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Why you need to understand Europe’s new website standards

Why you need to understand Europe’s new website standards

Why you need to understand Europe’s new website standards

By now, you have become accustomed to a message at the bottom of websites you visit that reads similar to the following:

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The message is the result of the General Data Privacy Regulation, or GDPR, put in place by the European Union. You may wonder why the all-American website you are viewing needs to comply with an EU rule: Because it’s the Internet, and folks over in Europe are watching us, buying from us and sometimes even answering our questionnaires.

That last part, in which we gather information about customers and potential customers, is what requires U.S.-based companies to protect themselves from stiff penalties that could result from violating GDPR rules.

And it is what you should consider – even if you work by yourself and don’t intentionally appeal to Europeans.

One more point: The rules set out in the GDPR are intended to improve transparency for consumers. Transparency helps customers understand what you do, and decreases their tendency to think you are somehow deceiving them. In other words, following the general intent of the GDPR guidelines is a good business practice, even if you aren’t bound by the technical rules.

The basics

Under GDPR, a business must get permission from website visitors to collect their information. It must also keep that information secure for a required period of time (which may depend on where your business is based), and ensure that any vendors that you share the information with also protect it.

The GDPR will also keep an eye on what kind of information you collect. If you are only asking for name, email and name of business, you will be OK. If you ask questions about religion, spouses and similar personal information, you may be violating the law.

Who needs to worry

Most small businesses probably won’t be targeted by the GDPR rules, which are realistically aimed at multinational corporations and companies doing business within the borders of the European Union.

But you might be surprised when you look at where some of your traffic originates. It’s as easy, of course, for someone in France to access your site as it is for someone in your hometown. You will probably only be notified of a GDPR violation, however, if you collect personal information as you fill your sales funnel, and then find that many of your potential customers are citizens of the EU.

On the other hand, keeping track of your customer information is always a smart idea, whether you sell overseas or not. You are also likely to get more customers, and earn their loyalty, if you are clear about how you handle any information they give you, and that you can keep your promise to safeguard it.

Bingley helps customers build attractive, effective websites. Call us with your questions about whether you need to comply with GDPR or want to improve your customer communication.

Four programs to make you look like a social media pro

Does this sound familiar? You create a Twitter account, post messages for several days, and then slow down to once every few days. Soon it’s been weeks. The most recent post on you company Facebook page is from 2017. (You downloaded Instagram but haven’t used it.)

You aren’t alone.

Even better, there are many tools available to help you get started (again) and keep your momentum.

Here are four that I recommend.

Canva

Canva offers an online suite of tools that make it as easy as possible to create graphics, illustrations and charts. You can add photos, choose fonts and other items for a highly designed presentation. Canva works for social media messaging, but also for PowerPoints or blogs, business cards or posters. Canva tutorials make design fairly easy, even for people who have never designed anything. Most of the tools are free, although some photos, for instance, cost $1 each. Upgrades with more tools start at $12.95 per month per user.

Trello

If you have ever forgotten a task you assigned yourself, or had to remind a crew member of the assignment due today, you know that keeping a schedule in your head has flaws.

Trello is a project management tool that allows the boss to create a project, assign tasks and keep track of who is doing what. As Trello likes to say, you can “organize everything (literally, everything — from the day-to-day operations of your business to your next family vacation).” Members of your team (or family) can access a calendar that sends deadline reminders. They can chat online with one or many team members in real time and add other applications like Dropbox to their dashboards. If you like embedding GIFs into your communications, you can create a library of them for easy access. And all the tasks you perform most frequently can be added to your dashboard. Cost ranges from free to $20.83 per month for large organizations.

Google Sheets

Sometimes all you need is a list of the people who post on social media for your company. The list will tell you what type of messaging they have been assigned, when they will post it and on which platform. You can scratch it out on a whiteboard in the meeting room or an Excel spreadsheet that you update and send to the team each morning.

Or you can use Google Sheets, an online spreadsheet that is shareable with others and can be loaded with information from any internet-connected device. You can access Sheets from your phone, tablet or desktop. It’s free and you can pair it with other Google project management software. You don’t need to be a computer scientist to use Sheets — but if you are, you can write your own custom code. Tutorials here and here give you all the guidance you will need to get started.

Sprout Social

Investigate Sprout Social when you have built a vigorous social media presence that you are having trouble keeping track of. Sprout empowers you to create and monitor consistent social media messaging for your company or organization. You or staff members still have to write the messages but with Sprout you can analyze traffic and determine communication history – which customers communicate with you most often or for the first time. With a Sprout dashboard you can manage all your channels – Twitter, Facebook, etc. – at the same time. A shared content calendar provides a comprehensive view of upcoming messages across your entire team and who needs to review, edit and approve content. You can download Sprout for a free month, after which prices range from $99 to $249 a month.

 

 

Still overwhelmed?

