5 things to consider before working with a company

5 things to consider before working with a company

As a business owner, one of the most critical decisions you can make is deciding on which other companies you are going to work with. From the design of your website to product packaging, the services you seek have a huge impact on your overall brand image and how you are viewed in the eyes of your consumers. With that in mind, read on to discover what you need to consider.

1. Are they a Limited Company?

You can check with Companies House to ensure the firm is a UK-based Limited Company. This will help you determine if the company is credible.

2. Do they have insurance?

You should find out whether they have professional indemnity and other insurance in place. Don’t be afraid to ask the question.

3. How long have they been in business?

You also need to establish whether the company is experienced and stable. To do this, find out how long they have been in business. 8 in 10 businesses fail in their first year, which is why it is not always wise to go for a new company.

4. Are they VAT registered?

It is also a good idea to find out whether the company is VAT registered. If they are, it shows they are serious and established. None of us look to to pay extra tax but If they are not VAT registered, this would indicate a turnover below the £85,000 turnover threshold.

5. What have other people said about their service?

Search online for customer reviews. If a business has a bad reputation then you know to stay away. In today’s digital age, it’s easy to pick up on businesses that have disappointed their customers. Don’t just consider the reviews directly on the company’s website, as it is likely that they will only display the positive feedback they have received. Check out independent review platforms for a true understanding. Most businesses will have a couple of negative reviews but they should give an idea of what to expect. Not being able to find any reviews should also be a red flag.

At Westcountry Media, we tick all of the above boxes. If you require web design services, working with us will give you peace of mind knowing we are an established and reliable company with an impeccable reputation.

Make demographic targeting work for you

Make demographic targeting work for you

Getting your business in front of the right person at the right time is crucial. It’s important that your PPC advertising campaigns take advantage of the latest tools and features. Google AdWords has an often-underused tool launched earlier this year which allows you to better connect with your ideal audience. We think demographic targeting should be an integral part of any campaign. Here’s the lowdown on how it could work for you.

All about targeting

Demographic targeting allows the user to narrow down their potential audience using the information they hold on their customers. If you know, for example, that to sell a new product you need to reach men aged 18-24, demographic targeting can help you do this.

When people are logged into Google, social media or other websites that share their data, Google can access this and make use of it in search. Users can edit their profile and preferences to include, among other things, gender and age. This means digital advertising can connect businesses with the right audience.

In Google AdWords, you can now target specific demographics and exclude others which are not relevant to your campaign under the following categories:

Age Range

– 18 – 24
– 25 – 34
– 35 – 44
– 5 – 54
– 55 – 64
– 65 or more
– Unknown

Gender

– Female
– Male
– Unknown

So, when a consumer with the user settings ‘female aged 25-34’ searches for ‘winter coats’ in Google, ads which have been set-up to target their demographic should show high in search results.

Does this mean more work for me?

Westcountry Media are experts in making your digital advertising work for you and your budget. We can offer independent specialist help and advice on getting the most out of your Google AdWords campaigns. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help.

Why your Logo is the beacon that shines in your prospects minds

Why your Logo is the beacon that shines in your prospects minds

There is an old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words and this is especially true in the case of having your own unique logo. Each year global brands like McDonalds, British Airways and Apple all have thousands of articles, news reports and opinions written about them, but ask anyone what their names bring to mind and almost always the answer will be their company logo. The reason for this is very simple, our minds retain images far more easily and for far longer than any amount of information.

Your ultimate branding device

It does not matter what size your business is or in what market you operate, a clear logo both defines and identifies you as who are you, what you do and, where appropriate, what you stand for. Your logo is your ultimate branding device due to its design being unique to your business – an easy to obtain and invaluable asset, particularly when you are starting out.

This is why having a logo that is professionally designed is so important. The first step is to understand your logo’s role in both synchronising with and strengthening the positioning of your business in its market sector. In this respect, the choice of design is as much a marketing decision as it is a graphics task. It is crucial that you get it right.

