Before we dive into ecommerce landing pages in more detail, I would like us to do a brief experiment.

I’d like you to try and think about all the websites you’ve seen today. Or in the past seven days. How many newsletters did you receive? How many did you open, and how many did you click on?

Can’t remember them all?

Given the sheer volume of pages we are all exposed to every day, it’s no wonder we can only remember a tiny percent of them. This fact should drive my point home nicely – if you want your landing page to stand out and be memorable, you need to make it, well – what is it that you need to do?

Let’s explore!

Divulge the benefits

As ecommerce pages are clearly meant to convince a visitor to make a purchase, finding the right balance between sales and value can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare.

Let’s look at this page by Herbal Dynamics Beauty:

Source: herbaldynamicsbeauty.com

The hero part of the page clearly lists the most important feature: that the product is free of all sorts of harmful materials. Then, when you scroll just a bit down, you are greeted with a whole lot of information about the benefits of each ingredient, and the page ends by going into even more detail, explaining what you, as a consumer might get by choosing this product.

Customers don’t want to feel like they are being sold a product – they want to be offered a solution. By explaining the benefits and actual value of a product, you will be doing a great job at just that.

The power of design

Your pages need to be easy on the eyes and structured in a way that not only attracts attention, but is also very clear about what is what.

Here is an example by Ultimate Meal Plans:

Souce: ultimatemealplans.com

While their landing pages stick to the minimalistic use of plenty of white space, they have also integrated plenty of imagery, along with all kinds of informational boxes that detail things like pricing and benefits. 

And while they were at it, they’ve managed to stick to a clever color story, too. The fact that they have also made green their main pop of color is evocative of the actual product, providing a clear association between it and the page.

No matter how good your product or message is, if your page is cluttered and hard to navigate, you won’t be making all that many conversions. 

The power of a story

Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool you should be reaching for when writing copy for your landing pages.

Let’s take a look at the landing page of an actual story, Danielle, a novel by Ray Kurzweil.

Source: danielleworld.com

The hero is catchy, gives you plenty of information without actually giving anything away, and the rest of the page provides all you need to know: enough to get you interested. This kind of hook is not reserved for literary ecommerce pages alone – you can tell a story about your product regardless of what it is.

Make sure you take your target audience and their preferences into account when writing out your story. And write for them, not for yourself.

Provide plenty of detail

Home pages can be hard to design. Not only are they often the first thing people see, but they also need to provide plenty of information, yet not overlap too much with other pages.

Pergola Kits USA have done a good job here:

Source: pergolakitsusa.com

Their hero showcases the product they sell and will instantly draw the attention of those looking to buy a pergola. Scrolling further down, a visitor can find all the information they need in one place, without having to navigate between several different pages.

This is an all-in-one page that is easy to read, provides enough imagery to keep you interested, and provides real value. You won’t need to read another one to understand what kind of product you need for yourself.

Sometimes it’s best to give your visitors what they are looking for in one place – and make sure they have clearly got the message you’re trying to convey.

Social and other proof and why it matters

People like to be a part of a group, and they like to explore products others have tested and approved. That’s why you’ll want to display all the proof you can find: social proof in the form of testimonials, big companies you have worked with, as well as award buttons, and any other achievements you may have under your belt.

Real Thread does that right in the middle of their homepage:

Source: realthread.com

They have incorporated a section that includes some of the major companies they have worked with. This instantly gives their product a boost and makes them stand out. Even though you may not have heard of the brand, you might be more tempted to give their shirts a try, now that you know which other companies they have worked with.

Be careful what kinds of awards and badges you list, though. Too many of them can cause an adverse effect, leading people to perceive you as bragging or to wonder what you’re trying to hide by listing all of these positive reviews so prominently.

The power of the hero

Your hero image is incredibly important. It should explain in one glance what the product is about, yet do it in a way that’s not boring or too showy.

The Farmer’s Dog does a good job with this image:

Source: thefarmersdog.com

It shows the product, as well as a satisfied customer enjoying it, and you’ll understand right away what the food they’re selling looks like and whether it might be something that your pet would enjoy.

The image is of a high quality, but more importantly, it is also optimized well, so as not to slow the page down and take up unnecessary space – a very important feature to bear in mind when thinking about the imagery you want to use.

When choosing your hero, make sure it is not only an accurate representation of your product, but also catchy and unique.

Final thoughts

When designing a landing page, make sure you have your target audience in mind, and stay in line with the product the page is trying to sell. Add to that a bit of creativity, and you should have a standout page on your hands. 

Digital technology and the Internet have given consumers the advantage of learning everything they can about a product or service before making a purchase. 

Looking for the best Wi-Fi router in 2020? All you have to do is run a search for “best Wi-Fi router 2020”. Within a few seconds, a list of the websites with the information you need will appear on the search results page. 

If your content marketing strategy is on point, your start-up technology retail business might just be on the list. 

Why Your Start-Up Needs Content Marketing

The objective of a content marketing strategy is to compel the reader to answer your call to action. 

What do you want your readers to do? 

  • Do you want them to follow your brand? 
  • Do you want them to acknowledge you as an expert or a valuable resource? 
  • Do you want them to buy your product or patronize your service?

According to a study conducted by Quoracreative, 75% of Internet users read blogs on a regular basis. Meanwhile, 64% of consumers who watch an advertising video will buy the product. 

And if you’ve read a social media post about the amazing Cappucino served at the new coffee shop that opened – chances are you would follow the 81% who were convinced by the review and try out the product yourself. 

Blogs, videos, and social media posts are all examples of content. They are created to trigger a response from the reader. The same can be said about other forms of content such as web copy, product reviews, e-books, and podcasts.

As a start-up, content marketing can help your business gain traction. In a competitive industry, you need maximum visibility to get the attention of potential customers. 

If people love your content, they will follow you willingly and become followers of your business. In time – and with consistency – some of your followers may become customers.

7 Steps To Create The Ultimate Content Marketing Strategy For Your Start-Up

To be clear, content is anything you post or publish. It does not mean that you should just post anything on the Internet and expect results. 

If you were compelled to act by the content you read, then you know what effective content looks like. 

For your content marketing campaign to deliver results, you need to have a strategy. 

1. Define Your Content Marketing Goal

The direction of your content marketing strategy will depend on what you want to accomplish. 

What is the goal of your content marketing campaign?

  • Are you looking to gain immediate traction?
  • Do you want to give more information about the products you carry?
  • Do you want people to learn more about you and the people behind the company?
  • Are you using content marketing to share your knowledge with your target audience so they can have immediate solutions to questions?
  • Are you hoping to generate more leads for your sales funnel?

Regardless of your goal, a well-planned and properly implemented content marketing campaign will deliver results for your business. You just need to stay focused on that goal. 

If you layout multiple goals for your content marketing campaign, your efforts will have no direction. Your resources will be spread out too thinly and the message of your campaign will be lost. 

2. Create an Audience Profile

An Audience Profile is similar to a Buyer’s Profile which many realtors create to fine-tune their marketing strategy. 

To make an Audience Profile, you list down the characteristics of the person who would be interested in your content:

  • What is the age group?
  • Are they mostly men or women?
  • Are they working or still studying?
  • If employed, do the majority of the audience hold managerial positions in the company?
  • How much do they earn?
  • Where do they reside?
  • How will they access my content?
  • What are their interests?
  • What issues concern them?
  • What are their present needs? 
  • What types of content do they like to read?
  • Do they prefer text or video content?

The questions can cover more areas – as many as you want to get a better idea of the kind of audience that would appreciate the content. 

Having a solid Audience Profile will set the process of creating content much easier. You will have an idea of the content your target audience wants to read and how to reach them.

3. Set Up Your Content Marketing Toolbox

Blogging is one of the most popular forms of content. Many marketers consider blogging as the cornerstone of content marketing. It is just one of many tools that you can include in your content marketing toolbox. 

You can use videos, podcasts, live streaming, forums, newsletters, e-books, infographics, listicles, case studies, how-to articles,  white papers, checklists, interviews, product reviews, GIFs and memes as your content marketing process. 

Your choice of process would depend on your:

  • Marketing Goal
  • Type of Business
  • Target Audience
  • Budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing. 

For example, if you are in the business of selling dress watches, you will find greater success using video content that is distributed through social media channels such as YouTube and Instagram than blogging via LinkedIn. 

Review your Audience Profile and draw up a budget for your marketing campaign. A big-budget will give you more flexibility but unless your strategy is on point, the investment will not yield a significant return. 

You can have a successful content marketing strategy without breaking your bank account.

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4. Assemble Your Content Marketing Team

Are you a gifted writer? Do you know how to do keyword research? Do you have experience in content optimization? 

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then bravo! You are capable of creating engaging content with the potential of driving traffic to your website. 

But you shouldn’t.

Content writing takes time. A 1,600 to 2,000-word blog will take 3 hours to write. That does not include keyword research, topic research, and quality control. 

Rather than writing content, you should outsource the work to a remote team of content experts. 

What skills should comprise your content writing team?

  • Content Writers
  • Keyword Researchers
  • Graphic Designer
  • Videographers
  • Content Editors

To be clear, you don’t have to hire these skills for your content writing team. Again, it would depend on your goals and budget. Add to that, your business experience. 

As a start-up, start out small. 

Get 1 content writer preferably a person who can also do keyword research and quality control. Hire a graphic designer only when your content calls for it. 

