Has your Small Business Marketing Gone to The Dogs? Solutions to Make Your Business Bloom!

Tag: websites

Has your Small Business Marketing Gone to The Dogs? Solutions to Make Your Business Bloom!

For those of you who are not yet on our eMail Newsletter list, one of our regular newsletter articles is centered on our mascot, Shayna, who is an Australian Shepherd Mix. We have found that there are many fellow dog-lovers who are also Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners, so we wanted to use this theme in a video to explain a little about our business and how we can help improve your Marketing in order to Make Your Business Bloom.

We have a 30-second version of this you may have seen on our social media, but have included this original 90-second version here for more detailed info. We hope you find this video can be the start of a conversation on how to improve your bottom line return on investment for your business marketing. We pride ourselves on providing excellent value for your marketing dollar.

After watching the video, please give us your feedback as well as any ways we can help you to grow your business with web or marketing services.

Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!
rose

Tag: websites

Marketing Lessons from: #TheDress

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The original image is in the middle. At left, white-balanced as if the dress is white-gold.At right, white-balanced to blue-black. swiked  3 versions of the dress photo wired

 

Social Media Marketing lessons from #TheDress Debate of 2015 (Tumblr Dress Color)

If you were paying attention to Social Media recently (or even watching the news) you’ve heard about the attention explosion and great debate on ‘The Dress’ posted originally on Tumblr. Is it white and gold or is it Blue & Black? The answer to that is not what I want to discuss, there are plenty of blogs and posts dedicated to that answer. Instead I want to pose the marketing questions related to ‘The Dress’.

One thing that this demonstrates is the unpredictability of social media. I’ll be honest, I would have never in a million years guessed that posting a photo of a dress and asking what color it is would cause such a sensation and hotly contested debate. This demonstrates to me that as in all forms of marketing you need to try different avenues and ideas and see what resonates with people (hopefully with people that will become your future clients.)

The Great Dress Debate of 2015 also shows why web designers like us need to test on all sorts of devices and browsers. Unlike printed marketing materials like brochures and business cards, websites can and often do look very different depending on numerous factors. Just like the dress looked significantly different depending on what screen you were viewing it on, the same holds true for other images on the internet.

Websites rely a great deal on each individual users settings…some people prefer to have bright settings and others dark or muted, some people want magnification or larger text size and the various browsers give them the ability to change these settings. While there are some things a website designer can to do keep things close to standard there are limits and do you really want to override the preferences of the person you want to sell to so they see it the way you prefer instead of the way they prefer? (Some people want to see the dress as White and Gold and some people want to see it as Blue and Black.)

This is admittedly a drastic exaggeration of what happens and of course you want your products and company to be represented as accurately as possible which is why it is important to make sure your website has been designed with either a responsive or adaptive design and tested thoroughly to make sure that no matter what device or browser your website appears on it still looks professional and represents you well. (It will never look exactly the same to every potential future client but the key is getting it looking good on all the major options.)

There are many marketing lessons to be learned from this and similar viral social media events, what other lessons will you take from this and apply to your small business?

 

Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!

rose

Tag: websites

Website Redesign and Marketing to Grab Attention! (The Benefit Strategy)

shutterstock_101633950Having a good website for your small business is mandatory for any entrepreneur who wants to be around long-term. Whether you are creating the website internally or with the help of professional web designers and marketers it is critical to do some strategic thinking up front.

Next time you are thinking of a major overhaul of your marketing and or website think about it from the perspective of your typical client. When we work with a new client we like to work strategic thinking into the initial process by asking you who your target audience is and what solutions or information they would likely be looking for on your website, social media or marketing materials.

Here are some questions we ask that we believe are important to think about before you spend the time and money on new marketing efforts:

  • What sets you apart from your competition (aka your Unique Selling Proposition)?
  • Do you focus on a specific niche, target audience, or demographic?
  • What geographic area do you serve, and/or prefer not to serve (Regional, National, Global)?
  • What do you know about your clients, especially why did they become your clients initially (if you don’t know ask a sampling of them)?
  • Why do they stay your clients? What have clients and prospects said about you and your company? (Do you have any testimonials, what do they tell you about how you are perceived?
  • Do the majority of your clients give you repeat business? How do you meet their needs and wants (solve their problem)?

Other things to think about before you redesign or create a new website:shutterstock_101547316
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes when thinking about your website if you were the client what would you want to see and how would you navigate the website? (This is hard because you know a lot more about your industry than they do and it affects the way you look at things…the key is try to think about it as if you were someone who knew nothing about your industry but can really use your solution.)

What would you want your result to be as your client and how can you measure success i.e. buy, complete a contact us form, engage you on social media, bookmark the page, pick up the phone and call you, etc.

What do you think most visitors who visit your website want (often more than one):
information on your products or services,
a solution to an existing problem,
a bargain or lowest cost,
a large selection,
a better quality product or service,
a phone call or email?

