Why do you need a digital solutions agency?

This is an era where all things we touch turn digital, if not gold. Entrepreneurs want to offer cutting-edge technology, best-selling products, and groundbreaking solutions to the crowd.

You are surely mulling over your brand’s future every time you step outside — be it attending business events, hunting for clients or socialising with the industry’s top dogs. Isn’t it necessary to have a team of experts to breathe life into your ideas?

Splurging on infrastructure, manpower, advertisements, and those Batman-gadgets alone would not help. You can complement those with online promotions that relatively cost much less. Surely, a digital solutions agency is your Robin.

Be it B2B or B2C, an online presence is going to help you with:

  • a global reach to expand to new geographies and demographics
  • establishing awesome relationships with existing customers
  • providing real-time feedback
  • providing better analytics for your strategy
  • wading through the market clutter and creating a niche for yourself

 

Every brand starts with a website or an app

Sites are built in two ways: bespoke or theme-based. Bespoke websites are purely customisable according to your whims! If you are a large enterprise with e-commerce options, multiple business lines, affiliates, and products, choosing a high-end website is the best. This offers flexibility, unique flows and user experiences, optimisation to make your website Google-friendly, and scale up without breaking a sweat.

However, if you are a small enterprise, off-the-rack wallet-friendly theme-based designs help launch the website quickly to showcase your portfolio. A good Content Management System (CMS) also helps — open source solutions like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal do the trick. Notable brands like TechCrunch, Sony Music, and eBay Inc, are built on WordPress.

A mobile compatible website alone won’t suffice as we have moved on to tablets, touch tables, digital kiosks, wearable technologies, virtual reality devices and what not! A mobile app then, is a must: Android, iOS, hybrid, or a progressive web/mobile app if you want to get futuristic.

 

User Experience (UX) and User Interaction (UI)

Static websites are so yesterday. Innovations like the Internet of Things (IoT) that connects homes, offices, gadgets, appliances and even animals to the internet are gaining prominence. So are software and chatbots. A website that is based on UI and UX is worth your every penny.

These days websites are interactive with flash animations and transitions effects (Motion User Interface); have colors, textures, sound effects and designs that are not poached from the internet. They have a lot of fluidity to move in various directions while they are scrolled, icons are animated to flip or rotate, videos and GIFs are embedded in the website, live videos stream and update themselves on different blocks. There are carousels and sliders; long scrolling and tasty parallax scrolling options — and beat this —with sound effects that give an immersive and vivid user experience!

 

Customized Digital and IT Solutions

A customized software solution like customer relationship management (CRM) software or a workflow management software that may be cloud-based, is considered a lifesaver.

Apart from looking at aesthetics, a keen eye on security is crucial. Cybersecurity (to stop a malicious activity or data loss) is the icing on the cake. Hackers are sprawled all over the internet and even top companies like Talk Talk, Sony and Microsoft have been the victims of hacks and ransomware.

Talking about cybersecurity and not touching up financial security is a sacrilege. This also is your most needed weapon when enabling financial transactions to and from your site to the users. The payment gateways are supposed to be secure and the financial transaction has to be a success to build yourself credibility among the crowd. Businesses lose a potential number of customers within seconds due to bad transactions. The numbers are important enough to crash stock values.

While your site is getting a lot of traction, hosting it on a reliable server, with all-time technical support and infrastructure is the cherry on the icing.
Digital Strategy

While you are streamlining supply chain management and operations, building products and services, analysing investments and profits, and holding the fort down, someone has to scout for future prospects that are going to be interested in you.

A digital strategy aligning with your work would increase your profits. A customised digital strategy for each brand either for a technology intervention or marketing is a must.

Was that too deep? Here is a simpler version:

  1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click,  pay-to-play options increase visibility online. Your prospects can discover you with a click of their finger.
  2. Content marketing, be it textual or visual would teach your customers all the awesomeness that your product is, and stops you from employing tacky sales pitches.
  3. A loyal customer base on social media with a high level of engagement is brilliant.
  4. Online metrics and analytics will tell you if the customers love you or hate you.

