If you Google “Slider Image”, most of the URLs listed on the SERP will tell you why you shouldn’t have it on your website. We are here to tell you otherwise. Setting up a slider image on your website can be your game changer. Contrary to its naysayers, the slider image can improve User Experience (UX). It can help you achieve your digital marketing goals. Done correctly, it can give your website a boost up the website rankings. In many ways, the slider is the most important image on your website. It is more important than your logo.

What Is A Slider?

A slider is a series of images that appear in sequence. It is sometimes referred to as a “Slideshow” or a “Carousel”. The slider is usually located on the Homepage of a website. There are sliders whereby the images are automatically rotated by a timer.

No doubt you’ve come across sliders on some of the websites you have visited. For example, a website for a hotel can have a slider that features images taken from different locations.

You could start out viewing an image of the hotel’s entrance or reception area. After a few seconds, the image will change, and you may find yourself admiring the hotel’s main dining restaurant or one of its luxury suites.

There are also slideshows that can be controlled manually. The advantage of a manually-controlled slideshow is that you can take your time in viewing the image. You can skip the images that don’t interest you and spend more time on those which have greater importance.

What Are The Criticisms Vs The Slider Image?

There is a wide range of opinion among professional web designers on whether your website should have a slider image or not.

Here are four reasons why some website designers believe your website should not have a slider image:

  1. Sliders Muddle Your Marketing Message – According to a study conducted by Jakob Nielsen for the Nielsen group, the use of a slider can muddle your marketing message because most people view them as advertising.
  2. Sliders Do Not Enhance User Experience – In the same study, Nielsen revealed that a slider can result in a condition known as “banner blindness”. This means users do not see or understand the information detailed in the slides. As a consequence, the added confusion may just push the visitor to leave your website.
  3. Sliders Can Affect Your Page Loading Speed – For the reason that sliders use high-resolution images, some web designers point out that this could seriously impact your site’s loading speed.
  4. Sliders Will Affect Mobile Responsiveness – Another criticism is that some slider configurations will not set up well on mobile devices and compromise your site’s level of responsiveness.

The web designers who are against the slider conclude that it will have a negative impact on SEO performance. The use of a slider will affect UX, slow down page loading speed, and mobile responsiveness and therefore may push you down further in Google’s search rankings.

The Benefits Of Having A Slider Image On Your Website

While we do respect the opinions of our fellow professional web designers, at Mountaintop, we have an opposing viewpoint. We believe your website should have a slider image on the Homepage.

Here are 4 good reasons why your website should have a slider image:

  1. A Slider Can Organize And Fine-Tune Your Marketing Message – As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. You can convey messages more clearly through images than text. According to studies, only 10% of people who read and hear information can remember it 3 days later. In contrast, more than 65% of people who see images that are relevant to the information will retain it even 3 days later.
  2. A Slider Can Enhance The Overall Visual Appeal Of Your Homepage – A study conducted by Stanford University which involved 2,500 respondents showed that 46.1% found website design is a serious indicator of credibility. A slider that is composed of beautiful, high-resolution images will certainly catch the eye of its visitor, compel him/her to stay longer, and potentially explore the other pages of the website.
  3. A Slider Can Improve Site Functionality – What do you want the slider to achieve for your website? Do you want the slider to provide information about your business? Is the slider intended to be a moving portfolio of your products and services? Will the slider be used to enhance your credibility by rotating the various testimonies from your clients? Regardless of what you want the slider to do, it will get the job done because everything will be in one place. The visitor will not go anywhere else.
  4. A Slider Will Improve User Experience – As we mentioned in our previous point, a visitor who clicks on your slider will be kept in one place. Everything that he/she needs to know can be found on the slider. It will make the search process much easier for your site visitor. The slider will keep them engaged on your website. Its contents will help them decide whether they should explore your website further or not. We also mentioned earlier in this article that you can have a manual slider instead of an automatic slider on your Homepage. This will help improve UX because the user can take his/her time on the image with the highest perceived value.

There is a fifth benefit for having a slider on your website. We saved the best for last!

By having a slider image set up on your Homepage, you will significantly increase your conversion rates!

Is not increasing conversion rates the ultimate objective of all the lead generation work you do?

Businesses invest in digital marketing campaigns so they can drive more traffic to their website. Once you have encouraged more website visits, the challenge now is to convert interest into sales. A well-designed, well-thought-out slide image can get this done for you.

A study conducted by Brian Massey of Conversion Specialists revealed that having a slider with optimized images on your Homepage will increase your website’s conversion rates.

Anti-slider proponents recommend using static images instead of slider images. However, in Massey’s tests, sales conversions using slider images increased by 61%!

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The View From The Mountaintop: How To Have A Slider Image That Delivers Results

Like we mentioned at the start of this article, done correctly, a slider can help you achieve your marketing objectives. We have done exactly this for our clients at Mountaintop.

The use of images has been proven to be an effective vehicle for delivering your marketing message. Visual or image-based content grabs attention faster than text-based content.

Here’s a simple test: Which would compel you to take action? An image of the amenities and features that can be found in a hotel’s regular room or a text description of the same room?

Not even the best wordsmith on the planet can beat a high-resolution image of the hotel room.

Now, that we have the visitor’s attention, let us keep him/her interested by rotating the image. From the bedroom, let us show him/her an image of the bathroom then segue to the balcony with a view overlooking the ocean.

Words enough will not do justice on how beautiful the resort is. However, pictures will come closer. Perhaps close enough that the visitor will take the next step and make an inquiry.

We have done our own studies on the pros and cons of having a slider image on the Homepage of a website. The points that have been raised by those who are against the use of a slider do have some merit and were considered.

Our studies have led us to come up with the best and most effective ways to design a slider image without the negative effects cited by other web designers.

Here is a rundown of how we can help you have a slider image that will enhance the visibility, functionality, and potentially give your website a boost up the search rankings:

1. Define the Purpose of the Slider Image –

We discussed this in the section discussing the benefits of having a slider image on your Homepage. Without purpose, your marketing message will be lost.

Digital marketers always begin the messaging process by identifying its purpose. What message do you want to convey to your audience? You can only have one message. If you focus on multiple messaging, this will only serve to confuse your audience.

In order to avoid confusion and “banner blindness”, start out by defining the purpose of your slider image.

If you are in online retail, you can use the slider image to show your top-selling or most popular products. If you are in the consultancy business, use the slider image to highlight the testimonies of your clients. A restaurant can have a slideshow to give viewers information on their daily specials or promos.

2. Use Relevant Images –

Once you determined the purpose of the slide image, find images that are relevant to your marketing message.

Don’t try to be “fancy” or “artsy” by using images that are very beautiful and aesthetic but are largely symbolic of your message. Website visitors don’t want to be subjected to tests or guesswork.

Remember, the attention span of a person is less than that of a goldfish! When it comes to content, get to the point right away. You also have the option of combining image and text to drive home your message clearer and faster.

3. Use High-Resolution Images But… –

Web designers will recommend using high-resolution images for aesthetic purposes. However, it will slow down page loading speed because the file will be larger and harder to download.

Our solution is to still use high-resolution images for the slideshow. However, use smaller-sized images so that the page will still load fast.

4. Switch from Slide to Motion-Fade –

One of the criticisms of the web designers against the use of slider images is that it affects UX by distracting viewer’s attention.

Based on our studies, the culprit is the transition that occurs from slide-to-slide. For some viewers, the transition comes across as too “sudden” or “sharp”.

Our solution is to use a motion fade instead of a slide-to-slide transition. This will lead to a smoother viewing experience. The slow fadeout will give the viewer notice that the slide is in the middle of a transition.

He/she will be able to adjust the thought process and prepare for the next slide much more effectively.

5. Consider a Manual Slide Image –

We have mentioned the benefit of a manual slide throughout this article. It is worth mentioning yet again that using a manual slider image will improve UX by giving the user more control.

If your purpose is to promote your products and services, a manual slider will give the viewer more time to go through your content.

6. Beta Test Your Images –

Not surprisingly, the slide image that garners the highest number of clicks is the first slide.

Therefore, it is important to run a beta test to find out which one of your images generates the most favorable feedback or best achieves the desired result. Using the right image will help set the tone for the rest of your slider image.

Conclusion – Why Your Slider Image Is More Important Than Your Logo

A logo is largely a symbol that best encapsulates what your brand is all about. However, in some cases, the meaning of the logo may take some time for consumers to decipher.

For example, Starbuck’s logo. The meaning behind the smiling mermaid has been a compelling discussion point for several years. It’s relevance to brewed coffee cannot be immediately determined.

A slider image gets your message across effectively. Again, done properly, it will help support the purpose and objectives of your business. Unlike a logo, a slider image is more flexible.

While you can change a logo, the process will not be as easy because you have to be sure it will not detract from your branding value proposition.

However, with a slider image, you can change the purpose from time-to-time. For example, if you are in the restaurant business, you can start out by having the slider image feature your core menu items.

Once you have made a name for yourself, the slide image can switch to testimonies from happy customers or special daily promotions.

If you don’t have a slider image on your website, give us a call or drop us an email right away. You need to get a slider image on your website right away if you want to increase sales conversions, improve UX, or move up the search rankings.

We have the experience and expertise to get this done for you properly. Give us a call and we’ll give you a free 30-minute consultation on how we can help your website have an effective slider image.

It will be the difference maker between you and your competition who chose to believe the naysayers.

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Google is the largest and most popularly used search engine on the Internet. When consumers want to find information for specific products and services, they launch a search on Google. In fact, Google has grown so big, it has become a verb. How many times have you told someone to “Google it”?

Everyone knows it. Businesses sign up for Google’s services to get the best results for their online marketing efforts. Marketers will focus their strategies to conform to Google’s ever-changing algorithm. Thus, it can be a very competitive marketplace.

You will need a competitive advantage and this is where having Google reviews come in.

If you’ve heard about Google reviews, we’re here to tell you more about it. We will tell you everything you need to know about Google reviews: why your business needs it and how to get them.

Are you worried about getting bad reviews? Don’t worry! We will show you how to deal with them. Just read on!

What Is A Google Review?

Google Review is a feature that allows consumers to share their experiences with a product or service by writing a review on a business’ Google page or search map listing.

Why did Google decide to introduce a review feature?

The search engine giant has always been big on User Experience (UX). Google wants to provide its users with the best options to address their wants, needs, and concerns.

