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Can You Really Measure ROI in a Website?

Posted by: on Monday, March 11, 2013

Are you throwing away money on your website? Measuring just how much value you are getting from your website is difficult for some businesses.

They may get plenty of traffic through their website, but cannot track how much is actually providing revenue to the business. It is important to track the ROI to make sure you are getting the most out of your website.

The equation for ROI (return on investment) is simple enough. 

  1. Calculate Cost of Investment - When calculating before making a change, you first need to estimate how much revenue increase you will see by making the change and use it as the cost of investment. If you are calculating ROI after the change, you take the amount of revenue increase you know came from the change as the cost of investment.

  2. Calculate Net Gain - Deduct the cost of investment from the potential revenue increase to find the net gain.

  3. Calculate ROI - Then divide the net gain by the cost of the investment. That number is the return on ROI.

Return on investment is not all based on numbers. There are intangible benefits you need to keep in mind when thinking about your website. 

  • What does a good website do for your business?
Think about what a first time visitor takes from your website. If you present a professional website with informative content, the visitor will have a positive impression. If you present an ill-designed website with very little content, the visitor will have a negative impression. A good website will give visitors that critical positive first impression. It makes them more likely to trust your brand. That is the first step towards becoming a lead or a paying customer.
  • How does a bad website impact your business?
When someone visits your site, they come with certain expectations. They want to find the information they are looking for without hassle. They want to see a professional website with high quality content. If you are not meeting those expectations, you have a bad website. A bad website loses you money every day. Instead of visitors staying around and signing up to become a lead, they are leaving as soon as they see the first page of your website.
  • Does your website do what you want it to do?
What is your website missing? Many first time websites are basic. They do not have a lot of functionality. Businesses learn to work around these deficiencies because they have no other immediate choice. With only a basic website, you are leaving plenty of revenue off the table. When doing a redesign, plan on adding the functionality you need. The extra investment will pay off in better leads and increased revenue.
  • How many leads do you get from your current website?
When you pull up your website analytics, how many people have signed up to become leads? This is something you need to check at least a couple times a week. It is important to maximize your lead generation in order to increase your revenue opportunities. So, how many leads do you get every week? How many do you want to get? If those numbers are not the same, then you need a website redesign.

Once you look at the ROI numbers and the intangible benefits, you can make an informed decision on whether a website redesign or major update is in your website's near future. The reality is that you need a fresh and dynamic website to capture visitors' attention. Making the investment will payoff in many ways that you calculate and that you cannot. 

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Why Not Redesigning Your Website is a Mistake

Posted by: on Friday, March 8, 2013

When was the last time you redesigned your website? You may make occasional updates on prices or posts to your company blog. But, when was the last time you did a major redesign or update?

You might be saying, "I don’t have time to update my website." The reality is that if you have not made a major redesign or update in the past couple of years, you are making a big mistake.

This mistake could be costing you in lost leads and revenue potential. With advancing technology and emerging marketing techniques, it is important to keep your website up to date and focused on leading visitors into your sales funnel.

Here are some questions you need to ask:

  • Are you asking "Do I really need to?" The idea of undertaking a major revamp of a website can intimidate many people. But, today's market is passing you by if you do not. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated and expecting more out of the companies they do business with. If you think you can keep your old website for many more years, you are making a major mistake. So the answer is, "Yes, you really need to."

  • One question you need to ask is "What’s new since I built the last one?" If your website is older than a couple of years, you are missing new things in terms of design and content requirements. Google's search engine algorithms have changed radically in the past couple of years. Content is becoming increasingly important for ranking high in search engine results. Your website needs to leverage these changes so you can increase your business.

  • When you are ready to undergo the redesign or update, you need to answer the question"What can I do prepare?" A redesign offers you a chance to look at your entire business and make any changes you want. First, stand back and take a look at your marketing efforts. Do you need to update your marketing efforts? Do you want to add more functionality to your website and tie it into your business model? In order to prepare for the redesign, take time to look at what you have, what you want to add, and what you need to add. Also consider what you want to remove. If something is no longer working, get rid of it.

