Halloween is and will always be my favorite holiday of the year. I have always thoroughly enjoyed getting dressed up and going door to door to collect my late October bounty. Halloween parties whether they were classroom based as a child or more adult related parties with shots and fun games are something I look forward to all year. It is fun to see the imagination and creativity of those that go the extra yard to create a costume that lives in the memory for years. As a father, it has become even more fun because I get to enjoy it with my daughters and get to see the joy and excitement they get out of Halloween.
It may sound strange but Halloween can teach us a lot about small business marketing. I know that it may sound like a stretch but I’m going to make some comparisons that will ultimately make sense about improving the overall marketing of your business. Pay a little extra attention to your Halloween activities and you will see exactly what I am talking about.
As a kid, after a few years of hitting up the same neighborhood you knew which houses gave the best candy and which houses gave you the much dreaded apple or even worse…pennies. You remember these houses because they gave the best candy, very similar to which business gives the best service or product. Your customers will remember this, and like kids will tell their friends which houses to hit up, your satisfied customers will tell their friends about your business. Give the best service or product and you will be remembered. Word of mouth can be one of your most effective marketing tools.
Driving through the neighborhood you’ll notice that certain houses go all out on decorating their abodes in full Halloween fashion. Some even go to the extreme of incorporating animated props, statues, lighting, head stones, hay bales and scary sounds or music. Others simply leave the light off signaling not to even bother or put a minimal effort into leaving a bowl of candy with the “take one” sign. The houses that go all out will ultimately create more “buzz” making kids “want” to visit these houses. This can be compared to your brand and how effectively you incorporate your brand into everything you do. Is your signage visible and stand out, are your vehicles lettered and branded to your business, do your employees wear company colors or uniforms, and does your website design or social media efforts reflect who you are as a business? The more effective your brand, the more people will want to do business with you because you put forth the effort. The more you put into your marketing, the more you will get out of it.
What about those houses that seem to dreadfully dole out candy as if it were an inconvenience? To them, it appears that handing out candy on Halloween is just an insurance policy on not being tee-peed or worse, egged. The houses that really stand out are the ones that greet you at the door, in costume, interact with the kids and parents, try and guess what you are, or say “Awwwww” when seeing a small child in an adorable costume. These people put forth the effort to make the trick-or-treating experience a memorable one. Businesses that show the most interest in their customers and go to great lengths with their customer service will always come out ahead. As a business you want to ensure that your customers are receiving the best possible experience when conducting business with you. It’s amazing what a simple “thank you” can do for your business.
Have fun this Halloween and remember to not trick but treat your customers the way they deserve to be treated, put forth the effort to market your business and your business will experience spooky good results.
Website Design | Why you should reconsider allowing your “friend” to design your business’s website.
It happens time and time again. You meet with a client, spend time learning about their business, research their industry, understand their marketplace, analyze their competition, develop a well thought out marketing strategy through use of professionally designed website and at the end you get, “well, I have a friend and they’re going to do my website.”
Nothing makes marketers and website designers cringe more than hearing that statement.
Why? At the end of the day, the business owner’s not doing himself or his business any good by choosing this path. I have encountered many business owners throughout the years who have followed the same path only to regret the choice of having a friend or neighbor or nephew or neighbor’s kid or even their own kid design their website. Here are some of the issues that I have experienced with business owners who make this decision.
1) Usually the person they choose to do the website “tinkers” with web design and is not educated or trained by a professional institution or school that specializes in web design.
2) Their full time job or career is not in the field of web design or marketing.
3) Getting updates or changes made to the website are not done in a timely manner.
4) They receive a website that is not designed with best practices in mind.
5) The site is not SEO friendly which hurts search engine rankings as well as overall website performance.
6) Aspects of the site will be designed with elements which may not be not compatible with mobile devices, be formatted to perform equally in multiple browsers or devices.
The list of complaints and issues I have received from clients on this topic could go on forever. The most common reason some business owners choose to go with an alternative source for their web design is because of budget. I hear this quite frequently, but what I have also found is that business owners spend thousands of dollars on redoing their website once or twice before they get to a point where they realize that they should have hired a professional website design company in the first place. Second, by not having a website designed professionally can also hurt the bottom line due to not keeping products or services updated in a timely manner, design being out dated or old, not easy to use and most of all not SEO friendly. Business owners need to look at a website for their business as an investment rather than an expense. If you invest in something you should expect a return on your investment, correct? With a professionally designed website you should receive measured results that equate into dollars coming into your business. Having your website designed professionally in the first place can not only save you money in the long run but the website will perform better, generate more leads and ultimately bring in more revenue.
What you do in regards to your website design can have a long lasting effect on your business, choose wisely.
The statistics vary but it is widely know that you have 8 seconds to keep a visitor on your website. Fifty percent of all website viewers will leave your website within 8 seconds due to lack of information, no contact information, or no clear message about what you do or sadly enough, a poorly designed website. However, these are all issues that can be corrected with a few easy solutions.
When I am consulting with a client, I convey to them that they need three things on their website home page, Who are You, What Do You Do and Why Should Someone Choose To Do Business With You? Seems pretty easy right? Well, as strange as it sounds, most website design companies don’t follow this simple rule.
Think about how you view a website or what you look for? What makes you stay on a website? The same rules apply to your website. Potential clients are on your site for one reason and one reason only, they have a need. People views websites like they do reading the page of a book, they start at the top left corner and read left to right, top to bottom. The upper portion of your website is referred to as the Header. This is where you need to identify the three questions; your business name, what you do and your marketing message. You need to make it easy for your potential clients to obtain this information and in addition, provide them with a way to contact you. Too often website design companies burry the phone number at the bottom of their page or implement it the body in an all too often hard to read, small font. Your phone number should also be easy to see so that your client don’t have to fumble around your site to call you.
For example, let’s say we are dealing with a company called Jim Johnson & Company. The name itself does not signify what the company does so let’s say we start with a typical website header that you see that is all too common.
Now let’s look at a well constructed, clear and concise header. We identify the company, Jim Johnson & Company but we also add their marketing message as well as what the company does. We also include a call to action through the use of a “call today” statement.
This type of header construction is one way to keep viewers on your page longer. This is just a portion of what you should ensure you have on your website. In addition, the integration of photo slideshow as well as ensuring that you have bullet points that clearly define your areas of expertise in the body portion can make a big difference in the long run.
Not all website designs are created equal. It is vital to understand the psychology behind why some websites are more effective than others and what works to convert visitors into clients.
Call LLT Group today for a more effective & efficient website at 630-504-0720