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Posts Tagged ‘products’

Business Marketing Tip: Focus on the Positive

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Focus on the PositiveHave you struggled to achieve satisfactory results from past business marketing efforts? You’re not alone. Most entrepreneurs waste lots of valuable time struggling to find effective advertising solutions. Trying to grow a business and spending a small fortune in the process, only to get back very little in return, is a painful and unpleasant experience. The failure to bring on new clients via effective advertising will keep you from becoming successful. This inability to generate leads is common in new businesses, and forces most one-time business owners to abandon their dreams, back to the safety of a 9 to 5.

 

Don’t let past marketing efforts that failed to produce new clients lead to a fear of failure, or convince you to abandon advertising completely. It takes money to make money, all successful business owners and managers embrace this fact. New clients are a necessity for any business to grow and remain strong, without them your business will fail. So, the question is not whether you should market your business, the question is how can you best market your business? Yes it takes money to make money, but that money needs to work smart to make an impact. You need to find out how to allocate the money you do have into advertising methods that guarantee higher margins of profitability, and invest your advertising budget in new lead generation techniques that result in a measurable increase in new clients.

 

How could a profitable advertising campaign help your business grow? Visualize the success you want, and then focus your resources on the positive to make it happen. A positive outlook could provide the spark you need to evaluate and learn from negative advertising experiences, and create a successful marketing plan from past failures. Here’s how:

  • Go back and make note of every advertising method you have ever tried in the past
  • Now examine and make note of all of the current ways you are spending money to advertise your business
  • List each marketing type above in a spreadsheet
  • For each method in the list, write down the total amount of money spent on that advertising method to date
  • You should also calculate in the cost of time allocated by staff members to the total amount spent for each
  • Now add up how much projected revenue you’ve gained from each of those methods to date
  • Including recurring revenue from clients who found you via that one method but used your services multiple times

 

Your list may resemble the following, an example marketing analysis data provided by a Phoenix area IT firm:

 

Marketing Methods Analysis

 

How can you take a list like this one, built with data from your own business, and focus on the positive to turn around negative advertising adventures? To start, look at your list as a framework to learn from and build upon. The first step is to identify which advertising methods work and discard all others. It’s important to avoid wasting marketing budget if you want your business to grow. See the following graphic, we went through our sample list and crossed out all forms of marketing that resulted in wasted budget:

 

 

The above methods, crossed out in red, cost a total of $142,112 but only resulted in a total of $12,224 in revenues. That’s a total loss of $129,888. The first step towards success in marketing is eliminating those methods that fail to generate more revenue than they expend. If you are losing money, consider another medium. Your most important resource as a business owner is time, so don’t wait forever to take action. Reallocate your budget immediately by eliminating every advertising method you’re spending money on that isn’t working (those items in red above). Once you free up this money, you can either move those funds to advertising methods on your list that are proven to be profitable, or try new marketing avenues that you haven’t yet explored.

 

Focus on the Positive to Improve Your Advertising

To improve on advertising methods that are not as profitable as they could be, the solution is to focus on the positive. The return for methods on your list that are close to break-even can usually be improved by making a few adjustments. In our example above, the question was how can we improve our video ads to make them more profitable? For your list, evaluate your products and services from the your customer’s point of view. What service or product are you currently providing that existing clients really like? Think about all the positive qualities of your product, service, and offer, and hone in on what your customers are looking for. Next, change up the message in your lower performing advertising methods to better deliver on the needs and wants of your ideal client. It doesn’t matter if you’re creating articles for content marketing or producing videos for social media sites. Pour your enthusiasm and pack value into what you’re doing, the main idea here is to focus on the positive. In our case, for a recent video content marketing campaign, we re-thought the entire campaign to come up with ways we could produce higher quality videos that were more engaging, entertaining, and useful for our target clients.

 

Whatever you do, keep a positive mindset and don’t be afraid to invest in your business. Remember, it takes money to make money. While you should definitely try new things, you should also keep a watchful eye on your investments and tend to them on a regular basis to maximize results. Doing so will allow you to eliminate obstacles and negative investments, focus in on those things that are working well, and create powerful new marketing messages to attract new customers.

