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If you think you don’t need to focus on your website because you have a small business, then you’re making a mistake

Today, technology is king when it comes to business marketing. People across the globe spend over 6 hours a day online, and businesses have taken notice. In order to be successful, effective marketing strategies need to include a big web presence. This means that even a small business needs to have a website, a social media following and a person that knows how to make both of these things effective.

Building a Website that Works

Nowadays, it’s pretty much impossible to build a business without a website, but even those businesses with websites don’t automatically succeed. Your website needs to be designed to not only look good but to reach your target audience and do so in a way that matches your brand.

Keep it simple and view your website from a user’s perspective. Your website’s main goals should be to tell people what you do, what products or services you offer and why they should choose you over your competitors. Your website should make people trust you and want to learn more.

Here are the things you should focus on when it comes to your website: 

  • SEO is Key — First thing’s first, everything about your website needs to be designed based on SEO (search engine optimization). Through analytics, determine what keywords people are plugging into their search engines and then design your website in a way that makes it pop up near the top of the results. You can see more about how to make sure your website is designed for SEO by checking out our blog.
  • Keep It Simple — Step into your client’s shoes and see what they see when they look at your website. If it is a muddled mess, then it can quickly become overwhelming and confusing, which just makes people click the close button. Stay focused on the basics: who, what and why. Who are you, what do you do and why should your clients pick you? Don’t cram your webpage full of copy. Leave some white space, use graphics and make it pleasant to look at and easy to read and navigate.
  • Content is Crucial — Using original and consistent content allows people to learn more about your business and industry, while also providing useful information and a reason for them to keep coming back to your site. One way to do this is to incorporate a blog into your site. Your blog can consist of articles that involve your business directly, affiliate businesses and other partnerships, how-to’s that relate to your industry, and other connected topics.
  • Update Before It’s Too Late — Have you ever walked into a business and wanted to walk out right away because the decor took you back in time — and not in a good way? Well, your website can have the same effect if you let it stay in the past. It is important to regularly review your site and update any information that has changed. It is also a good idea to routinely give your site a facelift and keep the design fresh. When people click onto your site and see a clean, updated webpage they are more likely to stay and explore.
  • Connect to Social Media — If your goal is to have a big web presence, then you need to make sure your various online components are connected. Make sure to provide links on your site that lead people to your social media and vice versa. This can be done through a variety of ways, such as a call to action for clients to check out your different social media pages, or through icons that directly lead people to those pages.

Selling Socially

Successful companies don’t get that way by guessing when it comes to their social media. On the contrary, they most likely have someone to carefully plan out a strategy that serves a multi-purpose function of finding leads, generating sales and keeping a business visible.  This practice is known as social selling, and 78% of salespeople that use social media, perform better than their peers.

Why is social media such a big deal, though? What are the things that make it such a powerful tool, when it is wielded by the right person?

Here are the highlights of what makes social media such a must if you want your small business to have a big web presence:

  • Social Media Lets You Grow Your Business Through Current Contacts — You probably already have a network of contacts online, but perhaps you have not taken the time to really look at who is a part of that network. There are probably quite a few people that have businesses of their own that can provide a mutually beneficial relationship with you and your organization.
  • Social listening is when you monitor certain keywords on social media in order to find people that might have a potential interest in your business.

  • Social listening allows you to filter potential clients down to those that would be most interested in your product or service. Then it is up to you to reach out and establish a relationship. Remember to take the time to build a strong connection because this is what will truly win your clients’ loyalty. Even in this digital age, the human component of a business is still essential to its success.

The digital world is a vast place with an almost endless reach. If you aren’t careful with your marketing plan, then it can mean major setbacks for your business. You have a lot of things on your plate when it comes to running your company, so sometimes, the best thing to do is delegate certain tasks to the pros. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to building a powerful website and creating a strong social media following, then your best bet is to hire a team that can make these crucial elements their main focus.

