?

To make a long story short… maybe.

Okay, I lied about the matter being simple, this question is purely context-specific. Some products are simple enough that they apply to a broader target market, and the product could make use of functionality that is already prevalent in countless other products.

This means that the product in question could be intuitive for most users already (let’s say it’s an e-commerce website), anyone who makes use of the internet on a regular basis has come across an e-commerce website. The process is simple enough; browse, add to cart, checkout, payment, delivery (give or take a few steps).

The process seems easy and intuitive, however, the fact that these websites are generally easy to navigate and operate does not exempt users from the toil of having to backtrack through their journey, choose different sizing options or find something they saw earlier more easily.

This is where personas come into the mix; they help us create those non-conforming users that have radically different online shopping habits. As these users fumble through the bits and bobs of the prototype website in question, they will undoubtedly come across a wall at some point.

Our job as designers is to test every possible situation and user flow through the website in order to find possible errors or redundant sections, filter through and tweak the product to its optimal level of usability. If you can see where users may get stuck in a more intuitive website scenario such as this, imagine the chaos users face when navigating completely new ground.

How does Yellow Door make use of personas?

Something Em loves doing in our team strategy sessions is combining personas with a SWOT analysis. We begin by making a list of a user’s traits; age, behaviour, job, relationship status… the works. Then we create a spider diagram, finding what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats they may run into. This combination allows us to effectively find the channels best suited for that client’s marketing needs, and what we can do to boost their business.

These sessions – above all else – are fun! We have a time and a half as a team doing these strategy games, they leave us and our clients buzzing with excitement and hopeful about all the opportunity we can bring to the table. I would say that these persona-esque strategy sessions allow us a unique insight into what is possible to bring to the table, and what we need to watch out for along the way… discovering trends we think may work, and isolating issues before they pop up.

Should I use them or not?

Generally, as designers developing products, from UI to UX… Our goal is to be fundamentally selfless, assume nothing about a user’s capability, and just do the tedious things (cough, cough… personas), in order to understand our target market better. Even if we incrementally gain one iota of information at a time.

So yes, suck it up and make a persona… here at Yellow Door we make a fun game out of it and learn a bunch in the process, so why not own it and learn something new in the process!

Website management part 4: conversion optimisation

Website management part 4: conversion optimisation

By Kirsten Meintjes

Posted on 12th June 2019

People often think that at this point, it’s time to pop the champagne! In the first few months that your website is live, provided you are continuously maintaining the site to be well-optimised, you can see the traffic coming in. Which is all very well, however, this does not guarantee conversion.

In parts 1-3 of my website management series, I covered some technical terminology, the basics of how to update your website, as well as how to put measures in place for your website to rank well on search engines (search engine optimisation).

What exactly is ‘conversion’?

The best way to understand conversion is by asking yourself the following: Are people actually doing what I want them to do on my website? Typically this is 1) sales, if you sell products, or 2) enquiries, if you offer services.

 

You can have the most beautifully designed website in the world, that gets a lot of traffic too. However, if visitors are not actually doing what you need them to do, then where’s the return on investment?

The conversion funnel

This is where the conversion funnel comes in. As visitors land on your site, your aim should be to guide them through the process of eventually achieving your desired outcome. The truth is, however, that the average website only converts 2.35% of its website visitors. So, what goes wrong?

Barriers to conversion

1) Resistance to change

 

Website design is fluid. This could mean many things – but to me, it means that what works on a website today might not work as well in the future.

For example, when PPC (Pay Per Click) ads were initially growing in popularity, adding a banner advertisement at the top of a web page saw high conversion rates. In other words, they drew people’s attention away from the page itself, who would be more likely to click on these banners to find out more. Nowadays, however, people who frequently browse the web have been conditioned to avoid these ads. Nobody reads them anymore.

If your website was designed to best practices three years ago, and hasn’t been touched since, chances are that it’s a little outdated and might not be yielding as successful results. It’s important to keep ahead of the curve when it comes to design – and to allocate budget to allow for this.