 

Growth Strategy

A long-term growth strategy is a must for an ever-changing digital landscape. As your enterprise continuously evolves over time, an agile and lean growth framework will be the foundation. What good is a strategy if it can not adapt to fluctuating market demands?

A one-time digital strategy is definitely clumsy. Growth strategists, put their entire focus on the growth of the products. They have the knack of using unconventional and efficient ways of enhancing the product’s features. They know how to use marketing techniques in different phases of the buyer’s journey to acquire more buyer base for the product and retain existing customers. They work with various teams to break through marketing barriers and find the most effective solution for problems. They use analytics and data intelligence, provide rebranding options, and work to acquire a scalable business architecture, and give a holistic solution for your enterprise. They use these pebbles that lay the road to the future.

To put it in a nutshell, here is how a digital solutions agency is going to help you:

  • Get a unique online presence first.
  • Promote yourself online so you claim a customer base.
  • Become sustainable, boldly expand, and discover new horizons.

Writing for the digital media: 7 tips to generate engaging copy

Note: This article was originally written for Influx Worldwide. Please refer to the original post here: Influx Article

Is the web content dump yard giving you a slow death?

As a digital solutions agency, we are approached by organisations — big and small — for magical makeovers. All day long, our content writers hustle to make every brand’s inner mojo shine.

With such volume of work, wouldn’t it be nice to have some quick-fix tactics that will save your time, nails and hair?

All you worried writers out there, sharpen your nibs. You can have your audience hoo-ha about a ho-hum topic!

Have a stake-out

I cannot insist enough, the value of doing your basic research first. If you know the nitty-gritty, heck, you can do stand-up comedy about the brand instead of throwing technical gobbledegook at your readers. So internalise this rule: Know your sh*t.

Next, stalk your competition. Find out how your brand’s competitors are positioning themselves online and offline. You will see different personalities emerge: The ‘dorky-techie’, ‘swag slayer’, ‘snooze moose’… get the drift? Pick a personality for your brand’s content.

Have some pun-fun

Unless the brand warrants it, keep away from the serious and super-formal content. Make your readers giggle and immortalise your name. A few inoffensive witty jokes and sarcasm won’t hurt.

Metaphors and analogies are the holy grail for writers. Hook the readers by piggybacking on viral topics to make casual references. Improve your brand’s hotness quotient but with a meaty content; nobody likes clickbait.

Dare to be different

Point out clichés, bust myths, be opinionated — but justify your case properly with facts and figures. Take a stand, for or against, and stick to it. Controversial angles really grab attention and stir up responses. Remember “open letters”?

Use tangential topics and sneak some brand promotions into your blog articles. For instance, what would consumers who buy sandwich makers, love?

  • 7 new foods you can make with your sandwich maker
  • 5 kitchen hacks to stop your sandwich maker from conking
  • A sandwich maker can be a cool gifting option for your friend

Answer questions

Asking the ‘wh’ questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how, to frame offbeat headlines.

  • Where can you find App-controlled sandwich makers?
  • What do sandwich makers tell about our lifestyle habits?
  • How do sandwich makers ruin or add to your kitchen decor?
  • Why do we buy triangle-shaped sandwich makers?

Drop some drama

A couple of years ago as a freelance writer, I had to describe toothpicks as birthday party supplies:

‘Let those canapés and savories look magnificent on these appetizers picks. Give your little princess that royal party with a majestic party theme to make her feel celebrated. These toothpicks feature the cute princess Sofia with her trusted rabbit Clover, to match your party theme.’

As a content genie, you have to approach your readers with the right angle. Take a personal approach that appeals to their emotions; let them relate to you. Don’t be abstract — humanise your content — and give them the “been there, done that” idea.

Use a human angle and solve audience’s problems

You have to directly answer the questions that the audience asked. Tell them how your brand solves their problems and how it adds significant value to their lives. You can check out Quora and Yahoo’s Q&As, forums, social networks, etc. to find out what the public is saying about your brand or product:

  • What are the best brands of cookware for sandwich toasters in India?
  • Which one is better for home: sandwich-maker or toaster? Will a sandwich maker give me toast too?
  • Is it possible for food left unattended in a sandwich toaster to catch fire?
  • For what else can I use a sandwich maker apart from grilling a sandwich?
  • Can I use it to make waffles?

