BloggingMarketingSEOUncategorized

blogging for business

blogging for business

Blogging is BIG

It’s said that the first blog started in 1994 and by the middle of 2006 there was over 50 million blogs. 8-10 years ago blogs became a primary source of information for many people world wide and of course are still used a lot today.

Blogging however is more then just a place for people to write about their day or feelings. Blogs are being used for business and information purposes every day. Clients and consumers like to research companies and products, so they are knowing who and what they are working with/buying. Here is where a blog comes in. This is you opportunity as a business to reach out to your clients and give them the information they are searching for.

 

1.Establish yourself as an authority

The first great thing about having a blog on your website, is that you have an opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in your clients eyes. By offering content related to what your customer is looking for, you are adding value and empowering your client to make information based decisions. By being an authority and having an empowered consumer, there is a built trust, instead of sales based off shakey ground. This helps increase client happiness and thus retention.

2.Boosts Website SEO

Trying to get to the top of search engines? There really is no quick fix that lasts a long time? Getting to the top of search engines takes some time and of course information is key. By blogging on your site related to the products or services you offer, it’s putting more of that relevant information on your site. The more information on your site, the more search engines believe your site is relevant to what is being searched. Google sees your site as an authority and ranks it higher.

3.Evergreen content

Slightly tied in with the above, blogging can create something we call “Evergreen content”. Evergreen content is something that’s always relevant. Information that isn’t changing with the trends or seasons. (Kind of like an evergreen tree!). You of course can write about hot topics, but creating content on your site that is always applicable to your business, helps keep consumers informed and keywords on your site.

4. Answers potential clients questions

Some people visit FAQ sections, and some don’t think to. Some are not even sure of the questions they have until it’s presented to them. By writing about tips, tricks or general information you may just answer a question for a potential client. This can save both you and them some time. And when they reach out to you, they are informed and again higher likeliness to sign/purchase.

5. Shareables

Creating blog posts and content on your site can provide enough information that people are interested in sharing it. If there is enough value (and it’s slightly entertaining right?) people want to share it. Share with friends or family or co workers etc. This sharing helps expose your business to more people who could potentially become clients/customers. They start to read your information, because an empowered, informed consumer and trust you to be that person that offers a service/product.

5.5 It’s fun

Okay maybe at first it’s not, but seriously gets the creative juices flowing some days!

MarketingTechnologyUncategorized

3D printing for business

3D Printing For Business

Once something thought to be the stuff of fictional movies, now is becoming more and more reality for businesses from small to large. 3D Printing. You don’t have to be  in a lab recreating a dinosaur part like form the movie Jurassic Park III.

There are endless applications for the use of 3D printers in today’s business world. Here are a couple simple ideas.

Custom signage

You can print signage as a whole or pieces that put together. Make an impact with your design on doorways, hallways and desks in your office. A simple way to keep consistent branding throughout the company while being able to print to size you need. In the Panda Rose office we printed off some decorations for the office too!

Repair pieces

Printing pieces for repairing items you have built or things that are simply broken, is a lot more practical then you might think. Check out this blog post by Projects By Zac about things he has 3D printed to repair. Things from his simply fan to his car door handle! How many times in the office or shop has there been an item that is simple to fix or replace but it is a matter of getting or ordering the part? Sometimes with ordered parts you are forced to purchase many of them that you don’t even need and/or have to wait for them to be shipped too.

Prototyping

Scale models of projects and prototyping of designs is a huge application for 3D printing. So you have designed a part, invention or creation for a client, you are about to have hundreds, thousands or even millions made. with 3D printing you can give yourself a chance to have a good look at the design, feel it in your hands and make design adjustments.

In the case of custom metal or woodworking, you can print off specialty pieces that fit your clients/build exact needs, saving time and money on searching or adjusting your designs.

Promotional materials

Need a thank you gift for a client or staff member? Print them off their very own promotional item. We printed a cookie cutter here at Panda Rose not long ago as a fun gift for a staff member who likes to bake. Gone are the days of promotional mugs you stock somewhere “in the back” with your old logo before your company did a re-branding. You can create custom promotional materials that suit your campaign/client/occasion.

Medical applications

You are a dentist, a physiotherapist or a chiropractor and your patient needs to see the visual difference in whats being done. You can print it!  Just check out this full article on 3D printing and how it is revolutionizing the dental industry.

 

Check out our Instagram to see our time lapse video of the 3D printer working!

MarketingSEOUncategorizedWeb Development

Website Development

5 Website Mistakes

Websitemistakeshurtingyourbusiness

The world has moved online, whether you make and sell a specific product or offer a services, customers are finding businesses online. In a recent blog post we explained Why A Good Website Is Important, but this post is about some of the common mistakes we see when starting with new clients, building or updating websites.

