Having a good website is a must these days.
A recent study by Lightspeed GMI found that more than 93 percent of consumers now conduct online research before making a purchasing decision.
So having a good-looking website and online storefront is no longer optional for a small business owner. You need an up-to-date website or you will lose customers and potential sales.
But is your website is up to speed?
Ask yourself these five questions and it should give you a good idea of whether or not your site could do with a makeover.
1. Does your site have a template or theme that is compatible with mobile viewing?
Most modern website themes are responsive, meaning they automatically adjust to fit whatever screen they’re being viewed on. Comscore.com reports that mobile shopping now accounts for over 60 percent of the time consumers spend online, meaning that a website that responds well to mobile devices is no longer optional.
The easiest way to assess this is simply to check out how the site looks on your phone. If text looks squeezed together, objects are in the wrong place, or the site is generally hard to use, it might be time to make some changes. Email us, and we’ll make that update for you!
2. Have you done any site reorganization or maintenance in the last year or two?
Website design and style is constantly changing. Have you updated your site’s organization in the past couple years? If the answer is no, it probably needs work. Here are a few things to keep in mind when reorganizing and revamping your site.
The last thing you want is potential customers getting the wrong idea about who you are, what you do, or how much it costs to buy your product or service. As I look at small business websites, I am amazed by how often the little details do not add up form page to page.
If your pricing is $20 for your basic package on one page, that price should be consistent wherever you mention it. Have you opened new branches without adding them on your site? If so, you are probably missing out on potential business.
Take several hours to click through your site and see how up-to-date your information is. If it needs quite a bit of work, it is probably a sign that your site as a whole could use some general upgrades.
4. Are your colors, graphics, or animations cliché or gaudy?
American flags waving in the wind and bright neon colors may get your site attention, but not the kind of attention that you want. You are much more likely to be featured on some bad website design list then you are to gain positive press for your business. Animations and gaudy colors should go, immediately. Here are three more things to keep in mind:
The last thing to check out is how your formatting, text, and images look on your site. Everything should look like it is has a place — and is in that place. Here are some things to watch out for:
If all of the above sounds overwhelmingly intimidating to you, don’t worry, contact KrissArt Marketing Design, we will help.
Author: Marc Prosser, Contributing Writer
It’s easy to spot a poorly branded business, but it’s tough to remember one off the top of your head. That’s because a company without a powerful brand message is one we tend to forget without even realizing why. But once you learn the steadfast components a great brand message, it’s easy to see where other companies have gone awry and where your own brand could use some work. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to do a brand image overhaul, keep these key branding components in mind.
Identify Your Identity
A powerful brand doesn’t have to be a mogul like Coke or Nike. It doesn’t have to be designed by marketing executives in a room filled with hand-selected test subjects and carefully written questionnaires. A good brand message is simple: It is an artful combination of mechanics and personal passion that not only inspires customers and employees alike, but also can be written down and described succinctly.
It’s your elevator pitch. Imagine you’ve just gotten into an elevator with Mark Cuban. He asks you what you do for a living. Before the bell dings and you both have to get off of the elevator, how would you describe your business to him?
Write It Down
You need to be able to communicate your message efficiently through copy. Simplicity is key here, especially as the attention spans of consumers continues to shrink.
Forbes has a great list of 10 questions to help you develop a brand identity that is rich and complex and still accessible to your customers. Don’t be surprised if you learn a lot about your business and your passion for it while completing these questions. Pay special attention to the "why" questions on this list.
Also, watch the amazing Ted Talk from leadership legend Simon Sinek. He uses the Wright Brothers and Apple to demonstrate why the question of “why” is so important, as well as how to use it to truly inspire others.
Learn from the Best
One of the best ways to better understand your brand is to study other successful brands. From Microsoft to McDonald's, they all have one thing in common: consistency. We are creatures of habit, and developing a relationship requires trust.
