How to Develop a Relationship to Your Target Audience?

Online presence has become a crucial part of every business since the Internet was discovered. Having a niche for your product and services’ information is an effective way to attract clients. It can lead to a lasting relationship with your prospects, but how to develop this relationship in the first place is a step that must be carefully considered and mastered.

A good relationship with clients and prospects must be maintained for it is the backbone of every business endeavor. For newbies, and those who have been lagging behind, there is still hope for you. You can learn from the experiences of others and set your unique spot on the virtual page.

Here are some practical tips on how to establish a good relationship with your customers.

  • Be subtle. Oftentimes, you get distracted or even offended when people push you or force an issue on you. This approach is also deeply felt online. Majority of surfers are annoyed with pop ups and countless links to obvious advertising that they have installed certain extensions to block these things. In order to be appealing and friendly to your clients, your advertising should not be too obvious or offensive. Learn to focus on the audience’ needs and gently suggest that you can help them. When you are able to touch the core of your prospects’ need and when you are able to gain their trust, that’s the only time you can be assured of their support.
  • Be sincere. Along with simplicity comes sincerity. Do not promise something that you cannot really give. A lot of words can even bore the reader…Oh, by the way, people don’t usually read. They literally skim or look over the images in your ad and if nothing catches their attention, they just move on and never turn back. Employing multimodality and having omni-channel that informs by visual effects (videos, informatics, pictures, and the like) can effectively draw the audience once they see that you have truth in what you are offering. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and discover what your brand can offer and what your competitors are not able to do.
  • Be selective. Learn to know where the real clients are. Make a survey. Do research. Study the trend and ask. You would be wasting a lot of money and opportunities if you just copy others or stay where others have been “fishing.” Find your own niche and start there. The best place to start is with your friends. They can serve as your advocates and share the message around through likes, shares, follows. You will be amazed as to how swiftly your message can reach the prospects and you will be assured that these are people who are in one way or another are emotionally attached to each other, thus making it easier for you to convince them.
  • Be swift. In online marketing, there is no space for delays. You have to do it now or be dead. Make your mind and the minds below you process the information as quickly as possible. Concretize each concept in photos or videos and publish it immediately. Make use of the right channels. Go where the right prospects are and show them what you have. Do not underestimate a single-line tweet or post in social media networks. Although you may need some precise and factual explanations to prove your points later, these short and quick releases could pave the way for your prospects to the core of your message.
  • Be saleable. Having the right product or services with a number of benefits as well as an attractive packaging are not the only ways of making your brand sell. You have to convince your audience in a creative way that will move them to act now and choose your product over your competitors’ products. You can achieve this by making sales trailers. Yes, just like with movies, you have to let the clients have a sneak peek of what you can offer. This is an effective sampling technique that is used by the “masters.” Get down and make a story of what you have to offer in bits and nuggets and show these to the world. These short flicks will keep your audience guessing and wanting for more.
  • Be the solution. You may ask yourself, “How can I make a difference? I am not the only one selling this?” You are right, but you can be different and that mark will give you an edge over your competitors. The way you present your information – telling your prospects that you are “the solution,” not only “one of the solutions,” to their problems – is an art that you have to master. Point to the clients’ needs or problems and direct them to your solution. This can be the focus of your sales trailers, pictures, videos, and tweets or posts that you are sending across the globe through the Internet.

As you can see, these six suggestions of being subtle, sincere, selective, swift, saleable, and the solution are closely related to each other. You cannot simply handpick one that is convenient to you and employ it. In fact, to be subtle means to be sincere; while to be selective, you must be swift to act; and to be saleable, you must post or be the solution. In addition, sustaining a vital relationship with your customers and prospects is the bloodline of your business. Although these practical steps may take time and wisdom to put into action, you will be on your sure way to success if you employ them.

Looking at the example of successful businesses, it can be seen that it is always a wise decision to include the aspect of relating to your audience in the initial part of your planning and in the middle of the execution of your plans as well as in the evaluation process. In other words, since the audience is the twin of the success of your business, they must be given priority in every decision and action your company has to take.

