1600 Systems - Blog

Posts from December 2020

Sparky

Candidate interviews

Today we interviewed seven candidates for the vacancy we currently have. Here are all seven on their arrival.

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Marketplace

Why You Need To Build Digital Experiences and Not Just Websites

A consumer’s decision to make a purchase is often made on the basis of convenience. Today, consumers are moving to the online world to buy groceries, update their vehicle licence, find entertainment, and so much more.

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Networking

Improving your first impression with a quality business card

If you take on board the basic principles of first impressions, you will improve your chances of closing the sale.

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Networking

Tips to help your business succeed in the new normal

The Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to a new way of life with many referring to it as the new normal. Find out why?

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Networking

Why do you need to have a holistic approach to your marketing?

Holistic marketing is an approach that looks at your business as a whole, rather than separate departments or individuals, find out how to develop your brand.

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Marketplace

Social media, blogging & website traffic

So how do you increase traffic to your website?

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Company

Facebook mistakes to avoid

With over 2.7 billion active users, Facebook has a huge built-in audience that you can market to. Find out "how not to make mistakes!"

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Cyber Security

Cybersecurity Trends 2021

Scam’s are up 400% through COVID-19! But help is at hand.

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Company

Marketing yourself online

Your branding is your promise to your customers, telling them what they can expect from your products and services.

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Marketplace

Why You Need To Build Digital Experiences and Not Just Websites

A consumer’s decision to make a purchase is often made on the basis of convenience.

Today, consumers are moving to the online world to buy groceries, update their vehicle licence, find entertainment, and so much more.

It makes sense that, if the consumer is online, you need to be a business that is online too.  In today’s uncertain times, expanding a business so that it has an online presence is one way to maintain relevance - and for any business that is not online, it should be a ‘when’ not an ‘if’.  When moving a clients’ business online, it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of your consumer and to consider the sustainability of the site that you are building.

For our clients, they should think of their site, not as a website, but as their actual business, where they place their consumer at the heart of any online decision they make.  A simple brochure site will get overlooked - and in the long run, may cost. Look at building a Digital Experience Platform (DXPs) that integrate with the latest tools and technologies and that provide the customer with a seamless, and enjoyable, brand experience.

So, why is a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) important?

USER-FIRST DIGITAL EXPERIENCES

When building a DE, you should consider using a User-First approach that focuses on building client-centric rather than brand-focused experiences. Consider what the consumer wants, and how your product or service will help them meet their needs. Then, look at how you can build experiences, and integrate offerings - all on one site, to offer the best experience. A user-first approach can be a win-win for all parties involved - brand and consumer - and it will allow your customers to reap the rewards of brand advocates, repeat customers and a growing list of new customers.


PREDICT THE CONSUMER’S NEXT STEPS

Today, consumers are calling the shots. They expect a seamless experience, not just for the buying part of their customer- journey, but at every point of interaction with a business - whether it’s an online payment; signing up for a course; downloading of information; or even, if it comes to it, a customer complaint.

Building online experiences that connect with your client’s customers throughout their lifecycle can boost relationships and reputation around your clients’ brands and position them as a leader in their industry. Siteglide DXP can provide the necessary tools needed to anticipate the next steps of a customer, enabling them to place trust in a brand as their go-to - because today’s consumers want to be heard. This can boost customer engagement and relationships, as well as build a reputation among existing and potential customers.


FUTURE PROOF

If this year has taught us anything, it is that this world is unpredictable and ever-changing. It is key when building an online presence for your client’s, that you look into the future and prepare for it.

Online businesses should be ready to upscale, or downscale, if necessary and a DXP will allow you to scale, keep up to date with the latest consumer buying trends, or expand a business offering.

A DXP is flexible and ready for change.

THE BIGGEST BRAND ADVOCATE...THE COLLEAGUE

A company's internal team is an important aspect of creating and improving Digital Experiences. When building sites for your clients, bear in mind that the best brand advocates are the people that are selling a product or service. Create digital experiences where teams can work smarter in less time, allowing for collaboration and working towards a common goal - making not only a work experience an enjoyable and rewarding one, but also paving the way for happy customers.

ARE YOU READY TO FOR YOUR DIGITAL EXPERIENCE?

Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) are paving the way for the future and will soon make brochure sites obsolete.

With Siteglide at the core of your website, we build and manage User-First Digital experiences - we put the user at the core of the Siteglide system, which creates opportunity for personalisation, automation, and richer web experiences.

Contact us for your first steps in providing a business online not just a website.

