Archive for the 'Web Strategy' Category

How Do Different Age Groups Want To Communicate?

These age groups are more alike than you may think!
When we label, sometimes we divide. The conventional wisdom is that these different generations are vastly different in how they interact with technology….that is not the case.  –  Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content – MarketingSherpa
Communicating with all your clients can be challenging. If you listen to popular marketers, they say to reach ALL your clients you have to be everywhere… the internet, airways and print. That takes a lot of time and resources to do!
I mean, who has time to post blogs, be active on Facebook and LinkedIn, make videos, design print ads, use direct mail, etc. Those are all powerful tools but most small to medium size businesses find it overwhelming to manage… so a business may do nothing, or worse yet, try to do it all, but infrequently. Which means it has no impact.
If time is an issue, studies show that the majority of people in all generations prefer business communication by email. It is not texting, social media, print or YouTube after all!
Do you have an email strategy?
Finding out you can focus on one communication tool may be a relief. Concentrate on writing good marketing emails and newsletters. I suggest to actively collect emails of prospects and customers in a database and build a strategy to communicate with them in a meaningful way. However, don’t overdo it or it will feel like SPAM.

10 suggestions for business emails and newsletters
  1. Create content that prospects want on your website, but require their emails to get.
  2. Make it easy to email you from your website. Keep e-forms to 4 questions.
  3. Always have a strong subject line on emails and newsletters.
  4. If your business email starts to have a long string (lots of emails linked together) change the subject line as the topics change so you can track discussions.
  5. Keep all emails as short as possible.
  6. Present one idea or ask one question per email.
  7. Your writing style should reflect your brand but sound personal and casual.
  8. Emails do not go away. Judge appropriate content by whether it could be printed on the front page of the local newspaper… or presented in court.
  9. Re-post content from your blog to your e-newsletter or visa-versa because people get their news in different ways.
  10. Make your emails and newsletters attractive and mobile friendly.

If you only have time to do one thing well…. let it be email!

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admin on September 30th 2019 in Web Strategy, Web Stuff

Straighten Your Brand

Your name is the most valuable asset.. look after it!
Employees and customers will leave, machines and buildings will be sold, but a strong brand could live forever… which makes it more valuable than gold when it is time to sell!
Recently I had lunch with a friend who just sold his business. I asked why did the acquiring business want his company. He said, “Because they wanted my customer list.” If the answer had been “Because they want my good name in the industry,” he could have commanded a higher price. Here is the rest of the story… in less than a year my friend’s key employees left and his customers moved on. Not much value for the buyer.
Experts say companies with a strong brand are:
  • More profitable
  • Able to command a premium
  • Able to ensure customer preference in buying decisions
  • Building customer loyalty
  • Lowering cost of sales
  • Better able to fend off competition.

That is why they are worth more.

What are you doing to build a SUPER brand?

I think the word “brand” can be confusing. So let’s start with a quick example of what “branding” and “a brand story” are by using Superman.

  • Identity… Who are you, or how do we recognize who you are? By your name, logo, colors or images… that tells them who you are in one glance  – We all know Superman (when he is not Clark Kent), because he likes the colors red and blue, wears tight-fitting clothes with a snappy cape, has a cool looking S as his logo and a great tag line, “Man of Steel”. His picture always shows lots of muscles.
  • Valves… These are the core beliefs or values that a business runs by which every employee and customer should ALL know – Superman’s are pretty solid. He fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.
  • Attributes… What makes you a leader in your field? What is your unique sales proposition? Superman’s are clear. Faster than and speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive!  Able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound. Can change the course of mighty rivers and bend steel with his bare hands…. all tying back to his tag line.
  • Positioning… Who are your customers and what are their needs? The “Man of Steel’s” market is the city of Metropolis and his customers are the law-abiding citizens. His services include protecting them from criminals and power-hungry, evil-doing humans and aliens.

Combine these four things together and it becomes your brand story. We all recognize Superman’s brand, know what he believes in, what he can do, how he does it and who he serves. So… do your best customer and/or employees know your brand story?