2) Creativity takes preference

 

We all want our websites to reflect our brands, right? For example, if your brand stands for minimalism, and ‘less is more’, then you likely won’t want a busy and colourful site. However, you might be taking things a bit too far if you don’t believe that buttons will work at all on your homepage, or if you’d like your website visitors to watch a lengthy video before having the option to navigate through the site. There needs to be a good balance between creativity and conversion techniques. Trust your web designers 😉

3) Poorly designed landing pages

 

 

Whether you have just launched and need some brand awareness, or are running a season special, it’s likely that you have run some targeted advertisements to generate traffic to your website. With such ads, the number one mistake that people make is to not have a landing page.

 

If you are targeting people who are looking for “Season special discount summer Cape Town accommodation”, and they are directed simply to the homepage of an accommodation website (without such a special being front and centre), it is unlikely that this traffic will convert.

 

 

Having a specially formulated landing page is critical for every advert that you run. When I search for “Season special discount summer Cape Town accommodation” and click on an advert that takes me to your website – that is all I want to see. This landing page should have information relating to that exact special, as well as one clear call to action (such as “Book now”) close to the top of the page. There should be no room for confusion, or getting distracted and landing on other pages. You have a visitor who is interested specifically in your special. At this stage, show this – and only this – to them.

Following these guidelines and pointers, I hope that you can look at your website with a fresh perspective, being able to clearly state who you would like to visit your website, what they might be looking for, and how best you can get this to them. If you’d like to set up a coffee to chat about your site in more detail please let me know – kirsten@theyellowdoor.co.za – our yellow door is always open

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Be a better speaker: presenting and pitching tips

Be a better speaker: presenting and pitching tips

By Anthony Horne

Posted on 29th May 2019

Between nerves, technological meltdowns and stage fright, public speaking can turn the most professional business person into a wet-behind-the-ears intern. Once mastered though, it can be a powerful networking and self-promotional tool.

In this blog post I will touch on some golden tips that will help you blow the minds of your audience or at least keep them interested during your presentation, interview, pitch or talk.

Your story – your opinion

Are you not feeling entertained?” echoed through the auditorium. “Well, no, how can I be when you’re boring me to death?” – maybe it’s not that dramatic but nothing replaces a really great story. Even better a true story, one that your audience can relate to. Tell your audience your story, who you are, what your opinions are and why, interact, and connect with your audience. Make them feel like they’re a part of your story.

Connection – share the highs and the lows

Public speaking is great for self-promotion, but self-promotion shouldn’t be your entire speech. People didn’t pay to hear you blow smoke up your own butt. They came to learn about you and your work. To hear about your life, story or process. Connect with them by telling them about your failures and successes, your mistakes and missed opportunities, the ups and the downs.

The audience is here for a reason – so put them first

Probably the most important tip besides not being boring is to put the audience front and centre. They came here for a reason and will have expectations. You need to deliver on these expectations, whatever they may be. If they came here to learn about social media, they won’t be impressed if by 30 minutes in, you haven’t spoken about any social media platforms yet or seen any examples. Keep that in mind.

Delivery – it’s not what you say but how you say it

Some of the greatest speeches in human history might weren’t written by the people who presented them, but they are remembered because of the way they were delivered. I have a dream – except no one can hear me so no one cares. Don’t let that be the case. Whether you’re speaking to one person in a boardroom or 5 000 at a conference, the power and effectiveness of your words lie in the delivery of them.

 

Some simple ways to improve your delivery are to:

  • take it slow (don’t rush)
  • have a conversation (don’t read)
  • engage (connect with your audience)
  • practice makes perfect (preparation will help you overcome those nerves)
  • have a plan B and C (in case something goes wrong)
  • be confident in yourself and your abilities

Technology – an investment in professionalism

In a world where technology has improved our lives by leaps and bounds, it is still considered a Hail Mary in public speaking. It will either make or break you, and that’s the wrong outlook to have. The tech is only as good as its user. Written notes are great as a backup, but a well-designed presentation, a video or an interactive portfolio will always trump a page filled with words.

There are so many ways to improve your public speaking, and these suggestions just scratch the service. The only thing standing in your way is yourself and your excuses. You can be the greatest presenter or speaker you want to be, all that’s needed is for you to put in the work to achieve it. Now, go out there and make those connections.