 

 



seenBEST Web Design

Email Marketing: Keeping Clients Informed

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

This article is part of a series of twenty articles. Click to read: The Top 20 Web Marketing Concepts Your Next Website Design Company Should Know

 
Email marketing is one of the easiest, most inexpensive ways to keep the name of your business in front of your clients on a frequent, consistent basis, and has become an exceptionally popular form of advertising. If you aren’t taking advantage of the benefits of email marketing, consider these statistics:

 

  • A study by the Direct Marketing Association estimated that email marketing would generate an ROI of $42.08 for every dollar spent on it in 2010, outperforming all the other direct marketing channels studied.
  • Nearly 90% of consumers use email (2010 Digital Marketing Fact Book).
  • In 2011, 88% of business-to-consumer firms and 71% of business-to-business firms are using email marketing (Forrester Research).
  • U.S. online retail sales (excluding auto, travel, and prescription drugs) are forecast to reach $248.7 billion by 2014 (Forrester Research).

 

So – what is email marketing?

 

Email marketing is sending electronic mail to a list of customers and prospects to deliver your marketing messages and help you stay in contact with people on your list. Companies send regularly scheduled emails to build customer loyalty and trust, increase sales, and strengthen brand recognition.

 

However, a successful email marketing campaign today is not just about selling your products or services. It is important to understand: consumers don’t want to be sold. According to the Custom Content Council, 73% of consumers prefer to get helpful articles rather than ads from companies. And 61% are more likely to buy from those companies. By sending relevant, informative email communications on a regular basis, you can build a strong relationship with your readers. This relationship will set you apart from the competition, companies that send messages that are often viewed as SPAM in the eyes of the recipients.

 

What are some of the benefits of email marketing?

 

  1. Save money and time – Email is an inexpensive and fast way to reach large numbers of people.
  2. Build your company’s reputation as an expert – If you are too busy to generate your own content, a professional online marketing firm can generate and publish industry specific content for your business.
  3. Grow your prospect list – There are multiple ways to expand your list of email contacts, from website embedded subscription forms, to social media, giveaways, events, and more.
  4. Keep your company visible – Put your name in front of people often so they’ll remember you when they or their friends need you.
  5. Track results easily – Numerous web analytics are available to learn how effective each email was and how to improve future email performance.
  6. All marketing campaigns increase in effectiveness – Combine email with social media, website, newspaper ads, bulk mail, and radio … and multiply the results.
  7. Communicate with people who want your email – Use opt-in lists and advanced email marketing tools to ensure the highest open rates and avoid being blacklisted.

 

There are several important ingredients that must be present in order for an email marketing campaign to achieve the desired results. Great content is only one of those ingredients, successful email marketers know that other processes must be followed closely. To create powerful results, email marketing campaigns must:

 

  • Provide fresh and relevant content.
  • Utilize regularly updated sources of email contacts.
  • Brand the email message properly at time of distribution.
  • Use a compelling subject line to cut through the clutter.
  • Maintain proper controls over the system of email distribution.
  • Empower email marketing with social media and sharing tools to help spread the message further.

 

Our team of online marketing experts at seenBest Web Design in Phoenix, Arizona, help your business maximize email marketing results. We help build email lists from client databases and other sources and then import those lists into the proper email marketing software, based on marketing objectives. We then help brand the email message to match your business cards, websites, and other marketing collateral. We provide content writing services that will create fresh, regular content to use in email marketing campaigns and help inform and energize your client base. From start to finish, we help your company create and manage a regular newsletter email campaign, including template design and content selection. We help embed newsletter/email sign-up forms on websites and utilize other sources, such as social networks, to expand your list and maximize the distribution of your message.

 

We have been helping businesses achieve their marketing goals throughout the Phoenix, Arizona, metro area since 1995. Contact us today for a free expert consultation and find out how we can help your business increase sales and maximize ROI through the use of email marketing. Call (602) 456-0150.

 


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seenBEST Web Design

Web Design that Captures Visitors and Creates New Customers

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Why is professional web design so important for the success of your business? It has a lot to do with packaging, which is one of the most important aspects of marketing. Imagine that you’re interviewing a dozen candidates for a new assistant position to work for you directly. Who are you more likely to hire: A candidate who shows up late in torn jeans, doesn’t seem interested in the job, and doesn’t speak to what you’re looking for? Or the well-polished candidate who is dressed nicely, friendly, knowledgeable about your company, and hits it off with you right from the start?

