How ecommerce sites can tap into the potential of user-generated content

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

While most online business owners today recognise that we are in the age of the empowered customer, many have not yet properly considered the merits of the customer doing their selling for them. 

User-generated content – otherwise known as “earned media” or UGC – comes in a broad range of forms, including social media posts, blog posts and online reviews, and can make all of the difference to the achievement of greater awareness and sales for your ecommerce site. 

What are your options for making use of UGC? 

Some of the increasingly popular ways of incorporating user-generated content into a brand’s online presence may seem contradictory to the traditional means by which ecommerce sites have invited users to participate in their story. 

Displaying unmoderated customer reviews on your homepage, for instance, may seem risky, but it also helps to engender greater trust among your visitors in what is presented on your site. 

Similarly, you might launch a product review programme, whereby you supply expert bloggers with free products of yours to review. This method doesn’t merely expose your brand and its values to the readers of those blogs, but also helps to create a stream of organic search results that users will feel they can trust, and which will guide them in their buying decisions. 

At the very least, it assists in creating the impression of your brand as one that is well-known, popular and trusted. 

Hashtags and incentives can also work nicely 

Another approach may be to include social media hashtags and ‘calls to action’ (CTAs) on the packaging of your products to encourage social media users to share content related to your brand. 

Sometimes, it only takes such modest prompting to push social media users into sharing content that they may have been tempted to share anyway. 

Alternatively, you may choose to give the customer an incentive to share content about a particular new product or service that you have just launched. You may, for example, enter them into a prize draw that will enable them to win free or discounted use of the given product or service. 

There are plenty of possibilities and platforms out there 

While platforms like Olapic and Curalate give you various interesting and easy options for incorporating “earned media” into your ecommerce site, it’s also important to bear in mind certain ‘etiquette’ for the use of UGC. These include always giving fair credit to your customers who share content and not ignoring dissatisfied customers. 

After all, if expressions of discontent are not dealt with sensitively and promptly, you may find yourself with a wider reputation management disaster on your hands. 

Is now the time to set up an ecommerce site that will push your online retailer firmly into 2017 – and beyond? Simply contact the Piranha Designs team today to learn more about our full breadth of experience and know-how.

10 Differences Between A Good And A Great Landing Page

Piranha Designs - Friday, January 27, 2017

10 differences between a good and a great landing page 

What came first, the mega-successful landing page or the mega-successful company that features such a landing page on its website? You can bet that in many cases, it’s in large part due to the former that the latter exists. 

Here are just 10 ways to turn your landing pages from good to great. 

  1. Compelling icons 
  2. Yes, even the icons that you use on your landing page – such as graphical exclamation marks or pointed fingers – can help to induce that much-needed urgency in your landing page visitor. 

  3. Make it look educational, not salesy 
  4. If your landing page is geared towards providing guidance on a particular subject, make sure it actually lives up to that promise, instead of immediately shoving sales content into the visitor’s face.

  5. Include a ‘Johnson Box’ 
  6. A ‘Johnson Box’ is a staple of direct marketing emails, containing such details as the page’s key message, contents or even a quote. It may be used at the top or further down the page. 

  7. Refer to positive press you have received 
  8. It might be easy to forget that time your business was favourably mentioned in The Guardian or a local or industry publication, but your visitors will certainly be reassured to know of it. 

  9. Offer several buying options 
  10. Providing a choice of packages or subscriptions at different prices helps to switch the reader’s focus from “Should I buy?” to “Which one should I buy?” 

  11. Publicise ‘risk reducers’ 
  12. Settle the nerves of those dithering over whether they should buy from you, by prominently mentioning a ‘risk reducer’ – such as the option to cancel at any time with no minimum term. 

  13. Show the logos or photos of past clients 
  14. If you’ve catered to brands or people that visitors may have heard of (or even ones that they haven’t), it really helps to build your reputation if you include their logo or photo, not just their names in text.

  15. Focus on benefits, not just features 
  16. Sure, you can’t avoid talking about the features of your products or services, but this should be done in a way that is expressly aimed at answering the potential customer’s ‘pain points’. 

