| What Your Business’ Website Might Really Be Missing

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

It’s no great secret that the website is hugely important for the ongoing success of most businesses these days. What is however hard to define is how it is that so many of these websites fail to achieve the ends they are meant for. After all, a business’ website should effectively promote and improve the image of the company, but how often does this really happen? If you are keen for your website to do its job as effectively as possible, there are some key things you might want to pay attention to. Let’s have a look at some of the qualities your website could be missing.

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Strong SEO

So many people spend a lot of time on the building of a website, and forget almost entirely about the other important side to it: drawing people in. if you don’t successfully make people come to your site, then it is only really doing half its job. A lot of people worry about how to make this happen, but the truth is that there are specific ways to ensure that your website gets up the top of the search engine’s results page. That group of methods is often known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and it is one of the most centrally important aspects of running a business’ website. Get yourself a decent SEO agency that is able to bring about these kinds of results for you, and it will make a huge difference to your website’s performance.

 

Easy-To-Find Information

Most of the time, your website will be visited by people looking for more information on your business. It is therefore crucially important that you make sure to have such information readily and easily available the moment they arrive to the site. This means, for example, that it is not a bad idea to have your contact information at the top or side of every page. Having easy-to-find information like this will ensure that your visitors are getting what they need, and will make your website much more functional on the whole. You should do the same with any other information you might find is necessary, such as having an FAQ page.

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Simple Design

One of the single biggest mistakes people make with their websites is in over-complicating the design. If you want your website to appeal to people as much as possible, then it is often essential to keep the design as simple as possible. A simple design will almost always be more attractive to visitors, and will mean that they are much more likely to stay and really look through your website. Of course, you don’t want it to be so stripped back that you don’t provide anything at all – but there is definitely much to be said for a simple website.

As long as your website has the above, it is much more likely that it will work properly as a website, and that will almost certainly mean that your business gets much more in the way of custom too.

| Making Your Next Business Event Better

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

Sometimes when we plan out an event in our heads, and then put pen to paper, it looks perfect. There’s no downside, and there’s no drawbacks of any idea you just came up with, and you’re confident in your strategy. However, in practice, it didn’t go as well. Maybe it was just a bad night, maybe there was something else on, maybe you’re a perfectionist and what you saw wasn’t what you envisioned. No matter what may have caused a business event to go a little downhill compared to your vision, at the next time you want to make it bigger and better. Don’t know how? Here are a few hints towards that.

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Market Early and Market Well

This means you need to get those flyers, email invites, and online adverts for your function out at least a month before the event is planned to go ahead.

Similarly, create new campaigns for these events, as you’ll need plenty of points of contact in order to get people interested. Old and used marketing strategies may not work out so well, and can run stale pretty quickly when they’re all you have to offer.

Make information easily accessible first of all, and then build up from there. Include your phone number and even have calling campaigns if you’re confident enough to do so, or if people have already marked their interest in coming along. These are good first steps to take, one after the other, to get people initially invested in what it is you’re offering.

 

Make Tickets Readily Available

Ticket sales are often the main bane of the event. A lot of people won’t book tickets in the first few weeks, and thus the amount of seating, food and drink, and floor space suffers as a result.

Let people know that your tickets are on sale at an early time, but don’t give too much away. With this, you’ll get people who already want to come along to book their ticket early by putting them on a limited time sale. Let people have a bit of panic about losing out on their place, which also ups the exclusivity of your event; it’s a real moneymaker when you need it.

 

Have All Night Entertainment

It’s good to have a few displays at certain times, but making sure you have some kind of background focus throughout the whole night is a surefire way to success.

Getting yourself some music to play either quietly and softly, or loudly with impact to announce arrivals and the beginning of events, is a great move. You can hire out special bands for events, or let a friend or family member who has a band use this time to market their own music.