You may not need a videographer right away. Some of the best videos were shot using an iPhone. 

The takeaway in this section is: Don’t create your content. Outsource content writing to an experienced person so you will have more time to attend to the main activities of your business. 

5. Create the Content Marketing Process

If you pass by a newsstand, your eyes will search for the publications that you are used to reading. You love the content; style of writing, tone, and the topics are of great interest to you. 

Writing for the Internet goes through a different process. Think of the Internet as a gigantic virtual newsstand that has billions of publications to choose from. 

Once posted, your content will be added to the sea of publications that are already flooding the Internet. 

Thus, when writing online content, your primary objective is to get found by your target audience. To get found, your content has to be optimized for the search engines. 

An effective optimization technique is to embed your content with keywords that are popularly searched by your target audience. There are various tools that you can use to conduct your keyword research:

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Ubersuggest
  • Answer the Public
  • Keyword Surfer
  • Keywordit
  • Google Trends

These are free keyword tools that can get the job done for your content optimization plan. 

When you have the keyword spreadsheet ready, here are a few basic rules on how to use them effectively on your content:

  • For a blog post that ranges from 1,600 to 2,400 words, choose 5 to 6 high search volume keywords. 
  • Identify the main keyword which is usually the keyword that best describes your topic. 
  • The main keyword should appear once in the title, the first paragraph, the body of the content, and the conclusion.
  • The ratio of keywords to total word count should not exceed 2%. 

With keywords ready for use, let’s come up with a simple but effective content marketing process for your start-up:

  • Review your Audience Profile and make a spreadsheet of topics your followers would like you to write about. Use your keyword list to come up with titles.
  • When you have zeroed in on the topic and title, it’s time to conduct topic research. Choose 3 to 4 reliable references for your topic.
  • Create an outline for your blog. We recommend dividing the body of your blog into smaller sections under different headings. These sub-headers should include minor or secondary keywords – a keyword that is relevant to the main topic.
  • Begin writing! For list-type articles, you may want to start with the body first to get a better grasp of the content. We find this approach makes it easier to write the introduction and conclusion to the blog.
  • After completing the blog, run it through a spelling and grammar-checking software such as Grammarly. Then, read the article and look for other errors. The software can make a mistake because it may not understand the context of a sentence.
  • Review the structure of the blog. If it looks cramped, open it up. Our blogs are a good example. Keep the paragraphs and sentences short. Space the paragraphs properly. Readers don’t like to read blogs that look cramped up.

6. Identify Your Content Distribution Channels

Where will you publish your optimized content?

The first distribution channel on your list should be your website. If possible, use original images. Stock images are always an option but Google prefers images that are unique to your website.

For a start-up, it would be best to keep your distribution channel strategy simple. Thus, social media would be the next logical choice. After all, people spend on average two hours and 22 minutes of their Internet time on social media. 

As mentioned earlier, not all social media networks function in the same way. Choose a social media network that caters to a community interested in your type of content. 

For example, business-related content would gain more traction in LinkedIn than Facebook. Visual-heavy content would generate more interest in networks such as YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat.  

Finally, create a distribution schedule.

There are several recommendations on how often you should post content. Some say you should post a minimum of 5 times on Facebook to get results. Others say twice-a-day is enough. 

Our recommendation is to keep your strategy simple. The objective is to stay top-of-mind. Posting content once-a-day should be fine. 

If you don’t have original blogs to post, share curated content, post inspirational messages or simply post status updates. 

Another strategy would be to call on friends or associates who have websites that cater to your target audience. Propose a guest blogging arrangement whereby you can post original blogs on each other’s websites. 

7. Measure the Performance of Your Content Marketing Strategy

The great thing about digital marketing is that you can measure the performance of your campaign. Find out how your content marketing strategy is performing. 

  • Which blogs or articles account for the longest time spent on your website?
  • Which types of content are generating the highest levels of engagement and sharing?
  • Which types of content have the highest number of “likes”?
  • Where do your followers come from?
  • How do they access your content?

Website analytics will give you all the data you need to assess the performance of your content marketing strategy. Social media networks have analytics that you can use to get data on the types of content you have shared. 

By reviewing the numbers on your content marketing campaign, you can pinpoint the flaws, correct them, and strengthen your strategy to get the desired results.

Conclusion

If we got you excited about starting a content marketing campaign, it’s time to slow down a bit and understand one thing:

Content marketing takes time to get results. 

A person who reads your blog may enjoy what he has read but it doesn’t mean he will automatically follow you or sign up for your newsletter. 

Consistency is the key. 

Content is king – but you have to produce consistently great blogs, articles, videos, and other forms of content to get people to become your regular audience. 

As an entrepreneur, your time is best spent on your business. Leave your content marketing needs to us! Give us a call or drop an email. We will get you started on a content marketing strategy that will get you the results you want.

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

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To grow your business, you must invest in marketing. No matter how awesome your products and services are, no one will know about it if you don’t actively promote your business. 

There are many marketing strategies to choose from. However, not all of them are effective. Choosing the wrong ones can do more harm than good for your business. Some may blow up your budget without generating significant returns. 

In our previous blog, we discussed the 5 marketing strategies your business can’t live without. To help you avoid the costly mistakes made by many entrepreneurs, here are 5 marketing strategies your businesses can live without. 

1. Random Distribution of Flyers

In this day and age of the Internet and targeted marketing, it’s surprising to see flyers still being distributed inside malls and parking areas. 

The person distributing the flyer doesn’t profile every patron who enters the mall. He will just stick out the flyer in his hand and keep it out there until someone grabs it. 

The question is: What will the patron do once he reads your flyer? 

Will he:

  • Visit your establishment
  • Enter your establishment and walkout
  • Become a paying customer
  • Throw the flyer in a trashcan

Four options and only one of the possibilities results in the desired outcome. 

In reality, unless the person has a need for what your business offers, the flyer will end up in the trash can. 

Distributing flyers at random is a strategy your business can live without because it is not sustainable.

There is a cost to producing flyers and the return on your efforts will be quite low. Flyers are used to promote events or one-time specials. Therefore, you cannot re-use them.

Flyers are printed on paper. With most of your flyers ending up inside the trash can, the strategy is not environment-friendly. 

And while we’re discussing the pitfalls of flyers, let’s include other traditional Point-of-Purchase materials such as posters, streamers, and standees. 

All of them are expensive, result in poor ROI, and unsustainable. 

They could also serve to annoy your customers. 

How do you feel when flyers are jam-packed inside your mailbox? Do you get frustrated when flyers fall out of your Sunday paper? How about getting inside your car then finding a flyer inserted in your wiper?

If the marketing strategy is not targeted for a specific customer, the negative reactions will reflect on your business brand and do you more harm than good. 

Forget random and focus on targeted marketing strategies. 

2. Over-reliance on Print Ads

Print ads used to be the signature play of marketers. They will tell you that spending on a print ad for a publication with high circulation is an investment, not an expense. 

One time, big time. Like a home run with bases loaded. 

Print ads are not just expensive. They can be very expensive. And given the growing popularity of digital channels, the return on print advertising will not be impressive enough to justify the expense. 

It will become an expense, not an investment. 

Similar to flyers and other traditional POP’s, print advertising is not a sustainable strategy. 

You can only run the print ad once. If the ad is in a newspaper, by the following day, your ad will be just like the paper itself – yesterday’s news. 

Print ads are a form of random marketing. Are you sure the person who comes across your ad is interested in what your business offers? That is if he comes across your ad at all or pays it any attention.

In the days before broadband, putting out print ads were thought of to be the best option for marketing and promoting businesses. There is truth to this as during the pre-broadband days, consumers still relied on broadsheet publications and newspapers as sources of information.

Today, with more than 4.4 billion people having access to over 1 billion websites, using Internet-based channels are the most effective and efficient ways to market and promote your business. 

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3. Overemphasizing Social Media Marketing

To be clear, social media is a wonderful and proven platform for marketing your business; its products and services. After all, more than 3 billion are on social media every day. 

An overlooked benefit of social media marketing is that it humanizes your business by giving you a medium to freely interact with your customers and followers. 

For these reasons – and they are quite significant – entrepreneurs tend to overemphasize social media marketing in the digital marketing strategy.

Are you one of them? Here are a few signs that show you might be overemphasizing social media marketing:

  • You don’t have a website for your business because you think social media marketing is enough to build a visible online presence.
  • You have more than 2 social media accounts.
  • You spend most of your working days posting content on social media. 

Every business should have a website. Without one, you can’t build your brand, provide a showroom for your products, and your customers will not be able to find you much less transact with you. 

Social media is a great platform to distribute content for the purpose of driving traffic to your website. It cannot enhance your brand, reputation, and assist potential customers who want to patronize your business.

Further, you don’t have to open a Business Page on every social media platform.

In the first place,  having more than 2 social media accounts might be difficult to manage. Second, not all social media platforms function in the same way. Keep in mind that as a “social” platform, each network has its own community. 

For example, a Facebook user will post a different type of content on LinkedIn. 

Social media is also not a search ranking factor. Spending too much time on social media and posting multiple pieces of content will not guarantee higher search rankings for your website. 

The best approach is to invest in a mobile-responsive and fully-optimized website then, incorporate social media as a distribution channel for your content.

4. Focusing on the Quantity of Content

Content marketing should be a mainstay in your digital marketing strategy. Despite the growing popularity of video-based content, “old school” blogging remains a solid cornerstone of an effective content marketing campaign.

