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Web designers excel through their creativity, but they also require a ton of resources to translate their creativity into works of art. The hardware apart, they require a host of software and other tools, including programs, educational resources, premium fonts, vectors, icons, stock images, and more, to make the magic happen. Adobe Creative Suite offers access to the basic tools of the trade, such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, After Effects, and Encore. Without these programs, most web and graphic designers would be out of job. However, a successful web designer draws on several other resources, both free and paid, to make their lives easier. A host of tools serve various niche purposes. Gliffy makes it easy to create diagrams, floor plans, flowcharts, and technical drawings. Stat Silk’s StatPlanet is very popular for visualisation and mapping. Tableau Public makes creating and publishing infographics and interactive data a piece of cake. Typecast is a rich depository of over 23,000 fonts. Typography offers thousands of typefaces. FontSquirrel’s Webfont Generator helps designers search a database of different fonts. The free gbdfed Bitmap Font, Fonstruct, BitFontMaker2, and others all go a step further, allowing the designer to create new bitmap fonts or modify existing fonts.

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There is a host of online tools for graphic and web designers to dig into and work their magic!

Pictaculous is a handy tool that makes it easy to experiment with various colour and images, useful for editing and imaging enhancement. Colorotate facilitates the editing of scope, tint, hue, image, blend, and other finer features of the design.

Among the other popular tools, PicMarkr makes it very easy to add watermarks to images, useful for asserting copyright and pre-empting plagiarism. Lorem Ipsum Generator uses a set of meaningless words or characters and makes paragraphs to fit into designs. No web designer can go far without stock images. Shutterstock, with over 25 million stock photos, vectors, illustrations, and videos, ranks among the most popular stock image repository. There are hundreds of other similar resources, such as MorgueFile, flickr, and others. Other programs, such as TextureMate and CG textures offer free textures, and brushes, besides images. DeviantArt is one of the largest online art communities, offering rich resources such as fan art, skins, and other unique drawings, which users can shop. Dribble is the most popular online community for designers, aimed at collaboration. It allows users to upload images or GIFs, for other members to provide feedback and engage in discussions. The community makes it possible to create teams. The Estetica Design Forum is similar in nature, allowing collaboration and discussion between artists and graphic design professionals, and also offers value added features, such as information in programming, flash, and web design. 1stwebdesigner.com is a popular website, offering rich resources such as coding, tutorials, downloadable source code, and more. Just as a person building a house does not create the bricks themselves, web designers and graphic developers draw in resources from various curated repositories and platforms. Success depends on how well they leverage the readily available building blocks. Creative Ideaz offers a host of resources and solutions for your web and graphic design requirements. Contact us at 0845 0942153.
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The social media is a double edged sword. Positive reviews can be a big boost to rope in new customers, but negative reviews have the opposite effect. In many instances, a barrage of negative reviews can even sound the death knell for the business. In today’s hyper connected world, hell hath no fury than a customer scorned! So here are three ways to deal with negative reviews on social media platforms:

1. Understand the nature of the complaint Understand the gist of the complaint upfront. Is it genuine deficiency of service? Is it a case of expectations not matching reality? Is the customer blowing things out of proportion? Is it a case of a competitor trying to show the business in poor light? Take a balanced and nuanced view. Understand things from the customer’s point of view, not just from the perspective of the business.

Whatever be the reason, hear the customer, empathise with him, diagnose the problem, and offer a quick resolution.

2. Make the most of the bad situation Deleting a negative comment is the worst thing to do. Nothing prevents the customer from taking it elsewhere. A social media page with only glowing testimonials may make users doubt the legitimacy of the reviews. Negative comments actually infuse authenticity to the positive reviews in the mix. What really matters is how the business chose to react to the negative comments.

Timely response is of key essence. Explain the facts in a clear cut and detailed way, before offering an apology, repair, replacement, some compensatory offers, or simply clarifying things from your point of view. Even when the person who made the complaint is not satisfied, a comprehensive and detailed reply is the best bet to gain the confidence of prospective customers who would be reading the posts.