Source: Siteglide Team

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Marketplace

Social media, blogging & website traffic

Most website dashboards include an overview of your traffic – the amount of visitors who have found your website and clicked on your link. In addition to tracking your website’s traffic, most dashboards also allow you to see where in the world your visitors are coming from, what keywords they used to find your website on a search engine or if they clicked a link to your site, where the link came from, whether they visited from a PC or mobile device and what web browser they used.

So how do you increase traffic to your website?

One of the easiest ways is to incorporate the use of social media – create a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn page – the more websites you are active on, the more likely you are to raise your company’s online profile. It is imperative however, to ensure that all of your social media pages use the same branding, logos and imagery and have the same or similar URLs and page names – namely for continuity, SEO and recognisability.

Regular updates on social media, news articles and blog posts encourage your audience to engage with your content more often. Doing this regularly has shown how social media engagement affects website traffic. Consumers will soon get tired of visiting your website if you do not post new content regularly to keep them engaged. Likewise, websites such as Google can lower your page rank in search results if your website goes a long time without any changes or updates. Websites that maintain their page 1 place in search engine results tend to be active users of social media sites and post regular news articles and blogs packed with SEO backlinks.

1600 Systems offer advice on the best way to make the best use of your social media pages and can help you set up profiles, blogs, and pages if you are unsure of how to do so. If you are interested in how social media can increase your website traffic, feel free to arrange an online consultation telephone us on: 0333 344 0871

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Cyber Security

Cybersecurity Trends 2021

What a year to have been through. 2020 has brought new phrases such as “You're on mute!”, “How about a zoom coffee”, and with so much uncertainty with health, wealth and safety like no other year, it is not surprising that cyber security is just another worry. Scam’s are up 400% through COVID-19! But help is at hand.

Our friends from NEBRC (North-East Business Resilience Centre) offer FREE Core Membership to become more cyber aware. Keep up to date with the latest issues to keep you and your business safe.

If you want to see more technical information on trends facing the business community then look no further than our partners ESET.

Tomáš Foltýn From ESET said;

2020 has been a year like no other in living memory. It will go down in history for many things, but they all pale in comparison to the disruption wrought by the gravest public health crisis in a century. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our lives, laying bare our collective fragility and causing many of us to lose whatever sense of control we had over our lives. Even though we’ll soon step into the new year, the world remains firmly in the grip of the virus, making any projections into the future more difficult than ever.

But difficult doesn’t equate to impossible. One ‘thing’ that’s sure to spill over into 2021 is our reliance on technology for various aspects of our daily lives. The virus has made social distancing a way of life, keeping us tethered to our homes all the while throwing many of our plans out of the window. In so doing, it has made us not only hyper-concerned but also hyper-connected, as technology is now more than ever woven into the fabric of modern life.

This includes the world of work, where some pre-existing trends were kicked into overdrive amid the inevitably pell-mell rush to remote working. Worryingly, this shift helped create a near-perfect storm of cybersecurity challenges, as organizations and their newly distributed workforce had to swim (or sink) in the largely uncharted waters of remote work. It’s only natural, then, that one section of this year’s Trends report should examine the potentially indelible mark that the pandemic has left not only on our working habits, but also on the myriad cyber-risks faced by organizations and their off-site employees.

Download the full report here

Whatever happens stay safe and secure and have a prosperous 2021. I look forward to normal networking in the Summer of 2021.

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Company

Marketing yourself online

One of the key components for marketing yourself or your business is your company’s branding. When we say branding, we use it as a collective term for your company logo, strapline, colour scheme, iconography, typeface etc. – these can be applied to your website, printed material, e-mails, letterheads and promotional items (e.g. pens or notepads).

Your branding is your promise to your customers, telling them what they can expect from your products and services. Your brand is who you are, who your customers think you are and who you want to be. Branding extends to every aspect of your business, including e-mail signatures, social media profiles, staff uniforms and dress codes and how you answer the telephone and introduce yourself to customers.

While branding is more than just a logo, your logo is the very foundation of your brand – it is the key aspect that will stick in your customers’ minds and will be easily recognisable and relatable to you and your company.

Create a great logo for your business, place it everywhere – the more commonplace your logo becomes, the more likely it is that customers will recognise and remember you.

It is also important that you create a “voice” for your brand, which is used in all forms of written communication, including e-mails and social media posts. The vocabulary and tone used needs to reflect your company’s values; are you formal or friendly? Are your products aimed towards adults or children?

