Posts

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.

It’s hard to imagine a business today that doesn’t have social media for its customer base. Whether you’re an independent candlemaker working out of your apartment in a suburb or an international corporation with employees numbering in the hundreds of thousands, you need social media. Social media isn’t just how a business gets noticed, it’s how a business thrives in a global market that’s constantly in flux.

Creating trending content that’s fresh and relevant can bring in higher interactions with both returning and potential followers of your brand and is an essential tool for long-term success. However, going a step further by paying close attention to your analytics can be an immeasurable asset to your return on investment (ROI).

Reviewing analytics is the key to gaining a quantifiable understanding of your business’ marketing strengths and needs. Remain a step ahead of your competitors by studying traffic patterns, trending searches, and the daily interactions of your followers. You’ll discover how to influence their purchasing decisions and anticipate trending patterns more effectively. Not only will your analytics help you to create more engaging content, it will lead to more financial freedom for your business to grow!

Not quite sure where to begin? Here at Komaya, we’ve discussed best SEO practices, why social media matters for today’s businesses, and making your social media extra engaging. We take pride in customizing strategies to improve the web presence and marketing reach for our clientele because making the most of a business’ online presence is what we do best. Here are 3 tips for finding out if your social media account is performing like it should be:

1. Learn Which Analytics Program Fits Your Needs

Google Analytics is the most popular resource for studying website and social media traffic and trending patterns, but some social media platforms already have Analytics built-in. Do your homework and find out which social media platforms and corresponding Analytics are best for collecting data towards your marketing goals. For example, if you have a WordPress blog for your independent clothing brand that’s less than a month old and an Instagram account that’s six months old, use your Instagram account and Instagram Insights as an Analytics springboard. For further reading, you can check out this comprehensive list of “Instagram Analytics Tools” by Fergus Baird (Hootsuite). The list begins at the halfway mark and summarizes each Analytics program’s pros and cons.

2. Create Your Analytics Priority List

It’s easy (and totally expected) to be initially overwhelmed by the concept of analytics. The terminology and principles of such extensive data collection can be intimidating. However, to echo point 4 of our blog post, 4 Time-saving Tips for Marketing Your Business, “Measure Only What Matters.” Is your priority to focus on bringing more traffic to your new website? Would you like to compare still photography versus Boomerang interactions on Instagram? Maybe you’re trying to decipher the best time to post on your public figure page on Facebook. The more specific and organized you are about the data you wish to collect, the better you’ll be at prioritizing your time to do so.

3. Let It Go

Last but not least, use analytics to compare different social media platforms and determine which ones rank highest in engagement with your followers. This is an excellent way to not only prioritize data collection but to also achieve your marketing goals more efficiently. You can always reintroduce social media platforms that didn’t make the cut in the future—or not! Once you’ve taken a proper inventory of which social media promotion strategies best serve your business, you can move forward with the knowledge and confidence you need to be exemplary of the adage, “Quality over Quantity.”

Analytics will increase your business’ ability to more effectively anticipate trending patterns and interactions, as well as influence the purchasing decisions of your followers, all while inspiring trust and loyalty to your brand. Should you have any questions about how Komaya can help you achieve your business marketing goals, read more on what we do or just contact us today!

Artificial Intelligence has been on the rise in the technology sector for years, and until recently was a very specialized tool that only the most advanced companies and researchers were using. Now, AI has managed to integrate its way into a more everyday application geared at making our lives, ability to work, and the capacity to analyze information far more efficient. One of the platforms that AI has taken to like a duck to water is the website experience. To better understand how AI can be used to enhance your website experience, we take a look at its two-fold impact; the customer experience is enhanced, and the company’s ability to use analytics to the fullest is pushed beyond the previously established boundaries.

The Customer Experience

So much of whether the company makes money or not through the website is determined by the customer experience. One of the largest catalysts that AI has provided to enhance this factor is voice- and visual-search based queries. In a study performed by Gartner, it is predicted that by 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual- and voice-search will increase their digital commerce revenue by 30 percent. A major retailer that has already taken advantage of AI and its ability to enhance the customer experience is Amazon. It has been reported that customers actually prefer searching for items directly on Amazon.com as opposed to doing a Google search. While using the Amazon App from a smart device you can easily dictate your search into the information field. If you take a critical look at the website, many of the options given to you are represented by an image or graphic. Not only is this new way of searching convenient for the average customer, but it also gives customers with disabilities the opportunity to be more independent!

