Smart Business These Days is Embracing Design!
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Archive for May, 2013

Smart Business These Days is Embracing Design!

Posted on: May 24, 2013 by in Web Design
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Okay, so take a guess: how much time do you think it takes the average person to form a first impression upon landing on your webpage? A study by researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in 2012 discovered that it takes all of two-tenths of a second to garner that impression. This makes your design ever so much more vital, as your visitors indeed have choices, and if they are less than bowled over by your design elements, you can be assured they will seek more appealing pastures. This is also a big trust factor with your visitors: a poor design will frequently lead to the inevitable feeling that there may be other parts of your business that are just as shoddy.

How can we promote good design?

The very first thing to do is to give this some thought. The competition has. Using a plan for presenting your brand and products to the world is largely accomplished by a carefully thought-out plan. Another significant finding in that study was that your logo gets the most attention, followed closely by images and social interaction. The visual elements matter a lot! Now that we have an understanding, there are essentially no excuses left, as now cost is not any longer a viable excuse for getting good design work done. The advent of crowdsourcing sites like 99Designs, CrowdSpring and others have made what used to be prohibitively expensive for small business, a very affordable item.

How are the benefits?

The advantages of good design in your business are many and sometimes intangible. While a visual overhaul of your website is fairly obvious, other items like product packaging, your print and web advertising, and even site graphics are now being shared, Pinned and ReTweeted from your webpages. We are observing each day just how much this can impact your site’s reach and customer base. What’s more, that special feeling that visitors get when viewing an excellent design may be hard to quantify, however when your site’s traffic increase and sales increase for no other apparent reason, you’ll be very glad you took a long look at your visual design elements today!

How to Get Your Customers to Open your Emails!

Posted on: May 21, 2013 by in Email Marketing
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Improving the email open rates of your existing list is very high on the list of best ways to improve your bottom line easily. It’s much easier to market to someone that has done business with you than to acquire a new customer, and requires not nearly as much work as you might think. With an industry average of around 27.4 percent, it’s very important to understand your open rates, and how you can improve upon them.

Toward that end, here are 10 top tips for enhancing your email open rates.

  1. Write something you would read – Creating terrific content is undoubtedly the best way to get your email opened and read.
  2. Length & timing – We’re all busy, and lengthy emails that wander and fail to get to the point are hardly ever looked forward to. Furthermore, not using optimum sending times doesn’t help.
  3. Use your subject line wisely – This is the single biggest element that influences if your email gets opened. Spend some time to craft great, non-spammy subject lines.
  4. Make good use of your first line – Like the preceding, the first line of your email, often populated with something like, “If you don’t see any images in this message…” is visible in their inbox. This also is valuable space, and don’t waste it!
  5. Give them what they really want! – Make sure to make an effort to provide solutions.
  6. Offer great deals and savings – Everyone loves to save a little and your email is a fantastic platform to pass on any deals or specials your business is offering.
  7. Teach – Presumably they are viewing your email and or newsletter because they want to learn something from you. Don’t disappoint!
  8. Be entertaining – Don’t be StatMan. Don’t be scared to inject humor, wit, and a bit of controversy now and then.
  9. Make your “From” line recognizable – Having your company name or the person who is branded as the sender imparts trust.
  10. Be sure and resend your unopened email – Very easy to do, resending your unopened email is a simple technique to increase your open rates.

5 Social Media Mistakes That Will Sink Your Campaigns!

Posted on: May 17, 2013 by in Uncategorized
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Social media marketing for your small business is tough enough without shooting yourself in the foot. Self-induced social faux pas are easy to commit, and difficult to overcome. Social media is not just necessary to include, but crucial to get right! Even though 74 percent of brand marketers saw an increase in website traffic after investing just 6 hours per week on social media, whereas another 83 percent have abandoned a purchase after a bad or non-existent customer service incident. (Creotivo.com)

So to help you ward off the mistakes that could be looming in your social media marketing, here are five social media mistakes to be sure to avoid!

  1. Not engaging with your audience – Ensure you are actively engaging your social media visitors. Ask questions, conduct polls, share funny stories (hopefully somewhat relevant) and ask their thoughts: they’ll gladly provide them, and you’ll be far wiser and closer to your goals in a number of ways.
  2. Boring, unexciting content – If you can’t work up any excitement about your brand, you won’t get anyone else to, either. Impart passion for your brand, enthusiasm about what you’re doing, and you’ll find this really is contagious. Generating a buzz about your business starts off with you!
  3. Always promoting – Nobody wants to be continually sold to, and social media is littered with businesses that have tried. Aim to develop relationship and trust first, and then it will be much easier to send an occasional selling message.
  4. Not responding to customers – Sometimes companies are so busy either touting themselves or their products, they completely ignore or miss customers and prospects posting their concerns, questions or complaints on these very platforms! What goodwill or brand awareness you have can be destroyed very quickly by ignoring your customer service opportunities!
  5. No coherent social media strategy – Not having, or not knowing why, you’re using social media is a recipe for floundering, and wasting a great deal of time and money. Moreover, not every business is well-suited to every platform, so give this some thought.

We’ll leave you with a link to a great example of what NOT to do! In an example that’s being shared widely, (much to their chagrin) the food site Epicurious. After the recent Boston marathon bombing, they sent out these unfortunate tweets.

Protect Your Online Reputation in 5 Easy Steps

Posted on: May 13, 2013 by in Reputation
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We’ve all seen how quickly word travels these days, and nowhere is that more important to your business than in the realm of your online reputation. What took you several years to build can be shattered in seconds. Just in case you’re not up to speed on why exactly your online reputation matters so much, let’s look at a few statistics. Cone Communications has found that a full 89 percent of consumers view online channels as trustworthy sources, and that 80 percent have actually changed their decision about purchasing after seeing a negative review. Not just that, but your own social media accounts is where the action is! The Society for Communications Research informs us that another 72 percent report researching companies through their social channels before making purchasing decisions, and 59% use these same social sites to let the world learn about their frustrations about you and your customer service.

5 Quick Ways to protect your online reputation

  1. Check your online reputation regularly – Google yourself and your company name at least once per month. Create Google alerts to notify you if there are any mentions of your names or brand. Easy, free and necessary.
  2. Claim your online property – Someone that is intent on doing you or your business harm can do a lot with your name. Make sure to buy your company’s domain name, or your personal one, and prevent at least having them show up in Google by virtue of an exact match name.
  3. Be active on your social networks – Beyond claiming your profile on the major social sites, also make an effort to use them regularly. Being present can help you see and minimize potential problems easily.
  4. Deal with any unfavorable content quickly – Do your very best to deal with negative postings and complaints expeditiously. Try hard to get in touch with the poster directly, offline if possible, and see if you’re able to handle their concerns. DON’T get in to a flaming match online. You’ll be the loser.
  5. Be careful what you put online – Those lovely pictures of you and the staff partying hard are not what you want to show up in a business context.

We live in a fast-paced, information driven world. Be sure you’re on top of it to successfully manage your online reputation!