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Category: Business

The Art of Out-Automating Your Business Competition

Many businesses don’t know much about automating their marketing. They spin their wheels when it comes to bringing in more customers.

They don’t know how to simplify the relationship building process, nor make interacting with their customers more seamless and consistent. Business owners end up juggling a bunch of minuscule tasks at once. Ironically, they end up failing to connect with their customer base. As a result, they lose more customers than they gain.

The piece they are missing is not necessarily a full marketing team or even a coherent strategy, although those items certainly help. What they are missing is an automated marketing system.

Automating Business Marketing in a Nutshell

There are many different interpretations on what an automated marketing system entails, and not all business people agrees on a consistent definition.

Automated marketing is the magic of letting a conversion funnel the series of steps a customer takes until they buy function automatically. It is a system of workflows that take care of tasks like reaching out to the customer so you don’t have to. It’s effectively the power of technology infused into the machinery of business.  There is actual evidence that business who embrace marketing automation will actually convert more leads and make more sales than businesses who do not:

An article provided some data on the differences: “According to the Aberdeen Group, Best-in-Class marketers are 67% more likely to use a marketing automation platform, with 87% of top-performing firms using this technology.”

So what are all the ways marketing automation can help businesses? 

  • Facilitate lead / customer generation
  • Segregate your audience
  • Relay ROI analysis and reports
  • Nurture your leads for you
  • Shoot out SMS reminders and automated texts
  • Provide automated reporting from your marketing dashboard

Implementing Automation & The Human Element

So what does it take to get automated marketing started for your business? It’s true, implementing automated marketing is a cost. The software costs. The professional or agency with automation acumen is also a cost. However, over the long term, automation will put your business into that 87% of top-performing businesses. At that point, the ROI will far outweigh the initial and overhead costs.

These solutions can be implemented fairly quickly, though. The business owners should simply be prepared to make changes regarding how certain business tasks are accomplished among his staff.

These types of marketing solutions will allow business owners to truly empower their business. It will provide a line of communication between their leadership and their customer, and also ensure that leads are treated like humans.

Some may believe sending automated emails to people is antithetical to being human. However, when people try to run their marketing processes without the help of automation, they may begin to miss leads and fail to connect with their audience. In this regard, they actually disconnect their business from their customer base. With automated marketing, connecting with customers becomes so much easier and cleaner.

If you believe it is time to automate your business, feel free to reach out and schedule an appointment. We’ll discuss whether marketing automation is right for you and your business:

Schedule a meeting here

One Thing Small Businesses can do to Survive Covid-19

One Thing Small Businesses can do to Survive Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted small business in small town America. Larger businesses may have an out in the form of extra resources, more money, and more friends.

Small businesses, on the other hand, have been utterly devastated by the virus. These businesses don’t have many resources. Their customer base is small and fragile. That means any shake up of the market could be detrimental to them. A representative survey by Wallet Hub suggested that 87% of small businesses are struggling as a result of the pandemic. Even if the $2 trillion dollar stimulus bill seeps into the economy in time to prop these businesses up, it may be too late.

That’s why these small businesses must react to the changes brought about by the situation. Notably, there is one thing they can do for themselves to survive, and even come out of the situation with more customers, more business, and stronger community ties.

These business must listen to their customers.


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Listening to Customers Amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic

Customer’s needs don’t diminish just because a virus sweeps across the nation. People still have to survive. They still have needs and requirements. They still want to buy things. Some of them even want to support their favorite small businesses and help the community recover.

The worst thing a small business owner can do is throw up their hands and call it quits. Yes, the situation is frustrating. Yes, the bottom line will suffer. But if business owners decide to listen to their customers, they will likely learn that the market is not dead. For instance, in Abilene, Texas…a Facebook group called Support Small Business of Abilene emerged. The group already has nearly 6 thousand followers, which is great, considering Abilene is a medium to small sized town.

If business owners truly react to Covid-19 by listening to their clientele, they may yet survive. Groups like the one in Abilene are emerging on Facebook everywhere. The people in these groups are actively seeking out products, looking for new business, and trying to sustain some semblance of economic activity. If small business owners seek out groups like these, they would quickly get to hear from their customers, who still desire their business. The market only slows; it never comes to a complete stop. 

Pivoting and Changing

Nonetheless, some businesses may have to pivot or change their business model. As a result of Covid-19, many businesses have had to close or cease their operations entirely. It’s a scary thing to happen, but it’s survivable. The situation just demands that business owners get creative.

For instance, if a business was in the beauty industry, they likely had to stop doing business altogether. They can’t work with their clients, because of the nature of the business. As a result,  some in the beauty industry have pivoted to focus on selling products. In Abilene Texas, Illumina Day Spa, started to focus on selling clean beauty products via the internet.