But search features aren’t the only way that speech interaction is improving the customer experience, Chatbots also make a customized experience more attainable. These AI channels are becoming so advanced that it is rapidly resembling the interaction with a real human consultant. It is even theorized that these Chatbots will eventually be able to read our emotional reactions to products and situations! Imagine walking or driving up to a coffee shop and having a chat pop up on your phone letting you know what your last order was, and asking if you would like to not only order it again but also if it can charge the same mode of payment you used previously as well. You could have ordered, purchased, and picked up your drink without ever having to stand in line.

The Business Experience

The business experience has a symbiotic relationship with the customer experience. While the customer is interacting with the AI and having a convenient mode to get what they want; the business is using all the information that the AI is collecting from the customer, and using it to better the customer experience. This allows for an increase in profit through becoming smarter about their business and products or services. An example of this is tracking information like the most searched for terms on the website, the item or service that is selling the most units, or the converse, the item or service selling the least units. It notes what parts of the website are being interacted with the most, which can help simplify the user interface in the future. The metrics that the AI can generate are endless, as are the possibilities to use this information for positive change in the future.

Integrating AI into your webpage can take your online experience to a new level. Here at Komaya, we love keeping abreast of emerging technology and ways that it might help enhance the web presence of our client’s brands.

Original article published at Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) July 9, 2018.

Tips for a Powerful Web Presence

I recently gave a talk to a group of entrepreneurs on what it takes to have an effective web presence in today’s market. The topic generated a lot of interest, so I thought it would be helpful to share it with a broader audience. In a nutshell, I will be covering four focus areas that are vital for your web presence.

No one can deny that having an effective web presence is key to the success of today’s business. I have discovered that this requires using a holistic approach. It’s not enough to just build a website, it’s not even enough to have search engines crawl your website, it is not enough to pour money into paid advertising campaigns, and it’s not enough to just create some social media accounts. They all need to work together to promote your brand and realize your business goals.

THE PROBLEM: A couple of years back, I was in my previous company office and the Marketing Director called us all and proudly said – “We got approval to spend $120,000 for website redesign and separately another $30,000 for online advisements.” I looked at this approach and thought to myself – what a waste of money! It wasn’t a Holistic Solution, it was what I call “a Webpocalypse.”

The company thought they were not effective on the internet because the website needed a redesign, or that a few ads might turn more people into clients. They used different agencies for each initiative; this is what I call a piece-meal approach.

To me, in the web world, these are the Four Horsemen of the Webpocalypse — Website, SEO, Paid Keywords, and Social Media.  You need to tame all these horses in order to have a sophisticated web presence that goes beyond the status quo.

First Horsemen of the Webpocalypse: The Website

“Conquest” – to me, in the web arena, is your Website. You build it, you launch it, and you are ready to conquer the world. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Will your website experience stick positively in the minds of the users?
  • Do each of your pages tell a story? – Will your customers engage and be able to relate to their own emotions?
  • Is your website content optimized for search discovery?
  • What about the mobile experience? More and more people are using their mobile devices to do business.
  • Is your website running processes efficiently behind the scenes? How easy is it for your website content to be kept fresh and relevant?
  • Is it sitting on a secure platform? It is vital to protect your key web assets – your domain and your website host. Here’s an article that shows how a particular website host, WP Engine, prevents millions (yes, millions) of attacks each month for their customers. At Komaya, we ourselves recommend such host for our customers. Make sure your site is protected.

It’s not all about the website looking good, it needs to stick in the minds of the people who visit. It should have a great user experience, not just by aesthetics, but by functionality, and a feeling that they are invited.  Additionally, your website should be easy to maintain and update, empowering your marketing team to promote events, launch new campaigns, and instantly react to changing markets. If website content updates can only be done by a developer, the inherent latency can result in missed opportunities in connecting with potential clients.

