Why Good Website Design is Important

Creativity is a combination of discipline and childlike spirit.

Robert Greene

It’s 2019, and long-gone are the days of the “old” internet. The days when having a website at all was an achievement, rather than an expectation. The days when websites were designed using handwritten – hand-typed? – HTML and CSS codes. The days when the idea of visiting a website via mobile phone was completely unthinkable.

Now, things are totally different. Good web design – including appealing visual design, a strong user interface/user experience design, and responsiveness – is crucial to the success of any company, brand or personal brand, or business. 

But if you’re not convinced, here’s a list of four reasons why good web design is something you’ll want to aim for.

To make a good impression

When your customer visits your website, what is the first thing they’re going to see? Within just a few seconds – maybe without even scrolling – they’re going to make a judgment about your brand. It might not necessarily be a fair assessment, but it’s going to happen. So it’s important to be prepared.

According to a study by Adobe, consumers prefer to look at something that is beautifully-designed, rather than looking at something plain. With an uninspiring designed website, customers may be more likely to leave the page.

To build trust

It’s harder for an audience to want to trust a brand if a website isn’t mindfully done. As we’ve discussed in prior blog posts, most people still seek and crave human connection, even though we’re living in the online world. A clean, well-designed, updated website gives an important insight into the type of brand you are.

Your website can even serve as the first contact when it comes to customer service. It’s important to make your audience feel welcome when visiting you online.

To increase SEO

Search engine optimization – SEO – has become increasingly important over the years. If brands want to capitalize on the search engine algorithms, then it’s essential to create, and index, website content accordingly. Even the little things, like including photos and tagging information in the right way, can make a big difference.

It all comes down to visibility. Web design can be challenging – though it’s a bit more manageable with content management platforms, and good practice of SEO fundamentals are what can really help your website get a step ahead in the search engine algorithm game.

To stay competitive

Even if you’re skeptical about all these other reasons listed above, there’s one more that might make you think twice: good website design is essential if you’re planning to keep your brand or business competitive in your industry. The truth is that your competitors might already be working on designing the latest, greatest website.

With more than 1.5 billion websites online, why should audiences spend any of their time on websites that don’t offer a thoughtful experience? You can probably remember times when you’ve been searching online, and for whatever reason, you didn’t like or trust the website you were on. (Maybe you were on your phone and it wasn’t mobile-friendly.) What did you do? You probably left the page in search of the next website that met your needs. Good web design will keep your audience from doing the same thing to you.

We know web design isn’t easy, especially with the never-ending changes and evolutions in the technological landscape. At Brieffin, our digital marketing focus has led us to a wealth of experiences in the web design space. We are proud of the websites we’ve created in cooperation with our clients over the past years.

If you’re looking for a partner to help you achieve your website design goals, we’d love to chat with you – so reach out to us!

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Cover Letter Do’s and Dont’s

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

Confucius

Maybe you’ve got your resume or CV all ready to go. It’s formatted, polished, and optimized to a T. 

Unfortunately, that’s not the only thing you need to be successful in your job search.

Yes, here we are talking about the dreaded cover letter. Just the name alone can be enough to send shivers down any job-seeker’s spine. For some reason, it seems easy to distill all the relevant information about our skills and experience into a set of clear and palatable bullet points. The resume is done. It covers all the most important stuff, like our basic contact information and work experience. Though we may need to tweak it, making small changes when applying for different jobs, it’s more or less ready to go.

But writing a letter… that somehow has the perfect balance of new information, while re-hashing the most relevant points from our resume without being redundant, and without it reading like it was written by a robot whose sole purpose is applying for the desired position… now, this is a real challenge.

At Brieffin, we specialize in professional brand-building – from portfolios, to resumes, and everything in between. And yes, that includes cover letters. Today, we wanted to share a few of our favorite tips for cover-letter writing – what to do, and what not to do.

Cover letter DON’T: Use a template

Google search “cover letters” and you’ll get no shortage of results. But many of them will be templates. Just stay away from them. While it might not hurt to read a few samples to get an idea of formatting, it’s almost always obvious when someone uses a template. Plus, using a template always carries an additional risk – you might accidentally leave in some of the pre-set information instead of replacing it with your own. 

