What is the purpose of your E-commerce or B2B website?

In this week’s blog Augustijn Van Gallen, also from Marketing Mavens, writes about E-Commerce and B2B websites. Augustijn (or Auggie, as we call him), is a content writer and digital marketing expert at Marketing Mavens. He studied English Literature and Politics at the University of Glasgow and has experience in academic writing, copy-writing, blogging, and enjoys writing fiction in his spare time. Passionate about all things content-related, he is particularly interested in helping people harness the power of a unique marketing message to connect with their audience and potential customers.

“There are 1.8 million websites on the internet that range from news and entertainment to selling software. In this blog, I will look specifically at E-commerce and business to business (B2B) companies.

There’s something magical about all the limitless possibilities that a brand-new website can offer your business. It instils an almost childlike desire for creativity in even the most pragmatic of people. And maybe that’s not so strange. After all, most websites are just building blocks of code, reminiscent of tiny digital Lego-blocks, placed intricately on top of one another.

It’s almost impossible not to get caught up in all the cool and exciting things that web design can do – the cool gadgets, the flashy themes, the exciting colour schemes and the latest plugins. But oftentimes the most boring elements are the most important ones. When it comes to web design and a new website, there is one quintessential question you should be prepared to answer…

What is the purpose of my website?

If you’re an E-commerce business or run a Service-Based Business, then everything should start with this fundamental issue. And trust me, it’s far more than just an existential design question.

For some, like news websites, entertainment websites, or blogs, their website purpose is quite straightforward. However, for E-Commerce or B2B businesses, this often requires more consideration.

While the question itself may seem a simple one, it encapsulates the very essence of your digital marketing strategy and should reflect what your aim is, not just in the short-term, but for the next few years. Here are four key strategies you can employ when trying to answer this question.

Tip #1: The answer is never just ‘leads’ or ‘sales.’

It’s the most straightforward answer, which is exactly why it’s almost always the wrong one. After all, reducing the whole purpose of your website down to a revenue statistic is a very one-sided way of looking at your online presence.

Everyone wants leads from their website. But what does that even mean? And how do you measure success?

I always recommend thinking about your website purpose from a more conceptual, rather than financial perspective. Focusing on the problem you solve for consumers, rather than the outcome it represents for your business, is often a good starting point. For example, if you’re a software company, then providing value to app developers and helping them automate processes is a better website outcome than merely selling more products.

And the difference is not just a linguistic one. The first option may sound like just a euphemism of the second, but it opens your business up to a whole host of different micro conversions.

Tip #2: Micro Conversions.

If you want to make life easier for app developers, then you can provide value in countless ways. One of these is obviously your product. But there’s also education, free tips, handy blogs, informative guides, beta products, free trials – the list goes on. Once you re-examine the purpose of your website while considering your customer’s needs and pain-points, you can start to focus on how you can add value, without obsessing over how you can sell more products.

This starts with assessing what kind of micro conversions you need to achieve your goals. A micro-conversion is a stepping stone on the way to a sale or a booking. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, it always does, until you mention that most micro-conversions don’t usually have any monetary value.

This is where most businesses lose interest. In the traditional sales pipeline model, no money equals no lead. Simple as that. But that is starting to change, especially now that omnichannel experiences and multi-channel touchpoints are becoming more common place.

The Sales Funnel is an anachronistic way of doing business. It has been replaced by a circular, process-based model that revolves around engagement and value, one which puts the customer at the centre. And businesses have already started to take advantage of this shift in consumer behaviour. It’s not enough to just have a good product or service, because there’s plenty of others out there that do as well. Engagement and promoting loyalty stem from businesses choosing to step out of their mould and get on an equal playing field with their customers. When you remove the traditional barriers between consumers and sellers, like with personalisation, you allow for different conversations and interactions to take place.

Tip #3: Think about your customers and user experience.

The purpose of most websites should always be to fulfill the needs of a particular demographic. And to do so, you need to understand their needs and desires.

Highlighting what makes you different is hard with just words and flashy pictures. But providing someone with real value is a tangible thing. It speaks volumes about your knowledge and your understanding of their issues.

As a result, it’s crucial that you think about who your customers are. In general there are three personas you should always consider:

  • Learner – They are still learning about the service or product that you are offering. In fact, they may have only recently come across it. Learners benefit immensely from valuable and informative content and are likely to be enticed by downloadable guides.

  • Shopper – These people are generally ready to make a purchase but are still deciding on what the best options are. They need to be convinced of the value of your offering.

  • Buyer – These are the people who are ready to buy either your product or your service. Before you get excited, however, remember that only 5% of people browsing your website are likely to be at the buying stage.

As you can see, challenges arise when attempting to reach all these personas, rather than just the buyer. Consider the User Experience for each of these personas. Analysing and improving elements like your bounce rate and time on page can help you improve the user experience and drive your customers to act. By nurturing the various personas with the right type of content, you can also move them along in their buyer journey. That way, when your customers are ready to buy, they’ll lean towards your business.

Tip #4: Stand out from the crowd.

A website isn’t just about what you’re selling or what you’re trying to say. It should revolve around your ability to meet the needs of your prospective customer, by communicating and connecting with them.

Ultimately, the real purpose of a website is to get a visitor – a stranger who essentially doesn’t know much about you or your business – to take that next step and, more importantly, to feel comfortable doing so. Nothing helps this more than standing out from the crowd and being different from your competitors.”

