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Author: Emily Shaughnessy

5 Ways to Improve Your Website Branding

When most people hear the word “brand,” they think of a company name or logo. They may even picture a specific, popular brand, such as Coca-Cola or Kleenex.

Following this logic, many entrepreneurs and business owners think of their company brand as purely visual—how the product and marketing looks and feels. But a business brand is much more than colors, fonts and design. A brand image is the entire experience a user has when interacting with your business, including their emotional experience, their mental associations with your business, and their interactions with customer service. Ideally, this brand image closely matches the company’s mission and vision. If not, it may be time for a redesign or brand overhaul.

When creating or upgrading a company website, branding is one of the most important elements to consider. If your website branding isn’t strong, engaging and consistent, you are guaranteed to lose out on leads and customers. Sometimes a complete website redesign is necessary, while in other cases, small, strategic fixes can make a world of difference.

Here are five proven ways to strengthen the branding on your company’s website to boost your brand image and bottom line.

  1. Simplify your content. Most company websites contain walls of text that overwhelm and distract the user. Typically, website users are trying to access information as quickly as possible. Shortening and simplifying your content down to its most accessible form will ultimately be more engaging for users.
  2. Maintain a consistent tone. Your design and content should represent a consistent tone across all website pages. Whether your tone is casual, professional, creative, cheerful, serious, or something else entirely, make sure all your website choices reflect that style.
  3. Focus on the user. Your website is about your user, not about you. All branding choices on a website, including design and content, should focus on the user’s needs, pain points and experience.
  4. Make it easy. The most popular brands are easy on the eyes and on the brain. Don’t make the user work too hard to see or understand who your company is and what you do. Use simple, complementary colors, fonts and design choices that don’t distract from your main site messages.
  5. Engage. Today’s consumers, particularly millennials, prefer brands that are friendly, conversational and engaging. Your website should incorporate user engagement strategies such as feedback forms, live chats, contact information, social media feeds and customer testimonials.

5 Tips for B2B Marketing in 2021

Over the past year there have been dramatic shifts in the way business runs in the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the economic landscape and affected consumer habits and priorities. It has also altered the infrastructure and internal processes of many companies, leading to an increased focus on remote employment and digital services. Some industries—such as hospitality and tourism—have experienced major financial setbacks, while others—such as healthcare services and social services—are flourishing and expected to grow significantly in the coming years.

This means that B2B companies need to reorient themselves to the current business climate and pivot their marketing strategies to address the needs and priorities of 2021. We are living in a new type of society with new values, and experts predict that many of the pandemic-related changes are here to stay. For example, studies show that nearly 50 percent of consumers are avoiding leaving their homes and are purchasing more goods and services online. This shift will affect businesses of all types and sizes—whether they offer a digital-based product or not.

Here are five tips for B2B companies that will help them keep up with the times and tailor their marketing strategies to more effectively reach their target audience.

  1. Create new buyer personas. Perhaps you have already identified your target demographic and analyzed them in great detail. Well, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Because of the pandemic, businesses now have different priorities in reaching their customers, which means your B2B company needs to reevaluate your target audience’s pain points, needs and channels.
  2. Optimize your website. More than 80 percent of shoppers visit a company’s website before purchasing a product or service. Business buyers also conduct thorough online research before moving forward with a particular company. In addition, the online spending of B2B buyers has been steadily increasing. This means that if your B2B website is not updated and optimized you will be missing out on leads and leaking potential profit.
  3. Focus on social. One study found that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives rely on social media to make purchase decisions. Social media engagement and interaction can potentially have more impact than cold outreach, such as email marketing campaigns, so it is important to heavily invest in social.
  4. Consider video and virtual events. A recent study by Cisco estimated that online video content will account for more than 82% of consumer internet traffic by 2022. Circle S Studio also predicts that virtual events and conferences are here to stay. If your B2B company isn’t taking advantage of video content and online events, you will be forfeiting leads and profit to the competition.
  5. Improve buyer enablement. In today’s digital-first world, buyers are seeking a personalized, self-directed buying process that focuses on their needs and allows them to lead the conversation. Buyer enablement means reducing friction in your online marketing channels and creating user-centric design and content that seamlessly leads prospects through the awareness-consideration-purchase process.

ATX Web Designs offers branding strategy and digital brand development services. For more information, drop us a line!

Build Your Brand Like a House

Have you heard the story about the man who built his house from scratch with no plan, blueprint, or design? Of course you haven’t, because this would be a ridiculous approach to constructing a building and would likely be an enormous waste of time and money.

Before you build a house, you need to go through a planning process. You assess your needs, wants, and functional requirements, and you hire an architect to create a blueprint so the home is completely mapped out before ground is broken. Sometimes the planning phase takes just as long, if not longer, than the construction phase.

