I Can Build My Own

I hear that at least twice a week. I can build my own website. Why yes, you can. Sometimes they do, then they call me to “fix” it. Trust me it is much less expensive to get it right the first time. Fixing it often means starting over.

Many web design tools are simple to use, especially if you’re pretty comfortable with computer software. It will be time consuming and you will probably want to throw your PC out the window at least once during the process, but you can probably get your site up and running. However, it takes experience and training to do it right. From choosing your domain name to visual effects, colors, content, keyword research, right on down to SEO.

You can probably set up a really pretty site with gorgeous pictures and some spiffy content, but can you market it? Online copy writing, keyword research, search engine optimization, competition analysis, site design and architecture. Are those pretty pictures someone else’s, do you know how to find out? Do you know what SEO is? So many questions…

But you will save so much money if you do it yourself, right? Wrong. A successful website needs fantastic graphic design, branding, engaging content, and a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plan. If you don’t have all these your website is going to look like you built it and had no idea what you were doing. You want to convert visitors into customers, your website will either do this or it won’t, if it doesn’t will you know how to fix it?

Your website will scream, I am a professional or I am not. Do you really want your first impression on a potential new customer to be “Another free website from whoever.com”?  If you want someone to spend their money on your product or service you better look like you know what you are doing. Your website is not the place to cut corners. Most designers can work within your budget, be clear what you want from the start.

I had a potential customer call me the other day and say, I am not sure why I am not showing up on Google. I try to be kind, really I do. You are not being found on the search engines because there is nothing to find. On the other hand I have a customer who has a very simple business website design, I monitor it regularly and work with her on keeping her content fresh. She tracks every inquiry and sale she has and where it came from. She called me this week to tell me she is getting 6-9 inquiries a DAY off her website and she is consistently in the top 3 for her business on Google. She is selling quite an expensive product in a small community and is thrilled with the response she is getting. That is the difference between a well thought out and designed, maintained website and one that is not.

I would never try and rewire my house, fix my dishwasher or cut my own hair. You shouldn’t build your own business website either!


Do you Listen To Your Customers?

Engaging with your customers on social media is critical to your successful social media strategy. You must be proactive listening and responding to what customers are saying. When people mention your company in either a good or a bad way it is imperative that you respond and let that customer or potential customer know you are listening. 71% of consumers who experience a quick and effective response on social media are more likely to recommend your company to others.

In order to have an effective response time you must listen. Social media monitoring is where most brand fail in their social media efforts. You can’t respond if you don’t know what people are saying.  How can you run your business and monitor everything? It is not easy, you can use a social media tool to help you or hire someone like me to do it.

Effective social media strategy is not just about posting engaging content, it is about responding to what your customers say about your content, making them feel like they are part of something and dealing quickly with customer issues, concerns and problems. It takes effort but in the long run your results will be worth it. Your customers and potential customers see that you care about what they think and are not afraid to engage with them!

Try it and see how it affects your business!




Are You Building a Brand?

So you have a product or service and you want to sell it. Competition is fierce and you will need to stand out in some way. You need to build a brand and connect with customers. Your business has a name and logo (which may be beautiful and eye catching), but a logo is not a brand. Branding goes deeper than a name and logo. Logos, tag lines and advertising campaigns are traditional marketing tactics that anyone can do. You brand will connect you to your customers.

Branding your product or service will set you apart from your customers. It’s the key to turning a maybe into a loyal customer. A brand is much more than what your product or service does or what you say it does.  Your brand identity is the total perception of you product or service in the marketplace, including the promise to your customers that your product or service will consistently meet their expectations every time they interact with you.

I know when you think of brand you think of Coke, Nike, Starbucks…the big dogs. Even a small local business can define their brand identity. Implementing a well thought out strategy is probably one of the most important business objectives any size company can have.

Marketing and advertising will improve your odds of succeeding, but branding your product or service will take it one step further.  A strong brands will create greater customer loyalty, provide you with focus in your marketing efforts, and act as your guide in making your decisions. So, how do you build a brand? First ask yourself these questions before do anything else.

  1. Who are my customers and what customers do I want?
  2. Who are my competitors and do they have a brand that works?
  3. What does my company do for customers?
  4. What is the benefit a consumer realizes when using my product or service?
  5. What kind of personality will my brand have?
  6. Will my brands personality give consumers a good feeling about my company?

When you sit down and really think about these questions, you will have the basic start to building your brand. Building a brand is a lot of work, but the the benefits of defining your brand identity will pay off in the long run. Having a brand strategy is so much more than just marketing and advertising. It’s the foundation of building a good business. If you do it right it is a powerful management tool and will help you develop stronger customer relationships, create effective, cost-efficient marketing campaigns that have direction and will help keep your organization flowing in the right direction. 

Just starting out…start with a strong brand strategy. Already in business, it is not too late to develop a brand and reinvent your company.