 

Website the Sales Rep

Packaging is the process of glamorizing your products or services in order to attract the customer’s attention. When there are hundreds or thousands of other websites offering the same products or services as your business, would you rather be the poorly dressed applicant with a communication problem or the sharply dressed and crisply spoken candidate that appeals to your customer’s needs? Most people on first glance will choose the business that presents the most pride in their company by exuding a professional image through their website.

 

A website makes a statement about your company. It is often the first and only impression potential clients have of your company. Attractive web design lends credibility to your business and leaves a positive impression on visitors. Researchers have found that people form an opinion of a website and the company it represents in less than one second. If that opinion is not positive, they will immediately click off your site to go to another site. With so many options available to the digital consumer, how do you create and design a successful website that sets you apart from the competition?

 

Designing a website that stands above the competition requires a combination of several unique talents that are often difficult or impossible to obtain in one place. There are a lot of ‘web designers’, ‘web design companies’, and ‘do it yourself website’ packages out there. Unfortunately, very few of these available options master the complex art of successful web design that will result in increased sales and business leads. Doing this correctly in a way that doesn’t waste your time or your money requires:

 

  • A good understanding of web psychology
  • Extensive experience with marketing technique
  • Current knowledge of web usability issues
  • The unique ability to position one company apart from and above all others
  • A grasp of modern design standards and skills with the manipulation of digital imagery to tell a story

 

A professionally designed website will capture visitors in those crucial first seconds, stand out from the competition, build customer base and increase sales. Consider these elements when looking for help to design your next corporate website:

 

  • Adoption of user experience conventions. Users expect to find certain things on every website, such as a clear to understand company logo and message, ease of navigation, and the ability to quickly find the information they are looking for.
  • Principles of layout design and proximity. Design must consider the psychological effect of such elements and principles as graphics, white space, cleanliness, placement above and below “the fold,” and grouping like items.
  • Valuable, quality content. Users want information about your company’s products and services. Quality content will improve your search engine rankings.
  • Load time. Speed is key. Users will wait no more than 8-10 seconds for a page to load. And search engines will rank your site higher when pages load faster.
  • Browser compatibility. Your website must follow standard protocols to open properly in any browser.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO). Sites listed in the top half of the first page of search results capture 99% of all new business generated online. Keyword selection, localization, and constant updating of content are some of the elements necessary to get a high website ranking.

 

Today, over 86% of small businesses have a website. With so much competition, making your website stand out is challenging. A professionally-designed website will reach more people and give your company the image you want to portray. seenBest Web Design employ a team of online marketing experts with over a decade of experience designing successful websites that get results. Contact us today for more information (602) 456-0150.

 

 


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Does Your Best Sales Representative Dress Poorly?

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Merriam-Webster defines company as: “An association of persons for carrying on a commercial or industrial enterprise.”

The key phrase in all of this being ‘persons’. We all know that companies are comprised of real people, people that are doing all of the talking, all of the selling, all of the business. If a company has a story to tell, the people of that company are always ready to deliver the message. But what if your company was its own person, with its own voice? If your business could speak for itself what would it say? Wouldn’t it be great if your company, as an entity, could walk around on its own accord, talk to interested parties, and bring in new business all on its own? Interestingly enough if you have a website for your business that’s exactly what it’s doing. Most people don’t think of a website in this way, but that IS the reality of what is happening. In this digital age no one makes a purchase without first looking over the website of the business where they intend to buy.

Long after the lights go out at night and when all of the employees are sleeping, on major holidays, even while your best human sales representative is at home in bed sick with the flu, the company website is still there. And it’s talking. It’s constantly networking, shaking hands, telling stories about your business and singing sales jingles into the ears of its visitors. Your website is your very best sales representative, working longer, harder, and more effectively than any other person on your team. So if your website is dressed poorly, is shy around strangers, or knows very little about the products and services your company has to offer things are going to start going downhill really fast.

