That’s how much more money was invested in the local Austin economy in 2016 courtesy of South by Southwest. SXSW–which will span March 10th through to the 19th of this year– is an excellent opportunity to connect with and share ideas with other business owners, possibly about increasing customer base and brand awareness or even starting a new business. You don’t have to be in the hospitality or retail business to benefit. The following preparatory tips will help you to make the most of the festival.
Review and revamp your social media account
Before your first day of attendance at SXSW, be sure to optimize and update your social media accounts and pages. In this digital age, almost everything you need to know to form an impression about an individual or business is available on a social media page. Often times, the first thing we do when we meet someone or we hear of a business is to check them out on social media and guess what, they are doing the same to you. Ensure that your social media gives the desired impression by:
Keep your profile photos up-to-date
Ensure that your profile photograph on your different social media accounts is appropriate and recent. It is important that your picture looks like the way you currently do; otherwise, you lessen your valuable connection opportunities then and there. If at all possible, use to make sure your photo is the same across each network so that it is immediately recognizable as you.
Keep your social media handles linked
It is more difficult for people to find you across social media sites if you are known by several different names or handles. Try to keep your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram names the same or as close as possible. That way those who meet you at SXSW will find you easily.
Do a thorough cleanup
Try to remove things that are inappropriate – especially if you didn’t post them – and anything that is not reflective of you or your business. It’s not necessary to remove your personality, though; no need to be bland.
Make Your Online Reputation Stronger before SXSW
Do not overlook your business’ online reputation when making preparations for SXSW. Restaurants or stores in the downtown area especially need to be mindful of this. Many individuals attending the festival will check online review sources such as Google+, Urbanspoon, Yelp, among others to make decisions on the best places to go. Negative reviews, even a few, may be discouraging to them. According to research, a 1-star difference in reviews online can mean a 5-9% effect on revenues.
There are things you can do. If you haven’t already done so, get your business’ Google+ up and running. Ensure that your business’s social media channels, as well as your personal LinkedIn profile, are up to date. Make positive responses to negative reviews; offer a concrete solution to issues voiced by past customers.
Be sure to highlight any positive reviews you have received in your advertising campaigns and on your website. If this makes you feel overwhelmed, contact ATX Web Designs for expert assistance in building and maintaining a positive and strong online reputation.
By this time, most businesses have a website; and justifiably so, as many people do their research online before choosing to become a customer or choosing to buy a particular product. Any business could almost be considered to be at a disadvantage if it does not have a website or at least some sort of online presence.
Here is a five-point checklist for when your traffic isn’t giving you much leads:
1. Is your web layout professional and your content fun or stale and boring?
A professional site is one that is designed taking several key factors into consideration. The cheaper a site looks, the less likely people will be to purchase what you are selling or sign up to learn more. Things like poor or jarring color choices, weird layouts and inconsistent navigation are definite no-nos for professional sites.
How up to date is your website? Are you keeping up with accessibility trends? Is your site comparable to popular sites in terms of ease of navigation?
On your actual content, you need to provide consistent, relevant and useful content. Be sure to update your site regularly (weekly or fortnightly). Try to establish a plan of the content you want to deliver, content that will add value to visitors to your site. Relevant content is in keeping with the theme of your site and useful content will assist your site visitors in their search for your product.
How is your picture quality? In the e-commerce world, low-quality images are almost like a poorly maintained shop. Why should people buy from you if you don’t see the need to get clear high-quality images? How will they be sure that what they will get is really what you claim to be selling? Your web content can cause serious trust issues.
2. Is your website mobile friendly?
Most people these days are equipped with a smartphone and/or tablet. One thing these site visitors appreciate is the responsiveness of the website, that is, its adjusting to the smaller size screen so they can comfortably see and select what they desire. A mobile friendly site is bound to score points with users on a mobile device and result in a great user experience for those individuals.
Many people use the time in transit, on the bus, train or plane, to make purchases and smartphones and tablets are the devices of choice for purchases on the go.
Be sure that your calls to action are brought to the fore on the mobile version of your site just the same.