3. The Customer is Always Right The worst thing to do is pick up an argument with a customer. The customer is always right, even when he is not! It is far better to apologise and let things go, while making sure to clarify the business’s point of view. Even when an exchange of communication is inevitable, take it offline, or through private chat, or email, rather than make the exchanges in the public forum.

Also, make sure to set a pleasant tone rather than issue curt responses that may get under the skin of an already irritated customer. Many neutral readers respect businesses that reply to a harsh comment in a calm and helpful way.

Always engage with an unhappy customer on a personalised basis, and try to delight him with the hope that he may remove the negative review, or better still, post a follow up on how the business took care of his complaint.

Treat genuine negative reviews as free consultancy for the business. Document the negative reviews and share it across the board, so that the workforce can take proactive steps to pre-empt such instances.

It is impossible to genuinely please each and every customer, and negative reviews are an inevitable part of running a business. The key is to identify such reviews early, before they get out of hand, and address them on a proactive basis.

Creative Ideaz offers comprehensive turnkey solutions to monitor your brand’s mention in the social media space, and take proactive interventions when negative comments pop up. Get in touch with us at 0845 0942153 today.
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LinkedIn is the second-largest social network, with more dedicated users than Twitter. Contrary to the general impression, LinkedIn is more a business building tool rather than a professional jobseekers network. Businesses that do not have an active strategy on this social media channel are doing themselves a disservice. Here are some tips to get the best out of LinkedIn, for your business.

1. Shape up the profile

Your LinkedIn page is a valuable advertising tool. Many potential customers and employees would check out the company’s LinkedIn profile before taking any decision. An informative profile, which clearly articulates what the business stands for, describes the products and service on offer, and the key skills or USP, besides helping to boost the image, contributing to direct sales, and leading to other desirable actions.

Start with a professional headshot, and complement it with a great headline. Add skills and endorsements that reflect skill sets accurately. Include keywords in the summary section to allow people to find you. Solicit recommendations to gain credibility.

Make the profile client-focused, speaking directly to potential clients. Nobody really cares about your achievements or your skill-sets. They are only interested in how such skill sets or achievements can be beneficial to them.

The best practise is to start the summary section with an introductory paragraph, share a story and position to establish credibility, and then speak specifically about the problems your target market faces, and how your products or service can solve such problems, or benefit them.

2. Groom your network

The trick is to optimise the profile, so that the profile ranks on top when people search for relevant product or service. Customers can connect with you only if your profile is visible and people know you are selling the product or service they require.

Use the exact keywords potential customers or clients may use when they are searching for products and services. Think like your customers. It is also useful to cultivate a good network of experts and professionals, who are reliable voices in their niche domains. Seeking them out and including them in your contacts improves your visibility manifold.

Don’t restrict yourself to accepting incoming connection requests. Reach out to new connections with personalised messages. Thank them for connecting, and offer something of value.

3. Check the ‘Pulse’

The Pulse feature, available in the Interests tab, displays relevant industry news from within LinkedIn. This is a good feature for businesses to remain in the loop regarding cutting edge developments pertaining to the industry.

It is possible to customise Pulse. A simple three tab option, with a tab each for top posts, new content, and preferences makes tracking very easy. Set option to view content by mainstream media, or by niche professionals, to gain access to the best news from the most preferred sources.

Businesses can use such information to repost new content, launch special offers, reposition their product mix, and launch a whole gamut of other strategies.

4. Share

Many businesses use the social media effectively to share interesting content with their audience, and keep them engaged. LinkedIn is an effective media to do likewise, but businesses need to keep the overriding theme of the network in mind, and place the focus on professional content, such as white papers, infographics, charts, interesting statistics, and likewise. Sharing relevant content from time to time is important to retain mindshare.

