Website Design

Why Having Both a Website and a Facebook Page is a No-Brainer

In today’s world of immense online presence and digital content, maintaining both a website and Facebook Page for your business may seem like you’re doing the same work twice. However silly it may seem to set up both, the two platforms service distinctly different purposes and are vital to reaching your ideal clients.

If you’re ready to establish, grow, and maintain a thriving online presence, consider the reasons why having a website is important even though you have a Facebook Page.

1. A Website is Customizable

No matter what website platform you pick, you can customize your page to your specific needs. Media, content, layout, design, it’s all yours to play with and accentuate your specialties. A website is a must-have if your business wants to stand out online and have a branded home-base for your followers.

2. The Facebook Timeline Fades Into the Ether

As you share relevant content and products with your followers on Facebook, you’ll notice everything gets pushed down the timeline. Eventually, followers will have to go on a wild goose hunt to find older (but still relevant) content. That means Facebook is ideal for reaching followers for of-the-moment events, sales, and hype. Not so much for evergreen news. Use your website to highlight your best items and written pieces while your Facebook Page highlights trending topics.

3. Facebook Lets You Reach Ideal Clients Faster

Your Facebook Page for business is connected to a giant web of other businesses harnessing the power of social media. Use it wisely. There are numerous ways to connect with similar businesses and ideal clients. Start interacting with them. “Like” other relevant business pages and comment across their activity. Your genuine interest won’t go unnoticed.

Contact us to start your social media journey.

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How to Make a Great First Impression Online

We all know the saying, “You have only one chance to make a good first impression.” If this holds true in all areas of life, how much more so does it apply online, where a bad first impression will make visitors leave your site and not follow through on your call-to-actions. Here are a number of things to keep in mind when trying to make a great first impression online.

Know Your Target Audience

You need to know your target audience and what they are looking for. Once you know that, you can design your site so that the first thing they see is something that will keep them hooked. It’s not enough to be unique; you need to show a uniqueness relevant to your target audience.

Have a Great UX

A great UX, or user experience, is one of the most important aspects of web design. If your site loads slowly, visitors will lose patience and click the “back” button. If there is no navigational menu, visitors will know no way of navigating to the pages you want them to. Your website should be easy and fun to use.

You Need Social Testimony

One of the factors that people, perhaps subconsciously, use to determine a business’s value is its social influence. If people see that your Facebook fan page has only a few likes, their perception of your business will not be a respectable one. The same goes for Twitter followers. You can use Facebook advertising to gain Facebook likes, and being active on Twitter, including using popular hashtags, is a great way to get exposure and followers. You can also follow people in the hope that they will follow you back. Encouraging customers to leave great reviews is also included in this category.

For more tips on how to be successful online, please contact us.

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Importance of Mobile Responsive Websites

You already know that your customers are online, searching for you or someone like you to fulfill their needs. That’s why you have a stellar website. However, it doesn’t stop there. It’s also essential that your website has a mobile-friendly responsive design.

Customers are moving away from their big screens, unplugging their cords, and moving. More and more, people use their phones, tablets, and even E-book readers to access information, connect with people, and shop for goods and services.

For this reason, every business owner should make sure his or her website is responsive. A responsive website design is one that is compatible with mobile devices. But, it has to do more than just work. It has to load fast. It has to look and feel streamlined instead of disjointed and clunky.

The rules of capturing your readers apply here as much as they do on a PC or laptop: you have mere seconds to attract customers and convince them that they want you. If your website takes a long time to load, or if the content is jumbled and difficult to read, your potential customer will keep moving on. Instant gratification and convenience is what people seek. They will get it, no matter if they’re using a computer or a mobile phone. Make sure your website is responsive and ready to wow mobile device users.

Having a mobile-friendly responsive website has never been more important for businesses. An attractive website that both functions well and looks appealing on mobile devices shines a big, bright light on your business.

If you’d like more information about responsive designs and how they help elevate businesses, please contact us.

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3 Steps to Determine if an E-commerce Site is Right For Your Business

I was hanging out with some friends the other night. We were all gathered around a television. 4 friends were staring at their mobile devices. 2 friends were typing away on lap tops. It’s safe to say we are spending a ton of time on our digital devices. That includes purchasing products and services right on the devices.

From a business perspective, as an owner you are looking at whether an e-commerce enabled website is a good investment. We will discuss 3 steps to determine if it is:

1) Analyze what you are selling & understand the buying behavior.

It’s good to understand how your typical customer behaves. For example, if you are selling tee shirts, you can put yourself in your customer’s shoes and begin to understand they buy shirts online and with their phones.

Alternatively, if you have a sprinkler service, you can begin to understand that most people will do a Google search and then call. In this case, an e-commerce site may not generate incremental value.

2) Understand the Complexity of Your Product/Service

If you are selling a product or service that has complexity, you may want to hold off on an e-commerce site. Take a look at the typical sales process and cycle. Do you get a significant amount of questions? Are these answers easy to convey online? Does your sales process require many touches with difficult technical information? These are the types of questions to ask to understand the complexity. If you have a simpler product or service, it may be a good fit for an e-commerce site.

3) Are you willing to commit to paid advertising to your e-commerce site?