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Seeing yellow – how we harness change for the better

Seeing yellow – how we harness change for the better

By Danielle Scheepers

Posted on 16th May 2019

You only have to scroll through our Instagram to see how much Yellow Door has evolved over the last couple of years. Not only has the team grown and changed externally, but clients and our approach to marketing is constantly being evaluated and updated.

It’s been a fun, and sometimes challenging ride – but we wouldn’t have it any other way. This article is going to serve as a mini audit on life behind the Yellow Door through the eyes of the resident wordsmith.​

Values

Within the first month that I joined Yellow Door, we sat down as a team and defined our values. There had been an existing set that were agreed upon, but Dom and Em felt it was time that they were revisited.

 

We sat around the boardroom table in the old office setting and wrestled, debated and explained our vote for various values. In the end, there was a surprising alignment of values and consensus on how we define ourselves. Here is what we came up with:

 

  • Integrity
  • Consistency
  • Authenticity
  • Can-do
  • Care why

We feel pretty solid about these, but who knows what the next phase will bring. One thing is for sure, we have returned to these values time and again.

Team

I remember the first time I visited the Yellow Door website (which incidentally has been upgraded in the meantime). I was struck by something that Em had said along the lines of: ‘we invest and develop young, talented people who are eager to learn about the industry.’

 

Every six months we employ a new intern, who brings new ideas, insights, strengths and weaknesses which sharpens the whole team and keeps us on our toes.

 

The proverbial Yellow Door is always kept open for talent from the outside. We have some of the most dedicated, talented people that I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and we are richer with every new addition.

 

Although it is always sad to see past employees leave, there is never a shred of resentment from either side and it makes for a healthy team and office environment. There is always room for all involved to grow, and the door is left open on the way out.

The YellowDoor Co-55

Space

Ergonomics are an important factor in producing quality work. Our office environment has been tweaked, shifted and adjusted to make sure that everyone is comfortable and working well.

 

Very shortly we will be moving into a new venue altogether! Rather than seeing this as an interruption, we are getting excited to make it our own. Watch this space for an address update.

Clients

As a marketing agency, we want to continue aligning with brands which we feel we can connect with, support and build lasting relationships with.

 

Our clientele may be diverse, but we value all of them for the many lessons and opportunities to grow which we have been provided with. As we become more confident in our identity, we have made the point of choosing our clients wisely. Shared values, quality work and sustainability is the name of the game.

Vision

Where to next? We keep our eyes on the horizon and continue to allow the marketing tide to guide us while keeping a firm hand on the rudder at all times. One thing we can say for certain is that exciting times lie ahead.

 

Bring the change!

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How to wear the multiple hats of a business owner with ease

How to wear the multiple hats of a business owner with ease

By Emma Donovan

Posted on 7th May 2019

As a business owner, you have to wear multiple hats and learn to focus on the ones that are most important right now – acknowledging that they will change along the way. As we approach Yellow Door’s fifth birthday, my top two are securing new clients and leading strategy workshops. In this blog post I’ll unpack this a bit further, share some tips that keep me on track.

My new business director hat

YellowDoorCo-105

About 14 months ago we decided to focus on attracting not just bigger clients, but the right clients. Clients that share our values and want a strategic marketing partner to add value to their business over time.

 

I spend more than half of my time on this – and no two days are the same. It ranges from coming up with ways to improve our offering and how we position Yellow Door to networking, meeting potential clients and pouring over spreadsheets!

 

It’s taught me to have patience, to have courage and to really play to my strengths of woo, ideation and communication.

My strategy hat

pooh

This is how I feel when I wake up to run a strategy workshop! In fact, I love everything about them:

 

  • Collaborating with brilliant minds – our clients, our team and often a consultant or two to bring a fresh perspective
  • Quality time – phones are off, and the rest of the world can wait
  • Thinking on my feet – we often go off script, and that’s when the magic happens
  • Creativity – whether it’s a brand story, a marketing plan or a campaign; it’s starting with a clean slate and crafting something new
  • Discovery – we get to learn about an array of industries, suggest ways to incorporate new trends, and improve our offering along the way

Four more hats

In a typical day at the office I also wear hats of an editor, mentor, partner and planner. And the secret is to get the balance right between them. It takes practice, and is a work in progress, but here are seven tips that have helped me to stay sane:

 

  • Start the day with a priority list not a to do list
  • Stay agile
  • Surround yourself with people that you can learn from
  • Ask for help, don’t try to do it all yourself
  • Celebrate the small wins as well as the big ones
  • Set goals
  • Find the balance between the big picture and what needs to happen today

 

If you’d like to work with Yellow Door or find out more about our strategy workshops, pop me an email: emma@theyellowdoor.co.za and we can connect over coffee or Skype.