Building your business brand is similar to building a new house. It’s incorrect to assume you can have an idea for a product or service and jump straight into implementation. While it may be possible in rare circumstances, it seldom leads to a sustainable, established brand that can easily scale and grow.

Your business brand is the story your company tells. It is the holistic experience your audience has when interacting with your company. These interactions range from an individual’s experience on a phone call with customer service to a fleeting glimpse of your logo on a billboard to the content on your business social media accounts.

Building a brand from the ground up takes intentionality, strategy, and a clear vision for the future, as well as the steps needed to make that vision a reality. Simply put, you need a brand blueprint. Each aspect of your business—from colors and fonts to the wording of your emails to your website design—needs to align with your core mission, personal values, and financial goals or you will fail to build a solid, cohesive brand.

Your blueprint will need to include elements such as:

  • A clear mission statement, Unique Value Proposition, and a list of short- and long-term objectives
  • A breakdown of your target audience and their pain points as well as an analysis of competitors and general industry trends
  • Clear user pathways and funnels to generate awareness about your company, educate your audience, and guide them to the solutions you offer
  • A description of the emotions and values you want to appeal to in your audience as well as content and marketing strategies that support these value propositions and lead your audience to the desired call-to-action

By establishing a solid brand blueprint, you can more effectively increase leads, improve sales, create a company reputation, strengthen customer loyalty, and scale your business.

ATX Web Designs offers branding strategy and digital brand development services. For more information, drop us a line!

What Story Is Your Brand Telling?

Every brand tells a story.

Some stories are like an exciting and compelling novel that the reader can’t put down. Others are more like a waiting room magazine that is skimmed and tossed aside.

So what story does your brand tell?

Your brand is the total impression your company makes. It includes your company personality, values, aesthetic, reputation, marketing strategies and customer service.

Brands succeed by telling a compelling story that rallies their target audience to action. A successful story has the following elements:

A hero. Every good story has a protagonist. In branding, the hero is your audience or your prospect. Not your company. Companies that focus on themselves and their accolades in their marketing content won’t effectively grab their audience’s attention.

A premise. The premise of a narrative is the overall message or concept it offers. Your company’s premise is the foundation for your brand and illustrates why a prospect should engage with your content. Without a solid premise, potential leads or customers won’t get past the first few pages of your story.

A problem. When is the last time you watched a great movie where the hero did not face any obstacles? In branding, the problem is your audience’s pain points. Successful brands hone in on their audience’s specific pain points and present their product or service as a solution to these pain points.

A victory. What makes the victory in a story satisfying? When the audience can emotionally identify with it and picture themselves in the hero’s shoes. Successful brands use strategies like impactful images, video, testimonials, vivid descriptions and clear calls-to-actions to help audiences imagine how a particular product or service will meet their needs and values—thus completing the hero’s journey.

That’s a real page turner.

Have a story you want your brand to tell? Reach to our expert team to schedule your consultation by clicking here.

Your Website Should Run Without You

If your website and mobile app are doing their job, they should run on their own. As an entrepreneur or business owner, your goal should be to get your digital platforms to the point where you are primarily monitoring the activity. There may be certain tasks you want to carry out personally, but everything else should be automated.

Here are three ways to automate your digital presence effectively and efficiently.

  • Predict the questions. Ideally your platform design and copy will make things crystal clear for the user. However, there will be some users who still have questions about the process or who will need assistance. You can save yourself time and energy by preempting these questions and requests before they escalate. For example, a “How-To” or “FAQ” section of your website will go a long way in addressing common concerns. Provide users with everything they need and make it easy for them to get their questions answered. Not only will this save you and your team time, but it can also make your users feel that your company cares about them and their experience with your platform.
  • Create customer service scripts. If an FAQ or ready-made response doesn’t address a customer’s concerns and they feel the need to personally reach out to your team, develop scripts and protocol ahead of time so you can work through each issue in the most efficient way. It is a good idea to track your customer service data so that you know the common sticking points and can see which methods work best for resolution. This will help you refine your scripts over time to make them even more effective.
  • Automate communication. If you invest some time and energy into making customer communication as automated as possible now, you will thank yourself later. From invoicing to billing to updates and announcements, everything can and should be automated. Your customers should be receiving regular communications from your company to keep them engaging with your brand. These communications could be in the form of newsletters, member emails, blog posts, social media posts, text messages or other formats.

3 Things You Need To Know About Creating a Mobile App

These days nearly everyone has had an app idea. What’s yours?

Maybe it came to you in the shower, or while driving, or when getting frustrated with a particular system or process for the 100th time. Over the past 10 years, it has become more simple to create a mobile app, but that doesn’t mean it has become easier. 

