All businesses have a personality, flavor and sensibility of their own. And when it comes to what you put on your website, it needs to be communicated loud and clear. What does your website say about you? Nowadays, it seems a business is instantly judged by its website. Your site is the online face of your business; it needs to make a stellar first impression on your visitors and convince them that you are trustworthy and the right choice. A well designed, maintained, and developed website can validate you as a legitimate resource and streamline your business.
If you are starting theprocess with a website design company, or already have a website, make sure it reflects the creativity and personality of your company. Your content will be king specifically because it drives people to your site. However, the first thing many visitors will judge is the design and aesthetics of the website.
Here are the 6 most important things you need to think about:
1. Who is my ideal client?
It’s important to really know what you want your website to communicate. Create a profile of your ideal client first, then make sure you’re writing copy and creating imagery that will attract that audience. Answer these questions as if you were the ideal client and target audience:
- 20k budget per project or monthly
- A funded startup
- A company with 10 million+ in gross annual under my belt
- Marketing centric and believe in it’s power
- To sell my service to a lot of people
- To make a lot of money
- Regional recognition
- Hands-off approach
- Long lasting relationship (partner in business)
What I do for a living
- Business owner/entrepreneur
- C-level executive
- Marketing manager
This is what I provide
- Services to other businesses (b to b)
- Average sale is over 10k-1 million+ per sale
This is what I want to achieve
- Establish my brand within the industry
- Hire and attract talent
- Get more business as a result of our efforts
This is what I do for fun
- Build or collect cars
- Play instruments
- Make wine
2. A clear sense of what your company offers
It’s incredible how many sites on the internet you can visit and you’re not sure what the company offers. Make it stand out on your home page to provide general information about your products and/or services, with links to specifics on a detailed page. Tell your ideal client about you in a voice they will understand, appreciate, and that will hold their interest.
Don’t be concerned about divulging too much information about your offerings for competitive reasons. You shouldn’t be writing a book on your high level website pages. Make the content scannable and readable at the 8th grade level. Use graphics that show your business is the solution to your ideal clients’ problems.
3. Design with best practices in mind
Your site needs to be visually appealing. What does your website say about you? Design changes so fast on the web that it’s not uncommon for you to have a website design company re-do the design of your website after a few years. Images are a powerful tool for boosting business credibility. Always make it a goal to only use quality images on your website. Hire a photographer or use good stock photography. Competitors pop up everyday with brand new sites. Make sure you hire creatives that can engage your visitors on an emotional level. Most times this means hiring a marketing agency to create and/or work with your website design company.
4. Make sure the ability to navigate is tight
If people can’t find it, they can’t buy it! Clearly display what you offer and have multiple options of getting there. Having your navigation on the top or left hand side is web industry standard. Making sure your website is responsive and looks good in mobile devices is very important. Having calls to action in sight on every page of your website is key. There should never be a spot on a page where if the user is scrolling, they cannot contact you immediately. If you have a captive audience, this is the time to grab them.
5. Contact information, including email addresses, phone number and physical location
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many companies are purposely vague about their location. Some prefer to do all of their business online and see no need to publish an address or phone number. This is a must, and it’s one small way of building credibility and trust with the consumer. A phone number, a street address and even pictures of your facility will go a long way toward building credibility. Showing a physical location comforts a customer that your business is real and legitimate. Provide a phone number that maps to that location and maybe even a google map showing your location.
6. Third-party validation
Real customer testimonials, client lists, case studies, awards and recognition you’ve received, positive news clippings and the like. It’s okay to toot your own horn on your website, but a little third-party corroboration can really help boost your credibility. Potential customers want to know who you do business with, and what current customers have to say about their experiences. Creating a video of real client testimonials (just like this: http://www.cmdsonline.com/agency/client-talk/) is a great way to let the clients speak for you. If you can’t create the video, ask clients to write a testimonial for you:
“66% increase in revenue tied to Web sales, which totaled just under $900k in 2012 (we did less than ½ of that in 2008 – the year before we brought you guys on). You guys are passionate about what you do and you do it well. That’s why I wanted to get CMDS in here knowing you would get the job done right. I trust that you will deliver a great site, profitable SEO results, and be fair with us to create a long-term business relationship.” – Marvin Hyer Jr., Marketing, Johnny on the Spot
All of this builds trust with your potential consumer. Having links to your presence on social networking sites and blogs, especially those serving your industry, is a great form of validation among customers. Another quick way to boost your business credibility is to simply back your content by data. Data-driven content helps reinforce your business’ credibility.