To build the best relationship with your customers, they need to see consistency in everything that your brand does, from social media to clearance sales. Cabela’s isn’t having a regular old Black Friday sale like everyone else on the planet; they're having a “hunt for bucks” holiday cash giveaway. McDonald’s doesn’t have prizes or gifts with purchase; they have a Monopoly game with collectible game pieces and ongoing opportunities to win everything from french fries to a million bucks.
Look for brands that take classic marketing techniques and make them their own. Even if these companies aren’t the most powerful brands on the planet, they are invaluable resources to learn from.
There's quite a few rules to stick to when designing a logo. A few examples here is to not mix real images with the design, try to limit the amount of fonts used, if you use more than one, make sure they compliment each other (and try to limit the amounts of fonts to two), and don't outline one word and not the other!
Here is the logo when received by the client, and the result from after we fixed it up:
All the elements in the logo clash and don't work well together. As requested by the client, I kept the overall look of the logo the same, but fixed all the mishaps to make it a successful design for the store to proudly display.
Think your logo needs an update or could be better? Contact us for a quote, be sure to send us your logo so we could take a look at it.
Besides designing logos, we also offer other services. For example, do you have a logo on file but it's not large enough to print clearly? We could recreate your logo into a high resolution/vector format so you'll have no issues when going to print.
Let us know, we're here to help!
Website design often becomes an exercise in redundancy and unnecessary complication as you try to build something that stands out from the crowd. After all, people have an overwhelming number of choices available to them when they surf the web. As of last year, there are more than 861 million registered host names and over 180 million active websites, according to Tech Made Easy. Despite that, the best way to build a site that brings visitors back for more is to keep it simple and usable. With that in mind, here are some tips for applying the “keep it simple, stupid” or “KISS” principle of design to your site:
Back to Basics
When designing a website, it is important to determine what the goal of each page is, and then design each element within the page to reach that goal. If you have a page element or widget that doesn't support the page's objective, it should be removed. On the same note, if a page is unnecessary to your website's overall objective, it too should be removed or changed.
To see what changes are necessary, approach your site form the perspective of a visitor and ask yourself what you would stand to gain from visiting each page. If you already have a website and are just updating or redesigning it, take a look at your analytics and see which pages have the lowest traffic, and ask yourself why. Finally, if any product or article on your site takes more than three or four clicks to reach from the homepage, your site has too much depth and its hierarchy must be simplified.
More Before the Break
When a visitor lands on your site, you only have a few seconds to make an impression and keep the consumer on your page. In fact, a recent Microsoft study found that the average attention span has dipped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. To grab people's attention and keep it, you need bold headlines and content that immediately addresses your purposes.
Additionally, put your most important content where it can be seen right away, so a visitor doesn’t need to scroll down to it or visit another page. A website that does this well is T-Mobile because the company's shop, information, shopping cart, customer service number and product are all displayed prominently above the fold on the landing page. If a visitor has to scroll to see your best content, bring it up to the top and eliminate what comes before it.
Fast Loading Times
It can be tempting to add huge streaming videos, complex HTML 5 and other design elements to your site, but if a visitor leaves before they get to your actual content, your site has failed. Website fads comes and go, and your site shouldn't buckle to trends that increase load times and irritate customers.
For example, many sites today integrate a slider that covers the home page, but this actively drives away visitors. Instead, design your landing page to be simple, clear of elements that clutter the screen and rid of features that create long load times.
Do you need help with your website? Contact KrissArt Marketing Design for a free consultation!
Barbara Corcoran’s credentials include straight D’s in high school and college and 20 jobs by the time she turned 23. It was her next job that would make her one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country when she took a $1,000 loan to start The Corcoran Group. She parlayed the loan into a $5 billion real estate business and sold it in 2001 for $66 million.
By definition, every company needs customers. It would be great if they just showed up on your doorstep, but in today's competitive business world you usually need to fight, tooth and nail, for every client you receive.
Finding new leads and locking down new business can be a difficult task, but following these tips can help you attract a wider customer base.
Define Who You Are Targeting
Whether you are in design or any industry, the key is to define. Who exactly are you looking for? What profile traits do your current and previous clients have in common? Are you attracting a certain type of customer, or have you just been getting by through word of mouth and chance project acquisitions?