Are you ready to create a big web presence for your business? Then contact us today to see how we can help make your company more visible and effective online. Make sure to check out our other blogs for ideas on how to market your business and build your digital presence.

Four Need-to-Know Ways to Avoid a Cluttered Website

When it comes to getting your business organized, virtual clutter should be at the top of your list, starting with your website

Is your business suffering from a cluttered website? You probably have already heard the term “virtual clutter” at some point since a good portion of our lives these days is kept on a computer or other device in the form of emails, text messages, documents, PDF files, images, videos and so much more. Once upon a time, for a business to run smoothly, you just needed a way to keep files organized and your desk cleared of any unnecessary papers. Nowadays, an organized physical space is not enough because the majority of companies operate a good portion of their businesses online.

Today, an organized physical workspace is not enough for a business to operate smoothly. If your website is cluttered you might as well be trying to run a company from under a mountain of paper and junk.

Virtual clutter mainly focuses on ways to keep your devices organized and your online presence clutter-free. For example, organizing emails into folders that are easier to find versus collecting virtual dust in your inbox. You can organize your desktop as well by using folders to sort like items together, and of course, it’s always helpful to regularly delete any emails or documents that are no longer relevant. Platforms like Google Photos and Dropbox make it easy to store photos, videos, and documents in a safe place that doesn’t take up precious space on your hard drive.

These may seem like pretty simple ideas, but you would be surprised how many people don’t think about organizing their virtual lives. If and when they finally do, there’s so much data it can be overwhelming, to say the least. One thing that any savvy business owner should not overlook is a cluttered website because it’s the equivalent of having a sign for your business that is covered in graffiti. It makes it hard to read and turns people away. You have less than one second before a visitor forms an opinion about your website. If you can’t hold their attention, then odds are that they will leave your site and move on to the competition. 

So, take some time right now to focus on the following four ways to make sure your website doesn’t cause people to scramble for the “X” button: 

  • Make It User-Friendly – One of the main things that make dealing with clutter so frustrating is how finding even the most basic item can become an extreme exercise in perseverance. If you are looking for a rubber band, you want to open a drawer, reach in and pull out a rubber band in a matter of seconds. You don’t want to waste time or energy, and you definitely don’t want to stress out over such a small thing.
  • When people visit your website, it is crucial that they are able to find out exactly what they need to know in a matter of seconds and without any stress. The last thing you want your website to do is frustrate potential customers. So when you are designing your website, make sure that amid all of the choices for layouts, elements, and fancy images, you don’t neglect the basics.
  • Your website should make it obvious from the very beginning WHAT your company does, WHY consumers need your product and/or service and HOW they can get more information. If your site is so cluttered that these basics are hard to find, then it’s like having a closet crammed full of blankets when you really just want a pillow. It’s frustrating, unhelpful and a big waste of time. No-one is going to dig through the blankets, instead, the door is going to get slammed right away.
  • Keep Text to a Minimum – If your home page and other landing pages are covered in lines and lines of text, then you will most likely lose any traffic that comes your way. An overwhelming amount of text is like having an unruly pile of laundry scattered across your floor – it’s not pleasant to look at and makes you want to leave the room. Since you don’t want people to leave your site as soon as they arrive, think minimalistically when it comes to text and opt for effective images instead.
  • Position text in a way that it isn’t punching your potential clients in the face as soon as they click on your page. This can be done by utilizing drop-down menus, having an appropriate amount of white space surrounding the text and simply keeping the amount of text low. Of course, you want your site to have content, but don’t put it all on one page, instead, for example, your site can feature a blog that can serve as an excellent place for your content to live. You can have a separate FAQ page that can provide a lot of information about your company, how it works and products/services without having it all jammed on the first page that people see.
  • Limit Choices and Information – Your website does not have to contain every single bit of information about your company, nor does it need to all be in one place. Remember, you want to feature the basics and provide information on how your customers can engage with you if they want to know more. In fact, you might be thinking that providing a large amount of information is helpful and what your customers want. However, a recent study shows that the opposite is true and “too many options create anxiety and leave us less satisfied.”
  • Think about it like this – imagine that you decide you want to cook a meal and open up your pantry to see what you have available to prepare. The shelves are filled with dozens of cans of all different kinds of spices, soups, sauces, vegetables, canned meats, and some things you aren’t even sure what they are. You immediately shut down and order take-out. This is like a customer coming to your website and being confronted with so many options that they become overwhelmed, sign-off and decide to binge-watch their favorite TV shows instead.
  • Update It Before It’s Outdated – In organizing, systems are put in place to keep clutter at bay and make things work efficiently. These systems need to be regularly assessed to make sure they are still working as well as they were at the outset. Often, they need to be adapted and tweaked as times change in order for them to continue to work effectively.
  • This same concept needs to be applied to your website. What works one week may not work the next, and if it stays the same, then customers are likely going to look for a more updated site because they will assume that company is more “in-the-know.” Make it a priority to regularly check your website for any areas where it might be outdated and fix it as needed. This way potential customers will associate your website with a driven company that keeps up with the latest trends.