Here are a few statistics that validate the importance of business blogging:

  • Businesses that blog get 97% more links to their website than businesses that don’t blog.
  • 77% of Internet-users read blogs.
  • Americans spend 3x more time reading blogs than email.
  • Businesses that blog experience double the email signups than businesses that don’t blog. 
  • Blogs give your ROI efforts a boost – by an estimated 13x.

With such amazing numbers, it should never be a question of “If you should blog” rather, “When and how often should you blog?”

According to an updated study by HubSpot, if your goal is to increase brand awareness or organic traffic to your website, you should be blogging 12 to 16 times a month.

Considering that 2,000-word blogs generate the best results and that it takes 3 to 4 hours to write a blog of such length – 12 to 16 blogs per month means one thing:

A lot of writing!

The urgency to write three to four 2,000-word blogs per week creates incredible pressure on the quality of content. 

Keep in mind that writing for the Internet is a different skill set. If you scored A’s in Creative Writing, it won’t mean anything if your blog can’t be found.

To be found, your blog must be optimized. 

How do you optimize a blog?

  • The title and content should have the right keywords
  • Content must be fresh and unique
  • There must be at least one link to a reliable resource
  • The structure of the blog must make it an easy read.
  • Your information must be accurate, updated, and useful.

One of your best options is to outsource blog writing. At Mountaintop, we’ve written blogs for our clients. In fact, some of our blogs have been cited by UpCity as among the best-recommended readings for those interested in digital marketing.

However, if you want to experience blogging, start out slow and focus on the quality of the blogs instead of the quantity.

You can start out with only four 2,000-word blogs per month. Once your business gains traction, ramp up the blogging schedule by 50% of 6 blogs per month. 

If you can’t allocate more time to blogging, outsource the task to Mountaintop Web Design. You won’t miss a beat and we’ll make sure the quality is kept intact even as the frequency of blogging continues to increase.

5. Telemarketing to Prospective Customers

Whether you agree that telemarketing is dead or not, just don’t include it among your marketing strategies. You will only serve to annoy most of your prospective customers. 

Sure, you can outsource telemarketing and save money. However, telemarketing can damage your brand and tarnish your reputation beyond repair. 

Put it this way, how would you feel when you’re chilling at home – feet up an ottoman, ice-cold beer in one hand while watching the replay of Superbowl – when your phone rings and it’s a telemarketer offering you timeshares?

Despite the insistence of some quarters in marketing that you need telemarketing for your business, the risks to your brand and reputation will not be worth it.

After all, there is a good reason why the “Do Not Call” registry was created by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and why penalties for telemarketing companies violating the Telemarketing and Telephone Consumer Protection Act are quite severe. 

Instead of telemarketing, generate leads through a strategic content marketing distribution plan. Once you have an impressive list of newsletter sign-ups, embark on an email marketing campaign.

Conclusion

To better appreciate the value of marketing, you must understand that the process will not produce positive results overnight. It takes time to build a brand because consumers want to be convinced and assured before they make final decisions.

Marketing budgets blow up because entrepreneurs are sold on the idea to “Go Big or Go Home”. Spending a ton of money on expensive strategies such as print ads will not take your business above red 24 hours after the ad was published. 

When it comes to marketing, take a strategic and judicious approach. Identify your budget and figure out the most effective way to allocate your resources. 

As we shared in our article, “How To Launch A $100 Digital Marketing Campaign”, you don’t need to shell out the big bucks to get big returns on your marketing efforts. 

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

And if you need help with digital marketing, give us a call or drop an email. We will get you started the right way without breaking your marketing budget. 

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After years of research, building models, testing, and improvements your fuel-saving carburetor is ready to be introduced to the market. 

The question is, which market will you target for your carburetor? 

Blindly marketing your product to a massive audience of consumers is like using a shotgun to hit a bullseye on the broadside of a barn. For sure you will hit something but most of your pellets will hit the wall and not the target. 

Identifying your target market is the most efficient way of promoting your business. The time and resources spent on your marketing campaign will deliver better ROI than just distributing content without intent or purpose.

In the following section, we discuss in great detail 4 effective ways to identify your target market.

1. Create a Buyer’s Persona

The first step to identifying your target market is to create a Buyer’s Persona. Essentially, a Buyer’s Persona is a list of the characteristics or qualities that best describe the prospective end-user of your product.

The Buyer’s Persona will give you a profile of the type of person who understands the purpose of your product and believes it will fulfill his need. 

To come up with an effective Buyer’s Persona, you should define its demographics:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Marital Status
  • Number of Dependents
  • Level of Education
  • Occupation
  • Designation/Position 
  • Income Range

Add more factors that will help tighten up the demographics of your target market as you see fit.

It is more important now than ever, to identify the key demographics of your target market because tastes, demand preferences, and influences are changing more rapidly than ever before.

Thanks to the Internet and the growing popularity of mobile devices, consumers have immediate access to information.

Consumers can easily be influenced by what they come across on the Internet and social media.

If your business sells affordable fitness trackers that cater to mostly male runners in their mid-20s who are starting their professional careers, in a few years your key demographic may be males in their 50s who prefer low-cost fitness trackers because running is more of a hobby than a sport.

It’s not because your fitness tracker is a poor product. 

The mid-20 males who used to buy your products may already be in the late-20s, financially successful, and have the money to spend on higher-end, branded fitness trackers.

It’s not enough to define your Buyer’s Persona, you must routinely update the information. 

Keeping updated and informed on the changing characteristics of your demographic is a great way of staying relevant; think of it as an exercise for protecting your future.

A 2010 study “2010 America” revealed that updating the key demographics was a low-priority for many small businesses. Underestimating the importance of demographics left these businesses vulnerable to the changing wave of the future.

2. Run Your Buyer’s Persona Through Multiple Filters

Once you’ve created a Buyer’s Persona, the next step is to run them through multiple filters. 

Filters are more specific qualifiers. Let’s go back to our example regarding the fitness tracker and assume your product caters to the male population.

The possible filters could be as follows:

Filter 1 – Years running

Filter 2 – Frequency: number of running days per week, hours per session

Filter 3 – Competitive or recreational runner

The use of filters will help you tighten up your Buyer’s Persona and sharpen the focus of your digital marketing campaign.

If your fitness tracker appeals to competitive runners who train 5 days a week and have been running for more than 2 years, you should market your product to the following segments:

  • Running clubs
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Running community websites and social media pages
  • Running event organizers
  • Retail stores that sell running products

The content of your blogs, curated articles, and social media copy could touch on the following topics:

  • Benefits of using a fitness tracker
  • Why a fitness tracker is important for competitive runners
  • Improving running time
  • Injury prevention
  • Balancing time for work and training
  • How to stay on schedule
  • Maximizing the value of the fitness tracker

Thus, fine-tuning the Buyer’s Persona saves you time and reduces the risk of creating, implementing, and managing marketing campaigns that don’t resonate with your target market.

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3. Define Your Product’s Value Proposition

The qualities and features that differentiate your product is the proposition that gives it value. By defining your product’s value proposition, you can pinpoint the market segment who will greatly benefit from it.

For example, if you are selling lightweight running shoes that are waterproof and durable enough to handle the pounding of rough terrain, who do you think would find value in it?

It could be the serious trail runner – a person who hits the terrain at least 3 days a week and possibly competes in a road race every few months.  

To identify your product’s value proposition, create a list of its features. Under each feature, write down the demographic or type of consumer who would recognize the value. 

4. Use a Data-Driven Approach

A decision can result in only 1 out of 2 possible outcomes: success or failure. To improve your chances of success, remove the guesswork by using a data-driven approach. 

Data provides you with hard evidence – actual figures, statistics – that you can use as the basis for your decisions. 

The numbers will give you an idea of the consumption behavior of your market – are they still patronizing your business or have they switched to a competitor? Which products are selling fast and which ones are slow-moving? You can identify trends and developments that are unfolding in your industry. 

Keep in mind that data is not irrefutable. People analyze numbers differently. Your interpretation could be influenced by biases and obscure the real picture. 

Thus, with a data-driven approach, you remove guesswork but take calculated risks. As such, you can prepare alternative courses of action in case your analysis of the data is proven incorrect.              

There are 3 valuable sources of data:

a.     Surveys

Conducting surveys on your demographic can help identify changes in behavior, trends, tastes, and preferences. You can gather data from consumers who are potential end-users of your product.

You can conduct surveys through a variety of channels.

  • Email Marketing – Send newsletters to your subscribers that include a CTA asking them to participate in a short survey about your business. In exchange for their participation, give them something of value such as a free e-book, limited access to premium content, or a limited-time-only discount.
  • Social Media Marketing – Invite your followers to participate in a survey on Facebook or Twitter. Let them know the survey is to help improve the quality of service and products.
  • Outsource to a Service Provider – To save you time, hedge on the expertise of a digital marketing agency and ask them to run the survey for you. There will be a cost to the service but the agency’s resources can gather more pertinent data. Likewise, you can ask them to interpret the data for you.

b.     Current Data

You may not be aware of it, but your business may have amassed valuable data over the years.

Review your sales and inventory records and find out which products have been selling fast and which ones are lagging. Who are the primary buyers of these products? Which area or location do they come from? How often do they buy from you?

Go over your social media accounts and take note of the level of activity. Which posts have the highest engagement levels? What topics are frequently shared, commented on, and received the most likes?

