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Simple Website Tricks

10 Simple Website Tricks to Attract More Customers

For any business with an online presence, the most important role of a website is likely going to be to attract more customers. If you design your website correctly, then it should provide a huge ROI as those who land on your page are potential opportunities to make a profit and form a relationship. A good website should inform your visitors of what your business is all about then but it should persuade them to take the next step so that they become customers or clients.
This is a sort of science and an art and it’s something that will require a little trial and error to get just right. Even if your website is currently performing well with a high conversion rate, there are almost always tweaks and changes you can make to start converting more of the people who visit into people who want to hire your services or buy your products.
The good news? Often those changes are very simple to understand and implement. Here are ten easy tricks you can start using…

#1 Funneling

Funneling
If your website exists primarily in order to gain leads and customers for your business, then you have a very clearly defined goal for your site which gives you an advantage.
A good website design will take this into account and as such, everything on the page should ‘lead’ the visitor to take the action you want, like clicking a buy button, submitting a quote request, etc.  If your page is currently cluttered with lots of information and lots of links then users won’t know where they’re supposed to go or what they’re supposed to click – they’ll end up with ‘options paralysis’. Instead, make sure that everything all points in the same direction and leads to the same place so that they can’t help but gravitate towards that contact or order form.
A quick thing to try doing right away, is to take the “less is more” approach and remove some of the unnecessary clutter to streamline the visitor experience, and make sure your call to action is clear.

#2 Minimal Design

Minimal Design
In service of this ‘funneling’, it is crucial to use an uncluttered design throughout that makes it easier for the visitor to navigate your site and which makes the design appear more professional.
Consider the following design maxim: ‘don’t decorate, communicate’. In other words, no element on your website should be there just because it ‘looks pretty’. Instead it should always serve some kind of role in helping to communicate your message/aid navigation/encourage sales. If it doesn’t? Get rid of it!
Minimal designs also load quicker, they scale easier in terms of responsive web design and they make it easier to create contrast – which is our next point.

#3 Contrast

Contrast
There are two types of contrast that can be used in your website to increase conversions. The first is color contrast, wherein you can of course make your most important elements stand out more by using contrasting colors that leap off the page.
Contrast can also be used though to make ideas stand out and even products. If you have an online shop for instance, consider listing your most expensive items next to your cheapest ones. Why? Because the contrast will make your cheaper items seem like even more of a good deal and your premium products seem like even better quality.

#4 The Color Red

The Color Red
Using the color red for your ‘buy now’ button will actually greatly increase the chances of people clicking on it. This might sound strange but studies have demonstrated time and time again that this is the case and that simply seeing the color red increases our heartrate and thus our sense of ‘urgency’. As most purchases are emotional/impulsive decisions, this is a good thing for your sales. It also helps of course that red is a very contrasting color against white (as above) which will stand out more on the page.

#5 Social Media Integration

Social Media Integration
When a visitor lands on your website that’s an opportunity for you to get a new customer right? Actually no – it’s an opportunity for you to get lots of new customers, if you can leverage social sharing. Include social media buttons to encourage your visitors to share pages with their networks and that way you can get some free marketing along with that all-important testimonial.

#6 Provide Value for Free

Provide Value for Free
Giving away a free taste is one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to business and things are no different online. If your website can provide some kind of value free to your users – such as free information relevant to your industry – then you will not only encourage more sharing and bring back more repeat visitors, but you will also establish more trust. This is especially crucial if you are selling a service or an information product. It can be as simple as writing a good blog post, so it doesn’t have to put you out of pocket.

#7 Lead Capture

Lead Capture
Every website that is designed to make money must have some form of lead capture. Not everyone is going to want to make an impulse purchase right away but if you can capture e-mail addresses then you will be able to build trust over time and market future products to people who have shown an interest in the past. Your database of e-mail addresses can become an invaluable asset so you need to start doing this right away.

#8 Use Pop-Ups

Use Pop-Ups
Pop-ups containing opt-in forms have been shown to be highly effective at increasing the number of leads you can capture from a website. You don’t want to irritate your visitors of course though, so be careful how you handle this.
 

#9 Beautify Your Website

Beautify Your Website
This should go without saying but if you want people to buy from you then you need to make sure your website looks stunning. This will reflect well both on your business and on your products and you can’t expect people to spend money with you if your site looks amateurish. For each cosmetic change you make on your site, you will marginally increase your chances of making a conversion.