There is a lot of strategy, backend planning, design, and testing that goes into creating a successful mobile application. There are many companies that advertise mobile app design or development, but not all of them can help you build strategy and make sure your app will be popular and profitable once released. 

If you have an idea for a great mobile app and you’re ready to turn your idea into reality, here are the three most important things to keep in mind: 

  1. Defining your audience and paint points first will save you a lot of time. All apps are essentially a solution to a common problem. The foundation of your app is your target audience and their pain points—which you will be helping to solve. By clearly identifying your demographic and the problem you are solving up front, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy in the future. 
  2. Validating your idea is key. Validation is the proof that there is a demand for your app and that your app would work “in the real world.” You can validate your app idea by using keyword tools to prove users are searching for this idea, or by seeking out investors who have funded similar products. You could also build a landing page or email marketing campaign and gauge interest from your target demographic that way. 
  3. You need to simplify more than you think. Chances are you’ve thought of several helpful features your app could include. However, the first iteration of your mobile app should be fairly simple and straightforward. Launch with only the core features of your app and eliminate those that are simply a bonus. This keeps your initial costs down and allows you to adjust according to early user feedback. 

The most important part of building a mobile app is passion. If you are passionate about your product and the problem it is solving, you will have the motivation to do what it takes to see it succeed. Want to learn more about getting your mobile app idea off the ground? ATX Web Designs is a full-service mobile app design and development company. Schedule your consultation today by clicking here

5 Tips for Creating Engaging Website Content

When designing or redesigning a business website, many companies start with the visual branding elements: the colors, the photos, the graphics, the cool features. 

Although content is sometimes an afterthought in the website development process, it is equally as important as functionality or design. You may have a high-quality product promoted on a sleek, modern website, but a weak content marketing strategy will still cost you leads and sales.  

Content marketing is the strategic creation of text and multimedia that informs a user and leads them through a specific journey—typically from awareness to consideration to action.

Here are five ways to improve your website content to more effectively market your product and keep your audience engaged.  

  1. Know the purpose of each piece of content. Website real estate is extremely valuable. Attention spans are short and distractibility is high online. Each section of content on your website should have a distinct purpose. By knowing your end goals, you can more effectively mold your content to meet those goals. 
  2. Provide value. Your audience’s attention needs to be earned, so each piece of content on your site should provide some sort of value. Identify what your specific audience values then use bold, simple headlines and straightforward copy that showcase how you can provide that value. 
  3. Move from problem to solution. Digital content marketing is about connecting with an audience’s pain points (the problem) and presenting your company’s product or service as a solution. Frame your content in terms of your audience’s challenges and how you can make their life better. 
  4. Include clear Calls to Action. Don’t assume your audience understands the next step they need to take in moving down the path to purchase—or that they will take initiative to move forward on their own. Each section of your website should indicate some Call-to-Action, such as “learn more,” “sign up,” or “browse our products.” 
  5. Work with the design and functionality – The design and functionality of your website should not be developed separately from the content strategy. At ATX Web Designs, our designers, developers and content writers work together to holistically develop digital products that capture a company’s essence and effectively engage users. 

Questions about how content marketing and web design strategies could elevate your brand and improve your bottom line? Schedule a consultation with one of our digital strategists by clicking here

What Size Web Design Agency Should You Hire?

Hiring a web design and development agency is a smart move for businesses of any size and in any industry. These days, a company’s brand and reputation depend largely on its online presence. A high-quality website and engaging digital marketing content could be the deciding factors between a company’s success and failure. 

Not all web design agencies are created equal, however, and one of the most significant variables is size. If you’re considering web design services, you may be struggling to decide whether to hire a freelancer, small agency, medium-sized agency, or large agency. 

It can be a daunting task to wade through the pros and cons of hiring a small or large web design company, so we have simplified it for you. The following is a breakdown of both the benefits and disadvantages of agencies of various sizes. 

Freelancers

Pros: Cost and flexibility are two advantages offered by freelancers. Freelance web designers and developers typically set their own schedule and rates, and may be able to customize both for your project. 

Cons: There is less accountability and more risk when working with a freelancer, even those who come with positive reviews. In addition, a freelancer cannot offer the diversity of experience and skill available through an agency. 

Small Agency 

Pros: Small agencies (2-10 people) are sure to give your project personalized attention. They may also cater to a particular audience and have industry-specific knowledge. Sometimes, not always, small agencies charge a rate comparable to freelancers. 

Cons: Small agencies may not have the resources to complete complex projects in a timely manner. They may also not have the experience or technical skills that can be found at larger companies with more staff and a broader portfolio. 

Medium Agency 

Pros: Medium agencies are the best of both worlds. They have the staff and resources to handle even the most complex projects, but they are small enough to maintain personal connections with clients.