Facebook Ads provide incredible opportunities to really target your ideal customer and then drive them to your e-commerce site to convert into sales. Are you willing to invest the resources to really play well in the e-commerce arena?

By looking at these 3 steps, you can determine if an e-commerce site is right for your business. Please contact us for more help in determining if an e-commerce website is right for your small business.

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Keeping Your Outdated Website Reflects Poorly on Your Business

A building that looks a century old suggests a business that’s reliable and trustworthy, but a website that looks ten years old conveys that its owner doesn’t care very much. It may seem unfair, but if people’s first reaction is “That looks out of date,” they’re likely to take their business elsewhere. A site that consists of a headline, a big block of text, a couple of stock pictures, and some footer links will make people feel as if the dust will make them sneeze. To bring in customers, you need an up-to-date look.

Style is a big factor, but the way people use the Web has changed too. Social media have become more important. The majority of Web access now comes from mobile devices, especially phones. A site that’s designed just for a big monitor will look terrible on a smartphone’s screen.

The word for websites that work on all kinds of devices is “responsive.” They respond to the browser environment by adapting the way they present content. A three-column layout may shrink down to one. A huge image will fit the small screen’s dimensions.

Splash pages — ones that just post a greeting and ask users to click for any actual information — went out with the Model T. A home page should give people the basic information about your site.

Links that don’t work are deadly. If your site links to places that don’t exist any more, people may wonder if your own business still does.

Social media are important. If you have social media accounts (and you should), link to them. Followers will remember your site. Also provide buttons to let people mention you on their accounts. Free publicity is nice.

With a seriously outdated website, it’s better to rebuild it from the ground up than to apply a few fixes. Your site’s design needs to reflect a thriving business that’s interested in its customers and in touch with the latest technology. Please contact us to learn how we can help give your site a modern look that will put it ahead of the competition.

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Traditional advertising agencies vs. digital marketing agencies

Have you been looking for help with your marketing? Your online presence plays a big factor in your marketing success.

What’s the difference between a digital marketing agency and a traditional advertising agency? A lot. However, many traditional advertising agencies claim to offer a full suite of digital services, when, in fact, they do not.

This isn’t a big secret. But, traditional ad agency sales pitches can seem like smoke and mirrors, hiding the fact that they are not capable of providing true digital marketing services such as search engine optimization (SEO), social marketing, and efficient website redesign and development– and let’s not forget the ever more critical content and UX strategy now necessary for any brand to truly succeed online.

This is why you see award winning creative ads, like the Susan G. Komen Addy Gold winning “Race Never Ends” by GSW with so few YouTube view counts (862 at last check after over 12 months online). The ad is remarkable, it makes an impact, it stirs your soul on an emotional level and may actually persuade you to donate or join the race – but where is it online? Perhaps that wasn’t the intent or strategy behind the ad, but if not, why not? Clearly the ad would have done very well online and the Komen Foundation would have been better served to hire a true digital marketing agency to ensure the video also had an impact online.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the past year’s DoGooder award winners on YouTube. Watch the videos and then find their website’s and the campaigns behind them. Video is just one element of a successful marketing and advertising strategy in today’s segmented digital marketing world. Same goes for your website, your social marketing platform or your direct mail piece. Every element of your brand’s marketing needs to be built for digital in one way or another, and the truth is, most traditional agencies simply can’t offer digital services.

To that end, many brands are now pairing agencies together, rather than turning to one traditional agency for all of their services or to one digital agency. If you’re a CMO, marketing director or brand manager, I don’t need to tell you how expensive hiring the wrong agency can be. Sure, there’s the dollar figure and investment, but even more costly is the time lost. In digital, every day you’re not truly optimizing your brand online is a day lost to the competition that you’ll never gain back. That’s why you have to hire the best digital marketing agency. End of story.

Check these scenarios. If you’re in one of them, there’s a solution below.

You’re bound to a large traditional agency by contract or political obligation.

Hire a digital agency to compliment their work with an audit or content strategy. Depending on the size of your website, these audits and content strategies cost between $300-$3,000. A small price to pay to ensure the traditional agency’s beautiful creative work actually succeeds online. Digital agencies, like ours, play very well with traditional agencies.

You love your traditional agency and don’t want to offend them by questioning their work.

First of all, you’re being too nice. This is your business and/or your career and if your agency isn’t bringing in the results you’ve spelled out then it’s okay to question the quality of their work. Now, clearly, there are always egos involved and  for a true agency partnership to succeed your approach as the client is paramount to that success. Introduce the idea of a digital agency audit as something that can help the traditional agency’s team to succeed. And be sure to choose a digital agency that will play nice with your traditional agency. Make it clear to both sides that the relationship will not be a pissing match or competition for the other’s work. “I’m happy with your agency for this reason, but we need this agency for this reason. Play nice, or I’ll have to find an agency that can do both.”

You can’t afford to hire both a traditional and digital agency, but your brand has to perform online.

Skip the traditional agencies all together, and explore a relationship with a creative digital marketing agency like Speaking Socially. We are a full service advertising agency with digital marketing at our core. So, the digital is in the bag and the traditional is just gravy. Your campaigns are then designed from the outset to perform offline and online.

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