Your website should make it obvious from the very beginning in a clear and understandable way, WHAT your company does, WHY consumers need your product and/or service and HOW they can get more information.

Basically, a successful business has many components that make it operate at an optimum level. One of the main factors to determine how smoothly a company runs is how well it is organized. When you declutter your workspace, including your files, schedule and other physical aspects of your business, don’t forget to carry it over to the virtual side of the coin. If you take the time to keep your website clean and well-organized, you will attract more web traffic and retain more of the customers that find their way to your site. If you need a fresh set of eyes to get your website in tip-top shape and would like some feedback on how you can gain more customers, contact us today to see how we can help!

Why knowing and understanding your customer is essential to effective marketing

We have looked at why it is important for your customer to understand your business in a previous blog. Makes sense, right? How can you expect to attract customers if they don’t understand what you do and are not sure if they need your product or service? Likewise, do you know your customer? How can you expect to reach your customers if you don’t know who they are or where to find them?

To create and run an effective marketing strategy it is essential to know your target customers. Enterprenuer.com defines target customers as “a specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services”.  Let’s pull two key words from this definition and put them together to help focus your marketing plan – specific aim.

First, make sure to identify the specific group of customers that you are trying to attract to your business. Are they millennials? Women over 40? Teens? You get the picture. Even once you know the group of consumers your product and/or service is geared towards, it can remain a pretty large group. Remember, we want “specific”. What are ways in which you can narrow down the vast number of consumers to a more focused target group?

There are a couple of things to consider when it comes to knowing your customer

Know Thyself

You know your product or service better than anyone, so who do you think is going to use it most? Think about your product and what it does. What is it used for the most often? How is it used? Where is it used? Take your answers to these questions and use them to assess who needs this product and/or service the most? Consider multiple factors like age, gender, marital status, income bracket, etc. when narrowing down your answer. For example, a working mother of four children is going to have very different needs than a young bachelor that enjoys the single life.

What does your product do? Who is going to have the strongest need for your product? For example, a teenager is probably not going to have much interest in an upright vacuum with steam clean technology, but that mother of four? Big difference. Identify the specific need that your product or service answers and then match it to the group of consumers that possess that need. Start out with a broad spectrum, and then narrow it down until you reach your particular niche of consumers. This is referred to as the “funnel approach” which is suggested by Chuck Cohn in his article for Forbes. He uses the example of starting with gender, then narrowing it down to an age group within that gender, and then narrowing it down even further by income bracket to arrive at a more focused target group of consumers.

Look Around

Take note of other businesses that offer similar products and/or services to yours. Who are their customers? What demographic tends to use their service or product? This can provide valuable insight as to who your target group will be. And can help you figure out some ways to make your business stand out against the competition.