3. Are there clear calls to action throughout your website?
Don’t do all the fancy footwork on the home page and leave your site visitors hanging afterwards. To gain people’s trust you must be consistent. The converse is also true, sometimes site visitors are left hanging from the very beginning. If the page that you direct users to (landing page) lacks selling machinery, you will not be directing your visitors into conversion.
In another breath, people need to know what you are actually selling. With so many informational sites around people can be on your informative pages or blog forever and not realize that you are actually selling something. When you make your links close in resemblance to banner ads or other off-site advertisements visitors to your site will avoid clicking them. Ads are usually overlooked and as a result, your leads and sales may be down.
You may also be directing users to places other than where you want them to go. You may have many links to unrelated sites or content. Be sure that your phone number is clearly visible along with your other contact information. If people see no other way to contact you they may ignore your calls to action. Don’t go collecting too much information on your contact or sign up forms.
4. Who is monitoring your analytics and managing your web traffic?
In many businesses, the answer to this question is no one. This sad, simple truth could very well be the reason why your conversion figures are down.
You have the machinery reigning people in, the paid ads, the SEO, the links scattered across other pages but when people get to your website you are unaware and so you don’t know how to cater to these people.
Another thing to keep an eye out for is abandoned cart numbers. Many persons are interested in a product but they are turned off by something like shipping rates, the insecurity of your page or payment system.
One way to improve your exposure is by adding a social sharing button to your website and to your blog. You may want to plan how you will increase traffic and areas to focus on as well as keep track of the finer details in the analytics month by month.
5. Is the traffic real and the right kind?
Of course in considering the analytics you need to think of the kind of traffic that is coming through. Spam sources of traffic can blow up your traffic numbers but your leads and sales will remain the same. If you decide to buy traffic, ensure that traffic is coming from a valid source.
If your traffic isn’t coming from your target audience or the audience you should be targeting your leads will not improve either. This calls for a re-examination of the factors that you consider when targeting the advertisements that are generating traffic for you.
These factors include income level and education, geolocation and basic demographics. Targeting poorly or not targeting a set audience at all will likely get you high traffic but those people may not care about what you are selling, they may not need it or they may not be able to afford it.
You can remedy this situation by ensuring that your paid traffic is valid and by learning about your target audience so you can determine the way to target them properly.
You may need to check how your analytics is implemented. If the code is accidentally entered more than once, each visit may be counted more than once, giving misleading figures.
How does your website do when compared against this list? Once you are sure you are offering a product that people really want or need, reviewing, improving and constantly updating your website will get you more leads and ultimately more sales.
Many users of social media obsess over numbers. How many likes did that video get? What is the viewership like? How many likes did we get today? How many followers does my business have?
The list goes on, but a great question to ask, that most of especially the newer users of social media for business purposes overlook is how many of my followers actually turn into leads?
Now that you have read this, things probably have snapped into perspective. It is your leads, not the number of followers you have that will ultimately make your business more profitable. With that said let us consider how we go about converting.
We have been conditioned to believe that a click equals a lead. With such marketing techniques as pay per click ads and banners, that is a more accurate belief.
However, clicking like on Facebook or following on Twitter is not the same as clicking on an advertisement. Your social media should be a part of your marketing strategy that leads your followers in a step by step fashion to your goal.
To convert your followers, you must put in effort. Except for those who are naturally talented at something, an hour of work will look far different from something that a whole day was spent working on. Why should your followers spend more than a minute on your page when you only put ten seconds of thought into the design?
Therefore, you need to develop a plan, stick to it and change it when necessary.
Choose your platform(s) carefully
You need to determine which platform(s) your target audience uses most frequently and focus there. You also need to assess which platform compels enough in line with your brand.
Sometimes followers won’t be compelled to convert via Twitter but may be via Facebook. This may be because of some of the features available on Facebook that are not available on Twitter.
Promote your content in an entertaining way suited to the platform of choice
To get the best results you have to tailor your content to the platform of your choice. The native content you may say. This refers to content that takes on the style, culture and distinct language of the platform.
This is simply because your followers on that particular platform are there for a particular reason and they communicate there in a way that it is unique to that platform.
Know what offers to make
Liking your page or following it does not necessarily mean an individual is intent on buying your products. Maybe you give good advice or your posts are informative.
