Web design

Small business marketing: Quality does matter

Posted in Building customer loyalty, Marketing strategies, Social media, Web design Be the first to comment

I just read an interesting round-up of ideas on using video as an effective marketing tool.

Much of the advice consisted of encouragement by experts (and I’m paraphrasing),  to “Just  do it,” with tips on how to spread your video around.

In the comments section, “beenyweenies,” a video marketing professional who did not reveal his or her name or company name, objected strongly, and called most of the suggestions “borderline irresponsible.”

Here are some of “beenyweenies’” key points:

“There is already so much bad video on the internet right now that the world doesn’t need another 50,000 self produced, poorly executed videos of some talking head rambling on…Most of the suggestions seem more geared to appealing to one’s DIY sensibilities, desire to spend nothing on marketing, and our inner narcissism (YOU can be the star in your own video!).

“Beenyweenies” continues: “Even most “professionally” produced videos have a high failure rate if the producers don’t have a solid understanding of video marketing principals….

“There was a time when business owners thought they could get away with slapping together a shoddy website using FrontPage, too. These days, you’d be lucky to get a few dozen hits a month with a site like that, and most business owners wouldn’t dream of doing something so damaging to their brand. Video is no different, which is why I say this article is doing a disservice to its readers.

“People judge a company on the quality of their promotional materials. If your marketing is poorly done, most consumers get a bad feeling about you and move on to a competing provider. There are simply too many choices in the marketplace to get so sloppy with your marketing.”

In the end, marketing, like most else in life, comes down to the advice my father gave to my brother and me while we were growing up: “If you’re going to do something, do it right.”

To read the entire article, and all of the posted comments, click here.

How to attract customers: The best way

Posted in Building customer loyalty, Copywriting and content, E-mail marketing, Marketing strategies, Print materials, Search engine optimization, Social media, Web design Be the first to comment

I get lots of e-mails–as we all do. Most of mine contain information I’ve requested from expert resources in all areas of marketing. Hey, ‘ya gotta keep up!

Just saw a simple explanation of today’s marketing landscape. It was in a white paper on Twitter as a business tool that I downloaded from Hubspot, a company that sells marketing automation software. This paragraph summed up today’s marketing landscape clearly and succinctly:

“Th[e] changing nature of consumers‘ shopping habits means that instead of continuing to push marketing messages out, effective marketers must adapt to consumers‘ new behavior by creating marketing campaigns that pull people in to their business. This strategy is called inbound marketing. Inbound marketers offer useful information, tools, and resources to attract people to their business and its website, while also interacting and developing relationships with consumers on the web…”

Put more simply: Offer information that customers will find interesting and helpful. That way, they’ll see you as a great resource, someone they can trust.  And they’ll want to come to you–to learn more about you and your business.

The bottom line: Don’t waste your money on marketing that focuses on you.  Think about what your customers want and give it to them.

You really can be a customer magnet. Easily and affordably.

To download the Hubspot whitepaper (registration required) click here.

Small business marketing plans encouraging

Posted in Advertising, Building customer loyalty, Copywriting and content, E-mail marketing, Search engine optimization, Web design Be the first to comment

Finally, some good news about small business owners’ outlook for the future. Signs of increasing optimism have finally shown up as concrete numbers.

A study by MerchantCircle during the first quarter of 2011 shows positive expectations on all fronts.

The numbers certainly aren’t of the pop-the-cork variety. But as most of us know–for better or worse–when companies fear for the future, the first budget item to go is marketing.

At long last, small business owners are planning to spend more on marketing in the next few months. That  means they’re encouraged that their revenue will grow in 2011.

Of course, we’re happy to see the study. But that kind of optimism benefits everyone.

Business blogging don’ts

Posted in Advertising, Blogging, Building customer loyalty, Copywriting and content, E-mail marketing, Print materials, Selling tips, Special promotions, Web design Be the first to comment

Whether you’re creating or updating a Website, an e-mail marketing program, printed materials, or engaging in any type of social networking, providing content that your customers want and need is not only essential, but also highly cost effective.

Giving customers marketing materials that focus only on how wonderful your products and services are is a waste of your time and money.

Hubspot, a company that markets business software, offers some solid advice about business blogging. The company recently published a free e-book that highlights 13 mistakes that business bloggers make. Number 1 is not integrating your blog with your Website. Here’s number 2 :

“Mistake:
The content you publish on your blog is too heavily focused on you – your products, services, achievements, and why you’re awesome – and it’s seriously lacking thought leadership.

“Why It Hurts:
If people are visiting your blog expecting to find educational content and all they find is you talking about how great your products and services are, you’re not going to accomplish the same goals or attract as many readers as you would if you published thought leadership-based content.”

Amen.

To read or download the free 13 Business Blogging Mistakes & Their Easy Fixes, (registration required),  click here.

A professional-looking Web site reassures buyers

Posted in Copywriting and content, Web design Be the first to comment

Building trust onlineWeb Marketing Today is one of the online publications I read regularly. This morning, a guest column by copywriting expert Jeff Sexton caught my eye. The column was about buyer anxiety and the importance of overcoming it. Here’s part of what Jeff wrote:

“People want to feel good about the people and organizations with whom they do business. A decent Web design, professional logos, and an overall feel of professionalism does a lot to minimize buyer anxiety in this area.

“Back in, say, 2005 you could get away with a fairly amateurish website from a design standpoint, so long as your messaging and offer were strong. That’s no longer the case today.

“People expect sound design as a matter of course. If your site doesn’t measure up, you instantly raise buyer anxiety and suspicion, and persuasion becomes an uphill battle from there.”

Of course, it takes more than a professional-looking Web site to make buyers feel comfortable buying from you. But meeting you online is similar to meeting you in person: First impressions really do matter.

To read the entire column, click here.