Whether you own an established bakery or a start-up tech firm, you know that marketing is the backbone of your small business. It’s how you communicate with potential customers and create stronger ties with existing ones. So when it comes to marketing your business, you want your efforts to be as effective as possible. That’s where intention makes a difference.
Although a casual approach may seem like the best fit for your schedule or your personality, when you become intentional with your marketing, positive results will follow. Rather than seeing marketing as an expense, you will begin to see it as an investment in growing your business.
But what does it really mean to be intentional? At its core, it means having a plan and sticking to it. But more than that, it means making deliberate decisions, starting with the end goal in mind and not relying on luck.
Here are just a few ways to be intentional with your own small business marketing:
Use an Editorial Calendar
Using a tool like an editorial calendar goes a long way towards being intentional with what you say and when you say it.
How many times have you tried to write an email, or a newsletter, or a social media post and found yourself completely blocked, wondering what to say and how to say it? How many days (or weeks) did you let your marketing communications slide because you got too busy with the day to day of running your business? An editorial calendar will help you plan out your messaging, time your communications with events or holidays, and keep you accountable for following through.
An essential tool for organization and consistency, an editorial calendar can be as simple as hand written chart or as complex as a multi-tab spreadsheet. It can also be a handy place to keep track of which communications garnered the best results. Knowing which topics your customers were most engaged with can help guide your messaging goals month-to-month.
An editorial calendar will keep you focused on the goal – the very essence of intention.
Know Your Important Keywords – and Use Them
If you’re not already focused on optimizing your website (and all digital content) for search engines, it’s time to start. When the content you post matches what people are searching for in search engines like Google, you have better chances of being listed in the results that are returned. It’s called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, and it’s value to your website (and your business) cannot be underestimated. After all, what’s the point of a beautiful website if no one can find it?
While there are sophisticated methods for researching keywords, there are also simple ones that can go a long way. For instance, start by putting yourself in the mind of your customers. What questions might they frequently search? Then, make a list of important topics that are related to your business. Search these questions phrases yourself and look at related searches that appear in the drop down box. Come up with a list of 10-15 relevant words or phrases to use on your website, in your blog and any place you put words to screen.
Being intentional with the language you use in your digital communications will set you up for success right from the start.
Really Understand your Key Performance Indicators and Where to Find Them
Being intentional also means knowing how to measure your efforts. How do you know if your marketing is successful? It rests on understanding your key performance indicators (KPIs) and where to find them.
So much information is available that digital analytics can be overwhelming. But throwing your hands up will get you nowhere. Intentional marketers will take the time to understand measurements like how many people are visiting their website, how long they stay and where they are coming from. KPIs can answer questions like: Do people find my website easy to navigate? Are customers finding my business on Google? Are my social media posts really bringing customers to my website? Do customers visit my site frequently or are my visitors primarily first-timers?
Understanding how to measure success will help guide your marketing decisions. It will make you intentional about what you do and why you do it.
Provide a Call to Action
Sometimes it’s the simple things that make the biggest difference. Making sure that your marketing materials offer your customers a next step – a call to action – can be the difference that brings positive results. Do you want them to visit a specific web page? Sign up for a newsletter? Make a phone call? Being intentional also means communicating what it is you want your customers to do. If you’re not clear about what you want them to do, they aren’t likely to do it.
Taking advantage of tools like editorial calendars, keeping search engines in mind with all of your communications, knowing your KPIs and always including a call to action are just a few examples of being intentional with your marketing.
If you’re looking to take your marketing to the next level but need a little help getting there, consider a two-hour power session. In a hands-on one-on-one session, Amy DeLardi, founder of Infinite Web Designs, will not only help you set your marketing intention, but she’ll show you how to achieve it.
For more information, check out: https://infinitewebdesigns.com/2-hour-power-session/
Developing a marketing plan can seem like a daunting task, especially if you run a small business without the benefit of dedicated marketing resources. As a business owner, you likely wear many hats and frequently get pulled in many directions. It’s no wonder that building a marketing plan can easily fall to the wayside.
But investing effort into planning will actually save you time in the long run. It will also keep you focused on the end goal – growing your business.
A solid marketing plan should be easy to understand and provide you with clear direction. And it’s not as hard as you might think. To get you started off on the right foot in 2019, here are five best practices to creating a winning marketing plan for your small business:
1. Reframe the way you think about marketing.
If you approach marketing your business as one more task on your growing “to do” list, it can seem tedious at best. Try shifting the way you think. Look at more like planning a party. What you’re really doing is finding ways to invite people to share in what you love – your business! Changing the way you look at it could tap into your natural excitement and enthusiasm about what you do.
2. Start with a clear understanding of your target audience.
Who are you inviting to “your party” and why? Think about who your best customers are today. What is the best way to reach them? Are there other groups of potential customers you want to attract? Who are they and how do you want them interact with your brand? Spending time identifying your audience will help you to create a plan with an end goal in mind.