Cons: Medium-sized agencies may not offer the reduced rate you would receive from a freelancer or small agency. 

Large Agency 

Pros: Large agencies have experience and resources at their disposal. Their diverse portfolios and large staff allow them to take on extensive and complex projects. 

Cons: Large agencies can be less personal. Your project may be outsourced or viewed as just a number, and you may not receive the personal attention or customization you’re seeking. You may also encounter more bureaucracy and red tape with a large agency. 

If you have questions about your web design project and would like to discuss options with design and development professionals, please reach out to us

What Brand Identity Is….And What It Isn’t

Branding isn’t just about recognizable labels or Superbowl commercials or even popularity. Every company that exists has a brand identity. 

Simply put, brand identity is how your consumers view your company or product. A business’ personality, values, marketing techniques and aesthetic all contribute to its unique brand identity. 

Some small businesses and new businesses might operate under the misconception that they need to be well-established or famous to have a company “brand image,” but that isn’t the case. 

It isn’t a question of whether or not your company has a brand identity, but whether you are harnessing the power of your brand. Branding is an important marketing tool that can be used to increase leads, improve sales, create a company reputation and strengthen customer loyalty. 

To further clarify, here is a short list of what brand identity isn’t

  1. Your logo and tagline. Branding is much more than your company’s logo and tagline, or even your company aesthetic. Branding requires defining a clear message and tone and staying consistent across all your social media platforms, written content and marketing materials. 
  2. Expensive. Creating a brand identity doesn’t have to be an expensive process. Even with a small marketing budget, you can develop a solid brand through identifying a niche market, appealing to your audience’s values, and being consistent in your marketing and customer service efforts. 
  3. Permanent. Branding and brand image can be changed over time through a process called rebranding. If you don’t like the way your company is received by the public, you always have time to change. Major companies that have successfully gone through a rebranding process include Old Spice (which used to be known as a hygiene product line for older generations) and McDonald’s (which has shifted to be more health-focused in recent years). 
  4. A one-time effort. Maintaining a strong brand identity requires regular upkeep. Consistency and continuity are key. By creating a consistent look, feel, voice and message for your brand and then regularly presenting the brand to your audience across a range of platforms, you will establish a credible and likeable brand image. 

 

ATX Web Designs offers branding strategy and digital brand development services. For more information, drop us a line

How To Distinguish Your Brand From Competitors

No matter how innovative, effective or successful your brand, you will always have competitors. Original concepts rarely exist—if you believe something is a great idea, chances are someone else thought of the same thing.

In a competitive market, what often sets your company apart is not the quality of the product or service, but the quality of the branding.

Branding creates the emotional experience for users interacting with your company. Effective brand strategy can generate new leads, increase sales and strengthen customer loyalty.

So how do you differentiate your brand in a fast-paced and ever-evolving digital marketplace? Here are five tips to get you started.

  1. Find your niche. The more specific you can be in defining your target audience, the higher chance you will have of distinguishing your brand. Today’s consumers, particularly millennials, prefer brands that feel personal and customized. Narrowing your focus will help you market more effectively and effectively.
  2. Implement strategic campaigns. Instead of paying for generic, catch-all advertising, design your marketing efforts around strategic campaigns. Research audience trends and build your campaign around a particular demographic and value proposition.
  3. Appeal to values. Consumers are more likely to be emotionally moved (and consequently financially moved) by brands that appeal to their values. Find out what your audience values—such as security, ease, or status—and design your brand around those concepts.
  4. Engage with your audience. In today’s digital world, consumers are more likely to interact with brands that are personal and responsive. Your brand’s online platforms, such as your website and social media accounts, should be friendly, helpful and actively engaging with your customer base.
  5. Don’t skimp on design. Users will leave a website within a few seconds if the site doesn’t appear credible, useful and easy to navigate. Website design, photography and videography are not areas to cut corners if you’re looking to differentiate your brand. One poorly designed web page or sub-par photograph could make or break your brand image.

ATX Web Designs offers digital brand consulting and strategy services. Contact us for more information.

3 Branding Tips for Solopreneurs

Solopreneurs—or entrepreneurs who run a business on their own—are on the rise in the United States, numbering more than 40 million. Whether by choice or by necessity, solopreneurs wear every hat in their company, from CEO to accountant to customer service representative.

As busy people who are often operating on a tight budget, solopreneurs and small business owners sometimes overlook the importance of marketing their product or service. There is a common misconception that marketing requires a large financial investment, so many solopreneurs see strong branding as a luxury rather than a necessity.

Regardless of the size of your business or ad budget, you can build a brand of your own. You may not be a Coca Cola but you can still think about your message and how you want people to remember your service or product.

Here are three branding tips for solopreneurs that won’t break the bank.