Many businesses -- especially small businesses -- make the mistake of trying to attract everyone. That's a great strategy if you are McDonald's, but for your business, it may be better to figure out who you appeal to most and why those types of people keep coming back. Only then can you branch out and attempt to capture even more of that segment.
Research, Research, Research
If you don't know your industry inside and out, you don't have much business being there. There was once a time when a small conclave of experts could run a whole sector for decades without concern that outsiders could enter the space and steal their position.
Not anymore. Now, anyone who knows how to use Google can teach themselves most of what there is to know in a few months. That will never replace real-world experience, of course, but it also means that you need to be that much smarter and work that much harder. Read everything you can find. It can be hard to make the time to continue learning when you want to stay busy churning out projects. But if you don't do it, someone else will. And if you can't convince potential customers that you're the best expert in the room, it will be hard to attract the clients you covet.
You cannot simply bury your nose in books, however. You also have to get out in the real world. Pound some pavement and meet with potential customers to find out their wants and needs. Go to industry conferences, events, lectures and casual meetings. Discover where your people are — and go there.
Whether you are actually swapping business cards and gathering leads or just soaking in the concerns and needs of those that may someday desire your services, these face-to-face meetings have so much value. Even just listening in on a conversation can provide more value than combing through the most thorough, overarching industry report.
Leverage Social Media
It is 2015, so you also must be aware of social media options. Networks like Twitter are now legitimate acquisition channels, and companies like LifeLock are showing how you can leverage the platform. Not only is a great place to monitor the services that potential clients are looking for and find new customers, but the identity-protection firm also uses social media to engage with the community, provide customer service, and keep clients informed about industry news. These things matter.
It isn't just Twitter. There are certainly Facebook groups in your industry as well. Search around in different locations to find collectives of people who are already engaging with one another to find new solutions to problems. If you can offer advice or a service that will help them overcome their challenges, then you can make a lot of headway in a short time. Groups like Design Modo and Smashing Magazine have hundreds of thousands of likes. These ready made lists of people are ripe for any design firm to mine.
Guerrilla marketing works for organizations of all sizes. From small startups to large companies that are looking to minimize their marketing budgets, guerrilla marketing is easy to execute and it requires little to no budgeting. If your organization is ready to show off its creative side, try one of these guerrilla marketing ideas:
Create a Community Garden
Community gardens add green space to urban environments and produce healthy, organic food for the people who live in the community. Gardens also offer unique opportunities to teach children, are good for your health and have even been linked to a decline in urban crime. By planting a community garden in your neighborhood, you're doing more than just planting seeds into the ground; you're growing customers and branching out to new clientele, all while bettering the community.
The American Community Gardening Association (AGCA) cites that sponsors, including schools, churches, recreation departments and private businesses, can all help support a community garden. For example, a garden can raise money by selling space to its sponsors. Each plot can have a sign posted into the ground that lists the business and the contribution given. One collective of city gardens in New York grew 11,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables. After the food was harvested, nearly 50 percent of it was donated to local food pantries and soup kitchens.
This type of marketing plan is great for schools, non-profits and parks looking to connect with the community. And they are a great way to show the philanthropic side of your organization.
Flash mobs can be a great way to create buzz, express your organization's creative side and garner social media reach. Social media plays a big part in flash mobs because organizers use the platforms to distribute information about the event like the date, time and location. But before you start sharing on social, you need to put some forethought into the event.
If you're planning a flash mob that requires everyone to sing and dance, the fun-loving marketing experts at HubSpot recommend practicing the moves with your fellow coworkers ahead of time so your marketing ploy doesn't fall flat. They also recommend capturing the moment with photos and video so that after it's all over, you can share and promote the stunt online. HubSpot attempted their own flash mob by dressing up in fun costumes and dancing around a local food court to Michael Jackson's Thriller on Halloween. Other organizations including T-Mobile and the TV series "Glee" have participated in flash mobs, too. If you need costume theme ideas, check out MorphSuits.com.