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Website management part 3: how do I improve my SEO?

Website management part 3: how do I improve my SEO?

By Kirsten Meintjes

Posted on 24th April 2019

Let’s set the scene – imagine if I told you right now that that one thing you have always wanted but never found actually exists and is available. Today. Naturally you would ask me where it is, and how you can find it. But before I had mentioned it, you would not have known about its existence.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is much like this. No matter how beautiful and perfectly-suited your website is to your target market, if they have no way of locating your website in the first place, it may as well be an undiscovered desert island in the middle of the sea. Nobody will find it.

 

Global eCommerce sales are expected to break the $3 trillion mark in 2019, and already more than 50% of consumers in both America and the UK prefer to shop online. And companies have cottoned on to this. In an overwhelming sea of goods and services offered online, ensuring you rank well on a search engine is more important today than ever before. The top three listings on a Google search page get 61% of clicks, so it is critical to optimise your website to compete on this front.

 

Here are a couple of systems and tools we recommend you put into place to ensure your business ranks well.

Internal SEO

This is SEO which is ‘internal’ to your website. They are elements which you will have most control over. If Yellow Door creates your website, we cover the first two bases (the third is an optional extra).

1. Meta title, description, and keywords

These three elements are important as they are exactly what will appear in the search engine result. If you have a WordPress website, we recommend using the plugin All in One SEO pack or Yoast SEO to add these three key attributes to your posts and pages.

Capture

2. Mobile-friendly (responsiveness)

It is no secret these days that all digital products need to be mobile-friendly, or responsive. mCommerce (mobile commerce) is set to take over eCommerce in 2019, and this figure is expected to rise to 72% by 2021.

A mobile-friendly website is not just a smaller version of a website, it requires larger buttons (think thumbs and not pointers) and fewer but more powerful images (think data limits when on the move). Google favours sites that accommodate all screen sizes and are therefore easy for a visitor to use, regardless of what device they use to access it.

3. Website relevance

In essence, ask yourself whether your website is stale or relevant to today’s Google searches. You might have created incredible content – or sold brand new products – many years ago. If the most recent product released for sale on your website is an iPhone 5, Google is not going to rank it as a relevant tech eCommerce website.

Similarly, if your recent blog posts about traveling the world were last posted in 2016, how competitive will you be compared to the countless travel blogs that have more recent content?

External SEO

This is SEO which is ‘external’ to your website; in other words, things that are not built-in attributes of your website, yet still affect its ranking.

1. Google Knowledge Panel

Let’s be honest – when we talk about Search Engine Optimisation, we are only really focusing on one of the many search engines – Google. As of January 2019, Google had 89.95% of the search engine market share.

If you have taken the time (or have outsourced the job to us) to claim and update your business listing on Google, the search engine will have more information about your business that will correlate with what appears on your website. You have taken the time to provide potential customers with quick information, therefore you will be rewarded with a better rank score.

google my business

2. Google reviews

If your business has positive reviews on your Google business listing, then the search engine is more likely to promote your business’ website over and above a competitor with a lower average review score (or none at all!)

Tip: encourage current and past clients to leave a review for you on Google after you have successfully completed a project.

3. Traffic

A good indicator as to whether your business will appeal to future website visitors is to see if it appeals to current ones already. In other words, if you have a high volume of traffic to your website, this indicates to Google that your business is of interest to people and this motivates it to display its URL to potential visitors going forward.

One way to improve traffic to your website is via backlinks. If your URL is listed on a number of other websites (i.e. if there are many backlinks), then people on those other websites are easily directed to yours. This also reinforces your business’ legitimacy to Google.

Another way to create high volumes of traffic to a website – the easier method of the two, especially for a new business – is through advertising. Website traffic ads can target people of specific interests and buying habits that match your target market. This method requires digital marketing expertise but is a sure-fire way to increase the number of people accessing your website. Retaining visitors and converting them is another story 😉 The website conversion funnel will be covered in part 4 of this series.