Is your business “top of mind” when prospects want what you do?

Where to start? You could conduct a full brand audit. That will take time and may require help. Let’s take an easy first step; remember to put your name and logo on EVERYTHING the public sees or leaves your office.

  • Have your proper logo, tag line, phone number and website on everything, both for internal and external consumption.
  • Don’t buy stock photos to promote your business. Pay a professional photographer to take them and be sure they reflect you and your brand.
  • Pound you brand into the public’s heads so it reaches the recesses of their memory. Flash it everywhere you can.

Here’s a partial list:

  • Letterhead and Business Cards
  • Website and URL
  • All Snail-Mail
  • Emails and Attachments
  • Invoices and Statements
  • Literature/Flyers
  • Presentation (PR) Folders
  • PowerPoint Presentation (every slide)
  • Packaging
  • Online engagements (videos, social media, ads etc.)
  • Internal Intranet

BE STRATEGIC NOW ABOUT YOUR FUTURE EXIT STRATEGY

Finally, if you plan to sell your business and want to get the best price, start now on a brand strategy! Project who you are in everything you do. Identify your best acquisition partners and get your brand in front of them early and often.

Your “Brand Story” is not just about impressing new customers, its also about impressing the competition.

More ways to create a higher brand profile.

  • Sponsor industry meetings, events, and charities.
  • Be an industry leader by giving talks and doing speaking engagements.
  • Shoot videos write blogs and newsletters, present webinars… Give your knowledge away.
  • One bold client rented an empty office and put a sign it just so the competition would see it on their way to work every day.
  • Finally, give away quality or more useful promotional items… that always makes them think you are bigger than you are!

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admin on September 30th 2019 in Web Strategy, Web Stuff

4 “Must Have’s” For Your Website

Recently I have been doing website reviews for manufacturing companies in the Los Angeles area. It has been fun to see what the state of internet marketing is, in this group. There are four things I see the most often that, if improved, would make a difference to the number of leads these websites generate.

1. Be Social Media Compliant

Social media has changed the way visitors view your  website. Being active on Facebook may not be important for your business but your website still needs to act in a “social” way. It is what the public expects… to be up-to-date, relevant, conversational and make important information on your website easy to share with others.

This means:

  • Have a Content Management System (CMS) so there is no waiting for the website to be updated…you are in control!
  • On your inside pages, there is meaningful content like: product information; specification; white papers; and industry updates… to make sharing those pages by email or on a social media site a one-step process… look in the right hand corner of this webpage.
  • Have a LinkedIn Profile so you can easily network and have conversations with relevant industry groups… Check out mine.

2. Websites Are Visual – Use Your Own Photography
What makes a beautiful website stand out? Beautiful images. Stock photography is nice but it has a “sameness” that defies “outstanding.” The best websites are built around quality images taken by a professional or created by a skilled Computer Generated Image (CGI) Specialist

3. Phone Number Big and On Every Page

90% of the visitors who come to your site are looking for a phone number. Why make them search for it? It should be at the same visual level as your name and logo. We suggest making it in large type, and placing it in the upper right hand corner of the page-header next to other calls to action like “find a rep” or “get a quote.” I even put the phone number first thing in the meta description (SEO) because you can see it on your page return in Google … See the description under my Google search return.

4. Do the first step in SEO (Search engine Optimization)

Add a title tag to every page of your website.  Go into your website code and add 5-7 keywords in the meta tag section called “title.” This is the text your eye can see at the very top of your browser when your website is open.  It should be unique on every page… Look and see my title tags. It starts with “The Reynolds Group” followed by a string a keywords “Internet Marketing, Marketing Strategy,” etc. It is located above the graphics, phone number, logo and browser tabs.

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admin on September 26th 2014 in Web Strategy

10 Simple Ways To Get Google Juice

Google Juice is the stuff your website needs to achieve higher page ranking.  If your website is a critical lead source for your business, it is best to have an internet strategy that includes more Google Juice or has effective Search Engine Optimization.