  17. Put the emphasis on “you” and “your” 
  18. Even when faced with a seemingly relevant landing page, many visitors will still think “But my situation’s different”. So, emphasise that whatever their specific needs, you can cater to them. 

  19. Appeal to the visitor’s need for immediacy 
  20. We all like a bit of instant gratification from time to time. Leave the visitor in no doubt that if they buy or sign up now, they can expect an instant benefit – and be sure to define that benefit clearly. 

There you go – just ten ways in which you can transform your good landing page into a truly great one. Don’t be afraid to contact Piranha Designs’ experts today to discuss in greater detail how you can make your own company’s landing pages as effective as they can be.

Embrace Google AMP

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Now is the time for your mobile website to embrace the Google AMP format

Google has recently unveiled Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which it now considers its flagship format for mobile websites. Here at Piranha Designs, we would urge you to move your company's mobile site to Google AMP. 

Here are several reasons why making this move can make an appreciably big difference to your company's fortunes.

An introduction to Google AMP

Google AMP is a standard of design and coding that, when employed for websites, can substantially boost the speed at which their content loads for user viewing. Not only is Google AMP lighter than its predecessors, but it also makes use of caching for a faster and more fluid experience when the user repeatedly clicks through to different pages of a mobile site.

Nonetheless, Google has certainly put the cat among the SEO pigeons, as the search giant has revealed that when it crawls a site, the basic index it now focuses on is the mobile index. This means that if you have long followed a particular SEO strategy for your company's mobile site, you might want to rethink it in light of Google's changes. 

The biggest implications for your company

With Google now declaring AMP its best format for mobile sites, more and more businesses could opt to integrate it into their sites and so enjoy the speed benefits. This could make your own site's loading speeds an even greater influence on its success – after all, you don't want to fall behind the competition because their AMP-based sites load noticeably quicker than yours.

You also need to consider the implications for SEO. Here at Piranha Designs, we offer search engine optimisation and marketing services through an array of packages for different priorities and budgets. Whichever package you choose, our team will draw upon its knowledge of AMP and how it changes the game when it comes to SEO.

Don't fall behind in the mobile space

Even before you consider our knowledge of AMP, our website design services include the delivery of mobile-friendly designs that can help you to reach out to avid smartphone users. 

You must not underestimate how big a strategic blunder it can be to neglect the optimisation of your mobile site – so why not get in touch with our team today to ensure that your own organisation’s mobile presence is truly ‘2017 ready’? 

Content Marketing

Piranha Designs - Thursday, December 15, 2016

Some great content marketing ideas for the New Year

A new year provides an ideal opportunity to start something entirely new or make a big change - and for furthering the prominence of your company, revamping your content marketing efforts can be as good a change as any. 

Perhaps the only obstacle could be coming up with good ideas for things to write about; however, the following ideas could really help to get your imagination into gear.

Mark Chinese New Year

The annual Chinese New Year celebration is far from an obscure occasion that insufficiently warrants your attention - even in the West. After all, globally, roughly one in every six people is either Chinese or of Chinese descent. It’s a vital part of the calendar in Chinese culture, not just China itself.

It’s therefore worth providing special content for the event, which takes place over 15 days from the second new moon following the winter solstice. That means a start date of 28th January for 2017 – and ahead of that, you could post content detailing the event's history, recipes for dumplings or long noodles, or how to make suitable decorations for the occasion.

Make checklists

Checklists can be wonderfully convenient for their simplicity and accessibility. It's hard to be too bewildered by a checklist, as it can provide even the most complex information in small, easy-to-digest chunks. So, checklists on your website can be an especially great idea if descriptions of what your firm offers often include obscure jargon.

Having said all of that, the checklists that your own business produces should be genuinely relevant, helpful and enjoyable for your target audience, fitting in with your company and its ethos. A computer games retailer, for example, could put together a checklist of all of the necessary products to buy for a great virtual reality gaming experience.