1. Your website is too busy

Making your website reader friendly is key here. If your online website is the first time a client is interacting with your business and they come overloaded with information they are more likely to navigate off your page and find an easier to read site. A good way to create a visually more appealing website is to have more white space. Sometimes a little less is more. Keep text blocks short and sweet. If you need to expand on idea, think about creating a blog page to link to for more information.

2. Ignoring the back end of your site

There are a few tools like SCHEMA you can use in the back end of your website to improve your ranking in search engines. Alt text for images is a great way of having keywords added to content. Structured Data markup helps organize the information for search engines so it they can understand what your website is about.

3. Broken links

Broken links or links that lead to no where on your website have a lot of negative effects. Firstly, it is frustrating to potential clients/customers. Picture this, your client is on your e-commerce site and ready to purchase the adorable item you have on your landing page. They click and it leads them to an error message or somewhere else. Now the customer has to navigate around your site to find what they are looking for and are more likely to go somewhere else. Additionally, too may broken or damaged links on your website can hurt your ranking in search engines.

4. Your website is SLOW

As we have shared in previous blog posts 47% of users leave a website if its loading time is more than 3 seconds. People don’t want to wait for a site to load in order to find what they are looking for. Our fast digital world has people wanting instant solutions to their problems and are more likely to navigate away from your site if it is slow moving.

“47% of users leave a website if its loading time is more than 3 seconds.”

5. It’s not accessible

Know your audience, especially if they are needing alternative languages or voice reading options. You can check out this website for a scan of your website.

 

 

Does all of this seem a bit daunting? Take one thing at a time and work on it slowly. Or you can always chat with the Panda Rose team about helping get your website updated.

MarketingSEOTechnologyUncategorizedWeb Development

Your website if the first impression people have of your business.

They are searching the internet for your services or product and they land on your page! Congratulations they found you! Which even finding you is hard enough with tons of businesses online competing for the same top of the search page spot.

They navigate to your website and are greeted by an unappealing site, irrelevant information or it’s SLOW. *que dramatic music* Consumers attention spans are short and when they are searching for information or products, even shorter when they are stopped by a SLOW moving or difficult to navigate website.

Did you know that 47% of users leave a website if its loading time is more than 3 seconds? So optimization is a vital thing for your website. If it’s well-functioning and the content/ products there are of a high-quality, more visitors will surely come and conversion rates will increase.

Deborah, our in house Web Development Expert says “Your website is an extension of your business. You want your website to match the professionalism of your business.”

Having a clear message you are trying to portray to potential clients and customers right away is what will keep them on your website, navigating and researching who you are and just what it is that you do.

In addition, great websites are showcases for some of your best work. You can show of all the amazing products or jobs you have completed to a potential client/customer before they even have the chance to contact you. This decreases some of the time spent answering questions, making your business just that much more efficient.

Finally, a good website with great content helps get you noticed on search engines. The more time people spend on your site and the more often the visit, the more search engines believe your site and information to be relevant. If you want to learn more about SEO check out our recent blog post What even is SEO? And How To Use It.

 

MarketingMobile AppsSEOSocial Media

Instagram is a great platform for business to show off their entertaining and creative side. It is easy to use, easily accessed and fun to work with.

Unfortunately, I often find businesses treating their Instagram business profile like their website or worse, like a scrapbook. I’ll tell you why that is hurting their business.  

Like I said before, Instagram is for creativity and fun. When a business has a difficult time portraying those aspects of themselves it can turn people off to being their customer. Businesses do this in a couple different ways, let’s take a look and explore the fixes. 

Posting Unrelated Photos

This is an issue for the sake of professionalism. When I decide I want to follow a business on Instagram, it is for one of two reasons. 1) I want to see more posts from them. They posted an eye catching photo and I want to see posts similar to that one more often. Or 2) I have used their service or bought a product from them and wish to find out more about the company and support them.

When a business I decided to follow starts posting unrelated pictures, I lose interest quickly and I will normally unfollow.

But there is a right way to post “unrelated photos.” This is because they are not completely unrelated. A safe and fun way to do this is through Instagram stories. These are an easy way to show your followers a more relaxed or goofy side of you. Posting pictures of your children, snowfall, shenanigans in the office and dessert or any other random noteworthy picture goes in the 24 hour lasting Instagram stories. These personal pictures keep you real.

The point of bringing this up is a reminder to be a self aware business. Are you posting something that will intrigue your followers? How are you hoping people will react or engage with this post? What does this picture say about your company? These are questions we need to keep in mind while posting if we are looking to put on the best face for the company.

