Invest in a Digital Strategy Instead of Tactics

Posted by: on Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You can find plenty of tactics on the Internet on how to attract people to your website. But, tactics are only as good as the strategy behind them. Tactics are actions you take to handle specific issues. Strategy is the guiding force that helps you know what tactics you need to use. Without a good strategy, your website and online presence will never meet your goals. A website redesign offers the perfect opportunity to create a strong, effective strategy. If you are going to focus on either strategy or tactics, you need to invest your efforts on first instead of second.

Here are four ways you can invest in your digital strategy during your website redesign:

  • Identify your ideal customer
This is something many companies fail to do. They will go to great lengths to design a website with all the bells and whistles. They will create elaborate graphics and web presentations. But, when it comes to the basic strategy of identifying the ideal customer, it doesn't seem to happen. 

Identifying your ideal customer allows you to focus your efforts on meeting their needs and creating a destination they will want to visit and return to multiple times.
  • Clearly identify what your ideal customer needs, not what you want to sell them
After identifying your ideal customer, you need to get to know what they need. In today's inbound marketing world, customers are coming to your website based on what they want to find. You need to know what they are trying to find. 

When you do that, you can attract them to your website and present your products as a solution to their needs. That is the core of a modern digital strategy.
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  • Identify how your products and/or services are different from your competition
Every company needs to differentiate itself from its competition. Whether you are facing local competitors or Internet competition, your company needs to know its identity first. 

You may offer the same products or services as your competition, but you can differentiate your company with things like excellent customer service, unique offerings, and custom combinations. Knowing what makes your company different allows you to build a strategy with that knowledge built-in.
  • Study your past traffic analytics. You will learn a lot.
If you do not have traffic analytic tools running on your site, you are missing out on the kind of information that is priceless for marketing strategy. If you have these tools, take time to look at past traffic analytics. 
  • You will learn if people are coming to your website from search engines, direct links, or their bookmarks.
  • You will learn whether users are coming from desktop/laptops, smart phones, or tablets.
  • You will see which of your web pages are most popular and which are not.
  • You will find out where your customers live, down to the city level.
This information is priceless for building a smart strategy.

Investing in your digital strategy will lay the ground work for a successful digital marketing campaign. Tactics will give you the edge in particular situations. Your website redesign and new digital strategy will help you become the top company in your particular market.


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How to get better results with email marketing

Posted by: on Sunday, February 17, 2013

Email marketing has been a part of online marketing efforts for years now. But, Internet users have become extremely leery of it. They do not want to get a email box full of spam from a company that they visited once. Website visitors have become more and more hesitant of providing their email addresses to any website. 

If you are lucky enough to get the email address of a customer or a lead, you need to use it carefully. Sending too many emails or low quality ones will backfire and get people to drop you from their email. If you are doing a website redesign, you should update your email marketing efforts to coincide. 

Here are a few tips on how to get better results with email marketing:

  1. Optimize the Subject Line
    Your subject line will be the first thing your recipient sees when they open their mail. If they see a generic subject line, they will not open it. Your subject line needs to say who you are and what the email is about. For example: "The Top Weekly Tips and Ideas from Company X" instead of "Your Newsletter."
  2. Make Sure Your Sender Name Shows Your Name
    A major reason for people deleting emails is not knowing who the sender is. You need to be upfront and put your name on the email. Your sender name should be something like "John Smith, Founder of X Company" instead of "John" or "X Company." You want to give a sense of professionalism and openness to your leads. 
  3. Less Content is More
    Much like a web page, people open emails and want to get the important details right away. A long drawn out email with tons of pictures and text will make people close the email as fast as they open it. Your email should be to the point and offer a link to the website for more information. 
  4. Do Not Send Single Image, Flyer, or Link without Reference
    Spam often contains a single image, or a single link, or a single flyer without any text. Many email users will see an email like that and automatically delete it or send it to their spam folder. That is the last thing you want to do. Make sure you provide a formatted email with text to avoid that problem. It might take more time, but the results will speak for themselves.
  5. Invite Recipient to Read More on Website
    Related to Tip #3, you want to give the recipient a call to action within the email. That CTA should provide an invitation and link to read more about what you are talking about on the website. That link will go to a landing page where the email recipient can get the details your email hinted at. When doing your website redesign, you can add landing pages where people will come to see more information.
  6. Time of Day is Critical
    Did you know that most email goes out in the morning before noon? But, most people do not open the bulk of their email until afternoon or evening. So, if you want your email to be at the top of the pile and opened quickly, sending it in the afternoon is actually a better idea. There are also more popular days of the week. 

These tips show you how you can make your email marketing campaigns be more effective. With a few changes to your email marketing, you should see more leads coming in and more leads converting to sales. That can interlock beautifully with your website redesign efforts. Give your marketing a new face and a new strategy.