3. Know your call to action.
Once you know who it is you want to reach, decide what it is you want them to do. Do you want them to visit your bricks and mortar store? Engage with your company on social media? Join your mailing list? Defining what you want your audience to do will help you figure out what messaging to use and where to use it.
4. Be intentional about what you want and stay focused on the goal.
It’s easy to become scattered when you are trying out new strategies every other week. Set a plan, implement it and measure your results. Figure out what worked and then repeat it. (Stay tuned for a future blog on tips for being intentional with your marketing.)
5. Keep organized!
Using tools like an editorial calendar and a social media content calendar will in the long run make day-to-day marketing tasks easier and faster to perform. Set yourself reminders and keep yourself accountable for delivering on your plan. It may even be helpful to make yourself “cheat sheets” for things like social media image sizes for different platforms, advertising specs for different publications or even contact names for local media.
Spending the time to create a marketing plan will make it easier to stay on task, and quicker to change direction if you find yourself straying from the path you created.
Of course if you find that you need professional help, contact your local marketing experts at Infinite Web Designs. Our talented staff can help take your small business marketing to the next level.
It’s not to late to make 2019 your best year yet. Develop your marketing plan now and let it guide your business to new heights.
According to a new study by Stone Temple Consulting, 63% of all website traffic in the U.S. now comes from mobile devices. So it makes sense that Google has responded by rolling out mobile-first indexing. But what exactly does that mean and what should you do about it?
What does mobile-first indexing mean?
Historically, Google’s crawler, known as the Googlebot, would search the desktop version of your website content in order to index your site and determine your search engine rankings. Now, with mobile-first indexing, Google will use the mobile version of your site first. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly version, the desktop version will still be included in the index. But, not having one could negatively impact how your site ranks. Mobile-First means that the mobile version will be considered the primary version of your website.
What impact will it have on me?
If your website is already mobile responsive, and your mobile content has already been optimized, then you will probably not experience any significant impact to your search engine results. But if it hasn’t, for example, if the mobile version of your site does not include the full content of your desktop site, you may find that your site is not as visible in search engines as it once was.
What do I need to do?
If your website is already mobile responsive and the desktop and mobile versions of your site are identical, you may not need to do anything differently. Of course, even with a fully responsive site, you should check to make sure that your page load speed is prioritized and that all images have been optimized correctly. But, if your mobile site is separate from your desktop version, you will want to make sure that your mobile version contains all the same valuable content that appears on the desktop version, including text, videos and images. You should also ensure that your metadata (titles and descriptions) are equivalent on both versions.
It’s always a good idea to have a website professional take a look at your site to ensure that it is performing in the best way possible and that it will continue to do so. If you’re unsure how mobile-first indexing might affect your website rankings, give us a call. Infinite Web Designs has over 17 years of experience creating and optimizing web designs. 203-307-5107.
You’re launching your new business and you need a website. With so many “low cost” website builders to choose from, a DIY solution seems like the perfect place to save money, right? It’s easy to get dazzled by $19.99/month plans and drag-and-drop website creation, but what you don’t see are the myriad of hidden costs lurking behind the so-called easy solutions. In the long run, a professional website designer can actually save you time and money, and set your business up for success. There are many reasons why a DIY website costs more than you think. Here are a few:
1. Search Engine Rankings
There’s no point in having a great looking website if no one can find it when searching for your product or service in major search engines like Google or Bing. That’s why having a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is critical to your success. And the more control you have over your content and the structure of your site, the better. Sure, the low cost website creators have gotten better about incorporating some behind-the-scenes SEO best practices, but what they can’t offer you is the one-on-one attention you will need to formulate that strategy from day one from keyword research to competitive analysis. A professional will give you sound advice, like not including text on your images because search engines can’t read them, and other valuable tips based on years of experience.
2. Growing Your Site
It’s hard to see five years into the future when you’re just getting started, but like birthdays and holidays, they come fast! What happens when you’re ready to add that online store, or integrate your website with another platform? When your needs become larger than a drag-and-drop builder can provide, you might just discover that you don’t actually own your site. Those low-cost monthly rates are actually more akin to rental fees. You can’t port your site over to a designer in order to incorporate more complex features because the site isn’t actually yours. It can come as quite a surprise to learn that your site will need to be re-built from the ground up.
3. Credibility is Priceless
When you have aches and pains, you see a doctor. When you need legal advice, you consult a lawyer. When you need a website that conveys trustworthiness and credibility you go to a… DIY website creator? Sure, drag-and-drop design is easy. But what is the end result? An experienced, savvy professional website designer can craft a website into one-of-a-kind user experience that can make a small company look larger, more established and unique. A professional can help you convey what your business stands for. In a well-designed site it only takes one click for potential customers to “get you.” And if they don’t? There’s always your competitors…
Any good website design firm is well versed in internet security. And should anything malicious occur, you can be assured that they are prepared to handle it. From backing up your site to keeping on top of the latest security protocols, they are pros at responding to issues before you even know they exist. Unfortunately, many of the drag and drop website providers are vulnerable to attacks, as a quick Google search will reveal. It pays to know up front how security issues are dealt with and if there are any hidden costs to data backups and site restores.