Reviews are powerful influencers. They have the same effect as client/ customer testimonies. The reason reviews are so powerful is that they are organic. They are perceived as honest and sincere assessments of a business’ product and services. Unlike paid endorsements, the customer has nothing to gain by posting a review.

That is why product views are part of a customer’s research process. They trust consumer reviews. When you look for a specific item at Amazon, it is standard procedure to go through the reviews of the products shown on the search results page.

You tend to gravitate toward the items with the highest number of 5-star reviews and ignore those with low review ratings.

Strong Google reviews will have the same effect on your business.

Let us assume you own a restaurant that serves authentic Thai food in the area of Cherry Creek, Denver, Colorado. Like other smart business owners in the area, you had your restaurant listed in Google My Business and Google Maps.

Over the years, your restaurant has catered to many customers. You may not know it, but some of your customers may have given your restaurant a review.

When someone who is interested in dining at an authentic Thai restaurant in the Cherry Creek area, he/she would patronize the establishment with the highest ratings and best reviews.

If your restaurant is fortunate enough to get the best reviews and highest ratings, it should attract the most number of diners in your area.

Why Are Google Reviews Important For Your Business?

In the previous section, we showed you how Google Reviews benefit the customer and how favorable ones can translate to better business for you.

Now we will discuss the benefits of having Google Reviews for your business. Specifically, why you should encourage more customers to post reviews about their experience with your establishment.

Let us go back to our earlier example.

Put yourself in the position of the customer. Which of these reviews would have the most powerful influence on your decision?

  • “Best Pla Rad Prik I have ever tried! Better than the one I had in Thailand a year ago! The Pad Thai is to die for!” – 5 stars.
  • “The Gaeng Mussaman was too rich. The Pad Kra Prao made the visit worthwhile.” – 3 stars.
  • “Don’t bother! You get a better deal with the microwave stuff they sell in the supermarket.” – 1 star.

Definitely, you would go for the restaurant with the 5-star review. You may decide to dig in deeper and compare other reviews.

The bottom line is, the product reviews got your restaurant noticed. The high ratings and positive reviews immediately increased your visibility.

Aside from enhanced visibility, what are the other benefits of having Google Reviews for your business?

1. Google Reviews Will Improve Your Trust and Credibility Standings

We touched on this benefit earlier in this article. Customer reviews are perceived as honest and sincere. In ways, customer reviews are similar to word-of-mouth advertising.

If you ask a friend for his/her recommendation for the best Thai restaurant in Cherry Creek, you could take him/her up on the suggestion. In fact, 84% of consumers trust reviews as they would the opinions of their friends.

In the case of Google reviews, you can read through a larger volume of recommendations and opinions. And of course, Google is a trusted source of information. The search engine has always placed UX front and center whenever it decides to change its ranking algorithm.

Therefore, by generating consistently good Google reviews, you can effectively improve the trust and credibility standing of your business.

2. Google Reviews Will Influence the Decision-Making Process

The Internet has created a more discerning generation of consumers. They have more access to information and many will go to great lengths to justify their decision to choose one brand over another.

Again, going back to our example, in the event that there are other 5-star rated Thai restaurants in the area, the users will use the posted comments and factors such as location, parking, and seating availability as deciding factors.

However, the reviews and ratings have already pushed your restaurant ahead of the rest of the competition. It has made the decision-making process easier for them and more advantageous for you.

3. Google Reviews Will Increase Your Local Search Ranking

As we mentioned earlier, it is natural for consumers to give more focus on products and services that have been thoroughly reviewed. The more reviews you get, the greater the probability of potential customers searching for your business.

Positive and glowing reviews are indicative of how well your business is managed as well as the quality of its products and services. They will help your business stand out from the rest of the competitors and lend support to your brand-building strategy.

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How To Get More Google Reviews

Hopefully, by now, you have come to a great understanding of why Google Reviews are important for your business. The question is, “How can I get more Google Reviews on my listing?”

We are assuming that you have already listed your business in a search engine directory. Definitely, Google My Business should be on the top of your list. If you want to learn more about search directory listings, you can read our article, “Why Should Retail Locations Be Listed In Search Engines”.

Once you have listed your business in a search engine directory, it is time to shift your focus to getting more Google Reviews:

1. Make Sure Your Listing is Updated, Complete, and Looks Good

Image-based content will attract attention faster than text-based content. This is why it is important that your Google page looks good and visually appealing. Use high-resolution pictures of your products and retail outlet. If you have the budget for it, hire a professional photographer to take the pictures.

It is also important to make sure the information posted on your Google page is updated and complete. Always check the details on your business address, contact numbers, and email address.

2. Invite Your Customers to Write Reviews

Ask and you shall receive.

If you want more Google Reviews, then ask your customers to write them. This might place your business in a dichotomous situation because not all reviews will be positive.

You should expect to receive negative reviews.

Why? For the reason that people’s tastes and preferences are unique and individual, it is not realistic to expect that 100% of reviews will be positive despite your best efforts.

According to a survey conducted by Street Fight, negative experiences result in more reviews than positive experiences. In fact, 95% of people who had a bad experience with a business shared it with others compared to only 87% of consumers.

Given these statistical data, would it still be wise to invite your customers to write reviews? Yes!

Encouraging your customers to write reviews shows that you are genuinely concerned about their happiness, satisfaction, and overall experience with your business.

The best way to extend your invitation is to simply tell them what the Google Review is for. You want feedback from your customers so you can find ways to improve your products and services.

By inviting customers to write reviews, you are creating a personality for your business. It adds a welcome degree of humanity to an entity that consumers know was established for the purpose of earning a profit.

3. Engage Customers Who Have Posted Reviews

As the popular saying goes, “Any review is a good review”.

Even a negative review is a positive development for your business. It means someone took the time to express his/her dissatisfaction or poor experience with your establishment.

The key is how to engage customers who have posted negative reviews.

Here are a few helpful tips for you to consider:

  • First, don’t panic. Breathe. Relax. A negative review is not the end of the world.
  • Look into the review and see if it has merit. If possible, run a Google search or due diligence work on the person who wrote the review. Check your customer records. There is always the possibility of getting a bogus review.
  • Once you have verified the review, tell the customer that you are thankful for their review; specifically, for taking the time to write and post it on your Google page.
  • If the complaint is legitimate, apologize and request that you be allowed to give private messages or to respond via email. Inform the customer that your purpose is to present a resolution to the issue.

Of course, you should likewise respond to positive reviews. State your appreciation for the review and give them real assurances that you will continue to improve your offerings and services.

4. Promote Your Google Page in Social Media

Social media is a great way to reach out and connect to a wide audience. People spend more time on social media than any other website. Make sure you promote your Google Page in your social media business and personal pages.

If you have a website, include the button to your Google Page and encourage your site visitors to write a Google Review. Include a Call-to-Action which states the purpose of the review.

Conclusion

Google reviews are a great way to enhance your online presence. Likewise, it can be an effective tool for building long-term relationships with your customers that are based on trust, transparency, and a commitment to provide excellent user experience.

If you have a brick-and-mortar store, use it to encourage your customers to write reviews. Entice them with discounts or special promos for every review they post on your Google Page. Make sure they can present proof of the review.

Does it matter if the review is favorable or not? No. If the review posted is negative, getting together face-to-face with your customer is an ideal situation for you to address the problem directly.

If you’re interested in getting more Google reviews for your business, leave it to us! We have helped our clients get reviews for their business. At the same time, we have expertly managed, moderated, and turned around negative reviews.

Give us a call or drop an email. We will get back to you right away!

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Digital technology and the Internet have made it easier for retail locations to be found by customers. Before broadband technology made the Internet accessible to everyone on the planet, it was hard for consumers to find businesses that had what they needed. Your fingers would get tired walking through the Yellow Pages. You would have to waste precious time burning the telephone lines calling one retailer after another. With the Internet, it became much easier to build a strong local presence.

The Value Of Having A Strong Local Presence: Does Convenience Trump Branding?

If you forgot your wife’s birthday in 2003, you would be in trouble. Today, you can easily search for the nearest retailer that has her favorite perfume in stock. Likewise, today’s retailers can thank the advances in digital marketing for making it easier for customers to find their businesses.

Unfortunately, very few retailers have taken steps to harness the power of the Internet. According to a survey conducted by SurePayroll, only 26% of small businesses have a website.

There are business-owners who still believe that their digital marketing efforts can achieve results even without a website. They believe running social media and email marketing campaigns will be enough to bring their businesses to the forefront of the consumers’ consciousness.

While social media and email marketing strategies do generate positive results, they are more effective when used as part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

Instead of using these processes as independent sources of traffic, you would be in a better position to optimize their full power if both social media and email marketing were utilized as channels to drive inbound traffic to a website.

In our previous example, if you did forget your wife’s birthday, what would be the first thing you do? You would probably do a quick Google search. If your wife’s favorite perfume is Chance by Chanel, you can run a Google search query for “stores with chance by chanel near me”.

The search results page will feature a list of websites belonging to physical retailers within your area that currently have Chance by Channel in stock. You click on the website that appears first on the search results page.

If the website has chat support, you can engage the agent and find out the perfume’s availability, price, and ask for discounts or promotions. If not, you could simply look for the store number on the website and contact it from your mobile phone.

A website is an important component of your local marketing strategy because the first thing the consumer would do is run a search query. The user may try to find your business on Facebook or Twitter but that would be more time- consuming.

The same can be said for email marketing. Your newsletter could be lost in the pile of emails consumers receive.

Put simply, these processes would make it difficult for you to be top-of-mind. However, as part of a digital marketing strategy, both social media and email marketing can give your website a boost in Google’s search ranking.

According to a study by Google, 76% of consumers who run a search query from their mobile phones will visit the retail location within 24 hours. The best part is 28% of those visits have resulted in a purchase.

If they run a search query and find your website at or near the top of the results page, they will click on your URL. It does not matter if the consumer has not heard of your brand or store. It is all about convenience: “Who can help me find my need in the fastest possible time?”

Let’s go back to our example one more time. If the results page shows a website of a giant retailer, it will take time for the husband to find a store locator that will show the list of locations within his area. Then, he will have to find out which of these locations have Chance by Channel in stock.

Can these tasks be done from the convenience of a smartphone? Yes, but it is time-consuming. In contrast, if your URL comes out on the results page as one of the retail locations in the area, it would make the husband’s search much easier.  

