05 Jun 2019
15 May 2019

Stand-Out Customer Service

We live in a world that’s busier and louder than ever before. Sometimes it can be difficult for a small business to stand out from all of the noise. But one way that entrepreneurs can make their company stand out from the big businesses is to leverage their small size to provide a cozier and more intimate service experience for their consumers!

Why is good customer service important?

This should be a no-brainer. Superb customer service leads to happy customers, and happy customers are loyal customers who will continue to use your products or services and encourage other people to do the same based on their experience! In our digital age, experience has become more important than ever before. With options for affordable products being plentiful, customers are becoming more inclined to have a preference for good service and quality over cheap products. It’s estimated that by 2020, customer service will become more important than price or product when customers make their choice about who gets their business. 

What makes a brand’s customer service exceptional?

In short, providing excellent service to your customers is a matter of making them feel respected and heard. Good old-fashioned greetings and polite responses to customer questions or concerns make a great start. Whether your business is brick-and-mortar or totally online, providing a clean and accessible environment to do their shopping as well as providing popular amenities, such as WiFi in stores or chatbots on websites, are small gestures that will stand out in your customers’ minds. You can show customers that you care by paying attention to reviews and feedback and responding carefully to concerned customers and being open to constantly improving the service and environment. 

How can you provide great service?

Now that you know why stand-out performance is important and what makes service stand out, it’s time to start providing great service. The first and most important thing is to make sure that everyone who interacts with your customer knows your product thoroughly to provide timely and accurate responses to all questions and concerns. Make sure that you and your staff are friendly, polite, and respectful. Ask for feedback and listen and respond to it. 

When it comes to customer service, we practice what we preach. We want to help you achieve your business goals and make sure that your digital presence helps to enhance the service experience that you provide to your customers! Visit our website to start a conversation with us today!

01 May 2019

Is Email Marketing That Important?

In a word – yes! Even with all of the advances in social-connectivity technology that we’ve seen since the advent of email, email marketing is still one of the most effective channels out there! And the latest and greatest technology allows for automation and other significant improvements in this method of getting messages to our customers. 

Why?

With more than half the world’s population using email, incorporating email messages into your marketing strategy allows you to cast a very wide net. And email doesn’t just reach a lot of people; email reaches people effectively! Approximately 77% of people would rather receive promotional content from brands via email than via SMS or social media platforms, and 30% of customers who are subscribed to a brand’s email marketing have purchased from the brand that they’re subscribed to. Want to know more about the effectiveness of email marketing? Check outthis collection of statistics!

How?

When it comes to email marketing, sending emails is only step one. Careful planning and constant optimization is required to make your email messaging as successful as possible. Adding graphics and videos can increase both the open and click-through rate for your emails. You can also increase the chances of recipients opening the emails – and reduce getting your emails flagged as spam – by segmenting your recipients and using personalized subject lines and copy in the email body. Targeted emails are three times as likely to directly elicit action and gain revenue than generic marketing emails. And don’t forget to keep your emails mobile friendly – 49% of all emails sent are opened on a mobile device! If you’re looking for more information on how consumers interact with emails, check outthis infographic for user activity and ROI statistics.

With all the technology and information that is available, it’s natural to have questions about including emails in your marketing strategy. Try following these tips to optimize your email strategy!

Establishing outstanding email marketing is only one part of taking your marketing to the next level. Let’s talk about the goals and needs of your business. Visit our website to start a conversation with a FREE assessment!

30 Apr 2019

The Importance of Branding

When it comes to establishing your business, branding is huge! Branding is essentially how your business is presented. You want to make sure that everything from your business name to your logo to your marketing messages are clean, consistent, and saying exactly the right thing. 

Before You Brand

Before you even begin branding (or re-branding) your business, you need to consider who your audience is and what will appeal to them. Make sure that you study what other businesses in your market are doing, and how customers react. Finally, consider which channels your brand will appear on. You want your brand name, design, and voice to stand out in a positive way, and for it to be easily recognizable across all channels while still leveraging each channel’s unique capabilities. Get more details for planning your brand with this beginners guide to small business branding.

Design is Important

Once you’re ready to start branding, design is incredibly important. If you do not have graphic design experience, you should hire a designer – your brand is not something to skimp on! The first thing that should be designed is a logo. You’ll want your logo to quickly and clearly convey your brand name and personality, so make sure that you carefully consider everything that goes into this design. After your logo is created, you’ll want to carry color and font elements over onto your website, and use these elements in graphics for social media and sales promotions going forward to create consistency. Need a branding cheat sheet? Check out these 5 ways to create a better brand.

