30 of January

Website Fundementals

By Brian Jacob

What’s a website main purpose? It’s really just 2 things. To provide you with information, or to sell you something. It’s your digital storefront. So when a client or prospective client has a website that doesn’t do those 2 things well, I have a sit-down with them to address the basics of Website Fundamentals.

The 6 most important things your website should tell people:
1- Who I am.
2- What I do.
3- Why I’m the best or relevant.
4- Who else buys from me or uses my service.
5- What I cost.
6- How to get in touch.

You can do most of this on your own. Sit down and write it out. Then apply them to your website. A great agency will help you represent these 6 main ideals in such an effective manner that you should be able to beat out your competitors.

“Web marketing is about delivering useful content at just the precise moment the buyer needs it.” – David M. Scott

9 times out of 10, If I’ve found my way to your website, it’s because I had a need for a product or service your company provides, and my search engine pushed me to you. CLOSE ME! Make me a customer! If you do not, you have failed at the easiest way to create revenue. It’s like buying a car. When you have someone standing on the lot, you know they need a car. No ones walks around car dealerships just for fun… okay some people do!

So when my need for your service has been identified, you need to do everything in your power to convince me that I’m exactly where I should be. If not, I’m gone! It’s that fast on the internet. I hit back, and select the 2nd result, and if that company can’t sell me, I hit back and select the 3rd result, and so on till I find a company to take my money.

The web makes it that easy. Google/Yahoo/Bing or whoever your favorite search engine is, has only one purpose… Return a result that you find to be satisfactory.

So how can we fix that for you. Audit your website and answer these questions:

Do you tell me what you do on your website. Concisely and in under 7 seconds. (“We sell the best pizza in Miami.” “We are the largest automotive reseller in the northeast!”)

Do you have a clear call to action.
(Call, Enter, Fill, Buy Now)

Do you state why you are best, what differentiates you.
(We are cheaper, Faster, Better, Safer because…)

Case studies/Success Stories.
(Testimonials, Videos)

Do you create an emotional connection to audience. Do you seem real to them. (Emotion Leads to Action. Reasons lead to conclusions. Does your marketing: make me think, make me laugh or make me cry?)

Are you turning your existing customers into evangelists for your cause? (“People share, read and generally engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced through friends & people they know and trust.” Get people sharing and evangelizing for you)

Are you providing relevant content or blogging?
(Companies that blog weekly grow twice as fast as those that blog once per month. Companies that blog more than weekly grow an additional 50 percent faster. You become the higher authority on the content of your industry. Which leads to new Customers, Loyalty & Evangelism)

Have you optimized your experience specifically for mobile?
(Did you know that 63% of web browsing is done on mobile, and that 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. 4 out of 5 consumers use their phones to buy. If you do not have an easy to experience mobile website, you’ve lost 63% of your potential customers.)

While great agencies such as ourselves can help you achieve this, half of it can be done on your own with simple tweaks. When you need to take it to the next level, call on a company you can trust. Remember, great companies are constantly learning and watching the internet evolve. Marketing experiments show varied levels of effectiveness all the time. Sometimes the color of a button can be the difference between buy and don’t buy.

Apply these simple techniques and watch your business grow.

30 of January

Branding, Authenticity, Evangelism, & Content.

By Brian Jacob

Is your Branding building awareness? Are you authentic. Do you feel real with your audience. Have you built evangelists to share your stories. Do you have client reviews on your website? And above all, are you consistently providing relevant content on your site that demonstrates your authority in your field.

-Branding. Is your logo memorable. Does it leaving a lasting impression or create brand awareness?

There are companies out there that leave such a lasting impression that seeing just a small portion of their logo makes the brand recognizable.  I’m certain you can all identify each of the brands above by seeing just the portions shown! That’s the power of branding.

How about your marketing and advertising. A lot of new companies think they need something that will have global appeal before they get off the ground. But you need to plan for the zip code first, then the town, then the county, then the state before you reach nationwide or global success.

Don’t be scared of altering your branding as you hit milestone changes in your success. Almost all Fortune 500 companies have done it.

If one of the richest men in the world can allow the logo of one of the most valuable companies in the world to be changed this many times… so can you. Or take a look at the most commonly thought of brand selling coffee at a premium:

Your brand should be you, but evolve with your company’s constantly “growing-changing-demanding” audience.

Branding will remain one of the most important things you must get right when starting your company. At the end of the day, there are so many great businesses that die because no-ones heard about them, and on the flip side, there are some crappy businesses out there that survive because everyone’s heard of them.

-Authenticity is a very important thing. Small businesses that demonstrate they know their consumer better, and a builder better products to compete with the titans are winning. Take for instance, Uber vs Cab companies, DollarShaveClub vs Gillette, Huffington Post vs Traditional News Papers, Netflix/Hulu vs Cable Companies, or even Netflix vs Blockbuster. If you can show that your content is really valuable and authentic to your user, you can in fact beat out the big guys.

Authenticity can be the little things. Take real pictures… STOP using stock photos that closely resemble what you want to represent. It’s not hard. Grab a camera, take a pic, and use a filter. You’re much better off than grabbing fake pictures off the internet.

Authenticity also requires engagement. If you put out great content, and potential customers or fans engage with you on that topic, you must engage back. Don’t make it feel like a robot posts for you. Talk to your audience, build a thread of engaging conversation. Customers value this. Above all, respond to negative feedback. Customers usually hate just a small piece of the experience. Fix it for them. A simple response or gesture can turn a negative review into positive evangelism. Which leads me to my next point.

-Evangelism. It’s more important than ever these days, because it transcends the spoken referral. We have Social Media, review sites, a forwarded email, and more. Evangelists are free spokespeople for your brand. They are often happy to share you because they want to. And that share can spread your thoughts to millions of people quickly. “People share, read and generally engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced through friends & people they know and trust.”

On Facebook only 1.5% will see a Facebook Page post unless you boost it, but 33% of your friends will see it if you share it on a personal page. So if you have 10,000 fans on Facebook, you get 150 eyeballs on that post. If you have 10 fans share the post on their personal page with each fan having an average of 500 friends, you have 1,650 views. See the difference. 10 loyal fans are more important than 10,000 people that hit like on your fan page.

How can you build great Evangelists?
1. Keep all of your customers as happy as possible.
2. Go above and beyond to be helpful to your customers.
3. Respond & Act on any feedback that’s been given. It’s often after this moment that Evangelists are born.
4. Listen to your customers. They use your product/service. They are best positioned to have advice on how to better it.
Quality content is important. Not only does content allow you to provide your customers with knowledge about your products or services, it helps Google decide you Search Engine Optimization Fate. The more relevant content you provide, the more valuable you are to Google as a quality result.

Above all, you become a higher authority on your subject. Google’s new algorithms penalize you for have keywords stuffed into content that has no actual relevance to the subject of your post or to your audience. But if you provide quality content, engaging your audience to stay longer on your website, Google rewards you.

Content also helps you stay relevant and authentic. If you can’t provide meaningful stories, experiences, or expertise on your products, how good can you actually be? Ask yourself that when you decide to share posts online, or hire companies to fake it for you. Take a serious stance on providing quality content and you will reap the rewards from both your customers and from Search Engines.