Kill them with kindness

We don’t want our audience’s craniums to crack. Present all the technical details in jargon-free terms. Simple is sexy. Support your content with visuals, facts, and figures. Include examples, anecdotes, testimonials, case studies and such, to explain the concepts in simple formats.

Storytelling is an art. It engages people’s senses effortlessly and helps them visualise a scene with words. It appeals to their emotional side when they make purchase decisions. For instance,

‘The category-3 hurricane was gaining power, Sam frightfully watched a tree branch whoosh by. With his head pounding from the hangover, he dashes to the kitchen and grabs his XXXX sandwich maker. He nervously whips up a bacon sandwich, just when the city blacks out! The shock-proof compact 750-watt XXXX Sandwich maker prepares your sandwiches in the blink of an eye!’

Better yet, give the audience a chance to participate. Don’t make it a monologue. Make the content interactive. Ask short rhetorical questions in the copy that would make them nod and shake their heads as they connect with you.

Crisp takeaways from the above:

  1. Research about your brand and your competitors
  2. Be (p)funny, absurd, or controversial to show your brand’s personality
  3. Ask “wh” questions
  4. Use a human angle and solve your audience’s problems
  5. Engage their senses; tell them glorious stories
  6. Give them facts and figures, and visuals to “oooh” and “aaah” over
  7. Make them participate, and leave them with a nice aftertaste

It is high time you went Digital.

What are Gen X, Y and Z?

Between the 1940s and 1960s, we saw the uprise of the digitisation era. Digital watches, calculators were cool and computers were used in wars. The Gen X population enjoyed these benefits for 30 to 40 years.

Until the late twentieth century saw the dawn of the Internet and then Digitalisation emerged. Dial-ups and broadband internet connections were the rages. Gen Y enjoyed the launch of messengers and emails.

Even before Y2K, social networks launched and cell phones became an essential accessory for everyone, just like watches and sunglasses. Internet became cheap and personal computers provided entertainment 24/7. Phones and cameras could be connected to the internet and pictures could be shared all over the world. The super power of ubiquity could cut across space and time.

Another 5 years and the ‘things’, ‘devices’, and ‘gadgets’ we used, connected with the internet and acquired a new superpower – intelligence and they became smart. Simply, list down the things that your smartphone can do for you….can’t quantify, right? You know who else is smart? Gen Z! Surely, you have seen 2 year olds play with smart tablets!

Gen X, Y and Z are witnessing a technology revolution that is evolving at the speed of light. Wherever they hang out, they can access the internet. Their smart gadgets are recording their activities 24/7 and providing YOU with inputs about how they are useful to YOUR business as consumers.

Now don’t you think you want to capture their attention at their digital habitats (if I may)?

Digital Marketing

Be it email marketing, social media marketing, internet marketing or search engine marketing, there are hoards of solutions that come easy and cheap to troll for consumers. You can digitally analyse these people and their behaviour and convert this information into useful data to aid you in your business.

Websites and Apps

Having your own website/app is cool but is it safe from hackers and viruses? Hosting them securely and maintaining them constantly helps smooth flow of traction to your site. Otherwise, a traffic jam and a site break down would do more harm to your brand image than cheap cosmetics.

Growth Strategy

You are successful now. That’s swell. Now, how will you scale your business digitally? How will you get the crowd living in any continent, relate to you and actually buy your product/solution? Viable and futuristic strategies will help your business keep with the trend and bring profits even if technologies change.

So how do you become digital?

Whom would you go to when you are stuck with day-to-day operations and chasing clients? A best place to start is contacting a digital solutions agency that would hold the fort down for you and also scout for tools, opportunities, and clients for the future. It would lay the groundwork for you to achieve a loyal consumer base.

So far, we have seen how people have interacted with technology over the years and how Digitalisation has rapidly evolved to become a part of our lives at the wink of an eye. Being digitally present is one thing, but engaging the crowd smartly and getting a client base is a tough one to crack. A digital solutions agency is the go-to wingman for you. In the next article, you will see how exactly this wingman is going to help you out.