#10 Split Test

Split Test
But how do you know if all these changes are making a difference? That’s where split testing comes in. Split testing essentially means making a tweak to your site and seeing whether that increases or decreases your conversion rate. A true split test is performed by showing versions of your website to different visitors and then collecting data from each (tools like Optimizely can help you do this) but just watching your statistics is the most important thing of all.
So there you go, there are ten easy tricks you can start using to attract new customers through your website. Give them a go and you’ll find they can pay dividends!

Get More Online Reviews from Customers

How to Get More Online Reviews from Customers

You’ve done it – taken the plunge and entered the online world.  You are even using social media now for your business. But do I really need to worry about online reviews from my customers?  The short answer is YES!
In today’s inter-web driven world, a business must be online to succeed.  However, utilizing that online power is what will drive your business to succeed or will dig its early grave.  Consumers today are all about gaining instant information about a business to help them make an educated buying decision.  
In fact, statistics have shown that most consumers today will not shop at a new business until they have read their reviews.  Social media has created a way for consumers to respond immediately about their experience with a business and it is shared with the world.
The same holds true for your business, online reviews from your customers are important to the success of your business.  There are many benefits of customer reviews, including free advertising, improved search engine rankings, reviews can provide a more direct relationship with your customers, and they can really set you apart from your competition.  So now that you understand the importance of online reviews, let’s look at some ways in which you can actually get more reviews from your customers, and really boost your business reputation.

  • The most important thing you can do to generate more positive online reviews, is to take care of your customers 110%.  This may sound rather silly, but happy customers will leave positive reviews if they feel like you’ve gone above and beyond. Pretty simple concept – but very effective when practiced.  If there is a problem with an order or service, take care of it immediately, and make it right. Look at negative reviews as an opportunity to provide exceptional customer service & turn a negative into a positive. Customers value integrity.
  • Pay attention to your reviews and online comments daily (even multiple times a day if needed). You can setup Google Alerts to notify you every time someone mentions your business or website online, or use a service like Reputology to monitor your online reviews for you.  
  • Make an effort and keep your social presence active– answer questions, thank customers, make comments about upcoming sales or new releases, and more.  Give them that extra attention that consumers thrive on. The more you are engaged with your audience, the more they will interact with you, which will lead to more reviews and more buzz.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for honest reviews from your customers. You don’t be pushy, but explain to them that your business thrives on reviews from customers and if they had a good experience to please help spread the word.  
  • Leave an amazing impression – In order to elicit a comment or review, you must make the experience memorable to the consumer.  This goes back to making sure that you take care of the consumer and that they are happy with the experience. When you do this, often times the rest will happen naturally!
  • If you do receive a bad review, it’s okay – but do not EVER fire back in defense about your company, product or employee.  Instead, thank the consumer for the comment or review and make it right. Most cases, that’s all it takes to “make lemonade out of lemons” and more often than not, if you play it cool and fix whatever issue they had they’ll update their original review.  Now, not only do you have a happy customer, you have social proof of excellent customer service- voila!
  • Make it stupidly easy for your customers to leave a review.  The easier the better. One great strategy is to setup a “feedback page” on your website, with links to all of your review pages like Google Local, CitySearch, Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List, etc. Simply direct happy customers to this page, and then they can choose which option is easiest for them.
  • Add a “Call to Action” to receipts and invoices.  By simply adding a call to action at the bottom or your receipt, you are letting your customers know you value their feedback.
  • Print out and display customer reviews in key areas of your business, preferably where most customers will see them. Not only does this demonstrate that you take the customer experience seriously but also you also are appealing to their ego – Are they next to be featured?
  • Thank reviewers publically on Twitter.  Another great way to encourage more positive reviews is by acknowledging your existing positive reviews. Your customers like being acknowledged and you are demonstrating that their reviews have an impact.
  • One of the best ways to your number customer reviews and comments, is by making the review process part of increase your work process.  In short, explain to your employees the importance of asking customers for their review. When you implement an incentive program with your employees, they will suddenly begin asking all customers to do a review.

No matter what strategies you choose to increase the number of online reviews, keep in mind that it is only one part of the marketing process.  Follow-up is key in keeping the reviews coming and ensuring that your business thrives from these reviews and comments. If you do not participate in the review process by responding back and engaging in conversation, you will eventually stop receiving reviews.  
The review process today is about engaging with the consumer and making them feel like they are a part of the bigger picture.  Consumers want an experience. Let’s be honest – they can purchase your service or product anywhere. So give them what they want – good products or services, good customer service, and good feedback.  When you involve and engage with your consumers, they will invest in your business, creating repeat business and a virtually free referral and advertising network for you!