Social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, paid ads, and blogging are great ways to build your brand. However, as far as consumers are concerned, their decisions would be more motivated or influenced by convenience. If you want to fortify your local presence, make sure your business can easily be found online.

How To Develop A Strategy That Will Ensure A Strong Local Presence

In the days before broadband technology, retailers would resort to local area marketing to get their businesses found. Local area marketing strategies included traditional marketing methods such as flyer distributions, installation of posters and streamers, and setting up POP or Point-of-Purchase materials at the cashier area.

The idea was to target consumers within a radius of 5km from the location of the store. Generally, this was referred to as “within walking distance” of the location. For retailers with larger budgets, local area marketing would likewise include publishing ads in community newsletters, running cross-marketing promotions with related businesses, and getting listed in the Yellow Pages.

Traditional marketing methods were quite expensive. They were also not sustainable. Once the ad had run its course, it was discarded. Given the tools available with digital technology, are traditional marketing methods useless for developing local marketing strategies?

Not quite! The reason is some of these methods have evolved and adapted to conform to the requirements of digital technology and the Internet. In combination with digital marketing techniques, these methods can help your retail location develop a strong local presence.

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1. Set Up a Mobile-Responsive Website

Before anything else, you should set up a mobile-responsive website. As we discussed earlier, consumers looking for information will always run an online search first. You should establish your online presence by having an active, mobile-responsive website on the Internet.

If you already have a mobile-responsive website, ask your web developer to run periodic audits. How responsive is it? Your website should be able to accommodate various screen sizes and browsers.

Technology is evolving at light speed. Mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops are consistently improving to meet the demands of the consumers.

Your web developer should also check for site speed. Consumers are not very patient. If your website takes time to download, they may abandon the search and go to your competitor.

2. Set Up Your Social Media Business Pages

Social media marketing will help bring you closer to your customers. You can post more information about your products and services, its benefits, and other useful tips.

You don’t have to set up a business page on every social media network. Choose the ones that can support your digital marketing objectives and highlights the strong points of your business.

For example, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube are best suited for highly-visual products such as cosmetics, perfumes, fashion apparel, and technology devices.

Make sure your social media business pages have the same information published on your website.

3. Get Listed In Search Engines

Think of Search Engine directories like the Yellow Pages on the Internet. As a matter of fact, the Yellow Pages are on the Internet!

Getting listed in search engine directories will make the consumer’s search activity much easier. All the information they need about your business can be found in the search engine directory.

You can find our recommendations on the best search engine directories to list your business in our article, “Why Should Retail Locations Be Listed In Search Engines?” Google My Business should be at the top of your list as Google is the biggest search engine on the Internet.

We also recommend adding high-resolution images of your store and its products to your listing. Also, try to generate positive reviews from Yelp. Google’s ever-evolving search algorithm has included favorable reviews from influential sites such as Yelp as a ranking factor.

4. Set Aside a Budget for Paid Ads

Paid ads are a good way to give your website an immediate boost in the search rankings. Anyone who clicks on your ad will land on your website. You can read more about paid ads in our article, “SEO vs PPC: Which One Is Better For Your Business”.

The great thing about paid ads is that it will appear in search results which are relevant to your industry or type of business. You can be assured that the people who see your ads will have some interest in your products and services.

5. Get Into Cross-Promotional Arrangements

Cross-promotional arrangements are traditional marketing methods that have stood the test of time. They are cost-effective and gives you the opportunity to present your business to a whole new audience. Make sure it is a non-competing business. The best arrangements are those whereby the products or services are complementary of one another.

For example, if you have a bakery, you can enter into cross-promotional arrangements with a floral shop for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas Day.

You can also run cross-promotional arrangements in Pinterest. Going back to our previous example, you can post content about the floral shop on your “Pin Board”. The floral shop will gladly return the favor and post about your cakes in their own Pin Board.

6. Get Involved with the Local Community

If you want to increase your visibility within the area, make sure your presence is felt. You can do this by getting involved with the local community. Every community strives to be active. There are always events and projects that you can be involved with.

For example, if have a Personal Training business, why not offer free exercise classes in the community every Saturday morning? You could also sponsor community events such as a “Fun Run” or a dance marathon.

By getting involved with your community, you increase awareness about your business and give people first- hand experience of what you can do.

Conclusion

While the Internet can give you avenues and channels to promote your business to wide, far-reaching areas, you can likewise localize your scope within proximity of your retail location.

The important thing is to focus on building a strong local presence. This is your captive market. People who reside or work within the area are potential customers. They may have need of your products or services. You should make it easy for them to find your business.

If you want to learn more about digital marketing and other ways to improve your local presence, please give us a call or drop us an email.

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Retail locations invest in marketing and promotional activities to get found. They will spend on traditional marketing collaterals such as press releases, print ads, and POPs or Point-of-Purchase materials. Likewise, many physical retailers will include a listing in the Yellow Pages so that people who need your particular products and services can easily find your location. However, in this age of the Internet and digital technology, if you have a physical retail location, you should consider being listed in search engines instead.

How Being Listed In Search Engines Helps Your Business Get Found

Businesses continue to use traditional marketing strategies in this age of digital marketing because there is still some benefit to be gained from them. For one thing, it is a form of high-touch marketing.

When a flyer is handed out, your representative can take the time to discuss your business with a prospect. Other traditional marketing methods such as product demonstrations and samplings work in the same manner.

However, traditional marketing is limited by its scope and reach. Flyers can only be received by people moving within its area of distribution. Press releases and print ads will only be seen by people who decide to read the publication.

The bigger, more important question is: “What will they do after they’ve come across your ad?”

The flyer can wind up in the trash bin. The press release and print ad may be ignored. If you have the money to spend on a TV or radio ad, some people may just switch channels. Your efforts may not improve recall to the point that they will search for your business in the Yellow Pages.

These forms of marketing are quite expensive and the low returns may not justify the investment.

The Internet and the continued evolution of digital technology have encouraged consumers to utilize more efficient channels to find information. Innovations in mobile technology have everything consumers need accessible within the palm of their hand.

People are using the Internet to search and find the information they need from websites, social media, and other sources of content.

According to a study by search engine giant, Google, 4 out of 5 Americans prefer to use search engines to track down local businesses.

A more significant statistic from Google’s study showed that 50% of consumers who use search engines to find a business visit the retail location on the same day. 18% of these retailers were able to convert these visits into paid sales!

The 10 Best Search Engine Listings To Register Your Business

If your business currently has a digital marketing strategy in place, you are on the right track. As we discussed in our article, “Why You Should Think About Digital Marketing When Starting Your Business”, it is a proven strategy for effectively promoting your business; its products and services.

A good digital marketing strategy includes SEO or Search Engine Optimization, social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing. Collectively, these processes will help you achieve your online marketing goals.

Maximize the return on your digital marketing efforts by having your business listed in a few search engine directories. Getting listed in a search engine directory will make it easier for people to find and contact your business.

Here are 10 of the best search engine listings to register your business:

1. Google My Business

Number one on your list of search engine directories to register your business at should be Google My Business (GMB). Why? Let’s start off with the fact that Google is the largest search engine in the world and basically has outperformed all other search engines on the Internet. In 2016 alone, Google generated 7.8 Billion searches every single day!

Secondly, Google My Business is free. It will not cost you a cent to list your business at GMB.

According to Google, GMB offers small, local businesses a huge edge over larger-sized competitors because it features a mobile-friendly map. Your business will be immediately visible to all smartphone users – Android and iOS phones – within a 5km radius of your physical location.

Here are a few more advantages of listing your business at GMB:

  • GMB performs extremely well in online searches
  • Listing in GMB will give your website a boost in the search engine rankings
  • Allows you to post reviews from your customers
  • Allows you to include key business information in your GMB profile
  • GMB provides Analytics which you can use to evaluate business performance

Lastly, listing in GMB is a very easy process. If you want to list on a search engine directory, prioritize GMB.

2. Bing Places For Business

Bing Places for Business currently ranks behind Google My Business in terms of online searches. Those who have Windows in their computer will probably choose Bing instead of Google. Just like GMB, Bing Places for Business is for free and will allow you to include key business information with your online profile.

You can add more details to your business location which is important for those who have multiple branches or outlets. Bing Places for Business will also let you upload videos, photos, and other forms of marketing content to generate interest and to entice people to visit the nearest location.

3. Yahoo! Local Listing

Yahoo! Local Listing generates millions of searches every day and currently sits third behind Google and Bing. You can avail of the free subscription. However, you will need to sign up for the paid subscription in order to upload photos, videos, and other business-related content with your profile.

The paid subscription will set you back $9.95/month. Meanwhile, if you avail of the $29.99/month, Yahoo! Local Listing will list you in 40 other online directories. Yahoo! may not be the force it once was, but you can still use it for a localized online marketing strategy.

4. Yelp

If you are targeting a specific demographic, Yelp could be the best choice for listing your business. It is estimated that 42% of people who use Yelp to search belong in the 18 to 34 age demographic. 61% of Yelp’s users have a college degree and 46% have an annual income of at least $100,000.

One of the key features of Yelp is that it publishes consumer reviews. Interestingly, the most reviewed businesses are in the retail, food, and home service industries. It also has a reporting tool that can help you research and analyze business trends.

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5. Merchant Circle

Small businesses that prefer to run a localized marketing campaign whereby customers, suppliers, and other similar enterprises are within their area should use MerchantCircle. Put simply, MerchantCircle is small business-friendly!

MerchantCircle opens up a treasure trove of features to help small business owners market and promote their products and services. You can place advertisements, post your business blogs, and utilize MerchantCircle’s entire arsenal of free marketing tools.

Building a business through a search engine directory has never been easier than with MerchantCircle!

6. Yellow Pages

Yes, Yellow Pages is still alive and well and can be found online! Yellow Pages has long been associated with search. Only instead of letting your “fingers do the walking”, they’ll have to tap keyboard keys or click on a mouse.

YP is still a relevant player in the industry and generates millions of searches on a daily basis. According to the company’s latest data on website traffic, there were an estimated 70 million visitors on their site in 2016.

By virtue of earning more than $1 Billion in revenues in 2014, the people at YP believe they are the second best search engine directory in the United States.

7. Manta

Manta is another search engine directory listing service that is geared towards promoting small businesses.