So is Voice

Once you’ve got your design, it’s important to establish and consistently use a brand voice – how you communicate your marketing messages. You want to be able to relate to your customers, but the messaging needs to be clear and consistent no matter where your customer encounters your brand. So make sure that your taglines, sales, brand values, and general wording are consistent on your website, social media, and blogs, and that you’re updating all of your channels frequently! Keep your branding strategy simple with these tips

Branding is just the beginning! Work with us to make sure that your brand reaches your audience – schedule your appointment today!

15 Apr 2019

Website Design for Commerce

These days it’s nearly impossible to have a business without a website. Whether you’re dedicated to selling all of your stock online or you do most of your business in a brick-and-mortar store, an attractive and easy-to-navigate website will make all the difference when it comes to making sales. 

Be Where the Users Are

The majority of today’s internet users are mobile. That’s why responsive web design is essential to customers being able to find, navigate, and enjoy your website. Having a website that loads quickly and looks pleasing on any screen plays a major role in retaining users who are visiting your site. Not only is 60% of internet access done via mobile device, but 50% of commerce revenue comes from mobile action. So it’s more important than ever that content is easy to read and scroll through, no matter which platform the site is viewed on, and that calls to action are clear and concise. Having a website that isn’t easily accessible on mobile devices can directly hurt sales.

Design for Success

In addition to having a clear and responsive site, you want to keep the latest technology and trends in mind when you’re building (or having someone else build) your website. Put yourself in the shoes of your clients to get an idea of what designs will appeal to them and what technology will be important to them. Take a look at what other businesses in your industry are doing with their websites to look for positive examples and ways that you can stand out. Not sure if you’re leveraging everything that you can? Check off features on this checklist to ensure that you’re meeting modern standards for business sites. When in doubt, try it out! Because technology is changing all the time, the average website will only last you about two years. Launch your site and be receptive to feedback so that you can make changes over time to appeal to the most people and see the most success. 

If your goal is to build a successful online presence, you’re not alone! Drop by our website to start a conversation. We’d love to make sure your clients like what they see when they find your site.

01 Apr 2019

Grammar schmammar….??

That depends on how you want your business to be received by your audience….

  • 1 Professional?
  • 2 Competent?
  • 3 Experienced?
  • 4 Worthy of Trust?
  • 5 Serious about your business?

If grammar is not your strong suit, it might be something you easily dismiss as unimportant.  After all, our brains are highly capable of deciphering even intentionally incorrect spellings, etc. Here’s an example to illustrate this point that you’ve probably seen a version of floating around on social media at some point:

Buseace of the phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in wcihh oerdr the ltteres in a wrod aepapr; the olny iproamtnt tinhg is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.  The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuceae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh?

HOWEVER……

There have been more times than I’d care to try to count when I’ve been browsing a website, perusing a pamphlet, even reading an actual ad or an e-mail, only to come across a misspelling or misused word.  Depending on whether its a business I’m interested in or not, I can sometimes dismiss one, two, even a few mistakes. If my interest was only in passing to begin with, I immediately dismiss the business as not serious, not professional, not careful, lacking attention to detail, etc., once I encounter mistakes in spelling and/or grammar. Is it really a shortcut worth taking if it could result in the loss of potential customers?? Perception, after all, is reality, right?


Fortunately though, if those details are not strong suits for you or tools you really have in your wheelhouse, it is something you can easily outsource to others! There are professionals you can hire to handle all of your copy writing.  If your budget can’t accommodate spending there, or if you’re the one creating your own social media posts, etc., that may not be feasible or the best use of your resources. Personally, I have a decent sense for correct spelling, proper word usage and grammar.  Perhaps it is because of this sense that I usually know when to question myself. In these cases I’m grateful for tools and resources I can depend on when I do have a question. Just the other day a colleague and I were looking up the proper usage of the words affect and effect.  There’s a rule, but our instance fit into the category of the exception to the rule, of course! And where did we go to resolve our question? Grammarly, of course! I’d recommend it to anyone! With Grammarly in your back pocket, it’s easy to put your best foot forward every single time and come across as the competent professional that you really are, and allow your customers to focus on your unique offering.


15 Mar 2019

Small Biz Social Media Marketing

We get it – when you’re starting your own business, you’re on a budget. But you absolutely should not neglect your marketing efforts just because money is tight for the time being. While you’ll ultimately want to optimize your branding and digital presence to make the most of your marketing campaigns in the digital world, a lot can be done to promote your brand via social media while you’re polishing up your website and planning your ad campaigns! 

Get Started

It can be easy to start your social media marketing – first create pages for your organizations. Choose the best platform(s) to have a presence based on where your audience is. For example, Facebook is a good choice, with 68% of American adults actively using it. Or, if you’re targeting a younger audience, Snapchat is a good platform to be active on, with 78% of American 18-24 year-olds using the platform. Take a look at these social media statistics to get a good idea of what percentage of your audience is just waiting to discover you on the various social media platforms!