You don’t need all these tools to ramp up your social marketing but you might start with one and, once you’re comfortable, add another. These programs also help if you have more than one person, or multiple locations, contributing to your social media.

As with all new projects, it’s important to take the first step, and then keep on going. It may continue to seem a little daunting, but it’s better than staring at that ancient and lonely post on your Facebook page.

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Three tips you can use as Facebook overhauls the newsfeed

Three tips you can use as Facebook overhauls the newsfeed

If you run a business that relies on Facebook to engage customers and potential customers, your world is about to change. Facebook announced that, starting in the next few months, its news feed will strongly favor conversations between family and friends. A standard business post that announces a new product or service, or your comment on your company’s page about an industry trend, will be much less likely to show up on anyone’s screen. “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media,” said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. “And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

What can you do to maintain a significant presence on social media, where many of your customers have become accustomed to hearing from you? First, don’t panic. Here are three steps you can take to stay in front of your audience, communicate regularly with your best customers, and continue to fill the top of your sales funnel.

Facebook still offers options

Goal: Attract not just viewers, but comments and shares. The more discussion your posts generate, the more likely they are to show up on your Facebook friends’ news feeds, and the more likely their friends will see them.
Issue: It takes effort and time to write posts that engage people and entices them to
comment.
Solution: Facebook Live is the fast-growing video streaming segment within Facebook. It allows you to build on a blog post or other content you have already generated. A weekly Facebook Live post that gives a few details about a blog, white paper or a new offering on your website, can entice viewers to move further into your sphere.

Move to Instagram

Goal: Build an audience on Instagram, a popular channel that is making it easier, not harder, for businesses to connect with consumers. A new feature, Instagram Stories, allows you to add your link within a post so viewers can move directly to a blog or other feature while remaining on the Instagram platform.
Issue: What? You want me to learn a new social medium?
Solution: If you have time to focus on only one social media channel, give up Facebook and put all your efforts into Instagram.

An email newsletter

Goal: Keep your best customers up-to- date with regular communication that they trust – and that they know is coming to their inbox. A newsletter is a forum to discuss trends, the latest products and new services. You can determine the percentage of people who open the email and how much time they spend reading it.
Issue: Why do you insist that I have loads of free time to create content? I am running a business and I AM ALREADY RESPONSIBLE FOR DOZENS OF TASKS!
Solution: Admittedly, content creation takes time and energy. It’s on you to figure out where to carve the time from, but everyone has plenty of raw material at their fingertips. Your customers are a good source of content ideas. Every time you answer a question, you are developing content that could become a blog or an Instagram post. Likewise if your business makes adjustments for the seasons – including tax season, beach season or various holidays – you have content that will help identify you as an expert in your field. Once you have a piece of content, you can maximize its use in ways not possible even a few years ago. Imagine: Post a Facebook Live video referring viewers to your Instagram
Story, which is a tease to your latest blog, which you repurpose in your newsletter.

I’ll help you with the details. Schedule a meeting here and we’ll discuss how to make your communication plan as easy and efficient as possible.

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5 Reasons A Responsive Website is Essential for Your Business

5 Reasons A Responsive Website is Essential for Your Business

Today, using the internet is comparable to using electricity.  Mobile usage is soaring and businesses need to adapt with beautiful and responsive sites. Having a great website can make a huge difference for the visibility of your company.  Want to see how a mobile-responsive website will help you? Here are a few that matter to us to Bingley:


1.  It Improves Your SEO Ranking

You don’t have to know the specifics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to know that it is important for your site to get shown across the internet. You will rank/be indexed higher on Google if you have a responsive site. High rankings = more visibility. And more visibility = more site viewers and customers.

2.  Social Media and Blogging Brings More Mobile Traffic

If you have a well rounded marketing plan it probably involves some social media sharing and blogging. Content marketing and social media will bring your site more website traffic. You will need a responsive site so your visitors are able to use your site to its fullest potential.

3.  Speed is Necessary

Your site should load within seconds. If it takes any longer then that you will lose people quickly. There is nothing more frustrating to would be buyers then when a site isn’t loading or they can’t navigate easily through the site. Responsive sites help to reduce these types of bugs.

Mobile Phone

4.  It Makes It an Easier Experience

It’s easy to believe that more than 58% of American adults own a smartphone and almost 60% of all website traffic is from our phone!  It is absolutely essential to have a site that is responsive enough to handle people looking at it from different devices, not merely a desktop computer. If you keep your viewers interested, it is less likely they will jump off to a competitor’s site too!

5.  It Provides a Better User Experience

Overall you want to have a website that will be easy for your visitors to navigate. If your website is responsive there will be no need for pinching and zooming to see different parts of it correctly. This increases the likelihood that people will stay on your site, see your content, and/or buy your products. Your website will also adapt to devices of various sizes which will make it look crisp and clean regardless of where it is viewed.

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As you can see a responsive site can take your business to the next level. If you don’t know where to begin when it comes to building a better site, click here and we can chat!