The company reports that their directory continues to attract millions of unique visitors every month. One reason is that Manta maintains a highly- comprehensive database on businesses including information on industry categories, developments, and customer demographics.

In addition, users of the Manta service can also access helpful content, free marketing tools, and take advantage of features that actively promote the business and its products and services.

8. Citysearch

Do you own a restaurant or a bar? Are you in the hotel business? If so, sign up for Citysearch. This search engine listing directory is focused on providing marketing services for businesses in the hospitality industry.

Citysearch has a partner network which can help increase your visibility within your target market. Its partner network includes Urbanspoon, MerchantCircle, and Expedia.

Businesses that are frequently searched for by Citysearch’s users will appear in their “Best Of” list that covers more than 20 industries.

9. Angie’s List

Angie’s List is one of the fastest growing search engine listings on the Internet. As of 2017, the site has more than 3 Million members who use the service to conduct research. You can also use Angie’s List to find local suppliers and review other services as well.

Angie’s List is also known for publishing objective and reliable consumer reviews which cover more than 720 industries.

2017 was a banner year for Angie’s List. The search engine directory made it to the prestigious Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list. Consultancy firm Deloitte uses this list to rank the fastest growing companies in the technology, media, and telecommunications industries.

10. Trip Advisor

Who hasn’t used TripAdvisor? If you need recommendations for restaurants, hotels, and holiday destinations, TripAdvisor would be one of your go-to search engines. It has built a steady reputation as a reliable and trustworthy search directory in the entertainment and hospitality industries.

How big is TripAdvisor? The company reports that it generates 390 million searches from unique visitors every month and has published more than 430 million reviews.

Other than Citysearch, if you are in the restaurant and hotel business, make sure you register your business in TripAdvisor.

Conclusion

The Internet opens up different avenues you can take to market and promote your business so that it can be found by interested parties. Listing your business in a search engine directory is a great way to complement your digital marketing strategy.

When you are competing with other businesses in the industry, always make it easier and more convenient for your customers to find you. Think of these search engine directories as the Yellow Pages in the palm of your hand. People still rely on YP for search purposes. In fact, YP is already on the Internet!

If you want to know how to integrate a search engine directory listing with your digital marketing campaign, give us a call for a free consultation!

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For years, marketers were anxious to sound the death knell for email marketing. It seemed to have become irrelevant; its reputation tarnished by shady Ponzi schemes and by cyber-criminals eager to plant their malicious programs into your network. Every year email marketing has proven its naysayers wrong. It remains a powerful tool for driving traffic and converting leads into sales. Email marketing is very much alive and should be part of your digital marketing strategy.

Statistics That Prove Email Marketing Is Very Much Alive

What was the first thing you did this morning after you woke up? If you’re like 60% of Americans, chances are you opened your smartphone and checked your email.

Studies have shown that people read their emails even before they brush their teeth. It’s the first thing that most people do in the morning and for at least 13% of the population, the last thing they do before they go to sleep.

In between breakfast and dinner, people continue to check their emails multiple times every day. Given its popularity of use, it is surprising to think that some marketers believe email is dead.

The truth is, statistics support the effectiveness of email as a tool for digital marketing. Here are some key numbers that prove email marketing continues to produce positive results for businesses:

The most telling statistic is that email, as a medium of communication, continues to grow. From 3.7 Billion email user accounts in 2017, this number is expected to grow to 4.1 Billion in 2021.

With such a large user base, email is an attractive distribution channel for content. It is the first thing people check in the morning and at night. In most cases, people visit their inbox five times per day.

Thus, email gives your content a high probability of being seen and opened. Having your content delivered in a subscriber’s inbox is like having your foot inside the door. All the subscriber needs to do is click through your email and let your content run its course.

Despite these encouraging statistics about email marketing, why have some marketers pronounced it dead?

The answer may have to do with a close relative in the digital marketing family: Social media marketing.

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Email Marketing Versus Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing exploded into the mainstream consciousness when broadband technology made the Internet more accessible in 2004. By this time, the Internet had grown to more than 700 Million users. In comparison, 10 years earlier, the Internet was only accessible to 16 Million people.

Everyone had to be on some form of social media. People had a fun way to connect with family, and old friends. They had a platform where they could upload images and share opinions through the comments section.

Social media’s popularity opened up opportunities for new networks to build communities of users. However, it was Facebook that stood above everyone else. On any given day, there would be 3 Billion people on social media. Of the 3 Billion, 2 Billion would be on Facebook.

Businesses took notice of social media and its influence on consumers. Over time, social media evolved from a pastime and into a powerful driver of content. It seemed that social media’s popularity had swept email marketing on the wayside.

Is social media marketing a more effective distribution channel for content than email marketing?

If you ask, you may find marketers divided between social media marketing and email marketing. The best way to answer the question is to look at the numbers.

How does email marketing stack up to social media marketing in terms of performance and results? More specifically, if you had 3,000 email subscribers and 3,000 Facebook followers, which channel would produce better results for your content?

In a survey of internet marketers, MailMunch found that 60% of them found email marketing to be more effective than social media marketing in distributing content.

One reason is that social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter frequently change their algorithm. The changes have seriously compromised the organic reach of published content.

Some marketers report that only 2 to 5 out of 2,000 followers of Facebook will get to see their content. A study by [email protected] showed that the organic reach of Facebook dropped to only 6% in 2014.

In comparison, email has an average open rate of 21.73%. Therefore, if you were to distribute content via 3,000 email marketing and 3,000 Facebook followers media, these would be your projected results:

  • Email Marketing – 653 will open your email
  • Facebook – 180 will see your message

In terms of click-through rates, again email reigns supreme over social media marketing. Here are the average click-through rates between email marketing, Facebook, and Twitter:

  • Email Marketing – 3.57%
  • Facebook – 0.07%
  • Twitter – 0.03%

Another study on the effectiveness of email marketing showed that it influenced the buying decision of 66% of respondents. The study cited the personalization of content as the main reason why email marketing works so well in converting leads to paying customers.

Highly- respected business consultancy group, McKinsey & Co. likewise entered into the email marketing versus social media marketing debate. In the company’s own study, McKinsey revealed that email marketing helped businesses acquire 40 times more customers than their combined efforts in Facebook and Twitter.

Finally, let’s look at some key data gathered by OptinMonster on the advantages of email marketing over social media marketing:

Metric:Email MarketingFacebookTwitter
Total Number of Users2.7 Billion2 Billion313 Million
First item checked for the day58%11%2%
Daily Use91%57%14%
Preferred Channel for Personal Messages45%4%0%
Accepts content from a company or business they follow44%4%0%
Made a purchase66%20%6%
Acquired customers7%<1%0%
Organic Reach79%1 to 6%<1 to 30%
Results in Positive ROI21%0%15%
Customer Lifetime Value+12%+1%-23%
Open Rate18% (OR), 3.7% (CTR)0.07%0.03%
Full OwnershipYesNoNo

We’re not saying that in view of these figures, you should forego social media marketing in favor of email marketing. Our point is that email marketing continues to remain relevant even in this age of social media.

Email is a proven driver of content that directly gets your message to your targeted audience. Instead of ignoring email marketing, it should be included in your digital marketing campaign strategy.

Conclusion – 3 Reasons Why Your Business Should Do Email Marketing

Hopefully, we’ve convinced you to do email marketing for your business. It is difficult to disprove the effectiveness of email marketing given the sheer volume of data that further validate its overall value.

If numbers aren’t your thing, here are 3 business development- related reasons why you should do email marketing:

1. Email Marketing Is Great For Sharing Content

To be clear, if there is one big advantage that social media has over email marketing is that it is a better vehicle for sharing content. The study conducted by OptinMonster showed that 57% of respondents preferred to share content via Facebook compared to only 4% for email.

However, the strength of sharing content via email marketing is that it is sent by the recipient to a member of his/her community who may be interested in your business’ products and services. The act of sharing becomes an indirect endorsement of your company.

2. Email Marketing Is Measurable

Email marketing is one of the easiest digital marketing tools to measure. You have access to analytics that will let you know the performance of every type of email content. By doing so, you have real-time, accurate data that will give you an idea of which campaign generates a higher ROI.

3. Email Marketing Is Cost- Effective

Email is a low- cost approach to distributing content. You don’t incur costs for printing, office supplies, and distribution. The only recurring costs may be when you decide to acquire and subscribe to email marketing services. Then again, the costs for a monthly subscription are minimal.

Email has been an integral part of life and work for decades. From its early “You’ve Got Mail” days, email remains the most popular item checked on your smartphone. And it will continue to grow over the next few years.

It is estimated that by 2020, there will be 257.7 Billion business and personal emails sent every day.

If you are interested in starting out an email marketing campaign, give us a call or drop us an email. We will get back to you right away. Mountaintop has extensive experience in helping our clients generate long-term and sustainable results with their email campaigns.

We are anxious to hear from you!

And if you have some ideas and suggestions that you would like to share about email marketing and why it is alive and well, please post them in the comments section below.

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Hello! What brings you here?

Search is the number one activity on the Internet. It all starts with a need to find information. The keywords you used to launch a query will open a results page with a list of URLs. Every URL you click onto will have content that could provide the answers to your query.

Content can be anything. It can be a tweet. A blog. An article. An email. An image or video. In short, it is a message that communicates directly with the targeted audience.

It’s how you got here.

You wanted to know more about content marketing. And we have the content to show you how to get started.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the process of using information that is usable and relevant to the needs, concerns, or interests of the target audience. It is a form of communication whereby the message resonates with the recipient and compels him/her to take action.

Communication is very important in marketing. The message must be focused and clearly articulated so that content will resonate and be accepted openly by the recipient.

Content marketing is targeted marketing. You create content that appeals to a specific audience. It is optimized; you don’t have to find them because they will find you.

Compare that to a marketing approach that distributes flyers inside a mall or inserts them between the pages of the Sunday paper.

If you distribute 1,000 flyers, how many will be compelled to take your desired action? Some will just ignore the flyer. A good number will find their way into a garbage can.

Thus, for marketers, content marketing offers an effective and efficient way of communicating with their audience.

How Will Content Marketing Help Your Business?

If you can find a way to increase your visibility or enhance your online presence on the Internet, you will be able to achieve your online marketing goals.

With content marketing, people follow you willingly. You build an audience composed of people who enjoy your content. They see value in it and consider you a valuable resource. Over time and with consistency, great content will develop your credibility and reputation.