5. Set the pace

A proactive approach always helps. While sharing great content works, it is important to initiate new content, which others can share. Start a LinkedIn group, and lead discussions on specific topics of interest. Becoming an influencer yourself is the best way to gain credibility, and also an excellent way to bring interested customers together.

All the above tips notwithstanding, its implementation that matters. We at Creative Ideaz offer you effective workable solutions for LinkedIn and other social media strategy. Contact us at 0845 0942153.
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Many marketers find out the hard way that great content and a hyperactive presence in the social media by themselves do not automatically translate to conversions. The audience may accept and contribute towards making a great piece of content go viral, and even engage with you more, but the intended purpose of the exercise – conversions – may still be hard to come by. Social media is an extremely powerful tool for lead generation, no doubt, but the key is to do it right. An American Lifestyle 2015 study reveals about 70% of customers read reviews from their peers, about the product, before they make a purchase, and social network is the place where they search for such reviews. Here are five good strategies to get your social interventions right: 1. Optimise Links to External Content Any effective social media engagement is part of an overall content marketing ecosystem. Social media is never an end to itself, but rather one of the popular mediums, through which high value content is passed on to targeted audiences. The content itself may be a blog, whitepaper, resources section of the website, or any other landing page. It could be “gated content” where the user may have to log in, or supply their credentials, to gain access. A fair bit of suspense may be in order, to entice the user to click the link and land at the location the content marketer desires.

