Maintaining Your Brand Identity in a Digital World

Tips to Increase Your Business through Review Sites

Social proof plays an essential role in the healthy growth of modern businesses, with feedback on sites like Yelp, Google+, and the BBB providing would-be customers with invaluable information. In an ideal world, your business would never receive a scathing review,...

Small Business SEO: 5 Simple Tips to Increase Page Rank

Small Business SEO: 5 Simple Tips to Increase Page Rank

Mastering the complicated world of search engine optimization can be challenging for many small business owners. Fortunately, SEO doesn’t have to be an intimidating obstacle that limits a small business’ success on the web. If you’re eager to boost your page rank...

5 Tips to Find and Buy the Perfect Domain Name

5 Tips to Find and Buy the Perfect Domain Name

When it comes to building a successful web destination, it’s easy to get wrapped up in site design and content. While both of these factors play an important role in a site’s overall appeal, it’s the domain name itself that should be your primary focus. Shakespeare...

Why You Should Be Using Google Search Console

Learning to navigate the complicated backend of a business website can feel like trying to make sense of hieroglyphics. From traffic generation to keyword density, the many facets of maintaining a successful site can place even the most experienced marketers in a...

Creating a Strong Call-to-Action: 6 Tips to Get Started

Perhaps one of the single most important aspects of a modern website, the call-to-action often receives little more than a passing thought for small business owners. A call-to-action, often shortened to CTA, gives your reader direction. You can hire the world’s most talented copywriter, spend thousands on a cutting-edge design, and continually invest in online advertising to pull in traffic—yet without a killer call-to-action, you won’t convert visitors to buyers.

Ready to get started creating dynamic CTAs for your site? Use the following tips to ensure your call-to-action will deliver the results you’re seeking.

1. Set a Clear Goal

Too many business owners overlook the importance of setting conversion goals for their website. Your company’s presence on the web shouldn’t be underestimated. What do you want to do with your site? Are you trying to earn more newsletter subscribers? Do you want to encourage readers to make a reservation? Perhaps you’re selling a great product.

Determine what you want your visitor to do, and then, craft a CTA with that action in mind.

2. Action Verbs are Your Friend

Which of the following two options catches your attention? Option 1: Do you want to stay in touch & receive free coupons? You can sign up for our newsletter by clicking here. Option 2: Save money on your next visit by signing up for our newsletter now!

Don’t make a suggestion—create an exciting opportunity your visitor won’t want to miss.

3. Create Scarcity for Visitors

Establishing a false sense of scarcity is a key marketing principle you don’t want to overlook with your call-to-action. Crazy Egg recommends creating a sense of scarcity and urgency with words like immediately, now, and instant. You can also talk about deadlines and limits to get visitors interested.

4. Keep it Brief

Your call-to-action is not an opportunity to make a long-winded sales pitch—your copy should have already convinced the visitor. Instead, the CTA is sending them in the right direction. Don’t over complicate it with long sentences and explanations. Hubspot suggests aiming for 90 to 150 characters.

5. Highlight Your Key Benefits

Use your product or service highlights to get your visitor’s attention. Try to directly tie those benefits into clicking through your link. You should have taken the copy as an opportunity to expound upon the important stuff, but the call-to-action is your way of saying, “You want this. Let’s make it happen.”

6. Think Wisely about Placement

Most marketers place their CTA above the fold or at the bottom of the page. Both can be effective positions, but think about the story you’re writing for your visitor. Let the CTA be the culmination of a well-thought out marketing message.

The ultimate truth is that there is no perfect CTA that applies across the board—instead, experiment to find what works best for your site. If you receive enough visitors, consider using A/B testing to determine what option works best for you. With a bit of elbow grease and some luck, you should be able to determine what call-to-action most effectively helps you reach your business goals.

Setting Up Google Alerts to Monitor Your Competition

Maintaining a watchful eye on the competition is a longstanding tradition for small business owners, but keeping tabs in the digital age can often prove tricky. Rather than making a habit of constantly visiting the websites of your competitors or discreetly following their social media accounts, why not instead use Google Alerts to streamline the process for you? In just a few simple steps, you can establish alerts that will notify you as soon as your competition makes a move.

How Google Alerts Work

By creating a Google Alert, you’re essentially automating a web search based on keywords you specify. To establish alerts, simply navigate to and create a new alert using a keyword relevant to your brand or competitor. Choose how often you’d like to receive updates, and voila—you’ve created an alert. Google will email you when changes are discovered.

To ensure Google only sends you relevant information, hone in on specific sources or regions as necessary. Google will allow you to specifically target blogs or news sites, and you can filter results based on your location.

Why Monitor Your Competition?

Paying close attention to activity within your industry is an important step for any marketer. This process gives you the information you can use to improve your business strategy. Using Google Alerts for competitive analysis, you can easily:

● Identify Competitive Advantages: What are your competitors doing correctly? Why are customers choosing these brands over your own?
● Review Promotional Campaigns: Are you competitors running sales or special discounts to snare new buyers? You may want to consider price matching or going a step further with a better deal.
● Discover Potential Weaknesses: What areas is your competitor neglecting that you could exploit to gain customers?