A successful content marketing campaign can reap the following benefits for your business:

  • Drives higher inbound traffic to your website.
  • Builds strong brand awareness.
  • Encourages brand loyalty.
  • Improves your search ranking.
  • Improves your sales conversion rate.
  • Enhances your reputation as an expert.
  • Establishes stronger relationships with your audience.

Content marketing is also a sustainable business development strategy. Great content is evergreen; it will stand the test of time. A blog that you published today can be re-published in six months.

You can even re-publish it three years later. All you have to do is update information such as statistics, new developments, outcomes, and other key data. It will cater to a whole new audience; perhaps bring in people who have not heard of your business.

Finally, content marketing will not sink your bank account. Yes, there is a cost to producing great content. However, the cost of publication is much more affordable compared to traditional marketing.

There is no cost to posting content on your social media pages or those in your network. Paid ads have a cost but you only pay every time someone clicks on your content. Now compare that with the cost of publishing content in a newspaper or glossy.

Not only will content marketing save you money, but your content will be visible to more people. Most importantly, it will be seen by the people who matter the most: Your audience.

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How To Start Content Marketing

If you’re still here, that means we’ve convinced you to push through with content marketing.

Before you sit down and start creating content, please understand that content marketing is a process. There are steps that you need to follow to ensure the success of your campaign.

1. Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy

Think of the different types of content – blogs, articles, web copy, product reviews, videos, images, and tweets –  as tools of the trade. Every business that decides on running a content marketing campaign has access to the same tools as you.

However, not everyone will succeed. Some will fail. Others will fall short of their goals.

Therefore, content marketing will only be as effective as the strategy behind it.

Content strategy also identifies the “why”; the purpose of each piece of content you create as well as the “when” which refers to the distribution and publication schedule.

Without strategy, your content marketing plan will be treading blindly into unchartered waters. There will be no rhyme or reason to the types of content you put out. Your message will get lost. Your audience will have no idea of what you are trying to communicate.

A content strategy establishes structure to your content marketing plan. It lays out the path of the journey you want to put your audience on.

2. Assemble Your Content Marketing Team

Can you create and publish your own content? Sure! The more important question is, “Should you?”

Creating content takes time. A 1,500- word blog post can take anywhere from two to four hours to complete.

Thus, even if you have the talent to create content – don’t! Instead, you should assemble a content marketing team. A rundown of the skills you need for your team would include the following:

  • Content Writer
  • Editor
  • Keyword Researcher
  • SEO Specialist

Collaborate on the content strategy with your content marketing team. Make sure all topics, titles, and posting schedules are presented to you for approval before implementation.  

3. Build On Ideas For Content

For a few days, you could find yourself knocking out one amazing content piece after another. Then without warning, you find yourself staring at a blank computer screen. The creativity well has run dry. What will you do next?

First of all, don’t panic. It happens even to the best content writers. Creativity comes from ideas. And ideas are initiated by inspiration. Sometimes you just need to find good sources of inspiration to pour in new ideas into the creativity well.

Here are five good sources of ideas for content creation:

  • Customers – Reach out to your audience. Find out what issues and concerns are of interest to them. Conduct surveys in your social media pages or through email marketing.
  • Competitors – Visit your competitors’ websites and social media pages. What are they writing about? Which types of content are generating the highest levels of engagement?
  • Influencers – Influencers are movers and shakers in the industry. They know the pulse of the market. Subscribe to their content so you can get daily updates.
  • Sales People – If you’re in retail, your sales people directly engage with your customers. Invite them to a brainstorming session and find out which topics would be of interest to your audience. You might even want to consider asking a few of them to contribute content for your website.
  • Social Media – With more than 3 Billion sharing content every day, you’ll never run out of ideas in social media. Join interest groups and take note of topics that trigger active discussion among members.

4. Create Your Content

What processes are involved in creating content?

  • Topic research
  • Title research
  • Keyword research
  • Fact checking on sources
  • Hyperlinks/ citing of references
  • Submission and review of drafts
  • Draft finalization
  • Spelling and grammar check
  • Plagiarism check
  • Optimization of content

All told, there are at least 10 steps required in content creation. The process can be longer if multiple drafts were needed before the finalizing the draft.

As we mentioned in step #2, content creation takes time. If you are planning to publish multiple content pieces every week, you could have a log jam in your schedule.

This is the value of having content strategy in place. Before creating content, establish a content writing calendar.

For example, a blogging calendar for a real estate company can include the following types of content:

  • How-To articles
  • List-Type articles
  • Informative articles
  • Opinion pieces
  • Management practices
  • Leadership and entrepreneurship
  • Inspirational

In order to maximize the effectiveness of the calendar, it should have a publication schedule in place.

Let’s say you planned to publish 16 blogs every month. A good strategy would be to create informative content for the first four topics. This could be How-To and List-Type articles. The purpose is to highlight the expertise of the real estate agency and how its services can be of value to potential clients.

The fifth article could be an Opinion piece on a topic related to the most recent List-Type article. For example, if you published an article entitled, “How To Get Approved For A Home Loan”, you could write an Opinion piece on why lending rates should be lowered.

The purpose is to provide the readers a break from assimilating highly-informative  content to one that encourages greater engagement and discussion.

By having a content creation calendar in place, you can manage your time better. You will be able to produce high-quality, unique blogs that are well-written, thoroughly-researched, informative, engaging, and optimized.

Best of all, you will stay on schedule.

5. Promote Your Content

You’ve invested time and effort on your content. As an asset, you want it to reap dividends. Where you promote your content will determine if your content can give you solid returns.

An effective content promotion strategy should involve multiple distribution channels. This way, your content will be assured to reaching a wider audience.

Here are five of the best distribution channels you could use to promote your content:

  • Social Media – Choose no more than 3 networks for easy monitoring. Come up with a posting schedule for each network. If you have a content marketing team, they will probably share your content to their community.
  • Paid Advertising – PPC brings your content directly in front of potential end users. It is highly-effective and cost- efficient as you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
  • Email – Once you’ve built a good-sized email list, send them short but informative and useful content pieces every month.
  • Blogging Communities – Guest blogging is another effective distribution strategy. Your content will be discovered by a new audience and it may trigger faster growth.
  • Comment Sections – Don’t just post links to your content in the comments section. Build relationships first through regular engagement. When you’ve built credibility and trust with the site, you can post links that are relevant to the conversation. This means, don’t just post your links but include other sites as well.

There are other channels and techniques that you can use to promote your content. These include Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Display Ads, and Content Syndication.

You don’t have to use all of these channels to distribute your content. Determine which ones are more aligned with the types of content you are promoting. Initially, select 3 to 4 channels and assess its performance.

If the numbers fall below your target ROI, then you should consider changing tactics by choosing another distribution channel.

Conclusion

As you’ve just read, writing online content is a whole new ballgame. It’s not enough to be a good writer. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done because you want your content to stand out from the rest. You need to combine creative writing with the precision of optimization techniques.

A properly planned and executed content marketing strategy will bring your company closer to achieving its targeted goals. This is the reason we offer content marketing services to our clients at Mountaintop.

By outsourcing content writing to us, we eliminate the guesswork for you. We develop the ideas, come up with the topics, titles, and make sure these are supported by well-researched and fully- optimized content.

If you’re interested in starting a content marketing campaign, reach out to us. We will take you through the process and show you how our content has helped clients achieve their business objectives.

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After finalizing its trade name and having the enterprise registered, the next order of business is designing its logo. This is an important component of your branding strategy. A good logo is more than just a symbol. Properly designed, it will create immediate brand recall and lend valuable support to your messaging.

Why Your Business Needs Good Logo Design

The swoosh. The partially eaten apple. The golden arches. It won’t take long for you or anybody to know these descriptions refer to the logos of Nike, Apple, and McDonald’s respectively.

A study by branding consultant and design firm Siegel+Gate showed that Nike, Apple, and McDonald’s have some of the memorable logo designs of all time. Others in the list included Amazon, Coca Cola, Google, Target, and Starbucks.

It’s hard to disagree with the findings of the study. The mere mention of these companies’ names create brand imagery in our minds.

And there lies the power of a well- designed logo. It identifies your brand and drives your message forward. When consumers see your logo, they begin to identify key business attributes such as quality, honesty, integrity, and consistency with your brand.

A well-designed logo is evergreen; it’s value grows as your business continues to flourish. In many cases, a logo has become a shield against controversy and bad publicity.

Nike has had its share of controversy over the years. It has been labeled a proprietor of child-labor. Throughout the period that Nike addressed these allegations, the brand remained resilient.

The “Swoosh” logo with the tagline “Just Do It” continues to inspire and motivate customers who want to perform better or improve their health and fitness.

McDonald’s has long been accused as a purveyor of global obesity. Yet, the brand remains strong. Most people who come across the golden arches logo will not hesitate to stop by for a quick meal despite all the bad publicity concerning McDonald’s food.

To be clear, a logo by itself does not make your brand. It should be part of your branding strategy. Its purpose is to encapsulate your value proposition which is answerable by the following questions:

  • What is my business?
  • What can we do for you?
  • Why should you choose us?

In marketing, messaging is everything. All of the component parts of a marketing campaign must be aligned and convey the same message. It starts with your logo and cascades down to your content and collaterals.

Whether your branding strategy works or not will likewise depend on your business performance. If you deliver the results that were promised by your message, then your efforts will serve to reinforce your brand. The logo will gain value and prominence.

However, if you fail to deliver results, then your brand will suffer. The logo will lose value. No matter how well-designed the logo was, it will be associated with undesired attributes.

That is why designing a logo is an investment. It keeps you honest and motivated to drive your business toward success. This way, your investment in logo design will grow and reap the benefits of brand recall, resiliency, and enhanced value proposition.

Thus, the road to long-term growth and sustainable success starts with designing a good logo for your business.

How To Design An Effective Logo For Your Business

1. Subliminal Messaging – Wendy’s, FedEx, Amazon

Subliminal messaging is a powerful technique whereby the component parts of the design are able to successfully convey the branded value proposition of the business.

There is psychology involved when using this technique. The designer should have the ability to manipulate the design elements to be able to drive home the message successfully.

Here are a few good examples of the successful use of subliminal messaging:

  • Amazon

Amazon is the world’s largest e-commerce retailer. It’s logo sends two messages. The first one is the obvious smile represented by the curved arrow. The message is that if you shop at Amazon, you will come away satisfied or happy.