  1. Create an emotional experience. Branding has largely to do with the type of emotional experience you create for customers and potential customers. How do you want your audience to feel? Safe? Excited? Elite? Entertained? Use this emotional experience to determine everything from the look and feel of your logo to the tone you use on your website and social media posts.
  2. Make it personal. Two advantages solopreneurs and small businesses have over larger competitors are personality and personalized attention. By making personal connections with customers and giving your digital content a strong personality, you can develop a strong brand that users are eager to follow and engage. Be sure to reinforce your brand personality across multiple platforms (such as website, social media and printed materials).
  3. Use keywords.. What terms or words perk your audience’s attention? What phrases do potential customers use to search the internet for the type of product or service you offer? By honing in on keywords you can achieve a better search engine ranking and more effectively engage your target audience.

You may not have a $250,00 ad budget, but as a solopreneur, you can still work on building organic traffic and generating attention for your brand. This, in turn, will lead to more leads, sales and brand loyalty.

Three Common Marketing Mistakes Franchises Make

Franchises are a popular business structure that face a unique challenge when it comes to marketing. To be successful, franchisors need to support the independence of their individual franchisees while also maintaining a consistent brand image.

There are three common marketing mistakes that franchise owners make, and they all  relate to the way independent franchisees present themselves online.
Here are the pitfalls to avoid when developing marketing strategies for your franchise:

  1. Inconsistent franchisee sites and domain names. Inconsistencies between the corporate franchise website and franchisee landing pages create confusion for users and reduce brand visibility and credibility. It is important for franchises to remain consistent in how they present franchisee web pages. These pages should either all be hosted under the main corporate website, or they should have independent domain names. Your franchise brand could lose potential sales if users get a different experience on your corporate website than they do on franchisee websites.
  2. Failure to utilize SEO. It is important for brand consistency and visibility that each franchise location ranks on the first page of Google and other search engine results. This allows for backlinks and means rankings will be boosted for any new franchisee. However, it is critical not to duplicate content on independent franchisee websites. This could cause your company to be penalized by Google.
  3. Social media accounts lack uniformity. Social media management can be challenging for franchises. Since platforms like Facebook and Instagram are so personal, each franchisee account will likely vary in voice, tone, aesthetic, and posting frequency. Franchises should control social media at the corporate level or create a social-media-specific brand and style guide for franchisees.

A better digital structure will create more brand value, visibility and credibility, and will ultimately help your franchisees increase sales and retain customers. ATX Web Designs is skilled and experienced at helping franchises create consistent brands, rank highly on search engines, and improve sales through cohesive marketing efforts. Visit our franchise page to learn more.

 

5 Web Design Myths … Busted

Your website is likely the first place consumers encounter your brand, and the design not only conveys information about your products and services, but also speaks to your values, style, and relevance. 

In an article published by Inc., ATX The Brand Founder Daniel Griggs responded to five common website design myths and shared the reality behind good web design. 

Myth 1. Your website can’t serve multiple audiences
There may be gaps in technological knowledge and aesthetic taste, but that doesn’t mean your website design can’t appeal to multiple demographics. Work smarter, not harder, to engage with each of your target audiences by finding the areas where their preferences overlap. For example, the baby boomer and millennial generations may both prefer large font and less cluttered design. 

Myth 2. Content is content

Not all content is created equal. The average website visitor will leave a page after 10 to 20 seconds if they are unable to access the information they need, so your site should convey your main message as quickly and simply as possible. Be as bold and blatant as you can about answering the three W’s—Who are you? What do you do? Why should a user do business with you? If your website has a high bounce rate, this could be an indicator that you are not keeping it simple enough. 

Myth 3. You need to tell your whole story on your homepage

Your users’ first interaction with your website should make them feel like it was designed for them. Avoid overwhelming site visitors with details about every facet of your product or service and instead create clear calls to action that help specific audiences quickly and easily navigate to the content they need. 

Myth 4: A well-designed desktop version is good enough

A well-designed desktop version of your website is important, but research shows that the mobile version is crucial. The Pew Research Center reports that 28 percent of millennials are smartphone-only internet users, meaning that nearly one third of the country’s largest consumer demographic will be viewing your website solely on their phones. 

Myth 5: You don’t need a website audit 

Quality website and mobile app design requires a professional set of eyes. A website audit is a comprehensive review of your design and content that will help determine whether you are reaching your target audiences in the most efficient and effective way possible. A full audit will help expose weak spots and improve the usability of your website and mobile app to ensure you are reaching the greatest amount of people in the most effective way. This will help conversion, which means more leads. 

5 Web Design Myths … Busted

Your website is likely the first place consumers encounter your brand, and the design not only conveys information about your products and services, but also speaks to your values, style, and relevance. 