  • Before the redesign starts, you need to start considering the question "How can I measure if the new site is on track?" When you are contemplating a website redesign, you need to take measurements of where your site is now. You can use an analytics program that will show you traffic numbers and other important information. Once your website redesign up and running, take a new set of numbers. Hopefully, you will start to see new traffic visiting. That will tell you if your new site is on track or not.

Answering these questions can take you on a journey to update your website and start to take advantage of the opportunities that are currently slipping you buy. Increase your business revenues by bringing more visitors to your site with a website redesign.

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Do I Really Need to Invest in a Mobile Ready Site?

Posted by: on Thursday, March 7, 2013

If you are asking the question "Do I really need to invest in a mobile ready site?" you already know the answer. In today's increasingly mobile world, more and more people are using mobile devices to view your website. You are losing web traffic and potential revenue if your website is not ready for those visitors and their devices. 

Remember your website is a tool that your business uses to attract people, turn them into leads, and entice them into becoming paying customers. If your website is not mobile friendly, it is actually costing you money instead of making you money. That is not what you need from such a critical marketing tool.

Why is your old website costing you money?

  • You only have one shot at the First Impressions
    Your website is the first impression most people get of your business and it will last about 5 seconds. If you are not mobile friendly, you are not starting off right with those visitors using mobile devices. Your website is either hard to navigate or impossible to see with mobile devices. That is not the impression you want to make.
     
  • Lost Opportunities
    A growing number of people are using mobile devices for browsing. According to the Pew Research Institute, 55% of adults surveyed indicated they use their cell phone or other mobile device to browse the Internet. An increasing number of people are using their mobile device as their main or exclusive browsing option. If your website is not mobile friendly, you are missing out on a ton of potential revenue.

Every couple of years most websites need a major update or redesign. If yours is due or overdue for an update, it is the perfect time to revamp your site and make it mobile friendly. You will make those critical first impressions and turn lost opportunities into increasing revenue streams.

Responsive Web Design
The best option for most websites is a technique known as responsive web design. In the past, web designers focused on how the website will look on a desktop or a laptop. With responsive web design, the designer focuses on making the web pages transform based on the size of the browser window. 

For a laptop or desktop, the website would look like most others. But, when you view it on the smaller screens of a smart phone or a tablet, the website will change formats. Graphics will shrink, in some cases. Buttons may actually grow to accommodate touch screen use. The designer selects which elements are most important and makes those most prominent on smaller screens. Other elements go further down the page. The best thing about this website design option is that the same graphics and theme show up on all screen sizes. 

Give your website the redesign it needs. With a mobile friendly design, you can catch people where they are looking. That will increase website traffic, lead generation, and revenue streams. Your website needs to generate revenue, not cost you money. Make the investment and make it mobile friendly.

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6 Myths Uncovered About Blogs

Posted by: on Monday, March 4, 2013

A decade ago, a blog was somewhere people put down their thoughts and opinions about every subject under the sun. It was basically an online diary. Most did not realize how important blogging would become in the modern marketplace. 

Today, it is almost impossible for a company to succeed online without a blog. Yet, some companies have avoided creating one. Some only update their blogs once a month or so. The reality is they are missing out on a great marketing opportunity. 

Here are six blog myths uncovered:

Myth #1- Blogging takes too much time, without any return for the effort. 
If you are not an experienced writer and try to write your own blog posts, it can take a long time. But, no one says you have to write your own posts . You can outsource your blog to a ghost writer or an employee. You can ask other bloggers to do guest blogs occasionally. When you plan your blog content and execute that plan, the efforts are worth it. 

Myth #2 - Posting a couple of times a month should do the trick.
A few years ago, posting to your company blog a couple of times a month might work. That is not so these days. Your competition is making posts at least once or twice a week. Their content is fresher. The search engines prefer fresh content. It brings the rank of the entire site upsignificantly.

