These days, it’s not enough just to have a well-designed, easy to navigate website. There’s a lot of competition out there, and if you want to stay relevant with today’s finicky tech-based consumer market, you must find a way to stand out on the crowd. Fortunately, if you are committed to broadening your web horizons and packing a real punch with your business website, there are some straight-forward things you can do to give yourself a hip edge. Here are three tips to give your website the “cool” factor:
A – Z index. Navigation is arguably one of the most important factors influencing your site’s success, and for that reason, you should always be on the lookout for cool new navigation features you can add to your site. One such feature that is really catching on when it comes to site navigation is the A – Z index, which is exactly what it sounds like: a way for your visitors to easily find things on your site simply by clicking the corresponding letter of the alphabet (or number).
Image galleries. Gone are the days when simple graphics could attract major attention and cause some audience “oohs and ahs.” Now there are a number of sleek ways you can incorporate a variety of images into a single web page in order to get the most bang for your buck. Consider a sliding image gallery that allows users to view new images by simply clicking a left or right (or up or down) arrow, or a neat tiled image gallery with a hover-box preview feature that allows users to simply hover over any single image to enlarge it. A variety of image galleries can be inserted into your site via a CSS stylesheet, or by way of plug-ins (if you use a site-building platform like WordPress).
Alert box. As previously mentioned, navigation is tantamount to the success of any website. One way you can help your visitors navigate through the information on your pages is to organize your content so that the order of importance is very clear. An alert box is a cool, eye-pleasing way to draw a visitor’s attention to content that is most pertinent.
Our team of web developers can develop your site for you. You get great service at very affordable prices. We won’t just build your site and send you on your way, we’ll be here to help coach you on how to use your site grow your business. Call Kevin for more details (204) 783-6342
3 Tips to Grow Your Social Media Followers
If you run a small business, you probably already know how important social media can be in promoting your business. Setting up a social media marketing strategy can be frustrated because there are so many social networks to choose from and ways to gain followers. We have gathered a few tips to help you build a loyal social media audience.
1. Use Keywords
No matter what social media site, whether Google+, Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr, using keywords is vital to increase your followers. For most of these sites, hashtags work best, especially if you have your social media accounts connected with one another. This allows you to post something to all of your social media sites without having to do it physically.
Using keywords in your profile can help you attract people who are interested in what you have to offer. If they like what they see on your profile, they are likely to become an on-going follower.
2. Comment Wisely
Customers and clients love hearing from the small businesses they follow. By commenting on posts related to your business, you can get people interested in your business. You do have to remember to comment wisely, however, so that it does not feel like spam. You should also consider following people back if they start following your business on any social sites. People are much more likely to purchase from a business with which they are “friends” than one that is not on any social media sites.
3. Post Regularly
People want to hear from your business. The more they engage with you, the more likely they are to become customers or clients, so be sure to post regularly on social media sites.
Try to be as consistent as possible by posting special offers, giving tips, adding pictures, polls, or anything else you want without overwhelming your followers. Look at which posts get the most attention to see what your followers are interested in seeing. This will not only allow you to provide content in the future that is relevant, but it will also give you a good idea of the demographic engaging with your business.
Depending on how you do social media marketing, it can have a positive effect on your bottom line if you’re a small business owner. By keeping up with trends and ensuring that your content is what your followers are interested in, you will start seeing an increase in the people that engage with your content. This social interaction could ultimately lead to new prospects and customers for your small business.
Why Should Small Business Owners Hire Experts?
Short answer; most small business owners don’t know what they don’t know and they never seem to have the time to learn and implement what they need to do.
Despite all the free information that is available to small business owners, I recently read that 80% of all small businesses fail within 5 years. Why is that?
According to Michael Gerber, author of the E-Myth, most businesses are started by TECHNICIANS. People who have the skills to perform a specific task. They assume that because they have been doing that task for many years they will automatically know how to start and grow a thriving business.
This is a false assumption that leads to the high failure rate for business start-ups. Just because you’ve been a plumber for 10 years doesn’t mean you know how to run a plumbing business.
Are The Technical Skills You Have Enough To Start And Grow A Business?
So you worked in the IT department for a big firm for 20 years, does that mean you have the skills and knowledge to start and grow your own IT company? All the research says no.
Small business owners tend to wear many hats; they are the marketing department, the sales force and the bookkeeper. None of these important areas are usually part of their technical skills, so they end up doing them very poorly.
Do they teach a lot about marketing and sales in plumbing or IT school? How many hours of training on bookkeeping do doctors get in med school?
Business owners don’t or can’t find the time to learn and implement the things they need to make their businesses a remarkable success.
Hiring EXPERTS will give them the best chance of succeeding beyond 5 years. Experts spend years developing their expertise, reading book/articles/magazines, taking courses, attending seminars and workshops, watching videos and listening to podcasts.