At the end of the day, all pivoting or changing means is a business owner must listen to their customers and follow the market. Their customers still need them. Even during economic downturns and pandemics, markets still live, and not everyone in business keels over.

Choosing The Right Web Design Company

Most businesses, small or large, do not have in-house expertise to custom design websites themselves and will need to contract the work out to an external web design company.

The importance of a professionally designed website is essential. First impressions count. Research shows that potential customers decide within the first 3-5 seconds whether or not to leave a website. Therefore, a poorly designed or outdated website can have a negative impact on your company’s brand and cause your potential customers to hit the back button and take a look at your competitors.

Your company’s website is the window to your products and services and more often than not, the first point of contact with customers, therefore it is important for your business website design to convey the right message.  With only 3-5 seconds, it is vital for your website to present the right image and brand for your business.

Step 1:Know the Purpose of Your Website

Knowing what you want your website to do for your business now – and 5-10 years from now – will help you determine what type of website your business needs, along with what features and functions will be necessary.  This is what determines the investment level for your site.

The difference in creating an elegant brochure site or a simple lead generation site verses creating a fully loaded e-commerce website will be substantial.  Often, however, web design companies offer one-size-fits-all solutions and command high prices because they have high overhead.

Do some research to understand what types of websites there are, what the ultimate goal for your business you desire to be accmplished and what features will be necessary to reach that goal.

Step 2: Shop Different Website Design Companies!

Take some time to go through their portfolio page and visit the actual websites themselves.

Take a look at the quality of the design – the graphics, image quality and the overall feel of the site.  Does it look professional?

But, good looking graphics are not all you want to see! Check the websites’ functionality. Are they easy to navigate? Is the menu system consistent throughout the website?

examine-the-proposalThen, compare the quality of design with the prices.  Make sure to compare apples to apples when you’re comparing prices! What’s included in your website quote? How many pages (Home, Services, About Us etc) are included in that price?  What features are included?

Will they supply a contact form on your site or is that an extra cost? Does their price include website optimization or is that an extra fee? What will future changes or additions cost? Is there any enhancements included in that price?

Does the design company offer hosting services? What’s included in their hosting prices? What’s included in their hosting packages i.e. do they offer website statistic tracking, company email account programs etc. Hosting plans vary in price because of hosting services they provide vary.

Don’t be intimidated by the website designer’s lingo. If a website company is speaking in terms you do not understand, do not be afraid to ask them break it down to you in laymen’s terms. You should understand everything that they’re quoting you in a design price and why.

Step 3: Get  References

Contact the web designer’s existing clients before going with any web company. Again, you can find their references by going through their portfolio. Most websites have an email, phone number, and/or a contact form. Don’t be afraid to ask them for clients you are able to contact.

Ask not only about the design, but also about the follow up customer service after the site is live. Do they feel their designer went above and beyond? And most importantly, is their website generating new business calls and leads?

Step 4: Don’t Settle

You don’t have to compromise to get an affordable website.

I am certain you will get both very high quotes and extremely low quotes.  Keep in mind most often you will get you pay for – and this is your business website for the world to see.  What do you want them to see?

However, also keep in mind, a simple 5 page informational website design should NOT cost you several thousands of dollars. The price will usually go up with the enhancements you choose for your website such as Flash, Music, Video, Blog, image viewers and so on.

When you have 2 companies you are deciding between, ask if you can sit down with them to compare apples to apples with website design prices. Compare the number of pages on each quote, the overall design, the number of pictures within the website and so on. Then revisit the quality of work each company before making your final decision.  A reputable company will not mind this at all!

Doing a little homework in the beginning will save you time and money in the end!

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Website Tip #2: Make it Easy to Do Business With You

Don’t make your potential client or customer hunt through the website to find your location or contact information.  They WON’T do it unless you really are the only one they want – or the only option.

The number one thing people are looking for when they do a local search (that is for a business in their local area) is the contact information – name, address, phone number and a map.  Make this absolutely apparent and then make it easy to use.  ]

Then, create clickable links to your email, your phone and then put a map on their so they can use it to drive straight to you.

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Website Tip #3: Give Them A Reason to Do Business With You

You are not the only game in town and if everyone offers “free estimates” then why should they choose you over the other guy who comes up before you in the alphabet?

Your customers are looking for differentiation – they WANT to know WHY they should choose you.  And if you don’t give them a good reason to do so, then they will either find another company who does or toss a coin, because it really doesn’t matter to them.