Myth #3 - Getting someone to blog for you is expensive.
When it comes to your company's website, content rules. If you do not have the skills or time to update your blog, you need to pay someone else to do it. You may think it costs too much. However, you can find freelance writers willing to create a blog entry at an affordable price. You can invite other bloggers to guest blog for you on occasion and that content is usually free. You can get the blog done and not pay too much in the process.

Download Top 10 Tips to increase the effectiveness of your website >>

Myth #4 - Blogging is a fad.
A fad is an extensively shared enthusiasm for something that lasts for a short period. The first burst of enthusiasm may have waned on blogging, but this "fad" has lasted well over a decade.  Blogs are here to stay. Your company needs to come into the 21st century and create a blog that represents your company.

Myth #5 - My customers don't read blogs anyway.
How do you know? Unless you ask every one of your customers point-blank about their browsing activities, you do not know. If you browse around, you will find blogs on just about any subject out there somewhere. Unless all your customers hate computers and prefer a landline to a mobile phone, at least some of them are reading blogs. You are missing out on becoming one of your customers' stops on their blog browsing list. 

Myth #6 - People will leave negative comments.
People will be people. Some will make negative comments. But, there are blog management tools that will help you eliminate or manage that problem. You can approve any comments that appear on your blog. You can turn off commenting. You can delete comments. You can filter comments that have certain words and put them in a queue for future review. There is no need to fear negative comments since you have the ultimate control.

As you can see,  the reality and facts about blogs shows the power of blogging for your company. Invest the time and effort to use this powerful tool to your company's advantage. The investment will bring your traffic, leads, and sales numbers up considerably if you do it right. 

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Warning: You're Losing Money by Not Redesign your Website

Posted by: on Friday, March 1, 2013

Building a website is not a one time thing. Many companies make the mistake of thinking of their website is something they create and forget about. Even if you make periodic updates to the content, the design remains the same. But, you may not realize it, but, if you have not done a redesign to your company's website in the last couple of years, you are losing money. 

The ultimate goal of any business website is to generate sales. If your website is out of date, non-functional, or just lost, you will not get the sales you expect. In fact, you may find your traffic, lead, and sales numbers decreasing over time.

Here are five reasons why you need to make a website redesign your top priority:

  1. Web Credibility - An increasing number of people use the Internet to check out any company they are thinking of buying from or using services from. This includes local stores and companies they will visit in person. Your website helps to show your credibility with potential customers. If your website is out-of-date, unprofessional, or disorganized, it leaves a bad first impression. And that impression will stay with visitors. 
     
  2. Mobile Friendly - If you hadn't noticed, more and more people browse the web using a mobile device. But, not all websites are mobile friendly. If your company's website is not optimized for mobile devices, you are likely turning away potential customers. Visitors using mobile devices expect to have no issues viewing your site on a smaller screen. A non-mobile friendly website will need tons of scrolling, out of size fonts, and huge graphics. If mobile device users have such a problem, they are likely to go elsewhere.

    Free Download: Website Self Assessment Guide >>
      
  3. Google Friendly - If Google can't find you, no one else can (unless they have your URL). You need to make your website easy for Google and other search engines to find and love. Your website needs to contain content rich with keywords and high in quality. The search engines will begin to visit the site multiple times. Adding links inside and out will also lend credibility with the search engines. Make it easy for Google to love your site by providing rich page titles and meta descriptions.
      
  4. Streamlined and Concise - Stuffing all your information on a single page will turn people away quickly. No one wants to scan 20 long paragraphs on a single page. Break large chunks of information into smaller ones and put them on a series of pages. Make sure your landing pages and your home page offer a summary of critical content, not an encyclopedia's worth.
      
  5. Color and Layout - Selecting the right colors and layout can make a difference in how people judge your website. Many studies conducted for the past few decades show that some colors draw people while others repel. It is important to select a color theme that supports your business goals. Layout is also important. Most visitors like a clean layout with easy navigation. Making the wrong choices on color or layout can cost you business.


