Five Reasons a Website is a Must-Have Tool for Your Business

Whether you run an online business or you rely on customers physically visiting your business location – or a combination of the two – you need a website.  Having an online presence with a website is no longer an option, it is a must.  Not having one is costing you a great deal of opportunity and business.

What are five of the most important reasons you need a site for your business?

  1. Cost Effective Marketing

Websites are one of the most cost effective marketing options you have.  There are plenty of choices when it comes to building your site, and while you could invest a great deal of money in getting a top-of-the-line site, you can also spend a well though-out and reasonable amount of money to get a great site.  The key is to look at your website as an investment.  It might seem like a lot of money initially – though it doesn’t need to be – but in the long run it is going to give you a lot of return on your investment.

  1. Easy Access for Consumers

Websites are available around-the-clock, which means your potential customers can “visit” you whenever they want.  Even if you do not sell products through your site, you are still giving potential customers a chance to engage with you.  They can take action, by asking a question, scheduling an appointment, gathering information, or viewing your products and services, even if your actual business is not open at that time.

  1. Convenience Not Found Anywhere Else

It takes a lot to get a potential customer to walk in your front door, but it takes a lot less to get them to click the link to your site.  A website offers your customers a convenient opportunity to browse and determine if they want to do business with you.  Best of all, they can take this first step without ever leaving their home!

  1. Build Credibility

A website allows potential customers a chance to get to know you.  They can see behind the scenes and understand what your business has to offer and why they should trust you.  Additionally, an online presence gives you access to things like testimonials, so others who have been happy working with you can share their experiences with potential future customers.

  1. Increase Sales

If you do sell online, having a website allows your business to sell around the clock and around the world.  People can access your site globally, expanding your geographic market by millions of people.

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Online Reviews Have as Much Clout as Personal Recommendations – How Can You Can Use This to Help Your Business

An ongoing study recently showed that online reviews are trusted as much as personal recommendations.  This means just reviews found online have just as much influence over buying decisions and attitudes toward brands as traditional word-of-mouth advertising.  What does this mean for your company?

Consumers were asked 13 questions over a period of four years.  As of the most recent questionnaire, nearly 90% of respondents read online reviews before making the decision to visit a local business.  This is important because many people assume online reviews are most powerful for people who are online shopping.  The truth is, people are looking for what other consumers have to say about all businesses – online or brick and mortar.  About 40% of people read reviews on a regular basis.

Not only are many people reading reviews, they are reading many reviews.  Approximately 85% of the survey respondents said they read up to 10 reviews before making their decision.  There are two take-a-aways from this: first, potential customers want a well-rounded opinion of a business before making a decision.  Two, your business needs at least 10 reviews to “get noticed.” One or two reviews – negative or positive – is unlikely to have much of an impact on consumers.

Online reviews are a trust-building tool.  The more information a consumer can gather about a business before making a decision the better.  And there are few better and more trustworthy ways to gather information than to see what previous customers have to say about their experience with a business.  As a business owner, it is important for you to take control of your company’s online reputation and ensure the information potential customers find about you is positive and convinces them you are the best option among your competition.

Over the course of the four-year survey, the trend to read online reviews steadily increased and the trust in those reviews also increased.  There has never been a better time to take your online review marketing more seriously and not doing so will cause your business to miss out in the coming years.

What this means for your business is that you need to seriously consider online reviews as a vital part of your marketing strategy.  Potential customers are looking for information about your business and they want to feel confident they are making the right decision before they commit.  Online reviews are one of the most powerful tools you have to sway their decision.

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Want to Improve Landing Page Optimization? Read these Tips!

Landing pages are arguably one of the most misunderstood aspects of a website. Your landing page is not necessary your home page, and in some cases, it is even separate from your website, though it might direct people there.

A landing page is different than many other types of pages because it has one specific goal. That goal varies from business to business, but the key is to create a page that focuses solely on that goal as effectively as possible. This also makes it easy to determine if a landing page is worth the investment because you can measure the production of the page based on that specific goal. For instance, if a landing page is designed to drive traffic to your blog and after a month you notice blog traffic up 25%, the landing page worked.

How can you design a great landing page or improve upon ones you already have?