 

Posting Irregularly

The human brain is weird. We like things we are comfortable with. By this I mean that we would generally rather have some knowledge than to not know anything about what we are walking into. Keeping this in mind, we should be posting often and on a schedule. Doing this would result in masses of people who know about you. Who would clearly know what your business  specializes in, how your business would benefit them, and would put good word in for yourself. This is necessary in today’s day and age.

If you didn’t Instagram it, did it even happen?

 

And worst of all, Poor Quality Photos.

Instagram was created for aesthetic. This means color schemes, professional looking photos, organization and planning ahead. When a business does not do this they are not meeting the standard. Therefore they sell  themselves short.

Your business is reliable, honest and provides top quality. You know that and I know that, but the picture of your cluttered desk in poor lighting using your favorite filter from 2015 does not portray good things about our business to the judgmental human eye.

It can be difficult to know makes a good photo. What is the right lighting? What theme works best for your page? How should you manage the times you publish posts?

If you are feeling creative and think you can fix up your business page on your own, I would look for inspiration from big names. Check out Instagram profiles like Apple or Instagram itself. Or you could look into artsy profiles to find out what is trending concerning color schemes and filters.

If you are feeling lost when it comes to your business’s potentially aesthetic profile, that is OK. There are people all around you who would love to help point you in the right direction or take over your business profile entirely. They are called social media managers and you can talk to us at Panda Rose for such information.

A business profile can bring a lot of pressure. But let me assure you it isn’t all that complicated. Create a step by step process for your posts. Be sure you can check off the requirements you believe your posts need to meet the standard of an effective and engaging profile. If all else fails, you can always hire someone to make it work for you.     

 

I hope this blog post was helpful and that I will get to see all of your beautiful business profiles thriving.

 

Tessa  Houcher

MarketingMobile AppsProductivityTechnology

Will email ever die? Is email already dead? I have no idea. With the many different answers I have found on the Internet, it appears that as a whole, we really don’t know if email is leaving anytime soon or if it is already gone. I do however, think that texting is superior to email and that there is great potential for your business in using texting over email with your potential and loyal customers. So lets take a look at what we do know. 

 

Texting has become the popular form of communication of today. People like texting because of the relaxed setting. Texting doesn’t feel like work the same way that email does. Studies have also suggested that people say things over text that they wouldn’t say in person, its an opportunity for honesty. Texts allow for causal questions and answers without hassle. That said, here are my reasons as to why you need to look into reaching your customers through texting.

 

The stress free atmosphere that texting provides will first off allow customers to feel free to ask questions! You may have given them the ability to ask questions before, but the process of emailing feels like a hassle. Yes, I know submitting an email is easy. But people want answers right then and there. Even if texting is not actually instant, people are more likely to trust that a text was sent and delivered without complication because texting is just that basic. You could use this trust concept to your company’s advantage.

 

Let’s say a customer had a quick, generic question, they could either submit an email through your company’s website as they have been your customer on a couple occasions or they could ask Google and receive multiple answers from multiple resources along with advertising from your competitors, how do you think a person would seek out the answer? I know that if it was me, I would just Google it.

 

But, if I had been your customer before and had your company’s texting number and you had made it clear that I was free to ask questions, I would totally ditch the million answers from Google to get feedback from a company I had used before and have no reason not to trust.  

 

Another benefit of giving your company’s texting number to customers is that people use texting constantly. For you this means that notifications from you could not get ignored the way emails can, you could get away with more texts than emails and it is quick! You send a text, they take a quick glance and would know what the point of the text is.

 

Will email ever die? Is email already dead? I have no idea. With the many different answers I have found on the Internet, it appears that as a whole, we really don’t know if email is leaving anytime soon or if it is already gone. I do however, think that texting is superior to email and that there is great potential for your business in using texting over email with your potential and loyal customers.

 

Texting has become the popular form of communication of today. People like texting because of the relaxed setting. Texting doesn’t feel like work the same way that email does. Studies have also suggested that people say things over text that they would never say in person. Texts allow for causal questions and answers without hassle. That said, here are my reasons as to why you need to look into reaching your customers through texting.

 

The stressless atmosphere that texting provides will first off allow for customers to feel free to ask questions! You may have given them the ability to ask questions before, but the process of submitting a question on your website takes time. Submitting an email is easy, yes I know that. But people want answers right then and there. Even if texting is not actually instant, people are more likely to trust that a text was sent and delivered without complication because texting is just that basic. You could use this trust concept to your company’s advantage.

 

Let’s say a customer had a quick, generic question, they could either submit an email through your company’s website as they have been your customer on a couple occasions or they could ask Google and receive multiple answers from multiple resources along with advertising from your competitors, how do you think a person would seek out the answer? I know that if it was me, I would just Google it.