Look within your own network as well. What do your friends and family of varying ages and backgrounds like to do? What sorts of products do they use? Ask them questions about why they use the product and what they like about it. Find out what they are drawn to when they see different marketing plans for the product. Use their answers to help you develop your own marketing plan for your product.

Analyze

Conduct a market analysis for your business, suggested by Mike Kappel. Go back to the basics of information gathering- who, what, when, where, why and how. Look for the answers to these questions to help you narrow down the majority of consumers to your target audience. Know who your potential customers are, what they like to do, when they are most likely to see your marketing and purchase your product, where are they located, why do they purchase from you (or someone else) and then, based on all of these answers – how can you best reach them

This “how” is important. Once you have identified who it is you are directing your business towards, you need to understand them. The only way to successfully create a marketing strategy that works is to design and develop your marketing tools in a way that will speak to your target customers. You need to learn what makes them tick, what catches their eye and what is important to them in the products and services they purchase. Once you have an understanding of your customer you can effectively aim your marketing in their direction.

Get to know your target group’s interests, hobbies and how they like to shop. Take note of things that will help direct your marketing strategy. Does your target group listen to the radio? Spend a ton of time on the internet or watching TV? Do they go on social media? It will do you no good, for example, to center a marketing campaign around social media if your target group does not spend a lot of their time on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. On the other hand, if your target group are young consumers that are always on the go, then social media and internet-based advertising could be very powerful.

All in all, knowing your target customer group and then understanding them is a key factor in determining the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. I hope this has helped give you some ideas of what to look for as you bring more focus to your target group of customers and work on developing your marketing plan to specifically aim your product and/or service to them. Make sure to check out our other blogs for ideas on how to brand and market your business and build your web presence. Wishing you many happy and satisfied customers!

The Top 5 Ways that Your Website Might Be Misleading Them

Customer churn, or customer attrition, are two of the many names given to what happens when you lose specific customers for whatever the reason, who no longer use your services or engage with you.  This is a problem that businesses suffer from often, and no business is exempt — no matter how big or small.  Perhaps even worse than losing a customer who has used your products or services in the past, is losing an individual who was at one time interested in your business but never became a customer at all.

Whether your customers are not returning or are not converting, the “why” is likely the same.  Customers may not understand your business, what you do, how you help them, and why you can be valuable to their operation.  Some of that miscommunication can come from emails, in-person meetings, or a variety of other forms of customer communication.  However, it’s extremely likely that some of it (particularly with individuals who never contacted you in the first place), was from your website that failed you (and them).

Here are some of the ways that your website may be misleading potential (or existing) customers:

  1. Customers believe that you do not offer the services they want

Customers may believe that you don’t offer the services that they’re looking for if they can’t quickly find them on your website.  Not only should you make sure that each and every one of your services is readily apparent, but you should make sure that SEO (search engine optimization) is in place for each of your services.  Yes, SEO really is that important.  You can do this by ensuring that you are using keywords that people looking for those services are searching for.  You should also consider having a separate page for each of your services.

  1. Customers do not believe that you are a one-stop shop for their needs

Customers may not readily see the services you offer, including your other services related to their original needed service. They may assume that it would be easier to go with another company that can meet all of their needs in a one-stop shopping experience.  Make sure that customers know the comprehensive list of services you offer. One option is to have each of your services mentioned (with a checkbox) on the inquiry form.  Another is to add hyperlinks to and from each additional service from the individual service pages suggested above.

  1. Customers believe that you are too expensive (or more likely, too cheap!)

Customers may see your website and believe that you are too expensive based on your color choices, logo choices, and level of elegance on your page. While you want your page to be representative of your brand and the people that run it — you don’t want it to be misleading.  While it’s never okay to be sloppy, for example, or to have typos — it might be a bit overkill to have an extremely expensive website if you’re selling very basic and affordable services.