The second message is how the arrow extends from the letter “a” to the letter “z”. Here Amazon is telling consumers that the company has every item or merchandise you will ever need; from “a” to “z”.

  • Wendy’s Hamburgers

For years, Wendy’s Hamburgers was identified with the smiling teenage girl with the freckles and double ponytail. Consumers associated Wendy’s with good, old-fashioned American cooking; perhaps a Sunday afternoon of grilling hamburgers with the family.

However, you can clearly see the girl’s collar spell out “Mom” which further drives the message of eating home-cooked family meals at Wendy’s.

  • Wikipedia

Wikipedia the popular online-based encyclopedia features a globe made of puzzle pieces with some parts missing. This is a brilliant way of encouraging users to fill in the gaps by inviting them to update content.

  • FedEx

The world’s most popular courier service cleverly inserts its message of speed and timely deliveries between the letters “E” and “x” which form a forward-facing arrow.

2. The Psychology Of Color

Numerous studies have been done to prove that colors can influence the buying decisions of consumers. Graphic designers are well aware of the Psychology of Color.

They have studied to know which colors can be used to trigger emotions or desired behavior. The strategic use of color in your business logo can immediately take your branding campaign to the next level. It is essentially half the work done.

Here is a breakdown of popular colors used in logo design, the emotions they convey, and which businesses they should be used for:

ColorEmotionType of Business
BlackStrength, Power, PrecisionPetroleum, Construction, Manufacturing
RedHunger, Aggression, RomanceFood, Fitness, Fashion
GreenNatural, Fresh, CalmingMedicine, Tourism, Education
BlueCredibility, Focus, Business-LikeIT, Dental Clinic, Consultation
OrangeCreative, Dynamic, EnergeticEntertainment, Childcare, Food and Drink
YellowExuberance, Drive, PositivitySales, ecommerce, Automotives
PurpleSpiritual, Magical, Well-BeingYoga, Spa, Massage Therapy
BrownEarthly, Historical, ConservativeBanks, Real Estate, Pet Store
WhiteClean, Pure, SimpleDental, Medical, Science

3. Focus On Unique Design

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery. However, that does not hold true when it comes to logo design.

The purpose of a logo is to differentiate your brand from others. It’s easy to get caught up admiring other logos and it is perfectly fine to get ideas or a dose of inspiration. Do not fall into the trap of being just another cliche design.

The best graphic designers think outside the box. They flex their creative muscles as hard as they can to come up with concepts that can turn the industry on their heads. This is how iconic designs are made.

A good example of creativity at its finest is the logo of luxury car maker, Mercedes Benz.

There is nothing on the logo that suggests the company makes luxury cars. Instead, the logo means that the company dominates the transportation industry in land, sea, and air.

4. Customize Your Font Style

Don’t overlook the value of your logo’s font style. Our team at Mountaintop has graphic designers who are not in a rush to visit the font menu and run tests to see which style fits our client’s logo best.

We strongly believe in customizing your font style. If you want a logo that best captures the true meaning of Unique Value Proposition, then you should go all the way. Uniqueness in logo design should not only be limited to images, colors, and shapes. Font style should likewise be considered.

One of the best examples of customized font styling is the Coca Cola logo.

For sure, you have seen other logos copy this font style in order to capitalize on its ability to recall. However, the font style shall forever be associated with Coca Cola.

5. Simple Is Beautiful

When you are pushing the boundaries of creativity, you can easily get carried away with the bells and whistles. You tend to use all the tools at your disposal and run tests on how each design element works with another.

If you have too many components on your logo design, its message could get lost. Sometimes the best approach would be to pull back and utilize simple design. Many companies have adopted simple design for their logos and have carried it through the years with great success.

Nike, Coca Cola, and Apple are the obvious choices. Another good example is the logo of search engine giant, Google.

It has gone through changes over the years but the color scheme has remained the same. Most of the revisions on logo design have to do with its font styling. Today’s version uses a much simpler font style without the sharp edges and the shadowing.

6. The Psychology Of Shape

Earlier we discussed the psychology of color and how it can be used to influence the buying decisions of consumers. Another consumer theory that you should consider is the psychology of shape.

In the same way that colors and their various hues can trigger certain reactions or behaviors from consumers, round and angular shapes can also sway purchasing decisions to your favor:

  • Round Shape – Circles, curved lines, and ovals are used to convey femininity and emotion. Fashion brands such as Coco Chanel use round shapes in its logo design.

  • Angular Shape – Squares and triangles are used to connote power, stability, and masculinity. A good example would be the Adidas logo.

7. Consider Proportion And Symmetry

You don’t have to be a Graphic Designer to appreciate proportion and symmetry. They give your logo a clean, well-structured, and elegant look. Here are a few examples of logos that have great proportion and symmetry:

  • Twitter

  • YouTube

  • Mitsubishi Motors

8. Share Your Story

Your logo is a way of communicating with your audience. It doesn’t need to have an image of your product to convey its message clearly. Some of the best, most iconic logos in business have a roundabout way of getting its message across to its target market.

Everyone knows the Starbucks logo.

However, how many of you know why the company used the Siren as its logo?

The owners of Starbucks wanted a design with a nautical theme that best captured the spirit of Seattle. The original choice of the founders was “The Pequod” which was the name of the whaling ship in the classic piece of literature, “Moby Dick”.

Eventually, they thought against it because they thought it was open to mispronunciation and had poor recall. Instead, they went with the name of the Pequod’s first mate, “Starbucks”.

As for the Siren, in Greek Mythology, it was a creature that lured sailors to an island in the South Pacific. The use of the Siren is Starbucks’ roundabout way of luring you inside their store for a mug of freshly brewed coffee!

The entire process of coming up with a logo design may have been far-fetched, but the Starbucks logo is one of the most recognizable brands in the world.

Conclusion – Brand Building Takes Time And Effort

All of the logos we featured in this article took some time before they reached iconic status. As we mentioned earlier, logo design alone will not make your branding strategy a success. It must be supported by performance.

Remember that your brand is a promise to your customers. Therefore, you can view the logo as a way of keeping you accountable and focused on delivering that promise.

Do you need a logo for your business? Are you planning on changing your current logo design? If so, give us a call or drop us an email. Let’s sit down to have a quick chat to discuss what we can do to help you find a logo that best represents your brand.

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There are almost two billion websites on the Internet. If you see similarities between certain websites, it is because some use prepared template designs. These are downloadable website templates where the layout and structure have already been established.

Although this is a fast, easy, and convenient way to put up a website, it misses a very important element of effective design: Uniqueness.

The challenge for professional web designers is to conceptualize a design that is unique to its owner. Everything must come-together or align in website design. A business is an organization of people who share core values and a common vision to what the future may hold.

Design should embody; not distinguish the business and its owner. Its elements should represent the owner and support the purpose, objectives, message, and overall vision of the business.

Our Design Process At Mountaintop Web Design

At Mountaintop Web Design, we like to think of ourselves as artists and scientists. We explore the boundaries of creativity through artistic expression. However, at the same time, we respect the rules and precision of web design science. There are theories, guidelines, and principles of web design that we use as the basis for implementing artistic concepts.

We conduct research before initiating the formal design process. Research is categorized into two areas: empirical and intuitive.

Empirical Research

Under empirical research, we gather facts, relevant information, updated data, and other forms of usable and measurable inputs on the type of business and industry. We also implement best practices of web design which likewise, includes its own research. These principles go into each and every website we build.

Once we have a deeper understanding of the nature of the enterprise, we do a comparative analysis of the industry. This includes looking at the websites of the client’s closest competitors. We take note of design elements and similarities in content.

We also look through the competitors’ social media accounts. We want to see if there is alignment or some congruence between its design elements and those of the website.

Intuitive Research

Intuitive research is focused on the person behind the client. This is similar to a bank’s KYC or Know Your Customer approach. We want to know who the client is. What is his/her purpose? How did he/she get into this type of business? What are the motivating factors?

Our objective is to capture the essence of the client. His/ her personality should manifest on every page of the website. Its elements should reflect the client. When a visitor views the design and reads the content, he/she should have an accurate idea on who the business owner is.

Elements such as the use of color, spaces, angles, lines, and content will give site visitors clues on the type of person the owner is. Based on the interaction or response to the elements of design and content, the website visitor will rely on his/her intuition to formulate a profile on the business owner.

5 Popular Styles Of Web Design

There are many styles of web design. We would have to write an e-book to give you a complete rundown of every style that can be used for designing websites. Fortunately, we are not writing a textbook.

The purpose of writing this article is to give you an idea of how the design process works. It will give you a better understanding of what a professional web designer does and how to work with him/her when coming up with your own site.

In this section, we will discuss five of the most popular styles of web design. Then we will proceed to our own approach in designing websites for clients.

1. Illustrative Style

The Illustrative style of web design is highly visual in presentation. It uses drawing as the primary tool for design. We have graphic designers and artists who can come up with drawings or renditions based on an exchange of ideas with the business owner.

Renditions are visual expressions or concepts which the team believes best captures the message of the website. Creating design renditions for the Illustrative design is a close collaborative process with the client. We encourage the client to throw ideas on the design table.

As professional web designers, we incorporate principles of design to finalize the concept. Oftentimes, the client may have a different idea. Part of our job is to take the client through the design process so that he/she will get a better understanding of the principles of web design. This is how creative differences are resolved.

The final design is the one which the client feels accurately represents the business and at the same time stays within the parameters of effective web design techniques.

2. Single Page Style

The Single Page approach to web design is often confused with the Illustrative because it uses a rendition or depiction of a concept as the main design element. It can be colorful or simple. It could be vibrant or subdued.

Its overall purpose is to simplify web design. The structure is very simple and easy to navigate. You won’t find much text content on the Homepage as the focus remains on the image.

The Single Page style carries the same risk as the Illustrative in that the message of the design may not resonate with the site visitor right away. An image can look visually appealing but if used for symbolic purposes, its meaning may get lost in translation.

These styles of web design may work from an aesthetic standpoint. However, from a functional or messaging standpoint, the use of symbolic images may not deliver the desired results. That is why we do not actively recommend these styles to our clients.

We caution clients who prefer this style of design to exercise caution when it comes to the use of images as metaphors or symbolism.  As much as possible, the design concept should provide visual signals that make it easier for site visitors to understand what the business is all about; who the owners are, what they do, their purpose and vision. The content should resonate immediately with the viewer.