 

But, if I had been your customer before and had your company’s texting number and you had made it clear that I was free to ask questions, I would totally ditch the million answers from Google to get feedback from a company I had used before and have no reason not to trust.  

 

Another benefit of giving your company’s texting number to customers is that people use texting constantly. For you this means that notifications from you could not get ignored the way emails can, you could get away with more texts than emails and it is quick! You send a text, they take a quick glance and would know what the point of the text is.

 

Now they could move on and not even think about the 10 seconds they took to check the text from you, or if your call to action was enticing enough they may take a minute or two longer to click the link you gave them.

 

You can text your customers your latest deals, discounts, referral information, blog links, and reminders about shipping (imagine how your affiliates would love to simply text for you.) What I am trying to say is that you can text them anything that you are currently email them. But a text is favoured by your customers because of how low-key a it is and they would feel free to answer or ask a question without overthinking. (As a professional overthinker, I know this first hand.)

 

A factor to be careful with is to know that your customers gave you your number and trusts that you won’t abuse that privilege. Text them about things they would care about, or what ever it is that they actually signed up for. If you do this correctly you will form a relationship of trust between the business and customer, this will ensure further sales.

 

I do have one concern with your company texting it’s customers; people may expect instant replies. Now unless you have someone working your texting phone 24/7 you may want to clarify. Upfront you need to explain that it is a person with many responsibilities who is replying to their important texts. Customers appreciate humans. Messaging bots do not have a good reputation when it comes to talking with customers. If your customers know they are talking to a human and not an  incompetent robot, they would commend you for that.

 

Speaking of robots, another possibility with texting your customers is that someday a bot could do it all for you. Yes I know I just said that customers prefer capable humans to  unintelligent robots. But someday actually intelligent, messaging bots will be quite able to interpret natural language and give a proper answer. The ability for your company to have a dependable messaging bot would be extremely beneficial for you and your customers.

 

When bots are smart enough to communicate back and forth with customers, I know that these messaging bots will be the only realistic way to reach customers. Until then, I think that emailing will stick around… even though texting makes so much sense.

 

What are your thoughts on being texted by companies? Would you switch your company over to texting over emailing, why or why not? I would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Tess Houcher

 

MarketingMobile AppsSEOSocial Media

 

At the end of your work day, you flop on to your couch, grab your phone, click on your Facebook application and prepare yourself for all the memes you are about to discover. What a great way to end your day. You are scrolling past the argumentative political posts and the millions of pictures of your cousin’s children when you notice an eye catching ad from Netflix. “Its World Emoji Day!” You read on to find out that Netflix can now give you suggestions on what to watch, based on your emotions! Netflix can read my emotions, cool!

 

You click the link and it takes you to the Messenger app. There are instructions to send an emoji based on your feelings. You take a moment to consider your emotions. How are you feeling right this moment? After some consideration you come to the conclusion that the starry eyed, amazed emoji sums you up best. You hit send and see that Netflix is going to respond to you right away! Wow, Netflix sure knows how to make a guy feel special. A message from Netflix appears and it reads: “I love a good blockbuster!” Then a link to the movie Jurassic Park III shows up. You are not disappointed. The Jurassic movies are your FAVORITE! How did Netflix know?? You smile as you click the Watch Now button.

Pretty cool right? Who knew our technology would have advanced this much to give such accurate movie suggestions by 2018? I sure didn’t.

Maybe that’s because it hasn’t…

 

The story I shared with you isn’t the whole truth. While I did actually send Netflix the starry eyed, amazed emoji and I was given the suggestion to watch Jurassic Park III. I am 

actually not interested in watching that movie. I couldn’t tell you what movie I was expecting, or even what type of movie I was expecting, but Jurassic Park III wasn’t that movie.

 

So yes, I was slightly disappointed by the Netflix “emotion reader”. Notice, I only said slightly.

I realize I had the wrong understanding of what the messaging bot would offer me from the start.   

So if you find yourself confused like I was, allow me to enlighten you on the subject.

 

There are a few reasons why Netflix created this messaging bot.

First off, a messaging bot closes a relationship gap between the consumer and the company. The quick and simple communication between the two parties makes the consumers feel heard, connected, important and can make the relationship feel real. This will grow the trust the consumer has for the company.

 

Second, the bot allows for the consumer to be exposed to movies or a series that they otherwise never would have heard of. This way Netflix can show a user with strict genre preferences which restrict their personal accounts to limited type of shows, a variety of movies the user otherwise never would have looked into.

 

And third, Netflix is standing out! Netflix isn’t the only popular movie and TV show streaming platform but they are the only one with a messaging bot connected to your Facebook!