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Make sure the landing page, to which the user redirects himself, is equally engaging, and contributes to advancing the prospect in the marketing lifecycle. Many marketers make the mistake of simply offering enticing content, with a link to the product page or the home page at the end, hoping that the recipient, grateful for good content, would oblige by clicking on the link, and buying something. That isn’t happening. 2. Promote Content Native to the Platform Many marketers are still struck in a time warp, and continue with a one-dimensional social strategy. The social media is a vast space, with many myriad platforms, each with its own idiosyncrasies. Also, today’s users access the social from various devices, and the different cross-platform content strategies in vogue are just as relevant to the social space as well. Make sure to promote content that best suits the platform, and delivers maximum entertainment for the users. Users convert only if they get an enhancing experience, and the message adds value to them. They don’t care about your sales targets or your brand reputation. Native content adapts to the unique language, sensibility, culture, and style of the specific platform. For instance, a compelling story, with an image or video, may work well on Facebook, but is likely to fail in LinkedIn, where a whitepaper offers better chance of success. Similarly, a video heavy landing page may drive away users accessing the link from a mobile device, whereas a link to a lean landing page that loads lightning fast will gain more acceptance from mobile users. 3. Don’t Go Overboard with Links Posting links is a good way to gain leads, but too much of the same thing can be just as bad. From time to time, offer something of generic value to the user. For instance, at times a corny marketing joke in Facebook, or an inspiring quote in Twitter, with no connotation to the product may be just as effective, to strike a chord, and gain credibility. Once the user gains your trust, links can follow. Using the social media as an RSS feed is a mistake best avoided. 4. Create a Personal Experience The importance of personalisation can never be understated, but surprisingly, very few marketers attempt it on the social space. The bulk of their efforts are rather on one-size fits all generic posts. Localised content, appealing to Facebook users of a specific location, individual social messages on birthdays, and other initiatives can boost the odds of the recipient following up with the link, and eventually converting. 5. Never Give Up There is no one good way. Social media is all trial and error, and even when something clicks once, there is no guarantee it would click the next time round. The marketer needs powerful analytics tool to identify the effectiveness of each intervention and measure the social media impact of their interventions. But side by side, they also need to innovate, rather than continue with the same high-impact thing. As the cliché goes, past success is no guarantee for future results.
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Speed is the new king when it comes to retaining customers on your website. You have killer content, and your marketing team makes painstaking efforts and considerable investments to lure in a prospect to your website. Imagine a situation, if the prospect meanders away to a competitor’s website after viewing just one page. This is exactly what would happen if your website is slow. ci_blog Page speed has a direct impact on bounce rates – slower the page speed, higher the bounce race. A high bounce rate is an indicator of a poor quality website. Higher the bounce rate, lower the time people spend on the website. It is a never ending downward spiral, one feeding on the other. Kissmetrics reveals that a one second delay in page response can cause as high as 7% reduction in conversions. About 47% of web users expect the page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% of users abandon a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Instances of online buyers simply abandoning the cart, even after selecting products from the ecommerce site, because of the slow load speed, are all too common. About 79% of online shoppers opine they would not return to a slow loading ecommerce site, and 44% of them would tell their friends and others, of the poor experience. The situation is becoming even more pronounced now, with recent Google algorithm changes penalising websites that have slow load time. Google now considers fast load time as one of the indicators of a good website, and favours such web pages. Page loading time is an important aspect of user experience. Webpage creators need to consider the impact of a new aesthetic design, an added functionality or additional images, to the load time. New site functionality does not help users if they cannot access it properly in the first place. Website visitors care more about speed than bells and whistles! A typical website weighs about 130 KB, complete with images, scripts and style sheets. As a rule of thumb, more the resources and plugins attached to the page, higher the weight, and hence higher the load time. However, web developers and experts have several tweaks and tools at their disposal, to increase load times even with fully functional websites, offering many features. Some of the basic tactics are file compression, storing scripts in external files, using content distribution networks, enabling caching, using lightweight images, and more, but there are several permutations and combinations to consider as well. In a hyper competitive online space, every second counts. We at Creative Ideaz can help you improve your page load time, and get you in the good books of Google and that of your valued customers. Call us at 0845 0942153.
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New waves of technological advances make earlier ones obsolete. The latest trend on the block is voice search, which has the potential to make conventional text based search obsolete. Google estimates 55% of teenagers and 41% of adults use voice search every day, and 56% of adults using voice search feel they are “tech savvy.” For the end user, voice search improves ease and convenience, and facilitates a more accurate search. Speaking is a lot easier than typing. From the marketer’s perspective, voice search has great implications for SEO. If optimisation for the mobile was the big thing in 2015, optimising for Siri, Cortana, Google Now, and other voice based applications is all set to become the prime focus in 2016. The challenge for marketers comes from the way people search. When typing in a search query, users tend to favour brevity. They tend to type in the shortest possible query, to get the desired results. Voice offers no such limitations. For instance, a user tying “best restaurants central London,” may say, “Which are the top five restaurants within two kilometres of Charing Cross”. Marketers hitherto focused on keywords to match what users typed in their query box. Keywords are not a big consideration in conversational voice search queries. Websites that focus on providing the real “who, what, when where, why and how” answers would outrank sites that focus exclusively on keywords. The challenge for marketers is multiplied by “Google answers,” which provide direct results on the search page. If a smartphone user can ask a question, and get the answer generated on the search page itself, why would they bother to search further down the list and enter another website? Google now provides direct answers on about 19.5% of total search engine queries, up from 4% in 2014-15. Google does so by searching for “authority” websites that offer direct answers to the query, in natural, free flowing language. The obvious solution for marketers is to optimise their websites for conversational search queries. Time honoured SEO practises such as keyword stuffing and writing for robots are now well and truly obsolete. The new mantra is natural language, or writing in a natural flow. Marketers should ideally:
  • Revamp their content, infusing it with natural voice, in a free flowing conversational style, and discard conventional SEO practises, such as keyword stuffing. The content writer should think like a user, and write like a user, not as an algorithm crunching machine!
  • Implement long-tail keywords to factor in natural flow conversations originating from voice search. They could still include specific terms commonly used by target market, but success depends on using keyword variations, or all possible ways users may “talk” when referring to the subject or topic.
  • Implement an FAQ strategy, offering specific and clear cut answers to the who, what, when where, why and how questions, making it easy for search engines to identify natural search answers.
  • Localise the content, and provide explicit information on the location address, working hours, and other specifics. A good proportion of voice searches are local in nature.
The “authority” of a website has always been crucial for SEO, and voice search makes it even more important. Voice searches have the potential to humanise an increasingly cold world wide web, and make things easy and seamless for the users. Web marketers have to step up, and cater to the new rules of the game, if they are to remain in business.
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Search engines persistently collect information on the zillions of web pages and websites out there, to provide effective response to search queries. This arduous task of the “information collector” is often done by search engine spiders or crawlers. How does a Spider work? Spiders crawl over websites, reading through the content, hyperlinks, Meta tags (specially formatted keywords in web pages) to get easily sighted by crawlers, and the code. It then formulates a profile of the webpage for the search engine. Spider also collects added data from the hyperlinks on web pages. The Google Spider, called the Googlebot, is the most popular search engine Spider. Googlebot, works on an algorithm, which decides the sites to crawl, the frequency of the crawl and the number of pages to be indexed from each site. Googlebot accesses sites once in every few seconds. How to increase Google crawl rates? Website crawling is very important for SEOs in order to index vital web pages on Google and other search engines. Only indexed pages are included in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP). Here are few effective tips to enhance Google visibility of your website.

