Simplicity in Design, Marketing Strategy & Software

This episode came out earlier in the week to iTunes subscribers.

In recent months I’ve been thinking a lot about simplicity; simplicity in web design, apps, and even marketing strategy. In this week’s episode, episode 110, I talk through some of the thoughts I’ve been having about simplicity and what this means for the way we work and the way marketing works.

Although the episode isn’t intended to instruct or guide your marketing, I set out to share my own approach and get you thinking too.

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How to Effectively Design a Web Banner

We were asked to design a banner for a client this week to go along with some other material we had produced. We had to refer to the graphic manual the organization uses and use their image bank to create the graphic profile.

Juanjo, who does all the designs at jontusmedia, produced a stack of sample banners and we sent them over to the client who selected a very clean, crisp looking banner as their first choice.

I thought it looked pretty good too.

The client's original choice

The client’s original choice

Look at the Whole Picture

Although I liked this banner in isolation, Juanjo wasn’t so sure.

And here’s where the magic comes in.
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The Best Alternative to the Heil PR 40

Heil PR 40 I love my Heil PR-40 microphone. It’s the mic I use for ninety-five percent of all the podcasts I make. In case you’re wondering, that other five percent is when I am out on the road doing interviews and that’s when I use a great podcasting omni stereo lapel microphone from Giant Squid Audio.

There are two things about the Heil PR40 that I love:

  • its got this great allround warm sound
  • its dynamic mic so it doesn’t pic up a lot of background noise

Because the Heil is an analogue mic and not a USB mic, you have to plug it into a mixer or USB mic interface to connect it to your digital recorder or computer.
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The 4 Things Your Digital Marketing Audit Should Focus On

Once you’ve had your website up and running for six months or so it’s time to audit your digital marketing.

toolsBy audit I mean exam how your site is performing in relation to the goals you wish to achieve. Herein lies the rub. Often small business owners are in such a rush to market that they set up and launch their business website without giving due attention to the goals for their site and the site’s integration with the core business. Rather, it’s a case of “we need a website” because, well, that’s what you do.

Identify Your Site Goals

It doesn’t matter what you goals are but you do need to know them. Today, for example, I was working with a student group whose goal was to increase email signups. Measuring signups itself is all; however, you need metrics in place to see what actually influences the signups. The example that came to mind was how if you use custom sidebars in WordPress you can, say, test the placement of banners or which pages convert better.

You might also want to measure how many visitors to your website click on the “Contact” page on your site to inquire about your services. If you’re getting 100 clicks a week and only 2 people actually complete the form, you’ll know that you need to tweak your site to try and improve conversion.

The data you generate from this kind of testing is what you need to examine before implementing changes to increase conversion.
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Last Year’s Stats Can Influence This Year’s Posts

google-analyticsOne of the benefits of tracking the number of visitors to your website is that it can influence your future content creation plans.

Looking through the traffic to this site during 2012 it shows that these were the most trafficked posts last year:

  1. The Very Best Microphone for Podcasting
  2. The Negative Effect of Social Media
  3. How to Develop an Editorial Calendar Template
  4. 5 Ways to Communicate Better at Work (2009)
  5. Think Content Marketing, Not Copywriting
  6. Inbound Marketing 101 with Marcus Sheridan (podcast)
  7. Do We Really Need Social Media?
  8. Are You Too Visible on Social Media ? (podcast, 2011)
  9. Wimbledon and Online Marketing Success (2011)
  10. What Should a Business Blog Look Like ?

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Do Facebook Promoted Posts Really Work ?

Here’s a Facebook promoted post anecdote for you.

I wanted to get a client’s video that we made in collaboration with another agency seen by more people. I initially posted it on their Facebook page and got a few views but the reach of the post was only 700 or thereabouts.

I then paid for the promotion and that lead to 5000 + people seeing the post. Pretty much what it used to get before Facebook introduced their so-called premium service.

The overall affect though didn’t really lead to more than a measly 300 extra views on YouTube.

Controversy Counts

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Marketing Materials for Gymnasiemässan, Stockholm

All photography, graphic design and strategy by Jontus Media

Just wanted to share a couple of photos from Gymnasiemässan here in Stockholm. It’s the biggest recruitment fair for upper-secondary schools in the region.

Jontus Media have, for the third year in a row, done all the marketing for Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet and I think Juanjo’s produced some great graphics. Ian did a brilliant job with the photography, following on from the work we did with International English Schools in the UK earlier in the year, and really brought the best out of the students.
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Is Facebook Broken For Business?

I’m struggling to appreciate the promoted posts “feature” of Facebook. All the Like-love we generated for a customer’s page seems to have vanished into the ether. Now we have to pay to get our video, photos or quips seen.

So in episode 74 of the Online Marketing & Communications podcast I look at how Facebook is making life difficult for (small) businesses.

There’s also some podcasting help and my first venture into the sharing economy.

Click the player to listen…

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What’s the Best Way to Create Your Own Newspaper Ad?

newspaper-advertIf you’re handling your own marketing and about to place an advert in a newspaper or magazine, remember to keep it simple.

A client asked us to make a couple of newspaper adverts to be published in the local press in UK this week and wanted a lot of text on the advert. To be blunt, an insurmountable amount of text.

We quickly pointed out that given the project brief and text they’d given us there wouldn’t be room for the logo or any key branding images and they relented, asking if we could cut some of the text. But after we showed them how this still filled the advert up, they realised that there was a problem and agreed it was best to keep it simple.

Although I don’t believe that just one approach to a newspaper ad will fit every brief, if you’re looking to create your own advert for a local newspaper or trade journal, there are a number of key principles that you could follow to give yourself a better chance of succeeding.

So What’s the Best Way to Create Your Own Newspaper Ad?

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Why We Love WordPress with Genesis

Why We Prefer WordPress with Genesis from Jon Buscall on Vimeo.

This video shows one of the features of the Genesis framework for WordPress. In the last year or so we’ve been developing WordPress sites using this framework.

One of the reasons I really like Genesis is because it’s very solid and easy to customize.

I’m not the programmer or designer at Jontus Media; however, because I’ve got a fairly reasonable knowledge of HTML and CSS, and growing understanding of PHP, I find that I can go in and make tweaks where necessary.

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