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3. Minimalist

Have you ever come across a website where the Homepage looks like an abstract painting? How about a website where it seems like you just landed on a maze? Outside of getting a migraine or feeling like a laboratory mouse, these designs have so much going on that its purpose and functionality are lost.

The Minimalist style removes all the clutter so all that remains are the essential elements, features, concepts, and forms. This type of design is very easy on the eyes. Good examples of the Minimalist style are websites that greatly use space. You see only black and white colors. Orientation is very clean and organized.

The Minimalist design is popular because it acts as a counterbalance to the chaos on the Internet. There is information overload; run a search query and you scroll through hundreds and thousands of websites. The Minimalist works because it focuses only on your central message.

4. Flat Web Design

If you’ve come across the Microsoft website, you’ll have a good idea of what Flat Web Design is. This style of web design combines minimalism with usability. It attempts to clear out unnecessary elements and just focus on items that greatly support usability and functionality.

Advocates of Flat Web Design typically use a combination of space with bright or dominant colors as defining areas of references. Overall design remains clean; the addition of colors with sharper hues creates better distinction among the other elements.

When we implement the Flat Web Design approach, we want the design to be prominent but not to the point that it detracts from the purpose of the website. Navigability should never be compromised.

5. Typographical

There is a good reason why recruiters generally reject resumes that are prepared using the Comic Sans font. You just won’t be taken seriously. Recruiters will always recommend Calibri, Cambria, Helvetica, and the over-used but still popular Arial.

The type of font you use is a design element that can successfully make or break your message. It triggers an emotional cue and an ensuing response. Used properly with image and text- based content, the typographical style can help you deliver a powerful and compelling story.

The drawback with the Typographic style is that it may slow down loading time. This is especially true when using mobile devices.

Mountaintop Web Design’s Approach To Web Design

Our underlying principle in web design is that best practices must always be implemented. Best practices in web design are those tried and true elements that have been proven to work. In this sense, we approach all of our clients in a similar same way. We can apply any style of web design that the client wants and which we feel strongly supports the purpose and objectives of the website.

However, our approach never veers off from the standard guidelines for effective web design:

  • The website must be mobile-responsive. Design should be able to set up seamlessly and effortlessly on mobile devices regardless of screen size. It should be accessible by large groups of people.
  • The website should have fast download speed. Our years of experience working with different clients and studying various industries have shown us that consumers are impatient. Our target is to make sure the client’s website can be accessed within 3 seconds.
  • Design should be optimized. Even if you have the best images and text content, these would have little value to your website if they cannot be found. We implement the principles of SEO or Search Engine Optimization to make sure all images and text-based content can be easily searched, found, and indexed by web crawlers.
  • Reliable security measures should be in place. We understand the value of a website for your business. Thus, we make sure all of our websites are built with the latest versions of the best security software. We also conduct regular site audits to run updates on plug-ins and address other issues that may present vulnerabilities to its security.

Case Study: Severe Weather Shelter

Severe Weather Shelter Network New website

We designed this website for a non-profit ministry. The objective of our design approach was to strongly highlight the services of the ministry. This was effectively done through the use of relevant images, the organization of the site, and the layout which were proprietary to the ministry.

The overall effect of the design was to deliver a clear message that was powerful and urgent, yet sincere and simplistic in tone and content.

The design gives website visitors an accurate idea on who the ministry is, what they do, how they operate, and helps them gain a deeper understanding of their objective. As we mentioned earlier, website design must represent the purpose and vision of the business.  

In this case, the purpose of the ministry is covered by the question , “Why did the ministry set up this organization?” The images, use of color, space, and layout, emphasize the ministry’s intent to help people in need.

We integrated the use of these provocative images with real statistics in order to compel the visitor into action. It certainly helped increase the number of donations and contributions to the ministry.

With the ideal design elements in place, our biggest challenge became the donation platform. We wanted to make sure it was easy and secure for people to use. Fortunately, we were able to implement the right platform for them and to date, the ministry continues to receive donations through its website.

If you are planning to have a website for your business or if you are thinking of having your current website re-designed, please feel free to give us a call or an email.

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Email is the comet that rendered the typewriter extinct. It made the fax machine redundant; regular mail older and slower. Because of email, real-time communication became possible. Work became more efficient and productivity soared. You could get more tasks done in less time and at lower costs. It opened a digital avenue where you can directly communicate with your target market. This is why email marketing is such an effective tool for achieving business goals.

However, like diet and exercise; two things that were intended for the greater good, the use of email became abused. Marketers took advantage of its speed, convenience, and ease of use. Scammers found a cottage industry on the Internet. From the excitement of “You’ve Got Mail” in the 1990’s followed the threat of notorious phishing schemes in the new millennium.

Email marketing developed a bad reputation. Consumers became suspicious of marketing content that landed in their inbox. 2017 was a banner year for cyber- criminals. Companies lost millions of dollars’ worth of Big Data. Investigation showed that email was the common entry-point.

Marketers made matters worse. As email marketing became popular, it became a standard feature of a digital marketing campaign. Eventually, it became subject to “The Law of Diminishing Returns”. The more marketers used email marketing, the less effective it became.

6 Worst Practices For Email Marketing

Before we discuss its best practices, it would be a good idea to cover its worst practices so you would get a good idea of which mistakes to avoid.

  1. Buying an Email List – Finding your way into the inbox is like having one foot inside the door. However, if you were not invited you are merely trespassing. Don’t buy an email list. Instead, grow your list organically. No one likes intruders.
  2. The Email Blast – Email marketing is effective when you take a targeted approach. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work. You shouldn’t fire off a large volume of email and rely on percentages. If you send out 3,000 emails and 10% respond, what do you believe the 90% thinks about you?
  3. Poor Content – The rules of great content apply even to email marketing. Content must be relevant, usable, engaging, fresh and unique. Otherwise, it will end up in the recycle bin.
  4. Ignoring the Requests of the Subscriber – There could be reasons why a subscriber wants to unsubscribe to your newsletter. Your job is to carry out the request, not to question “why”. Hiding the unsubscribe button will just make matters worse.
  5. Errors in Spelling and Grammar – Just because emails are normally short and concise does not mean you should disregard errors in spelling and grammar. These types of mistakes are inexcusable in all forms of content. It implies you are irresponsible and unconcerned
  6. Coming up with an Outlandish Heading – Imagine coming across a subject line: “Make $100,000 in 2 weeks!” then reading content that asks you to sign up for a 2-week course in sales for only $100. Don’t implement click bait strategies by coming up with headings or subject lines that are so outlandish you won’t be able to deliver on them.

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7 Best Practices For Effective Email Marketing

Did our list of worst email practices make you shake your head? You must have come across a number of them and others at some point in your life. The truth is email marketing remains a viable digital marketing strategy. It should be part of your online marketing toolbox because it is a powerful driver of content. The key is to know how to harness its power and make email marketing work for your business.

Here are 5 best practices for getting productive results from your email marketing campaign:

1. Build Your Email List Organically

If you approach email marketing as a numbers game, you might play a hand that might end up costing you more than anything you can potentially earn. Don’t assume that consumers who don’t like receiving marketing collateral in their inbox will simply ignore your content.

Not only will your content end up as spam, but some may file a complaint against you from the regulating authority such as the Federal Trade Commission or FTC. Your email domain may end up getting blacklisted. These are the risks taken by those who buy a leads list and run an email blast.

Grow your email marketing list organically or naturally. Drive traffic to your website through content marketing, social media, and paid ads. Make sure there are email sign ups where site visitors can choose to be part of your newsletter campaign.

By working on your email list instead of buying it, you can be assured of greater engagement with your content. Recipients expect it and have interest in reading your content. It may take longer to build an email list, but there are fewer risks and the probability of getting positive feedback is much higher.  

2. Get To Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience will help you customize your content better. This will improve engagement levels, enhance your branding strategy, and potentially move your prospect further down the sales funnel.

You can use metrics to gather data on your audience. You will know which types of content generate higher engagement and longer engagement. Metrics will likewise give you data on where your audience comes from and the hours with the highest traffic. You will also find out how your audience wants to receive content and the best time of day to send your email.

By learning more about your audience, you can take engagement one step further. You can send them more personalized emails which are written in a way, tone, language, and type of content, that resonates better with them.

3. Give Before You Take

As the old saying goes, “The proof of the pie is in the eating.” This is one reason why sampling is a good strategy to get people to try your product. Not everyone may like it, but the fact that you put it out there for free tells the prospect you are risking your reputation to validate its quality.

Before asking your site visitors to sign up and give their email addresses, give them a free taste of what you are offering. Business consultants usually offer free white papers and research content. Fitness professionals give away free exercise manuals or diet programs. App developers provide limited time trial period on their software.

Giving free samples is a great way of building trust with your prospects. It will encourage them to buy your product and service after they’ve digested your content.

4. Analyze Your Metrics

We briefly discussed metrics earlier. Metrics are valuable because they provide you with real-time data that you can use to track the progress of your email campaign. Once you can account for data supporting specific areas of interest, you will have empirical bases for improving and upgrading your strategies.

The first step is to identify these specific areas of interest. There are programs that can help you collect data on metrics you plan to measure your campaign against. If you’re not sure on how to go about metrics, we can help set it up along with an email campaign that is customized for your business needs.

We can help you track, collect, and analyze data. We’ll take you through the process so that in time, you’ll be able to do it on your own. The correct use of metrics will contribute to achieving higher ROI. You can streamline the cost of your campaign while improving the chances of attaining the desired outcome.

5. Don’t Forget Your CTA

Even if you came up with the most compelling content for your email, what good will it do if it doesn’t tell the reader which action to take? A Call- To- Action or CTA is precisely what it is. The CTA should tell the reader what he/she should do next.

If your site visitor comes across your opt-in, what do you want him/her to do? What do you want him/her to provide? What should he/she expect by signing up for your newsletter campaign?

The same process follows once your content is delivered in the subscriber’s inbox. What do you want him/her to do next? You will need a good, effective subject line that would compel your subscriber to open your email. Once it has been opened and read, what next? Do you want him/her to try a new program or subscribe to a new service?

You could have one or two CTAs in your email. The thing to keep in mind is to make sure it has one.

6. Create Compelling Email Design

In marketing, first impressions count. Email marketing is still collateral. It should look professional, clean, and most of all, it should represent your branding strategy.

