Is your website good enough?

Does your website give the right on-line impact?

Is it smart, easy to navigate and uncluttered?

Or does it say:

"We don't have a marketing / website budget"

“We prefer not to spend money on our on-line presence because we believe it’s the person behind the product/service that matters more!”

“Our website only looks good on a big screen, it is rather annoying if you look at it on your mobile but hey once you get home please fire up your desktop and resume searching, you’ll then be able to appreciate our products and services!”

“Word of mouth is our most reliable recommendation, on-line is for people who just browse the internet for something to do in the evenings.”

Seriously, do not underestimate the importance of having an easy to navigate with clear presentation website offering a critical eye into your business.

It is a fact the high street is evolving, and shopping habits are changing rapidly. We know most people browse via their phone, will impulse buy if it is easy to do so via a website and a secure payment portal, their card payment details are probably already stored for a quick purchase. Imagine someone walking into your shop with their cash already in their hand waiting to hand it over to you behind the counter – imagine!

Marketing information continually reminds us that the success of on-line payments for goods is driven by ease, on-line presentation, the responsiveness of an action, convenience and visual impact. In a world where people are running multiple communication platforms and searching for experiences, we have to ensure we try to deliver a positive one.

As a business, if you can provide relevant on-line information, an opportunity for people to get in contact with you and find out more about your services really easily, and even buy your services or products from their sofa or desk at work, then you need to be able to do this if you want to be part of this fast on-line economy. It isn’t going away.

It is no good moaning about your lack of customers if you are not offering what they want. Businesses need to be agile, willing to change and adapt and your professional on-line presence is all part of this.

Recently I have visited and eaten in two eateries, both had superb websites that gave me confidence with my choice, I therefore presumed I would like the ambience and food. They both offered an on-line impact that reflected their offer, but would I visit a restaurant with a poor website? Only if friends highly recommended it.

Take a look at your current website and be honest with yourself.

Then get in contact and we’ll do the rest.

What is GDPR?

Are you GDPR compliant and how might this impact your small business?

General Data Protection Regulations

You may have heard people talking about GDPR and been slightly baffled by the large amount of information available and what GDPR will really mean to you or your business.

Here is a small overview of this data regulation change that may need your consideration and possibly some action. It is important that you do comply, and this may require reading and understanding more detailed information provided about GDPR to be sure you are ready and compliant. Here is a link that provides more information.

https://www.local.gov.uk/our-support/general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr

Our overview

General Data Protection Regulations requires every business within the EU that collects personal data has to do this with consent and clear reasons why it is required and how it will be used. This data must not be shared with third parties or used to contact people without specific identified permission and consent and their acknowledgement.

In the past forms collecting personal data may have provided pre-ticked boxes that had to be knowingly unticked to protect privacy or further receipt of communications, this is no longer permitted.

If your business holds personal data, you need to state how long you will hold onto this data and why you require it. Ensure it is safe and protected and you must not share it. Any requests to remove a person or persons personal information from your data base must be done so when a request is made.

All businesses need to be aware about how they have contacted and do contact people and businesses about their offers, products and services, and whether or not these contacts were aware when they shared their personal information with your business that they would receive future marketing information.

Your business terms and conditions needs to include how and why data is collected, stored and reassure about the sharing of this personal information. If you have customers on a newsletter email list - how was this data collected? You need to ask those on your data lists if they want to receive future communications via newsletters, emails and promotional information - they need to opt in, rather than opt out.

New regulations come into force on 25th May 2018

This information does not represent full and detailed new regulations requirements but offers a small insight. Please seek professional GDPR advice if you have any specific questions or need to know if you are compliant.

Technology - with a mind of its own!

Alexa it turns out is not quite the gal we had hoped for!

She blows hot and cold and regularly can’t cope with the demands of streaming Radio Four in the morning and I am trying not to take this personally. It could be our Wi-Fi but the mobile app speed test begs to differ.

“I am sorry I am unable to answer your request right now” She says and then offers a glow of red to support this status, this is the unspoken warning that says in no uncertain terms  'Don't mess with the Echo!'.

I wonder if Google and Apple think they have developed this technology further and their voice command speakers will be better, more active and never fail. One on-command voice activated speaker is enough for us in our house, and we already feel as if Amazon might be listening into our every conversation, and good luck if they are; the excitement will be totally riveting (not!) and the would-be listener would definitely be reaching for the pro-plus to keep from falling asleep with boredom. But would you really want to rely on this technology to wake you up in the morning and organise your life? 