 

Original blog : https://marketingmavens.co.uk/what-is-the-purpose-of-your-e-commerce-or-b2b-website/

Top 5 Free Online Design Tools

This week’s blog is written by Veronika Mihaylova, a content creator and graphic designer at Marketing Mavens, based in the Glasgow Collective.

Veronika, has a Bachelor in Marketing and a Masters in 3D Design at Glasgow Caledonian University. She has experience with creating online content, visual graphics for social media and building 3D design assets for commercials. She is also interested in photography and would like to help people express their ideas visually.

In this blog, Veronika, talks us through 5 of the best free online design tools.

“Everyone knows that design is an important aspect of marketing. Marketers tend to spend a fortune on creative software to help them express their visual ideas. Fortunately, the internet today provides plenty of free online design tools that offer almost all sort of features that traditional paid software already uses. This is a great solution for busy business owners who are either interested in design or just want to get quick quality results without spending too much time and money on expensive design software.

To illustrate this, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 free online design tools of 2019.

Sketch.io – Digital Drawing Editor

Sketchpad has been around for quite some time now and it’s still being used because it is a rich drawing application that offers an easy to use/drag and drop interface. It has many tools that include text, a set of useful brushes, move, rotate and scale as well as other features. This allows you to create digital artwork that can be shared online and exported to popular image formats JPEG, PNG, SVG, and PDF. It is easy to draw, sketch, design posters, edit photos or even craft images for your social media posts and digital adverts.

Photopea – The “Online” Photoshop 

If you’ve always wanted to use Photoshop but you can’t afford or justify the license fee, then Photopea is the way to go. It is a free online design tool that has a similar interface as Photoshop, which means that if you are an Adobe user you will get used to Photopea right away. The online software supports most of the file formats from JPG, PNG, GIF to PSD without needing plugins and it provides you with free templates to start your project. Photopea allows you to do simple tasks like drawing, dropping and resizing images, as well as more complex things like web page design and vector graphics. You can adjust Vibrance, Brightness, Curves, Levels, Hue and Saturation as well as a layer panel, styles, smart objects and masks.

Crello – Visual Design Editor

You’re probably familiar with Canva by now, but if you enjoy the way it works then we recommend that you check out Crello. Crello is a free visual design tool that lets you create your own social media and promo graphics. The unique feature about Crello is that it allows you to use free animated templates that can be customised and used for various projects such as social media and blog posts. It is an easy to use free design tool for creating stunning visuals and offers over 10,000 free images, icons, vectors, illustrations and more than 6,000 templates.

Best of all, it saves you time, which is always good if, like so many business owners, you struggle to fit design work into your busy schedule. You can upload your own fonts and images and use them for free, as the storage space is unlimited. There are no complicated subscription terms and the paid features cost around £0.80 for unlimited usage. If you’ve ever worried about the dimensions of social media images then Crello has you covered, as all the sizes are set up for each social channel, ready for you to use content.

The demand and popularity of video content is growing each year and Crello provides an easy way to create high-quality designs that look like they’ve been designed by video and design experts. For this reason, Crello is a great solution that can assist anyone with exciting visual ideas to create amazing content for social media, website, and blog posts without the need for advanced design skills.

Pixlr – Photo Editor 

Pixlr is a free online photo editor that is primarily focused on enhancing your digital marketing photography. It enables you to import your photos and edit them quickly before posting them online or sharing them with others. You might notice the interface and features are similar to those of Photoshop; however the Pixlr editor tends to be lighter and is more centred around bringing you the most essential tools needed for photo editing. The online graphic design tool supports popular file formats such as png, jpg, bmp and tiff. Additionally, it also has its own distinctive file format – pxd, which lets you work on image layers freely. One of the most popular features is the colour replace tool. Simply put, the tool lets you replace the original colour with another colour of your choice. What it does is that it ensures an even colour transition as you move your brush while simultaneously sampling the area.

Vectary – Online 3D modelling software 

Vectary is a free browser-based 3D software that is designed so that anyone, regardless of their 3D experience, can create simple and complex visual art. It allows marketers to create 3D commercials, product designs while implementing AR and VR into their marketing strategy straight from their browsers by using a series of pre-built 3D models. The models can then be customised and adjusted with the standard tools instead of starting from scratch. All you have to do is set up a free account and start creating your 3D visuals, which are automatically saved in the cloud. If you want more advanced features and more storage space you can always try Vectary’s accessible paid plans which start from only £15 per month. If you already have your own 3D designs you can always import them with the drag-and-drop tool to continue working on them in Vectary. When your design is complete, you can export them back to your computer.

As a user-friendly 3D modelling platform Vectary also offers a real-time collaboration, where you can invite others to work with you on your projects. The software is convenient when it comes rendering, which usually takes hours, but Vectary lets you save time and still achieve high-resolution renders in real time. There are thousands of 3D models, fonts and icons as well as materials and templates that make it accessible for anyone, even those without any design or 3D experience.

We hope you enjoyed reading about these five free online design tools. As you can see these online design tools are very easy to navigate and use so there is no need to spend time learning things from scratch. The best thing about this is that there is no installation required, all you need to do is sign up and start designing your desired projects. The online software versions are updated regularly so you do not need to worry about updates.

(Original Blog https://marketingmavens.co.uk/top-5-free-online-design-tools/)