Business events vary from function to function, and sometimes the best laid strategies don’t work out, but these general tips will mostly flit back and forth between all types of event. Brainstorm your next function amongst a group, you never know where a good idea hides.

| Double Take: The Art Of Visual Sales

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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Like most animals, how we perceive our surroundings and environment are largely based on the senses we have. A blind mole, for example, will experience the world very differently to a creature which can see, relying on their senses of smell and hearing to help them. As your subject becomes more intelligent, like humans, the impact of senses can be felt on more than just perceptions of the world; but also the way people feel and the decisions they make. To turn this in favor of your business, this post will be going through some of the different ways you can start using visual sales techniques for your products, making the most of people’s eyes.

Before you can begin with something like this, you first need to understand the sort of approach you’ll need to take. To begin, as this area is new to you, you’ll need to do some learning and research to make sure you don’t miss anything out. Along with this, you should also make sure that you address each of your products on their own. The way that you use visuals to sell a product will depend on what the product itself looks like.

With your product in mind, you can begin to think about the colors and materials you will have surrounding it. This sort of decision has to be heavily based on the product and will be used to enhance its existing looks. For example, books and other rustic items look great with wood, and it should be nice and easy to create a style which works with them. More modern items, though, will need more work. Sites like http://www.fireflystoresolutions.com/c-1246-display-hooks.aspx can help you to find display items and other visual sales tools, making it easy to get this job done. Along with this, though, you should also consider creativity when you’re working like this.

Along with the colors and materials surrounding your product, you can also think about other items which might enhance your customer’s experience. For example, if you sell CDs or other music-related items, old instruments or record players could be great accent pieces for your products. Of course, though, you have to be careful. Items which are very detailed or intricate will look bad surrounded by items with similar qualities. But, likewise, plain items will look boring without the right compliments. This part of your visual sales process will be hard, so it’s worth doing some research at this stage.

Finally, and possibly the most important aspect of this effort is the level of uniqueness found in your displays. There’s not much point in copying or using a similar idea to another company. This will make your displays feel boring, and some customers may even recognize that you’ve ripped someone else off. To solve this issue, websites like https://www.strategy-business.com/blog/How-to-Make-a-New-Product-Unique?gko=2428c can help you to make your displays unique to your company. To achieve this goal, you’ll need to set up a strict set of styles which your business will follow for each display.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start focusing more on the visual sales techniques you use in your business. A lot of people don’t consider this sort of area. But, with the right work, it should be nice and easy to start selling based on looks alone.

| 5 Key Reasons Why Your Website Doesn’t Work

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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Regardless of the industry, you operate in or the kind of business that you run, you will have some key business tools that are crucial to your success. Alongside vital members of staff, your sales systems and the tech that helps you along the way, there’s also the ways you market your business to consider too. And it’s the latter that can often cause you problems. Of all your marketing tools, it’s arguable that your website is the most important of all. But when it just doesn’t work, you can find that you lose business, and you even may struggle to grow. So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your website might not work.

 

Unappealing Design

It shouldn’t be all that surprising that one of the reasons for why your website just isn’t working is down to the design. When your design is off putting, a customer or prospect will leave. You often get only 3 seconds to hook your visitor, so the design has to sell. As in this post https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/01/10-principles-of-effective-web-design/, the principles of good web design should always be adhered to, but the design has to be appealing and make a customer believe that you’re what they’re looking for.

 

Complicated Layout

Leading on from the idea of the design not being appealing is also it’s usability as Smashing Magazine pointed out. If your website is not user-friendly, your visitors will leave. If they have to struggle to find that they are looking for, or are constantly misdirected, they are very unlikely to become a customer. So, you have to work with a simple layout to keep them on site.

 

No SEO

Another issue that can be causing your problems in terms of traffic could be your SEO. If you do not have any in place, or it’s substandard, you may struggle to get enough visitors on your website overall. So, you need a professional like https://ignitedigital.com/service/search-engine-optimizationseo/ that are experienced in the field. That way, your site should be optimized to the right standard, and you will find that your traffic increases thanks to your more prominent visibility.

 

Poor Information

Then you should always consider your content. Sometimes, you’ll find that your site is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use, optimized to attract visitors, but then loses them because of your subpar content. If you have irrelevant information on site, or boring content, you will see your conversion rate plummet. Instead, you need to be informative, engaging and interesting with your content to keep your customers hooked.

