Marketing

Do You LOVE Your Website?

LOVE Your WebsiteI’ve always felt that it’s important for my clients to LOVE their own websites. When you love your website, you are proud to refer people to visit, which is very important because your website should be the hub of your marketing plan. Now let me clarify, your website shouldn’t be your entire marketing plan–just the hub–the place where all of your other marketing takes your prospective clients. Why? Your website is the place where you have complete control over the content. At some point, Facebook and other social media channels could disappear without your consent or take a drastic turn that makes them no longer a viable option for you (think: My Space). If your marketing is completely wrapped up in that marketing channel, you could lose all your previous hard work, or it could just be ineffective. The key is to have “all roads lead home”…your website.

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Mobile Website – What is it and Do I need one?

Mobile Internet Usage Graphic

The mobile web is becoming more and more important with each passing day, each new smart phone, and each new data plan phone user.  The mobile internet can no longer be ignored as an important marketing venue.

As you can see by this graphic, it is being predicted that mobile internet usage will overtake desktop internet usage by 2014–less than two years from now!  Businesses that refuse to adapt to the changing technology will not only BE left behind–they are already being left behind, as you can see that even today, one-HALF of all searches are being performed on mobile devices!  The speed of this technology adaptation is just incredible!

Benefits of having a mobile version of your website:

  • Faster loading than full website on mobile device because it is less graphically intense
  • Choose the information you want your mobile readers to view when they arrive
  • Clear, simple navigation
  • Larger font size upon entry for easier reading
  • Ability to enlarge text to preference of the reader with a simple hand motion
  • Portability allows content to be accessed anywhere a mobile device has a signal
  • Competitive advantage over competition without mobile websites
  • Offline interaction with QR Codes
  • Natural integration with social networking websites
  • Improved Search Engine Optimization, especially in the mobile website category

A mobile version of your website is a simplified, less graphically-intense version of the website.  All the text and images will appear, but the design is lighter and quicker to load.  The image below to the left shows the Home Page.

When you click on the arrow in the upper right-hand corner, the menu drops down, as shown in the image on the right.  From here, your mobile visitors can choose the page that he/she would like to view.

If you have a blog on your website with Categories, you can see there is a tab on the Menu where visitors can view your postings by category.

On the left, you can also see that your visitors can view the regular website by clicking the On button to the Off position.

Home    Menu

Below, to the right, you can see the Calendar page.  To view an individual Day, Week, or Month is only a click away.  You can also click on the individual event for more information.

To the right, you can see the Contact page, with all pertinent information and an interactive Google map.

I just chose a few sample pages to show how your mobile website can look.  You can choose the pages that you want displayed in the Menu, and leave off others, if you choose.

Smartphones (iPhone, Android, & Blackberry) will recognize that you have a mobile website and show it, instead of the regular site.

 

Calendar   Contact

 

If you have a WordPress site with Dramatic Design, this new option is available to you.  If you aren’t sure if your website is a WordPress site, just ask!

So, what if you don’t have a smartphone?  That doesn’t matter—your website isn’t there for you, it’s there for your customers and we’re trying to reach those customers in the way that is convenient for them.  After all, that’s what marketing is about, right?

This offer is available to current and new Dramatic Design WordPress clients for a nominal, one-time fee.

If you’d like to add a Mobile website to your marketing toolbox, please drop me a note and I’ll get that up and running for you!

Kim Smith

 

 

 

Complete infographic located at: http://pinterest.com/pin/159455643026652228/

Hit the Ground Running

Hit the Ground RunningAre you in the majority?  Did you let your marketing sit quietly on a shelf all summer while you went to the beach, took a vacation, or otherwise took a business siesta?  Well, you’re not alone.  Most business owners let their marketing slide during the summer, thinking that people aren’t paying attention…it’s a slow season…people will be back in the routine once fall hits.  I’m not saying this is the right thing to do…I’m just saying this is what happens.

Snap Out of It!  Fall is coming fast and you need to get your head back in the game!  Don’t know where to begin?  Well, I’m going to give you some tips to get you started.

Make sure your marketing plans are in place:

  • Is your website in need of changes or updates?
  • Do you need to make any changes in your branding or extend that branding?
  • Do you have business cards, brochures, postcards, and other marketing materials on hand–0r at least on order?
  • Is your email list up and running?  If not, be sure to get a sign-up form on your site ASAP!
  • Do you need to invest in any local advertising?

Plan for success:

  • Are you working part-time and expecting a full-time pay?  Time to re-think your strategy!  Hard work pays off, especially for the small business owner or solopreneur.  So put in your time and make that success happen!
  • Are you doing the things you know you should be doing?
    1. blogging at least once a week?
    2. marketing your business in some way every day?
    3. building valuable connections on social media?
    4. getting involved with local business networking groups?
    5. continuing your education/training to make you a better business person and better at what you offer your customers?

Reconnect with your past customers:

  • Offer them an incentive to come back and do business with you (exclusive sale, sneak preview of new items, etc.)
  • Ask them to give you an endorsement that you can use in your marketing (website, promotional items, etc.)
  • Send them a token of appreciation or thank you note
  • Send out a newsletter, telling them about your plans for the upcoming fall or holiday season

Find new customers:

  • Ask your customers to introduce you to people who may be interested in your product or service
  • Host an open house of gathering where people can meet you in an informal setting
  • Interact with your community, whether that’s a local community or a community of online people with similar interests

Juggling your BusinessThe key is to keep juggling!  It’s not easy, but it’s very important to keep building your business–even when it doesn’t seem like you have the time to do so.  Yes, the things you are busy with may be making you money, but if you don’t keep up your marketing, things will eventually slow down and you end up in a cycle of busy/slow/busy/slow.  Wouldn’t it be much nicer to have steady…and better yet, steadily increasing business?