You can do the same on your website. Find out which blogs have generated the most views, shares, and comments.

Visit the business of your competitor and observe customer behavior. For example, if you own a bakeshop, take note of your competitor’s customer’s orders.

Which cakes are frequently ordered? What beverage is commonly paired with the cake? If the beverage is coffee, how do the majority of customers order their coffee?

c.      Your Current Network of Contacts

Family, friends, and business associates are valuable sources of information. They will not be afraid to tell you like it is. If you want a sincere and honest opinion, dig deep into your current network of contacts.

For example, if you are launching new menu items in your restaurant, invite them to a taste test or sampling dinner.

If you are preparing to introduce a new app to the market, consult with a trusted colleague in the I.T industry or perhaps reach out to a former professor from the university.

Collect data as meticulously as possible. Make sure the participants can convey their responses in black and white or in a file that can be stored. 

Conclusion

Identifying your target market is not a one-time thing. You must find ways to stay updated on your market because the key demographics can change abruptly and without warning. 

If you ignore the “warning signs” and maintain your current practices and policies, the content you produce will be rendered ineffective and obsolete. 

The reason for the decline in sales may have nothing to do with the quality of your product. It is possible that your current market of end-users see less value in it because their needs have changed. 

To be sure, follow the 4 tips outlined in this article. The remedy to your sales woes may not necessarily require you to introduce a new item, product improvements or discount pricing. 

Perhaps all you need is a change or shift in marketing strategy.

Did you enjoy this article and find value in its content? If so, please feel free to share it with your community.

And if you want to learn more about target marketing, give us a call or send an email. We’ll gladly discuss strategy over coffee!

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If you have made it to 2019 without ever doing a PPC campaign, and have been thriving as well, you can consider yourself very lucky.

PPC is considered one of the best ways to drive all sorts of things: traffic, sales, revenues, engagement, brand awareness, and so on.

The only catch (and there’s always a catch) is that you can’t always afford your own in-house PPC specialist, and need to outsource this task.

Here is what you need to know about the process in order to make it work to your advantage. 

What are your goals?

Before your campaign is launched, you need to define the goals you wish to achieve with it. This will determine the way your campaign will be crafted, the audience it targets, and ultimately the money you spend on it.

These goals can include:

  • Raising brand awareness: great for small or up-and-coming brands that have yet to establish a reputation with their audience
  • Generating more leads: great for established businesses looking for new clients
  • Driving conversions: great when you want to increase sales

Depending on these goals, your campaign will need to be set up, managed, tested, and optimized in a different way. When talking to your prospective PPC expert, make sure you communicate your goals so they can know where to start plotting.

While we are on the subject of goals, all of them need to come with a certain set of KPIs that will measure their success. According to Search Scientists, the four best ones you can choose to track are phone calls, impression share, conversion volume, and CPA. They will depend on your set of goals though.

What will this service cost?

The price of PPC campaign management will depend on a lot of different factors:

  • Length of campaign
  • Business niche
  • Competitors in your niche and what they are bidding 
  • Keywords you are targeting, etc. 

Ultimately, if you are running a small to mid-sized campaign, outsourcing this task will cost you less than hiring, training, and having an in-house PPC manager coming to work every day. Also, outsourced experts often have more experience and expertise than someone you could hire full-time.

You will not have any additional charges either: no tools, no study materials, etc. The expert will already have everything they need to succeed. 

How to choose an expert? 

If you want the best for your campaign, look for a Google Premier Partner, as only about 3-5% of PPC Google Partner companies achieve this status. However, you will most likely pay more for these Partner companies.

You are also advised to hire a specialist rather than a generalist. Just because someone has experience with SEO, email marketing, copywriting, design, and PPC, doesn’t mean they will actually have the expertise to make your campaign a successful one. 

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What is your bid budget?

Determining your bid budget can be tricky, especially if you don’t know who you are bidding against (and you won’t know this until the campaign is running). An outsourced expert who does nothing but PPC for a living can help you come to a figure you are comfortable with, which can also bring in the best ROI.

Then there are also the strategies you may not know how to use to your advantage, like Geo Targeting, Dynamic Search Ads, or Ad Scheduling, which can affect the cost of your bid, but can also bring in a lot more clicks and impressions. Leave this part of the strategy to your expert, rather than trying to force a decision on them. 

What sort of time constraints are you working with? 

This is another point that should be communicated clearly, and something you need to know the answer to before you outsource your PPC management to someone. 

Do you have a specific deadline by which you need to reach a certain goal? Are your ads time-sensitive, i.e. are you promoting a holiday sale? How fast do you need to get things off the ground?

All of these things will determine what sort of specialist you need – someone who can get things done asap, or someone who has a couple of hours a week to monitor your campaign. 

Bear in mind that when working with PPC campaigns that run on a tight schedule, you need to be available to your specialist, and answer any questions they may have about your company or products.

How to manage your own business while someone else is managing PPC 

While we’re on the subject of availability, another very important aspect of outsourcing PPC campaign management is what you do with your own time and business while the campaign is running.

If it goes according to plan, you will need to be ready to handle the increase in calls and sales. Is your customer support team ready for this? Does your sales team have everything they need to close deals? Is your storage ready to handle more orders over a short period of time?

Before you launch the campaign into the world wide web, make sure you, as a business, are ready for it. If you offer next day delivery, don’t go back on this promise due to the unexpected influx of orders. If you offer customization options, don’t allow your customers to wait for ages to get their products, just because you were not ready. 

Once all this is in place, try to stay focused on the work and the business side of things. While it is important to be aware of the analytics of your PPC campaign, don’t micromanage or try to assert yourself with your PPC manager. Give them the space they need to do their job well and be available for answering questions if need be. 

Be aware that there are plenty of PPC companies out there that are not exactly experts – so come prepared to your meetings, ask the right questions, and be ready to make a switch if you need to.

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For your business to grow, you must market and promote it. There are no ifs and buts. How will people know about your business if you stay silent or remain invisible? Especially in highly competitive industries – think logistics, retail, automotive, and technology – you have to be seen or heard to remain top-of-mind of your target market. 

Marketing consultants will recommend that you should set aside 2% to 3% of your annual gross revenues for marketing and promotional activities. 

For example, if your business generates $500,000 in gross sales per year, you should set aside $10,000 to $15,000 to fund marketing expenses for 12 months. That will come out to an average of $833 to $1,250 per month to cover marketing-related expenses. 

Is that a lot of money to spend on marketing?

According to a study conducted by Gartner CMO, businesses in the United States allocated 11.2% of their annual gross revenue for marketing. 

That means a small business in the U.S. which earned $500,000 in gross sales in 2018 will set aside $56,000 to cover all marketing-related expenses for 2019. 

$56,000 per year distributed throughout the year rounds out to $4,666.67 per month for marketing activities. 

If you’re thinking “Wow! That’s a lot of money!” we’re here to inform you that you don’t have to set aside 11.2% of your annual gross revenue to run an effective marketing campaign. 

12 Ways To Market Your Business At Least Cost – Or No Cost At All!

In this section, we will discuss 12 ways you can market your business without breaking the bank and still get high returns on your marketing efforts. 

Most of the strategies that we discuss are Internet-based. There are a few that will require you to roll up your sleeves or to dust off the loafers for a bit of leg work.

1. Blog

Content marketing is one of the fastest-growing strategies for promoting a business. 

A study by the Content Marketing Institute (CMS) showed that businesses allocated 26% of the budget for content marketing. The same study revealed that 90% of B2B marketers have done content marketing in one form or another.

Blogging remains a cornerstone process in a content marketing campaign. 65% of B2B marketers surveyed by the CMI reported that blogging is a mainstay in their content marketing toolbox.

Blogging is a great way to communicate with your audience. It gives you a platform to share your knowledge and hopefully, help readers find solutions to their problems or concerns.

Your only cost in blogging is time -time to do research, write and review your content before posting it on the Internet. 

However, if time is a rare commodity, consider outsourcing blogging to qualified writers. The CMI study indicated that 62% of businesses in the US outsource content writing. 

Blogging is not an expensive strategy but it delivers great results in terms of acquiring followers, building your brand, and moving up in the search results.

2. Stay Active on Social Media

Social media is a proven marketing platform for staying top-of-mind. People spend 136 minutes per day on social media – and there are 3.4 Billion of them!

The social media community is so wide and vast that it presents wonderful opportunities for your marketing and advertising content to be seen by a targeted audience. 

All you have to do is to stay active on social media and you can do this in a number of ways:

  • Post Content Regularly – Keep in mind that not all social media networks function in the same manner. Choose 2 to 3 social media platforms, learn what you can about the network, and create a posting schedule for each one of them.
  • Engage Your Followers – Social media activity is not just about posting blogs and curated content. Engage your followers by “speaking” to them directly. For example, if you are in the business of selling supplements, you can post a daily question such as “How many of you get a good night’s sleep with Melatonin?”
  • Participate In Group Discussions – Networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook have interest groups. Join a group that is relevant to your industry. 

Participate in group discussions and share your expertise. On some occasions, initiate the discussion yourself. 

3. Go Live

Sharing “live” content is a great way to humanize your business. It lets people know – and assures them – that your business is real and authentic. Most importantly, it will encourage your followers to engage with you. 

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Virgin Group’s Sir Richard Branson, and Tesla’s Elon Musk are just a few of the big names who do live feed on their social media networks.