Gearing up marketing for 2014 and beyond
Every year we see lists like “Marketing Trends for 2014″ pop up from industry blogs, but notice that most of the time they are way off from what we are seeing on the front lines. As time goes on, companies of all shapes and sizes continue to move towards results oriented marketing. Here’s our list of what we see trending as we get into 2014:
1) Retargeting, because everybody deserves a second chance
Retargeting will be the favorite of Marketing Trends for 2014 even though it has been around for some time now. More and more companies are getting onboard with it because of it’s effectiveness in branding. If you’ve done banner advertising in the past, you know that the results usually have a lot to be desired. With retargeting in the Google network, you pay based on clicks and not impressions. It’s estimated that first visits only result in at most 2 percent of website conversions. This gives your brand the opportunity to show up in front of someone who has visited your website many times after they have previously visited your website. Retargeting in social media is like the perfect icebreaker, starting a conversation with someone at the party that you know is interested in you. Serving ads to people within Facebook after they have visited your website creates positive brand perception and helps keep you at the top of our potential customers mind.
2) Social Media Diversification
Imagine delivering your message more loudly, to a larger audience and in a place your competitors have not tried yet. Sounds pretty appealing, right? That is the idea behind diversifying your social media strategy. Using not only Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and LinkedIn. But taking advantage of growing channels like Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and even Vine. Paid advertising will also increase, particularly on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and even Instagram. B2B will find more success educating customers on the value of their business rather than start a conversation. (Conversation is more of a B2C strategy) Using social media is also an integral part of SEO. Search engines look at social signals to determine how well they should rank your website.
3)Advertising in Social Media
With so much content-rich conversation happening on social media, it is important to portray your message loudly and to the most interested people. In the future will be less and less likely that company pages within social channels will rank at the same pace they are now. In order to differentiate your company in 2014, properly advertising in social media channels will be imperative.
4)Responsive for Mobile
Mobile websites will be less and less attractive for companies because they display limited information to your potential consumers. Responsive website design is continuing to grow and become more necessary in the future. With so many different devices and display sizes, it becomes imperative to have a website that shifts and adjusts to the exact size of the device for optimal user experience. When responsive, the composition of the website shifts slightly and only the most important content is shown.
More companies will continue to build apps to add value to their client base. Chris Mulvaney from CMDS states “In 2013 we saw a dramatic increase in requests for mobile applications all relating to helping educate and engage existing client bases. The app seems to look less like another revenue stream and more as an engagement platform for those that are already clients.”
Content creation used to be for SEO purposes. In 2014, content creation will be to establish the appearance of leadership in the marketplace as well as act as a resource for those who visit your website. Chris Mulvaney from CMDS noted “Companies will drive people to their website using email, paid search, social media and SEO. They will be hyper-focused on what content they are introducing to people from those efforts and then continue to remarket to them using retargeting. It’s a full circle approach that CMDS uses for client engagement and it works!”
Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. Content discovery apps like Flipboard, Pulse, Foodspotting, Fancy and Feedly will remain a hot trend in 2014, in order to provide potential customers with greater engagement. Businesses will look for ways to automate their content marketing, and these efforts will result in failure. In the current web climate, unique content is king. (Image based content is key! It is quick and easily digestible. You also give your SEO a boost by using alt and title tags).
There are many channels to use paid search within. It’s become more and more expensive to advertise online because of how many companies are exhausted from the constant SEO changes and have made the switch. The beauty of paid search, specifically in Google, is that you can see exactly what key phrases are converting on contact request forms and reallocate dollars to those that are performing the best. This sort of data will be exactly what marketers will growingly crave and most likely spend more money on after their campaigns are honed. Temi Mehta from CMDS states “Because of how easy it is to waste money, it is imperative that your campaigns are run by an agency that is a Google Partner like CMDS. We can manage your budget effectively and know what to look out for.”
