Categories
Marketing Productivity

Brits report they will start Christmas shopping earlier this year – will your business be ready?

/ Insights      / Brits report they will start Christmas shopping earlier this year – will your business be ready?

Brits report they will start Christmas shopping earlier this year – will your business be ready?

Christmas is an important source of revenue for retailers – and a serious headache for their ecommerce managers. Traffic increases exponentially in the run up to December, placing web infrastructure under increased load. It is not unusual to hear of major retail websites collapsing under the weight of demand around Black Friday and Easter Monday.

This year promises to be somewhat different. Lock down has forced shoppers off the high streets and onto the Internet; online sales in July were 50% higher than February for instance. Ecommerce managers should have already noticed the additional traffic coming to their websites.

But stranger things are yet to come.

Cyber Monday 2020 may be slightly easier than normal

According to a report from eBay, 27% of British consumers plan to begin their Christmas shopping earlier this year. This should come as a relief to the website manager – peaks in traffic could be one-quarter lower than normal, helping to reduce costs and the risks of the website crashing in December.

But don’t forget – baseline traffic is already above normal – and any additional increase could cause similar issues to those normally restricted to Christmas. It may be that you need to deploy a scalable website sooner to avoid the kind of performance issues that drive customers away.

Leveraging the power of the cloud

Traditional websites are closely tied to the hardware on which they are installed. Once demand outstrips available resources, the website fails. The same is true of basic virtual servers which are also limited by assigned resources.

By reconfiguring the website to make use of cloud infrastructure however, you are far less likely to encounter these limitations. Cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure are built on an enormous pool of resources (RAM, disk space, bandwidth etc) that are shared between subscribers.

If your application begins to run out of available RAM, the platform automatically assigns more from pool to prevent a resource-related crash. This auto-scaling behaviour applies CPU power and disk storage too. Your applications should never run out of resources again.

Good for customers, good for your accounts

Under a traditional website model you would need to buy additional redundant server hardware, hoping that you have specified enough to manage peaks in demand. This would be a large capital investment and the majority of those resources would remain unused for most of the year.

Moving to a cloud platform completely changes the proposition. You do not have to make any up-front capital spend, nor do you have to guesstimate a resource limit that you hope will cover demand. Instead you only ever pay for the resources your ecommerce website actually uses. December’s bill will of course be higher, but your website won’t crash because it ran out of RAM.

Time to act

The fact that so much day-to-day business has moved online means that many websites are already under pressure. Any additional pre-Christmas load could begin to cause problems. And the December rush is completely unavoidable.

It makes sense to consider whether your current website needs to be migrated to the cloud sooner rather than later. Sub-optimal performance is one of the easiest ways to lose customers and revenue – so can you really afford not to take action before the rush begins?

Ready to talk? Give us a call and we’ll talk you through your website options.

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Jas Panesar

Chief Operation Officer

Jas spent 25 years as a principal consultant and database specialist at Capgemini where she led digital transformation and migration projects for Public Sector Services, the Insurance and Property industry, DHL, Citibank, General Motors Acceptance Corporation, Nationwide Building Society, Swansea County Council and more. Jas now manages our operations and development team to ensure the highest level of quality for your development project.

Categories
Marketing Social Media

Boost online sales this Christmas: The Essential Guide

/ Insights      / Boost online sales this Christmas: The Essential Guide

Boost online sales this Christmas: The Essential Guide

As we get well into the swing of the festive season, savvy online retailers will be looking for lots of practical ways to grow their sales.

With Christmas still the most lucrative time of the year for most ecommerce businesses, we share our tried and tested advice to ensure both you and your customers have a very Merry Christmas!

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Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
Marketing Productivity Social Media

Festive marketing Tips and Tricks

/ Insights      / Festive marketing Tips and Tricks

Festive marketing Tips and Tricks

We asked our lovely Twitter followers to share their festive marketing tips for our ecommerce customers and we were inundated with lots of great advice! Here is a selection of some of our favourites that you can apply to your festive marketing campaign to maximise sales during the busy Christmas period.

Innovative visual software firm Grip stresses the importance of the customer experience during the festive season which is often a key factor for relationship building. “Customising the customer experience to deliver relevant information creates loyalty, brand awareness and encourages stronger customer relationships.”

