Friday, July 21, 2017

Don't Make Your Business Look Like a Bum with a Crap Website



I often see posts like "Anybody know of a kid or hotshot that can build a website cheap? Asking for a friend."

Instantly I see that someone is wanting a crappy website, just so they can say, "Check out my website." or "Visit our website for more information." They don't want to spend any money on it. They don't see the value of it. But they still think they need a website.

Why would you, if you had any professional dignity and self-worth, try to get by with a website that has no visual appeal, poor credibility, boring content, ugly colors, hard to read type font, and bad functionality?

It's like asking, "Anybody know where I can buy a rusted old clunker car that will need to be in the repair shop constantly?"

A cheap, poorly designed website -- what does that say about your business?

A website that, when you suddenly need to add videos, or photo galleries, or to shift things around in it, the web designer has moved out of town, won't respond to your emails, and leaves you hanging?

Your website, blog, or Facebook business page gives customers their first impression of your business.

Putting up a crap website is like showing up for a business meeting unshaved, stinky, wearing dirty clothes that are all ripped up.

You wouldn't want to look like a bum in a business meeting, so why should your business look like a bum on the Internet?

You need to invest some money if you want a professional website built by a reliable designer. You should also invest in good content writing and SEO implementation.

Your website represents you and your business. Make sure it shines.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Branding vs. Marketing



Branding is extremely important for any business. It's not a footnote, it's a big headline.

A rough analogy. You want to land a job interview for a high level executive position, for which you are qualified. So you buy a brand new suit, tie, and white shirt -- or you ladies buy a new business outfit and shoes.

That's similar to branding. But you don't just sit around, wearing your new interview garments, hoping the phone will ring.

After sophisticated branding, you then have to market that brand and sell your products and services.

Branding includes logos, tag lines, slogans, radio jingles, TV spokesperson, colors, CEO photos, etc. It's your identity, the first impression your business makes on customers. It's your corporate image, the company's overall personality.

Branding is based on (1) what differentiates you from your competitors, (2) how you position your company as Top of Mind Choice or Industry Leader, and (3) what problems you solve for customers.

Once you have determined what makes your company special, and describe that special aspect in terms of customer needs (NOT corporate bragging, with "we do this" boredom), you're ready to start a marketing campaign.

As a website content writer and SEO specialist, I can tell you that all your marketing material MUST be written in language your customers use.

You may have to introduce, and define, peculiar industry terminology, but most of your content must be customer-oriented and using their exact words.

All your radio commercials, TV spots, social media posts, billboards, brochures, email promotions, even down to corporate slogans and business cards, MUST be directed toward the customer's needs, problems, and interests.

It must NOT be "we-oriented", bureaucratic bloviating, corporate culture messaging. STOP doing that. STOP it right now. You need to understand how damaging it is to boast from the company's point of view.

Get to know how your customers talk about their needs. How they complain about competitors. The specific words and phrases they use when searching on Google for answers and solutions to their urgent problems.

For example, my business cards used to say "Web Content Development". That's how us IT guys and gals talk.

When I said that to clients, they'd always say, "You mean you write content for websites? You come up with the words to put in them?"

So I changed my statement to "Website Content Writing."

If you keep just this one idea firmly in mind, and judge all branding and marketing communications according to this rule, you'll be light years beyond most if not all of your competitors.

You WILL see sales and store traffic increase. Contact me for more specific recommendations for your particular business.

Monday, July 17, 2017

10 Worst Things a Business Can Do on Facebook





What are the biggest mistakes a business should avoid on Facebook?

Sprout Social lists these 5, and I add a few more....

(1) Post too many promotional messages. People are turned off by relentless, pushy ad campaigns and product announcements.

(2) Use slang and jargon that doesn't really fit with your brand or target audience (in a vain attempt to be "hip").

(3) Being impersonal, with no unique point of view, no sense of a real person behind the posts, too cold and bland.

(4) Misguided attempts to be comical, using humor that's not easy to understand -- or being satirical, but it's not obvious that satire is intended.

(5) Not responding at all, or not quickly enough, to comments, questions, complaints, etc.


I would add:

(6) Not posting information (including links to relevant news items) that positions your business as the leader in your field.

(7) Posting irrelevant information about sitcoms, Hollywood, fashion, etc. that has no bearing on what you sell, just to get a lot of Likes and comments.

(8) Not posting information about what differentiates your business from competitors.

(9) Not posting photos or videos of your products in use, solving problems for customers.

(10) Not posting videos of the CEO, business owner, or manager talking directly to potential customers, explaining how your products benefit people.