And, NO,  – good customer service, affordable prices (or even lowest prices), friendly service people, locally owned –  ARE NOT reasons they will choose you.  These are either expected (in the case of good and friendly service) or bonuses to them, but these are just filler words for most business websites.

So, ask yourself, what do you do that your competitor does NOT do?  What do you do differently?  How can you solve a problem that your competitors are not willing to address?  (For example:  If you are a roofer and the number one complaint that women have about roofers is that they leave their trash every day, can you address that before they even ask?  See, not a huge thing, but can be very important TO YOUR CUSTOMER – and addresses an unspoken trigger point)

Give the people who visit your site a reason to contact you and they will – it can be as simple as that!

Now, hurry, go put these into action right now while you are thinking about them and excited about them.  And if you need help getting these onto your website or developing your website – please don’t hesitate to contact me for Marketing Consulting!

Call 325-725-0561 or Request More Information about Website Design Here.

3 Tips You Ignore at Your Own Peril When Creating Your Business Website

Your business website should reflect you – your business goals and values, as well as the facts and figures about your products and services.

But really, all of that is secondary to why your potential clients and customers come to your website.

This may sound cold – but your customers don’t really care about you. They really don’t – I hope that doesn’t hurt your feelings. But the truth is, they care about THEM.

But – stop for a minute and think about the last time you searched for a product. Did you really read about the length of time that business had been operating, or the fact that it was family-owned and they take pride in their nice, new trucks?

Sure – those things may have been a factor IF you had already decided they were someone you MIGHT buy from.

You made your decision based on whether the product or service fit YOUR needs, wants and desires. And maybe even more specifically, solved your problem.

A business website that is only about the bells and whistles of your company is not going to do the job of pulling in clients and customers like a magnet, because that type of website is all about YOU and not what they are looking for.

This may sound cold – but your customers don’t really care about you. They really don’t – I hope that doesn’t hurt your feelings. But the truth is, they care about THEM./blockquote>

Website Design Tips

These 3 Website Tips will give you a quick examination of your website – use them to determine where the focus is really placed.

For Website Design or ReDesign help – Contact Abilene Webdesigner

Website Tip #1: Think Like Your Customer – and They Come With Questions…

client-questionsTake a look at your website from the customer/client point of view and ask yourself whether you answer their questions quickly, easily and up front?

– When you land on your website, can they tell that you have the answer to their question(s) in 8 seconds or less (and NOT hidden in the FAQ Section)?

– When they click through to your website, do they KNOW that they have come to the right place to find the help for which they were searching?

Think like your customer and client and ask yourself what they really want to know. Then make sure that your website tells them your business has the answer they need – and do it right there on the front page. (For example: If I am looking for a plumber in the middle of the night, I am probably going to use the first one that has “24 Hour Response” on their front page. So even though you might offer that, if I don’t see it quickly, I am back looking through the list for one that shows it to me right away!)

___________________________________________________________
Website Tip #2: Make it Easy to Do Business With You

Don’t make your potential client or customer hunt through the website to find your location or contact information.  They WON’T do it unless you really are the only one they want – or the only option.

The number one thing people are looking for when they do a local search (that is for a business in their local area) is the contact information – name, address, phone number and a map.  Make this absolutely apparent and then make it easy to use.  ]

Then, create clickable links to your email, your phone and then put a map on their so they can use it to drive straight to you.

__________________________________________________________
Website Tip #3: Give Them A Reason to Do Business With You

You are not the only game in town and if everyone offers “free estimates” then why should they choose you over the other guy who comes up before you in the alphabet?

Your customers are looking for differentiation – they WANT to know WHY they should choose you.  And if you don’t give them a good reason to do so, then they will either find another company who does or toss a coin, because it really doesn’t matter to them.

And, NO,  – good customer service, affordable prices (or even lowest prices), friendly service people, locally owned –  ARE NOT reasons they will choose you.  These are either expected (in the case of good and friendly service) or bonuses to them, but these are just filler words for most business websites.

So, ask yourself, what do you do that your competitor does NOT do?  What do you do differently?  How can you solve a problem that your competitors are not willing to address?  (For example:  If you are a roofer and the number one complaint that women have about roofers is that they leave their trash every day, can you address that before they even ask?  See, not a huge thing, but can be very important TO YOUR CUSTOMER – and addresses an unspoken trigger point)

Give the people who visit your site a reason to contact you and they will – it can be as simple as that!

Now, hurry, go put these into action right now while you are thinking about them and excited about them.  And if you need help getting these onto your website or developing your website – please don’t hesitate to contact me for Marketing Consulting!

Call 325-725-0561 or Request More Information about Website Design Here.

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Essential marketing tips to help strengthen your business during uncertain times.