Please comment and share this article if you think it made awesome sense! If it doesn’t, the next article should help you connect the dots!

The Keyword Fixation to Dominate on Google

Note: The article was originally written and published for Influx Interactive on August 9th, 2017.

It is 2017, and the great obsession continues.

The habit of stuffing websites with keywords under the excuse of “Search Engine Optimisation” (SEO) has not ceased. While keywords are still relevant, they are not as glorified as they once were.

Back in the 2000s, Google directed SEO practices by placing much importance on keywords. Brands earned big bucks by having their websites rank on the first — or at the very least, on the second — of Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs). All they had to do was to become “content mills” and “link farms” by shoehorning keywords into their website content.

They soon ran out of luck.

Updates that bucked the trend

keywords2015.jp.jpg

To get rid of the content mill syndrome, Google started updating its algorithm—the rule that determines how a web page must rank in the SERPs.

Websites were banished for various reasons: too many ads, low quality or plagiarised content, or purchased backlinks (hyperlinks from other sites that point to a website citing its content) aimed at ranking well in the SERPs.

Sites that matched their domain names exactly with Google’s search keywords like “puppiesforadoption.com” or contained keywords that belonged to spammy search queries (e.g. queries about obscene content) got the boot. The recent Fred update blacklisted many sites for employing “black-hat” techniques like focussing on ad revenue instead of creating useful content for the user.

Banned brands still get a chance to play

In answer to websites’ search for redemption, more algorithmic updates like Google’s Pigeon, Mobile Friendly, Hummingbird, and Rank Tracker were launched. These updates tailored location-based results for search queries, ranking mobile-friendly sites higher than the rest with emphasis on “meaning technology”.

Meaning Technology is where Google analyses an entire search query and matches results with it. Instead of matching just two or three words in the search query, the search engine digs deeper to understand the meaning of the entire phrase or sentence.

For instance, when you ask, “What is ice cream made of?”, Google gives you the details of the list of contents that make up ice cream. It doesn’t just match the three words “ice” or “cream” or “made”; and bombard you with results like “what is ice made of” or “what is cream made of”, or give you a list of ice cream parlours.

So, what’s hot on the plate?

semantic-search.jpg

Google now employs Semantic Search to understand the intentions of the user and the context of the search to improve the accuracy of search results. Gauging the user’s browser activity, IP address, navigation behaviour, linked accounts, and employing a whole bunch of other tactics, Google tailors customised results for him/her.

Google also provides localised results. What does that mean to the user? If you search for ice cream parlours, Google will list the parlours based on your location. Google’s Possum update makes sure that localised results are listed for the user.

When a search engine crawls web pages, it identifies the most-used keywords that give a holistic picture of the pages, and indexes them in the SERPs accordingly. This is Latent Semantic Indexing.

Google has introduced many SERPs features like Adwords, shopping results, answer box, newsbox, related questions, and a gazillion more. The most relevant answers to your question appear as organic search results on these SERP features.

Content is the new Holy Grail of SEO

Fresh, original, and engaging content will draw users to your website consistently and recurrently. Google regards content with more than 2000 words as informative and impactful to the user. It can be keyword-centric but it has to be meaty. It should be focussed and directly answer a user’s query and not be mere click-bait. While all these may help your website gain more traction, just becoming a topical authority won’t do; your brand has to rank high as a social authority too.

Your content should be shared frequently by people from different IP addresses across the globe. You have to update your content frequently to get proper periodical social shares because Google doesn’t rank abandoned sites. The other websites that link to your website should themselves be of high quality. Your website gets more search engine clout if Forbes or Mashable were to link to one of your articles.

 Finally, are keywords still relevant?

Yes! Though Google’s algorithms have made sure that keywords cannot be used carelessly, they are still here to stay. But the frequency with which you use keywords will be lower, the way you place keywords at certain positions in the website will be more important, and certain types of keywords will be favoured over others.

Harping on Google’s page rankings will lead nowhere. This has to be coupled with several other metrics to understand if a website is favoured by the search engine or not.

It takes time to gain Google’s trust in order to rank on the first- page SERPs. This is the “indexed age”, or the date and time from when Google first noticed your website and listed it in its SERPs. A webpage or a site that consistently shows up on Google would, over time, increase its indexed age and trust with Google better than a newbie that has just joined the game.