Here’s how to Keep Your Customers Coming Back for Life!

Revealed: Here’s how to Keep Your Customers Coming Back for Life!

Many business owners – make the mistake of chasing after new leads and creating new opportunities without first making the most of the resources and opportunities they already have.
If you have a website and you’re focusing all of your energy on getting new people to visit, then you are likely missing out on a lot of potential business from your current visitors. It’s much easier to get someone to buy from you who has already done business with you in the past, so that’s actually the smartest place to focus your efforts.
Likewise, you’re much less likely to get a sale from someone who is visiting your site for the first time versus someone who has been visiting for a while and who you have established trust with.
Read on and we will look at how you can turn your visitors into customers and your existing customers into repeat customers.

Make it Easy

This is where your branding becomes incredibly important. If someone lands on your website and is impressed by the way you present yourself and what you offer, then you need to make sure that they are able to get back to you again when they decide to bite. This means you need to have clear and obvious banner/design that is memorable enough that they can track you down in future. Likewise an easy and memorable URL can go a long way. You can even encourage them to bookmark your page through a popup or the like.

A Mailing List

Better yet is to get them to join a mailing list or newsletter of some kind. This will then ensure they get frequent updates from you which will keep you at the forefront of their minds. What’s more, it will allow you to reach out to them with specific offers and deals that might interest them based on your previous interactions. Lead capture is one of the most crucial aspects of your online presence, so don’t neglect it!

91% of Consumers Check Their Email Once a Day or More Email Marketing Has a ROI of 4,300%

Social Media

Similar to a mailing list is a social media account – by using a Twitter or Facebook account you can keep your customers up-to-date and provide yourself with a means of staying in touch long after they’ve left your site.

67% of Twitter Users Are More Likely to Buy From Brands They Are Following on Twitter

Providing Value

Another good strategy is to ensure that your website itself provides value which most companies try to achieve through a blog. Give your site a blog and that way there will be useful content for your visitors to come back and read. If your website is literally just an advert, then there’s really not need for them to return to your site unless they are looking to buy something.

Deals and Special Offers

Running some kind of deal or special offer is a great way to increase your turnover for a period and to potentially gain some free marketing. At the same time though, it’s also effective at demonstrating to your visitors a good reason to check in from time to time. If you mention your promotion in a Tweet then you’ll find it’s a good way to attract a lot of previous visitors back to your site who maybe were interested in some of your products but didn’t have the money at the time. Make sure to get involved in larger deals and promotions too like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Black Friday 2014 Online Sales Reached $2.4 Billion

Tell Them to Come Back

Sometimes the best techniques are the obvious ones: why not just literally instruct your visitors to come back to your site? This could literally just be a case of including a message at the end of your content saying ‘be sure to come back soon’, or telling them how often your content is updated or how you occasionally have deals and offers. Of course they might just ignore your request but at least you’ve planted the idea and you’ve made your case for why they should keep you in mind.

Use a Loyalty Program

A loyalty program is a fantastic way to get your customers to come back time and again. Here you offer discounts and other bonuses to customers who use your services or shop with you regularly which gives them additional reason to use you over your competition. At the same time, many people find it somewhat addictive to see their points rack up and will often go to lengths to keep them growing!

Create a Social Element

At the time of writing, Facebook is the third most popular site on the net. What makes it so popular? That would be the social aspect which lets people check in on friends and have conversations on topics they find interesting.
Basically, social interactions keep people coming back because they want to see the responses to things they’ve written/continue their discussions. Simply adding a comments section on your site then can be a great way to create a community around your business that builds loyalty in a big way.

Make Them Feel a Part of Your Business

Using the web is a great way to get people involved in your business and to help them feel like a part of it. This in turn gives them a stake in your success and they’ll be much more likely to come back as a result, as well as to spread the word.
What does this mean? Well it could mean outsourcing an idea. It might mean running some kind of contest. Or it could just mean answering a question and engaging with the audience. Even giving away t-shirts can make people feel like they’re a part of your ‘movement’ and to really get behind you as a result. This is also another very good reason to be on social media and to leverage other social elements.
63% of People Follow Small Businesses to Show Their Support on Twitter

Leave an Impression

Most important of all though is simply to ensure you leave the right impression on your visitors and your customers. At a basic level this means creating a website that runs well, loads quickly, looks great and maybe has a few nice touches that stand out.
Going deeper though, it means ensuring that the entire experience of dealing with you is memorable in all the right ways. This entails thinking about your packaging. Maybe it could mean under-promising and over-delivering in terms of shipping. Or how about packaging a freebie in with their order/sending a personalized message? These small touches are what set amazing companies apart from the crowd and build real loyalty. Show you care about your business and about your customers and you will find they reciprocate!
Outsource Your Online Marketing