Start the New Year with exciting new content

Providing fresh, New Year-focused content for your website can be especially well done through regular blog posts. This is an ideal format for posting timely information - and here at Piranha Designs, we include guest blogging in all of our monthly SEO marketing packages

We can also craft your content with one eye firmly on SEO (search engine optimisation), thus bettering the chances of that content achieving visual prominence on the search engine results pages. So, why hesitate to get in touch with the Piranha Designs team today? 

Why you should steer clear of free website templates

Piranha Designs - Friday, December 02, 2016

These days, there are numerous companies out there offering free website templates to clients looking to get online as soon as possible. 

These templates are very simple, allowing you to get your site online in just a few clicks. This method of web design can prove particularly useful for companies with limited resources, but does it provide the room for growth and personalisation?

Here are three good reasons to ‘just say no’.

Anyone can use website templates

The vast majority of website templates are incredibly simple and have been designed to be as accessible as possible - even to website owners with zero design experience. 

The process is often as simple as choosing a template, changing the words and pictures and then going live. If you go with this method, you risk selecting a template that thousands have used before you and that thousands will use after you. 

Standing out is so important in the crowded online world, and your visitors may lose interest if they are greeted by a website design that they have seen numerous times before. 

You will not be able to get your branding across as effectively

A good brand is one of the most difficult things to create. It's a complex mix of ideas, visions, content and graphics coming together to show your visitors what your business is all about. 

Sometimes, the complexity of your ideas just cannot be catered to by a simple, pre-packaged web template, and you may need to secure the services of a professional web designer to turn your ideas into a site that does your business justice. 

With a website template, you will essentially have to work within a pre-determined structure, and could therefore be incredibly limited in terms of the features you can include to get the key messages of your brand across to your customers. 

Poor scalability 

As most website templates are free, the resources that are provided by the host company are often incredibly limited. 

Resources on offer usually include bandwidth and storage space, but are often capped unless you upgrade to a premium service. These limited resources could cause your website to run slower when faced with increased traffic. Sometimes, your site might even crash, which will severely impact on the quality of the user experience.  

The template provider is unlikely to be able to offer greater free resources as your company expands, which could hamper your future growth. 

All in all, while there's no doubt that website templates offer a quick-fix solution, you may need to redesign the whole thing again when your company expands. 

To save you this hassle, why not let the team here at Piranha Designs create an optimised, industry-specific and powerful website for you that provides an excellent user experience and gets across the key messages of your brand? 

Simple steps you can take to create a great call to action

Piranha Designs - Monday, November 28, 2016

Whether you're thinking about creating an online advert or sending out some marketing emails, a call to action is vital. It's your way of convincing the reader to take another action once they've viewed your content, whether that's entering their email address to receive additional relevant content or clicking onto your website. 

However, there are certain style issues that you need to keep in mind if you want to create a CTA that drives up your conversion rates.

Use active language

A CTA should encourage the user to do something right now, so you need to use words and phrases that encourage this urgency. If you just use terms like 'download,' 'find out more' or 'free trial,' you may not get the results that you desire, as they may be a little too bland and sales-like. 

Phrases like 'generate more leads today' or 'drive up your website traffic' give readers an incentive to enter their details right now. Of course, you will need to alter the text to make it relevant to your company and the needs of your audience. 

Keep your promises

If your CTA promises to deliver additional content to your readers instantly, you need to make sure this is actually the case. 

If your readers enter their details in response to your CTA, that means they are intrigued by your business and services. However, if the content takes a while to arrive despite being promised instantly, this could seriously harm your brand in the long run. Not only that, but the reader may have lost interest in the content because it took so long for them to receive it. 

Include the CTA more than once on a page

This is a good habit to get into, especially if your emails or website pages are particularly long. Using just one CTA increases the chances of it becoming lost among your other text and images. 

It's a good idea to try to include a CTA in the middle of the page and then reinforce the message at the end. However, you need to think carefully about doing this. If you include too many CTAs on a short page, you risk spamming the reader, thereby cooling their interest in whatever you're offering. 