If you are in the real estate business, you can stream the launch of a new property development that is pre-selling lots or you can showcase the homes you are selling to your followers. 

4. Grow Your Network Via LinkedIn

LinkedIn is popular among professionals and job-seekers. The content that you find on LinkedIn is much different than those in networks such as Facebook or Google+. 

It is easy to grow your professional network on LinkedIn. Blogging, posting curated content, and engaging in group discussions will get you noticed by other people in your community.

If your posts and types of engagement are consistently relevant and compelling, people will reach out to you and request you to connect with them. 

5. Get Your Followers Involved

Your customers and followers are part of the value chain. Social media not only gives you the platform to stay on top of their minds. It also gives you the medium to keep track of what your customers and followers want and need. 

Why is this important? By knowing the concerns and interests of your customers, you will have a better idea of how to improve your products and service, what to add in your product mix or suite of services, and the types of content to publish.

Invite your customers to post reviews and suggestions on your Facebook Business Page. This shows you value their opinions and your commitment to improving the experience.

Don’t be afraid of getting negative feedback. It is not realistic to expect everyone to love your product. 

You should welcome negative feedback because it can pinpoint a flaw in your product and at the same time give you the opportunity to interact directly with your customer. 

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6. Register Your Business at an Online Directory

Registering your business at an online directory can help you increase sales. This is a proven tactic for businesses that own a brick-and-mortar location.

Consumers are always searching the Internet for businesses that can help them address a particular need. If your business is registered in a popular online directory like GoogleMyBusiness, it will show up in the consumer’s search query. 

Here are 3 key statistics that will encourage you to sign your business up with an online directory:

You can learn about the importance of registering your business at an online directory in our article “Why Should Retail Locations Be Listed In Search Engines?”

7. Start a Podcast

One of the best ways to pass time while stuck in traffic or on a long drive is to listen to podcasts. Statistics show that 22% of Americans listen to podcasts on a weekly basis. 

Podcasts feature high-energy discussions because the format is more informal. Feedback is more extemporaneous; even with guidelines, there is less filter and therefore, more authenticity in the content. 

How much will it cost to start a podcast? A good quality microphone will probably cost you $100. To improve audio quality, use free editing software such as Audacity or GarageBand. 

8. Allow Your Followers to Go Behind-the-Scenes

Are you about to launch a new menu item in your restaurant? Take your followers behind-the-scenes and show them how the dish is created – just don’t show them the secret ingredient!

Allowing your followers’ backstage access to what goes on in the making of a product or in the day-to-day operation of your business fosters transparency which eventually, builds trust. 

9. Sign Up Right-Fit Brand Ambassadors

When you sign up an expensive influencer, are you certain of brand loyalty? What will prevent the influencer from patronizing a competitor when you’re not looking? 

You don’t need big-name endorsers to generate more interest in the product you are selling. A better option would be to sign up actual users of your product whose loyalty to your brand is irrefutable. 

These people are called right-fit ambassadors. Not only did they choose your product over the competition; they are consistently promoting it on their social media pages. 

Right-fit ambassadors believe in the value of your product. The power of their belief clearly resonates in how they speak or write about your product –  they come across as authentic, sincere, and honest.

Right-fit ambassadors will not ask for the moon and the stars. The idea of being chosen as an ambassador for your product will be an honor. 

Of course, you can reward them by giving free products, offering affiliate marketing arrangements, and special discounts for loyal patrons. 

 10. Collaborate With Other Businesses

Now, for some old-fashioned legwork! 

Mark an area with a circumference that is 5 kilometers from your business. Put on a pair of comfortable loafers and sneakers. Take a walk around the marked area and note the down other businesses with products or services that are complementary to yours.

Prepare a formal proposal letter and personally deliver it to the shop owner on your next visit. With any luck, the shop owner may be willing to sit down and talk to you about your proposal. 

By collaborating with other businesses, you open up your products to a different market and a new audience. Reciprocate by offering the products of the other business in your store. 

 11. Reach Out to Your Community

You may not have to go further than your own community to market your business. 

If your neighborhood or district has a local association that caters to its residents, schedule a visit and talk to the person-in-charge of community affairs. Find out if you can promote your business through the association.

For example, if you own a gym or a Personal Training business, ask if you can offer free classes at the community center on weekends. In exchange, the local association may allow you to sell memberships on the premises. 

 12. Attend Networking Events

Networking events present wonderful opportunities to build your network and promote your business. 

Find out if there are networking events in your area, how to sign up, and if it’s possible to be given a few minutes to present your business. Trade shows and expositions are also good venues to promote your products. 

You should also consider joining associations or organizations that cater to your particular industry.

Conclusion

Because of the innovations in digital technology and improved accessibility of the Internet, marketing and promoting your business has become more convenient, measurable, and cost-effective.  

Traditional forms of marketing such as print and TV advertising, radio commercial spots, and distribution of Point-of-Purchase materials are not extinct. Within a well-planned and organized marketing campaign, these traditional methods still have value. 

However, the cost of making print, TV, and radio ads is very expensive. These types of ads are not evergreen; within a few months or days, consumers will find them obsolete. 

Likewise, it’s difficult to target your key demographics with traditional marketing methods. How can you be sure that the majority of the people who saw, heard, and read your ad meets your Buyer’s Profile? 

The answer is you can’t. There is no way to find out with 100% surety that your ad hit the target market. 

If you spend more and get underwhelming results, your ROI on the marketing campaign will be very disappointing. 

Your best option would be to go digital. 

There is no cost to using the Internet. Likewise, there is no signup fee for opening a social media account. The costs for blogging, graphic design, and paid ads can be negotiated and customized to fit your budget.

You can monitor the progress and keep track of the results. Digital marketing has the tools to access information in real-time so you can fine-tune your campaign and make data-backed improvements.

Do you have other suggestions on how to lower the cost of marketing a business? Please share in the comments section. We would love to hear from you!

And if some of our ideas got you thinking – don’t hesitate to give us a call or an email. We can help you plan a low-cost marketing campaign for your business.

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Have you received a message through Facebook Messenger from an FB Business Page that you follow? And if so, how did you feel and react when you received the message? Chances are you read the message through. After all, why would you follow a Facebook Business page if you weren’t interested in what they were offering? 

Messaging has grown from a simple platform that allowed community members to directly contact one another to a significant factor in growing a business. Put yourself in the shoes of the Facebook Business page owner. 

Messaging gives you the opportunity to communicate directly with your customers and address concerns, comments, and inquiries which they have brought to your attention. 

One-on-One.

Facebook is the biggest social media platform on the Internet with more than 2 Billion monthly users. It is no surprise that its messaging platform, Facebook Messenger, has 1.3 Billion active users every month. 

Given its size and influence, using Facebook Messenger is an effective channel to build your brand and grow your business.

3 Benefits Of Using Facebook Messenger For Your Business

Messaging is not a new concept. In its early days, messaging used to be called “live chat”. The concept was still a work in progress. In many cases, the “live chat” service took several days to respond to a message from a customer. 

Technology companies have ironed out most of the kinks with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) bots that could generate automatic responses, analyze the context of the message and provide possible solutions. 

If you are not using Facebook Messenger, you are missing out on a number of benefits the platform has for your business. 

1. Messaging Has a Higher User Base Than Social Media

A 2016 study conducted by Business Insider Intelligence titled “The Messaging Apps Report” revealed that the user base of the 4 top messaging platforms was bigger than the user base of the top 4 social media networks by a staggering 500 million users.

Another study this time by Pew Research Center showed that messaging was by far the most dominant form of communication preferred by youths aged 13 to 17 years old:

  • Text Messaging – 55%
  • Instant Messaging – 27%
  • In-Person – 25%
  • Social Media Sites – 23%
  • Phone – 19%
  • Messaging Apps – 14%

Previously known as Facebook Chat in 2008, Facebook Messenger has grown in form and function over the last decade. Its platform can be used to book appointments, reservations, purchases, and donate to charities.

2. Messaging Helps Build More Personal Relationships With Customers

The Internet and the popularity of mobile apps have redefined customer service as relationship management. Social media has become the bridge that connects businesses directly with their customers.  

Messaging has taken it one step further – it has personalized relationships by allowing one-on-one interactions with the customer. As the business owner, you can have a direct conversation with your customer. 

Conversation is a powerful tool because it removes filters and reduces the risk of misunderstandings and miscommunication. It creates collaboration with the customer, especially when it comes to resolving disputes. The customer becomes an integral part of the value chain. 

With messaging, the customer will know right away if his message was seen and read. He will not be put on hold. Facebook Messenger is open 24/7. It is good practice to respond within 24 hours from receiving the message.

3. Better Managing of Your Messaging System

Facebook Messenger is a great way to centralize your messaging system. By having Facebook Messenger available on your Facebook Business Page, customers will have a direct channel to relay their concerns. 

They may realize that messaging their complaints directly will merit a faster response time compared to public posting whereby the issue would just get lost with the other messages. 

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How To Use Facebook Messenger To Grow Your Business

1. Give Customers Top-Level Customer Support Services

Customer service is a very important area of growing a business. In a competitive industry, how you manage your reputation could be the difference between achieving success and languishing in failure. 

Today’s consumers are not going to waste time calling your business number to voice out their complaints. They will not waste time writing a letter to send to you via fax, email, or regular mail. 

Instead, they will go to social media.

Social media has given consumers a platform to air their grievances against businesses. 