Second Horseman of the Webpocalypse: SEO

“War” – to me, in the web world, is SEO, the war of search engines and the fight for your website to climb to the top of their results. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Are all of your web pages ready for the current demand of today’s search engines? What sets your page apart from every other website on the internet? Why would your page climb up the SEO ladder?
  • Have you considered search engine spaces such as Google’s Knowledge Graphs?
  • What about other search channels? Is your web presence dependent upon a couple of search engines, or are you also showing up on the other platforms that people use to search for businesses?
  • By the way, are you for any reason still using Meta Keywords on your web pages? This technique is a bit dated and not effective with today’s highly sophisticated search engines.

SEO is not all about just putting the right keywords on your web pages. Yes, it is very important to consider context and industry-specific keywords when you are writing web page content, but also to understand that there are other aspects to consider, such as Knowledge Graph technology, that you have access to. Is your web page ready to show up in that Q&A type of result that you have seen on Google? Do you make use of all the real-estate that Google has given you by utilizing the Post Knowledge Graph feature when you have an upcoming event or announcement?

Third Horseman of the Webpocalypse: Paid Keywords and Ads

“Famine” – to me, in the web world, is the Paid Keywords and Advertisements. This is the wasted money spent on under-researched advertisements and simply, the wrong keywords. We have seen many companies and their marketing team’s frustrations and wasted resources, month-after-month, with negligible to even nil outcomes. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Are you spending too much for premium keywords, or conversely, not spending on advertisements at all?
  • Have you researched the keywords that your potential customers are searching on, or did you consider the niche your company is in? Check out Google Trends to discover search trends for your products and services.
  • Are these same keywords also reflected throughout your website content and SEO optimizations?

We have seen both extremes that have brought famine to a business’s online presence. Some companies put in enormous amounts of money into extremely competitive keywords that cost very high dollars on each click. In turn, this results in them concluding that online advertisements are too competitive and not very cost-effective.

On the other side of the spectrum, some companies think they do not need online advertisements at all – the internet will just discover and come to them on their own. Yes, some extremely niche companies may have a different agenda for reaching their target audience, but unless you are like Tesla with no advertising needed to-date, you should probably include an ad strategy in your integrated marketing plan. Have you thought about why Coke, Macy’s, Lincoln, or just about any successful company advertises? We find it’s usually best to utilize both an organic search and paid advertising strategy mix for reaching your target audience.

Fourth Horseman of Webpocalypse: Social Media

“Death” – to me, in the web world, represents Social Media. Why the comparison with this horseman? We see so many entrepreneurs and companies create social media accounts, but after just a few posts go silent, deathly silent. The Pale Horse of the Apocalypse took over. We at Komaya call this as lacking the social heartbeat.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Have you contemplated having a social media audit done for your company? What is your current state? How strong or weak is your social heartbeat?
  • Does your branding and website look-and-feel carryover into your social media account profiles and imagery? The user should instantly feel comfortable and identify that they are in the right place.
  • Have you conducted any industry research on which social media channels are appropriate for your company? More so, what channels you shouldn’t even be creating accounts on?
  • What channels are your customers and competitors using? Why Facebook, why Twitter? Is there a specific reason the audience is extremely active on one versus the other?
  • Have you identified what channels the Influencers & Experts in your company’s niche are using? Do you follow and interact with them? This will not only help you figure out which social channels you should be active in, the Influencers may just happen to mention your company to their followers.

There are many other considerations such as what time of the day you should post, the days of the week that your potential customers are likely to be using that particular social media channel, etc. Are you following the “rule of fourths” when posting on social media? It used to be the rule of thirds – one-third of your posts are about your company products and services, one-third you share helpful tips, and one-third you share an industry experts’ posts. But now, the fourth rule has come into the picture – customer support. If you look around, companies like 1800flowers, Zappos, Walmart, are directly providing real-time support to their customers over social media building confidence, trust, and solving issues with minimal delay.

THE SOLUTION: As a start-up or emerging business, consider stepping into today’s internet world with a holistic web presence strategy.  Just a website or a piecemeal approach can likely slow down your business growth potential. All the aspects discussed need to work together to tame the horses and effectively market, attract, and engage your target audience.