A well designed website has unlimited potential to sell products and make money for your business. It can talk to 20, 50, 100 people all at the same time. It can talk to anyone, anywhere, without boundaries. So if your website is your best sales representative why wouldn’t you want it to look as sharp as possible? The internet is like a large banquet hall stuffed full packed with competitors. For every one interested buyer there are 100 other representatives from 100 other companies ready to compete. You better hope that your sales rep is pretty darn impressive if you’re going to walk out of that room with a sale! That’s where seenBEST Web Design comes in. We are the personal stylists, image consultants, and speechwriters for your website. We go into that banquet hall, look at everyone standing in the room, and take detailed notes about how they look and what they say. We then put together a look and script for YOUR sales representative that beats them all.

Your Best Sales RepresentativeWe design websites for your business using all of the latest web technologies and the very best graphic designs. Remember, when your website walks into that room we want it to be sharp. Not too flashy, however. We don’t want your website to walk in with a goofy looking fluorescent green suit because that’s not going to be effective either. We want it to look professional, clean and crisp. Looks, however, are only part of the equation. Remember when your mother told you that beauty is only skin deep? If your website is beautiful but cannot speak clearly and effectively in front of others it will never amount to anything. That is why we sit down with you and your team, learn everything we can about your business, who your clients are, who your target audience is, and the story behind your company and why it exists and is successful. We then wrap all of that into a clear and concise message. When all is said and done, your website is not just beautiful; it is speaking words of gold to everyone close enough to hear.

And after your website is looks and sounds amazing we can do a whole lot more. We can deliver truckloads of new leads to come visit and listen to its sales pitch (online marketing), we can get it first in line at the ticket counter to every hot business mixer in the city (SEO), and we can give it a bullhorn to shout your company message out to a crowded room (Social Media). But first and long before ANY of that happens, let’s again double check and make sure that it looks and sounds perfect. Otherwise, you’re just paying a lot of money to send out a poorly dressed sales representative that knows nothing about your business. Now how effective do you think that will be?



seenBEST Web Design

Importing a CSV of products to Magento

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

We have recently designed a highly functional new online store for a client of ours using the advanced Magento shopping cart, taking eCommerce for this business to an entirely new level! We ran into a small snag during the initial stages of development as the client has a proprietary database system that stores detailed information for several hundred products. Their database software held everything from product name, pricing information, description. The client did not have the time to recreate all of the product information in the back-end of Magento using the built in tools. So, the challenge: How do we extract this information from their locally installed database information in a way that could be easily imported and put to work in Magento?

Fortunately, the database storing the client product details provides a mechanism to export product information to a CSV file. While it wasn’t pretty, the data was all there on the export. Sorting through 30 fields of data we didn’t need, we found fields for product name, model, color, asking price, category, and photo name. The trick now was figuring out how to map and then import this data into Magento.

The trick that helps you with a Magento import is knowing what’s absolutely necessary to import, and supplying that data in your own custom xls file. To do that, we added a product manually through the Magento interface. Here’s how:

  • Click on catalog/manage products
  • Click on Add Product
  • Click through to enter a name, description, short description, sku, weight, status (enabled), and set visibility.
  • Go to prices, enter a price, and tax class
  • Click to the inventory area and set an initial quantity, then change stock availability to in stock
  • Click to the category area and assign the new product to a category

Now save your product. If everything went according to plan, you will see your new product listed in your store under the selected category you selected previously. Great! Now that we have a functional product to work with, one that appears in the store, it’s time to export that data to a CSV file.

Exporting Magento items:

  • Go to system, import/export, profiles from the admin panel
  • Click on export all products
  • The default values are fine, CSV/Tab Separated, attribute names, all fields
  • Click on run profile to generate your CSV file

Now look in your Magento directory on your server, and find the var/export folder. The file export_all_products.csv will be on your server, download this to your local computer and open it in your favorite spreadsheet program (Excel works well!).

Now comes the tricky part. View export_all_products.csv side by side with a CSV of the data from your other database product. You are going to need to make the data from your previous database match the Magento data. I don’t want to tell you exactly how to do it, there are many different paths you can take to get to the same result. Find the fastest way that works for you. For me, it was as easy as deleting all of the columns from the old database CSV that weren’t used in Magento, renaming the column names to match similar columns in Magento, then creating columns that Magento needed that did NOT exist in the old data and pre-populating it with standard info. The fill function in Excel is extremely useful for this.