The best experts tend to be life-long learners and students of their specialized area. Partnering with an expert allows business owners to get access to a wealth of information, skills and resources without having to spend hours, even years trying to learn and implement things on their own. You can look at it as a short-cut to acquiring a massive amount of skills and knowledge.
Hiring an expert gives business owners the freedom to do the aspects of their business that they are passionate about. It lets them spend most of their time on the things they love to do; usually the daily technical part of their business.
Experts will strengthen your weaknesses, provide you with insights into things you would have never thought of and give you the best chance to succeed. The bottom-line is, no matter how smart or motivated you are, you can’t know everything or do everything for yourself. Trying to do everything on your own will surely limit your success.
To get a FREE EXPERT Marketing Assessment go here for details: www.FreeMarketingHelp.ca
Is Email Marketing Still Effective?
Email Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing.
However, all the empirical data I found during my research indicates that Email marketing can be more effective than social media marketing depending on your social media objectives. Email is still a more effective sales and communications channel than social networking sites.
Facebook’s organic (free) is averaging around 6%. The average “click through” rate for ads is about 0.119%. Linked news-feed ads average around .3% “click through” rate.
Twitter ads “click through” rate is about 1.64%. The more followers you have, the fewer clicks you’ll probably get on your tweets.
According to Get Response, the average open rate for email in all industries is between 15-21%. And the average “click through” rate is around 3.57%.
In these cases, email marketing has the clear advantage, but depending on what your marketing objectives are, social media could be a better option. The bottom-line is, think strategically, don’t just jump into any marketing activities without strategic planning.
This is a general lay of the land.
Sources: Wordstream, Social@Ogilvy Signupto, QUORA
Author: Kevin Toney is “The Marketing Coach”. Kevin coaches small business owners and sales professionals on how to find and attract new customers, increase repeat business and generate a steady flow of referrals. Call 204-783-6342 for a FREE 30 minute over the phone Coaching Session. Get a Free Marketing Assessment here: http://www.FreeMarketingHelp.ca
Do You Know The “Life Time Value” of Your Customers?
What is one of your customers worth to you over a three year period?
I was watching one of those Court TV shows; the judge was dealing with a bakery and a customer that had been doing business with the bakery for 30 years.
The customer ordered two cakes for a total of $800.00 for a special occasion. The bakery messed up the order on both cakes. The cakes looked nothing like what the customer ordered. There was no one at the bakery to fix the cakes and her event was in two hours so the customer took the cakes and consumed them at her event.
The customer went back a few days later to ask for a full refund. The bakery owner offered her a $100 gift card. The customer insisted on a full refund, the owner refused. His reasoning: “I don’t want to give anything away, even to long-term customers”. The customer took him to court.
The customer told the owner that she will never do business with him ever again.
If the bakery owner understood the concept of “LIFE-TIME VALUE OF A CUSTOMER” he would have refunded her the $800. I don’t know what the profit margin is on cakes, but lets say his cost was $400.00. Profit $400.00.
That customer had spent thousands of dollars over a 30 year period at his bakery. The bakery owners gave up thousands of dollars in future sales because he was very short sighted. He did not do the simple math. Invest $400 in retaining a customer and get thousands of dollars back in sales. When you look at it this way, it’s easy to see he did not handle the situation correctly.
The judge awarded the customer $400.00, but from a business perspective, that’s irrelevant.
When dealing with your customers do you consider the “LIFE-TIME VALUE OF YOUR CUSTOMERS”? Remember the quote: “What gets measured gets managed.” Have you measured the “LIFE-TIME VALUE OF YOUR CUSTOMERS”? Knowing this number could help you get a fresh, new perspective on how to manage your customers.
How would you have handled this situation? Tweet me @dMarketingCoach.
Author: Kevin Toney is “The Marketing Coach”. Kevin coaches small business owners and sales professionals on how to find and attract new customers, increase repeat business and generate a steady flow of referrals. Call 204-783-6342 for a FREE 30 minute over the phone Coaching Session. http://www.FreeMarketingHelp.ca
Mindset is probably the major determinant of success in pretty much every walk of life. In other words, the thinking patterns you habitually adopt largely govern the results you achieve.
But different circumstances and situations require different mindsets, something that anyone looking to leave paid employment and strike out on their own, must be aware of. Unfortunately, not all would-be entrepreneurs understand the dramatic mindset shifts required, without which business success is unlikely.
Related: Shift Your Mindset, Save Your Business
So how, as a one-time employee, will you have to think differently to succeed?
1. You’re responsible for all decisions – good and bad. Entrepreneurs have an incredible opportunity to create something from nothing, in a way that’s not possible working for someone else. But this means making big decisions about what must be done, when and how. You can’t wait for things to happen, or for someone to tell you what to do, you must make them happen. Successful entrepreneurs also understand that opportunities may be short-lived, and so develop a sense of urgency that helps them achieve their goals.