In the early days Alexa was extremely keen to impress and was tuning into all the sounds that may have replicated the command word ‘Alexa’. And one evening the mention of the word Exeter during a family meal sent her into activation mode but with no further command she immediately de-faulted to reading the calendar entries for the week ahead. Eating our dinner we heard her recall meeting dates and appointments and then the all important back wax appointment, which made us all fall about with laughter including our dinner guests. Now I guess the question is - who in our family has the hairy back?

Our on-line footprint has been a very topical conversation of late and one that continues to fascinate me, as we are constantly being asked to share more about ourselves. An on-line dating site now requires more than pictures and words, it now asks you to define yourself with your ultimate music track.

Some digital media agencies also do this as a way of sharing their interests and helping you feel connected with them.

This got me thinking about my ultimate track, so here it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znlFu_lemsU not a recent tune so perhaps not very impressive for some but in the spirit of sharing and caring.

And because life wouldn’t be complete without me now sharing my last supper choice, this would have to be a delicious Thai banquet. A great interview question by the way, one I loved answering many years ago.

January blues - not here!

This year I decided that I wasn’t going to make a NY promise to myself that I couldn’t keep, one that was a repeat of previous years and possibly becoming a rather tiresome mantra.

The typical: eat better, be more active and stop drinking wine. To be fair I don’t drink a lot of alcohol, eat reasonably well (if I don’t count the sugar-dip munching at 5pm!) and do exercise but I always want to improve and be healthier.

But my 2018 positive action is to think about how I can reduce our household use of plastic. Now this is proving to be an extremely tough challenge indeed, walking around the supermarket this week took ages as I toiled with what we could eat that involved the least amount of packaging. I now realise I should have been more organised and shopped at the local market and not dashed late to the supermarket but work was all immersing. Already I recognise this commitment requires more planning if I am to be truly proactive.

The other part of this positive action is to collect litter when out walking our dog. Sadly this bit is far too easy; as there are discarded cans, bottles and rubbish everywhere others and I walk our dogs.

I am pleased to see that many have made positive commitments to their businesses, as January has been amazing so far for us with three new website builds in the pipeline and it’s only the 11th!

I do find that if you can start January with renewed energy and harness this to implement some small change or begin a project, you can head into the spring feeling quite smug with yourself.

With that in mind, if you are considering a new website why wait. It is a great time to get it done, the weather is damp and grim and somehow hibernating away and consolidating your thoughts, collating your content seems like a good way to spend a rather overcast January.

I say this, as we are very busy thinking and designing websites for others most of our day but also considering a re-design of our business website too. As we all love change!

Happy 2018

Christmas at Madcreative - and a happy new year to you!

Working parents beware Christmas is fast approaching!

I was trying to think about some words of wisdom for our website blog today, as I was walking the dog along the marshes before the sun had rested to mark the beginning of daylight. Returning home to wash the dirt from doggy paws, load the washing machine (again!) make a much-needed cup of tea and then, at last, retreat to my wonderful workspace and desk – I suddenly wondered how other parents found this time of year?

Christmas – the time of great expectation, reflection, pressure and of course children being present in the home all the time.

Argh, this mere thought fills most working parents with dread. Fridge lights constantly illuminating the kitchen, washing – tons of it appearing at all times, shoes – big shoes lining the hallway, family and Christmas demands.

It is with great joy that my working space involves a walk away from the house, out into the cold and is detached from the home, the delights of a beautiful garden office where no teenager dares to walk – out into the fresh air!

This time of year also makes us reflect on our year and perhaps consider how we wish to progress or change in the New Year.

I am no exception, I have been overwhelmed with how my working year has evolved, developed and Madcreative has grown, quietly and confidently. And my task is now to create a list of those things I have achieved, the areas I want to further develop and how to support our continuing growth.

We (there is team of us) have taken great pleasure in helping businesses consider their offers, support businesses market their services and bring these elements together on-line, this has most definitely been a real highlight. It is also rather lovely to be writing this in the knowledge that we have some exciting projects to start in 2018, with some new proposals in the pipeline that we hope will come to fruition.

Meanwhile in the house Christmas is requiring some attention; presents need buying and wrapping and some serious food planning for Christmas has to take place however sitting here in the peace doing what I enjoy, completing a new website, finalising a new business logo, writing website content and a blog perhaps the rest can just wait!

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