 

 

Necessary SEO Strategy for 2016

Google can be scary, especially for SEO consultants. It’s always moving, always changing. And it does what it wants to do, without the need to consult marketers and web content managers. They might be planning on a major algorithm change and no one else knows. With 2015 behind, who knows what Google has in mind for 2016?

The one thing we can do is base this year’s strategy on emerging trends brought about by the previous one. Having a solid SEO strategy for 2016 is very crucial in this dog-eat-dog market. Forfeiting a good plan is a surefire formula for failure. So what does the near future hold for us? Here’s what experts from a Woodinville Web Design Company have to say.

Mobile, Mobile Everywhere

More and more people are ditching their bulky desktops and laptops in favor of smartphones and tablets. The previous year, 2015, saw an unprecedented increase in search traffic coming from mobile devices. This year is predicted to be the tipping point at which mobile-based searches and purchases will surpass those done through the traditional medium.

So how should you react? This exodus to the mobile environment calls for more than making sites more mobile friendly and accommodating to multiple devices. You need to look farther.

Woodinville Web Design Company suggests that you consider thinking mobile in all your decisions, whether it is for your website or your products and services. Content appearance on your website, services pages, product pages and layouts should be the main focus and it needs to be compliant to multiple environments before the pages are finalized and published.

There used to be a huge gap between desktops and mobile devices in terms of site compatibility that made people hesitant on doing searches on their smartphones. That gap is getting smaller every day as more sites become mobile-friendly, giving the users the exact, same experience, if not even better.

The goal is to plan for mobile design, mobile marketing, mobile advertising, mobile payment, mobile e-commerce, mobile customer relationship management, and mobile e-coupons, as well as the integration of all of these into local and social networks.

Half of mobile searches are converted into store visits within 24 hours. Local information searches on smartphones account for more than 70 percent of store visits. Mobile devices are taking the Internet by storm, literally. Local businesses are seeing a major growth in the number of customers brought about by mobile searches. This is the case for most retail stores, cafes, restaurants, and hotels.

Beam Me Up Siri, or Cortana, or Google!

What used to be in movies has become reality. You are now able to talk to your phone and make it do specific tasks. This applies to making mobile searches and voice based searches require an approach that is very much different than that of text based ones.

You want to know the nearest IKEA store in your city? You just type IKEA on your browser. Voice searches start with firing up the assistant application and making a query like “Where’s the nearest IKEA?” Voice-based search patterns on mobile devices is done with question words such as Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why.

Google will be adopting search features that integrate voice recognition on Google apps. The predicted increase in voice searches will be due to the fact that it’s faster than typing text on the browser. There are no statistics out yet on the number of voice-based searches versus text-based ones, but it’s getting there. You need to embrace this change and jump on the bandwagon or else be left out.

To keep up with the change, you need to accept mobile searches and their increasing popularity and increasing search engine proficiency which saves effort and time for consumers. Improving local SEO efforts should be the first step. Search results are dependent on a lot of factors which include product or services details, local citations, and reviews. You need to consider these elements if you want your site to rank high in search engine results.

If you have your own mobile app in conjunction with your website, you also need to make it search-friendly. Google has recognized the mobile app boom and is now indexing app content. You should also make sure that your app appears under application in search results so users can easily access and install it on mobile devices.

Direct Answers and Structured Data are the ‘In’ Thing

What you get at the top of the page when you do a search in Google is its attempt in providing what is called a direct answer. Restrictions and requirements of mobile based searching have propelled its growth. This means both bad and good news for SEO.

This is bad news for other “specialized” search engines and other answer engines like shopping searches, weather sites, lyric sites, and yellow pages. This is also bad if you’ve chosen collection and publishing of public domain data as your base business strategy because Google will be your direct competitor. Google also favors users over websites so don’t expect any change that will benefit SEO strategies.

This is good news if you land on the top of the search engine results which means you are the direct answer. Searches don’t always get useful direct answers because most sessions are composed of multiple search steps. Thus, you still have a chance if you don’t place first in the ranks.

Woodinville Web Design Company’s answer? Structured data. You need to tag your web page data in such a way that it can be easily understood by search engines. Structured data is what makes those thumbnails, ratings, operating hours, and prices visible with the site on the search list.

Data structuring is something that’s better left to professionals. It’s better for you to focus on expanding your business than be concerned with creating and managing structured data. However, it is required if you want search results that are more attractive and lead to click rate increase.

