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Do you need a new outfit?

Do you need a new outfit?

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You know your audience, but does your audience know you?

We have some shocking information:
“Nearly half of all small business owners do not have a website.” [Clutch]

Without one, as small business author Jim Blasingame said: “You might as well be a ghost.” [Inc.]

That’s bad news for them. But you’re in luck – because you’re reading this blog. Which means you likely are in the market for an exceptional website. That puts you light-years ahead of the competition.

If you don’t have a website, you aren’t giving your audience a chance to know you.

A website is the equivalent of buying a new outfit and revamping your portfolio for a prospect meeting: It’s your chance to make a fantastic first impression. As in life, appearance counts for a lot – 75% of users admit to judging a company’s credibility based on their site design [Stanford] – but that doesn’t mean you can slack on substance. Design draws people in, but quality content keeps them.

Remember: A website is a handy marketing tool for you, too. Tracking activity and buying behavior via Google Analytics makes it easy for you to create the content people are looking for. Which is crucial, considering 96 percent of visitors don’t come to your site prepared to buy. [Hubspot]

Obviously, you want to create an awesome online experience that will turn your prospective customer into a loyal one. Your first step? Answering these three simple questions about your website:

  1. Does it clarify what you do?
  2. Is your contact information clearly displayed?
  3. Does it positively and attractively represent your business?

If your answer to any of the above is “No” or (gasp!) you have no website – it’s time to get started. Your website is the one online destination over which you have complete control – don’t neglect it!

 

 

 

The problem with mass marketing

The Problem with Mass Marketing

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Maybe one size can fit everyone – but it can’t fit everyone well.

Every now and then, amidst an otherwise successful shopping trip, you’ll come across an article of clothing that claims to be “one size fits all”. Any positive qualities the garment might have will dissipate as you regard it suspiciously and think, “There is no way this will work for me.” Disdainfully, you will place the item back on the shelf and proceed to purchase attire that recognizes the various shapes of human beings.

And that is the precise reaction today’s consumer has to mass marketing.

In the 1990s, your business could count on a listing in the yellow pages, a couple newspaper ads and a billboard to pick up leads. Today, consumers simply have too many choices for that approach to be effective. They’re researching and selecting products and services on their own terms. They’re informed and impatient, which means non-specialized marketing efforts will go unnoticed.

Today’s consumers expect customization.

What your marketing strategy needs (and doesn’t need) is specific to your business and target demographic.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to explore three ways you can use a tailored approach to distinguish your business and create a valuable digital marketing experience.

Of course, if you’re already convinced, you can cut through the clutter and contact us now.

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Client Shout-Out: SNPitty

Client Shout-Out: SNPitty

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Today’s consumers want to make healthy lifestyle changes, but they expect the experience to be as efficient and personalized as possible. That’s why a personal wellness platform inspired by nutrigenetics – the science that identifies how genetic variation affects our individual response to nutrients – is precisely what people need. And it just so happens that this is precisely the service our client, SNPitty (pronounced snip-itty), will provide.

How will it work?

Client Shout-Out: SNPitty

Essentially, SNPitty will analyze your genetic profile to present you with the most accurate, personalized plan for achieving your fitness goals. This approach is at the forefront of digital health technology, so it only makes sense that their new website be equally cutting edge. If we’ve taught you anything, a crucial step to success is a stunning web presence – and thanks to our terrific design team, they can certainly check that off the list!

Right now, they’re in the app development/fundraising phase. If this sounds like a project you’d like to be part of, you can contact SNPitty for more information here.

11 ways to make your website stand out

11 ways to make your website stand out

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The internet is a big place. Accordingly, you don’t want people playing “Where’s Waldo?” with your website. Here are 11 ways to help your website stand out from the crowd.

  1. Give people something extra. In exchange for their email signup, give them a downloadable how-to, some free research, or a coupon code.
  2. Update frequently. And show them where the updates are, with a news scroll, or blog preview, or even a popup.
  3. Focus your visitors’ eyes on one thing. Remember, you can’t focus on multiple things – that’s the opposite of “focus.” So point people to the key thing you want them to do, and make sure it also benefits them.
  4. Make it fun. Graphically, and with words.
  5. Make it searchable. Because we’re busy, and we expect everything now. If you’ve got a lot of content, no one is going to hunt around in your site, so help them find it.
  6. Add a blog. Certainly you know things. Share them. Become a recognized expert.
  7. Update it at least 11 times a month. (And triple your traffic.)
  8. Make sure it’s mobile friendly! More than 70% of all visits to the internet are via mobile. Run this; if you failed the test, you’d better address this quickly, because it’s already dampening your traffic.
  9. Use video! Research shows that video will keep people on a web page an average of 50% longer – and the longer they stay there, the more likely they are to get involved.
  10. Think “headlines and graphics.” Because that’s what people will see, that’s what you should spotlight. Supporting text is just there for support. (And for SEO.)
  11. Be you. Whether “you” is just you, or an entire team at your company, no one else can be you, so you should be good at it. Make the site sound like you, look like you, and make sure it reflects your values. Because just as there’s someone for everyone, there are people searching for a company like yours. Make sure it’s you they find.