Cover letter DON’T: Use the same cover letter for each job

Your cover letter should be so specific that it wouldn’t fit if you sent it to another company. That means you should focus on the details of the job you’re applying for, and tailor your letter for the company and job description. That means you’re going to have to do your research and write a different cover letter for each job. And this isn’t a lot of fun, but it’s imperative to the cause. Also, like we talked about before, using completely different cover letters helps keep you from making mistakes by forgetting to replace one company name for another. 

Cover letter DON’T: Write your autobiography

Just like a resume, cover letters should generally be limited to one page. This includes the heading and salutation, which can often take up one-fourth of the page or more. When you get into the body of the letter, don’t immediately launch into your life story. While you want to put your best foot forward and include all the necessary information, a shorter, more concise cover letter is less likely to exhaust a hiring manager just by looking at it. Focusing on the most relevant details makes each one more salient.

Cover letter DO: Let your personality shine through

Your cover letter is the only opportunity you get to be “you” in your whole job application. And what you can offer to a job or a career is so much more than the sum of all your skills and work history. Your potential employer is – or should be – keeping that in mind as well when making hiring decisions. They want to know how you’ll fit into their current company culture and who you are as a person. The only way you’re going to set yourself apart from every other applicant is with your cover letter. Let your personality shine through.

Cover letter DO: Focus on what you can offer

While you want your personality to become apparent, remember that the cover letter isn’t really about you. It’s about what you can offer to the company; why you’re the best fit for the job in a sea of other applicants. It’s okay to talk about yourself, but make sure it all relates back to the desired position. 

Cover letter DO: Proofread

There’s nothing worse than sending off your resume and cover letter – which you’ve worked so hard on, and are so proud of – to your dream job… and then finding a typo or grammatical error afterward. There’s really no way to undo it, and all you can do is hope that the hiring manager doesn’t notice it. But the unfortunate reality is that many are looking for any reason to disqualify an applicant from the application pool, and spelling errors are an easy way to narrow it down. After finishing your cover letter – and resume, for that matter – close it and come back to it the next day with a fresh set of eyes. Have a friend or family member read it, too. This will ensure that your cover letter is working for you, not against you.

While cover-letter-writing may not be anyone’s favorite activity, especially while dealing with the stress of the job search, we at Brieffin want to you know what we’re here for you. With our consulting services, you can feel confident that your professional image is coherent, working together in harmony to offer the best of yourself.

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The Value of Simplicity

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Leonardo da Vinci

As children, one of the first things we learn is the concept of opposites. Yes and No. Up and Down. Young and Old. Short and Tall. Easy and Difficult. Soft and Hard. Simple and… Complex.

In the technology age, we tend to think complex is better. Last week, the newest models for the iPhone were announced – the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. One of them has THREE cameras. And even though the phones aren’t officially launched for a few more days, and even though the vast majority of us have 1-2 year-old phones that work perfectly fine, the pre-orders for the new models are rolling in.

Why? Is it really because we feel a deep need in our souls for our phones to have three cameras? For a few people, maybe. But for many others, it’s more about having the latest and greatest. It’s about saving ourselves from possible FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). It could even be about the perceived status associated with having such a fancy, complicated technological gadget. The answers might be different for everyone.

In some ways, it might be logical to come to the conclusion that complex is better than simple. Think back to your first mobile phone. If it was like mine, it could only make basic phone calls. Now, each of us is the owner of a tiny, powerful computer that fits in our back pocket. And it may or may not have THREE cameras. It seems like everything is trending toward complexity.

However, simplicity and complexity don’t necessarily need to be opposites – at least, I don’t think we need to pick one or the other.

Think about the reason why certain complexities exist: it’s because we want life to be simpler for ourselves. The complexity exists because we want to do less work – making our own jobs simpler. The iPhone 11 Pro has three cameras because we want to have professional-quality photos without becoming professional photographers.

It’s worth bearing in mind: Simple doesn’t always mean basic, and complex doesn’t always mean advanced.

