Guest Post by Julie Young, Young Design
Have questions about online or print marketing collateral? Here are the 6 most common questions small business owners ask.
Q1. How important is social media to my website? Should I have a Twitter or Instagram feed, or just linked social icons?
A: If your company is tweeting and posting daily or weekly, we recommend a feed, which makes your site look continually updated. But if your latest post is older than even a month, a feed is a turnoff to users. Otherwise, just have your social media icons link to your accounts.
Q2. We love our current website, but someone just told us our website looks old. Should we have it redesigned?
A: If your site is more than five years old, we usually recommend a redesign. In five years, web design trends will have changed, perhaps dramatically, and your site will start to look dated compared to others. Your company’s site should show you’re on the ball and competing with the best. Sometimes a refresh is all it takes; other times, a complete overhaul. Take advantage of the opportunity to refresh your content and marketing, and to implement the latest technical advances for a smoother user experience.
Q3. What’s wrong with buying email lists for our online campaign?
A: What’s NOT wrong with it? Spam (emailing recipients without first obtaining permission to do so) is illegal. Email campaign apps like MailChimp and Constant Contact won’t allow you to use purchased lists (they do a scan and can tell). Grow your mail lists organically – by networking online and IRL to make bona fide connections who are more likely to respond to your campaign.
Q4. We’ve got boxes and boxes of our latest brochure sitting in an office corner. How can we prevent having so many leftovers?
A: As part of fulfillment, the brochures and other print marketing collateral should be mailed directly from the printer to your mailing list. Maybe you were overly optimistic about your list size, or lulled by the fact that a larger press run is cheaper per piece. But it’s a waste if you won’t soon be distributing your print collateral to a viable mail list, or handing them out by the hundreds at a conference. Don’t count on someday magically having enough list numbers to receive the leftovers. Grow that list!
Q5. Help! Our site is down and we don’t know why.
A: Ironically, we’ve found the most common reason is your lack of payment to your web host. Has your credit card on file with them expired? Have you been ignoring their emails? Most hosts send alerts well ahead of your account’s expiration date. Also, to avoid the hassle of renewing each year, sign up for multiple years. (Bonus: Most hosts offer a discount when you sign up for more than one year).
A second likely reason is a glitch with your host’s server. Open a customer service chat with the host; it’s probably a temporary outage that is affecting many sites on a particular server experiencing problems, and is usually resolved quickly. But let them know ASAP.
Q6, We don’t have a budget for images; why can’t we use a screenshot taken off the web, including Google images?
Creative and editorial images are not free; someone worked to create the image and owns it legally by default. It is illegal to download or capture screenshots of copyrighted images. The majority of images are sold for a one-time use and copyrighted (every use is protected by the creator). If the creator want to re-sell it, then you purchase the rights for a particular period of time. We recommend using sites with low fees for copyrighted images. There are also sites that offer copyright-free images.
About the Author
Julie Young is a print and web designer at Young Design. For over 20 years, she has been creating quality branding, websites, print collateral and email marketing to help companies communicate with their customers in order to raise profiles and profits.