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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Online Marketing Results

Posted by: on Friday, February 15, 2013

How are your online marketing results doing? Anyone who runs a business online needs to have an eye on how well their marketing efforts are going. If you have not done so recently, you need to take a look. You may be surprised that your current efforts are not giving you the results you want. If you are thinking about doing a website redesign, improving your online marketing results should be a primary goal for the effort. 

Here are five ways to improve your online marketing results:

1. Better Calls to Action
A call-to-action is any action you want the visitor to take while on your site. Simply putting a button on the page is not enough. If you want your visitors to do something specific, such as share their name and email address, you have to give them a reason to do so. Using better calls to action will improve your lead numbers and give you leads from highly qualified visitors. 

2. Amazing Landing Pages
Landing pages give your visitors a special place to come to rest on your site. They have likely done a search on Google or a similar search engine and came across your site as one of interest. Ideally, your landing pages should target a specific keyword or product. For example, if you sell auto parts, you may need a landing page for each part manufacturer or car brand. Landing pages need to address the specific needs the customer is looking for and hint at much more available on the rest of the site.

3. Lead Nurturing
With good landing pages and better calls to action, you will likely see your lead numbers going up. And the quality of those leads is going to be higher. The next step in your online marketing efforts is lead nurturing. You want to nurture leads so they become sales. You need to build trust with your leads by building a relationship with them. That happens through quality content and social media interaction.

4. Have a Great Blog
You may already have a blog that you update on occasion. But, when doing a website redesign, it is the time to take your average blog to the next level. Blogs offer so many opportunities to build relationships with leads, new visitors, and existing customers. The most important things to remember with a blog is provide quality content, regular updates, and make your visitors want to come back to see what else you might have to offer. Read: Facts about Blogs

5. Participate in Social Media
You may have been avoiding going on Facebook or using Twitter. Social media is not a passing fad. It is a force you should embrace. If you want to improve your online marketing efforts, you need to embrace at least a few social media channels. As part of your redesign, integrate them into your website and your marketing efforts. You will start to develop a following and those followers are more likely to share your company with others.

A website redesign is the perfect time to take a fresh look at your online marketing strategy. It offers an opportunity to see how you are currently doing and set goals on where you want to go. With those goals in mind, you can get going with your redesign efforts and see the results you expect. 

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What's the deal with mobile responsive websites?

Posted by: on Friday, February 15, 2013

Should you redesign your website with a mobile responsive feature? Watch this video and see if it would make sense for you.

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6 questions to help you define your target customer

Posted by: on Thursday, February 14, 2013

Improving your online marketing strategy should be a part of any website redesign effort. One important part of this is to define your target customer. When you understand your ideal customer, you can refine your website, its content, and the SEO efforts around it. Those efforts will get highly qualified customers to start visiting your website.

How can you define your ideal customer?

The best approach is actually to ask your customers some questions. Ask some of your best customers to fill out a survey. If you cannot ask these questions of your customers or do not want to bother them with a survey, you need to answer them yourself. 

Here are some questions to get you thinking about your target customer:

  1. Where do they hang out? 
    College students will have different hangouts than 40-somethings with older children. Urban populations will have different places to visit than those who live in suburbia. Knowing the types of places your ideal customer frequents let's you know their priorities and what kinds of products or services they are likely to use.
  2. What is their age range? 
    A person's age tells much about their priorities and current focus in life, as well as something about their likes and dislikes. Someone fresh out of college will have different priorities from those close to retirement age. Teenagers will have different interests than their parents or grandparents.
  3. What do they read?
    Older people still read newspapers and print media. The younger generations read news and other articles online. Some people like fiction; others like non-fiction. Reading preferences differ between men and women in some cases. Getting an idea of reading preferences shows what products or services may be of interest.
  4. What do they listen to? 
    Like knowing what your target customer reads, knowing what they like to listen to gives you insight into their personality. Hip-hop enthusiasts are usually a different crowd than those who enjoy classical music. Lovers of classic rock are different than those who enjoy old-time jazz. Those that listen to talk radio have a different focus than those who listen to audio books.

  5. What do they search online?
    An individual's interests can be wide ranging. But most have common searches they do routinely. These searches could be for favorite products like music or movies. Their searches may be related to their work. Business people search different keywords than the scientific crowd. Knowing what they search can give you insight into keywords.
  6. Where do they shop?
    Obviously, you want your ideal customer to shop at your business. But, where else do they spend their money? Spending money on toys and games is different from spending money on household goods. Knowing your customers' shopping preferences gives you insight into their spending habits and what attracts them to a business.

All of this information gives you insight into the target audience you want to attract to your website. What you may find is that you have more than one target customer. Many companies offer services or products that take in multiple groups of people. Identifying all of your ideal customers helps refine your online message. Ask these questions of a wide range of customers before you website redesign to find out if you have more than one ideal type.

When going through a website redesign, you need your target audience clearly defined before you begin the design process. What you learn with those questions will guide your content, your SEO focus, and even your color/theme choices. Take the time up front and give your redesign the focus you want.


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