5. Design Pays
Think you don’t care about fonts or color combinations? Spend a half hour with a professional website designer and your head will be spinning from the endless possibilities. Yes, serif fonts convey a different feel than non-serif fonts. Color does matter. And what about custom logos that convey your brand personality? There is a level of personalization and expertise that you just can’t get from a DIY solution. And it shows.
6. Add Ons Add Up
Drag-and-drop services can reel you in with low monthly fees but what happens when you want access to your website analytics? You’ll have to upgrade to a premium account. Need more storage? That will be extra. The bottom line is that as your business grows, your needs will grow. You’ll want to be sure that whatever platform your website is built on can handle your future. But what if you don’t know what you’ll need in five years? A professional website designer can offer experience-based guidance. It’s basically the next best thing to a crystal ball.
7. Keeping up with Technology
Let’s face it. Technology is fast moving and ever changing. Making sure your website is optimized for mobile devices and tablets is just the tip of the iceberg. Professional web designer will make sure your website is up to par – even behind the scenes. They will make sure any plug-ins you use are updated and functioning properly and will provide ongoing advise about new developments that will keep your website running smoothly and efficiently. And what about analytics? A pro will be able to run an analytics installation and start capturing your data on day one – valuable data that will help you with future marketing decisions. In short, professional website designers offer so much more than design.
Using an out-of-the-box, drag-and-drop website builder might seem like a cost savings initially, but using a professional website designer from the beginning can save you time and money in the long run. And that doesn’t even count the opportunity cost of lost revenue from a website that doesn’t look unique and professional. Before you build a website, do yourself a favor. Talk to a professional. The alternative will probably cost you more than you think.
Looking to launch a new website or overhaul a current one? With nearly 20 years experience working with clients of all sizes across many industries, Infinite Web Designs (IWD) can help. Founder Amy Delardi also offers consultation services to help you get your business pointed in the right direction right from the start. See what IWD can do for your business. Call today. 203.307.5107
You might find it doesn’t pay to go at it alone.
Infinite Web Designs is a full-service web design and development agency also offering digital services that drive traffic to your website, increase sales and generate leads and build brand awareness.
Did you know that eight out of ten people who search local business information on a mobile device end up making a visit, a call or a sale? So what happens if the information they find is incomplete, inconsistent or even incorrect? At best consumers are annoyed. At worst they lose trust in the brand. In fact, 71 percent of consumers say they lost trust in a business after finding inconsistent location data online. Businesses spend so much effort building their digital brand presence, but they often neglect an important area that has the potential to bring big returns – online directories.
Having a consistent listing in online outlets can make a positive difference. It not only creates consumer trust and improves visibility but also tells search engines that your B2B or B2C business is legitimate, resulting in improved search engine rankings. How’s that for big returns?
At Infinite Web Designs we pride ourselves on helping our clients maximize their online presence. That’s why we’re introducing Infinite Web Directory Solutions (IWDS) – a valuable management tool that brings together all the information about a business, from physical location to service areas, into one cohesive digital footprint.
Imagine the visibility that comes with being listed consistently in 50+ online outlets. Imagine the kind of presence and authority that consistency creates with search engines, which in turn increases visibility even more. And imagine the target customers you could reach with that kind of visibility.
With IWDS you don’t have to worry about which directories you’re listed in, which service data is listed in which directory or how your name, address and phone number are listed. That is all managed for you. We take care of your online presence so you can focus on what you do best.
How specifically can IWDS help my digital presence?
Some of the positive effects of local digital presence management include an increase in visibility across all search engines, an increase in website traffic and quality back links to your website.
So what exactly does IWDS do?
We make sure your business citations are listed in the most important high-traffic directories, social networks and data aggregators. We review, correct and optimize the listings and provide you with real-time progress reports and updates.
What about industry specific directories?
In addition to well-known directories like Google, Bing, Yelp, etc. we also have access to several industry-specific directories for professions including:
– Home services
– Financial services
– Health and wellness
If your industry is not listed please contact us.
What does the IWDS service include?
The Infinite Web Directory Service includes:
– Baseline reporting
– 3 major search engine submissions
– Directory submissions to 50+ online directories
– 300+ data aggregators
– Local presence management
– Listing management
– Reputation management
– Monthly updating
– Directory updates
– Optional vertical directories
What does a baseline report tell me?
A baseline report includes both a visibility score, which displays the average score for your initial local page (determined by your average visibility and optimization in Google+ Local, Yahoo Local and Bing Places) and a directory score (derived by dividing the number of directories in which you were found by the number checked.) These scores serve as the starting point with which to monitor your results.
How long does it take before I see results?
You will typically see positive results within 30 days.
Find out what IWDS can do for your business. Give us a call today or fill out the form below to receive your free baseline report.