Getting reviews online is something that has been out for a long time. As the web becomes more and more social, businesses that display positive interactions with REAL people will have an edge over the competition. In 2014, there will be more and more campaigns geared around helping businesses get positive reviews from real clients. These reviews help with credibility and search engine rankings. Companies are encouraged to ask their clients to engage in placing a positive review for them online after a sale or transaction has been made.
10)Postcard & Lumpy mailings
Since most companies have stopped traditional mailing, there is less and less junk mail in your mailbox. This opens the door for you to get noticed with traditional mailing efforts. Imagine getting a letter with something lumpy in it. You automatically open the letter to see what’s inside. It’s like getting the prize at the bottom of the cereal box without rotting your teeth. In 2014, traditional mailings will be part of the marketing mix for those companies that believe in capturing mindshare and understand that it is important to be in front of your targeted audience as much as possible. When a buying decision is ready to be made, your company will be the one that stands out from the crowd.
Like what you’ve read? Give us a call at 732-706-5555 and see how we can help you market your brand in 2014!
NJ Marketing Agency CMDS enters into Google Partners Program
Being a Google Adwords Certified agency is nothing new for CMDS. The tests to become certified used to be all but trivial. But over the past few months, Google has rolled out a new Google Partners Program that eliminates the certification program and helps agencies to reassure clients that they are dealing with a dedicated and trustworthy company.
CMDS invests time and money into the skills and development of their employees, in an effort to offer their clients advanced account maintenance and recommendations within their marketing campaigns. These techniques are then applied to bring maximum results to our client’s campaigns.
Google states, “Qualified Individuals and Qualified Companies within the Google Advertising Professionals program have met Google’s requirements to attain this level of recognition. They’ve managed client AdWords accounts for at least three months with a minimum spending level; in addition, Qualified Individuals have passed the official exam to demonstrate their in-depth knowledge, and Qualified Companies have several Qualified Individuals on staff. Because achieving Qualified Individual or Qualified Company status is no easy feat, we reward these professionals with an official program logo and Professional Status page which tout the title.”
Passing the Google Partners exam signifies that through extensive studying and experience, a company like CMDS is more adept at providing a client with the best online marketing practices. Ultimately, this will help to improve your campaign performance across the Google Search and Display Networks.
Contact your Google Partners today
We would love to chat! Contact Google Partner CMDS today!
Google updated their privacy to now hide all keyword data
Don’t cry over keyword not provided! When Google recently stated that they were going to be encrypting organic keyword info in google analytics, everyone in the internet marketing world instantly started looking for a new career. For reals tho…, if you can no longer see where your organic search engine traffic is coming from and what search terms people were using to find your website, how can you target your SEO efforts effectively? It’s really just an effort to provide more security and privacy to everyone using Google and really, that’s a good thing. So what happens now?
More Google Adwords (paid search), please.
Doing paid search allows google to show all the keywords users used to click on your ads. Even better, if your google adwords account is set up with conversion tracking, you can see all the conversions associated with a single keyword click. #BOOM! The most ROI focused effort just became even more important. Talk to CMDS to learn how we can help by calling 732-706-5555 today!
Visual Appeal Award for www.ChefIam.com
Today CMDS was notified that we have an award winning culinary website under our belt! We’ve won a Silver W3 Award for a dear client’s website – Chef I Am. The site consists of educational videos on food preparation and cooking techniques. For a small monthly fee, you can subscribe to get access to the best culinary content available. You can visit the site at www.chefIam.com.
The W³ Awards honors creative excellence on the web, and recognizes the creative and marketing professionals behind award winning sites, videos and marketing programs.
The W³ is sanctioned and judged by the International Academy of the Visual Arts, an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from a “Who’s Who” of acclaimed media, interactive, advertising, and marketing firms. IAVA members include executives from organizations such as AvatarLabs, Big Spaceship, Block Media, Conde Nast, Coach, Disney, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Estee Lauder, Fry Hammond Barr, Microsoft, MTV Networks, Polo Ralph Lauren, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Victoria’s Secret, Wired, Yahoo! and many others.
Thank you, Chef Phil, for allowing us to create this award winning culinary website, to be creative and think outside the doggie bag!