If there is one key insight to take away from this SEO piece, allow it to be my core philosophy: a website can be as beautifully-designed as some of the best in the world – but there is no point in having a beautiful island in the middle of the sea without anything pointing in its direction. Stay relevant and ensure enough people know the route to get to your business’ presence online.

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How measurable is your digital marketing?

How measurable is your digital marketing?

By Dominique Sandwith

Posted on 17th April 2019

In the first week of every month, our team undertakes ‘report week’. It’s stressful for some, but we know it’s important for clients to understand what we’ve been doing for their brands, and what impact this has had on their bottom line.

In our opinion, it’s all very well to set up a website and social media platforms, and start using them to build your brand, but would you know these tools are working without a monthly report?

 

Digital marketing efforts are way more measurable than traditional marketing like newspapers, magazines and billboards. The real problem is figuring out which metrics to focus on and how to keep track of them. Each platform comes with its own analytics or insights tools which you can use to narrow down the information that is important for your brand and business objectives.

 

For each brand we work with, we collate statistics from the following platforms based on what their KPIs are and track their objectives.

Website

Google Analytics is the most well-known and widely-used analytics tool for website statistics. It is cloud-based and as such you can log in from anywhere in the world to track the relevant metrics. It is also simple to set up, any web developer can add the code to your website once the site is up and running. The popular metrics are categorised as follows:

 

  1. Overview: track how many sessions your website has received, pageviews, unique users as well as their average time on site and the bounce rate (how many people landed on the site and left almost immediately).

  2. Audience: insights into the characteristics of your website users (visitors) such as their demographics, geolocation, the device they’re using, the browser and operating system they used to access your site, whether they’ve been to your site before, and more.

  3. Acquisition: how your users (visitors) came to your website, i.e. from Google search (organic), another website (referral), an email newsletter, a paid ad, social media or by directly typing your URL into their browser.

  4. Behaviour: information on what pages your users are visiting, the time they spent on each page, how they got their and what they clicked on.

  5. Conversion: tracks when a user does something that you want them to do, i.e. buy a product, submit an enquiry, etc. This needs to be specifically set up by using a piece of code on your website.

The analytics tool allows you to create your own custom dashboard, so you can just adjust the time period when you log in and immediately see the data that you want to measure. There are also other software applications available for you to collate this information into easily digestible and visual reports – check out Swydo and Databox.

Social media

One of the biggest appeals of social media is the fact that you can track customers and customer relationships in a meaningful way. However, many business owners get bogged down with the idea of tracking vanity metrics, such as the number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

While these are nice to haves and definitely necessary to gain reach on these platforms, they shouldn’t be the only things to look at to measure your succeed on these platforms.

Across all platforms, the metrics which matter are the reach of your content, similar to impressions, the amount of engagement that it receives and the number of clicks through to your website (used to calculate your click-through-rate). While these metrics are similar for most platforms, there are some that are worth noting.

  • Facebook: the interesting thing about this platform is the amount of personal information it can gather about your audience. Facebook is the number one social media tool for consumer marketing due to the fact that the targeting of content and advertising is so detailed. The metrics that are available on your page include the age, gender, location and interests of your audience.
  • Instagram: the native dashboard of metrics for Instagram is fairly simple as it is done purely on your phone, however there are plenty of tools available to delve deeper into your statistics such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social. These tools allow you to track your hashtag performance, how many people engaged with the hashtags in your posts and which ones performed the best.
  • Twitter: the use of hashtags is the main differentiating factor of Twitter analytics. From the platform’s analytics dashboard you can find out what the most talked about topics are such as events like Mother’s Day and big sports events. You can then join the conversation by creating a campaign focusing on one of these topics.
  • LinkedIn: as one of the only business-to-business social networks available, the metrics here are a little different. The LinkedIn analytics dashboard shows the demographics of your page by industry and seniority of role allowing you to see who your customer really is and target your content accordingly.

Another important way to measure social media results is to test the content on different audiences. Conducting split testing or A/B testing with your content can be hugely beneficial to finding out what works and what doesn’t. Remember to test only one metric at a time and to give it time to get results.