Why Outsource Your Online Marketing

Marketing your business online is an incredibly powerful way to increase your visibility and to start attracting more new customers. The cost of online marketing is relatively low compared to other types and yet it’s possible to create a much more impactful and engaging campaign this way when compared with advertising in magazines for example. Seeing as most of us now find they companies we want to buy from on the web, it stands to reason that this should be the logical place to spread the word when promoting your own offerings.
The question then is not whether to market yourself online but how to go about it. Here you have two main options: managing your own online marketing and doing everything in-house, or outsourcing the process to another individual/company who can take care of it for you.
Here we will look at why the latter is the much better option.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Your Online Marketing

Outsourcing
When you outsource your online marketing, you will be paying for a specialist to handle your online presence and to help you reach more customers.  This is what they specialize in, and it means they’re able to advise you on the very best strategies and help you accomplish your goals online.
This is their ‘day job’ and it is what they have been doing professionally for a long time. No doubt they will have worked with many other companies before yours to help them increase their visibility and to get more customers and as such they will know the process inside out and be up-to-date on the very latest techniques and tools. Things like search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing are changing constantly as Google alter their algorithms and as new social media sites are emerging all the time. Did you know that Google recently released their ‘Penguin 3.0’ update? Have you heard of IFTTT and how it can streamline your social media efforts?
The point is, that even if you have a good basic understanding of online marketing, you aren’t going to have the same level of experience or in-depth knowledge as a company that is constantly immersed in that industry. Likewise, you aren’t going to have the time to dedicate to your marketing unless you either hire more staff (which is very expensive) or neglect another aspect of your business. Unless you run an online marketing agency, you won’t have the same skills and expertise as an online marketing agency… And thus any attempt you make to market your business will be less effective than it could be.
Just imagine that one of your own clients or customers decided to handle the service/product you provide ‘in house’ instead of using you. Do you think they could do as good a job as your business by trying to learn themselves? Probably not and the same goes for internet marketing.
Bear in mind too that there is a cost to bad online marketing; not only can you waste a lot of time, energy and money if you approach online marketing incorrectly but you could even risk damaging your company’s reputation or getting penalized by Google. This is why you really need a company or professional that knows what they’re doing.

Why Companies Often Go In-House – And Why it’s a Mistake

Companies
Many bigger companies have a large desire to do everything they can ‘in-house’ and even to buy the companies they work with to accomplish this, or to hire lots of new staff to create whole new departments. This stems from a need to ‘control’ every aspect of their business (often partly due to ego) but it is actually very misguided.
For starters, outsourcing to another company almost always results in a higher quality of work and greater output than using employees. That’s because companies that provide these services are trying to exceed your expectations in order to retain your business on a long term basis and they want to work quickly and efficiently so that they can increase their turnover. Small service-based companies and freelancers then will put in much more effort than employees because they own their business and thus you’ll get better value for your investment. Did you know that the average employee completes about 3 hours of work in an 8 hour day? And that’s when there’s actually something to do… When you outsource you only pay for the work you’re actually getting.
Likewise, even if you hire extra staff to form your own marketing department, you are still going to have to dedicate time to managing those employees. You are still going to have to provide them with somewhere to work and you are still going to have provide them with the right equipment. Not to mention costly benefits and negotiate pay too.
In other words, hiring your own department involves a lot of overhead – both financial overhead and communication overhead. When you outsource on the other hand, none of that is your problem and you are able to keep your business lean and focused while you put more time and energy into delivering the best possible service or product to your customers. Let them do what they do best so you can do what you do best!
Plus, with tools like Skype, Google Drive and TeamViewer providing more forms of location independent communication, you can now stay in constant contact with companies you’re hiring and even work collaboratively as though they were right in the office with you.

How to Outsource Your Online Marketing

SEO
Outsourcing your online marketing then is by far the most efficient way to get the best service for the least expense and is a very good investment. What’s just as important though is that you also hire the right online marketing company and that you take due diligence in choosing the right people to work with. Make sure they have a good track record, discuss strategy with them and take your time finding out whether they’re right for your organization. If you get this right, then they will be able to greatly increase your turnover so it’s more than worth the time required to do a little research.
Steps to Protecting Your Reputation Online

4 Simple Steps to Protecting Your Reputation Online

Unfortunately, the Internet is full of misleading information and untruths. When these untruths involve your small business, your reputation can suffer. Sites like Rip-Off Report do not spend time vetting the information they are fed. This makes it incredibly easy for competitors and others to leave false information that can ruin your company’s reputation.
What’s worse than a ruined rep? The fact that many of these sites will charge you money to defend yourself. That’s right! It’s free to leave a negative review, and it can cost money to reply. This makes it very easy for a disgruntled ex-employee or unscrupulous competitor to ruin your company in just minutes.