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  • Constant Updates: Crawl rates are low for inert websites. So, update your web content regularly, as this will attract bots more frequently. Updates can be in the form of blogs or even videos or audio strips. Moreover, the content should be informative and valuable. Insert keywords wherever possible as this will help spiders to sieve and link your website to client searches.
  • Ditch Plagiarised Content Completely: Plagiarised content lowers Googlebot rates as it can easily detect copied information and can even get you a Google ban. Cross check web pages for duplicate content.
  • Opt for Good Servers: Upload your website on servers with fair uptime. Googlebots lower crawl rates on servers with high downtime and as such you will find your web pages are indexed lot slower.
  • Register Your Site with Popular Online Directories: Listing in online directories is a great way to get sighted by Googlebots. DMoz and Technorati are two most popular online directories. Dmoz, in fact, has higher trust levels with Google for the valuable listings it contains. Directories work best in enhancing web visibility.
  • Give Titles to Images: Having striking images on websites can indeed work up some magic. But it is important to label these images as Spiders can’t read them. Use alt-text to provide brief outlines for images used in web pages. This will help Googlebot to read your web pages better.
  • Hook Your Website to Social Media: Googlebots work faster with links. Create profiles for your website on social media or even link your websites to your existing profiles, as effective linking increases crawl rates. You can even interlink your old posts with your new ones between web pages.
We at Creative Ideaz can help you garner the cutting edge in digital marketing with our expert knowledge and best skills. Talk to our experts to know more or call our team at 0845 094 2153.
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Cloud collaboration is the latest evolving method of business teamwork that enables employees to work simultaneously on related files, docs, projects and other data types from a central Cloud storage. Cloud collaboration is irrefutably the current rage among business enterprises, especially for small and mid-sized units. This is majorly due to its proven capability to bring together varied and dispersed business teams across the world, at real time, at the most affordable rates, thereby bringing down onsite deployment costs. As per a study conducted in 2014 by Intuit and Emergent Research, nearly 78% of business enterprises across the world would switch to cloud computing by 2020. Another study conducted by Software Advice reveals that business enterprises are slowly shifting base to web based applications for their project requirements. Cloud computing provides a host of services such as online data storage, computing payments and billables, and tracking project deadlines, among others. But despite the major advantages it offers, there are still hordes of small business units and start-ups yet to leverage its returns. Listed below are few effective reasons for small businesses to completely step in to the cloud bandwagon.

1. Adequately cost effective: One of the significant advantages of cloud based computing is that it considerably reduces costs as it embraces the pay-as-you-go pricing model. You need to pay only for the amount of cloud resources you have used in a month. Moreover, cloud collaboration significantly reduces IT costs that otherwise wipe away a lion’s share of the budget of small enterprises. Hardware and software upgrades are constantly provided by cloud services and its various related apps for a small fraction of the budget allotted for onsite deployment. You can also reduce the number of IT staff in your organisation as you will not require their services for constant upgrades and maintenance.