Now, I realize there are a lot of other ways to gear up for your fall marketing campaign than I’ve mentioned here.  I’d love to hear some feedback from my readers.  What techniques have you successfully used to get back into the swing of things after a “vacation” time like “summer break”?  Let me know…that’s what the comment section is for!

Kim Smith Dramatic Design

Shake It Up!

Business BrandingBranding is a vital aspect to every business.  It is responsible for how the world perceives you and your business and it’s very important that we pay attention to this aspect of marketing.  If your business branding is sloppy or unprofessional, your potential customers will probably assume that you, also, are sloppy and unprofessional, which is hardly how you want to be seen!

Your marketing materials and all related promotional items should match in style, colors, and design.  By keeping uniformity, you give the customer comfort and a feeling of security, which may be subconscious, but is nevertheless very real.  That feeling of security helps to eliminate the confusion of who you are and how you handle business.  Remember, a confused customer will ALWAYS say no!

Uniformity in your branding leads to brand recognition.  Brand recognition builds confidence and awareness about your business.  People are less hesitant to trust businesses that have this image of credibility.  There is a feeling portrayed that the company will be around for a while–not a fly-by-night operation that will disappear with their money.

Some things to think about when branding your business and buying marketing materials:

  • Your business cards are the single most, cost-effective marketing piece that you can invest in for your business.  Make sure to have them professionally designed and printed.  Make sure they are printed on a heavy grade, quality cardstock, as flimsy business cards give the impression of a flimsy company.  If you cut corners on your most important marketing tool, you give the impression that you may cut corners on something that matters to your customer.  NOT the first impression you want to leave!
  • Your letterhead should match your website.  Your website should match your promotional materials.  Your promotional materials should match your advertising.  And so on.  I think you can get the idea–uniformity is important!

Old BrandingIt is also important to keep your brand current with the culture, which brings up the aspect of re-branding.  Re-branding is when you update the look of your branding. There are times when you just need to freshen things up — shake them up a bit.  This is a process that I’m currently working through with Dramatic Design.  As you can see, the website has changed, well…dramatically!  (I’m still in the process of updating other aspects of my branding.)

While I still liked the branding to the left, it was starting to look very dated.  It was starting to get boring–and if I thought it was boring, what must my prospective clients thought!  It wasn’t right anymore, as my business is a constant state of transition and growth.  I needed to punch it up…take it to the next level.  So, I have upgraded the colors to something more “2011,” created a new design, and came up with a more creative tagline.  These things helped me to get excited about my business branding–and about my business.

If you haven’t considered your branding, I would challenge you to think about it!  If you have had the same branding materials for a while, it might be time to update your brand!  Either way, I’m here to help!  Please ask your questions below, in the comments, or send me an email.  Let’s see how Dramatic Design can help you shake it up!

Kim Smith

uniformity is important!

New Year’s Resolutions vs. Business Goals?

Business Goals 2011New Year’s Day always seems like a time of reflection.  We ask ourselves a lot of thought-provoking questions…

  • How did things go over the past year?
  • How can I make them better in the coming year?
  • What do I want to do differently?
  • Should my focus be on something different?

This is especially true for small business owners, as they are generally asking these questions of themselves twice — once about life in general, and another time regarding the growth of their business.

We formulate plans, plan some changes, change some aspects of our lives.  Many people make “New Year’s Resolutions“…and many people set themselves up for failure.  It’s in many ways like saying you’re “going on a diet.”  A resolution, like a diet, implies there is an ending date–a time when you will no longer have to follow the rules of your choice.  It’s temporary.

However, when you change your mindset and realize that you aren’t looking for a quick fix, but rather, a long-term solution, your whole perspective changes.  Adopting a healthy eating plan is so much more powerful (and positive) than saying you’re going on a diet.  You realize that it will take time and accept the fact that this isn’t just a temporary measure.  You accept the fact that there is room for moderation within the perimeters that you have set for yourself–not what some weight-loss book dictates.  It puts you in control!  And, after all, isn’t that part of the reason that you own your own business–because you want to be in control of your life?

On this first day of 2011, I would like to challenge you to make goals instead of resolutions.  Make them reasonable to set yourself up for success.  For example, don’t make a goal to blog every day if you know you’ve only been able to post 5 times in the previous year–that sets yourself up for failure!  Instead, make it your goal to blog at least once a week.  You can always increase your frequency if you find that you’re achieving this goal and want to push yourself more.  This way of thinking sets you up for success!  Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t push yourself–that’s the only way to get ahead in your business.  I’m just saying that you should be realistic.

Today is 1/1/11 — even the calendar is telling us that it’s time for a fresh start.  Have you thought about your business goals for 2011?  What areas do you need to work on this year?  How will you formulate your goals into positives instead of negatives?  What is your plan for achieving your goals?  I would love to hear about your goals!  Please post a comment, if you’d like to share!  And if I can help in any way, please let me know!

Kim Smith Dramatic Design

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