When thinking about consumers, studies have shown that people actually want simplicity. There’s a lot of value in simplifying your messaging, especially as the online space becomes more crowded with more competing voices.

According to research  by design consultancy firm Siegel+Gale in their 2017 Global Brand Simplicity Index, “brands that embrace simplicity tend to enjoy increased revenue, brand advocacy and engagement.”

They found that 64% of consumers would pay more for a simple experience, while 61% would recommend a brand which has a clear proposition that saves them time.

“Simplicity, in these terms, refers to the entire customer experience and can mean anything from providing concise product information, intuitive website navigation or a quick and easy transaction process.” (Medium)

It’s not about offering less, but making what’s offered more accessible, more intuitive, and more user-friendly. So, when it comes to your brand – regardless of your industry – how are you able to accomplish these directives?

Consider these topics when simplifying your brand:

1. Visual identity

Take stock of all your visual communication assets. What fonts, colors, shapes, icons, textures, logos are you using? Then ask yourself whether they’re all truly necessary. By identifying the assets that truly represent your brand the best, you can increase harmony and decrease the disconnect.

2. Portfolio/services

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none”? It basically means someone who knows something about a lot of different topics but isn’t an expert at any of them. Another opportunity for simplification in a business is in portfolio/services. Maybe your brand has evolved from where it was when you first started, or maybe you now focus on a specific product offering. By discarding the extras, you’re able to streamline your brand and attract customers who know exactly what they can expect from you.

3. Content/campaign strategy

While it might be tempting to throw ideas against the wall and see what sticks, it’s not your best bet for brand simplification. Instead of trying to cater different campaigns or strategies to different audiences, focus your approach and concentrate on your strongest option. The same goes for your brand’s values, attributes, personality, and other features. Decide on the essentials and focus on those – think not about everything you could do, but what you should do that fits with your desired brand image.

Simplicity has become increasingly desirable in our oversaturated digital world, but it’s perfectly achievable along with a bit of hard work. By taking inventory of your brand image, you can identify the essentials and streamline your identity to simplify. Your customers will thank you.

As always, we at Brieffin are here to help if you need any assistance in the brand-identity-designing process. Just reach out to us, and we’d love to partner with you to achieve your brand goals.

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Personalizing Your Digital Marketing Strategy

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes.

Marcel Proust

No matter our stories, no matter our life experiences, there’s one thing most of us have in common: we’ve all had someone play the role of a coach in our lives.

Maybe it was an actual coach, like for a sports team. (Personally, I played soccer and basketball growing up.) Maybe it was a teacher or some sort of special instructor. Or maybe it was your parents, grandparents, or even an older sibling. The role of a coach, regardless of the official title, is someone who provides guidance. Who cheers you on. Who wants to help you succeed.

Here’s what the dictionary has to say:

Coach (noun): someone who helps you identify and focus on what’s important; someone who trains you to achieve your goals.

Even as we grow older and move into professional careers, we often identify someone in our workplace or industry to act as a mentor. Through this person’s lens of experience, they share their knowledge to help us achieve more than we could alone.

But sometimes, we may need coaching in another area. It might be something that’s totally foreign to us. Or maybe, though we’re already experts on a given topic, we may be looking for an outside perspective.

The best coaches I’ve had in my life were ones who challenged me in a way that I wasn’t expecting. When I showed up to the soccer field, or to band practice, or to my professor’s office, I often walked in feeling confident in myself. Like I knew what I needed to do. But several times, they asked me to totally re-think what I thought I knew. And that’s not always a comfortable feeling.

But without the change in perspective, our ability to grow is limited. In some cases, we even have to unlearn the things we thought we knew, that we took to be completely, unequivocally true, to reach our full potential. Long story short – change isn’t easy, but we rely on coaches to help us uncover more than we thought possible.

So, speaking of coaching… if you’ve seen our social media lately, you may have seen that we at Brieffin are offering something we’re really excited about: personalized social media workshops. Whatever your story is, and whatever you’re hoping to gain, we want to help spark your creativity and share inspiration to revitalize your digital marketing strategy.