Some advantages of branding include:

  • Awareness – The more work a branding company puts into their work, the more awareness can be created. Memorable aspects of branding such as colours, shapes, iconography and straplines can stick in the consumers’ minds and will ensure that they remember your company or product.
  • Consistency within the marketplace – The more often your branding is seen by consumers, the more often it will be considered for use or purchase. If the branding and identity are kept consistent throughout, this will reassure your customers that the quality of your products or services are also consistent.

Conversely, some disadvantages of branding include:

  • Can become commonplace – While the goal of branding or re-branding a product, company or service is to become the standard, the goal is not to become a generic term for a product or line or products – e.g. “Coke” is often used by people who want any cola drink offered.
  • Negative attributes – If a product or company is involved with some negative event or publicity, this can easily ruin the reputation of the product or company and thus will cause consumers to associate their branding and logos with said negativity, potentially causing loss of profits and customer base.

It is more important than ever that your voice reflects the brand you are creating. Spend time reflecting on what you want to be and your tone in the marketplace. Then encourage the use of this tone through all your marketing channels.

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Company

Facebook mistakes to avoid

Creating a Facebook page for your business is a free and effective way to engage with your audience as well as find new potential customers. With over 2.7 billion active users, Facebook has a huge built-in audience that you can market to. Social media pages and profiles can easily be linked to and shared on your company website and can be used to engage with your customers on a regular basis, posting information and updates that will interest them.

The following is a list of Facebook mistakes you should avoid making on your Facebook business page. Some of these mistakes are easy to overlook but can drastically impact the way your audience views your company and your brand. If you are going to use Facebook as a way to promote your business, try to avoid making the following mistakes:


Create a page, not a profile

Profiles are for people, pages are for businesses – it’s as simple as that. Pages come with built in modules to include your address and a map or directions on how to find you, your contact details and your opening times. Customers are also able to post reviews to a page and “like” a page – a profile cannot do any of these things, as they are designed for the personal use of an individual.


Check which account you are posting from

Facebook requires you to have your own personal Facebook profile in order to create a business page – thus you only need one login to access both your personal account and the pages that you manage. However, when posting to your business page, make sure that you are posting AS the business, and not as yourself – you can check this in the upper-left hand corner of the screen, this will tell you who you are currently using Facebook as.


Try not to leave boxes blank

When setting up your page, try to fill in as many of the information boxes are you can. The more information you provide your customers with, the more they can learn about you and your business – and providing multiple contact methods increases the likelihood that they will get in touch with you if they feel that your services will benefit them.


Ensure your photos are high quality and of suitable dimensions

Profile and cover photos are what express your company’s branding and values to your Facebook audience – make sure that you use high-quality images and that they are scaled to the correct size to ensure they do not become blurred or warped – a page with poor quality images does not reflect well on the business. A guide to Facebook photo dimensions can be found here. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/ultimate-guide-social-media-image-dimensions-infographic


Publish a variety of posts

When posting, make sure you post a wide variety of different things – photos, website links, blogs, articles, videos, polls or simple text updates – using a variety of posts will help engage your audience, particularly if you encourage their participation via comments or providing their opinions. If you just post text updates or just post photographs, your audience will soon become bored – but it is important to experiment with different types of posts to find out what your audience enjoys interacting with.


Post outside of your business hours

Most people use Facebook during their leisure time, most often at home – so post updates regularly throughout the day, not just during your business hours. Facebook’s news feed will show customers the most recent stories, making it likely they won’t see a post that was published early in the morning if they check their feeds in the evening.


Avoid neglecting your page, monitor posts and comments and remember to post regularly

If a customer asks a question, it is imperative that you answer them – not answering them on Facebook gives the impression that you ignore your customers. It is also important to set your publishing options appropriately – do you want to allow customers to post to your page or only allow them to comment on the posts you publish? Also, plan ahead how often you are going to post – leaving your page blank for too long will give your customers the impression that you don’t use Facebook much and that it isn’t worth ‘liking’ or following you.


Use negativity to your advantage

If a customer uses your page to post complaints, use this to your advantage – interact with them, offer your sympathies, offer a replacement product, offer a complementary phone call or e-mail – make an attempt to solve their problem. Responding to them will show your audience that you are concerned about customer satisfaction, as well as proving that you are regularly engaging with your audience.

Most of all have fun with your online presence. Be relaxed informative and yourself. People buy from people.

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Networking

Tips to help your business succeed in the new normal

The Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to a new way of life with many referring to it as the new normal.

Although lockdown may be easing in some countries, many businesses are still working remotely. Everyone is rushing to push their companies online so that they can continue to support their faithful clients and, of course, continue to bring in sales.