Whether the complaint has substance or not, there is nothing that will stop the consumer from posting negative messages on your Facebook page. Right or wrong, the business becomes a victim in the “court of social media opinion”.

Before you can address the complaint, the issue has gone viral and shared by other followers of your Facebook page. 

And that’s just one negative post. What if there are others?

Facebook Messenger will not guarantee that customers will not post negative comments on your Facebook page. However, it will give them an option to raise the complaint privately.

The consumer may realize that by posting directly on your Facebook Page, his complaint will get lost among other complaints. By sending his complaint via Facebook Messenger, it will be easier found, identified, and indexed by the business for immediate attention.

A displeased customer is almost always an irate one. He does not want to think he did not get what he paid for. The best way to mollify an irate customer is to attend to the complaint right away and have it resolved as soon as possible. 

Facebook Messenger gives you the opportunity to resolve the issue directly and immediately while building your reputation as a business that cares about its customers. 

2. Get Found Right Away – Share Your Location

A survey conducted by Deluxe revealed that 50% of consumers prioritize location when searching for information on a retailer from their smartphone. Similarly, 38% of consumers want accurate information on a retailer’s location when searching on their PCs. 

Facebook Messenger makes it easy for you to share your location to potential customers:

  • Select the conversation.
  • Click on the 3 dots located at the bottom of the screen.
  • Click “Location”
  • Use the pin to mark your current location or use Messenger’s search function.
  • Click “Send”

Facebook Messenger is a great complement to your online business listing. If the information in your online business listing has not been updated, Messenger will be an effective fall-back option. 

Also, you can send your location to potential clients that you have a scheduled meeting with. 

For example, you are in the real estate business and you asked a prospective buyer to meet at a coffee shop. If the prospective buyer is not aware of the coffee shop or wants to know the specific branch, use Facebook Messenger to send him the exact details of the location.

3. Create Another Medium For Delivering Content

Website opt-ins are an effective way of delivering content to qualified customers. Facebook Messenger provides customers an easy and practical medium for receiving content from your business. 

A study conducted by HubSpot showed that delivering content via Facebook Messenger resulted in an open rate of 80% and a click-through rate of 13%. The numbers represented an improvement of 242% in open rates and 616% in click-through rates over email.

The advantage of using Messenger to deliver content is that you can add a personal touch and further build on establishing a strong, trusting relationship with your customers.

Let’s assume you are in the business of selling succulent plants. A succulent plant grower might send you the following message regarding one of your articles:

“Hi. I am presently trying to grow Faucaria Tigrina. Can you please send me the article you posted on how to water Faucaria Tigrina? Also, I’d like to know what kind of pot I should buy for proper drainage.”

You can respond with a personalized message as follows:

“Here is the article on Faucaria Tigrina which you requested. Thank you for following us on Facebook and good luck growing Tiger’s Jaws! If you have any other concerns, please do not hesitate to message us.”

Customers love it when you give them personalized attention. It shows that you highly appreciate them as people and not just as contributors to your monthly sales quota. 

4. Increase Productivity By Using the Chatbots

Messaging platforms use chatbots – programs that are designed to respond automatically to messages. Chatbots have undergone their own evolution. 

Early in their inception, chatbots were limited to responding with default messages. While default messages was an assurance to customers that their message was received, they did little to improve relationships. 

Over time, chatbots were designed to send messages that were customized based on the keywords indexed from the message. Programmers were able to improve Machine Learning (ML) to a point that the chatbots were able to issue a response that fit the situation.

Today’s chatbots, including those of Facebook Messenger, can do a variety of tasks:

  • Deliver personalized content
  • Respond to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • Complete and confirm purchase orders from customers
  • Distribute marketing copy and advertising materials such as promos

By maximizing the use and functionality of chatbots, you can do more things with less time and improve business productivity.

Conclusion – Facebook Messenger Will Help You Build Your Brand

Social media, content, video – these are marketing channels that have been proven to increase awareness on your business, its products, and services. 

Integrating Facebook Messenger will take your digital marketing efforts to another level because nothing builds your brand better than having one-on-one interactions with your customers. 

Facebook Messenger makes your business more accessible to customers. You are literally within reach – at the palm of their hand. It cuts the number of steps needed to reach the customer. 

All you have to do is keep Messenger open and wait for notifications. For faster customer service, use the chatbots to respond immediately. 

If you want to learn more about Facebook Messenger and how to include it in your digital marketing strategy, feel free to give us a call or an email. We will be glad to take you through the in-depth process of using Facebook Messenger for the best results. 

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Small business owners can benefit greatly from an advertising campaign. A well-conceptualized ad can increase awareness about your business, generate interest in your products and services, and initiate a purchasing decision from a consumer.

Whether you opt for paid ads via social media channels and search engines or use traditional methods such as flyers and Point-of-Purchase materials, the rule in creating an effective ad remains the same.

It’s all about the content.

The most successful ads appear simple but it took time and resources to get them right. A lot of thought and strategy goes into creating a brilliant ad. It may not happen overnight, but the time and effort will be worth it.

Here are 7 simple tips on how to create an effective ad for your business.

1. Define Your USP

What makes your business different from your competitors? Why should customers choose your products or patronize your services over other companies in the industry? 

The answers to these questions should be provided in your USP or Unique Selling Proposition. The purpose of the USP is to convince consumers why your business is the number one choice; the only choice they can make.

When creating a USP, keep in mind that consumers have a short attention span. You have fewer than 6 seconds to catch their attention and win them over. Therefore, the USP must be short and concise but powerful in its message. 

Here are a few tips on how to make a powerful and compelling USP for your advertisement:

  • The USP must be framed as a proposition to the consumer. Don’t just string a few words to make a sentence about your products. The USP should propose why the consumer needs to buy your product by stating its benefits; how its purchase can solve his problems or address his needs.
  • As implied, the proposition must be unique to your business. The competition cannot offer it or does not have it. For example, Domino’s Pizza’s “30-minutes or it’s free” USP was unique to the pizza chain.
  • The USP must appeal to a wide audience or diverse market segments. A good example would be Anacin’s USP of “Incredibly fast relief”. Who doesn’t want fast relief from a headache? 

On a piece of paper, write down all of the things that make your products and services different or unique from your competitors. From this list, identify the qualities that make you stand out from everyone else. 

It takes time to create a powerful USP – don’t rush the process. Brainstorm a few concepts and select the one that resonates best with your customers. 

2. Present a Generous Offer

If you want the ad to attract the interest of consumers, present them with a generous offer. It should be enticing enough to stop the consumer in his tracks and read your ad from top to bottom. 

Here are a few examples of exciting offers that may get the consumer’s attention:

  • Free Items
  • Discounts of 50% or higher
  • Bundled Packages
  • Free Shipping
  • Limited-time-only Trial Period
  • Buy One-Take One Offers
  • Items that have limited availability

People know a good deal when they see one. So make sure your special offer is the first thing the consumer will see on your ad. 

Lastly, be transparent about your promotions. The ad copy should include the mechanics of your campaign. The details must be easily seen and read. Consumers don’t like to have to read the fine print. 

3. Address the Customer’s Needs

Describing the features of your products in the ad is not the same as explaining its benefits for the end-user.

For example, you are in the business of selling pet supplies. One of your products is a dog collar with a GPS tracker. Its benefit to the customer is that with the dog collar, you will know exactly where your pet is when you are away from home.

Consumers who are always traveling or away for long hours in a day will find this product very enticing.

If you have 5 items listed in your ad copy, describe the main feature of each product and explain how it will address the needs of the consumer. By doing this, you can attract a wider demographic of consumers who see the value of your products and services. 

4. Create a Sense of Urgency

You might go to a grocery store for the purpose of buying a toothbrush but end up going home with 100 rolls of toilet paper. 

The wife will ask you “Why did you buy so much toilet paper?” 

And your response would be, “They had it on sale at 50% off for today only. I couldn’t pass off the chance to save some money.”

When you create a sense of urgency, you trigger an emotional response in the consumer that if he doesn’t buy now, the opportunity will pass him by. 

For example, if you own a pizza restaurant, you could create a sense of urgency in your flyer with this line “Today Only! Buy 1 Party-Sized Pizza and get the Second Party-Sized Pizza for Free!”

Chances are, people who get a flyer in the mall will put off their plans and head off to your restaurant right away. Don’t be surprised if you see a long line of hungry customers waiting patiently outside your restaurant. 

5. Include Testimonials

Consumers will tend to patronize brands they can trust. However, it takes time and consistency to build trust for your brand. One of the fastest ways to encourage consumers to trust your brand is through the use of testimonials.

Testimonials are powerful influencers. They are viewed as a customer’s seal-of-approval. That is why many consumers look for product reviews before choosing a product or a service provider.

For example, if you offer general cleaning services, include testimonials from customers who were happy with your service. Make sure you get their approval and if possible, include their picture.

Don’t use testimonials that only indicate the first name of the customer such as “Donny S.” or “Amanda K.” Those testimonials can appear spurious and do not have the same power as testimonials that present the full name and the picture of the customer. 

6. Use Eye-Catching Images

Which one would generate more interest – a text description of a hamburger or a high-resolution image? Consumers are highly visual. They would be more attracted by an image of the product than just text. 

If you need more convincing, here are 3 statistics that prove the value of adding images to your content:

  • 90% of all information that is processed in the brain is visual.
  • The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text information.
  • High-quality images can increase engagement levels by 65%.