 

However I know that the bot has room for improvement.

 

I sent Netflix the dancing girl emoji and I was expecting a movie with a female lead or something along the lines of Pitch Perfect, Wonder Woman or The Crown. Instead the suggestion I received was an animated children’s Christmas sing-a-long. A movie I have zero interest in watching.

 

I love what Netflix was going for. But I don’t think the messaging bot was much more than a marketing scheme. Which is fine, actually smart on their part, every company needs to stand out some way.

 

But creating a well running suggestion messaging bot was not their goal. If it was they undoubtedly failed.

 

Maybe someday they will be able to release a bot that can actually communicate with us and give accurate show suggestions. Until then, I will enjoy this bot by sending in all of the emojis and seeing all of the diverse suggestions Netflix has for me. Who knows maybe I will find a new series I  love!

 

What marketing strategy would you try?

 

Tess Houcher

MarketingSocial Media

Push Pin

What is your company doing about it?

I remember when Pinterest was created in the spring of 2010. I remember because my mom had found it sooner than most of her friends. At the time, my mom thought of it as her secret great idea place. Where she could find gift ideas, “pin” recipes, checkout DIY projects and beautiful pictures of places she would like to visit.

When she would tell her friends about the app she would explain to them like it was a literal bulletin board. Saying that you could grab ideas from anywhere and “pin” them to your own boards for later reference.

I realize now that I haven’t thought of Pinterest as a bulletin board in a very long time. I think that’s because it has grown to be so much more. The virtual bulletin board of 2010 has morphed into what I would call a never-ending magazine.

Pinterest is popular for a few reasons, one of those is due to the personalization. I follow people and companies who pin similar styles and interests so I can see their take on styles we share opinions about. Not only do the people I follow show me pins I may potentially like but when I pin anything, Pinterest will also show me pins similar to that one so I may find even more websites, photos, products, that would appeal to me.

Influence is a huge player in the Pinterest game. Everyone is influencing each other. You and your pins are always reaching someone. There is a huge cycle of pinning and influencing, pinning and influencing… Not only do individuals have the ability to go through this cycle, but companies and their products can as well.

I also use my Pinterest account as a wishlist. This means I seek out brands and products that I would like. I can show them to my friends and family, asking for these things for Christmas. I can refer to the boards of my friends to know what they would like as gifts also.


Pinterest users are mostly women and I’d say that 90% of the pins on Pinterest are products.

In short, Pinterest is an amazing place for target marketing.

What is more powerful than a woman who loves a product? A group of women who love a product.

Have you ever heard a group of ladies discuss a product they love? The enthusiasm and eagerness they posses is energetic enough to get others who have never heard of the product excited as well. In a nutshell, that is what Pinterest is. People excited over products. Effecting each other as they repin.

Pinterest is like an affiliate system but the affiliates don’t know they are branding for you, you don’t need to pay them, and their reviews are honest. What more could a company want?

If you have a website that links to your Pinterest account, I hope that you are keeping it active, as it is definitely worth it. It does take a lot of time and effort though. You need a constant supply of beautiful pictures or videos and compelling captions that will draw in people to click through to your website. I would would even suggest that you keep the Pinterest account as active as you would keep your Instagram account.

I follow a few clothing brands on Pinterest. They always have beautiful pictures and they add them to their many boards regularly. I gush over their stunning photos and repin them. Not only are they influencing me but my followers as well.

Push Pin


Maybe your pins are getting repined, but you aren’t seeing an immediate increase in sales. If that is the case, I’d be sure that people can clearly see what the image is focusing on. Help them believe that they could own the product too. The scenery around the featured item needs to look beautiful of course, but not so far from reality that the average consumer doesn’t stop to picture themselves owning your product.

A balance between an aesthetically pleasing picture, an image which clearly displays your product, reality and consumer craving fantasy needs to be met in order to win over the pinners through your pins. Give the pinners a reason to purchase.

Pinterest can be the connect between a consumer’s fantasy and reality.

200 million monthly users is a lot of consumers. Is your brand out there for us to find?

Tess Houcher

41 views
MarketingSEOShoppingWeb Development

store front image

 Black Sheep Legging came to Panda Rose in need of a new website.

For those of you who do not know, Black Sheep Legging is a clothing company. They rely on the Internet and representatives to sell their product. They emphasize on being unique and owning your style. Based in Alberta Canada, this company is taking the legging market by storm.

Black Sheep Legging’s last website was having issues and they were ready for a freshening up. Panda Rose was able to create a completely new website using Shopify as the store provider without purchasing any extra apps but still equipping Black Sheep Legging with all of the many specific features necessary for the shop.

store front image

Here are the features we created for our client:

Panda Rose was able to create an advanced collection filtering by multiple simultaneous criteria system. This component would be similar to applications that can be found on shopify but now our client doesn’t need to pay about $20 a month.

