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Now that Spring is in full swing and first quarter is in the rearview mirror, it’s a great time to take a long, hard look at one of your company’s greatest marketing assets… your website. There are over 5 billion searches on Google every day. A percentage of those people searching may be looking for EXACTLY what your company does. Therefore, it’s important that your website not only shows up in their search, but that it compels them to click on the link and keeps them engaged while they’re on your site. After all, the average person only has an attention span of EIGHT SECONDS according to Microsoft. That’s why you need to have attention-grabbing content on your site. Here are just a few suggestions of ways you can Spring Clean your website so that it’s functioning at its optimum level in time for summer…

Time for Some Repairs

When’s the last time you visited your website? This should be a regular practice for you and other members of your team. While you’re there, check to make sure all your images are showing up and that there are no broken links. Even one broken link could suggest to your visitors that you’re not on top of your game. After all, your website is an online extension of your company and you want all first impressions to be positive ones. Even if – after you make it through the rest of this list – you decide a complete refresh is in order, a little maintenance will go a long way in the interim.

The 5-Second Rule x 3 for Websites

We’ve all heard of the 5-second rule where dropped food is concerned. Pick it up before 5 seconds has passed, blow it off and enjoy – right?!?!  Well, unless you’re looking to drop 55% of all visitors to your site, you have approximately 15 SECONDS to grab their attention and keep them engaged. To improve your average “dwell time,” you need to make sure your graphics and content are engaging and that your messaging is spot on. Improving your UX/UI design (user experience/user interface) should be a major component of your website refresh.

Are You Hitting Your Target?

One issue many companies run into is that by trying to be all things to all people, their brand image gets muddied and they have trouble connecting with their target audience. Some companies aren’t entirely sure WHO their target audience is. To have a website that’s serving as one of the strongest tools in your company’s marketing and sales arsenal, you’ve got to nail down your target audience and create content/messaging that’s geared primarily towards them. If your current content is too ambiguous, it’s definitely time for a refresh.

Embrace the S-Word… SEO!

There’s been some confusion in the industry whether SEO is a dying art form or if it’s still vital to a website’s success. According to Target Marketing Magazine, while some of the tactics have changed over the years, Search Engine Optimization is still alive and well. The publication suggests a number of important tools to give your current site an SEO checkup, such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, Yoast SEO, Bing Webmasters Tools and more. If, after a little analyzing, you find that your website is NOT getting it done in the SEO department, it’s well-worth the investment to partner with a digital marketing agency that offers website design and SEO among its specialties.

Big Screen to Small Screen

Just as some people prefer to view their Summer Blockbusters on the big screen (complete with buttered popcorn) and others prefer to wait until it comes out on DVD so they can view it on the small screen at home (in their PJs), the same holds true for internet exploring. Mobile traffic was responsible for 52.2 percent of Internet traffic in 2018 — that’s up nearly two percentage points from the year prior and those numbers are expected to climb even higher in the years to come. How does your website measure up when viewed on a mobile device?  If it’s not great, you either need to make responsive design part of your website refresh OR have a dedicated mobile site designed. Not sure that it’s worth the investment? Well…. according to Nectafy, 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.

How Are Sales?

If you had a salesperson on staff who was not making his or her quota, their job would be in trouble. You should apply that same logic to your website. If you have an e-commerce element on your site that’s not getting the job done, you might want to completely revamp the system. First explore WHY it’s not getting the job done. Is your online store not prominently featured on your current site? Is it not easy to use? Are the images/copy not compelling enough? Your redesign should DRIVE customers either to your brick-and-mortar location or to your online store and close the sale.

Call in Reinforcements

Given the fact that your website should be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal, getting it in tip-top shape shouldn’t be a one-person job. Assign a committee – or if you have a smaller staff, the whole team – to comb through your current site and list what they love/don’t love about it. Also have them recommend sites that they like and why. Be careful not to fall into the “death by committee” trap, though. Ask for their help initially, but then keep all decisions related to your website refresh (or redesign, if determined that’s needed) to just a few key team members. If you hire an agency to aid with your refresh, you should have one or two “point people” they can look to in order to keep the project moving along. Plan a “reveal” party for all the team members who initially weighed in with their thoughts as thanks for their contributions.

If you DO decide to go all in on your website refresh, you might want to consider adding video and/or a blog if you haven’t already and optimizing your site for voice search (a rapidly growing trend) – among other things. Don’t try to go it alone, either. Partner with a skilled digital marketing agency – like Atlanta’s Woodall Creative Group – to serve as your online Sherpa and elevate your company’s digital game.