Making Best Use of Social Media

It can be tempting to use social media as just another platform to broadcast your message. But if that’s all you’re doing with your social media activity, you’re missing out on big opportunities. Put the “social” in social media by actively engaging with and listening to your followers! This will allow you to create campaigns that resonate best with your customers and provide promotions, products and services that fit their needs. Additionally, you can use social media engagement to provide excellent customer service! Take some time to consider what you’ve seen from similar brands on social media, and what your audience responds to. Knowing what motivates your customers to engage on social media will ultimately result in a more successful marketing effort.

Organize and Plan

If you’re using social media as part of your marketing strategy plan – and, like we’ve said, you should! – treat it as such. Don’t just post willy-nilly. Consider why people are engaging with their favorite brands, what successful brands are doing, and, most importantly, what your own goals are. Keep these ways small businesses can improve their social media presence in mind when you’re building your social media marketing plan. And when in doubt, don’t try to do it all yourself – we can help! 

Check out our Free Discovery Call and get in touch today!

01 Mar 2019

All About Landing Pages

You’ve seen landing pages before. These are destination pages that organizations and entities can link to directly via advertisements, emails or search results. So, what makes them different from the home page of a website? And is using a landing page really a good fit for you or your organization? Let’s take a closer look!

What Makes a Landing Page Different

Landing pages aren’t just another part of a website. Each landing page is developed to be a part of a marketing campaign. For instance, when an organization has a sale or a cause that they’re trying to promote, a landing page can be used to provide their audience with all of the details AND link back to their website or guide visitors to their brick-and-mortar location. Could the campaign lead back to the organization’s home page? Of course! But a page that has all of the details of the promotion and directions for how to take action is much more useful, and having this information on a separate page (instead of the website’s home page) saves the organization from an expensive and time consuming website overhaul. 


What else belongs on a landing page? Take a look at these 5 Essential Elements

What is a Landing Page Good For?

A landing page is different from a home page because it leads your audience to a special page with clear details and a call to action. What kind of campaigns can you use a landing page for? Here are some ideas: Generate leads with a sign-up form Sell products with coupons and clear calls to action Use forms to ask people to support your cause Invite prospective customers to download a free value-add item

Looking for more inspiration? Check out these great landing page examples!

Is a Landing Page Right for Me?

We’ve given some insight to what landing pages can be used for, and what makes a good landing page. If you develop a clear call to action in line with your goals, a landing page can be an essential part of any successful marketing campaign!

Ready to build your landing page and generate leads or sales? Check out our Lead Gen / Landing Page package and other Design & Development services!

15 Feb 2019

5 Simple Steps to Small Business Success on the Internet!

For years, the website design market used to fall into three separate entities for website design and development: (i) graphics and animation studios, specializing in custom graphic design and creative animations, (ii) website marketing/promotion firms, (iii) Web programming companies specializing in database-driven website development. Nowadays, however, you get to see a fusion of these three entities in several dynamic Web Development and Promotion companies operating from any part of the globe. These web design, development and web promotion firms are virtually allrounders that cater to a diverse range of clientele, include those coming up for creative web design, web databases CRM / ERP as well as for SEO (search engine optimization) needs.

Most small business firms all over the world heavily rely on the services of such web development firms as they usually cater to small business website design by providing web based marketing methods that small companies can afford due to small budgets. Depending on the effectiveness of such web-based marketing, clients often see incredible successful results from clicks to conversion. There are some case studies which show that utilizing their marketing equation; some sites have gone from 10 leads a month to 300 leads. However, to achieve this is easier said than done. Web marketing firms that create a full plan for their clients using both the strategic and tactical methods crafted by specialists/consultants in turn are able to give small or large businesses increased sales. After all, that is the reason one can zero down on in order to be in a business, right? To have more sales and offer value. Therefore, the objective behind any web development or website promotion project is to create a unique selling proposition through your website that can set you apart from your competition so your customers should only think of doing business with you, regardless of price.

Small business firms today look forward to the professional creative website design and strategic web development and web promotion companies for the simple reason that they want their site to have the look and usability of a Fortune 500 company site without having to spend huge bucks for it. Yes, it is definitely considered a plus if the website is designed as a tactical marketing tool that aims to engage and educate their clients in turn. And most of these businesses have a concern in their minds: can their web site provide a means to gather analytical data for them to offer better service for all?

Yes, definitely they can. However, for this, optimal, effective website design strategies need to be incorporated. In a word, small business clients should be enriched with at least some of these features in order to fetch more conversions:

  • Cutting-edge small business website design, tailor-made to provide broad market exposure of the products and services to potential clients.
  • Highly scalable digital website designs, aimed at boosting up the growth and realization of the full perspective of the small business houses.
  • Small business website design strategies including full-featured e-commerce solutions, to help these businesses deploy cost-effective, powerful e-commerce stores.
  • Customized search engine optimization services, based upon individual needs and goals.