At the very least, you will want to make sure you have these columns:

  • store
  • websites
  • attribute
  • type
  • category
  • sku
  • name
  • url_key
  • url_path
  • price
  • weight
  • description
  • short description
  • status
  • tax_class_id
  • visibility
  • enable
  • qty
  • product_name
  • product_type_id

Try to be as complete as possible, and include as many (if not all) of the fields from the original Magento export as you can in your new set of data to import. Leaving out something important could result in a botched import!

When you’re all finished and, depending on the size of data you’re dealing with, several minutes/hours/days/weeks later, you will have a new XLS file that you can save, ready for import to Magento. Go to System, Import, Profiles. Import all products. Be sure to increase the “number of records” to a higher value, like 3, if you’ve already modified and improved your Magento memory settings. I also like to import using the MS Excel XML (save to this format first) as it’s less prone to data errors caused by improper characters in the data stream. Save the file as XML Spreadsheet 2003, change the data type, then use the upload file tool to upload your XML file.

The process CAN take a long time, so be sure you leave the import window up during the process. With a little luck, all of your products have been imported! There is a way to do this while including images, but it gets a little complicated. With the method I’ve discussed, you will need to go in and manually upload images to each item. While that can be somewhat labor intensive, I like having Magento create proper names and file sizes for me for each product.

Enjoy!


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Social Media Marketing, the New Word of Mouth

Friday, September 10th, 2010

When marketing products and services via social networking, a completely new and different approach must be taken from conventional marketing strategy. The difference here is in the way people think about social networking. It is a fact that when marketing via social networking, you must be prepared to engage in more conversation and relationship building than ever before. For some types of products, the increased time requirement to make social media marketing a success simply does not make sense. For others, social media marketing can be just as effective as traditional word of mouth.

In times of economic uncertainty, most people like to do a lot of research and learn as much as they can about a product or service before they buy it. Favorable reviews are very helpful to convince potential customers to go through with the sale. In such cases, it becomes easier to sell your products when they are linked to social networking sites that host interaction with existing customers and positive reviews of your business. An important component of your marketing strategy should be a Facebook integration, allowing your customers a way to interact with your business outside of your own website.

Word of mouth has proven itself, time and time again, as the single most effective method to grow a business and increase sales. More than just promoting your products and services on social networks, there are ways you can convince other people to begin talking for you. Viral marketing ideas come in many forms, but the element of success is always the same. You put something out that there captures the minds of the viewer or entertains them in such a way that they are compelling to post about it on their own social networking pages, blog about it, or email it to friends.



seenBEST Web Design

Content is King – The Value of Blogging

Thursday, September 9th, 2010
Content is King

Content is King

Let’s face it, the online competition for eyeballs of your target audience is tough for most industries, and it’s getting tougher every day.  How can you expect success online when facing challenges from hundreds of people all going after the same prize? The key is content and knowing your industry. So many posts and updates and blog posts days are junk. It seems like anyone will post just about anything, as long as they think someone will spend a microsecond of time to read it. Unfortunately, this leads to a tremendous amount of clutter everywhere. Facebook, blogs, email – clogged full of garbage. The way you push your message through all of this mess and reach your target is by posting quality content, based on real-life experience, and loaded with industry knowledge.

Let’s say you have an amazing new product that you would like to announce to the world. The first thing that most people think they SHOULD do to market that product is start making a multitude of posts and updates in many areas as possible. Linking to the product, talking about the product, trying to convince others of the effectiveness of that new product. However, that is not the way to win over the hearts and minds of new customers. A better solution is for you to start describing experiences. What adventures did you encounter while creating your product? In what ways did your product help a customer, or make someones life easier? People are far more likely to respond favorably to stories of others than they are to a bland, one line promotional pitch.

Blogging about your products and services services is a great way to get the word out. When generating content for your blog, think about tips, advice, and ways you can help your target customers. Engaging customers with stories on your blog is a powerful form of word of mouth marketing, similar to having a face to face conversation. It helps to use that mindset when posting, what would you say to a client if they were standing right in front of you right now? When making blog posts, try to think from your clients point of view and make postings that will appeal to their interests.

Generate your blog posts in this way and you will, over time, build traffic and build interest. Content is King, so make sure your content is relevant and make sure you have a lot of it.



seenBEST Web Design

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