5 WEBDESIGN TRENDS FOR 2018

5 Updates Your Website Needs In 2018

Follow These 2018 Website Trends To Dominate Your Competitors

HTTPS

Having a secure website is no longer negotiable.  It’s what Google wants.  It’s what your customers want.  By getting an SSL certificate and switching to HTTPS, you will also enjoy a boost in search rankings.  It will also improve consumer confidence in your website and brand.  Google Chrome is the world’s most popular browser with a 58% market share, recently rolled out an update to actively warn customers that your site isn’t secure.  Unless you can afford to lose at least 58% of your customers, you need HTTPS.

SSL not secure warning

MOBILE FRIENDLY

Is your website still not mobile friendly (test it here)?  This too is not negotiable.  Mobile is the not the future of the internet. Mobile is the present, and you need to be mobile friendly right now.  Google has already rolled out its mobile-first algorithm. Mobile-friendly websites rank better.  More importantly, they convert better.  With over 50% of Google searches coming from mobile devices, you have to be mobile friendly.  The best solution?  A responsive website.

ANALYTICS & CONVERSION TRACKING

Do you know who’s visiting your website?  One of the reasons why online marketing is so powerful is because it is predictable, measurable and scalable.  We’re not talking about installing Google Analytics and then checking the limited demographic information available.  We’re talking about finding out which visitors actually convert to customers on your site.  With conversion tracking, you can set specific actions you want visitors to make and optimize your site to convert more of them into. You can use this information to take a proactive sales approach rather than waiting for them to call you.

Conversion Tracking with Google

DIGITAL ADVERTISING

Are you using Google AdWords or Adwords Express?  What about Facebook or LinkedIn ads?  If you’re not, you should be; a modest investment can yield valuable insights into your target audience and buyer intent.  You might think that AdWords costs too much (why pay for clicks when I can get them for free) or that your customers don’t use social media.  But I implore you to test a more data-driven conclusion.  A properly optimized AdWords campaign makes you a lot more money than it costs, and your customers are using social media on a daily basis.  No matter what you may have heard, social media ads do work.  If you’re already advertising through AdWords and social media channels, then think about how you can optimize your ad spend or expand your reach.  Maybe you haven’t invested in display ads or remarketing yet.  If that’s the case, you’re missing out on some highly effective ways to grow your business.

AN UPDATED WEBSITE

RESPONSIVE-WEBDESIGNIf it’s been more than a couple years since your current website launched, then it’s most likely time to start planning the new one.  Yes, it is a big expense.  But it’s a necessary one and the hidden cost of lost conversions and customer experience outweighs the expense.  Technology changes rapidly, as do design trends, so even a site that’s only two or three years old can look incredibly outdated.  Customers are less likely to buy from an outdated site.  That means they’ll be more likely to buy from your competitor who recently updated their site.

Some of these are quick and relatively inexpensive fixes. Some of them are urgent. All of them are investments that will pay off quickly. Make 2018 the year of the new and improved website—the website your business deserves.

 

 

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How to Choose Your Ideal Customer

How To Identify Your Ideal Customer

As a new entrepreneur, you have big dreams. You want the entire world to know your products and services are available to everyone.

You easily blow your marketing budget trying to attract the world to your products and services, only to find that you’ve overspent your money and you don’t have any new customers to show for it.

It’s hard to get noticed in this clutter filled world, but attempting to reach everybody with your product or service is not only inefficient, it’s also very expensive. That’s why it’s important to narrowly define your target customer and meet them where they are.

Russell Brunson uses the analogy of fishing which describes this well in his book DOTCOM SECRETS.

  • Identify Who is your ideal client
  • Find out Where they hang out online
  • Test What bait you can give to them

Who should you market to

Let’s Get Started

Who are my ideal customers? (Use demographics such as age, annual income and education level. Use psychographic information such as behaviours, hobbies and values.)

What are their pain points? (Efficiency, ease of use, time, etc.)

Why should they buy from me (and not my competitor)?

What are their most common objections to doing business with me? (Cost, time, etc.)

Who is NOT my target customer? (It is also important to identify who is not your target customer, e.g., is there an age restriction, maybe financial or location limitation etc.)