An offer of a free trial to an individual who is merely following you for your advice will not necessarily convert them even if they actually take you up on the offer. You may be expending hard-earned resources to convert leads that have no interest in becoming your customer.
Persons who are not really intent on becoming a customer are most effectively reached by free articles or whitepapers, information packets and/or special offer downloads.
Ensure that these are downloadable so you can capture the information of those that have demonstrated interest. Even if you do not manage to convert these people, if they believe in your brand, they can generate leads.
Individuals who you assess to be very interested in becoming a customer are those individuals who you want to make substantial offers to. Webinars, estimates, consultations and free trials are all some of the offers that they will appreciate fully and that will not only make them leads but also customers.
Provide calls to action and conversion opportunities right there
On your social media page, you want to provide clear calls to action and also ways that your followers can heed these calls. If you want them to sign up, put a link to where you want them to sign up right there on the page. Any product information and free downloads should also be linked to your page. Some social media platforms allow you to integrate purchasing capabilities, be sure to make full use of that.
We make these suggestions because people these days are accustomed to instant gratification; they like being able to fill their needs now. You need to cater to that and not send them around the world and back just to become your customer. When you do this, you can get them to do things for you. For example asking them to share something in order to give them a deal or requesting that they provide feedback to get a chance to win something.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
Not because the experts have said it works best this way means that it is the only way. The good thing about social media is that you have the numbers. There are so many variables that you can manipulate. You can choose different post topics, images and even platforms. These experiments can provide you with well-needed insight into who you are dealing with and how to approach them.
Keep track of your results
Now that you have an idea of what to look for – monitor it. When you do, you can make your strategies better and tailor them specifically to the needs of that portion of your following that would like to become your customer.
Remember, you can always count on satisfied followers to help you in generating more leads. Tag your most active followers, ask them to repost and answer any questions they may have quickly and accurately.
At the end of the day, don’t overdo anything. Yes, you want to push links and ultimately your product but no you don’t want to come across as pushy. Put some fun stuff on your page maybe a motivational quote, marketing joke, a behind the scenes video or a funny meme. Connect with your followers, that’s the whole point of social media. Use the above tips and discover some of your own to convert your followers into lifelong customers.
Your company has managed to stay afloat for all these years. Several factors have contributed to this, your exceptional service being one of them. Having been able to secure the loyalty of most persons you serve in your area, you are assured of constant patronage. It has been a while now since you have seen new business and you are beginning to wonder what you can do to attract new customers so as to increase your business revenue. You have been putting off that website that the marketing companies have been trying to interest you in long enough. Now you wonder if it would really help.
What is a website?
A website is a collection of related web pages, under a single domain name. That’s probably not exactly what you were looking for. Let’s try again. A website is a digital reflection of your business. It may be the first point of contact for potential customers of your business. Your website can add to or detract from your business. In fact, oftentimes your website can give your customers an idea of what to expect when doing business with you. Whether a website increases your revenue and bottom line is determined by the content, design and how it is developed.
Why do you need a website?
Why don’t you put all your containers in the microwave? Well, that’s easy. Some just aren’t designed for that purpose – similarly with a website. A website can serve several purposes. The intended purpose of your website will determine how it will be designed.
- Informational – Informational websites are created to provide knowledge about a business, brand, products and services. These websites usually have focus placed on content and design primarily.
An effectively planned, well-designed informational website can serve as an excellent driver of sales and revenue for your company. Informational sites can capture leads and provide potential customers with information about your company.
- Marketing – Marketing websites are designed in such a way as to push a brand, product or service. A marketing website is designed to motivate a visitor to your site to take a certain action.
- E-Commerce – E-Commerce sites are designed to sell products and/or services. The main aim of this website is to influence a visitor to purchase from you. Everything on this page is geared toward leading the visitor to purchase your product or service.
- Support – This website is generally by larger companies to support hardware, software or services that they offer. They usually answer questions regarding products and services and provide contact information or a direct link to a customer service representative.
A company’s website may be designed to incorporate all the above purposes. Really, a single website can achieve all those functions. You just need to decide what you value most and what area of your business could use some enhancement. Other factors affecting your website design include the type of business and your target audience.