Or, if your target market is luxe and high-end, you probably want to avoid bright colors like neon yellow or patterns like polka dots.  Click here for a blog about colors and what they can mean for your brand.  You should also keep in mind that customers often equate quality with expensive.  So if you’re trying to decide between pricing levels, you should probably err on the higher side.  It will only help you.

  1. Customers believe that you are not approachable

Is there a contact form on your website?  Is it hard to find or hard to follow?  The length of time that it takes a customer to figure out how to get in touch with you is directly correlational to how approachable they think you are.  And also how receptive they think you’ll be when they need you over the course of your contract with them.  Be sure your website clearly communicates the various ways they can contact you and gives them a welcoming feeling.

  1. Customers believe that you are not the best at what you do

Do not assume that a customer will know that you are good at what you do.  Especially if they’ve never worked with you before.  And while it may seem artificial or uncomfortable to toot your own horn, it’s necessary, especially when marketing to prospective clients.  You should prominently display any awards that you’ve won, certifications that you or your associates have, and testimonials and/or logos of clients that you’ve pleased along the way.  Make sure to have a place or form where customers can review you. And use a regular system to get those up there as well.

You can never have too much information singing the praises of your company.  Also, having a well-maintained blog or newsletter articles that are published frequently on your website lends credibility to your business.  It’s a really important thing to do– and it’s so easy, you just have to do it!

If you feel that any of these potential issues may be at play with your website, you can benefit from a website review. This can help you figure out what the issues are and make sure that your customers know exactly what you can give them – – and take you up on it!

5 Ways to Run Your Business Better & More Effectively in the New Year

It’s the beginning of January, and what that means for most people is that some work was put off to enjoy time with family and friends during the holidays.   While this is a wonderful (and necessary) idea, sometimes the quiet time alone with our closest friends and family (and with our thoughts) allows us to start contemplating what we’ve done right and wrong.  Have we spent enough time with our loved ones?  Did we eat too many calories over Christmas dinner?  How are we going to get through the mountain of work on our desk that’s waiting for us?

This period of reflection is wonderful and without it, things wouldn’t ever change for the better.  And while some New Year’s resolutions may get forgotten on the gym floor around March, planning for our business is a must — and something that we have to make sure to keep doing all the way through next December.  Our planners and calendars should help us make sure of that.  But as business owners and managers, our problem isn’t usually that we don’t get things done.  Consistency and accountability typically aren’t our biggest problems — if we don’t work, we don’t get paid.  Our problems are usually more conceptual.  And sometimes, the problem is not knowing what the problem is in the first place.

How do we know what we should focus on in 2019?   What are our biggest shortcomings and ways that we can target them?  And once we figure all of that out, how should we begin to tackle the problems?

Well have no fear, we are here to help. Here are some of the most recurring issues facing small to mid-level businesses, and what you can do to run a better business in 2019:

  1. Problem: Revenue that’s Lower than Expected

Solution:   Focus on the products that are doing well, and make your SEO game extremely strong.

You likely have some sort of good or service, and if you have lower than expected revenue it’s generally because your overhead is too high, or because your products or services aren’t doing as well as you wanted them to.

The first step to take is to review the products that have sold and eliminate the ones that aren’t performing.  Start with the ones with the lowest profit and highest overhead, and work in a reverse direction to trim the fat. Once you know the items or services that are performing the best– you can really focus on making them the shining stars of your operation.  Your website should feature those products, they should be visible on the main page, and have hyperlinks to them within all of your branded emails and most of your social media posts.  You should have extremely good meta links, descriptions, and SEO strategy for these products as well.

  1. Problem: Customers are Not Engaging the Way They Used To

Solution:  Revisit the way you log and track contacts, and set up a new targeted campaign.

If your customers aren’t engaging the way they used to, it could be for a variety of reasons.  Perhaps your brand is failing to meet their needs.  Maybe you have a competitor who is doing things better or cheaper.  Regardless of the reason why you lost them, you definitely need to re-engage your core audience.