Still hot on keywords?

keyword-on-website.jpg.jpg

  1. Long-tail keywords are better than the short-tail ones. These will let you rank well in localised search results

  2. Meta descriptions and Alt Texts still rule the scene. They give the search engine and, therefore, the user a gist of what your website is about
  3. Search-keywords need not be used verbatim in your website’s content; words that imply the same meaning will do. Google will still be able to make sense of what you have to say
  4. If you want your brand to sound “affordable”, “stylish”, “pricey” or “luxurious”, you need not include these words on your website. Google taps into your website’s content and user behaviour and employs other strategies to feature your brand in localised SERPs
  5. Do not alter your content to suit the keywords. Instead, write content that will make your audience clearly understand what your brand is about and how it can help them.

The keywords are not the crux anymore; they just accessorise your content.

What Makes Influx Fun For Its Associates?

This post was originally written for the Influx blog and was published on 20th July, 2017.

Here is the original link: article

It is no secret that people everywhere pull all-nighters, work graveyard shifts, and have weekend duties in India. It follows, then, that stress levels and job burnouts are as common as the common cold.

Many companies with stringent cultures try out clichéd programmes to help keep the attrition rates under control. At Influx, our work is a blend of technology and creative services. Work is dynamic, schedules are chaotic, and deadlines bulldoze us every now and again.

First off…

Influxians are not “employees”; we are Associates. You might ask what the big deal about this is. An employee is just paid to do a job; an associate is invited to connect with the company at a more meaningful level. Our association with Influx is what counts, and yes, that is a big deal.

We have a knack for breaking free from the daily grind.

We work with clients in different time zones. Yet, you will see our guys sliding in and out of meetings, attending conference calls, braving traffic snarls during peak hours to meet clients, and responding to work messages on Telegram even at the crack of dawn or in the middle of the night.

You may ask how we have not transformed into work zombies yet. It does take something to make a group of Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z stick to this company.

This is not a post about creative workspaces.

We are not modest about our cool office—it also has lots of spaces to huddle, snack, game, and lounge. But it is more than the physical infrastructure that gives Influx its cheerful vibe.

As digital marketers, we have to get the creative juices flowing continually to launch and nurture larger-than-life brands. That can be quite strenuous. Yet, Influx is abuzz with activity and interaction.

On a typical workday…

Our coders are coding away to glory while enjoying peppy songs booming from a speaker system. The recluses are in a state of solitary zen with headphones plugged into their ears. An assorted group of people from various teams shoot ideas and feedback at one another. All this while racing to meet deadlines.

You will stumble upon heated discussions on raging Twitter trends like #Covfefe and #GST to the background strains of “Tamma Tamma De De”. Or a group shooting videos for a promotion campaign to the accompaniment of colourful curses from the bunch of guys whose cricket match on television has been interrupted. Or software developers brainstorming about fixing mobile app glitches when not busy with the Xbox 360. Or sales guys patiently pitching ideas to clients while ignoring their colleagues inhaling cupcakes and meat-wraps.

You may walk in on office vandals decorating the whiteboards with ridiculous doodles, the occasional nappers who become extensions of the beanbags, smokers who run shopping errands for colleagues, and our top dogs entertaining everyone with jokes (some are pretty lame). You may also be forced to opine on whether Flipkart will overtake Amazon, mediate an argument between supporters of this or that political party, or be the accidental victim of food robbery.

A word of warning: do not get caught in a roasting session, unless you’d like to be meat for our next Biryani fest.

Our very own happy hours don’t just end here.

We have Town Hall meetings where information is shared about the successful closure of projects and new business accounts won. These meetings always end with treats—icecreams, chocolate bars, pizzas, sweets, and what not! So you can imagine how our team lunches would be.

Once a month, on a lucky Friday, you may be invited to a Barnival – a time to chill out with work buds over plentiful booze and unending music.

Transparency and accountability in our office have given us more autonomy in our jobs. This has successfully prevented us from dashing out the door once work hours are over. So, what do we have?

Happy Influxians!

 

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