With Black Friday sales often continuing well into December, ecommerce software firm Volusion shared their thoughts on online retailers offering excessive discounts. “Consider your discount levels and price points sooner rather than later so you can ensure you’re not sacrificing profits. Don’t automatically think you need to offer big discounts. Try tiered discounts or bundled items too!”

Taking advantage of FOMO (fear of missing out) during the lucrative festive season is the best way to encourage customers to spend. Nobody wants to miss out on that perfect gift and by targeting customers with limited offer products, outreach agency Seeker Digital says you can build urgency that drives sales. “Create a seasonal retargeting sequence that maximises the FOMO and urgency elements of ongoing Black Friday deals. Throw in some extras for people who engage with your brand on social or email.”

Would you like to share some of your own festive marketing tips and tricks? Simply follow Aspiring Panda on Twitter and our favourites will get a nice retweet!

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Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
Facebook Marketing Social Media

Why Your Business Will Need To Invest In Ads To Succeed on Facebook in 2018

/ Insights      / Why Your Business Will Need To Invest In Ads To Succeed on Facebook in 2018

Why Your Business Will Need To Invest In Ads To Succeed on Facebook in 2018

In previous blogs we have outlined why fewer people are seeing your updates on your Facebook business page. In mid-January 2018 Facebook have announced they are making another wholesale change which means that fans of your page will no longer see your updates in their newsfeed.

Does This Mean I Will Need To Pay Facebook?

This is important as it means that the only way to have your content seen by potential customers will be to pay to advertise on Facebook.

Facebook ads are a powerful platform for small business owners due to their targeting, however the move to kill organic reach may see that those that don’t invest unable to reach potential customers at all.

There are lots of different options available to advertise on Facebook and the right approach will depend on the size of your audience and what you are trying to achieve.

Why Are Facebook Making This Change?

Facebook has justified this change so that users see updates from their friends and family rather than businesses. Your updates will still go out but will only be visible under an “explore feed” rather than everyone’s news feed.

How Much Will It Cost?

The cost of advertising on Facebook varies depending on the audience you are trying to reach and the content that you are creating. Quality and laser targeted content is less expensive than broad brush generic posts.

For a small business the cost of success can be very cost effective to other promotional methods and there is the advantage of being able to start slowly and build.

How To Survive The Changes To Facebook Pages

With these Facebook changes it will be more important than ever for businesses to see social media as a serious marketing discipline and integrate it with other marketing tools such as their website.

If you have any questions give the Aspiring Panda team a call

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Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
Facebook Marketing Social Media

Why Fewer People Are Seeing Your Facebook Business Page Updates

/ Insights      / Why Fewer People Are Seeing Your Facebook Business Page Updates

Why Fewer People Are Seeing Your Facebook Business Page Updates

If your business has a Facebook page, you may have been frustrated over the last couple of years by the number of people seeing your posts without paying for Facebook ads.

The reason for this is that Facebook have gradually changed the computer algorithm that decides who see your posts.

Facebook’s algorithm is different for every user based on their behaviour and is influenced by thousands and thousands of different criteria making it impossible to get ahead of it for more than a short time.

With each change, the number of people that see your posts without you paying has reduced. The people that see your posts on Facebook without you paying is known as Organic Reach.

A change was made in September that has further tweaked organic reach downwards meaning that the value of each Facebook like on your page reduces every day.

Why Are Facebook Making These Changes

Facebook tell users that the changes to organic reach is to improve the experience of normal Facebook users, so their news feeds are not clogged with business updates.

However, Facebook makes its money from companies that pay to advertise via their business pages. Therefore, the harder it is to generate revenue using Facebook for free, the more people are going to advertise.

This means each change to the Facebook algorithm is designed to increase advertising revenue.

Should I Pay For Ads

With the right strategy Facebook ads are powerful. With the right content you can reach your target audience at a cost-effective price.

Moving Past Facebook Organic Reach

Because Facebook and other social media platforms are always changing, we recommend that businesses should not rely on one sales/marketing platform too heavily.

Instead the focus should be on building marketing assets such as loyalty cards, email marketing lists etc, that the business controls.