We added “VIP Pricing” which are custom discount levels depending on the specific permission level according to the tag possessed by the individual. If we didn’t make this feature ourselves, it would have cost our client $30-$50 a month for an application found in Shopify.

We also created an internal customer credit system that fit our exact needs opposed to finding an app that isn’t customizable and or costs money.

Panda Rose also resolved a commonly reported problem as Mailchimp’s scripts often conflict with some of Shopify’s. This problem is usually solved by installing an app from Shopify that can cost around $5 a month. But a developer can solve this quite simply just like we did for Black Sheep Legging.

An affiliate system was required and was integrated with commission tracking. The “Rep Portal” also gives reps the ability to customize their personal rep storefront. We looked through the following apps to integrate into Black Sheep Legging’s shopify:

people

Refersion almost worked but it would not switch customers to reps automatically when they completed the signing up process along with the inability to define different tiers of affiliates. We were hopeful, but it wasn’t a perfect fit for our client.

Affiliatly was attractive in that it was very straightforward and its prices were not bad. But this app left us no room to customize and fit the needs of Black Sheep Legging. Again, we had to look elsewhere.

ReferralCandy was not for a rep program like we needed but looked like it would thrive strictly as a referral program.

Ambassador was difficult to work with, in that we couldn’t really test it without being on the phone with one of the representatives. It’s price tag was also too much for our client and so this affiliate program didn’t quite cut it either.

So we created our own affiliate system. It does everything our client needs it to and it will not cost an extravagant amount every month.

The following three features were created by Panda Rose without an app in Shopify to compare them to:

Panda Rose was also able to use the existing basic tagging feature Shopify provides and built off of it to automate the addition and removal of tags based on events within the store. This enabled the ability for anyone new signing up in the site to be labeled as a “Customer” in our system. This tag is then replaced if the customer chooses to become a rep and will alter according to the rep tire they become. Again, this adjusts automatically.

shopping cart

The cart content checks hold the ability to modify contents on the fly before checkout. This means that Black Sheep Legging did not want customers reaching the checkout if they have more inventory in their cart than there is currently in stock. Upon adding inventory to cart, it’s automatically adjusted down to stock levels, and Black Sheep Legging is notified of the change.

An internal “free shipping” code system was created for rep usage to allow greater control for Black Sheep Legging opposed to Shopify’s discount codes.

If each of the features I have listed were apps that were integrated into Black Sheep Legging’s Shopify, it could potentially cost $15,000 a year. Which is obviously not necessary.

Maybe your company has the money to pay all of these apps to run your store. But can you handle all of the complications that come with having multiple apps piled all over you store? All of their different formats and requirements? Are you able to customize the apps to fit all of your company’s needs?

A developer can integrate all of the features your store may need and ensure that the features fit your specific needs exactly. A developer can prioritize you opposed to giant companies and app creators where you are just another business that is using their product. You can have real conversations with your developer to get your thoughts, questions and concerns addressed. Plus, no monthly fees to last you as long as you have the online store! Hiring a developer is without a doubt a wise investment for your business.

Tess Houcher

52 views
MarketingShoppingSocial Media

instagram symbol

Instagram has become a way for brands to personalize themselves before their customers. This is thanks to micro-influencers.

instagram symbol

Micro-influencers have become a powerful presence on the platform.

What are they?

A micro-influencer is someone who brands to their audience based on their own personal likes and interests. This strategy works well because these influencers are branding honestly. They aren’t always paid for what they do and still they are able to convince their followers that their favourite product needs to be yours too.

The audience of a micro-influencer may be small. But they achieve something celebrities and giant brands can’t: They create relationships. They also have much higher rates of consumer involvement opposed to celebrities.

cactus

A celebrity can have everything anyone could want materially. Tons of money, the perfect bod, being paid to attend events or workout. (We would all be in-shape if that was the reality for the rest of us, am I right?) You follow these famous people on social media, love and support them. But the lifestyle these people live is not a reality for most of us. The fraction of celebrities in the world is less than 1%. So when they tell us we need a certain product, it’s hard to take them seriously.

1. Because they were paid to sell the product — not genuine.

2. Maybe they do love the product but it still didn’t cost them anything to use the product.

3. They have everything you want anyways, what’s one more cool product they have that you don’t?

This is why the micro-influencers are so successful. They aren’t millionaires, they are real and they choose who they brand for.