The team here at Piranha Designs can assist you with all aspects of email and online advertising, including by offering practical advice on how to create a great call to action. If your CTAs are not pulling in the leads and sales you need, contact us on (+350) 200 45599 or (+44) 845 056 3703 to find out how we can help.

Why your business needs to invest in a mobile-friendly website

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It's no secret that mobile devices are changing the way we shop and do business online. Nowadays, it's not enough for businesses to have a static website that can only be accessed via a PC, as consumers love to purchase on the go. 

As a matter of fact, mobile accounts for a huge percentage of the profits received in the ecommerce sector – so if your business does not yet have a responsive, mobile-friendly website, here's why you should think about investing in one.

You will be able to attract a wider audience

Customers have more choice than ever before when it comes to buying products online, so investing in a mobile-friendly website is a great way of helping to give your business enough exposure to compete. 

In a recent study, it was found that 59% of all sessions on ecommerce sites were on mobile devices such as phones and tablets. This is a huge percentage, and you could be missing out on millions of views if you do not have a website that is compatible with such devices.

You will be able to improve your customer experience

People lead busy lives and may lack the time to visit your high street store, showroom or office during its opening hours. With a mobile site, your products can be viewed and purchased at any time of the day. 

All of the details that your customers need to make informed decisions can be within easy reach on such a site, helping to maintain and strengthen your brand. You can also embed special deals and promotions on your mobile site to reward customer loyalty and attract new business in a competitive marketplace.

You will be able to build a younger customer base

It should come as no surprise to you that mobile users are getting younger as the technology becomes more accessible. A staggering 90% of 16-24 year-olds now own a smartphone, which means that businesses need to react to this trend if they wish to appeal to younger audiences. 

Customers are also spending almost twice as long on their smartphones as they are on desktops and PCs, so your business could be missing out on a huge amount of exposure if you fail to invest in an aesthetically pleasing and responsive site. 

If you get the design of your mobile site right and optimise your content for a younger audience, you could build up a bond of trust and loyalty of potential benefit to your business for years to come.

The right mobile-friendly site helps to create endless opportunities for the businesses that are willing to invest in one. If you would like some help to create an engaging, responsive and informative site that will help your business to grow, the team here at Piranha Designs will be happy to assist you

3 errors that could harm the effectiveness of your Pay Per Click campaign

Piranha Designs - Friday, October 21, 2016

A Pay Per Click campaign is a great way of getting your brand noticed online. Essentially, you purchase advertising space on a search engine and then bid with other companies to target certain keywords that are relevant to your business. You only then pay when your advert is clicked. 

While this might sound like an ideal route to rapidly increase your website views, the following three errors could adversely impact your PPC campaign.

1. An irrelevant advert 

Google uses a Quality Score to measure the relevancy of your advert. The higher the Quality Score, the less you'll pay for each click. If you're working to a tight budget, it therefore makes financial sense to ensure that your ad is as relevant as possible. 

This can be done in part by carrying out thorough keyword research to find out what your target market is searching for, before making your campaign go live. If the main focus of your ad differs from the theme of the landing page that you wish your viewers to visit, this will also drop your score.

2. The lack of a call-to-action

Creating a focused and relevant advert is no good if you don't tell the viewer what they are supposed to do once they've clicked on it, such as download a free guide or enter their details to get a substantial discount. 

Likewise, if your CTA is not relevant to the needs of the user, the click-through rate will be affected – which is where researching your demographic comes in useful. You need to use active language like 'get', 'improve' and 'begin' to entice the searcher. Phrases like 'view more' and 'click here' are very traditional and – paradoxically – may not inspire the user to actually click through and complete the desired action. 

3. A slow-loading landing page

With millions of potential customers using mobile platforms to search for businesses, it's important that your landing page is responsive to different-sized screens and loads quickly. 

Customers have a need for everything to be instant nowadays and do not have the patience to wait for pages to appear. You need to make sure that your landing page looks great on mobile devices and loads at an appropriate speed, which is why you should spend some time testing your landing pages and campaigns before they go live. 

After all, a responsive page will give the user a better experience of your site, thereby making them more inclined to download your guide or enter their details.