Choosing Your Ideal Customer

Let’s Build Your Target Customer

Many advertising platforms like Facebook and Google allow you to target customers based on the demographics and psychographics data they can collect from their users.

Demographics: the average or typical characteristics of your target market.

Psychographics: what motivates them to take action.

Here are some of the more commonly used ones:

  • Age: how old is my ideal customer?
  • Children: does my ideal customer have children? How many? How old are they?
  • Region: are my ideal customers located in a particular region, country, province/state or city?
  • Sex: what gender is my ideal customer?
  • Marital Status: Is my ideal client married, single, divorced etc?
  • Education: How much schooling did my ideal customer obtain; high school, college, university?
  • Values: what values do they share; family, business, success etc.
  • Income: How much does my ideal client earn? What is their net worth?
  • Hobbies: Do they have any hobbies e.g.,  fishing, sports, music, etc.

Final Thoughts

Your ideal customer is someone who satisfies their exact needs or wants to buy the product/service you offer.

Customer Avatar WorksheetIdentifying your ideal customer can seem like a daunting and sometimes overwhelming task. The reality is that most entrepreneurs aren’t clear about their ideal customer. For this reason, they waste a lot of time and money trying to sell their product to people who aren’t good potential customers. Identifying your ideal customer and advertising where they will notice your brand is an important step in growing and improving your business. The process doesn’t need to be overly complicated; download our free worksheet to help you. Follow this plan and you’re well on your way to not only reaching new customers—but the right ones.

Online Sales Funnel for Businesses

Sales Funnels | The Missing Piece to Your Online Marketing Efforts

You’ve probably heard that “You Need A Website For Your Business” and while that is true it’s so 2008. Having a website is just a part of the puzzle, a foundational part — but you need to have more than just a website in order to have people know, like & trust you enough to do business with you.

What is an Online Sales Funnel?

Online Purchase Funnel
An example of a typical purchase funnel

Your online sales funnel is the process your potential website visitors go through when they turn from your visitors out on the internet into paying customers.

“From the girl walking in the street to the other girl walking into your coffee shop to buy.”

Think of it like a traditional sales process, where the term sales funnel comes from the visual representation of narrowing a broader audience into actual customers similar to what a funnel looks like. It’s like having a 24/7 salesperson working for guiding potential customers through the sales process on autopilot.

This staged process is summarized below:

  • Awareness – the customer is aware of the existence of your product or service
  • Interest – actively expressing an interest in one of your offers
  • Desire – aspiring to a particular brand or product
  • Action – taking the next step towards purchasing the chosen product

Should You Have A Funnel?

Just like a traditional brick & mortar business would have trained salespeople, your website should have a purchase funnel to guide visitors to your desired goal.

An empty storefront with no salesperson will probably only at best convert a very small percentage of people who walk-in. Your website without a funnel will most likely only convert a small percentage of visitors.

If you are actively trying to grow your business or investing in marketing your business through your website this could be the difference between a positive return on your investment versus a loss.

What Makes Up A Funnel?

In the digital world, this can be as simple as a click to call button or a form submission. These are great for hot leads. An emergency plumber site for example probably does not need much more than that to convert lots of website visitors. However, if your product isn’t as time-sensitive or your visitor is a warm-lead then having just one funnel will leave lots of money on the table.

This is where slightly more complex funnels come into play. Say for example you are advertising on social media or other paid advertising platforms like Google but not getting a good enough return on your investment for it to be sustainable. It’s most likely because you don’t have a good sales funnel.

Example of a Sales Funnel

A good online sales funnel will have at a minimum:

Landing Page Exmples

 

  • A Traffic Source: whether you choose word-of-mouth, blogging, social media marketing, SEO, pay-per-click marketing or a combination of these, you will need visitors to your website. Another great traffic source is through retargeting where you try to get previous visitors back to your website. Get my 303 traffic sources here.
  • Squeeze Page: this is a great way to pre-qualify leads and give them chance to start a relationship with you by offering them something of value in exchange for their email address. Click here to download my ebook with great ideas of lead magnets you can use for your squeeze page.
  • Lead Magnet: A lead magnet is an incentive, a compelling offer to your prospective customers in exchange for their contact details mainly their email address. Examples of lead offers include pdfs, checklists, whitepapers, video, report, a discount, a free trial, an entry to a contest or an e-book.
  • Landing Page: most people send all of their traffic to their homepage; this will capture some traffic. A landing page or sales page will do a much better job at moving your visitors to become customers. Unlike the homepage, a landing page will have one or two call-to-action for your visitor to take. Click here to see an example of the top 15 landing pages that generate the most leads. From Instapage
  • Thank You Page: the main purpose of a thank you page is to measure conversions and see which traffic sources brought you the most amount of visitors and who completed your desired actions.