In the new paradigm, business may feel that they are suddenly faced with many challenges. We see this incredible leap to the online market as an opportunity.

Here are a few tips to help you succeed:

  • Build more personalised pages for your clients
  • With many brick and mortar companies shut down, some temporarily and some unfortunately for good - more and more are looking to move their companies' presence online.
  • Today, simple brochure sites just will not cut it.
  • Competition is heavy, and the market is packed to the brim with the likes, and now more than ever, businesses need to stand out against the online crowd.

What does this mean to you?

The reality is that sites may take longer to match the ideas of your clients - and even longer to build. But how are you going to use this to your advantage? Simple.

Mix and match will never fail! With user-first digital experience, it is best to have a similar approach to all projects, so that you can ensure the best user-experience for all.

  1. Take sites apart and in pieces to create a customised combination for your clients, using resources and other sites as templates.
  2. Make your work replicable. Find the simplest way to do what you need to do and make sure you keep track of your shortcuts.
  3. It is time to focus on Social Media and SEO now more than ever before. Everyone has flocked indoors and if your clients were not online before the pandemic, they are going to be now!

Online is a busy world, and today’s consumer is a sceptical one.

Overwhelmed with YouTube ads, search engine ads, ads on their typical browsing site - they may not see you amid the chaos, and they are unlikely to go past page one in google to find you.

What does this mean to you?

Spend this time boosting your SEO as much as you can and making it a top priority for all your marketing campaigns, not just for yourself, but also for your customers!

Ramp up yours - and your clients social media marketing. Ultimately, it comes down to the consumer trusting your brand and both SEO and good social marketing will help!


Showcase the value that your business can bring to your clients

I am sure we can agree that we all know someone who’s had to go on furlough, who’s lost their job, or who’s taken a huge financial hit.

When this happens, we automatically move to survival mode to cut off what we do not need. Even those companies that can no longer operate in their typical environments will be careful to hand over precious pennies, even if the hit was small. With their conscious mindfulness of money, they may not see the value in paying an agency to help them move online.


How could you change that?

  • Zone in on what makes your business stand out.
  • What can you achieve for your clients?
  • Show off! It is not time to be modest. Show them how you can save their business and make money for them.
  • Refresh your skills and embrace the new

The online world has become increasingly busy since the onset of the pandemic, and it is a good idea to refresh not only your skills, but the skills of your clients, and in turn their clients.

In today’s new normal, many are looking to learn more, and it is online where they are looking! How about adding courses to your clients’ industries? Give your clients a one-stop place for information, services and products and increase the business of your customers and, in turn, your own.


How could you do that?

  • Create courses for your clients and their clients
  • Create resources for your clients to use
  • With Siteglide, you can create courses that seamlessly enhance customer experience using enterprise software.
  • Be more busy than normal in the new world
  • Clients will be asking for more bespoke sites, and it may feel like it is a lot to keep pressing on. Will your business survive or fall during the new normal?
  • How to make sure you can pass with flying colours?
  • Now is the time to improve your organisational skills. These are the things that will save you.
  • Define your priorities.

Only 20% of the work that you do accounts for 80% of your results. So quit the unhelpful tasks and start spending more time on that 20%.

So, let us recap


How are you going to succeed in the new normal?

  • Re-use: and mix and match old and new ways to build responsive sites
  • SEO and social media are of high priority
  • Showcase the value of your business and what you can bring to the table
  • Create a course for your clients and their clients
  • Prioritise and become an expert in organizing

Be bold in your business and keep on moving forward.

Source: Siteglide Team

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Networking

Why do you need to have a holistic approach to your marketing?

Holistic marketing is an approach that looks at your business as a whole, rather than separate departments or individuals, ensuring that everybody is actively aware of their contribution in developing the brand. In order to make sense of a holistic method, we have broken it down into four categories:

• Internal marketing

• Integrated marketing

• Relationship marketing

• Socially responsive marketing


When you are providing a product or a service, customer satisfaction is always a top priority. Internal marketing is used to motivate all possible functions used to satisfy your customers. It is important to ensure that your staff always provide a high level of customer service in order to retain potential buyers, as well as encourage repeat buyers.

Integrated marketing, meanwhile, is a technique that aims to collaborate many different marketing methods such as one-to-one marketing, mass marketing and direct marketing. The main objective of integrated marketing is to both complement and reinforce the market impact of each method.