The pictures they post are taken by them opposed to sponsored ads. They don’t have to brand for products they don’t like, meaning their reviews are genuine. They can use their account to be real with their audiences and create relationships.

succulents
Succulents, because Instagram loves succulents.

From experience I know that it is very possible to become attached to an Instagram account.

I follow a girl on Instagram she is an artist who is still in art school and she takes pictures of mostly her art. In some cases she will advertise for her pieces. Otherwise she is just a student with amazing fashion sense who posts cute pictures with positive captions. I love it. She could convince me to buy products, no doubt. And she isn’t even a legitimate influencer!

(She is influencing me though . . . maybe she’s just that good, I don’t even know she’s an influencer! 😅)

How do they do it?

They have charisma.

Just like writing a book or script for a TV show, the characters need a distinct personality. What is the character’s family like? What is her obsession? What is his weakness? How do they present themselves at work opposed to in front of their friends? What is their favourite food.

The answer to these questions are found not because the TV show literally says what their favourite food is. Instead you learn by watching the character get excited to eat when they find out there is going to be waffles and strawberries. You learn that they had a spoiled childhood because of the way their parents disapprove of their current lifestyle. Etc.

young people excited about something in natureThe same goes for micro-influencers. They are characters. They either have to come up with who their character is, or exaggerate their real personalities. This way people can grow attached to the perfectly molded character.

People don’t want another brand being thrown at them based on their likes and shares on the platform. They want to know what they need because their favourite influencer can’t remember what it was like to do their morning routine before this amazing product.

Not only do consumers get to hear from likeable people what products they recommend. But the good micro-influencers share the experience. They can give the why, who and how these products have worked for them. Not only are they characters, but storytellers themselves.

young woman on rocky trail in mountains

Micro-influencers have the ability to make their audience feel sorry for them when they have a hard day and rejoice when the micro-influencers can tell their faithful followers good news.

I mean, influence is in their title.

Maybe your small business could use a micro-influencer or you could be that person for your company!

If you see the value in your business having a micro-influencer but you find that you lack the creativity or time needed for such a job, you can find someone to be the influencer for you. Check out this blog for info:

Being a micro-influencer sounds rather glamorous. I love the idea of a job consisting of posting on Instagram, sharing my likes and interests, having a valid opinion, taking beautiful pictures, influencing people and being paid to do it!

branch with leaves in vase

As lovely as that all sounds, I know that it would all take a lot of work. To critique your compelling voice, to make sure you state your opinion strongly without offending others. The dedication and effort would take hours upon hours and money, at least for the beginning.

Who knows, maybe you are up for the task.

Tess Houcher

30 views
MarketingSocial Media

I went to the waterpark with my siblings and my boyfriend the other day, we all had a blast. The many slides, giant wave pool and the hyperness we all experienced at some point made for a pretty spectacular day together.

I came to the conclusion that the waterpark shares some similarities with social media.

For starters, you are surrounded by all types at the waterpark. There are the other girls in cute swimsuits you wish you owned, the large group of rowdy young adult males, the elderly that are taking the stairs better than you, the parents who wished they didn’t even try bringing their children to the water park, the crazy kids and the creeper.

Social media is the same. The picture perfect girls on Instagram, the people who share every opinion they have ever had (those groups can get a little rowdy too), there is the grandparents who will post about how great their grandkids are constantly, the parents who share every moment of their busy lives, the crazy kids and the creeper.

It is odd though, the waterpark is full of many people’s fears. Heights, giant slides, deep water, crowds, the potential to see someone you don’t want to, potential harm or embarrassment. Yet the waterpark is always full of excited people. The water park obviously has more fun features than fears for the average person. Some people love the crazy slides, maybe heights don’t scare them, crowds exhilarate them and seeing old friends sounds like a pleasant surprise.

 

There is definitely both sides in social media as well. Some may love the ability to be connected to everyone they could ever want to connect with and love the ability to influence the masses with their words, pictures or embarrassing videos. This is all while other people could hate the idea of these experiences.

All of these comparisons are important because they adjust the temperature or vibe of a trip to the waterpark…

It can be freezing outside but the temperature in the waterpark is 31 degrees Celsius. Then there is a temperature change again when you only get slightly wet on certain slides, then you dry waiting in line, get soaked, go to the hot tub then the wave pool then back to the slides… your body experiences all these changes even though you are in an atmosphere of 31 degrees and the weather outside is -15 degrees.

A grumpy lifeguard or dropping your soft pretzel can lower the ‘temperature’ of your experience, while a short line to a water slide and a free tube for the wave pool can make your day — raising your ‘temperature’ or vibe.

I mention temperature because Facebook is the same. Maybe the overall feel, vibe, or temperature of your feed is mainly positive posts, funny videos and full of your favourite people (warm and sunny). But then the country can be hit with political issues and your feed will then have upsetting posts in the mix (icy).