Some funnels can get a lot more thought out but I recommend starting simple and build from there. This is what one of our current sales funnels blueprints look like.

Example Funnel

This way growing your business becomes a science; analyze your data to see where you should spend more time and money.

I hope you found this helpful. Feel free to leave me your comment below. Now I know that there are technical aspects of building out a funnel that may make it intimidating but you shouldn’t let that stand in the way of you growing your business.

Funnel Hacking Experts

 

website rfp

How to Write a Website Redesign Request For Proposal (RFP)

If you have already received approval from your board of directors, set a budget, and acquired grant funding for a new website, it is now time to send out a request for proposal or RFP. A website RFP is sent out by your organization to dozens of web design agencies in order to determine the best agency for your needs.

Webdesigner Request for Quote

We get an RFP, or Request for Proposal, about website redesign pretty regularly. A number of projects are simple and straightforward. Others have much more potential for miscommunication as the term Web Design RFP. A lot of the time, we’ll open up an initial contact from a form submission and see questions along the lines of “We need a new website; how much do you charge?

It’s crucial you comprehend how web design projects range from basic things like static sites created for less than a thousand to complicated, such as something with a website budget in the six digits. If you’re not able to clearly communicate your specific needs and wants, then no design company could possibly quote it accurately.

Something else we find equally frustrating is an RFP the size of a handbook when one lands in our email’s inbox. These are almost always the product of some committee brainstorm that went off the rails. If a web designer needs a Ph.D., rocket scientist, or lawyer to figure out your RFP, or a few dozen hours are needed for the compilation of a spec response, then you’re not doing it right. Generally, we don’t even respond to such requests. It’s not because we fear hard work, but more because we know how an RFP sets a standard tone for the following project. If you’re not able to respect our time with concise communications when you first reach out to us, what’s going to happen in the middle of a project?

If a client and designer are going to figure out how they can work together, much less if they even can, then they need clearly defined project expectations and requirements.

The right web design RFP clearly and neatly establishes what you all are trying to accomplish with a website, as well as find alignment between the designer and a client’s objectives and goals. It might seem intimidating writing your RFP at first, but it need not be that way. Taking precious moments now can spare you many more hours, later on, ensuring your designer is able to develop a proposal with accuracy about your particular project.

So, prior to even contacting any designer, you should take some time to not just write a request for proposal, but an appropriate one. To give you a hand in this, we’ve assembled a simple guide you can use to go through this process.

request for proposal template

A Web Design RFP’s Top 10 Crucial Components

1) Provide A Business Overview:

This is the section that introduces us or someone else to your business. As such, think of content more befitting an introduction than a thesis. Tell us briefly just who you are, what it is you do, the size of your business, your current URL, and what overarching corporate mission or vision statement you might have.

2) Establish The Project Overview:

Write down in a simple to understand language what your current situation is regarding your website, so you can provide us with some overview of just what this project needs to entail. There’s no need to go overly formal or even politically correct in this part, as corporate semantics sometimes muddle this message. Write this just like you would if you were describing your project to a family member or friend.

3) State The Project Objectives And Goals:

This is the section to list out both short- and long-term objectives for this project, and your motivations for investing resources into your website.

It aims to answer the question: “why are you here?”

  • Is your website outdated?
  • Have you expanded your services/product line?
  • Are you marketing to a different target audience?
  • Are you trying to attract job candidates?
  • Or are you finding your existing site isn’t converting to enough sales?

Tell us what you want to achieve.

4) Define The Technical Parameters:

This is the part where we often see our client’s eyes start to glaze over. If you already know what your technical requirements entailed in the project will be, you should tell us here.