 

 

Why you should use influencer marketing with your marketing strategy

Why you should add influencer marketing to your marketing strategy

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Influencer marketing is a relatively new form of marketing that feeds off the fact that ad-wary millennials trust people, not brands. The traditional approach to advertising is losing its effect. We can’t just tell ‘em what we want them to hear – in fact, 92 percent of consumers say they trust peer recommendations while a mere 33 percent trust ads [Nielsen]. What does that mean for marketers? 

“Many marketers realize the power of connecting with influential social media users, and as a result many have increased their budgets throughout the year.” [AdWeek]

Here’s why you should consider it too.

  • It’s social.
    Love it or hate it, social media is a huge component of successful branding, and it’s also where to find the best influencers. Finding people with a large network (i.e. lots of followers) or someone who’s tagged your brand in a post is a good place to start; from there, it’s a matter of reaching out to your selected influencer and asking them to start a dialogue with their followers about your product.
  • It’s effective.
    According to AdWeek, 81 percent of marketers who have tested this strategy found it effective (with 47 percent voting “very effective” and the remaining 34 voting “somewhat effective”). The influencer approach lets you tap into a market you might otherwise not have access to. People follow influencers because they value (and are more inclined to listen to) their opinion. As Who Pays Influencers founder Amber Discko puts it, “They don’t care what the brand has to say, that’s why they’re not following the brand” [TechInsider].
  • It’s the next big thing.
    If you hop on the influencer bandwagon now, you’ll be riding a pretty sweet wave. While it’s not brand new on the scene, this type of marketing is still developing and establishing a presence. In 2015, only 35 percent of social media professionals considered it to be at a “mature stage” and only 14 percent had no intention of integrating it into their social strategy [Altimeter Group’s “State of Social Business”].

Ready to give it a shot? Give us a shout!

Making your business a special place

Making your business a special place

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Lately, we’ve been talking about “the specialness of space.”

Here’s an excellent example of how one brand took the time to make its space special. I strongly encourage you to invest four minutes in watching this video about designer Rebecca Minkoff’s store of the future. And then ask yourself, how can I make my space special?

Are you making your place special at a physical location?

With a physical location you’ve got lots of potential opportunities. Here are eight ways to take advantage of it.

  1. Put out a sign! Preferably one with an arresting graphic or color, so that people who pass by notice it and stop in. I’ve never driven by Amazon, have you? But I’ve certainly passed restaurants and shops and stopped in, based on a sign.
  2. Direct people to buy other things, with in-store signage and displays. I may have come in for a book (I’m old-fashioned that way) – can you interest me in a calendar, too?
  3. Speed up the check-out process. Don’t make me wait in line. Take a cue from Apple, Nordstrom Rack and others – station people with portable checkout stations around the store
  4. Got something that’s not moving? Discount it, or bundle it with something else, so I feel that I got a bargain. (And you moved slow inventory.)
  5. Focus on local marketing! Local signage, and local involvement with charities and with your local Chamber of Commerce, will spread the word in places online can’t compete.
  6. Let people touch/taste/try. Until scratch-and-sniff goes electronic, this is something you can provide that digital can’t touch.
  7. Say hello! If you and your team greet me in a friendly, helpful way, you’ve established a relationship. As every successful bartender knows, that’s the key to repeat business.
  8. Finally, ask yourself, “If I were the customer walking in, what would make my visit here even better?” And then do whatever that is.

Whether online or at a physical location, find what makes your business special and take advantage of the opportunities available to you. Make your business the next store of the future!

Image by waferbord is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Help, I don’t have enough visitors!

Help, I don’t have enough visitors!

By | Digital advertising, Websites | No Comments

Of course you don’t, and it’s normal – you’re new on the block and that’s OK. Kick your new website or brand new landing page off with the online equivalent of an Open House: Run an Ad Campaign. (Facebook and Google Ads are our favorite platforms.)

If you don’t announce yourself, how will people know you’ve arrived?

The great part of running Ad Campaigns? It boosts your searchability. It’s like the internet knows to give you a nametag, and sets you up at the punchbowl.

What are you waiting for? What’s your line?

How to make heads and tails of features vs. benefits on a landing page

How to make heads and tails of features vs. benefits on a landing page

By | Content Marketing, Digital advertising | No Comments

You’re going crazy…so you think. You’ve created a landing page, and have reached A Very Normal Point in the process of creating an awesome landing page: What’s the difference between my features and my benefits? Can I mix them in with each other? Which is which? Does it matter which order I put them in?

The answer is: sometimes a feature and benefit ARE the same. And yes, you can mix them in with each other, and re-order them and so on. The best way to make heads from tails is to TEST your landing page.

Create a few different versions and see which one gets the most clicks. The ones with the most clicks wins. Test again. Repeat.

Image by Andrés Nieto Porras licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.