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Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
Marketing SEO

How To Tell If You Have A Google Ranking Penalty

/ Insights      / How To Tell If You Have A Google Ranking Penalty

How To Tell If You Have A Google Ranking Penalty

A Google ranking penalty can have a huge impact on your business due to the dominance of Google as a search engine.

Ranking on Google is important to ensure that your potential customers can find you and ensure you get a return on your digital investment. Ranking for the right search terms can potentially make the difference between business success and failure.

There are lots of different advice out there on how to do this, however not all tactics that can get you higher up in the rankings are condoned by Google. When discovered you can see your website being punished by the search giant.

This punishment comes in the form of a Google ranking penalty. This can be manual or algorithmic and see your site drop in the rankings or disappear from the search engine entirely.

How Does Google Rank Websites?

Google wants to connect users of its search engine with the most relevant information as quickly as possible. Google rewards websites that provide clearly defined and high-quality information and does not display sites that are difficult to use and are of low quality.

It does this using an extremely complex and ever-changing algorithm which is not made available to the public. It does however issue guidance and good value web design and SEO companies watch this closely to ensure their clients comply.

Why Do Google Punish Websites?

The value of ranking at the top of Google means that less reputable companies will try and “cheat” the algorithm to appear above competitors with less effort.

These tactics are known as Blackhat SEO.

When Google discovers these attempts, they are punished to restore balance and discourage others to ensure they can connect users with the most useful search results.

This results in businesses being punished due to the actions of an outsourced SEO company if they are not acting in line with the rules.

How To Tell If You Have A Google Ranking Penalty?

If you are given a manual penalty by Google then they will tell you. If your site is poorly designed or has minor infractions punished by the algorithm, the first sign may be a drop-in revenue or website traffic.

Clues that you have had a Google Ranking penalty may include:

  • Your website does not appear in results when you Google your business name
  • Dropping down the rankings rapidly
  • Messages within Google Search Console
  • Complaints by customers that they cannot find you easily online

If you are unsure about your SEO position then give the Aspiring Panda team a call and we can investigate.

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Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
Marketing SEO

Five Things That May Give Your Business A Poor Google Ranking

/ Insights      / Five Things That May Give Your Business A Poor Google Ranking

Five Things That May Give Your Business A Poor Google Ranking

Therefore, it is important you are not doing any of the things that can lead to your Google ranking falling or your site being removed from search results entirely.

Slow Website Speed

The objective of Google is to connect users with relevant information quickly, if your website takes too long to load then it is unlikely to be given priority over other faster loading results.

If your site comes back and the response time is over 5 seconds, then it may be worth speaking to your web designer about ways to improve the load times.

See our blog on slow website speeds

Duplicate Content

Repeating the same content with the right keywords used to be a great blackhat SEO tactic for getting a high ranking. However, Google realised that this usually results in a poor user experience.

Duplicate content can result in a lower Google ranking so product pages and services should be written uniquely on every occasion to avoid issues with Google.

Blackhat SEO

The use of aggressive SEO strategies that focus on rankings rather than content can have a huge impact on your Google ranking. Google punishes companies that it believes are trying to “game” the system or take shortcuts.

If you are not sure if your website is following best practice, then let me know.

Insecure Websites

Google does not want to send its users to sites that may harm its users. If your site is deemed to be insecure or have security issues then this will affect your ranking.

This could include a lack of security for online purchases or not having the most up to date software versions on your CMS platform.

Not Mobile Friendly

Smartphones and devices account for most Google searches.

The majority of websites are now optimised for mobile devices if your website is older or poorly designed then this may affect how your site ranks when users search using their smartphone.

If you are unsure check our mobile friendly guidance here

If you are unsure about your SEO position then give the Aspiring Panda team a call and we can investigate.

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Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
Marketing Technology

Why Your Business Should Consider Using Video In 2017

/ Insights      / Why Your Business Should Consider Using Video In 2017

Why Your Business Should Consider Using Video In 2017

The old saying goes that a picture tells 1,000 words, however with research suggesting a minute of video can tell 1.8m words. Meaning it is getting harder to avoid the power of video content for marketing.

Video has power as it allows you tell a story to your audience in a fast and engaging way. It is also effective at explaining difficult concepts quickly and sparking a reaction from an audience from what could be a dry topic.