These parameters range from the basics:

  • how many pages and unique layouts do you need
  • do you need hosting
  • do you need a domain name

To more advanced questions:

  • do you require programming in one specific language over another
  • is your current site in .PHP, .net, asp, HTML etc
  • do you need databases
  • do you have license or preference for a given e-commerce platform

If it doesn’t matter, tell us that too – giving your designer the option to work in their preferred language will save you money and time. Our common recommendation is WordPress, given the cost-effectiveness and flexibility it provides.

5) Determine The Usability Requirements:

Usability testing is, unfortunately, a step that is often overlooked in terms of the design and development of a website. You’re surely familiar with how companies put a new product through a focus group, or even multiple focus groups as part of the research and development process. Consider that any website also needs to undergo a minimum round of basic usability testing in order to figure out just how strongly the design-build holds up in actual use. This is where you should tell us about user research or persona development. Even if you’re not into such specifics, we still have to know about your target audience. Any relevant statistics you have regarding the demographics of existing website visitors should be referred to here. Run us through the specific flow you’d like any visitors to your site to follow.

6) Illustrate The Functional Parameters:

In the most basic terms, this section needs to pose the question of:

What you actually want your website to do.

This is where you outline functionality and features such as a secure members area, file uploads, content management, newsletter opt-in forms, news sections, an FAQ, e-commerce, discussion forums, blogs, custom admin areas, database development, or contact forms.

7) Write Down Proposal Directions:

This is the spot to ask questions you have for us and let us know how you’d like your proposal to be laid out. Many RFPs we get to ask our designers to talk about professional experience, demonstrate sample work, outline the project process plan, give bios of the essential personnel, and provide references. Many of these are basics that you would think would already be on a designer’s website, and so is likely included in their boilerplate proposals. However, if you have specific questions, toss them in here. Not long ago we got an RFP asking for us to list out our top 10 favourite musicians or groups. That project was pretty standard, but we found the question so delightful, we couldn’t resist responding in person.

8) List Your Contact Information:

This is where you should let us know who the primary contact point is or the project leader. Give us the phone number, name, email, and billing address of that individual. Also, tell us how you want the proposal to get submitted.

  • Do you want it emailed?
  • Faxed?
  • Posted?
  • Courier?

Give us your timeline.

9) What’s Your Budget?

This is a part that quite a few clients just gloss over initially. We know that you’re human, and it’s human nature to get the most you can for as little expense as possible, but we also know from personal and professional experience that some unscrupulous designers pad their quotes to the max in order to stretch your wallet as much as they can. We’re not like that, so we don’t do that. Be honest with us about how much you can afford, and we’ll return that respectful honesty with what we’re able to do with those dollars. Even should your budget lack a little, we know how to make compromises here and there that make things more accommodating. If you have no budget at all, then you’re not ready. Corporate identity and development and marketing should both have existing budgets in your business plan, and they apply here.

10) What’s Your Timeframe?

This one should be easy. Do you have a general idea when you’d like this done? On the other hand, do you have hard deadlines we need to know about? Keep in mind that many designers charge premiums for a rush job, as you’ll be bumping out other paying customers in line to provide you priority status.

When it all comes down to it, each RFP winds up being its own thing. The list provided here is really just a guideline to help you out in getting an honest, robust, and accurate project estimate from a designer. You might need to scale your own RFP to suit the size and scale of your own website, but you’re not likely going to need much more on top of what is outlined in this content.

Whether you choose us or not, we’re always ready to help anyone wanting assistance in putting together their RFP.

request for proposal template

How to Create a Sales Page

Sales Page

1. Add a buy button

2. Add credit card buttons

3. Write a call to action above the button

4. Add the price

5. Write a benefit-driven headline

6. Add a couple of paragraphs of text

7. Add an image to represent your offer

8. Write persuasive bullet points

9. Write an introduction to emphasize with your visitors

10. Add your USP (unique selling proposition)

11. Address common objections

12. Add testimonials and case studies

13. Add a (money back) guarantee

14. Explain exactly what the buyer will get

15. Show social and authority proof

16. PUBLISH!

10 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Website (2)

10 Main Reasons For You To Build A Website For Your Business

It won’t be wrong to say that most people these days go online in order to find new local businesses. If you do not have a website, it may not only result in loss of credibility but you may also lose a lot of sales. Many small businesses like yours often wonder why they need to have an online presence in the form of a website if they only sell to local customers. After all, building a website costs money and you just want to ensure that your marketing budget is spent right.