 

No Call to Action

Lastly, you should also look at your content in terms of the call to actions you have in place. This is where you are encouraging your visitors to do something – namely becoming a customer or prospect in some way. As this post points out http://marketingland.com/power-call-action-strength-boosts-conversions-145845, your call to action is powerful. So, you need to make sure that you are actually asking for business in every way that you can on your website.

| A Face To A Name: Creating A Brand Which Reflects Your Business

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

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The human mind is an incredibly complex thing. It uses hundreds of different senses, working in tandem, to create the world we experience around us. Of course, this isn’t to say that things like sound and light aren’t real things. In fact, they are undoubtedly real, thanks to our ability to measure them. But, the way that we perceive them is greatly influenced by the mind. Memory plays a big part in this. The more senses are stimulated, the more you will remember something. And, this is why branding is so important in business. People may not recognize your name. But, they will be very likely to recognize a good logo. To help you with this, this post will be going through some of the basics of your brand. And, the ways you can make it into a true reflection of your company.

When you’re creating a brand, one of the most important things to keep on your mind is consistency. A lot of people decide to change their designs during the run of a brand, without updating the things around it to match. This will only make a company look disjointed and even harder to remember, though. So, you need to come up with a strong house style for your brand, if you want people to see it. This involves choosing a set of colors and fonts to go with your business which complement and match one another. For colors, you have millions of options. So, it can be very helpful to use current color trends to help you. Choose one or two main colors, as well as some complementary ones to use as accents. With a font, you have a lot more freedom. But, you’ll need two of them, so you’ll have to make sure the ones you choose look nice together. One of the fonts will be for headings, and the other will be for the main bodies of text on your site.

Once you have colors and fonts in place, you can begin to consider the logo you use for your company. This is one of the areas of your brand which will most heavily tied to the business itself. It’s wise to choose a logo which shows the sort of work you do, to make it easier for people to understand. For example, a lot of charities use hands holding each other as a way to convey their work which supports others. Imagery can be used like this in most businesses to show what your company does. Your logo should include your main colors, as well as an accent or two. But, of course, most good logos rely on simplicity more than anything else.

Having all of these branding tools at your disposal will give you a good opportunity to make a name for yourself. But, you will only manage to do this if you use the tools correctly. For example, a lot of businesses work very hard to create great brands. But, then, won’t use resources like Facebook and Twitter to show them off. You should be aiming to put your brand into the public eye as much as possible. Using social media is one of the best ways to get your business out, in the modern world. But, you could also try some traditional methods, too. Mailing lists provide businesses with a great way to get their name out. Today, this sort of job is handled by emails, instead of letters. So, you can do this for free, as well. Customers love to get something for free, alongside the information you give them. A custom sticker here and a branded pen there won’t cost your business much at all. But, it will help you to get people sharing and wearing your brand.

Hopefully, this post will give you a good idea of what needs to be done, when you’re trying to get your brand out there. A lot of businesses ignore this sort of work when they’re first starting out. But, this is a mistake. It’s critical that you start off with a well-branded business, to avoid missing your chance to become known.

| How To Keep Your Online Business To Customer Relationships Strong

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

If you’re running your business online, without any face to face contact with your consumers, it can sometimes be a challenge to keep them satisfied with your customer service, and actively engaged. Therefore, it’s vital that you take the necessary steps to ensure that your website and services run as seamlessly as possible so that your patrons keep returning for the positive customer experience. The following are some things you might want to consider if your online business could use a boost in customer satisfaction.

 

Be Available

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A downside to running a business online is that you don’t get often get to meet your customers in person; therefore, it can be a challenge to form a relationship with them, or put across your friendly service ethics. Your customer care can be reflected in how available you are to each person that visits your website; so it’s important to ensure that you are getting across that someone is available to help your customers in an obvious and clear manner.

Whether you’re there to offer suggestions on what product to buy, or give advice if they are struggling with glitches on their laptop; your presence is everything. Pop-up technology allows you to immediately show the customer that a member of your team is there and ready to help should they need it. Utilizing web design tech, to create a live chat box on the screen is a great way to remain with your consumers as they browse the site. Your customer service team should be trained in how to chat to each patron in an appropriate and friendly manner, so the customer doesn’t feel like they are speaking to an automated response service; which can irritate people and put them off coming back.