Relationship marketing aims to emphasise on customer satisfaction and retention, rather than wholly focusing on their sales transactions. As a business, it is always imperative to build strong relationships with your customers to ensure your business can grow via recommendations and word of mouth.

Socially responsive marketing looks to find out how your products and services can affect the best interests of society. Businesses that are socially responsible should always aim to produce desirable products that simultaneously provide immediate customer satisfaction in addition to long term benefits.

Here at 1600 Systems, we are passionate about providing the highest quality level of service to both you and your business. In addition to the products and services we offer, we also have many free resources available to use. These include marketing plan templates and control sheets that you can tailor to your own business.

We also provide comprehensive business advice in order to maximise your profits and bring in more customers. We believe in forming close bonds with all of our clients and their businesses and aim to always promote their services to any relevant parties. If you are interested in the services, we provide call us on 0333 344 0871 to arrange an online meeting with us.

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Networking

Improving your first impression with a quality business card

Those who know me understand the importance I place upon networking. Networking is a crucial part of being in business. People buy from people and I guarantee that if you take on board the basic principles of first impressions, you will improve your chances of closing the sale.

The first part of any good first impression is the outward appearance, but what some people forget is in order to make a lasting impression you need to accompany your outward appearance with a business card that reflects you as a person but also reflects your brand. Many times I have been in a networking environment and people have poor quality business cards. I believe you need to reflect more than what you do, but also reflect the quality of the products and services.

Mistakes to avoid on your business cards:

  • Only have details on one side of the business card – you have two sides on your business card, make sure you use it all to its full potential
  • Have a generic card in which you hand write your name and email on it – this will look unprofessional; it is worth investing in a pack of decent printed business cards to hand out
  • Use less than 400gsm card – thin card feels cheap and may give off the impression you aren’t willing to spend the money to properly market your business
  • Have outdated information on the card – if the information you provide is outdated or incorrect, how will your potential clients/customers contact you?
  • Have a QR code on the card – not everybody will know what QR codes do and not everybody will want to install a reader on their device in order to scan it
  • Your picture on a card – it is more professional to feature your company logo or iconography, you’re selling your business, not yourself

The best business card practices: Have the following minimum contact details on the card

  • Name
  • Job Title
  • Company branding and logo
  • Company strapline
  • Telephone number
  • E-mail address (Personal company, not info@ or similar)
  • Full postal address or PO Box address
  • Web address
  • Additional options include: Other phone numbers, i.e. mobile number and office number
  • Fax number
  • List of services,
  • Social media URLs (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc.)
  • Quality standards
  • Partnerships’ logos
  • If you export or have dealings in other countries, make sure you internationalise your cards. This may mean having multiple cards in different languages or one side dedicated to a different language.

Remember that this is the one thing that means somebody has your details to strike up that important conversation with you. It allows for a second meeting, or by giving multiple cards to people you meet, they can introduce your services to people they know. The best way of creating a lasting impression is to ensure your cards are appropriate and unique from the huge array of sameness which plagues many networking events. In order to create something different you’ll need to hire an experienced graphic designer or creative agency that can help you adopt a clear brand message across all your communications, that is both consistent and creative.


What does it cost to print good quality cards?

Quality doesn’t always mean expensive. However, quality counts and can impress your potential new clients. I like Spot UV with a subtle mark on the card. I have noticed so many times the body language of a person as they’ve looked at my business card and noticed the shine of the spot UV logo. They then begin to tilt the card to see the light revealing the varnished area. This means they are concentrating on your card and that means they will remember who you are and what you do. Dress to impress with quality business cards.

However, the best practice is to make the business cards part of your everyday life. Always carry around your card in a little wallet even when you are not at work as you never know who you might meet. Be sure to look after your business cards because if they are creased or scratched, they detract from the company image.


But when is a business card not a card but an advert or leaflet?

This is a fine line to draw. Should you use a folding business card to have more space on it for information or refer them to your website? I have seen many cards that become a promotion for the goods and services. Understanding the core principles for a business card is to reflect who you are and your corporate image in the marketplace. If you think they should have an advert, hand out leaflets instead.

I hope that these hints and tips will resonate with you and help you do more business through quality networking.

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Sparky

Candidate interviews

Today was a very busy day with our interviews.  Seven candidates in all - Blossom, Cooper, Daisy, Jasper, Rose, Rustie and Sparky.  We did interviews to assess how each would fit into the team and also gave them programming aptitude tests.  A couple of them admitted afterwards that when they applied they had bitten off more than they could chew.  It was a close-run thing, but we came to a decision - welcome to the team, Sparky!

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