How a website is most effective?
After you have established the purpose your website should serve, there are a few key things you don’t want to exclude from a website that should improve your revenue and bottom line.
- SEO – What’s the point of a well-designed website if no one can find it? Ensure that your website is visible by improving your business’ ranking. Search engine optimization involves enabling your customers to find your site when they search for a product or service that you offer. These results are unpaid and are reflective of a great design.
- Easy to use and navigate – A site that is easy to use and navigate will definitely attract and keep visitors coming back. A site that is too crowded may be a deterrent to users. Avoid using jargon or technical speak as that can be discouraging or convey wrong information.
Remember too that you are designing your website for persons that are disabled. It helps to design it friendly to screen readers etc…
- Mobile-friendly – This is especially necessary considering that mobile browsing has surpassed desktop browsing in terms of searches. If your site is an e-commerce site, you can rest assured that you will have a lot of mobile user traffic. You need to design your site so that the user is able to gain information or make purchases on the go.
- Loads fast – In a fast paced world, with internet speeds that sometimes surpass device load speeds, you need to ensure that your page loads quickly.
- Clear calls to action – Your site’s purpose should be clearly communicated to your clients. Whatever it is that you want them to do should be clearly kept to the fore.
The bottom line
A new website can most definitely increase your revenue and bottom line. Here’s why:
- A website is available even when your physical location isn’t – 24/7 365 days per year.
- Local SEO makes your business more visible in the areas that you desire to be seen the most. Now you can rest easy knowing that your efforts are geared especially towards your target area.
- E-commerce sites allow customers to make purchases from home or on the go. This is definitely something that people the world over are using and coming to appreciate.
- If clients know that they can get support for products that they have purchased without coming in, for example, instructional videos, forums or frequently asked questions they will more likely patronize your business. These features also make it easier for visitors to your site to choose your products or services as they can do research here and get views of other previous clients.
- If you choose to place advertisements on your site, that is also an additional source of income. The more traffic your site has the greater the potential for the site to generate income to sustain itself guaranteeing a great return on your investment.
Don’t hesitate to get a new website when you want to increase your revenue and your bottom line; just ensure that you have done adequate research or chosen the best web design and development company to do it for you. Get your website today and watch your sales hit the roof.
Waiting for 2017 to start your online marketing? You’re going to lose.
If you’re waiting until 2017 to begin implementing new online marketing plans, you’re going to lose out on that new years window of potential sales. Implementing Online Marketing Strategies will take time.
For example, let’s say you want to redesign your website for 2017. Well, you don’t want to start doing that in 2017, you begin doing it at the end of 2016.
Realistically a web design firm will need up to 90 days to complete your website, depending on the scope of your web design project. For your average project, for the average small business owner, you’ll need at least 60 days.
To put it into perspective, if you begin getting your website redesigned, or a new website for your business, at the beginning of 2017 then it won’t be complete until March or April. Now you’ve just missed out on potential leads and sales because that new years window is closed.
Here’s another instance. Let’s say that you want to be ranked higher and gain more exposure in search results online. At ATX Web Designs, we always let our online marketing clients know upfront that SEO is a long-term relationship; Not short term.
It takes time, and depending on the industry and competition it can take 6 plus months to be ranked on the first page of Google results.
The new year always brings forth new goals and new opportunities. If you wait until 2017 to begin to implementing your marketing strategies, there’s a higher chance of you failing than succeeding.
The high sales window of opportunity at the beginning of the year is between January and March. If you don’t have your strategies in place, implementing them, and not aggressively marketing to your target audience, you’ll miss that window of opportunity.
Can you answer these questions?
– Do you feel a new website will increase your leads an sales?
– Do you have marketing strategies in place to accomplish your goals?
– How’s your business ranked in local SEO and organic SEO?
– Do you have a budget to implement your strategies?
– Do you have a marketing plan to grow your company Brand?
– Will you be doing: New website redesign – SEO – local SEO – organic SEO?
If you don’t have a firm answer for any of these questions, we’d love to help! Take 10 seconds to fill out this form so we can have a quick chat!