You can let the SEO Experts and PPC Experts fight it out, but PPC Experts may win.
Ah yes… the age old question… SEO or PPC? Does it really even matter?
Yes, it does. It used to be that SEO was the best option for online marketing as it yielded the best/most traffic for the dollars spent and effort. You could market your website with tons of articles and cast a wide net of opportunity to drive traffic. That still holds true for some niche industries. However, with several factors which I’ll point out below, you’ll see why paid search seems like a better choice.
Just a disclaimer before we proceed: my agency still believes that both SEO and PPC are worth persuing when marketing your product or service online. We have both SEO Experts and PPC Experts, and have been doing both since they first existed. We see tremendous value in both, and usually it all comes down to what you are willing/able to invest.
Why Google Adwords PPC Marketing?
2 BIG reasons why Google Adwords PPC rocks:
Create and manage large lists of keywords
One of my favorite advantages of using Adwords is that we can create HUGE lists of keyphrases. Depending on client budgets, we create ad groups each holding around 20 different phrases of focus. At the end of the day, our campaigns hold thousands of keyphrases that are super relevant and specific to the subject we are marketing. This enables us to drive quality traffic for a much lower price. It’s all about easily organizing keywords into Google PPC keyword groups & creating targeted and effective ads for each keyword group.
Drive more business to your site through more highly qualified traffic
The more relevant the ads/keywords/visit are to the landing page of choice, the higher the quality score will be, and thus, the lower the cost per click. With all campaigns, we write better, more relevant AdWords landing pages which allows us to get a much higher quality visitor. The better the quality of visitor, the more opportunity we have to convert that visitor into a lead. With conversion tracking installed, we can see exactly what keyphrases are converting visitors into leads and eliminate irrelevant clicks and wasted spend by implementing negative keywords. We can then reallocate the dollars that weren’t working efficiently towards keyphrases that are working great!
The Bottom Line
If you’ve never had success with Google Adwords or other PPC programs, it’s most likely because the wrong person or company was managing it. It’s not a simple task if you aren’t a technical, marketing focused, entrepreneur-minded human. The tests alone to get Google Adwords Certified are amongst the hardest tests to pass today. There are constant updates being made to Google Adwords, and new opportunities rise daily within each account.
Once you’ve got keyphrases you KNOW convert and work for your business, you can focus on SEOing your website for those proven phrases to rank high organically on Google. That’s where the SEO Experts can take the reigns and start driving even more opportunities to your website.
Today, every dollar spent is trackable against an actual new business acquisition. Every tool in your marketing tool kit will not be as quantifiable as Google Adwords. It’s the best tool that exists today to drive the best business to our bottom line.
If you would like to learn more on how we can help you attract your ideal client types and drive more business, please call CMDS at 732-706-5555 today.
Ever wonder where most people click when using google?
Below is an example of how important it is to be at the top. Using ppc or paid search in google is a great way to put your company at the top of Google for the ideal key phrases you would like to rank for. It doesn’t just end there though. A lot of careful decisions need to be made in order to spend dollars wisely and gain conversions.
Heat Map of Google
What CMDS Online Marketing Agency Guarantees
You will LOVE our service
CMDS prides itself on the outstanding service we offer to all our clients, regardless of project size. If you are working with CMDS, you can expect that our dedicated team of professionals will go out of its way to answer all your questions and walk you through each step of the project.
You will LOVE your new online presence
CMDS is award-winning design. Our passion for unique, functional, and eye-popping creative keeps us three steps ahead of the industry standard. The result: a completely distinctive online presence that engages visitors the instant the enter your site.
Your bottom line will LOVE our marketing results
Bottom lines love CMDS! Why? We’re able to translate our deep marketing expertise and 10 plus years of experience into measurable results for your business. Our goal is to overwhelm your sales staff with qualified leads from your website and our online marketing efforts.
You’ll wonder where we’ve been all your life
Our clients love CMDS because of our dedication and passion to their projects. Our goal is simple: CMDS wants to become your “in-house” marketing department – your go-to resource for any marketing needs, both digital and traditional. Our service, our design, and our marketing make CMDS a vital business partner for your company’s growth and profitability.
Learn how we measure the success of online marketing campaigns.