I was in a coffee shop the recently where I picked up this little flyer for a flea market.
Flea market flyer
I like the colors and the fun design. But as I read it I realized it’s missing a vital piece of information. Where is this taking place? There’s only a photo and the town name on it to give me a clue. I don’t know the building in the photo though so there’s no way for me to get there even I wanted to. That made me think about why just having pretty type, pictures and color on a page is not enough. For graphic design to serve its true purpose, it must communicate effectively. If this had that piece of information it would have been very effective because the design got my attention which is half the battle.
So is a whole, multi-part website more than you need or can face right now? Then try a landing page. It’s a single page website that gives your company’s basic information like name, address, hours of operation, directions, a list of products or services, etc. It’s great as a way to stake out a place on the web if you don’t otherwise want or feel you need a full website. Or are so busy keeping up with your business that you don’t want to keep up with a website too. (Lucky you!) It’s important to have some web presence though, if only because it’s expected these days and you want to have clear and accurate information available. It’s amazing how much inaccurate information can start to accumulate on the internet if you don’t take control with your own URL and a web landing page at the very least.
As I surf around the web I find sites that are fine and informative and otherwise get the job done but there’s something that bothers me about them. It may be something small and hardly noticeable but it makes me wonder if it bothers others that they are trying to target. And do they drive away customers inadvertently? I know that when I encounter a site that takes to long to load I’m out of there. Or if music starts to play the moment I land on the site and I can’t find a mute button immediately I’m gone. Sites that have a Flash intro when I’m looking at them on my iPhone also bug me because a big gray box appears where there should be content. I was recently on a website that had the navigation in a different place on every page. That could definitely frustrate a would be client/customer. These are some of the examples that come to mind. Can you think of others?
A feature that may be off-putting to your audience is not worth keeping. Instead get a web designer to look over your site and make the tweaks needed to remove anything getting between you and your customers. But don’t delay, since it’s easy to fix and may be just the thing to get your business website helping instead of hurting you!
Blogging is easy if you take it on like any marketing project for your business. You know your business. You talk passionately about it and your industry whenever given the chance. Now just write all that down. For me, the best bet has been to come up with several topics I want to talk about then flesh them out in a Word document. After I have a few I copy them into my WordPress Blog and schedule them to appear every week. I’ll also put in some extras in between if the mood strikes but at least I know my blogging SSM (Social Media Marketing) is taken care of.
The idea of course is to get more crowds to your website so first you need a blog. I’ve found that the two can be easily combined for most businesses by having a customized WordPress website and blog. Pages such as About, Services and Contact can be added and worked seamlessly together with the Blog page. WordPress even makes suggestions on what to blog about if you’re stuck. Some people find a trending topic and put a spin on it that ties into what they do. Others find that posting great testimonials on their blog keeps it fresh. Search engines love new content so get out your pen and paper or that blank Word document and start blogging!
LinkedIn is great for businesses. Use your profile to talk up your background, skills and services. Follow these 4 easy steps to begin reaping the benefits of a strong presence on LinkedIn.
1. Include some history about yourself and how you started your business.
2. Make sure your profile includes the “Who, What, Where, and Why” in a way that helps people understand and relate to your business.
3. Keyword your entire profile with the words that are common terms used to search for the services you offer.
4. Ask business associates and clients for recommendations. Do the same for them wherever possible.
I have several clients that must be pretty busy with their businesses (I assume) because I never hear from them even though we have ongoing projects. I know it couldn’t be because they are neglecting their marketing efforts, and yet…
Try the Ten Percent Solution
If a business wants to keep top of mind with its clients then I suggest they spend at least 10% of their time marketing their company. That’s 1 day out of every 10 work days devoted to promoting the business, reconnecting with past clients, following up with current clients, developing campaigns, etc. It’s important to schedule it like that so it doesn’t fall through the cracks causing business to dry up! Social Media Marketing is part of that as well but should be included in the schedule more often, as in daily. Effective scheduling of marketing efforts really pays off and should be part of every business plan.