Reporting Blog Post

Email marketing

Newsletters, when done well, are still a very effective way of reaching customers directly and are extremely measurable. Using platforms such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact or Campaign Monitor you can track your subscription rate, number of opens on a certain email campaign, number of clicks and where the user clicked on the newsletter as well as the number of users who unsubscribe after each campaign. You can also compare these statistics to the average in a particular industry. For example, our client Cape Fish has an open rate of 21%, which is 10% above the industry average! This is a great sign that our content is hitting the mark.

 

Once you have a better understanding of the metrics for each platform and how to find this data, it is important to document the information in a format which can be compared over different time periods.

 

Each platform should have objectives and goals in place to gauge whether the platform is bringing in a good return on investment. The goals should be realistic but should also be aligned with your business goals and should push you or your agency to achieve good results to ultimately contribute to business success.

 

If you’re a Yellow Door client and reading this, tell us what you’d like to see in your next report, and we’ll incorporate it for you; and if you’re new to life behind the Yellow Door and want to find out more – pop us an email to hello@theyellowdoor.co.za.

 

Adapted from an article published in Your Business Magazine Mar/ Apr 2018.

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6 lessons we’ve learnt from designers

6 lessons we’ve learnt from designers

By Anthony Horne

Posted on 27th March 2019

Designers can teach us a lot of things. About using space and being creative but also about being succinct and to the point, as well as using new technology to our benefit. What we learn can be implemented in any environment from building a website to creating a productive working environment. Below are 6 lessons we have learnt from design that you can adapt to suit your life and business.

1. Find your space

Many of us spend most of our day at work, in an office, at a desk, and behind a laptop or computer. For most, this can be soul-crushing and ultimately affects their output and quality of work. As an individual, find a space and make it your own. Be comfortable in your space and confident in your abilities. As a company, create a work environment that inspires your employees to produce great work and grow as individuals. This same concept can be applied when building a website, design it like you would your space – in a way that shows off your individuality and sustainable competitive advantage.

2. Clear, straight-forward language

In the words of Blaise Pascal: “I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.”

 

Long-winded copy, heavy with overcomplicated sentences and filled with fancy industry specific jargon and phrases makes for difficult reading! Sometimes this is completely unavoidable. If you are speaking to industry experts and fellow colleagues, then you must talk the talk. In most cases though, especially when you are talking to clients or the general public, this is not necessary. You are more likely to lose a client or scare off potential clients if they can’t understand what you are saying or feel stupid just reading the copy on your website or brochure. Keep it simple, straight-forward and to the point.

3. Don’t be that one-trick pony

It’s great to be an industry expert and a leader in a certain service. It isn’t so great losing clients to a competitor because they think that one service is all you can do. Clearly define your services to potential and current clients. Let your clients know exactly what they can benefit from. It’s always easier to upsell to a current client than sell something to an entirely new client. An ongoing relationship builds strength, understanding, communication, and most importantly, a more rewarding partnership.

4. New projects, new tech

Try to implement some sort of new technology in every project you do – new framework, new syntax or new tools. Trying these small, continuous inclusions during a project will reduce the time spent outside of working hours keeping yourself up-to-date with the latest trends. Be wary though, trying new tech is a decision that needs to be well planned and thought out. If it’s going to severely affect the budget or time you have, it probably isn’t a good idea.

5. Less is more

Learn to say ‘no’. It’s that simple. In order to accomplish more, you actually have to do less. Whatever that means practically is up to you, fewer emails, fewer meetings, fewer new business lunches (which might sound stupid), or fewer team building functions. The more you have on your plate, the less time you have to do each task, and this leads to unfinished or poorly executed work. With less on your plate you can be more focused and driven, and this will lead to results.

6. Be an educator

Clients don’t know what they haven’t been told. Sounds pretty straight-forward, right? But how many times has a client come to you in the middle or at the end of a project with a wildly dreamt up idea that they expect you to just deliver on? Functionality they would take weeks of development to produce, and they expect it tomorrow. At the beginning of every project, clearly define what you can and can’t do, and what level of flexibility you are comfortable with. Changes are inevitable, unless you are perfect (ha, I know you thought it), but unless you set clear parameters and objectives, a seemingly easy project can go on for months.