Here at Piranha Designs, we understand the importance of achieving the best results for our clients while still keeping to what may be a tight budget, so why not have a look at our PPC packages to find out more about how we can help your business? 

5 ways to increase social media engagement

Piranha Designs - Friday, October 07, 2016

Social media for business use has exploded in recent times, with businesses striving to reach a younger, more technically savvy audience. Today, potential customers have so much choice over which brands they interact with online, so it's vital that you make your content stand out. 

If you're struggling to generate leads and conversions, these five techniques might help you to change that.

1. Post behind-the-scenes pictures

In a world in which everything seems to be becoming more corporate and sanitised, with some businesses reluctant to stray from their usual brand guidelines, uploading behind-the-scenes pictures could make for a refreshing change. It helps your customers see a different side of your business, and could be a real crowd-pleaser.

2. Hold Q&A sessions

This would be best carried out on Facebook, Twitter or a live streaming service such as Periscope. A Q&A session is a great way of interacting with potentially thousands of customers at the same time. People could be glued to your feed while you explain your business or the new products that you have up-and-coming. Encouraging users to send in their questions is a great way of maximising your reach and hints at a more personal service.

3. Hold giveaways

This is a great way of maximising your conversion rates. You could encourage your followers to share or retweet your post, for example, in return for a chance to win an item from your business. This method should help to get your name out there. You could also ask your followers to click on a link to your website and enter their details in a call-to-action box to get a free download or discount on products. This method will assist you in the building of your client database.

4. Get the right dimensions

If you post images on your social media channels, they need to make an impact straight away. Different platforms tend to require images of different dimensions, so you may need to alter the image for each platform on which your brand has a presence. By doing this, the images will remain clear and display properly, increasing the chances of users engaging with them.

5. Maximise your resources

Although it might seem tempting to give your brand a presence on all of the remotely popular social media channels, this could do more harm than good. Do your research to find out what platforms your target market is using, before using these platforms to post content that these target consumers are likely to appreciate and find useful. This method will help to ensure that you're targeting the right kind of social media users.

If you're struggling to increase your brand's levels of social media engagement, please feel free to contact Piranha Designs about our online advertising packages.

5 reasons why your marketing emails end up in spam boxes

Piranha Designs - Monday, October 03, 2016

Any business that sends emails as part of its marketing campaigns will know how difficult the generation of meaningful results can be. The reasons for your emails not converting can be wide-ranging; it could be that your subscribers are just not interested, or that your emails are getting sent to their spam folder. In the case of the latter, you need to avoid these marketing faux pas.

1. Your email subject features a trigger word

With spam filters becoming increasingly powerful, you need to avoid using certain 'trigger words' that are regularly used by spammers if you want to ensure your emails end up in the right box. Words such as free, money and reminder are all prominent in spam emails, so try to avoid using them and come up with more imaginative titles to keep your emails in your subscribers' inboxes.

2. Your email has exclamation points!!!

Emails filled with exclamation marks resemble spam and are therefore likely to be treated as such by email account providers. Instead of exclaiming your key points, word your subjects and emails in an exciting, engaging way that your customers will appreciate.

3. You're sending attachments

Sending an attachment to somebody who doesn't expect to receive one can make it tough to penetrate spam filters, and in the case of email marketing, it's something that should be avoided. Instead, keep all of your content in one email, and if you need to get your audience to view an external document, send a download link that they can click in their own time.

4. You have low open rates

As webmail providers become increasingly intelligent, it is now possible for emails to be screened on the basis of whether others open them or not. This process is known as 'engagement-based spam filtering', with email providers identifying when users delete unopened emails and thereby filtering similar emails from your own inbox.

5. Your subject line isn’t clear

Subject lines are one of the most important aspects of email marketing, and while you will naturally want to get the most bang for your buck, you need to be clear about what your email includes. Misrepresenting an email can irritate your subscribers and encourage them to flag your emails as spam, so be honest and transparent and you’ll soon see increased engagement. 

If you're struggling to grow your audience online, don't hesitate to contact the team here at Piranha Designs about our acclaimed range of online advertising packages. 

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