Video is set to dominate in 2017 as Google and key social media networks prioritise video content and find ways to create further innovations and engagement for their audiences.

Social Media & Video

Despite the demise of Vine (Twitter’s short video service) video has exploded in the last year or so.

In the last 12 months, we have seen Instagram and Facebook really embrace video as a way for individuals and companies to share content.

Facebook have really encouraged users to post content directly onto Facebook as they look to find ways to keep people on Facebook and away from third party providers such as YouTube.

Video gets more organic reach and engagement on Facebook than ever before and with the launch of Facebook Live this is set to continue. Also the short videos on Instagram continue to get huge reactions and are becoming a powerful tool for businesses and celebrities to reach their audiences.

Google SEO & Video

It is well known that Google loves video, and they own YouTube, the second largest search engine in the world. This is because the mission of Google is to connect users with relevant content as quickly as possible, video is an effective way of doing this.

Therefore including video on websites is a great way to engage your audience and show Google that you have an active, rather than a passive website experience for the user.

 

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Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
Marketing Productivity

Three Ways To Create New Business In 2017

/ Insights      / Three Ways To Create New Business In 2017

Three Ways To Create New Business In 2017

Whilst there is a huge amount of change taking place within the business landscape, we thought we would take a minute to highlight a few steps you can take to generate new business in 2017.

 

Create A Video To Explain Your Business

Video is going to dominate social media and online marketing in 2017.

The easiest way for your business to join the revolution is to feature an explainer video on your website explaining in no more than 90 seconds who you are and what your company does.

These videos are powerful as they make your website active rather than passive, a concept we preach to clients. Google and your clients love active websites and get bored or skip passive ones that cannot hold their attention.

 

Hold An Event

Building trust is an incredibly important part of generating new business. Events for new products or even just to network can have a huge impact on your reputation and be a powerful tool to create new businesses.

Holding an event could be the perfect way to kick start 2017 for your business.

 

Reach Out To Old Contacts

Over time you may have had customers or prospects where communication wound down or they have not been in contact recently.

It may even be existing customers or clients that with the right conversation may be open to buying more from you in the future.

The New Year is the perfect time to reach out to them and rebuild the relationship. Whether this is via a phone call an email or even a newsletter to your entire list, don’t forget that often the biggest value in marketing is to the people you already know.

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Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.

Categories
Marketing Productivity Webdesign

Web Designers – How Partnering with An App Development Firm Can Increase Your Bottom Line

/ Insights      / Web Designers – How Partnering with An App Development Firm Can Increase Your Bottom Line

Web Designers – How Partnering with An App Development Firm Can Increase Your Bottom Line

The web design industry is highly competitive with lots of different approaches to helping customers grow their businesses using the internet. This competitiveness means that web designers need to find ways to maximise the value of the relationship and trust they have built with their customers.

Offering Additional Services

Offering integrated or related marketing solutions such as social media and app development can be an effective way for web design companies operating in a highly competitive marketplace to increase their bottom line.

This means that many companies are now “full service” marketers offering a wide range of products and services. This creates a number of challenges in maintaining the level of knowledge and expertise across all product sets to their customers.

The App Development Opportunity

Instant internet connectivity and access to smartphones mean that many of the companies that start the process of improving their web presence can benefit from development of a bespoke enterprise app designed to increase sales or improve internal processes.

This app is designed to either interact with customers and be generally available, or it could be an app for use by the company itself to manage internal processes such as stock management, project management or HR.

Benefits of Outsourcing or White Labelling App Development

Partnering with an app development company can allow web design companies to provide an app to their clients and generate revenue whilst maintaining the customer relationship.

As Aspiring Panda, we are fortunate to have developed a team of developers with skills in web design and app design, this means that we are able to provide a full service to our customers and help them build a user flow that helps them develop.

So if you are a web design agency looking at ways to increase your bottom line, then

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Anoop Panesar

Business Development Manager

Digital marketing and tech specialist Anoop is a well-known figure in the Harrow and North London community. Currently the Operations Director for Aspiring Panda, the company uses cloud and development expertise to solve some of the toughest business challenges – which has recently included consulting with East African nations to provide sustainable farming.