In an article published by Inc., ATX The Brand Founder Daniel Griggs responded to five common website design myths and shared the reality behind good web design. 

Myth 1. Your website can’t serve multiple audiences
There may be gaps in technological knowledge and aesthetic taste, but that doesn’t mean your website design can’t appeal to multiple demographics. Work smarter, not harder, to engage with each of your target audiences by finding the areas where their preferences overlap. For example, the baby boomer and millennial generations may both prefer large font and less cluttered design. 

Myth 2. Content is content

Not all content is created equal. The average website visitor will leave a page after 10 to 20 seconds if they are unable to access the information they need, so your site should convey your main message as quickly and simply as possible. Be as bold and blatant as you can about answering the three W’s—Who are you? What do you do? Why should a user do business with you? If your website has a high bounce rate, this could be an indicator that you are not keeping it simple enough. 

Myth 3. You need to tell your whole story on your homepage

Your users’ first interaction with your website should make them feel like it was designed for them. Avoid overwhelming site visitors with details about every facet of your product or service and instead create clear calls to action that help specific audiences quickly and easily navigate to the content they need. 

Myth 4: A well-designed desktop version is good enough

A well-designed desktop version of your website is important, but research shows that the mobile version is crucial. The Pew Research Center reports that 28 percent of millennials are smartphone-only internet users, meaning that nearly one third of the country’s largest consumer demographic will be viewing your website solely on their phones. 

Myth 5: You don’t need a website audit 

Quality website and mobile app design requires a professional set of eyes. A website audit is a comprehensive review of your design and content that will help determine whether you are reaching your target audiences in the most efficient and effective way possible. A full audit will help expose weak spots and improve the usability of your website and mobile app to ensure you are reaching the greatest amount of people in the most effective way. This will help conversion, which means more leads. 

You’re Going to Drop the Ball

You are going to fail in business. The question isn’t “if,” but “when.” 

Hopefully you enjoy more success than failure, but there will always be bumps in the road along the way. No matter how hard you hustle, when you have a lot of balls in the air we will inevitably drop one. 

ATX The Brand Founder Daniel Griggs published an article on Forbes that lists his top tips for how to respond when that ball hits the ground. 

  1. Take ownership When you do inevitably drop the ball in some way, it is important to take ownership of your mistake. When confronted with a misstep, we tend to want to shift blame or make excuses for our actions, but claiming responsibility can be an important part of reaching a resolution quickly and effectively. If you are going to point the finger, point the finger at yourself. 
  2. Create realistic expectations Being proactive by creating realistic expectations at the outset of a project is critical, and it is just as important to identify clear deliverables and limits when something goes wrong. Be careful not to overpromise in an attempt to rectify a mistake or mitigate discomfort. If you need to recalibrate, set a realistic scope. It is not about what you and your team are capable of accomplishing, it is about how well you can meet the client’s goals while working within their parameters.
  3. Over-communicate There is no such thing as too much communication with a client. Just because you said something one time does not mean your message was received or understood. If you said it once, say it again. And again.Do not avoid a client because they are upset or because the mistake is awkward or uncomfortable. Stay in constant contact so the client knows you are on their side and are taking every necessary step to correct the issue. Dropping the ball is never fun but it does not have to be the end of the world. If you respond to failure by taking ownership, setting realistic expectations for addressing the problem, and communicating clearly, you will be able to bounce back in no time. 

4 Dating Rules To Apply To Client Relations

Yes, you read that right. 

At ATX Web Designs we believe that every client deserves special treatment. In fact, we believe courting a new client is not unlike, well, courting. The same rules apply whether you are taking a prospective client out to coffee or taking a Hinge match out to dinner. 

CEO Daniel Griggs recently published an article on Medium about common dating rules you can apply to client relations. 

Here are his top four tips that will not only lead to better brand loyalty, but also to improved conversions and a bigger bottom line. 

  1. Prove your interest. Your date doesn’t want to guess whether you are interested or rely on hints or subtle social cues. Similarly, your clients should have a clear understanding of how valuable they are to you and what you’re willing to do for them. Don’t beat around the bush. As soon as a potential client shows interest, prove your commitment with an initial investment. For example, if someone subscribes to your newsletter, give them a free online resource of piece of valuable content right away. 
  2. Don’t do all the talking. Seriously. The more you listen, the better you will be able to understand your target audience and cater to their preferences. In particular, you want to listen for your audience’s pain points and then present your product or service as a solution to their problem. Customer feedback forms, consultations and social media engagement are great ways to listen better. 
  3. Don’t Ghost. No one likes to be left hanging. As soon as you exchange information with a potential client, start communicating. You can never follow up soon enough. When it comes to building and maintaining client relationships, consistency is key. Make sure you are regularly touching base with both your leads and current clients to keep them interested and invested. You want your brand to become a part of your audience’s everyday life so that you become their natural go-to product or service. 
  4. Let your friends set you up. Have a satisfied customer or a great review? Use it to your advantage. Consumers trust the opinions and recommendations of those in their peer group. Let your happy clients do some of your marketing work for you by incentivizing referrals or positive reviews. Try a referral program or online contest to gather leads from your current client base. 