How to Implement a Successful Marketing Automation for SMEs

More than 55% of all B2B companies now use marketing automation and almost half of all companies in the US employ this flexible marketing strategy. If most sizable companies now embrace modern marketing to continue expanding their slice of the pie, there is no reason why small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) should not adopt it, too.

These tips that lead to successful marketing integration will help you enter a new chapter in your business venture and marketing efforts.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation refers to the use of software and technologies that help marketing professionals tap multiple online platforms and channels all at the same time without having to repeat the tasks over and over again. This saves a lot of time and money by reducing manpower and overhead costs. Automating marketing needs is an excellent alternative for businesses that employ repetitive strategies, such as email marketing, web posting, and social media marketing.

Aside from the reduced marketing cost, integrating marketing automation into any small and medium enterprises is also advantageous because of the increased efficiency in the execution of strategies. In email marketing, for instance, automation results to simultaneous sending of marketing materials to leads and instantaneous response to predetermined actions (e.g. confirmation message for subscription). Furthermore, human error is greatly reduced and data analysis is simplified yet made more accurate.

Marketing automation is the most effective method of handling customer relationship management (CRM), especially when a business’ market continues to expand without active plan implementation. This is exactly the case with viral marketing and referral marketing where marketing leads become too much to handle and tend to.

Before you go to the implementation, you have to understand first that marketing automation is a two-way process that involves sending and receiving messages. It culminates into a cycle of marketing plans that changes according to the feedbacks received. The goal of this cycle is to convert leads to customers starting from the first cycle and so on.

Getting the message across to your leads is largely applicable to email marketing, although using mobile platforms for automated voice messaging is also common. This is the first stage or the sending part. To a certain extent, it also covers automated social media posting.

Receiving feedback, analyzing it, and using it to develop marketing materials and sales copies for the next cycle comprise the second stage or the receiving part.

A successful implementation is composed of the successful sending of effective messages; the receiving of positive feedbacks, loads of data, and confirmation; and the sending of follow-ups to close the conversion of leads to customers or of inquiries to orders and sales. The cycle goes on and on with the necessary changes applied until the end goals are met.

As you see the bigger picture of having marketing automation integrated into an SME business, it is just fitting to teach you how to successfully implement it with these easy tips.

  • Generate guaranteed leads.

This is quite obvious since you cannot implement marketing automation without marketing leads. In fact, lead generation is a totally different aspect of marketing that requires lengthy procedures. However, you should be told that only confirmed leads are to be used for the automation, carefully screening the list for duplication of recipient in the process.

It is easy for targeted customers to take an automated message as spam, so sending has to be subtle and not repetitive. It has to look like a part of marketing communication rather than of an advertising campaign.

  • Identify different touch points relevant to your marketing plan.

These refer to the online platforms where the automation software will be used. Basically, you want to tap the platforms that reach your target market faster, such as social media sites. Why determine other usable online platforms when automation is mostly applicable to email marketing only?

Email marketing is just one method of using marketing automation, and it is already a giveaway. Some software are now capable of automating messages to Facebook and YouTube users, as well as other similar online platforms. Do not confine your marketing plan to email marketing if you can tap other available platforms.

  • Prepare strong sales copies with call-to-action.

The effectiveness of automation lies on the message. You have to send clear and compelling copies to successfully receive a positive feedback. A subtly written call-to-action will make your intention clear. The initial message you will send should be affective and specifically written for humans, not web crawlers. Your next messages will depend on the success rate of getting feedbacks.

Eventually, you can categorize your leads depending on their web movements, website patterns, initial actions (e.g. confirmation, rejection, inquiry), and personal profiles. You can also categorize your prospective customers based on their demographic information and interests.

Furthermore, be sure to also focus on analyzing the effectiveness of sent messages and sending patterns. For instance, determine what subject heading, theme, content, graphics, and time of sending bring in optimal conversion of leads.

  • Develop a compelling landing page.

Not all small and medium businesses have a fully functional website. While this is discouraged, you can still find success in just having a compelling landing page. This is the webpage where prospects are directed to should they decide to heed the call-to-action.