Later you see that your friend from high school is getting engaged and the proposal was adorable (warm and fuzzy). But the next post is your aunty letting friends and family know your cousin is sick in the hospital again (cold). Then you see an advertisement stating that your favourite store is having a sale (warming up). But your brother’s dog died and he wrote the sweetest post about him (chilly).

Temperature changing in seconds is exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally. In most cases, we can’t do anything about the changes.

This comparison reminds us that we have a big water park to play in (Facebook/Instagram), with a wide variety of people (tired moms, awkward teenagers, proud grandparents etc.) this means that targeting your market is important.

The tired mom and the awkward teenager cannot be reached by the same ad campaign. It is essential that your business sells itself to the correct demographic in the way that they can be sold to.

What is the temperature or vibe of your marketing strategy? Are you going to display the amazing benefits that your product or service can provide your audience? (Warm.) Or is it valuable for your ad campaign to reveal the obstacles your customers will face without your assistance? (Chilly.)

At Panda Rose we can help you identify the different audiences you need to target, how to market to them and how to do it efficiently. We look forward to hearing from you.

Tess Houcher

27 views
MarketingSEOWeb Development

Even yours

I am not one of the web designers at Panda Rose, but I have worked with a couple websites and have visited many over the years. Lately I’ve been noticing that some websites draw me in and others I just scroll on by. Some companies neglect simple website guidelines and unfortunately, they end up missing out on customers they could otherwise do business with. These problems can be fixed so easily. Here are my tips which I hope you already practice.

Photography

One issue that is always interesting to address is the images displayed on a website. Images are a very powerful tool when it comes to your business. But a poor photo quality puts up red flags for potential customers and this should be avoided at any cost.

What qualifies as a poor quality picture?

  • The image is unclear as to what the featured item is.
  • Poorly displayed.
  • A mess in the picture. Or if something is dirty without purpose.
  • Bad lighting or blurry
  • Not trendy

If a photo is not done professionally and obviously so, it is a major distraction to the customers on your site. I find that when a site has beautiful pictures I am easily convinced that the product or service is legit and exceptional without even thinking about it. All because of the great impression.

If the picture on the right was on a bakery website you would be concerned about the quality of the business. (Note the lighting and crumbs.) But if the picture on the left was on the bakery website you wouldn’t even stop to think about the picture.

People notice problems, they don’t notice when things are as they should be. Don’t give your customers a reason to second guess your website.

Poor quality pictures leave me wondering if the company doesn’t have the money to update their pictures, therefore they do not have a good product or service. Now I know that I cannot make that assumption about all companies but it is an honest thought that comes to mind.

Get. A. Professional. Photographer. I know that it sounds like a hassle but trust me, it will allow your website to give a good first impression and everyone knows that first impressions are everything. Please just do it, you won’t regret it.

Navigation

Your website needs to be easy to look through. If someone is on your site looking for something and they cannot find it without clicking through all your of your pages, then your website is set up poorly. Make it very clear what they can find on each page and follow through with that initial description. If customers have to think up specific search terms to find what they are looking for, they will move on to a different site very quickly. I know that I do.

Keeping up with Trends

When was the last time your website had an update on its full appearance? Are the main colours red and white? Or this blue?

Time for a major update.

Black, white and one other accented colour can be a beautiful theme or at least a good start for those switching up their site. Which brings me to my next point.

Simplicity is Beautiful

Clean up the clutter. A site trying to fit all the info about them on their homepage is overwhelming for everyone. Simplify the homepage, not just because it is easier to take in but because it is pleasant to look at. Again, people notice problems, not when things are working well . . .

Organization is favoured by humans in general. Suit the needs of the masses by keeping organized. Use minimalism for not only aesthetic reasons but give people the ability to find the pages they want. Don’t throw everything their way before they have the chance to ask for it.

Mobile Friendly

When I am not at work, I hardly ever use a computer to search the Internet for anything. If I click on a site while I am on my phone and it is impossible to read or operate I move on to a different website. Sadly I am sure that I have missed out on many great products and services because the website did not work well with my phone.


My best advice is to remind you to think like a customer. Try to imagine that you know absolutely nothing about your business and see if it answers all the questions that a customer might have. Your site needs to be easy to navigate and easy to work with. If your website’s purpose is to book appointments, ensure that is an easy task for customers to accomplish. If your site is made for providing information for customers, construct your site so that everything is organized. And remember that aesthetics matter in every aspect of your site. I hope to see your beautiful site very soon!

Let me know how you fixed up a website in the comments!

Tess Houcher 

37 views