Don’t settle for stock images. Original images are unique to your business and will help build trust with your customers. Be sure to be authentic with your use of images.

Going back to our example, the photo of the hamburger that you will use for your ad should be what customers get when they order from your restaurant. 

If you post an image of a thick, juicy patty in the ad and customers get served paper-thin patties at your restaurant, the possible social media backlash will be bad for business. 

7. Give Complete Contact Details

So far you’ve composed a powerful USP, explained the benefit of your product, added a generous offer, incorporated a sense of urgency, posted client testimonials, and attached an amazing, high-resolution image. 

Unfortunately, you forgot to give complete contact details. 

All of the hard work may fail to deliver results because customers do not know where to find you. 

We have come across many wonderful ads that become disappointments because we did not have any idea on how to find the business. 

When creating an ad, the following contact information should be included:

  • Website URL
  • Business Address
  • Email Address
  • Business Contact Numbers

If possible, include a site map that will help interested parties find you right away. Failure to include complete contact details in your ad will result in foregone sales and a tarnished business reputation. 

Conclusion

According to a 2017 survey by Clutch, 90% of respondents said that advertisements influenced their decision to purchase a product or patronize a service. 

The same survey shared the results that TV and broadcast video advertising were cited by 60% of the respondents as the most influential medium. Print, online, and social media followed closely behind at 45%, 43%, and 42% respectively. 

These numbers prove that advertising is a worthwhile investment to help your business gain traction and increase its potential to earn more revenues. The key to creating an effective copy lies in its content. 

It should address the needs of the consumer right away and remove all doubt that choosing your business over the competition is the only decision he can make. 

If you are thinking of having an ad campaign for your business, give us a call and we will do the planning for you. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community. 

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Whenever you read the news, you will come across reports about the economy – how the stock market is performing and data on jobs, unemployment, and currency exchange. You will read terms such as “Gross Domestic Product”, “recession”, and “trade balance”. 

For the past few months, the news has given massive coverage on the trade war launched by the United States against China and how it has impacted the bottom line of many U.S. companies in the manufacturing and agricultural sector.

Certainly, these types of news are disconcerting because when companies are in trouble, jobs and consequently, the livelihood and well-being of many families are on the line. 

Thus, in a world that has become increasingly concerned about profit, the idea of a non-profit organization must leave some people scratching their heads. 

What Is A Non-Profit Organization?

By definition, a non-profit organization is an entity that does not funnel its earnings to stockholders or investors. The majority of non-profit organizations are not connected with the government and are private entities. 

However, instead of paying out dividends to its stockholders, a non-profit organization appropriates its income to help the group achieve its goals which are usually philanthropic in nature. 

A non-profit organization can support a variety of causes. Some of the most popular ones include endangered species, preserving the arts, social reform programs, protecting the environment, education, and literacy. 

What Are The Challenges Facing Non-Profit Organizations?

Spearheading a non-profit organization can be a daunting task. With information flowing freely – thanks to the Internet and the advances in digital technology – decisions are more easily influenced by data that is available on the web.

Similar to profit organizations, non-profit organizations face several challenges that may obstruct their efforts to achieve their goals and objectives.

We have identified 3 challenges that non-profit organizations have to contend with in the coming years:

  1. Government Regulations – Changes in government regulations and tax reform laws may affect the decisions of individuals to contribute as well as hinder the ability of non-profit organizations to invoice for their services and generate more funding.
  2. Hiring Volunteers and Recruiting Staff – An increase in the number of jobs available in the market in combination with an upward adjustment in the wage rate has made it more difficult for non-profit organizations to hire and recruit volunteers needed to attend to its various duties and responsibilities. 
  3. Lack of Technological Support – With the decline in available funding, non-profit organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to avail of and utilize technology needed to further its growth and open new avenues for financial support. 

Mountaintop Web Design is not an interest group and neither are we in the recruitment business.

However, we are in the technology business. We understand how digital innovations and the Internet can be utilized to help non-profit organizations meet their goals. 

How Can Non-Profit Organizations Benefit From Digital Marketing?

If you want to know how digital marketing benefits small businesses, please read our blog, “5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need To Invest In A Digital Marketing Strategy”.

The truth is, a non-profit organization also reaps the same benefits from incorporating a digital marketing strategy as a profit organization. 

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1. Low-Cost Method Of Promoting the Organization’s Objectives

Digital marketing is the process of utilizing digital technology – various online tools and platforms – to market and promote a business, it’s products and services. The process is run via online channels foremost of which is the website. 

For the reason that the world is becoming more technology-dependent, all businesses, whether profit or non-profit, should have a website. Here’s a statistic that you should keep in mind:

Of the 7.7 Billion people on our planet, 4.3 Billion are on the Internet every single day. That number accounts for 55.6% of the world’s total population.

If your business is not on the Internet, how would potential customers – or donors – find you? The website is your business address on the Internet. 

The cost of putting up a website will depend on the type, functionality, and design features. At Mountaintop, we can customize a fully-functional, mobile responsive website that will meet your needs and budget.

And if you wish, you can build your own website by using a free design template from WordPress. We have written about it in our blog, “How To Build Your Own Website In 4 Easy Steps”.

Another effective channel for digital marketing is social media. According to a study by Sprout Social, 74% of consumers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media content. 

Of the 4.3 billion people on the Internet on a daily basis, more than 3 billion are on social media. Facebook accounts for 2.2 billion of social media’s daily traffic

Setting up a social media account for your non-profit organization will not cost you a cent. There are many social media platforms to choose from – Facebook,  Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube – are the popular ones and have large communities. 

You can choose 2 to 3 social media platforms to post content on a regular basis. With time and by creating useful, engaging, and compelling content, you should see more traffic driven to your website.

2. The Non-Profit Group Becomes Available 24/7

Unlike a shopping mall or a commercial building, the Internet does not close down or take holiday breaks. It is open 24/7.

When you have a website and social media accounts on the Internet, your non-profit organization becomes available 24/7.

  • Potential donors can read about your charitable cause; its purpose, vision, and organizational goals.
  • The use of compelling content delivered through regular blogs and video links are strong influencers which can immediately convert interest into donations.
  • If the site visitor wants to make a contribution, we can integrate a donation system that will easily facilitate the payment.

3. Measure Performance In Real-Time

One of the great advantages of using digital marketing is that you can track its performance in real-time by accessing data known as analytics.

Analytics will provide you key information on your current digital marketing strategy. You will have empirical evidence that will identify the processes which are delivering good ROI. 

Likewise, Analytics will point out the processes that are not delivering results. By determining the processes which result in ROI and those which are not, you can fine-tune the strategy. 

Thus, you can adjust the budget and allocate more resources to high-return processes. By using analytics as a reference tool to manage your budget, your overall digital marketing strategy should deliver higher ROI. 

4. Adapt to Changes In Consumer Behavior

Blogging and social media marketing are platforms that allow your followers to directly engage with you. Some will post comments related to the content you posted. 

Our advice is to respond to these commenters right away – within 24 hours if possible. The reason is these comments are valuable data. They provide keen insights on how your audience thinks, behaves, and processes information. 

When you respond, you create a feedback system between your non-profit organization and the commenter. 

The feedback system will establish communication which can eventually lead to an important component of business development: Relationship building. 

Building a solid market base of end-users and regular patrons will come down to expert relationship management. 

Digital marketing will provide you with the platform, tools, and channels to build a strong following and an enhanced presence on the Internet. 

In the following section, we will discuss 2 case studies of non-profit organizations which greatly benefited from having a website designed and managed by our company.

Case Study No.1 – Severe Weather Shelter Network

Severe Weather Shelter Network is a non-profit organization which partners up with various groups and agencies to provide immediate shelter to people who are living on the streets during harsh weather conditions.

The non-profit group already had an existing website but it was not delivering the expected results. SWSN approached us to redesign the site with the objectives of increasing awareness and improving the process of making donations.

Old website

For the website redesign, we put more focus on the homepage which is the primary landing page on a website. 

You will see the group’s Brand Value Proposition (BVP) right away – “Help Us Make A Difference. Helping the homeless build a community of supporters and providing a place of refuge on freezing nights.”

The BVP is short, direct, and easy to understand. Below the BVP is the Call-to-Action (CTA) which is asking the site visitor to make a contribution through the donation system that we built into the website.

Severe Weather Shelter Network is happy with the site and have seen a large increase in the number of their donations. They have also subscribed to our Extreme WordPress Care Plans to keep their website safe from potential cyber-attacks.  

Case Study No.2: Love In The Name Of Christ

Love In The Name Of Christ is a non-profit organization that works with local churches to help transform the lives of people who were lost and had no direction or purpose through the teachings of Christ.

Similar to Severe Weather Shelter Network, Love In The Name Of Christ had an existing website. However, it had an outdated design and was not functioning very well. 

We gave it a fresher look that was aesthetically beautiful and fully-functional. The BVP on the homepage was effective; it was easy to remember and direct to the point. 

We also included a donation system to facilitate contributions faster and more convenient for donors. 

Love In The Name Of Christ also signed up with our Extreme WordPress Care Plans.

Conclusion

Digital marketing has been proven to be an effective way of helping non-profits achieve their goals. 

Whether you are a profit or non-profit organization, you need to have a strong presence on the Internet. 

Having a website in combination with the right digital marketing tools and processes will help spread the message of non-profit organizations while effectively addressing the challenges they face.