Here are the basics:

1. Content Content Content
Fresh content that is relevant and current is the easiest way to have your website perform well on Google search. If adding content is not happening because adding it is hard to do there are easy fixes that are well worth the money.

2. Page Title Tag Not Relevant or Too Long
A page title is the text shown at the top of your browser window. It is also the title of a page as shown in Google search results. It is the most important meta tag and should contain the most important keywords for your website or that website page.
From a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective, make sure every page has a title tag. Then it is good to keep your page titles concise. If your page title is over 70 characters it will dilute the importance of each term in the title.

3. Meta Description Longer Than 150 Characters
Meta description is the second most important meta tag and is important for drawing in visitors from search. The meta description is the text under a page title in search results. Like page titles, meta descriptions will get cut off and replaced by “…” if they are too long.

4. Actual Page Title Not Targeting Realistic Keywords
A key factor in search engine ranking is how closely the title of a page matches the user’s search terms. Avoid unnecessary descriptive words because users don’t actually search for them. Do not use your company name at the start of the page title. The first few words in a page title are the most influential in search engine results. You want people that don’t know about your brand to be able to find you, so using more general industry keywords is important.

5. Page Keywords Are All The Same
Each page on your website is a new opportunity to get found online. You don’t want to waste all these opportunities by reusing the same page titles or internal page keywords.

6. Domain Name Set to Expire Soon
Search engines favor websites that are not set to expire for a long time. Having your domain name registered for the next few years shows committment, and means your website is less likely to be spammy.

7. Images Have No ALT Text
Search engines do not “read” images. They scan primarily for text. Fortunately with the ALT tag, you can associate text with an image. ALT text does not have as much influence on the page keywords as actual text on the page, but is still worth having.

8. Contact Forms Too Lengthy
Contact forms are crucial for converting traffic into leads. However, more traffic will be willing to become a lead if your forms are short and done right. Limit the content of your forms to only the information you need.

9. Too little (or Too Much) Text
Search engines read text better than anything else. So, it’s important to have text on your web page. Knowing this, some people cram as much text as possible into a page. As a result, search engines then struggle to extract the relevant text.

10. Not Using Analytics
Even after you’ve created interesting content on your website, optimized, and converted traffic into leads, your work is not done! If you want your website to be all it can be, you should analyze your results, and refine your SEO strategy accordingly. Google Analytic is free… Use it!

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admin on September 26th 2014 in Web Strategy

Is your Social Media strategy killing your customers ?

Companies are paying big bucks to Social Media consultants and services who are overexposing their business and turning customers off.  Filling up the email box of a prized customer with useless and unwanted information does not endear them. The customer’s natural response is to turn them off!

For the first time in its short history FACEBOOK usage is on the declinePeople are un-linking business pages. They are becoming skeptical and jaded because of its over-use. The public is getting wise to the fact that some businesses “game” the system to their advantage. Read more about this topic here: “Are we killing our customers with engagement?”

Make your SM strategy about your client… not you!
Social Media is not bad… just misused. Proper use will gain new customers and expand your brand. It will keep your customers up-to-date and informed. It is friendly, compelling, and personal — not pushy, second-hand, deceptive, or abrasive.

Social Media has many forms and choosing the right one for your client is critical. Not every Social Media tool will work for every business. However, businesses and customers want and need a marketing tool that allows real-time – two way conversations. Moreover, effective Social Media marketing will improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which will result in higher page ranking on Google and Yahoo.

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admin on October 5th 2011 in Web Strategy

Building Your Brand Will Increase The Value of Your Business

Simon Burrow, a recent speaker at NexGen, a peer-network for business owners and executives, offered advice on how to sell a business. He stated that building and promoting his brand was the single most valuable thing he ever did! Buyers pay more for a brand than for a customer list or operational skills.