At the end of the day, our clients just want the same thing than any of us want in a relationship: honesty, respect, appreciation and attention. By proving your interest, listening, communicating consistently and building out your network, you will attract new leads and earn the loyalty of current clients. They will be wanting to put a ring on it in no time. 

Tweet Talk: 3 ways to woo millennials with your social media presence

Millennials, Generation Y, The Facebook Generation, Echo Boomers. No matter what you call them, adults ages 23 to 38 make up a large proportion of the U.S. population—about 25 percent—and their spending power is growing daily. Millennial purchasing power is expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020, making them the perfect target demographic.

However, millennials also consume mass amounts of media—potentially more than 70 hours a week—and are flooded by advertisements and marketing campaigns. Social media in particular has become a platform for attempting to catch the attention of this influential consumer demographic. Personalization, direct engagement and responsiveness in social media posts are three ways a company can stand out from the pack when engaging with Generation Y. 

  • Personalize it

Millennial consumers may dismiss traditional advertising or social media content that feels too much like a sales pitch. Millennials are drawn to brands that feel personal, creative or that match their own values. In a Boston Consulting Group survey, 59 percent of millennials reported that their favorite brands were a reflection of their style and personality, and 40 percent said they were willing to pay more for a brand that matched what they wished to convey about themselves. 

Easy ways to personalize your social media posts include:

  • Posting “behind the scenes” content, such as a spotlights on staff or members
  • Adopting a friendly, relaxed attitude when responding to comments and questions
  • Showcasing your brand’s unique style or voice
  • Following and engaging with current pop culture trends  
  1. Engage directly 

Social media accounts aren’t just a place to promote your product, they are a channel for direct communication with clients and future clients as well as a tool for building brand trust. Millennials favor businesses and brands that promote a two-way, mutual relationship with their client base. A Sprout Social survey found that 76% of respondents were more likely to purchase a brand they felt connected to on social media than they were to purchase from a competitor. Directly engaging with followers by answering questions, commenting on posts or asking for feedback can build trust and credibility among potential millennial customers. 

  1. Respond quickly
    When it comes to social media responsiveness, speed matters. A 2016 study found that more than 80 percent of customers expect a response within 24 hours of posting on social media and more recent research indicates customers look for a response in as little as 30 minutes or one hour. According to a Twitter study, quick responses were linked to higher customer satisfaction, willingness to recommend the brand, and revenue potential. The study found that customers were willing to pay almost $20 more for an airline ticket when an airline responded to a customer’s Tweet in fewer than six minutes. Answering questions and addressing concerns in a timely manner on social media can help retain and build your millennial customer base. 

Is your company maximizing the potential of its digital presence to win over millennials? ATX Web Designs can perform a website and mobile app audit to help you improve your web presence and also offers website and app development services. 

Moving your event online? Don’t make these common mistakes

As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, many companies have decided to move their events, conferences and trade shows online instead of canceling or rescheduling. 

But transforming a live event into a virtual one brings its own challenges. Unfortunately it isn’t enough to set up a camera and hit “record” or “go live.” 

If you’re planning an online event, here are some common pitfalls to avoid. 

  • Skimping on audio-visual equipment. Visual presentation is a critical component of virtual events. Invest in high quality cameras, lighting and sound equipment to make your event as professional and engaging as possible. 
  • Not testing everything ahead of time. Before going live, you will need to run several tests of your equipment and programming. Designate time for these trial runs in your pre-production schedule so that everything runs smoothly on the big day. 
  • Holding yourself to the same standards. Virtual events are a different ballgame with their own set of rules. Audience attention spans are shorter, their expectations are different, and their participation or investment level may fluctuate. Revist the benchmarks for your event and see if they still seem reasonable given the new format. 
  • Assuming your audience is tech-savvy. Regardless of demographic, your audience may not have a good grasp on your virtual event platform and tools. Make sure to educate them before the event begins and provide multiple channels for assistance and support once you launch. 
  • Assuming your presenters are tech savvy. Public speaking skills don’t always translate to video conferencing skills. Your presenters might need some support with aspects like video lighting and framing in addition to training on live video programs. 

As with any live event, be prepared for something to go wrong during your virtual event and have a Plan B (and Plan C) ready to go. Remember that everyone is figuring this out as they go along and be easy with yourself and your team if mistakes happen. 