Investing in a website redesign will pay off. A good way to track this is to take metrics before you launch the redesign and then take several sets afterwards. You will start to see traffic numbers increasing. Your lead count and sales conversions will also improve. That is why prioritizing your redesign should be in this year's business activities.

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5 Mistakes Small Businesses Make with Marketing Analytics

Posted by: on Thursday, February 28, 2013

If you are a small business owner, you need to know how to use marketing analytics. Using this data allows you to measure the effectiveness of and to optimize the return on investment for your company's marketing efforts. There is a ton of valuable information held in those numbers. However, if you fail to look at the data from the right perspective, you may miss valuable information.

Here are five common mistakes businesses make when viewing marketing analytics:

Mistake #1 - Looking at traffic volume instead of qualified visitors.
High traffic numbers look great on paper. But, when you look deeper at that number, how many of these visitors are qualified? A qualified visitor is someone who visits your website with a particular interest in your products or services. For example, if you sell car parts, a visitor looking for brake pads is qualified. But, someone looking for a book on dolls is not.

Mistake #2 - Not understanding organic traffic. 
Organic traffic happens when visitors come to your site through unpaid sources, like search engines. The visitor was looking for a particular item or topic and your website came up in the results. Understanding what drives this type of traffic to your website is crucial. It is a great source for low-cost, highly qualified traffic.

Mistake #3 - Believing your company name or industry is a keyword. 
Most people look for products or services on the Internet, not the name of a particular company or industry. For example, if someone was looking for a local plumber in Atlanta, they might search for "plumber in Atlanta" or something similar. They would not search for "FGH Plumbers" unless they knew the owner personally.

Free Download: Top 10 Tips to increase effectiveness of your website>>

Mistake #4 - Ignoring long-tail keywords in favor of short-tail keywords. 
It is important to look at all the keywords you are using. Many people focus on the hottest search words and fail to look at the traffic coming from the less popular ones. One fact many overlook is that many long-tail keywords offer steady highly qualified traffic, even if the numbers are not so high. On the other side of the coin, the shorter keywords may be highly contested and produce low-quality traffic for the most part.

Mistake #5 - Thinking fast results are a good thing. 

Slow and steady produces better results. Many business owners want results and they want them now. The problem is that marketing analytics is a lot like going on a diet. Slow & steady will produce better results in the long-term than fast & furious. Fast and furious is often low quality traffic that generates few leads and almost no sales. Slow and steady shows a growing amount of organic traffic. That is usually highly qualified visitors who become paying customers.

If you can avoid these common mistakes, you can gain plenty of valuable information from your marketing analytics. This information allows you to adjust your digital marketing strategy to capture more of your target market. It makes a big difference in a successful website redesign strategy and a mediocre one.

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You Need to Tell Your Web Visitors What To Do

Posted by: on Monday, February 25, 2013

When was the last time you told a customer what to do? 

The thought of directing a customer to perform an action may seem the opposite of good sales practices. In traditional marketing, telling your client what to do would be a bad practice.

But, the reality of modern inbound marketing is you need to bring your customers to your website and instruct them on what you want them to do. When you are going through a corporate website redesign, you need to merge this idea into your entire design strategy.

Here is how you tell your visitors what to do, in a way that will not turn them away:

  1. Use Calls to Action - A call to action, also known as a CTA, is an icon, graphic, or link that you want a customer to click to take them a bit further down the sales funnel. Some calls to action are very strong and in your face. Others are very subtle and almost hidden. But, they are necessary for telling your customer what you want them to do.
     
  2. The Placement of Your Calls to Action is Critical - Every page on your website, every email you send, and every blog post you make needs to have a CTA. Some pages, emails, and blog posts will have more than one CTA in it. The first CTA needs to be near the top of the page. If the person wants to learn more, they will look for that place to click. Adding more CTAs further down in the piece is acceptable also. Keep this in mind during your corporate website redesign.