2. You need to hold both short and long-term visions simultaneously. Work for others and you are mainly responsible for ensuring that what needs to be done now, is done. As an entrepreneur, you have to project your mind forward, thinking about the potential pitfalls and opportunities that lie around the corner, and making decisions based on uncertainty. This requires you to come to terms with the fact that what you do, or don’t do, today, will have an impact on your business three months, even five years down the line.
3. Feeling uncomfortable is your new ‘comfort zone.’ As an employee, you’re used to thinking ‘inside the box’ rather than outside it. As an entrepreneur, there is no box. You see what others don’t, test new ideas, seize new territory, take risks. This requires courage, a thick skin and the ability to keep going despite rejection and skepticism.
4. Learning is a continuous journey. As an employee, you have a job description, requiring a specific skill-set. Being an entrepreneur involves learning many new skills, unless you have the funds to outsource what you’re not good at or don’t want to do. That could be learning to set up a spreadsheet, getting investors on board, marketing your ideas, crafting your perfect pitch, or using unfamiliar technology. What needs to be done, has to be done – there is no room for excuses.
Related: Finding Growth By Changing Your Mindset
5. Numbers don’t lie. Where numbers are concerned, it’s enough for most employees to know what’s coming in and what’s going out. As an entrepreneur, you’d better learn to love numbers fast, because your cash flow is what will keep you in – or out of – business. Ultimately, it’s your sales, costs, profit and loss that will either give you sleepless nights or an enviable lifestyle. But without the guiding light of numbers, your business will be continually heading for the rocks.
6. Love your business, but be objective. As an employee, you can go on doing something you dislike just for the salary. As an entrepreneur, you will need to love your business because of the effort and long hours required. But you mustn’t fall into the trap of thinking and acting like an employee in your own company, working ‘in’ rather than ‘on’ the business, a ‘technician’ rather than the person who steers it forward.
7. Enjoy breaking rules. As an employee, breaking the rules could mean dismissal. Entrepreneurs on the other hand, aren’t interested in the status quo – they’re always looking for ways to do things differently. That means acquiring a global perspective, always peering over the horizon, or at least towards it, to where the next big thing is waiting.
8. Time isn’t linear. As an employee, you have a timetable to work to. As an entrepreneur, while you might not be tied to a desk or computer 24/7, you will always be thinking about your business, what it’s doing well and what it could be doing better. There will be no respite – you will live and breathe it.
9. Start now. Most people under-estimate the time it takes to make the transition to entrepreneur, so it’s sensible to start shifting your mindset while you’re still employed, perhaps even setting up a business to run alongside. This could give you the opportunity to develop skills and build experience while still enjoying the safety-net of a salary, something that at some point you will almost certainly need to give up if you want to grow your business.
So, employee or entrepreneur? Is it time to switch? The choice is yours.
If your company website is not mobile-ready, more than likely, you’ve been missing out on potential customers. When mobile users try to access websites that are not mobile responsive, it’s a truly frustrating experience.
Most of these searchers move on to your competitors’ websites and never return to yours. So as you can guess, these are lost leads.
But now, there’s another crucial reason to mobilize your website; Google is making some changes that will negatively impact any website that is not mobile-ready.
What is changing?
Mobile-friendliness has been a factor in Google search for a few years now, but no one knows exactly to what degree. However, Google did announce that mobile-friendliness will now be heavily weighed as a ranking signal.
On February 26, 2015, Google wrote this statement on their Webmaster Tools blog: “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact on your search results.”
The Google mobile algorithm update in April, 2015 will significantly influence the organic results for web searches performed on mobile devices.
Why the change?
More than 60% of all Google searches are now performed on mobile devices. So Google’s overall goal with the algorithm update was to provide a faster, smoother experience for mobile searchers.
When mobile users try to access websites that are not mobile-ready, it’s pretty much a waste of time. In order to match mobile users with the most beneficial websites based on their searches, the algorithm update will ensure that mobile-friendly websites get the most search engine attention.
What does this mean for your business?
Basically, if your site is not mobile-ready, it will suffer lower rankings on Google when users search for your type of products and services on their mobile devices.
On the other hand, if your website is mobile-friendly, you may experience an increase in rankings; especially in cases where most of your competitors haven’t optimized their websites for mobile.
What should you do?
- Make sure your website is mobile-ready. This may sound like a no-brainer, but just because your website looks fine on a desktop or laptop does not mean that it is the same for mobile devices.
Google has provided a free “Mobile Friendliness” tool where you can test your website for mobile. Here’s the link: http://cliks.it/click/ZYGAm
You can tell within a few minutes whether or not your site meets the basic standards for mobile optimization.
- If your website is not mobile-ready, it’s time to change that. Whether you go with a complete mobile-responsive website re-design or a stand-alone mobile website, take measures as soon as possible to ensure your business is not negatively impacted by this major update.
Having a website that is optimized for mobile viewing is critical. Not only is it important for providing convenience to your mobile customers and prospects; it’s now a major factor in how well these mobile consumers can find your website when searching online for your type of products and services.