5 Ways To Make Your App Millennial-Friendly

Move over, baby boomers. The largest consumer generation is entering its prime spending years and has a collective $600 billion in spending power.

As millennials—or adults ages 23 to 38—begin to settle down, start families and invest in their futures, businesses of all kinds are enhancing their mobile capabilities to cater to these digital natives. 

Here are five ways companies can improve their mobile app experience to better reach and engage with this influential demographic. 

  1. Streamline your login process. Accessing your app should be as quick and easy as possible while still maintaining high security standards. Login screens should be simple and intuitive with limited text or advertising content. 
  2. Reduce friction. The app user experience should be a seamless flow with no sticking points that make the user pause, stall, or wonder “now what?”. Methods to reduce friction include eliminating extraneous steps, simplifying forms, reducing pop-ops and incorporating built-in suggestions.
  3. Improve visual flow. The more your app design caters to the millennial aesthetic, the more likely this demographic is to trust your brand and engage with your content. Millennials tend to favor unique typography, large font, generous use of white space and interactive graphics. 
  4. Offer 24/7 support. Millennials expect prompt responses to support questions. Preempting questions through FAQ sections and offering round-the-clock support through features such as chatbots can keep millennial users engaged and happy. 
  5. Get a mobile app audit. A mobile app audit is a comprehensive review that will help determine whether you are reaching your target audiences in the most efficient and effective way possible. 

ATX Web Designs Founder Featured in Forbes

Founder Daniel Griggs was recently featured in an article on the Forbes, Inc. website about the responsibility tech entrepreneurs have in supporting and creating social change.

In the article, Griggs describes his inspiration for creating the school bus tracking software Bus Kids Safe, as well as the lessons he learned along the way.

The Bus Kids Safe app uses GPS technology to allow parents and schools to track school buses in real time and get notifications about pick-up times, drop-off times and delays.

Griggs created the app after a nerve-wracking incident in which his son’s school bus was over an hour late to the stop. He said the process of creating, developing and marketing the app revealed several important lessons about how to use digital products to address pressing social issues:

  1. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes the most sustainable change is incremental change. Trying to progress too far too fast could actually be counterproductive. Bus Kids Safe took something that already existed (bus driver check-in processes) and digitized it instead of creating something new altogether.
  1. Borrow from other industries. Chances are, something that is working in one industry can be cross-applied to another industry. The solutions to some of our societal challenges may already exist and just need to be adapted to address specific problems. For example, GPS tracking of public transportation already exists — Bus Kids Safe just harnesses the technology for the education industry.
  1. Incentivize early adoption. You may have the greatest app in the world, but it cannot create social change if you don’t have users. Focus your marketing efforts and incentive programs on getting early subscribers for your app. This can create community buy-in and organic sharing of your product. The Bus Kids Safe technology is currently free for local schools and parents, motivating more districts to get on board.

It is the responsibility of tech leaders to use their power to create something better. Let’s start innovating!

The secret to keeping your social media ‘on brand’

Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools available, but to fully harness its potential, businesses need to establish a consistent brand.

Why is consistent branding important?

Staying “on brand” within and across social media platforms is crucial for creating brand recognition, credibility and loyalty. It signals to both potential and existing customers that your brand is established, dependable, trustworthy and engaged.

Social media is a fast-paced world that thrives on novelty, but studies have shown that consumers are also affected by familiarity bias, which means they favor the consistent and the familiar. Successful brands need to both keep their content fresh and engaging and create enough continuity in their messaging to give users the feeling of dependability and familiarity.

So what is the most effective way for a company to develop a strong brand and continue to stay on brand through growth and transition? The secret boils down to one word:

Strategy.

In an article featured in Small Business Trends, ATX Web Designs founder and CEO Daniel Griggs advised businesses to create a strategy and system for their social media posts.

While it can be time-consuming and even tedious at times to plan and schedule social media posts, this process will give you the most return on your investment. Creating a strategy and schedule for your social media posts allows you to think about the content you want to present, cross-promote, synchronize posts and make sure each piece of content matches with your brand and company vision.

Developing brand guidelines and a style guide is a must for maintaining brand consistency. There are many aspects beyond the actual content to consider when establishing these guidelines, such as

  • Tone and personality
  • Visual design
  • Multimedia
  • Font and color scheme
  • Logo
  • Offline and internal marketing

Utilizing a content calendar and post scheduler will help ensure that all these aspects of your social media content represent a consistent brand and are in line with your company’s greater vision.

There is no shortcut to creating and maintaining a cohesive online brand and presence. It requires pre-planning, strategy and commitment. Most of all it takes time. Building trust with your consumer base requires patience and consistent effort but the results will boost your credibility as well as your bottom line.

If you’d like to develop more brand cohesion throughout your website and mobile app, ATX Web Designs offers design and development services customized for your business.