    Download Top 10 Tips to increase the Effectiveness of your website
     
  3. Provide Multiple Forms of Contact - Many business owners think of CTAs as a single form you want the visitor to fill out. In fact, many build their websites with this sole means of communication integrated. But, that is a mistake. Some visitors will be willing to fill out the form. Others may want alternative contact options. A phone number is perfect for those who want to speak with a live person. Downloading a form is another option. Even a simple "ask a Question" form might be a good idea.
     
  4. The Color of Your Calls to Action Matters - You want people to take notice of your calls to action. If they blend in with the rest of your website, your visitors will be less likely to click-through. The color should complement your website theme while standing out. Bright colors tend to get more traffic than subdued colors. Yellow and orange tends to draw the most attention. White is great on a dark color scheme. Red is controversial color that gains attention, but has negative connotations. Green is good for building trust CTAs like testimonials and success stories. Blue is probably the worst color to choose.

Calls to action will let you direct your customers to the action you want them to perform. It will not always be successful.

But, it will get a significant number to do what you ask. When you are doing a corporate website redesign, you need to put thought into what you want a customer to do and how to make it happen.

 

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Build your marketing strategy with a plan and a budget

Posted by: on Friday, February 22, 2013

Marketing it a critical part of your company's success. When you are looking at a corporate website redesign, you are looking at the perfect opportunity to revamp and freshen up your marketing strategy. You can launch your marketing efforts at the same time as the launch of your new business website.

Two critical components in building your marketing strategy are the plan and the budget. Without a good plan, your efforts are a waste of time. Without the budget behind it, no amount of planning will make your marketing work. 

How can you build your marketing strategy?

Create a Marketing Plan

Use these questions to build your plan:
  • Who is my target market?
When you have a product or service to offer, you need to know your target market. For example, a plumber's target market consists of home owners, property owners, and businesses with plumbing needs. Focusing on a teen age boy who likes to play video games and does not own a home would make no sense for a plumber.
  • Who is my target personas?
Using personas is a strong marketing tool every business should adopt. A persona is an imaginary version of your ideal customer. That persona embraces the needs, desires, environment, and skills of your target market. When defining a persona, a great deal of information comes together including age, socioeconomic factors, career goals, along with their need, their expectations, the skills they apply towards, and any personal biases they have for or against the product or service. Your personas are critical in a corporate website redesign.
  • How will I reach my target customers?
Once you know your target customers, you need to develop ways of communicating and attracting them to your website. A number of options are out there including social media, e-mail marketing, webinars, and special offers. Quality content is a major player in this effort as well. All of these present opportunities to build trust with your customer base. All of this needs to be part of your marketing plan.
Create a Marketing Budget

Use these questions to create your marketing budget:
  • What is my cost of acquisition per lead?
Restated, how much does it cost you to get a single person to come to your website. This number embraces the costs of sales and marketing and divides it by the number of customers acquired by those efforts. Ideally, the cost of acquisition is low. But, knowing that number is critical for success.
  • What are my target sales to reach profitability?
Many entrepreneurs do not know the amount of sales they will need to reach the profitable point. That number is critical in marketing because it helps decide how much you put towards the effort to get more customers. No one says you have to make that barely profitable number your sales target. But, it is a starting point.
  • What percent of my sales do I invest in marketing?
How much of your sales do you put into your sales and marketing effort? If you said 3 percent, the numbers is low. If you said 5 percent, your company is about average. If you said 10 percent, you are at the aggressive level. You can adjust this percentage at any point if you are spending too much or too little. But setting a percentage will give you your budget for the upcoming period.
Part of the planning you put into your corporate website redesign needs to include your marketing strategy. Making everything a success begins with a plan and a realistic budget. You can take your business to the next level with the right marketing strategy and launch.
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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.
Download Free Website Self Assessment Guide>>
  • 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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