We know that the digital marketing landscape is constantly changing. Sometimes, it seems like if you blink, you’ll miss a new trend that’s taking over the online world. It can truly be exhausting to try to keep track of everything.

With our personalized workshops, we’ll sit down with you to help identify your business goals and start from the very beginning to create a custom strategy for you.

A few of the topics we’ll cover include:

Strategy & Purpose | Audience Targeting & KPIs | Frequency & Timeline | Budget | Content | Social Networks | Engagement Flow & Protocol | Advertising | Content Type | Copywriting Tone | Design | Monitoring | Brand Reputation | Analytics

Most of all, we want our clients to know that this is not a presentation – it’s a conversation. While we may be the coach in this case, we want our clients to take an active, participating role. One common theme of our workshops is the HANDS-ON approach, and this is the only way the end result can be the very best it can be.

If you want to learn more about our personalized social media workshops, please don’t hesitate to contact us! We’d love to connect with you.

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5 Ways Your Brand Can Create Content

There’s no good idea that cannot be improved on.

Michael Eisner

In last week’s blog post, we discussed some different “buzzwords” that are often associated with digital marketing. One of these words – content creation – is maybe seen as the biggest enigma. It’s such a broad term, that it can be difficult to pin down exactly what it means.

Put simply, content creation is anything that an audience can consume or interact with. Providing this content to your customers gives them a reason to come to you, so relationship between brand and consumer becomes mutually beneficial.

That being said, if the content isn’t very good, it’s not going to attract anyone. So maybe you know you need to focus on creating quality content, but you’re not sure where to start.

Here are 5 different types of content your brand can create to share with your audience.

1. Blog posts

According to a study by HubSpot, businesses with blogs can expect 55% more visitors than their competitors without websites. In fact, most website visitors are expecting to find a blog when they click on your site. A blog can also help establish your brand as trustworthy to your consumers. You can show that you’re an industry leader, writing about relevant topics and topics that are important to you and your audience.

Not to mention, blogs are a great way to bring organic traffic to your site by ranking for SEO.

2. Social media

With social media, you’re meeting your audience where they are – online. Without being overbearing or “spamming,” brands should find the social platforms that work best for them and focus on creating meaningful content. Share news with your followers to distribute information to a large group. Promote your existing content by repurposing it into something smaller and more digestible for a social audience. Answer questions or engage in conversation with anyone who engages with you. Tell a story to cut through the noise and chaos of an increasingly digital world.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube, Tik Tok… find your platform(s), and find your people.

3. Videos

Videos have become increasingly important over the past few years, and it’s clear that trend isn’t going to die any time soon. The statistics about videos speak for themselves:

  • 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers. (HubSpot)
  • Almost 50% of Internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. (Google)
  • Product videos can increase purchases by 144%. (Neil Patel)

Whether it’s creating a new YouTube channel for product demos, or incorporating “story” videos into your brand’s social profiles, consumers want to see more – just make sure you’re producing content that’s truly valuable to them.

4. Infographics

Who doesn’t love a good statistic? Similarly, who doesn’t love a great piece of design?

Put them together, and you have the infographic.

However, infographics are so much more than the sum of their parts. By using aesthetic appeal and useful information, they are a great way to attract a target audience – easily. When creating infographics, ask yourself this question: what does your target audience care about and want to learn about? It’s another chance to show yourself off as the expert on a given topic, and it positions you to share why your audience would benefit from using your product or service.

5. How-to articles or checklists

Creating great content always comes down to providing something useful. It might not always be explicitly – or even implicitly – advertising your product or service. Sometimes, it might just be showing your industry authority and associating yourself and your brand name with that industry.

That’s where content such as how-to articles or checklists come in. Consider topics related to your industry that consumers have common questions about. By writing an article that breaks down that topic step-by-step, you establish yourself as a leader and an expert. The same goes for creating any kind of checklist that your consumers might need. Give the consumer what they need right now, and they will remember you later.

Content creation. It’s so much more than just a buzzword; these 15 letters convey so much of the way that digital marketing is moving in the future. Less shouting into the void, less spamming – more conversation, more focus, more value.

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Industrial social media specialists of the year 2020 - Spain