It is important for you to know that more than 2 billion people all over the globe are corrected online and around 70% of these users get online on a daily basis. Also, the number of people connected to Internet keeps growing. Therefore, it makes sense to establish an online presence in order to reach out to these consumers. Here is a list of some of the important reasons why you need a website for your small business.

1. Be Visible

There was a time when most people used to use the yellow pages in order to find a business but those days are long gone and these days, most people use a search engine in order to find a business. If you do not have an online presence in the form of a website, these consumers may not deem your business credible and you will also lose sales. A website is a much more cost-effective type of advertising when compared to the cost of advertising on local media outlets as well as in phone books. It is not just cost-effective but also allows you to reach new customers.

2. Reviews and Testimonials

Research indicates that more than 90% consumers check online reviews before they decide to spend money on something. When you have your own website, you can add testimonials and also guide potential customers to positive reviews of your business. This can have a huge influence on your sales as you’re likely to get more customers. Also, by maintaining a website, you have slight control over the information available online about your business in the search engines, provided you also practice good SEO tactics.

3. Analytics

One of the other advantages of the Internet is that it allows you to get a lot of information about the demographics and habits of your potential customers. Use of Google Analytics allows website owners to find a lot of useful information including the location of the users as well as the typical age range of these visitors. This is powerful information and you can use this information to refine your online presence and reach more targeted customers. Analytics also allows you to find the exact time of the day people visit your website which allows you to target that particular time frame for marketing.

4. Remain Competitive

If your competitor already has a website, they are likely to be seen as more credible. In case they still don’t have a website, it allows you to get a leg up and have one in place before them. Do not forget that Internet is used by people for searching business information in the same manner as printed phone books. These days, people are more likely to use online search engines to find business information, and once you have a website, you will always be open for business.

5. Lead Generation and Data Collection

You can collect a lot of data from visitors and generate leads. Maintaining a presence at a local trade show or a home show is not cheap and not as effective. Having a website allows you to maintain an online presence at a fraction of the cost and add prospects to your mailing list by offering a free download or guide. It will give you a way to keep in touch with potential customers. By adding a blog to your website, you should be able to find out the kind of content your site visitors want, and it will allow you to get more organic web traffic by writing on those topics.

6. Lower Acquisition Cost

Acquiring new customers through the traditional ways of advertising is much costlier as compared to the cost of acquiring customers online. In fact, it is estimated that you can gain new customers at just 1/10 of the cost as compared to the cost of acquiring customers through traditional channels. Also, by maintaining an online presence you have the chance to continuously refine your marketing methods as well as your website by keeping track of customer habits and using this information to make your marketing much more efficient over time.

7. Take Advantage of Web Rooming

Web rooming is a new concept and it’s the opposite of showrooming. This is the trend of customers using the Internet to do some basic research before they go to a brick and mortar store in order to make a purchase. Keep in mind that around 90% of sales still happen in the traditional manner but most people these days go online to do some research before they set foot in a brick and mortar store. Therefore, even if you do not sell anything online, you need to maintain a website to take advantage of this trend.

8. Better Customer Service

One big advantage of maintaining an online website is that it is accessible 24 x 7, unlike a brick and mortar store where employees are present only for around a third of the day. Once you hire customer service teams for your website, you can sell all around the globe at any time your potential customers want to buy. Local businesses can also use this in order to set up appointments or pre-sell items before a physical visit by potential customers.

9. Integration with Social Media

It won’t be wrong to say that one of the best ways to get more local leads is through social media. It is estimated that 70% households go online in order to buy local products and services, and one of the best ways for local businesses to reach these households is through a website that is integrated with social media. For instance, you can advertise on Facebook to a very specific audience in your local area and link the advertisement to your website. Just take a look at the number of people present on social media and you will quickly realize the importance of maintaining an online presence.

10. Brand Identity

If you do not want to create a full-fledged website, you should at least buy your domain name through one of the many registrars and have a basic landing page that has the contact information of your company. If you do not reserve your domain name, someone may buy your company domain name and build their own website around it. Therefore, it’s better to grab your company name and build a basic website in order to have control over your brand name.