What Research Shows

What Research Shows
Research conducted by Bright Locals has shown that up to 79% of consumers report that they trust online reviews. This means that having no reviews online, or having only negative reviews, can drive your potential customers straight into the waiting arms of your competitors. So how do you ensure that your brand is a positive one among the online community?

Four Steps to Protecting Your Name

Four Steps to Protecting Your Name
There are four easy steps that you can take to not only building a positive reputation online, but to protecting the rep you build.

  1. Set Up Profiles on Social Media
  2. Build Links
  3. Online Reviews
  4. Google My Business

Social Media

Social Media
Create profiles on all of the major social media sites and maintain your profiles. Build pages on sites like Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. After you have taken the time to build a profile, be sure to update it regularly. Having a stagnant presence on social media can be as damaging as having no presence.
Update your pages at least once each week. Respond to questions that you receive about your small business daily. And, if you receive negative comments, don’t delete them. Instead, use negative comments as an opportunity to provide exceptional customer service.

Link Building

Link Building
Guest post on other sits and include a link to one or more of your social media profiles. Link building costs you nothing but a small amount of time, making it the perfect solution for the small business owner without liquid capital. If you don’t have the time to guest post on other sites, assign the task to one of your employees. This method not only combats negative reviews, but it can help your profiles get more hits. It’s a win-win.

Online Reviews

Online Reviews
Studies have shown that people are more likely to leave a negative review when they have had a bad experience than to leave a positive review for a good experience. Give your customers incentive to leave positive reviews and make it easy for them to do so.
Many business owners find that by asking for feedback, they receive it. You may also choose to offer discounts as an encouragement for customers to leave positive reviews on the sites that you point them to.
No matter what you do, do not let negative reviews be the only thing people see when they search for your company online. Be proactive in your approach to combating negative reviews. This is the only way that you can ensure your company has a positive reputation in the virtual world.

Google My Business

Google My Business
Google My Business, https://www.google.com/business/, allows you total control of your small business listing across all of Google’s features from a single platform. This completely streamlines the process of controlling your brand and your reputation. One of the best uses that you have of Google My Business is the posting of images, videos and virtual tours. Let your potential customers see exactly what you have to offer without the need to step foot in your store.
Google My Business also allows the small business owner to engage your audience. In other words, you can both monitor and respond to reviews that your customers (or people posing as customers) leave on the Web. Before you sit down to respond to any negative reviews, determine how you will do so.
Any comments that you make in response to any type of review should be nothing less than positive. Keep in mind that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. It’s cliché, but it’s true. Negative reviews are to be expected; how you handle those reviews will speak volumes about your business to others.

A Few Facts About Online Reviews

A Few Facts About Online Reviews

  • On average a consumer consults 11 online reviews before they make a purchasing decision.  
  • Negative reviews can help your business. 68% of consumers are more trusting of reviews that are a mixture of positive and negative than those that are all positive.
  • Bad reviews that are based in fact provide a learning opportunity for you and your employees.
  • Responding to reviews shows potential customers that you care about exceptional customer service.

Handling Negative Reviews and Protecting Your Reputation – Doing It Right

Handling Negative Reviews
You know that your reputation is gold. As a small business owner, your reputation means everything. When your reputation is stellar, you not only beat out your direct competition, but you don’t have to look for that big box store or large service provider hanging over your shoulder.
You understand that you need to handle reviews properly. But what is properly? Here are four tips for handling negative reviews in a way that will leave your small business shining in the minds of your potential customers.

  1. Be professional – always! Do show that you care and do show that you are prepared to solve the problem.
  2. Actions Speak! Show your customer that you are ready and willing to solve the problem. Phone calls, emails or even a certified letter in response to the review speaks volumes.
  3. Handle it yourself! Do not delegate the task of handling negative reviews to an employee.
  4. Document it! When you are responding to a negative review, be sure to not only tell your side of the story in a professional way, but detail the steps you took to try to remedy the problem.

The small business owner’s goal online should be to build a strong reputation. When you follow the advice outlined in this article, you are sure to not only build your reputation but to protect it. After all, your reputation is the lifeblood of your small business.
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