Sources: https://www.websitehostingrating.com/internet-statistics-facts/

http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/

http://time.com/12933/what-you-think-you-know-about-the-web-is-wrong/

https://www.nectafy.com/blog/mobile-marketing-trends-mash-up

Top 10 SEO Tools for 2019 – Target Marketing Magazine

Internet Stats & Facts for 2019 – HostingFacts.com

Although marketing is an extremely wise investment when trying to build your company’s unique brand image and grow your bottom line, client base and reputation in the marketplace, not all forms of marketing call for large sums of cash to help get your story out there. As a marketing agency with more than 25 years, dozens of awards and a diverse roster of clients to its credit, Woodall Creative Group has not only guided its clients into using cost-effective – and sometimes cost-free – marketing tools, but has also applied all of the following tips to grow their own business. So let’s count down the 10 Marketing Tips That Don’t Cost a Dime:

  1. Be Proactive in the Marketing of Your Business: The first – and most important – bit of advice regarding marketing is to DO IT! All too often, companies allow the marketing of their brand to take a backseat to more pressing matters – only to learn later that they should have never taken their foot off the gas. Plan a marketing calendar – keeping it active and fairly steady year-round with spikes in activity leading into your most lucrative months or seasons. Never fly by the seat of your pants – your company’s success is far too important for that.
  2. Identify and Leverage your Competitive Advantage: Really focus on what makes your company special. What sets it apart from the competition? Next, ask yourself “What do prospective clients have to gain from this advantage?” Are you the least expensive or most experienced? Do you provide top-notch customer service or a proprietary product? Do you offer extended hours or specialized services? While gaining insights to your own business, become a student of your competitors in order to discover what you can do or provide that they cannot and then weave it into all of your messaging – from copy on your website to prospect communications to talking points at network events. Make your competitive advantage an integral part of your overall brand and remain consistent in your use of that advantage in all digital and traditional marketing.
  3. Make Sure Prospective Customers Can Find You: Did you know that nearly half of U.S. adults said they have Googled someone before doing business with them? With so much research being conducted online before a prospect ever picks up a phone or sets foot inside your brick-and-mortar location, you need to make sure your company is listed anywhere and everywhere possible. There are a wide variety of free options, such as social media sites, city business directories and websites like Google Local, YellowPages.com, BizHwy.com and more. If you’re a member of a Chamber of Commerce or industry-specific organization, make sure your company is listed in their online directory. Take care to research keywords that will help get your company noticed and weave them into your business description in every directory and take full advantage of each listing – filling out as much information as you can in hopes of driving traffic to your website and through your front door.
  4. They Like You, They Really Like You: You know when you’ve had a great customer interaction, or when they’ve had a positive experience. Don’t be shy! Ask for a positive review. If your company is set up for reviews on Facebook, ask your customers to share their experience with others. If you are on a site like Yelp, TripAdvisor or an industry-specific review site, ask them to review you there. Did you know that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation and 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more? It’s worth it to ask, and it might make that customer feel special to know they’re doing something to help a local small business. Even better, the best reviews can be repurposed as client testimonies for use on your website, in social media posts, in newsletters, as references to potential clients and more!
  5. Word of Mouth Still Reigns Supreme: In addition to reviews, you can also ask your best customers to serve as ambassadors and directly refer your company to friends, family, business associates, neighbors, church members, anyone and everyone who will listen. You can also take it one step further and look to your affiliates to do the same in a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” spirit of doing business. Related companies within the same or similar industries make great referrals, such as a dentist referring a patient to an orthodontist, an architect referring a client to an engineer or builder, etc… Make relationship building a major part of your marketing strategy. If you don’t have a referral rewards program in place, considering adding one to cultivate and reward referrals. Fostering a solid referral stream is one of the most effective ways to grow a business.
  6. Set Your Sights on Being an Industry Expert: It’s not enough to be the best at what you do – you have to let others know that you’re the best at what you do. Start positioning your company and members of its leadership team as experts in your industry. Create a personal brand for each expert in your company. Network, write blogs, create webinars, book speaking engagements, submit your work for awards, offer yourself as a source for local journalists and more in order to share your knowledge and grow your brand.
  7. Narrow Down Your Target Audience: While casting a wider net CAN work in catching customers, it’s far from ideal. Instead, really drill down to define your target audience – for instance, companies that might benefit from a relationship with your company. Identify the “Top 20” with which you’d like to get a foot in the door to start. Become familiar with each of their businesses and all of the key players you’d like to reach. When you do market to them, do so in a personal, authentic and approachable way while conveying your all-important brand image and communicating CLEARLY why they should do business with you.
  8. The Show Must Go On: Once you’ve narrowed down your target audience and begun making contact, meetings with prospects should soon follow. But don’t just hand over a proposal, thank them for their time and be on your merry way at the end of the meeting. Use this opportunity to set a date for the NEXT meeting. Before the next meeting takes place, keep the dialogue going in order to stay top of mind for that prospect and continue to build on that initial relationship. Chances are, you’re not the ONLY one in your industry with whom they’ve set a meeting. Stay in the game by sending a follow-up email and/or making a follow-up call, sharing relevant blogs, adding them to your e-newsletter database and more. All of these can be pre-designed and set to a schedule so it doesn’t require a lot of extra thought on your part. Just make sure these follow-ups feel fresh and personalized, rather than canned.
  9. Place an Emphasis on Long-Term Client Retention: In the pursuit of new customers, the existing customer is sometimes lost in the mix. A large part of your marketing calendar should include marketing to CURRENT customers with a goal of building long-term relationships. Let them know you appreciate them. BUILD on that existing relationship by offering additional services that could benefit them. After all, a happy customer is one of the best marketing tools you can have!
  10. Market, Rinse, Repeat: Once your marketing calendar is starting to wind down, it’s time to start building another one. Don’t take your eye off the ball. Track what elements worked and what didn’t. For those that didn’t work as well as you’d hoped, ask yourself WHY and consider tweaking those elements in hopes of achieving better results the next go-around. Build your new marketing calendar to be even stronger and more robust that the last.