Most importantly, remember to keep your flash mob a secret. You don't want the location to be tipped off because the element of surprise adds to the fun and excitement.
If your company has a great product or a new service to promote, consider hosting a treasure hunt. The online advertising service Word Stream suggests that organizations begin by posting clues online via social channels or a blog about the hidden items.
You don't have to use your own products for the scavenger hunt, either. In 2013, Eastern Bank hid six GoPro cameras throughout Boston as part of a promotion to get people to sign up for checking accounts. The bank partnered with a local marketing company to promote the treasure hunt on their popular social media channels to spread the word. Through the campaign, Eastern Bank was able to reach 25,000 people from its target market.
Andrew Ravens, vice president and director of public relations and social media at Eastern Bank, said Guerrilla marketing is fun and it works.
Need help? Contact KrissArt Marketing Design.
When you’re talking about how you conduct yourself online and how to get people excited about your products or services, there are a lot of ways to go about it, and you likely already have many of the necessary tools. You can spend a boatload of money and hit every media outlet out there — everything from national Super Bowl TV spots to online advertising to social media promotion — or you can look for other ways to organically connect with customers. Especially if you have creative people on your team, take advantage of some unique tools and methods to get noticed online and save money in the process.
Even though it seems counter-intuitive to give stuff away for free, in our modern world, a good freebie is sometimes almost as good as gold. While you might not be able to afford to buy big ads right now, you can likely afford to issue coupons, free samples or even discounts. Try offering a two-for-one deal on your site for customers who spend a certain amount of money, or hand out samples at community events. Time magazine wrote about the power of freebies, saying that offering something for nothing can encourage people to buy more. And, people are more likely to tell others about a great deal, which helps you spread the word.
Get Your Audience Involved
A great way to get noticed is by engaging your target market on social media. With all of the different platforms, you have endless possibilities for getting your customers talking about your business.
To start engaging with your customers, host a contest with a free product or service as a prize. For example, you can have them post their best selfie involving your logo or product. Or, have them create unique videos while using your product. Not only does this help you start a real conversation with your customers, but it also can help you collect sales leads for the future.
Another effective option are online reviews and testimonials. Ask some of your most loyal customers to write you a review on a site like Yelp or ask them if they would be willing to make a testimonial. If you aren't quite sure how to implement this option, watch how other companies are doing it. For example, on the reviews page for LifeLock, customers share why they like the product and how it helped them prevent or resolve identity theft.
Show Your Personality
One of the advantages of modern social media is that it’s free. Although you can spend money to increase your exposure or to advertise on these platforms, there’s no charge for creating and maintaining a page. Use these platforms to explain who you are and what your company does, and include regular updates, sharing what’s new with your company.
You also should make your social media pages have a personal feel. A Motley Fool article about companies doing well on social media explains that simple posts such as pictures or friendly greetings can make a significant positive impact. Just showing that someone is really there with responses to customer questions or complaints can go further to building your brand organically than a big ad campaign.
Any questions? Feel free to email KrissArt Marketing Design, we're here to help!
Direct Mail is a powerful tool for bringing in business.
But many businesses don't use it because they lack the time and resources to develop a campaign.
KrissArt Marketing Design could help develop a successful direct mail campaign for your business.
We could help provide you with:
Every Door Direct Mail service is an easy, cost-effective way to reach potential customers near your business. KrissArt will help design & print your mailpieces, then you can select postal routes and pay for postage online. Next, bring your mailing to your local Post Office™ for delivery to every household on your chosen routes. Target either residential addresses, commercial addresses or both along with other demographics that will help you reach your ideal recipients.
There's no need to purchase mailing lists, and with Every Door Direct Mail service, you reach potential customers and get them mailed for as low as 17.5¢ per mailpiece.
Want to learn more about Every Door Direct Mail? Click here.
Ready to get started? Contact KrissArt Marketing Design today!
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Owner, Krissy Carstens, providing the latest news regarding KrissArt's completed projects,