 

Technology changes and we change along with it. The lessons we learn during these changes are the difference between growing and improving or staying the same. The more adapt you become at implementing the lessons you learn, the more effective you will be at producing results, improving workflow and the quality of your work. So these are the design lessons we’ve learnt that we feel will benefit anyone, and hopefully improve projects and workflow along the way.

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Make your business stand OUT on LinkedIn

Make your business stand OUT on LinkedIn

By Janine Langheim

Posted on 13th March 2019

Since its start in 2002, LinkedIn has grown in fame for connecting professionals all over the world. You might see it as an online tool to find your next position or advance your career. However, it can also be invaluable for growing your brand and expanding networks for your business.

Companies, particularly those with a B2B focus, can use LinkedIn to access a target audience that is not found on other social media platforms.

Here are seven sure-fire (tried and tested) ways to market your business through LinkedIn:

1. Start with your own profile

Yes, we are still focussing on how to market your business on LinkedIn, but the reality is that people do business with people, not companies. Your personal profile, and that of every team member within your company, all form part of the collective perception of your brand and is where first impressions are formed. When looking at someone’s profile, people silently answer the question “Do I want to work with this person?”.

 

Do your best to make sure your profile stands out from that of others in your industry (competitors). Make sure your profile image, qualifications, experience, skill set is always up to date and that your profile is 100% completed.

2. Create a complete LinkedIn company page

Now that your personal profile is set-up correctly, you can focus on your LinkedIn company page. A LinkedIn company page is different to a personal profile and is set up to represent a business or brand to potential customers, investors and partners. The page allows you to post updates and add information that comes across more effectively from a brand name than from an individual.

As with your personal profile, make sure you complete your company page 100%. According to LinkedIn, companies with complete information get 30% more weekly views.

 

A complete page is made up of:

 

  • Your company logo: Upload a quality version of your logo, positioned and sized accordingly.
  • Page cover: A lifestyle image that complements the core messaging of your brand and works aesthetically with your company’s CI.
  • Company info: This includes your website URL, location, company size and type.
  • Description: Include relevant keywords and phrases that best describe your company’s mission and purpose.  This will help LinkedIn members who search by keywords, find you.

Also make sure that you and all your team members link their personal profiles to the company page.

3. Clarify your company goals and audience

You can’t reach your goals if you don’t know what they are. Make sure you know exactly
what you want to achieve with your LinkedIn marketing. Common marketing goals include
generating leads, making sales and/ or creating branding awareness.

 

Understanding what ‘success’ looks like will make it easier for you to identify your audience, strategically populate your profile, target your adverts and decide on what content to share.

4. Share content that matters

Always share quality content that your audience will find interesting, that will help them to perform better in their jobs or help solve their pain points.

 

Although you would naturally want to only focus on promoting your business,  include a good dose of ‘curated content’, which is content posted by other individuals or businesses that might be of value to your followers.

 

According to LinkedIn, their members love a fresh idea. And that is why publishing thought leadership content is one of the most powerful ways to grow your LinkedIn audience. As Laura Ramos from Forrester says, “Business buyers don’t buy your product; they buy into your approach to solving their problems.”

 

Regularity is another key element to success. LinkedIn recently shared that companies that post weekly see a 2x lift in engagement with their content. Posting daily will increase that number even more, however make sure quality is always maintained.

 

Finally, the golden thread should be that all your content must align with, and aid, your company in achieving its business goals (as mentioned in the previous point).

5. Use rich media to increase engagement

We process images much faster than text. So, it makes sense that posts with images garner over six times more engagement than text-only content.

Meet your audience’s craving for visual content by adding images, YouTube videos, and GIFs to your updates. To keep things interesting, alternate between these three to best suit the content shared.

6. Amplify your offering

You don’t have to spend thousands of Rands on LinkedIn advertising each month to effectively reach your target audience. We have been surprised at how a conservative budget of between R200-R500 a month can make a remarkable difference to the effectiveness of brand’s marketing campaign.

 

Choose between ‘boosting a post’ or ‘creating an advert’, and set everything from your target audience’s occupation, age and location to their interests.

7. Regularly audit your page

Make it a priority to audit your business page once a quarter to make sure it always reflects your brand accurately. It should include posts about your latest achievements, service offering and team members.