What impressed me most about Simon was that he always worked from clear intentions. He wanted to own a business, not own a job. He wanted to sell that business profitably. He determined the price he needed from the business to be comfortable for the rest of his life. He enlisted his employees to help him grow the company, promote the brand and deliver a consistent level of service. He knew who the right buyers would be and got his brand in front of them.
Simon started his business by developing a clean logo and appropriate tag line and never changed it. He put it on every piece of paper or pen they had… and on every division he started. He worked hard to get it in front of his whole audience including customers, vendors, and the natural buyers of his business. He burned it into their consciousness.

He sold his business for the price he wanted. His customers and equipment were absorbed into the acquiring company, but his brand lives on, creating even greater value for the buyer. Everybody won!

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admin on September 8th 2011 in Web Strategy, Web Stuff

Ideas to Increase Business

So your core business is down and sales are flat…what can you do now to get more business?  Look to the internet!

Internet Ideas:

  • If you are not collecting emails from your customers, START NOW. Email communication with customers is the most effective and least costly way to get business.
  • Focus focus focus: Connect your exact product to the right customer using keyword themes (SEO), landing pages, Pay-Per-Click and internet PR.  If they ask the right buying question, don’t distract them with other messages or links.

Non-Internet Ideas:

  • Design a simple telemarketing program to get new names and phone numbers.
  • Mail five – call five: Send a note to 5 new prospects on Monday and call them on Thursday every week.

“NO” just means you have not sold them yet!

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admin on January 31st 2010 in Web Strategy

Web Strategy

Every company needs an internet strategy. Website marketing is not just for consumer products or retail sales. Furthermore, it involves more than just a virtual brochure. It is the living, real-time representation of your entire marketing, sales, public relations and branding programs.

There two types of people who visit your website.

  1. People who know your product and/or services and want answers right away, or
  2. Strangers who search for your site and will linger and be “sold” in the best sense of the word.

The website has less than four seconds to do either.

Advanced web architecture and good planning can meet both visitors’ needs. Whether you are a Retailer or Wholesaler, B to B or B to C, Non-Profit or For-Profit, your website must mean business. It is worth having a plan!

Something to think about:

  • The number one reason people visit a website is to find a phone number.
  • The average purchasing agent spends an average of 5 hours a day on the internet.

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admin on September 20th 2009 in Web Strategy

Think of Internet marketing in dog years

It is commonly said that a dog’s body ages seven years for every twelve months of accrual time.  The same can be said for Internet marketing.  The Internet is moving so fast your current strategy needs revisiting almost as soon as you execute it.  Here is an example using written communication: I graduated from college 30 years ago. The only written communication was using snail mail (the post office). I have three children, ages 21, 24, and 27, who all left the state for college. In 2000, all written communication with my son was by email.  In 2004, all written communication with my middle daughter was IM (Instant Messaging) and email.  Today all written communication with my youngest is texting and on Facebook. She never checks her email…that is old school.  What is your Social Media Strategy for communicating with your clients? Facebook, linkedin and other socal sites are growing…are you part of the scene?

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admin on September 18th 2008 in Web Strategy

Advertising that creates no sales… Is like a hammer that won’t drive nails

Too often websites and traditional marketing are judged and driven by ego, habit, tradition or fear…not by measured results. It is a huge misappropriation of time and money!

 

Print media can take time to analyze. However, on the Internet you can know in 24 hours if a SEM (Search Engine Marketing) program is working. With a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) program you can know in just a few weeks if your efforts are making a difference.  It starts as simply as setting up your site with free analytics from Goggle. http://www.google.com/analytics/ .

 

Important: Take the time to look at web analytics…it is worth the time!

 

Next: Remind your staff to ask either of these simple questions every time a customer calls…”Where did you hear about us?” or “What promoted your call?”

 

Important:  Write down each answer and review them at least once a month! 

 

Finally, every time you communicate with customers, re-read your words and ask the question, “So What?”…or think what’s in it for them

 

Important: Advertising is about the customer…not you.

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admin on September 3rd 2008 in Web Strategy