For the times that people visit your site out of office hours; you can still provide them with immediate contact details, and ensure that they know exactly what to do if they have a query or a question for you. Again, pop-ups are an excellent way to provide contact information; however, if your website is not at that stage yet, your can ensure that all the relevant email addresses and phone numbers are clearly shown at the top or bottom of each page. Customers will appreciate how easily they can contact you and like to feel that you’re available to help when they need it.

Your social media platforms are another way to engage with your audience in a live setting; quick and friendly responses to Facebook messages and Tweets, are a sure fire way to create positive customer relationships and build upon existing ones. Therefore it’s worth investing in staff who specialize in the running of your social media in regards to customer inquiries and issues. Avoid any social media mistakes, and take a look here: http://loftisconsulting.com/blog/2017/06/05/the-social-media-mistakes-that-are-holding-you-back/. Always keep your brand identity in mind when you respond; if you’re a young and fun company, you can be playful with responses. However, if you provide products to a more discerning market, you might want to respond formally; it’s all about gauging your audience and choosing the right tone of voice as your team write back.

 

Be Attractive

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Just like the front of a physical store; a customer is more likely to stop by and have a browse around if it looks appealing and inviting. An overwhelmingly busy landing page, full of confusing information and headache-inducing colors, will put off your potential patrons and they’ll shop elsewhere. When you go through the branding and marketing stage of your business; you should have organized a particular color palette and theme, which can be used across all your online platforms and channels.

Try to stick to colors that promote your brand’s aesthetic and identity clearly; calming neutral hues would be perfect for those who sell aromatherapy equipment for example, instead of a bright rainbow color range. For some inspiration, check out some of the best brand identities of 2017 here: http://bpando.org/best-brand-identities-2017/. Your homepage should be a place where people can see exactly what you offer and sell, any promotions that you have going on, and how to make contact with customer service.

Ensure that each page that follows is just as simple to understand, and as pleasing to the eye, as your landing page; that way your patrons will have a positive experience and won’t think twice about revisiting your business. Don’t overwhelm visitors with too many pop-ups and special deals; try to stick to clear and concise information, that people can take in easily and utilize should they want to. A strong and attractive brand aesthetic will work across your whole business and will help to ensure that consumers will know who they’re looking at wherever they find you on the internet. When people start recognizing a brand; you can begin to build a strong and trusting relationship with them, which will ensure that plenty of traffic comes your way.

 

Be Accessible

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If you’re an E-commerce business or online retailer; the chances are that your customers will expect to gain access to your website, wherever they are. Therefore, it’s crucial that you ensure that your site is responsive and easy to navigate across a multitude of platforms. You may need to outsource some help to get your website working and functioning correctly on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and monitors, so that whoever decides to shop with you, on their commute to work or in their bathtub, can still access what they need seamlessly and with ease.

As previously discussed; your website should be easy to navigate and understand, and it should be simple to get to the various areas of your online store. Clear and bold call to action tabs, sales banners, and routes to each product, should be straightforward to click, and all information needs to be easily obtained.

You’ll also need to ensure that you have site maintenance on hand to fix problems as soon as they arise; if your website goes offline, you could end up permanently losing potential new customers, not to mention any profits. Therefore, it’s worth investing in the right team and experts to help your site run smoothly at all times.

| How to Bring in More Business

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

If you own an already established business, you may be wondering how to increase your clientele. It’s the only real way to move your business into the next phase. Getting more clients means marketing to a bigger audience, but it’s often difficult to know where to start. Here are a few strategies for growing your business and getting more people through the doors.

 

Target the Right People

If you’ve been in business a while, you’ll already know that there’s no point in marketing to people who’ll never be interested in your product. For instance, you aren’t going to market women’s swimwear at an all-male event. It’s important to re-evaluate who your audience is as your business grows. When you’ve defined your audience, you can build your marketing tools and strategies around it.