If you are a non-profit organization that is thinking of putting up a website or having your existing one redesigned, please give us a call or drop us an email. 

You can consult with us for free. 

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Investing in a website is a smart first step to building a profitable business. In fact, you are already several steps ahead of the 45% of businesses that still don’t have a website. 

Now that you have taken the first step, what is the next step?

If you are not sure how to use a website to make your business profitable, you are not alone. 

One reason why 45% of small businesses still don’t have a website is that the owners are not sure what it does and how it works to contribute to profitability. 

The truth is, running a small business website is not that difficult or complicated. Yes, there is a learning curve to overcome and it will take some time before you can see the fruits of your labor. 

However, with patience and diligence, your website can become a profit-generating machine for your business. 

So what is the next step? Read the article and find out how to use your website to make your business profitable.

Why Your Website Is The Most Powerful Marketing Tool For Your Business

Unlike a brick-and-mortar business, your website is open 24/7. It can be accessed by millions – even by billions – of people who are on the Internet every day. 

Can you imagine owning a retail store that is open 24/7? You can have sales transactions every hour! People will be buying after close-of-business hours and keep your cash registers ringing. 

This is possible with an online retail or e-commerce store. Your customers will simply click on your URL or website address, land on your homepage, read through your product list, then pay for the transaction at the checkout counter. 

Through it all, you could be playing catch with your son, watching your daughter’s piano recital, having a glass of red wine with the spouse, or in the REM stage of a good night’s sleep. 

Sounds too good to be true?

Well, it’s not! 

There are many online entrepreneurs who are reaping the success of running a profitable Internet-based business.  

These online entrepreneurs are not exceptions to the rule. Anyone can have a dynamic website that helps the business earn considerable income and become highly profitable. 

The key is to learn how to harness the power of your website so you can maximize the opportunities that can be found on the Internet.

1. Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile Responsive

We have written a good number of articles on the importance of having a mobile responsive website. 

We did not stop there. 

In our other articles on digital marketing and website design, mobile responsive is always mentioned.

Here are 4 statistics-backed reasons why your website should be mobile responsive:

Having a website is a start but complete the project by making sure it is highly mobile responsive. By this, we mean that your website should have no problem setting up on the screen of a mobile device regardless of screen size. 

If your website is not mobile responsive, you will lose business. Worse, not having a mobile responsive website can even prove to be damaging to your business. 

Imagine clicking on a website from your smartphone and having to zoom-in and manually adjust the position of the page on your screen just to be able to read the content. 

You will probably click out of the website.

Coincidentally, that is what your prospective customer will do if your website is not mobile responsive.

2. Optimize Your Website

We have come across websites that are beautiful. They look elegant and the content on the site is very well-written.

Unfortunately, according to the websites’ analytics, very few people have seen them. 

The website cannot be seen because they cannot be found. They cannot be found because the websites are not optimized.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of using techniques and processes that will increase the search visibility of your website on the Internet. 

Without SEO, it does not matter if your website homepage looks like it should be on the Louvre Museum in Paris, France or if the content reads like it was written by Leo Tolstoy.

Hardly anyone will find it unless you have it optimized.

Here are 4 areas that you should look into to have your website optimized for easy search.

  • Keyword Research – Keywords are the most-often used words or phrases when someone launches a search query. Having your website content embedded with the right keywords will make it easier for the search engine crawlers to index your page.
  • Site Navigability – The navigability of a page plays an important factor in User Experience of which Google is big on. If you want your website to convert, you must make it easy for the visitor to use. If the visitor feels like he is trapped in a labyrinth, he will just click out.
  • Meta and Title Tags – Meta and Title tags are the responsibility of the web developer. These are descriptions of your website that are included in its code. Title tags describe what your website is all about and can be seen on the results page. Meta tags are hidden within the code but are used to validate the type of website that you have. 
  • Site Speed – Although it takes 8.66 seconds to download the top ranking websites in Google, Internet searchers still expect a website to download in 3 seconds or less. 53% of users will leave a website if it does not download in under 3 seconds. 

3. Focus On Your Website Homepage

An argument can be made that the Homepage is the most important page on your website. This is because is the page where a visitor will land after he clicks on your URL. 

Having an effective website homepage means having one that is efficient – it should get the job done in no more than 6 seconds. 

If the site visitor does not see anything useful, relevant, and compelling on your website within 6 seconds, he will click out.

What then makes an efficient website homepage?

  • Less Is More – Have you come across a website that has so many things happening on the homepage? There is so much text. The homepage copy feels like reading a long-form blog. 

Likewise, there are too many images and it seems that the color choices were made without thought or purpose. 

When designing a homepage, the rule is less is more. Too much activity on the homepage will only serve to distract the site user not help him find what he is looking for.

  • What Is Your Brand Value Proposition (BVP)? – The Brand Value Proposition or BVP is a statement that tells site visitors what your business can do for them. The BVP is the most important statement on your homepage and perhaps on your entire website. As mentioned, you only have fewer than 6 seconds to catch the interest of the site visitor. This is where the BVP comes in. It must be short, direct-to-the-point, and easily understood. 
  • How Compelling Is Your Call-To-Action (CTA)? – The Call-To-Action (CTA) tells the site visitor what you want him to do. To be effective the CTA must be direct-to-the-point. It should state urgency and the importance of acquiring your products and services right now.

You can make your homepage more compelling by adding testimonies or explainer videos. However, from both a design and functional perspective, less is more. 

We recommend prioritizing the BVO and coming up with an effective CTA. From there, you could consider a slide featuring testimonies from actual clients or customers. 

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4. Blog Actively

People spend 23% of their time online reading blogs. 

That statement should be enough to emphasize our point on the importance of blogging actively for your business. 

However, before you blog actively, it would be best to understand what makes a blog effective.

Blogging is not as simple as writing about a topic you like or specialize in. We have clients who are experts in their field. They create blogs that are packed with information acquired from the years invested in the industry.

Yet, hardly anyone reads them. So, they get discouraged from blogging. By doing so, they fail to realize the benefits of blogging. 

There are 2 reasons why their blogs do not gain traction and fail to deliver the desired results:

  • The blogs are not optimized for search.
  • The blogs are not written for the audience.

Blogging is not the same as writing a college term paper or a piece on a broadsheet. It combines the creativity of writing and the precision of digital technology. 

Yes, you need a good writer who can create compelling pieces that are free of spelling and grammatical errors. However, these must be optimized so that the blogs can be searched and found on the Internet. 

Optimizing a blog involves a number of processes, some of which we will discuss here:

  • Keywords – We mentioned the importance of keywords in optimizing a website. The same can be said for your blogs. In order to be found your blog should contain the most-searched keywords in your industry. Therefore, in addition to topic research, your content creation strategy should include keyword research.
  • Structure – Do you find reading a thickly-worded paragraph a pleasant experience? Not many people do. Too many sentences in a paragraph can turn reading into a tedious experience. To improve readability, the paragraphs should only contain 3-4 sentences. Consequently, each sentence should have no more than 40 words. Ideally, 20-25 words per sentence are best for optimization purposes. 
  • Content – An effective blog should have content that is fresh or unique, relevant, useful, informative, and compelling. It doesn’t matter if you have the best keywords in the right density. If your content does not meet the criteria, it will not be read.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of blogging. However, you need to have blogging done right.

We have published several blogs that have been recognized as among the best in the digital marketing industry. If you need help in blogging, we are the agency to go to!

5. Stay Active Online

The best way to stay top-of-mind on the Internet is to stay active online. 

Let us go back to blogging. 

According to research, you should blog at least 11 times per month in order to achieve the best results in sales conversions and website traffic.

What is the ideal length of a blog post for SEO purposes? According to a study by Search Engine Journal, your blogs should average 1,900 words. 

That is a lot of writing per week!

Then, you have to publish the blogs on various online channels such as social media, blogging communities, and of course, your own website. 

That is a lot of work!

However, you have the option of outsourcing these tasks to third-party agencies such as Mountaintop Web Design. This way, you can free up your time to focus on activities that are directly involved with your business. 

The bottom line is that in order to stay relevant, you have to maintain an active presence online through blogging and frequent posting of content.

6. Fortify Site Security

Last July 2018, search engine giant Google started flagging websites without SSL certificates as “Not Secure”. 

Having your website labeled as “Not Secure” by the Internet’s biggest search engine is enough to drive away interest from your business. 

Google decided to impose SSL certificates to all websites because of the growing threat of cyber-security. As you well know, Google is big on User Experience. 

You can learn more about SSL certificates and their importance for maintaining security for your website in our article “SSL Basics: Why You Need It To Protect Your Website From Hackers”.

Encourage site visitors to enter your website by securing it with SSL certificates. It is very easy to get SSL certificates and they will help protect your data from being stolen by cyber-criminals. 

Conclusion

The website is more than just a business address on the Internet. It is your digital hub online where all transactions take place. Because of your website, your products and services can be accessed by a wider audience. It will give you the platform to build your reputation as a reliable resource in the industry.

Once your website goes live, it allows you to capitalize on the opportunities on the Internet that can make your business profitable. 

However, a website will not run on its own.

You have to institute processes and techniques that are designed to drive traffic to your website. If done properly, these processes and techniques – such as the ones discussed in this article – will deliver results and make your business very profitable.

If you like this article, please feel free to share it in your community. And if you want to learn more about our services, let’s discuss it over your favorite brew!

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