Additional Tools for Competitive Analysis

Google Alerts is a great tool for getting started monitoring your competitors online, but there are plenty of additional resources available to get a better view of the big picture. Social Mention is one such tool, a free platform that allows you to peruse social platforms for brand references. Google Keyword Planner is also a valuable resource for learning more about your competitors’ page ranks and traffic for various keywords.

Connecting with Your Target Audience Online

Spending thousands of dollars on thoughtful advertising and promotional tools could prove fruitless for your business if you don’t target the right audience. Unfortunately, many small companies take an overly simplistic approach to their digital marketing efforts. “If you build it, they will come” is a nice movie quote, but it has next to no relevance for online marketers. Instead of spinning your metaphorical wheels trying to gain traction on the web with no results, use the following keys to effectively reach your target audience.

Meet Consumers Where They Gather

Before spending countless hours building a thoughtful social presence for your business, take the time to research consumer trends online. For example, are you aware that 53% of adults aged 18-29 use Instagram? On the other hand, Pinterest is overwhelmingly dominated by female users.

Just like different social groups find their own meeting spots in the real world, digital users congregate in a wide assortment of destinations. Spend some time learning where your target audience interacts on the web, and join the conversation to maximize your marketing efforts.

Spark the Right Discussion

Engaging with users is a buzzword for marketing experts because it represents one of the most powerful tools available for modern businesses. Consumers who interact with brands online are more likely to make a purchase, but it’s important to start the right discussion. Blogging and content creation is one accessible means of sparking a conversation with your audience members, but you need to think thoughtfully about what your audience wants to read.

If you’re feeling stumped, use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords. You can also search the web for the most influential blogs in your niche. If possible, consider building partnerships with these entities, who can send traffic and readers your direction. Organize a giveaway, cross promote, or author a guest blog to reach those elusive readers.

Choose Targeted Ads

If you’re ready to take your marketing prowess to the next level, consider using targeted digital ads to increase your footprint on the web. Most web-based advertising publishers allow you to carefully outline which consumers you want to target. Google is perhaps the best-known advertising channel on the internet, with its trailblazing AdWords product, but don’t overlook smaller networks. You can also consider advertising on social platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Connecting with the right audience is no simple feat, but don’t be discouraged by a lack of progress. Just like building a social circle takes time when you move to a new city, you’ll need to spend some time cultivating your business following on the web. With diligent, continual effort on your part, you should manage to reach your target audience and grow your business over time.

UX Design and Why It Matters

Content is king, or so the old adage goes, but what happens when you neglect the design of your business website? If your website isn’t easy to use, you’ll send your bounce rate soaring. You’re missing out on potential leads and sales, all because you forgot to make user experience a priority.

Don’t let this happen to you—instead, learn how to use UX design to keep visitors engaged and convert casual readers into buyers.

What is UX Design?

The premise behind UX design is very simple: designing products that are easy and enjoyable to use. Every physical product on the market undergoes extensive UX testing, but many business owners mistakenly overlook user experience on the web.

Don’t focus exclusively on the visual appeal of your brand’s website, but keep your eyes peeled for potential trouble spots that could be confusing your audience. Design no nos include confusing navigation systems, pages that aren’t optimized for mobile viewers, and a convoluted layout.

Avoiding the Ramifications of Bad Design

If your site employs a bad design, you’ll find yourself dealing with a laundry list of unpleasant problems. Visitors will quickly give up, meaning you’ll lose the opportunity to connect with a new buyer. Existing customers may change their opinion of your brand, as bad design comes across as unappealing and outdated. Furthermore, you’ll make yourself an easy target for competitors looking to swoop in and steal your customers.

Keep yourself in the clear by partnering with the right web developer. Modern websites are composed of a wide assortment of different components, each of which play an important role in the success online. Whether you’re in the market for a website overhaul or you’re starting at the very beginning, choose a designer who is confident talking to you about the ins and outs of UX design, right alongside factors like color scheme, visual imagery, and logo placement.

Finding the Right Balance with Content

Content is rarely considered in conversations about UX design, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an important factor in your website’s usability. Just as a bad navigation system can send visitors into the black hole, poorly optimized content will leave your visitors feeling confused.

Effective UX copy should be concise, clear, and easy to understand. Your copy should work in direct partnership with the overall appearance of your website. To better understand the role content plays in UX design, consider this overview of UX copywriting.

Making a powerful impact online is of the utmost importance. Remember, the first impression is often the only impression a digital user has of your brand—there are no second chances. Don’t send your buyer scurrying for the hills by neglecting one of the fundamental keys of website design. Partner with the right web developer, and continually monitor your site’s performance to ensure you’re on the right track.