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Keep Learning

As with any other job, it’s important to keep learning as you go. Technology changes every day and it’s a big part of keeping businesses alive. If you think you or your employees could benefit from a little training, it’s certainly worth investing in. Many employers have found a masters in leadership to be beneficial when it comes to motivating employees and negotiating deals. Similarly, you could send your employees on annual training courses, just to make sure the business is working with the most up to date methods.

 

Reward Current Clients

Many businesses have allowed their customers to do the hard work for them. Reward schemes that ask current clients to invite new clients to use the same business for a reward are highly likely to succeed. For example, you could offer your clients a 20% discount on their next shop when they refer a friend and that friend makes a purchase. It gives your customers more of an incentive to spread the word. The more people they refer, the more of a discount they get. The business won’t suffer any loss because it’s money that would have been spent on a different type of marketing anyway.

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Trade Shows

Trade shows are vital for bringing in new clients. It goes without saying that if people don’t know what your product does or what your business is about, they aren’t likely to spend money on you. As an established business, now isn’t the time to stop. Trade shows will always have fresh eyes and new businesses to make contacts with. Even if you only attend once a year, make sure you have a presence at the most relevant shows.

 

Gather Information

Knowing your target audience is the first step. The second is gathering as much information from clients as possible. Learn about the people most likely to buy from you. Make sure you get their email addresses for newsletters or updates and make note of the type of people reacting to social media posts. There are many different ways you can gather information about your clients. You can get some ideas here.

Bringing in more business doesn’t happen overnight. You have to be just as patient as you were when you were starting out.

| The Social Media Mistakes That Are Holding You Back

Posted in Marketing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

As a business owner, you’ll know how important it is to stay on top of all the latest social media trends that have proven effective. However, it’s equally important to be constantly looking for the mistakes that are dragging your social media strategy down, and then eliminating them. While the most damaging mistakes are usually nuances, here are a few of the more common ones that you need to avoid…

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Cross-Platform Automated Posts

Not too long ago, when scheduling and cross-platform triggers were a new thing, they were all that anyone could talk about. For the first time, you could use a simple interface to publish a given piece of content on one social network, and then automatically do the same across multiple other platforms. The convenience in this kind of tool is amazing, but automated, more or less identical posts, covering several platforms, really isn’t a good way for businesses to be using social media. Bear in mind that people are going to consume content in different ways depending on the social platform they’re using. What works on Instagram isn’t always going to work on Facebook, and certainly won’t work on LinkedIn. While there’s nothing wrong with scheduling posts in advance, you need to avoid pasting content over all of your channels, and tweak each planned post according to the platform.

 

Too Much Hashtagging!

When you’re hashtagging too much, it’s only going to come off as desperate and spammy, and won’t get you anything near the attention you’re going for with this cheap tactic. While hashtags can be a powerful tool in modern social media marketing, you need to be applying it carefully. If you’re planning to hashtag a certain post, you need to make sure it’s relevant and tasteful, and will only be used on platforms that actually support searching by hashtag. With LinkedIn, for example, you need to be careful about the way you use hashtags, as these are only searchable through the mobile version. Furthermore, you need to be searching the hashtags you come across yourself, and using this to assess the potential value in each one that you’re planning on using. If a certain hashtag is trending on Twitter, for example and you have a piece of content that’s relevant enough, then go ahead and use it. If you’re using more specialized ones, don’t expect your traffic to go through the roof!

 

Sharing Videos via Facebook

One of the biggest things to happen to social media marketing is that Facebook video uploads have overtaken YouTube by a significant margin. Although YouTube certainly has a lot of its own unique benefits, you really don’t want to be the only business owner who’s overlooking the potential of Facebook-based video content. Facebook users have been shown to interact with video content uploaded directly to the platform at a significantly higher rate compared to both photos, and videos linked in from YouTube. From here on, forget about linking videos to your social media channels. Instead, upload your video content to Facebook directly, and you’ll enjoy fantastic engagement.

| Is Your Business Ready To Launch Its Website?

