Archive for November, 2012

Tips for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
Advertisers and publishers are gearing up for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping bonanza.

There is still time to work on your affiliate marketing strategies and your content/promotions for the upcoming shopping season. expects online sales to possibly reach $96 billion.

When you look at last year’s trends and this year’s forecast, there are seven critical data points to keep in mind. Below are affiliate marketing strategies for the holidays that are aligned with these seven driving forces in e-commerce.

Here is a strategy to consider — if you already have been running holiday promotions, create a new campaign specific to Black Friday and boost incentives for publishers during the 24-hour period.

Consumers shop before and after work on Cyber Monday. Research studies found during Cyber Monday 2011, consumers did their shopping before 9:00 a.m. then started again between the hours of 5:00-9:00 p.m. So you should consider running limited-time promotions during the heavy online traffic cycles of Cyber Monday.

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In 2011, almost 25% of online consumers purchased a gift from a daily deal website. Retailers should offer their own daily deals and work with publishers to promote them. Also, make certain your business is included in their listings. You can appear on coupon site listing even if you are not offering a coupon.

A recent study found when customers select a retailer, 87 percent say they are looking for value while 85 percent say they are looking for price. Even though value and price are almost equal in terms of importance for consumers, retailers should leverage their brand name and emphasize the quality of their goods over the price.

Consumers are making more online purchases from more product categories than ever. You will build loyalty if you have a good eye for selecting and highlighting the best products. Put a strategy in place for finding, sourcing and identifying products that fit the unique tastes of your audience.  It is easy to focus on price and discounts, but value can also mean finding just the right product with the right features. Customers will be appreciative if they feel they are continuously discovering unique gifts and other items on your website.

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Research finds that smartphones will account for three percent of ecommerce this year, and that number will increase to seven percent by 2016. Meanwhile, tablets are expected to generate more Web traffic than smartphones by early 2013. So even though mobile commerce is not yet the dominant ecommerce platform, you should ensure every path to your website accommodates the needs of the shopper whether they are on a traditional computer, smartphone, or tablet.

For mobile commerce shoppers, make sure your current website is able to support tablets and smartphones. This may require additional adjustments given the different screen sizes of smartphones and the high-quality visuals you are able to display on tablets.

For your traditional website, be sure you clearly define your call-to-actions, for your holiday deals and promotions. This will improve search engine results and accommodate the specific interests of shoppers.

A survey conducted by after the 2011 holiday season found the top three marketing tools that drove sales were promotions and free shipping. To differentiate your business, consider offering free returns as well and extending how much time a customer has to return items after the holidays. Also, be sure to be thorough when explaining your shipping policies to entice customers.

So it is not too late to make some minor adjustments and reap the benefits of your marketing efforts this holiday season.

*Did You Know? The term Black Friday originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term started before 1961 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that “Black Friday” indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are “in the black”.

Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday immediately following Black Friday created by companies to persuade people to shop online. The term made its debut on November 28, 2005 in a press release entitled “‘Cyber Monday’ Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year”.

Ways to Make Exceptional Websites

Thursday, November 8th, 2012
It is time to explore some of the recent trends in website design.

The days when designers were limited to typefaces available on users’ computer are gone. Web font foundries, such as Google fonts and Typekit allow you to use an unlimited number of fonts in your web designs, thoroughly enhancing their appeal.

You can use rich typography in almost every web design project. Make sure to check if there is a cost associated with a particular font – there are many free web fonts out there. Typekit offers great choices but there is a charge.

Use one font for headlines and a different, contrasting one for body text. This provides a strong visual appeal. In most cases, you need to make the body text a bit larger than normal in order to get the best results.

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Blocking has been around for awhile, and it basically introduces a brick-like design grid which features blocks of solid color coupled with blocks carrying photos or text. It offers a quick, organized overview of the site content, with minimum distractions. Contrast between blocks of solid colors and blocks with content usually stimulate a visitor to explore more.
Avoid a common look by adding your own touch to the design. Solid blocking works for homepages but inner pages need to hold larger pieces of content.
A “homemade look” is about simple and modest designs. This is achieved by combining subtle textures and colors, and relaxed typography. It makes the site look friendly and inviting. This style works best for service industries which need to look inexpensive and agreeable. A subtle quality is essential for this particular type, but readable typography is just as important.
Large, bold headlines are nothing new in graphic design, but they are a comparatively new trend in web design.  More companies are using this approach to generate visitor’s interest.

You can employ oversized type when you have a solid offer or announcement to make. This is an attention grabbing tool, so use it for headlines only and regular type for everything else.

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A background with photography design approach is being used in all industries with a vast degree of success. Clients and users like it because it is aesthetically pleasing.
A photo background approach is great for branding and presentational purposes when your main objective is to make a strong visual statement. Use only top quality, high resolution photos. To make the design more interesting, try laying out the content so it interacts with the photo.
Infographics are graphic visual representations of information or knowledge. They present complex information quickly and clearly, such as in maps, journalism, technical writing, and education.

These can be used to describe a process, a set of numbers or statistics, a cause and effect, and more. Good infographics adds clarity to the information being presented.

If you are doing a highly technical project that needs originality, this is a good concept to contemplate.

Design trends are here to stay. There is no evidence showing people are abandoning them. When you want to design a website that will last, consider the information above, because these design approaches are less likely to become outdated, and you can combine them in a countless ways to make exceptional websites.
*Did You Know? Responsive web designing is a way to code websites in such a way that they fit on all resolutions. Websites rearrange their elements to look good, regardless of what resolution you are using. This makes the same website look good from large screen monitors to mobile phones.