Make your call to action clear and direct. Visitors to your landing page should not be scrolling through paragraphs of text looking for the specific offer. Your call to action should be a bold, clear statement that is easy to read and even easier to act on.

Keep text under control. Explaining the benefits of your products and services is important, but endless paragraphs of text are going to go unread. Keep your message simple and your graphics interesting.

Clean up the page. Gone are the days of cluttered pages with animation, mismatched fonts, and bright, flashy colors. Minimalism in the design world is here to stay when it comes to landing pages.

Choose the best, most appropriate images. Your images should enhance your visitor’s experience and tell your story. And as much as possible avoid stock photos! You want the visitor to have a personalized experience and feel as if they are really getting to know your company – not just general images of things from your industry.

Utilize bullet points. This breaks up the text and makes it easy to highlight the most important information on your landing page. If things are looking a little text heavy, but you have a lot of information to communicate, bullet points are your best friend.

Choose contrasting colors. Black and white works, but so do plenty of other contrasting colors. Your designer should review with you color theory and help you use it to your advantage on your landing page.

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Want to Use Infographics? Here are a Few Great Ideas!

Infographics are one of the most efficient and appealing ways to share information online.  How do you choose subject matter for a great infographic that will definitely get the attention you want for your business?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Explain a process related to your business. If something can be broken down into multiple steps, it makes a great infographic.
  • Compare two or more things. Helping people make a choice by illustrating the pros and cons of a product or service is a very useful infographic.
  • Create a timeline. Want to show the history of a product, service, industry, business, or anything else? Infographics make great timelines.
  • Give readers instructions. If anyone is looking for how to do something, an infographic makes giving instructions or directions easy.
  • Divide items or services into categories. You can help potential customers organize their thoughts about a product or service by creating a categories infographic.
  • Want to give a broad overview of an industry or “universe”? Infographics are a great way to break down aspects of a wide variety of information and make it simple to understand.
  • Need to give a look into the negative aspects of your industries, like dangers or myths. Infographics help you communicate the information without scaring people off.
  • Infographics make great resumes. Individuals might not want to use them to search for their dream job, but you can market your company’s experience and talents by communicating the qualifications and experience of your employees using an infographic.
  • Want to make the history of something in your industry, or your industry itself, fun to learn about? Use an infographic!
  • Interested in a discussion on current trends? Infographics make it easy and interesting to break down various bits of timely information.
  • Need to share a family tree – or “staff tree”? An infographic allows you to show relations, chain of command, dates, and other information in a simple and organized way.
  • Infographics make outstanding biographies!
  • Know of an acronym that would make something in your industry to understand? Share it in an infographic.
  • Looking for a simple way to show cause and effect? An infographic can help.
  • Infographics provide a great way to define your brand. Use an infographic to illustrate your company philosophy or manifesto.
  • You can even tell a story – one that is extremely detailed, even – with an infographic. It becomes much more interesting because you use illustrations, as well as blocks of text.
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Looking for Ways to Improve Your Site’s Design? Try these Four Trends

Small businesses are always searching for a way to get a competitive advantage when they lack the resources of many larger companies.  Improving your website’s design can be one solution to help you attract attention without investing all of your profits into a marketing campaign.

What are some of the hottest, most up-to-date ways you can make to improve your site’s design?

  • Add Video Backgrounds

Tired of your old image sliders? Many of the world’s most used websites are converting to video backgrounds and they are finding the response to the change positive.  Websites are going from mundane to stunning, but it is important to make the upgrade carefully.  If video slows your site down at all, you are making things worse.

  • Grid Layouts

Pinterest has done more than inspire users to craft and make home improvements – it has had a significant impact on the design of websites across industries.  Product-based businesses are using grid layouts like Pinterest to make things easier and more attractive for users.  The result is an organized, logical site that visitors love.

  • Large Fonts and Images

How do you get your point across quickly to people who spend mere seconds on your site? Replace your old banner ads with visually appeal type and full-screen background images and videos.

  • Ghost Buttons

Sound creepy? Ghost buttons are used when the only action needed is the one listed on the button.  For instance, a “start” button might act as the call to action.  These have a futuristic appeal and are increasing in popularity.  Entertainment sites are making good use of ghost buttons and the tool is beginning to bleed into various commerce sites.