 

Although it is simple enough to audit your profile yourself most times, we suggest that you get a third party in to do an external audit once a year to make sure there are no blind spots that might be keeping you from that growth you desire.

As with all social media platforms, change seems to be the only constant on growing platforms such as LinkedIn, so make sure you regularly read industry related articles to familiarise yourself with changes or add-ons. However, if you’d rather spend that time on your business directly, it might be time to source a digital agency like Yellow Door to manage your business page for you! Pop me an email at janine@theyellowdoor.co.za if you’d like to take the conversation further.

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How to choose the best social platform to reach your customers

How to choose the best social platform to reach your customers

By Dominique Sandwith

Posted on 21st February 2019

This post was originally featured in Your Business magazine

Are you running a business and wondering how to find time or knowledge to market your business online? According to a study by LeadPages, 47% of small business owners handle their marketing efforts on their own. So, you're not alone; almost half of small business owners have to juggle running their day-to-day business activities whilst ensuring that they are getting the word out about their brand.

Whether you are a retailer, own a dental practice, a tour operator or restauranteur – the options are endless when it comes to digital marketing platforms and how to use them. In order to figure out which ones to use and how often, you need to understand more about them.

Social platforms explained

■ FACEBOOK FOR BUSINESS has the biggest audience on the internet and is where most brands compete for customers’ attention.
■ TWITTER provides a short, succinct way to market to potential customers by sharing news and facts in two sentences or less.
■ INSTAGRAM & STORIES provides a visual way to represent your business and connect with consumers.

■ IGTV is a new kid on the block, with user-generated television for your phone using videos that are up to an hour long.

■ PINTEREST is ideal for a visual representation of your business (most popular with product offerings) or scrapbook style collection of thoughts.

■ LINKEDIN provides a way to connect with other businesses and potential employees.

■ YOUTUBE is the go-to place to keep your video content library.

■ MAILCHIMP is not so much a social network, but a useful tool for email marketing, which is key to a holistic content marketing strategy .

Pick your poison

Equipped with this knowledge, you now need to assess your business and see where your potential content would fit. Think about the type of content you will be able to create easily, and the resources that you have at your disposal. Remember that it needs to add value to your customers. If it seems like a stretch, it’s probably not wise to start down that road.


As an example, if you’re the owner of a dental practice you could realistically use Facebook (for case studies and success stories), Instagram (to show off your clients’ exquisite teeth), LinkedIn (to attract talented new dentists to your practise) and Mailchimp (to market the latest techniques and specials to your database). However, if you’re a ‘one-man-band’ as mentioned earlier, you probably don’t have time for all of that anyway.


Our advice is to stick to two social networks and do them well. According to a recent study by CoSchedule, the most effective strategy is to post once per day on networks such as Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, and up to 15 times a day to Twitter. And as you know, creating and scheduling content takes time and effort. Therefore, it’s better to stick to the ‘less is more’ theory. Choose two that you can handle, and post higher quality content less often, but be consistent.

pexels-photo-1092671

Plan ahead for simplicity's sake

With so many scheduling tools at your disposal, there really is no excuse not to post regular content across the platforms that you have chosen. Apps like Hootsuite, Planoly, Tailwind and Facebook for Business have made it easy for small business owners to spend one portion of time per week or month to plan ahead and schedule content all in one go.


That being said, this would mean that all of the content is created and ready to schedule at one time. Our advice would be to keep it simple. Repurpose content into various forms, linking back to the same section of your website, blog post or video. Ask yourself what your customers genuinely want to see or how you can add value to their lives. Have a conversation with them and make sure you don’t bombard them with sales posts that make them think you only care about making money.

"Our advice is to stick to two social networks and do them well. Stick to the ‘less is more’ theory. Post higher quality content less often, but be consistent."

Once your content is scheduled, you only need to focus on monitoring the platforms and answering any queries or leads that come your way. This is another reason why you don’t want to spread yourself too thin.


It’s also important to value your time and skill. If creating content and interacting with your customers online is not something you’re comfortable doing and it’s going to take you away from building up your business, invest in a good digital marketing team to ensure you have your bases covered. The cost is far outweighed by the peace of mind that your marketing is being done while you can focus on what you do best, whatever that is.

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