Building a Better Web Site

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Developing a successful web site is not rocket science. It requires a combination of tried and true marketing strategies and good design. Here are a few things to consider when Building a Better Website:

  1. Choose color wisely. Color is powerful in evoking emotions. Browns, blues and greens are relaxing and evoke a peaceful feeling, while warm colors such as red, yellow and orange create a feeling of energy and excitement.
  2. Choose fonts carefully. Type fonts also convey a message. Make sure the font you use gives the right impression and is easy to read. Restrict your use of type to 2 or 3 different fonts.
  3. Keep it simple, easy to read and easy to navigate. Too many colors, hard to read fonts, flashing graphics and clutter are distracting and may push people away.
  4. Grab them with a clear and compelling header. The header should capture interest, convey what your site is about and communicate your unique value in a few seconds.
  5. Place the important information above “the fold”. Your call to action, email sign up form and unique selling proposition should all be visible without scrolling.
  6. Make site navigation obvious and intuitive. It should be easy to find relevant information on your products, services and personnel. This is where creating a comprehensive site map in the early planning stages is important.
  7. Contact information should be easy to find. Once you have established an interest in your company, make it easy for consumers to contact you. Good policy is to place a prominent Contact Us link at the upper right hand corner of the page and also place basic contact information in small text at the very bottom of each page. A contact page can provide full contact information including address, phone and email and also a form potential clients can submit.
  8. Let them know “What’s in it for me?” Consumers want to know how they will benefit from your product or service. Be sure your copy and selling proposition are consumer focused.
  9. Provide a clear call to action. Tell the consumer what you want them to do next… buy something, request a quote, download a free report… and make it easy. A text link such as “click here to request a free quote” will do the trick.
  10. Always proofread for typos and grammatical errors. Then have someone else proofread. Make sure links work and that everything displays properly.

A web designer can help you evaluate and upgrade your site, or develop a new dynamic online presence, to make your first web impression count!


Writing An Effective Email

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Many online services make it easy to stay in touch with clients via email. While these services provide templates allowing you to create a professional looking email, they don’t help with writing effective copy. Here are some guidelines:

  1. Before you begin, ask these questions:

–What’s the purpose of this email?

–What am I selling at an emotional level?

–To whom am I selling?

–Why am I selling this now – will it make sense to the customer?

–What do I want my reader to do (Call to Action)?

  1. Your subject line is your title and should relate to your message. Avoid words which raise a red flag to spam filters such as: Affordable, Apply Now, Dear Friend, Free, Opportunity, Save, Special Offer, Low Prices, Guarantee, Discount.
  2. Concentrate on your product’s benefits – what’s in it for your customer?
  3. Focus on the person reading the email. Use “you/your” instead of “our customers.”
  4. Be concise and to the point. Put your request for action near the beginning.
  5. Remove unnecessary words such as: that, to, some, great, many, even, right, such, quite, only, got, the, and really.
  6. Keep paragraphs to 3 lines to keep your reader’s attention, or use concise bullet point lists.
  7. Read your finished copy out loud to hear how it sounds. Check tone, grammar and sentence structure.
  8. PROOFREAD! Run spell check, proofread again, have someone else proofread. Check facts, dates, phone numbers and contact information. Triple check the subject line and headlines.

Email marketing can be a cost effective way to reach past, present and future clients on a regular basis. The key is to provide useful and timely information.

Creating an Effective Call-to-Action

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Getting visitors to your website is half the battle. Providing accurate and relevant information, keeping them engaged and guiding them to do business with your firm is the other half. Call-to-action buttons guide visitors to take that first step toward patronizing your business.

Here are a few guidelines for creating an effective call-to-action:

  1. Help visitors find the call-to-action button by making it a contrasting color, however, keep the color relevant to the color scheme of the page.
  2. Provide a compelling incentive and encourage visitors to take the next step. This could be a bonus offer, a discount, or a personalized offer.
  3. Provide an online demo or show a picture of the product in conjunction with the call-to-action.
  4. Make your call-to-action text clear, specific and action oriented. Your button should tell the visitor exactly what you want them to do — Get Started; Download the App; Sign Up Now.
  5. White space around a call-to-action can be used to draw attention to the button and to disassociate it from text that is not specifically related to the call-to-action.
  6. Use directional cues to direct viewers to important elements on the page. This can be an arrow pointing to the call-to-action or the person in the photo pointing to or looking toward the call-to-action.
  7. Be sure the landing page viewers are directed to conveys the same look, feel and message of your call-to-action.
  8. A call-to-action can be used to gather email and contact information for future follow up. Be upfront about what visitors can expect to receive.