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Top Tips For Effective Email Marketing

When it comes to email marketing there are several ways you can go about getting it done well.  You’ll want to make sure to do as much as you can to educate yourself on what will benefit your company and what will look great in an email.  One important aspect of email marketing is to make sure that your letters don’t look like spam.  How do you do this?

First of all, make sure you aren’t sending them all the time.  Companies that send emails every day or several times a day will soon have people start to compare those letters to spam.  Next, you want to make sure you provide something of value to your clients in every email.  This can be in the form of news, sales or coupons.  Another way to keep your email from looking like spam is to make sure that you have high quality names on the list that have all opted-in to your mailing program.

There are several ways to get quality opt-ins for your email list.  A few of these include:

Offline Promotions

If you travel to trade shows you’ll have a chance to get new names on your email list.  The benefit is that the people who are signing up for it will have wanted to get those newsletters you’re sending out.  You can also sign people up if you have a store front by keeping their email current and letting them know you won’t be selling it off to other businesses.

Professional Subscription Forms

Make sure that any area you have a subscription form is as professional as you can make it.  This will help encourage new names to want to join your list and hear all about what you have available and what the latest happenings are with your business.

Tie It In To Your Social Media

Another great way to get qualified opt-ins is to tie it into your social media.  If you have a Twitter and Facebook page this is where you would start.  If you don’t have one it’s a great time to work on getting that set up. 

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What Can A Facebook Page Do For Your Business?

If you’re new to the world of marketing your business online, there’s a good shot you’re put off by getting started. Perhaps you have an old website you’re unsure of how to update or another account that is getting you no new business. You may be holding out your online marketing plan but the sooner you get started the sooner you will see results. If you don’t have a Facebook set up yet, here are a few reasons you should jump on that right away.

• Free marketing; just in case you didn’t read that right- free marketing!

• Easy way to contact a large amount of clientele and to stay in communication with them.

• 1 billion users are on Facebook and it increases every day.

• It’s easy to link your page to other sites and pages so you get increased traffic.

Once you have decided it’s time to set up a Facebook page account you’re going to need to know a few things to make it work best for your business. There are several tips that can help make or break your internet marketing through your Facebook account. Here are some daily ‘to dos’ you should follow:

• Respond to other posts so your account is active.

• Wish a happy birthday to those who’ve liked your page and are celebrating theirs.

• Invite new friends to like your page. Remember it is best when they are people you know.

• Post to your account every day and make it count. Add photos, ask questions create contests or share videos.  

On a weekly basis you’ll find it’s a good idea to look into the insights for your page and check out how many people are visiting as well as check into different articles and stories that will be appealing for your clientele. If this sounds like a lot of work to you consider hiring a professional company like Transformational Outsourcing to manage the account.

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Why Sharing Photos Can Boost Your Sales

When it comes to social media marketing it can be easy to get lost on where to start and how to proceed. If you’re one of the business that falls into the above category, there’s a good chance you have sent out some emails or set up a Twitter and Facebook account. You may even have a hundred or so ‘likes’ and ‘followers.’ There’s also a good shot you don’t know how to precede from here and what to do to effectively utilize what you have already implemented. One of the first things you need to consider is your images. There are many reasons you need to have visuals working with your social media marketing.

Consider These Facts:

• People are driven by the visual.
• Most people generally feel more connected to what they can see rather than just what they read.
• Most report having a hard time trusting things found online unless they can connect with a picture.

For Product Visuals

There are many who are very hesitant to buy a product they haven’t seen. These same people may not even want to contact a company or go to a store to inquire about a product if they haven’t first received a visual of it. For this reason, high quality pictures from a few angles can help to display your product and increase your sales.

Personal Connections

If you don’t have products per say, but are more of a service driven business having pictures of those who are behind the sales, the work and the team can help to put a face to your company. People like to deal with other people when they are making a business transaction and this means they like to know about these people and put a face to the name.

People Are Attracted To Content And Visuals

If you have stumbled on a page or Facebook account that was empty of pictures and visuals you probably moved on quickly. Likewise, your potential clients will do the same thing if they happen to visit your site and notice there are no visuals to go with everything that’s written.

If you are unsure of what to post for photos or content to market online you should contact Transformational Outsourcing to brainstorm about the direction your business needs to head.