However, there are umpteen so-called ‘cheap, quick’ solution-providers, and any small business firm must think twice before taking the plunge with them. Ideally, one should always trust a professional web development firm that gathers relevant information about their clients’ business through hours of discussion, clear up ideas about the requirement, nature and goal of the clients’ business. Based on these details, experienced, skilled web designers and developers carry out extensive research to find out the best small business website solution. On the other hand, creative, innovative content writers create specific and unique content for small business website requirements, thereby enhancing business prospects. Finally, website maintenance and search engine optimization techniques that comprise scientifically proven techniques available at a competitive price are sure to give your business a boost. Flash Presentation, Multimedia Presentation, Multi-lingual website development and E-Commerce integration solutions complement these customized website solutions for brightening the online and even the offline image of small business firms.

The Five Steps to Success:

To ensure success of your small business through a unique website presentation, it is important that you develop a five-step process for creating websites that meet your customer’s goals. Whether it is a small business firm eager to generate leads, sell online, provide information about their services, connect their vendors to their company electronically, or start an entirely new kind of service, this five-step process not only takes them from concept to completion, but also is the trademark of any Internet development company. Consulting: Every website starts with an idea. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about developing a website, or redesigning your existing site. At the consulting stage, a professional website development firm would strive to clear all doubts about the clients’ requirements. Consultation for this usually comes free in case of small to medium-sized businesses.

Website Design: After the initial consultation, the website development firm solidifies the clients’ ideas by creating a blueprint for their site by employing something they call “Strategic Design”.

Website Development: The website development project is then handled by a creator’ hive, composed of specialists who handle their own respective pieces of the site development. Remember, for successful website development, it is necessary to be handled by a versatile team of expert graphic artists, content writers, programmers, database specialists and technical personnel. This ensures that a qualified professional handles each task of the given project.

Web Hosting: Since websites are an intricate interplay of graphics, text, programming and computer resources, building your site on a rock-solid web hosting foundation is critical to its marketing success.

Website Maintenance: Once the site is available to the public, it must be maintained with the help of ongoing updates and continued development to the site so that they don’t give clients/visitors of the site a chance to complain about its quality and content.

01 Feb 2019

2 Ways To Eliminate Your Competition – It’s Easy!

Eliminating your competition is the easiest way to increase your chances of business success. And I don’t mean literally eliminate them, in the sense of doing something “bad” to them.

When I say eliminate, I mean … take them out of your prospect’s consideration set for your product or service category. Make it so your prospects ONLY think of your business, product or service when they are contemplating making a purchase. That way you get their business, instead of your competition making the sale.

What this means is if you sell widgets, you want your prospects to only think of your widgets when they are thinking of buying widgets. This is pretty easy to do if your business is not in a competitive industry.

But let’s suppose there are all kinds of businesses selling what you are selling, or filling the same consumer or business need you are filling.

How can you make sure your prospects ONLY think of you — and therefore only BUY from you — and not all those other companies?

Answer: By thoroughly understanding those competing businesses and then doing one of two things:

(1) Finding a position in the category you can own.

This will separate you from all the other businesses and will make you uniquely qualified in the eyes of your prospect to fill their need.

This usually requires finding a specific market niche you can focus on, or finding a specific product or service attribute or benefit, that is of value to your prospects, that none of your competitors can claim or are currently promoting.

This puts you in a class of your own and virtually eliminates the competition. No one does exactly what you do. Or in the quite the way you do it.

(2) By turning your competitors into “co-opitors.”

What the heck is a “co-opitor?” It is a competitor that you turn into a partner or a cooperator. Are there businesses or individuals with whom you could partner, with the idea of referring business to each other?

For example, a wellness coach could partner with a weight watchers clinic or a health club or a massage therapist. All of these practitioners are selling improved health and well being, but they can also be positioned as complementary services.

Or, let’s say you are a web site designer and you decide to focus primarily on working with small businesses (a market niche). You could create a partnership with another web site designer who has decided to focus on large corporations.

If you both agree to only take on business that fits your identified niche, and to refer business outside your niche to the partner, you both win.

You can partner with other businesses in your exact business in this manner, by identifying niches, by geographic area served, or by size or type of clients served.

And you can partner with businesses in different categories that fill a similar customer need by agreeing to work together to help each other get customers.

There is not a business out there that cannot effectively use one of these two strategies to significantly reduce their competition. So figure out which strategy fits your business best, and make it a priority to eliminate your competition this year.

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