How do you come up with a professional design for an email campaign? We’ve done this for our clients. We have good experience creating designs that effectively align with the client’s branding strategy. Most of all, the content and structure corresponds with regulations mandated by the FTC.

When you have an effective design, it creates automatic recall for its recipient. They will know the email comes from your company.

7. Reward Your VIPs

Who are your VIPs? These are the people who regularly click your emails and sometimes even share it to others. VIPs are effective conduits of content. They are trustworthy; those in their community who receive your content know it has value for your subscriber to pass it to them.

Reward your VIPs by preparing a personalized email and extending them a special gift. It could be in the form of free giveaways, an extended trial period, or an attractive discount. Engagement is a two-way street. Let them know they are special. It will help build a long-term, sustainable, and mutually- beneficial relationship.

Conclusion

Email marketing will remain one of the best and most effective forms of digital marketing. It is a perfect example of a targeted marketing approach. As such, you must take a deliberate, measured, and strategic approach when designing an email marketing campaign.

Like all marketing processes, it will take time to get the desired results from email marketing. The advantage is that with metrics, you can fine-tune the elements of your strategy and make it more effective. The risks are much lower and with persistence, you should be able to attain your campaign objectives

If you are thinking of including email marketing in your digital marketing campaign strategy, don’t hesitate to give us a call or an email. We can conceptualize one for you and guide you throughout the implementation process.

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Starting your business with digital marketing in place will put you on course to achieving your goals and objectives. Marketing is the last thing many startup entrepreneurs think about when launching their business. That is a mistake that could affect them in the long-term.

5 Reasons For Digital Marketing When Starting Your Business

  1. Brand building takes time.
  2. Digital marketing is a long-term process.
  3. Gain valuable insights into your target market.
  4. Provides opportunities to start earning revenue in the short-term.
  5. Analytics becomes a more reliable measure of your business’ performance.

The Advantages Of Starting Digital Marketing Early In Your Business

Like any new venture, getting started is the most difficult stage. A startup entrepreneur has his/her plate full thinking about financing, personnel, operating frameworks and the IT infrastructure needed to get the business started. Somehow, somewhere marketing gets lost in the planning process.

For many, marketing becomes an afterthought. The popular notion of marketing is that it should only start when the business is running smoothly.

They don’t want to actively market or promote their enterprise until they are 100% certain all aspects of the business – from goods and services to processes – are to their satisfaction.

First of all, nothing in business is 100% certain. It is unrealistic to think that your business model is perfect. Why? Because markets will always be in a constant state of change. Your business model will have to adapt to changes in your market.

A key benefit to having a digital marketing strategy in place is the ability to track these changes in your market.

Before broadband technology made the Internet accessible in 2004, the marketing process was largely considered hit and miss. Traditional marketing methods comprised strategy campaigns. These methods included press releases, advertorials, flyers, streamers and other POP’s or Point- of- Purchase materials.

Businesses had no credible way of tracking performance and ROI. Traditional marketing processes were expensive, inefficient and unsustainable. This is the main reason why businesses back then were hesitant to invest in a marketing program.

With digital marketing, there is no guesswork. You have access to real-time data which means you will have an accurate measure of ROI.

Digital marketing will give your startup all the advantages it needs to become successful by creating short and long-term streams of revenues, providing evidence-based data on how to streamline costs and most importantly, by establishing your brand value proposition to your target market.

5 Benefits Of Having A Digital Marketing Strategy When Starting Your Business

If you want your products and services found, you must invest in a digital marketing strategy. We discussed digital marketing at length in our articles, “How to Increase Your Website Traffic in 2018” and “How to Setup a Low Budget but Highly Effective Digital Marketing Campaign”. You can go back to those articles to have a refresher course on what digital marketing is all about.

Success in marketing relies on the successful delivery of the message. The message of your brand carries your value proposition or “Why my product or service is better than the competition”. The last thing you want is for your message to get lost in translation.

Digital marketing gives you several channels to get your message across effectively:

  • SEO or Search Engine Optimization – Optimize your website and content so that potential end-users of your product or service can easily find your business on the Internet.
  • Social Media Marketing – Distribute your optimized content through multiple social media platforms that appeal to your buyer’s persona and fit the needs of your business.
  • Content Marketing – Create fresh, unique, relevant, usable and engaging content to generate interest from your target market. Content can be created in text, image or video format for a more holistic distribution strategy.

The question most entrepreneurs want to find the answer to is, “When should I launch my digital marketing campaign?” The best answer is, “When you are starting your business.” And here are 5 benefits you can realize by starting your digital marketing strategy during the early stages of your business.

1. Builds Your Business Brand Effectively

When you start a business, consumers would want to know more about it from the get-go. Starting out a brand building campaign through digital channels even before the product or service is launched helps create interest and awareness.

You want to give people a good number of reasons to try your brand. The great thing about digital marketing is that you can be flexible in your brand- building approach.

For example, you plan to launch a brand of guilt-free donuts called “Fear Not Donuts”. You can use Facebook and Twitter to distribute content on what your products are all about and why people shouldn’t worry about eating them:

“Do Not fear the Donut! Fear Not Donuts are zero-sugar, low-carb donuts that are big on taste and not on your waist.”

Informational content that highlights the product’s strengths, differentiators and value to the customer is an effective way of building a good-sized following. At the pre-launch stage, try to build a follower base of 3,000 to 5,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.

During this pre-launch stage, you should expect greater engagement from potential customers because you have piqued their interest and curiosity. They will ask you questions such as:

  • “How many calories per donut?”
  • “How much does a box of glazed cost?”
  • “How do you make your donuts?”

From there, you can use Twitter to do a promotional tie-in launch with another establishment that focuses on health and fitness:

“First 50 members from Zack’s Gym who can present this tweet at their nearest Fear Not Donuts outlet will get a FREE dozen guilt-free donuts of their choice!”

Customers will undoubtedly post their comments on your social media account as well as theirs. Even if the reviews are bad, it is no reason to press the panic button.

You can use the negative review as an opportunity to inform customers that you will continue to find ways to improve the product. Besides, the majority of feedback could be overwhelmingly positive.

2. Digital Marketing For Business Takes Time

Despite the advantages of digital technology and the Internet, don’t expect to get positive results from digital marketing overnight. This is especially true for unpaid or organic forms of digital marketing.

Organic means to generate results naturally, through unpaid channels such as advertisements. The examples of digital marketing channels that we listed earlier; SEO, social media marketing and content marketing, are among the best organic strategies you can use.

Optimizing your website through SEO techniques is not a one-time-deal. Search engines like Google routinely change the algorithm for their search rankings. If you want your website to be competitive in the search rankings, you must do your best to comply with those changes.

Social media is one of the most popular online activities. However, it takes time to build a following. You have to stay active on social media to get results. The frequency of activity would depend on the platform. How often should you post on social media per day? Buffer recommends the following schedule:

  • Facebook – Twice per day
  • Twitter – At least three times per day
  • Pinterest – five times per day
  • Instagram – Twice per day
  • LinkedIn – Once per day

Content marketing strategies likewise need time to produce the desired results. Let’s assume your first published blog was successful. It generated a good number of “likes”; it was shared multiple times and resulted in a few more followers. You should not think it was “Mission Accomplished”.

Now, your readers want to see if you can consistently produce great content. Your next blog post you should not go the way of most Hollywood sequels. It must be as good, if not, better than the first one.

As we discussed in our article, “How to Launch a $100 Digital Marketing Campaign”, digital marketing is a cost- effective strategy. The biggest investments you make are on time and energy. You need to be patient. As long as you are consistent, the desired outcome will follow.

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3. Stay On Top Of Your Business’ Buyer’s Persona

Research is one of the cornerstones of an effective digital marketing strategy. The strength of digital marketing is that it is a targeted approach to marketing. Research allows you to create a profile of your targeted buyer or your business buyer’s persona.

The Buyer’s Persona is an integral component of your content marketing strategy. When you create content for blogs and articles, it must resonate with the audience. Content must be able to address your audience’s needs, interests and concerns.

And your Buyer’s Persona does not remain static. It actively changes simply because tastes and preferences change. Your key demographic in two months might be different.

This is why you have to stay on top of your Buyer’s Persona. The research process required for digital marketing allows you to do that.

4. Generate Results Right Away

Digital marketing is not limited to organic or unpaid strategies. You have the option to use paid strategies such as advertising in order to get results right away. One of the most effective paid strategies is PPC or Pay-Per-Click advertising.

With PPC, you pay for your ad to be seen on search results pages that are relevant to your business. For example, if you sell smartphones, your paid ads will come out whenever someone launches a search query on smartphones.

Once a person clicks on your ad, he/she will be sent to your website’s landing page. If you have the right Calls-to- Action in place such as free newsletters or free e-books, you could get e-mail addresses or perhaps inquiries about the products or services you are selling.

PPC generates immediate results because it places your ad directly in front of your target market. Therefore, the chances of someone clicking on your ad are much higher.

5. Business Analytics Has More Reliable Historic Data

If you want to have an accurate recording of your business’ history, you have to start at the very beginning. You need a deep understanding of your history because it will reflect changes in your key demographics. Those changes could be as a result of the products, services and systems you had in place.

The biggest advantage of digital marketing is that it gives you access to business analytics. These are online tools that you can use to assess the performance of your website and your digital marketing campaign. With analytics, you have real-time, precise bases for developing, revising and implementing strategies.

You will know which ones worked and which ones fell short. In terms of budgeting, you will have empirical evidence to validate funding for specific digital marketing strategies. Starting your digital marketing campaign earlier will give you more reliable historic data for your decision-making.

As Confucius said, “Study the past to define your future.”

Conclusion

Digital marketing can produce results for different goals: brand building, lead generation, build followers, improve sales conversions or enhance online presence among others.

For the reason that it is not realistic to get everything right the first time, starting the digital marketing campaign early will allow you more opportunity to fine-tune your strategies when the business is still trying to get traction. It will be easier to track results and pinpoint the weak areas in the campaign.

It is never too late to start a digital marketing campaign. However, the best time to launch one is when you are starting your business.

Do you have a digital marketing campaign in place? If so, when did you start? It would be great if you could share your experiences with our readers. Kindly comment in the area below.

And if you’re interested in starting a digital marketing campaign for your business, please do not hesitate to give us a call or an e-mail. We can help you get started right away!

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