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Top Tips for Using Craigslist Ads to Boost Business

Looking for ways to increase traffic to your local business or website business can be a difficult task. It’s easy to rack your brain for hours and only come up with different ways of advertising that will cost you an arm and a leg. Perhaps you even frequent Craigslist but have never thought of advertising your own business there. If you haven’t you could be missing out on one of the best ways to promote your business and all it will cost you is your time. Benefits of Craigslist

  • It’s free.
  • It’s simple to use.
  • Thousands of people look at it.
  • It’s easy to target the right crowd.

How To Make A Post You’re going to start by selecting the area you’re posting in. If you’re a local, bricks and mortar business it may be best to select the area closest to you. If you’re online, well then start with a large city and the larger the better. Choose the category that best suits your product or services. You will be prompted near the top of the page if you want to post, you will opt to by clicking ‘post.’ You’ll see another page that comes up and prompts for the kind of ad you’re posting. You can go to a page that is ‘sale,’ for single items or specific products. Here you can choose the category that best fits your item or services. Afterword if you’re posting in a big city you can choose the area you wish the ad to appear in.  Now it’s time to get writing. How To Make That Post Powerful Create a great headline that not only describes the product and lists the price but does so in a manner that entices people to click into the add. One of the key ways of doing this is to make sure to add a new and current picture of your product or services. Ads with pictures get better responses. When possible use pictures that show key features of the item or services. Craigslist allows you to reach a very broad audience and gets more than four billion views every year. In addition to writing an excellent copy and using a high-quality image you’ll also want to make sure that you post often. It is easy for an article to get lost in the shuffle and Craigslist is a busy site. Repost your ad so it’s at the top of the list often and you’ll get better responses. Don’t forget to add a link to your ad, especially if you want responders to get added to an email list or if you’re looking to send them to your site. A clickable link will do better than directing where they should go with words.  It is also not a bad idea to create an account in Craigslist for better manageability, a step often overlooked. Finally, make sure your ad is in the appropriate category and follows Craigslist guidelines so it doesn’t get flagged and deleted. Professional Services Can Help If you’re looking to get great results from using Craigslist to promote your business you should really consider using a professional agency. There are a few reasons for this. First of all getting great results from Craigslist requires two things- time and great writing skills. It’s important to understand that a professional company like Transformational Outsourcing can offer you many things for your business by way of promoting through Craigslist. There are many ways a professional service can help and here are just a few benefits you’ll see when working with us:

  • Fast and consistent services
  • Copy written by trained professionals
  • Results driven advertising
  • Widespread use of the ad
  • Forward thinking and promotional assistance

The more you use the site for promotion the more results you will see. Get started with your first add today and you’ll be surprised at the benefits your business will see. Below are some of the sample Craigslist ads we did for your clients.

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How often should we post Facebook or Twitter status updates?

There is no magic number which will work for all businesses. The best thing to do is to determine the optimal number of times to post to your company’s social media accounts. To maintain a presence with your audience, we recommended posting at least once every day per channel.

Interesting Image

Here are some recommendations that can help you fine-tune your company’s posting frequency:

  • Engagement Level: Frequency of updates is not as important as the quality of the content shared. It is better to post one engaging update if it creates more responses (i.e., likes, shares, re-tweet, etc.) than multiple status updates that are not generating any activity.
  • Platform Differences: Although both used for posting status updates, Facebook and Twitter engages users in a unique way. Twitter users update their status more frequently during the day, and are used to getting more updates than Facebook fans because of how they personally engage with the social media channel.
  • Abandonment Rate: Regularly check viewer analytics to pin down at what posting frequency your fans begin to “un-follow” or “un-fan” your business.
  • Timing: To optimize your post exposure, you may want to figure out the best day of the week or best time of day to post. To provide suggestions, use online services that specialize in analyzing post data, like Edgerankchecker.com or Crowdsource.com.
  • Consistency: Posting status update at the same time each day can set a trend for your audience. If your fans are used to getting updates on a certain time of the day, they will be able to anticipate when to check your updates instead of them having to find it in their feed.
  • Scheduling: Take advantage of Social Oomph, Hootsuite, or Tweetdeck to have a consistent time and frequency for your status updates.
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