Posted in Marketing at 4:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

Something that all business owners can agree on is that a website is one of the most important parts of the whole venture. With a website, you have much more of an opportunity to market your business in a powerful way in the digital realm. You also have more chance of getting your brand name out there to many places where it would not otherwise reach. As for the customer, when your business has an easily accessible website which offers up plenty of useful information, this can help dramatically to improve your service to them. But it is important that the website is as close to perfect as possible, especially if you want to make the most of it. Let’s have a look at how to launch your website as well as possible.

 

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Find a Host

One of the most vital ingredients to the success of any website is the host of the site itself. Finding a decent host for your site can be tricky, but by following some basic guidelines you should be able to find the right one in time. As a rule, you should try to find a hosting service which fits with whatever platform you are using best. If you are using WordPress for example, you will want to find a host service that specializes in optimized hosting for WordPress. Whatever platform you are using, be sure to find the relevant host. You should also check reviews to make sure that you have the best host possible on your side.

 

Design Your Site

Website users are growing increasingly savvy. If you want your website to have the best effect on your audience, then you need to think carefully about how you are going to design it. The web design is something that a lot of people struggle with. It is absolutely one of those aspects which you want to get professional help with. If you don’t, it can be easily recognized that you did not think it through well enough. A well-designed site should look good, fall in line with your brand message, and be easy to use for your visitors. Spend time on this part of the process, and take care before publishing anything.

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Test

In fact, it would be highly advisable to test your website thoroughly before you publish it at all. Testing your website means that you put it online, but only as a temporary means of discovering how well it works. You could even apply it to a focus group, see what they think of it, and improve or update it accordingly. Or it could just be that you want your internal tech team to tweak it before it goes live. Either way, missing this step could be a very bad idea indeed, particularly if you have a lot invested in your website as a business. Once you are truly happy with it, you can go live knowing that you have made it as perfect as possible.

| SEO Mistakes Your Business Cannot Afford to Make

Posted in Marketing at 1:00 PM by Loftis Consulting

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If there is one thing that all businesses need to master today, it is search engine optimization (SEO). It is likely that you already have a SEO strategy in place, but is it effective? Have you reached the dizzy heights of page one, or are you languishing at the bottom of Google’s search engine rankings? Is your conversion rate high, or is your bounce rate causing a problem? If your SEO strategy does not seem to be producing the results you had imagined, it could be that you are making one of the following critical mistakes:

  • You aren’t tracking your progress – One mistake a lot of business owners make is overlooking the importance of analytics. How are you supposed to make progress if you don’t know how your SEO efforts are going at present? There are a number of different tools you can use to determine if your strategies are working, enabling you to make the necessary changes to constantly improve your online presence.
  • Ignoring the mobile experience – Google and other search engines do not merely rank your website based on the keywords and content used within it. It is a lot more complicated than this. The quality of your website also comes into play, especially with regards to the performance of your website on smaller devices, including smartphones and tablets. If your website is not mobile-friendly, your ranking is going to suffer. Failing to have a great mobile experience in place is a sign that your business is behind the times.
  • Missing quality links – Have you focused on the quantity of external links instead of the quality of them? If so, this could be where you are going wrong. It is better to include links to websites that are relevant and rank well, as opposed to incorporating as many links as you can find from any old website.
  • Viewing SEO as ‘one thing’ – SEO isn’t a separate part of your online presence. In fact, it should be incorporated into everything you do. It needs to be integrated into your website design, mobile optimization, social media marketing, email marketing, your use of images, video creation, and much more. This is where managed website services come in. Such a service provider will manage your entire online presence, ensuring your SEO strategy is being effectively implemented across all areas.
  • Skipping meta descriptions and title tags – This is one of the biggest SEO sins you can commit. Simply including keywords in your article content is not enough; meta descriptions and title tags are essential SEO elements that should never be forgotten. These are critical factors that are taken into account by search engines when they are crawling your site.
  • Creating content that is not about your keywords – Finally, a lot of people make the mistake of creating content that does not relate to the keywords they have used. The problem is that they want to focus their content on their target topic, yet they need to rank for a particular keyword. If your content is not relevant, it won’t rank well, as Google wants to provide their users with the most relevant content based on the search term they input.

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