When you ARE ready to invest part of your annual budget into marketing – from cutting edge digital means to tried-and-true traditional methods and everything in between – Woodall Creative Group welcomes the opportunity to add your company to our growing list of satisfied customers!

Statistics Source

Is it better to be a small fish in a big pond (where you risk getting gobbled up by bigger fishes) OR to be a big fish in a small pond? It’s a question more and more brands are asking themselves these days. Continuous evolution is the key to survival. Take for instance the recent, tragic case of Toys “R” Us, Inc. One might believe that they had found their niche as THE biggest toy store chain in the world. Unfortunately, its inability to evolve due to mismanaged debt and growing competition from retailers like Walmart have apparently led to its untimely demise – at least here in the U.S. When you read the lamenting tales of bloggers and journalists who grew up as “Toys “R” Us Kids,” it’s clear that the final blow to Toys “R” Us’ success was something deeper… they lost that personal touch – that ability to connect with its audience and make them believe that they, too, should be a “Toys “R” Us Kid.”

The American Marketing Association (AMA) suggests that “as personalization increases, brands will find growth opportunities in niches rather than mass markets.” Trying to be everything to everyone is seemingly only working for Amazon these days. Personalized marketing involves a combination of data analysis and digital technology to deliver personal, targeted messaging to current and prospective customers. In doing so in an effective way, sometimes your niche finds YOU. Through tracking, it should become clear who is responding and to what they are responding. One way to go about it might be to use that knowledge to help find your niche, and then consider a rebrand to fit.

From logo and website to an across the board digital marketing plan, a strategic marketing partner like Woodall Creative Group can not only help you determine that core audience and the messaging they want to hear but can also design a rebrand to which your niche will respond.  Our team was called upon by longtime client, Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies, in 2010 to help them change the way they were perceived in the market. Virtually since the company’s launch, Kids ‘R’ Kids had used a logo at their schools all across the nation that reflected a more playful vibe. Due to the evolution of their business and the changing perception of early education in the marketplace, Woodall Creative Group revamped their brand from an image related mainly to childcare to that of an elite learning academy – which their new logo reflected. This, in turn, impacted all of their collateral material, signage, messaging, website and more, and eight later, Kids ‘R’ Kids continues to reap the rewards of this gutsy move.

Entrepreneur Magazine has outlined the following five qualities for any good niche:

  1. It takes you where you want to go—in other words, it conforms to your long-term vision.
  2. Somebody else wants it—namely, customers.
  3. It’s carefully planned.
  4. It’s one-of-a-kind, the “only game in town.” – NOTE: While WCG agrees that this an ideal, it’s often a tall order for most brands, particularly in larger cities. However, we firmly believe that just about any company can find something unique that they have to offer their target audience… something that strongly distinguishes them from their competition.
  5. It evolves, allowing you to develop different profit centers and still retain the core business, thus ensuring long-term success.

In today’s world, companies need to resist the age-old practice of casting a broad net and employing shotgun marketing tactics. Instead, consider using these tools to determine your niche:

  • Begin with what YOU want. Define who your ideal customer might be.
  • Next, determine whether or not your product AND your brand image is a good fit for your ideal customer. You may own a cookware retail shop, but your NICHE could be “affluent aspiring chefs”. Your product line should reflect that, as should your messaging and brand image. To enhance your standing among that core group (and increase the level of personalization), you could begin marketing cooking workshops on social media.
  • Now it’s time to start a dialogue. You may conduct a focus group or actually TALK to people who fit your idea of the ideal customer. Find out what they want and how you can improve. This step may involve several layers to determine if you’re ready to pull the trigger or head back to the drawing board.
  • Now that you’ve done your homework, it’s time to take your plan to the implementation stage. This is where your creative partner will prove most helpful as they design a rebrand to fit your niche.

Need help determining your niche and designing a rebrand to fit?  Woodall Creative Group and our talented team of designers, content specialists and account managers welcome the chance to help you! Contact us TODAY to schedule an evaluation of your current brand image and target audience! We can be reached at 706-658-0244, info@woodallcreative.com or via our convenient online contact form.