It is crucial for you to think over and know the answers to questions like these in order to grab the attention of your website readers quickly.

Your website should be focused on the prospect and/or client so they can easily find what they need. If you start with all the little details of your company, products or services before they know they are interested in your solution they will move on to a competitor with a client solution focus.shutterstock_100037537

Lead with benefits don’t “Sell”
Instead of focusing on details the future client may not care about yet, lead with the benefits or solutions your products or services can provide. Either list the various benefits or provide testimonial examples so your website readers can see how you have helped others in a similar predicament.

Make sure you make it easy for your future clients to buy, sign up, contact you, etc. If they have a hard time finding your phone number or placing an order there are plenty of competitors out there with easy to use websites also asking for their business.

Turning a website reader into a client is one of the most critical actions your website can perform. Try to guide them in a style that is more telling than selling. Be assertive but not annoying or aggressive.

Make it your first priority to understand your potential client. Again, look at your website through that client’s perspective. What do they individually want and need?

Focus your marketing by grabbing their attention with the Benefits and Solutions these future clients will receive, not on the details of your product/service that they only need after you have their attention.

Finally, tell them how they can achieve their goal and what you want them to do next. Get them to take the first step and you will have a pre-qualified prospect. Make sure you are ready to deliver on the expectations you have set through your website and marketing!

As we like to wrap up all our blog posts with a reminder to occasionally slow down to appreciate the good things in your life.

roseStop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!

Tag: websites

Website Ideas for the Small Business Owner to reach future clients

What do you need to know as a Small Business Owner about changes in technology and design that affect your business? While you don’t need to know how to design a website for your business there are just some trends you need to keep track of one of which is using responsive or adaptive design in association with mobile and social connectivity.

What is responsive design and why does it matter for my small business you ask? Website on all devices
Your clients and future clients look at your website on a huge range of screen sizes, from a small smartphone up to a large computer monitor or even a projection TV in some cases. Responsive design basically takes these into account so they don’t have to scroll side-to-side in order to see your entire website. (FYI, people don’t like to scroll side to side and it just looks bad when half of the content on a website is cut off.)

Why is that important to your small business?
Technology has rapidly changed the culture and the way people shop and research who to buy from, for both products and services. Smartphones in conjunction with Social Media, especially Facebook, have taken advantage of mobility and connectivity in order to change the way a majority of people make purchasing decisions. There are still many people that use Google to research products and services on their PC or Mac, but an increasing number will consult with their social network to get recommendations. There are even some savvy individuals that will use their smartphones or tablets in a retail store to comparison shop.

Is Responsive Design or Device Specific (Adaptive) Design best for my website?
There are a couple ways to accommodate or in technical speak, optimize, for the various devices like tablets and smartphones. Responsive design will shrink or expand to fit on the appropriate screen size you are using. The other option is to create alternative designs for tablets and another design for smartphones. Creating a separate mobile design will allow you to create different look while keeping the same branding. Which is best for you? Planning a websiteUnfortunately there is not one answer because it depends on your goals and budget. It is often more time and money to implement device specific design, but this may be worth it if you have a large number of people that purchase from you using a smartphone.

What works best for small business?
While there are many web design firms that try to be on the cutting edge of design and focus on the art or the latest technology, we believe that is not the right strategy for most small businesses. At eRose Web and Business services our focus is on marketing and specifically on ease of use for your future clients to see the benefits of working with you or purchasing your products. We also focused on writing content for clients that was keyword specific while being user-friendly so it would show up well in the major search engines like Google.

What have we recommended over the years for our clients?
Early on we used designs that were responsive to different sized monitors because it just made sense, now that is the standard because of the ever increasing and decreasing screen sizes. We can’t claim that we knew early that this trend would happen, and we occasionally accommodated clients that wanted some ‘Flash’ animation or other of the latest trends on their site. However, our bread and butter has been and continues to be responsive designs that use keyword rich content to help small business market their products and services in a variety of industries.

Alright you are probably tired of hearing about us, the main point is to consider your target audience and how they learn about your products and services. If you sell a product and most of your customers are young and trendy then using the latest social media trend along with Facebook and a mobile optimized website makes a lot of sense. However if you market to businesses then maybe you want to use a basic responsive design and ask your existing clients to recommend you on their LinkedIn network. Sometimes you just need to try different marketing outlets to see what works well for your small business.

If you are like me sometimeyoung businessman with computer sitting on the clouds you get so focused on running the tasks of your business you get yourself stressed out and forget to appreciate why you got into business and to really enjoy it. In effort to both remind myself to enjoy life and the benefits of being self-employed I plan on signing off my blog articles with a reminder to stop and smell the roses (Is that too cliché or obvious? Too bad that’s the direction I went!).

Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!

 

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