2. Effective team work: Cloud based computing allows team workers to effectively connect from different workstations and work simultaneously on the same doc or project. Team workers can make the required updates real-time and even exchange ideas and comments. Google Docs is the most basic of the collaborative tools available. The cloud tool allows live updates to the documents created and also lists out the changes done on the document apart from automatic saves and remote access from any place at any time. And it’s absolutely free. Basecamp, Nutcache and Huddle are few other collaborative tools that let you work with remote team members all the while tracking costs, deadlines and tasks.

3. Proficient scalability: One of the best advantages of cloud computing is the easy scalability and flexibility it offers at minimal cost. For small start-ups, it’s always the add-ons that often increase as the business grows. You can increase the number of users and the extra workload with considerable ease and finely blend it with the present resources. It is also possible to downsize the added resources as and when demand decreases.

Want to know more? Call the Creative Ideaz team at 0845 0942153. We are also your best resource for implementing powerful Digital Marketing Strategies.
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One of the best known platforms for professional marketing, LinkedIn has proved to be an outstanding 277% better at lead generation compared to its peers, Facebook and Twitter. As of now, LinkedIn boasts of more than 2 million organisations and 200 million users, spread across 200 countries, ranging from home grown SMEs to large multinational, multicultural conglomerates. These statistics should not be surprising, since LinkedIn is one of the best open platforms for collaboration with internal marketing and IT teams, external customers and partners across industries, roles, organisations and functions. Imagine you had to reach out to some of the leading experts in your industry to get an insight into their perspectives on market trends and recent innovations – in real life, your scope would be restricted to your organisation, your college mates, your family and friends to get connected to such kind of people. With LinkedIn, you can get connected to the who’s who of your industry and also expect positive responses from them. Another advantage of this online networking platform is that it is one of the most effective mediums for you to clarify what you and your company offer as a product or service. Your website will always have relevant information, but the disadvantage there is that it is not updated so often. With LinkedIn, you can provide updates on a more regular frequency keeping all stakeholders informed on the most recent developments that are going on in the organization.

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The golden rules for organizations to follow are:
  1. Your company page: Everything on this page goes into building the image that your organisation showcases to the world. Smart organisations take time and effort in optimising their LinkedIn pages. The main thing is to ensure that the page has maximum ‘Buyer Appeal’. For this, the company description needs to focus on your product offerings and services and the market segments you cater to. You can use the ‘Specialities’ section to elaborate with the key words that are best suited for your organisation. 41% of IT buyers indicate that most organisations have content that is too generic. Hence finding out the areas that are niche to your line of work, and focusing on those will help your organisation stand out amongst the crowd.
  2. Highlight data points: There are two kinds of data. The first kind is full of detail, gives research insights and goes overboard in trying to explain concepts and scenarios. This kind of data is more suited for learning platforms that are looking to educate users. The second kind, which is more suitable for LinkedIn, focuses on actionable data – clear, simple and crisp – one that enables readers to take the next step of action towards continuing engagement with you.
And for individuals, the priority items are:
  1. Photograph: Including your personal photograph is an essential element for effectively using LinkedIn. This shows to the world that you are a real person, working in a legitimate manner. It eliminates any doubt.
  2. Avoid noise: Whatever you do, make sure you do not repeatedly share posts by others just to create activity around your page. This is done by many when they do not have enough to show for themselves – and hence the posting and sharing technique to remind people that you are still alive. However, assuming that you are a legitimate person in a legitimate profession, there are bound to be many more original and relevant insights that you can share with your followers – because, believe it or not – the truth is that they are following you to get to really know you.
So the trick is to be active and aligned, and LinkedIn can surely connect you and your organisation to incredible opportunities that otherwise would have been difficult to generate. For starting a professional marketing campaign using LinkedIn, do get in touch with the expert team at CreativeIdeaz today.
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