Your logo gives confidence to your clients

It will appear on your stationery, office premises, advertising, website, social media and where opportunity permits even on your company’s transport and employees attire. It adds prestige to your brand identity and by proxy gives confidence to clients both present and future.

The most important part of your marketing mix

Perhaps among all the marketing details to be considered, your logo is the most important since it serves to bind everything else together. And yet ironically, it is also one of the least expensive. At West Country Media our design team can produce a simple logo for as little as £39+VAT. To find out more about how we can design a logo that helps build your brand, get in touch today.

Can I leave and take my website with me?

Can I leave and take my website with me?

When you’re getting ready to sign off on a new software project, chances are you aren’t thinking about what happens when its lifecycle eventually comes to an end. This is understandable, but all too often it turns out to be a frustrating and expensive oversight – especially for small businesses.

With web design projects specifically, it’s important to consider this when selecting a design company to work with. For instance, many large providers build websites on their own proprietary systems. This type of in-house platform means that, once your site is live, it’s almost impossible to move on if you find a better solution for maintenance, support or hosting.

In the worst case scenario, you could even find yourself stuck in a contract with poor customer service because the only alternative is paying to have an entirely new website developed. For many small businesses, this simply isn’t an option financially.

When choosing a provider to work with, remember to ask the question “Can I leave and take my website with me?

At Westcountry Media, we build our websites on widely used, open source platforms such as WordPress. This means that if, for any reason, one of our clients decides to move to a different design or hosting company, the transition would be completely seamless. In fact, almost any web designer in the world would be able to work on the existing site.

Additionally, WordPress is used so widely that if you did choose to move to another company for your web-hosting, chances are there’ll be no downtime or, even worse, data loss. So not only would you be saving the cost of a whole new website, you’d also avoid the loss of business that could arise from these technical issues. Additionally, your customers will be able to continue using the same website that they’re familiar with, and you won’t need to spoil your brand by finding a new URL.

Why would we want to make it easier for our clients to move to a different company? We’re confident enough in our hosting and customer service that we don’t need to tie in our customers with restrictive contracts, or create conditions which make it impossible for them to leave. Our clients stay with us because they want to, not because they have to.

Why online reviews are imperative to small businesses

Why online reviews are imperative to small businesses

Word of mouth is more alive than it’s ever been – but it’s had a change of address.

In 2018, you’ll find all the benefits of word of mouth recommendations on online review sites. A lot of smaller businesses think online reviews are the domains of companies with big marketing departments who can monitor every mention of their company online. That’s not the case.

Today, we’re looking at exactly why small businesses need to encourage reviews on other sites – not just their own.

Driving business success

Online review sites like Trip Advisor, Glassdoor and Trust Pilot can be key drivers for business success – particularly for consumer-facing businesses.

Positive comments from clients are responsible for an average sales increase of 18%, and consumers are likely to spend 31% more if they read a positive review. At the same time, just over a fifth of people won’t buy a product or service after reading just a single negative review (although this figure is greatly affected if there are four or more bad reviews).

No reviews isn’t ideal

While it might seem painfully obvious that positive comments are good and negative comments are bad, it’s also worth noting that having no reviews can have a bad impact. For one thing, you’ll risk being simply forgotten. And once a person has started to consider your product or service, they’ll become deeply suspicious if they can’t find <i>anything</i> about it.

Reviews impact Local SEO

Google’s search algorithm is unimaginably smart, and local SEO (search engine optimisation) is greatly affected by your business’ presence on local review sites. The more reviews a business has, the more likely a person who’s googling “hotels in Watford” or “hair stylists in Trowbridge” is going to be led back to them.

In fact, a reputable Local Search Ranking Factors Survey by industry giant MOZ says that online reviews are considered to contribute up to 10% of how Google decides to rank its search results.

We specialise in local SEO for businesses in the UK. Get in touch today, and we’ll give you a free audit and analysis of your search equity.