Take a look at your customers that are currently engaging.  You should be able to pull up your interactions on all of your social media accounts as well as through your email management program.  If you don’t have one of these, that’s definitely a huge mistake.  Look at Buffer for social media management, and Mailchimp for email management.  Other options are SocialReport, Sprout, and HootSuite for social media and MyEmma, and Constant Contact for email management, but we enjoy Buffer and Mailchimp the best, for a variety of reasons.

Once you’ve determined your core group of customers, you should make sure that your website is clear and targeted to them, and to their needs.  You should also make sure that your social media campaign, your website, and all of your other marketing materials are clear, connected, and carry the same branding and message. This includes fonts, slogans, logos, and colors.

  1. Problem: Customers are calling and spending a lot of time with you on the phone, and you’re not able to get a lot of the work completed.

Solution:  Your website, social media pages, and contracts and documents can all be made more clear and easier to navigate so that there is a clear understanding among all parties.

It isn’t uncommon for customers to be calling you, especially when you offer a service or are some type of consultant. But if you have a very straightforward product that can be automatically ordered and shipped, and customers continue to call you–  this is a clear sign that your website is failing you.

Make sure that your website is easy to navigate, easy to follow and understand, and works across a variety of browsers and skill levels.  Not all of your customers are technology savvy, but most will have a basic understanding — so you need to figure out who your target group is and cater to those people.

At Komaya, we offer a free website review — so we’ll be able to look at your current website, determine how navigable and user-friendly it is, and offer some concrete solutions to make it work better for you.

  1. Problem: You’re Unable to Get The Things on Your List Accomplished

Solution:   Start a Time Blocked Schedule, and Stick To It

We all have really long to-do lists, but the difference between those who accomplish all of the items on their lists and those who don’t are the ways we go about completing them.  Time blocking, or the act of actually scheduling the time in your day and blocking certain half-hours or hours out for specific purposes, seems elementary, and often not even necessary– but it’s absolutely quite the contrary.

By time-blocking, you’re ensuring that you’re giving the appropriate amount of devoted time to each task.   The benefits of this are that, when you’re within a specific time block, you can limit the distractions by turning off your phone or putting it in another room, for example, or not checking social media during this time window.   Additionally, you’ll know right away if you don’t have the appropriate amount of time to finish all of your daily tasks– so it will become immediately clear that you need to delegate, and not at the eleventh hour when you’re desperate to find a staff member who can help you.

For a good example of time-blocking, you can check out this WikiHow.

  1. Problem: You aren’t Getting the Types of Customers that You Want

Solution:  Re-Evaluate your Business Plan and look at the type of customer who is your target.  Is your website effectively speaking to that person?

Let’s say that the product that you’re currently promoting retails for $97, but your average customer is spending $12 on your site per visit.  Clearly, something isn’t working.  Likely, you’re not getting the type of customer who is your ideal customer.  If you’re making sales, sometimes it seems like you have an audience and everything is going well, but if you aren’t making the amount of expected sales, you could have the wrong products  — but you could also have the wrong group of people that you’re targeting.

For example, let’s say your business sells luxury high-end office products.  The majority of your products are things that a top business person would love, like desk accessories made of gold and silver,  leather briefcases, and portfolios.  Your target customer should be spending, in your opinion, about $165 on average for their order.  If your top-selling item is a $7 pen and your average customer spends $20 on their entire order– you’re probably getting college students who are buying sticky notes and school supplies.  Perhaps your millennial pink website needs to be changed to a more mature color, like navy blue.  Additionally, it’s likely that your targeted Instagram ad needs to be featured on LinkedIn instead.

By asking the right questions about your business plan, and how you’ve been implementing it — you’ll make sure to have a better and more productive 2019.

For any questions about your website, or other things that you can do to enhance your business in 2019, contact us at Komaya.  You can also check out our blog for more ideas for bringing your business to the next level.