There are a number of other reasons to build a great website for your local business. These days, customers expect all businesses to have a great website which means you will be meeting their expectations. Maintaining a website will also allow you to get your hands on some analytical data that can be used to grow your business further and take it to the next level.

How To Improve Sales With Online Marketing

How To Improve Sales With Online Marketing

Top sales pros offer expert tips for using online marketing tools to attract, nurture and convert leads into paying customers for your small business.

Many small business owners do some or all of their business in person, whether in a brick-and-mortar storefront or out in the field. Yet as more customers turn to the internet to find answers to their problems, you simply can’t afford to neglect digital marketing.

Good news: You can support the real-world sale of tangible goods and in-person services with internet and social media tactics. In fact, social media and search engines are great ways to generate leads.

In fact, social media and search engines are great ways to generate leads.

If generating online leads are a challenge for your small business, follow these expert tips and from top sales-focused pros.

Optimize Your Online Presence

Every small business should have a strong online presence, even if you don’t sell products online. Your potential customers use the internet every day to find local businesses, research products and reviews, and make purchase decisions.

Great places to start include:

  1. A user-friendly, mobile-friendly website
  2. Active social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or LinkedIn
  3. A blog
  4. An email newsletter
  5. Up-to-date Google My Business and business directory listings

“These online touchpoints enable customers and prospects to engage with content, and sales teams to follow-up accordingly,”

Explore Targeted Digital Tools

Once you establish your basic online presence, get creative and strategic. Less traditional content like podcasts, niche sites like Pinterest or interactive events like webinars are all good ways to engage customers and share expertise with potential customers.

“Once an initial connection has been made, people on the sales team can easily follow up with them to understand their needs and how the company may be able to help,” Rodoni said. “Understanding a customer’s pain point and identifying the solution in an easy, quick and affordable way will help to transition a lead to a paying customer.”

Connect Before Closing

Content and context are key when marketing to sales leads. Tailor the message so it’s more engaging to the recipient, organize communication based on common needs and priorities. All sales and marketing should be educating and nurturing the customer along their journey.

The ways a business engages online will often look different at various points in the sales funnel. For instance, search engine optimization and social media marketing are effective for attracting new leads, while your website, marketing emails and CRM are typically more effective closing tools.

The engagement shouldn’t end once a lead becomes a customer however, surveys, social media monitoring and analytics as post-sales tools to learn more about how to keep customers delighted.

Follow This Rule To Get The Best Keywords For Your Google AdWords Campaign

Follow This Rule To Get The Best Keywords For Your Google AdWords Campaign

Knowing the difference between long-tail keywords and short keywords is critical to setting up paid search ads for your small business.

If you’ve decided to spend money on a Google AdWords campaign, it’s important to understand what type of keywords will be most effective for your business. Knowing the difference between long-tail keywords and short keywords is critical. It’s also important to decide what type of words you will target.

Long-tail keywords are three or more words in length and usually more specific than shorter keywords.

“They typically signal a user with the higher intent of conversion or purchase than someone searching with a broad, one- to two-word query,” he said. “Long-tail keywords are valuable to target because the user is asking more specifically for what the business is offering. The tradeoff is that search volume for these queries is usually smaller.”

For example, a short keyword search would be “plumbing repair.” Bidding for a broad, common keyword like this would be expensive due to all the competition. Plus, it might not be very effective. If someone uses this keyword, you don’t know where in the world they need plumbing repair or even what type of repair they need.

Consider instead a long-tail keyword like “emergency toilet repair Ottawa, On.” The user of this keyword has let you know exactly what service they’re looking for and where they’re located. Not only would this be an effective long-tail keyword target, it would actually be cheaper! There are fewer plumbers in Ottawa bidding for “emergency toilet repair” than there are plumbers in the world bidding for “plumbing repair.”

When deciding what type of keywords to target, we recommend focusing on keywords that have “commercial intent” first. “Look for keywords that have phrases like ‘[product] for sale’ or ‘buy [product],’”.

One easy, low-cost way to identify these types of long-tail keywords is by typing the broad “main keyword” into Google to see the suggested searches that auto-populate in the search bar. Google’s auto-populated suggestions are a good indicator of how to focus your Google AdWords campaign.