This is the time to bring out your best idea to convert interested leads. Many businesses present their sales pitch in video format for easier understanding and instant sharing. The use of visually appealing infographics is also a common technique in presenting compelling statistics, especially when integrated with social proof marketing.

The landing page, for a starter, can have limited sections, such as an introductory page for your business, a contact section, and a link to your sales page. If you do not have a functional sales page but has an account in other e-marketing platforms like Amazon, might as well use that to redirect prospects

  • Use a reliable web analytic tool for web tracking.

It is important that you use a program that can analyze, sort, categorize, and manage all data collected from the movements of your leads online. These data will be the baseline of your succeeding marketing campaigns, so the patterns should be clearly identified.

Web Design Trend Predictions for 2016: Secrets Revealed

Web design trends rapidly evolve, therefore forcing website owners to flush out the obsolete and incorporate the new to their websites. Unfortunately, not all web designer companies adapt to new trends well enough to keep their websites relevant. That being said, if you’re looking for a good web designer company to keep your website trendy, beautiful, and relevant, this guide will show you which parts of the 2015 web design trends are here to stay and which ones have to go in 2016.

Is the World Wide Web heading toward a uniform web design paradigm?

In the early 2000s, the general trend was to get elements that “popped out” to catch the user’s attention. Eventually, every website was cluttered with GIFs, sparkling and glossy icons, falling snowflakes, and other embellishments that Web 2.0 was known for. Today, websites are clean, efficient, and contain only elements that the user absolutely needs to see. That being said, the trajectory for web design is from aesthetic bedazzlement to user-friendliness. Nowadays, web designers, such as those from Bellevue web designer company, want users to find what they’re looking for fast. That being said, web designers are approaching a certain level of uniformity in web design, the embodiment of which is commonly known as “design patterns.”

Design patterns basically tell you how users are used to interacting with websites and apps. This allows you to create sites that, while allowing you to exercise your creativity, also gives users a sense of familiarity (like where to find the contact numbers, where the reply button is, etc.). Check out Google’s Material Design Guidelines to help you get a better grasp at design patterns. A lot of website designer companies also show certain design templates for the sites they create, which give you a bird’s-eye view of what your website could look like if you hire them. If they don’t have design templates, try looking at their portfolio and checking out the websites that they’ve created — a pattern should come up.

Design patterns are probably the most important elements of web design that’ll skyrocket into 2016 and beyond, as user’s needs are made top priority. While you’ll want a certain variation in the color schemes, images, and other elements of your site, you will need to perfectly balance this with a familiar arrangement of the elements, as well as the sizes of the buttons, font styles, etc.

Subtle and Classy

As you may have noticed, apps and websites are moving toward more subtle animations — enough to make a site come to life, but not too much that it calls attention to itself. Flash, which was once ubiquitous in Web 2.0 (who could forget the extravagant “click-to-enter” Flash introductions?) is now frowned upon in any website. In 2016, the trend seems to be pointing to a more classy set of animations, which consequently bans explosions, spinners, and other animations that either happen too rapidly or obscure texts or images too long that the user has to painstakingly wait for the animation to finish.

Here are some additional tips for animations:

  • Animations must have a purpose, e.g., slide-in animations quickly show the user the new element overlapping the old, so as not to disorient the user with a sudden addition of content — this is useful for subscription boxes. If the animation doesn’t have a purpose other than looking good, then it isn’t needed.
  • Don’t keep the user waiting! Swivel and rotate animations are known for this, and it can be a headache to navigate a website loaded with these kinds of animations.
  • You usually can’t go wrong with an Ease-in or Ease-out animation.

All Pages Should Be Beautiful — Fully Loaded or Not

Notice how, in the past, websites would load all the texts first, then the images would have placeholders that would eventually load images by rows of pixels. Nowadays, everything is stylized, including how pages load. Some sites like Gmail, for example, would show a progress bar when loading certain elements instead of sequentially loading each icon. Some sites like Facebook do a technique of preloading blurred images in place of the original images to speed up the loading time. In any case, if you have a lot of elements to load, load the ones with kilobyte sizes and preload the ones with megabyte or even gigabyte sizes (except for videos — people with limited data will not appreciate your site eating up their data for something they may not even want to watch).

Another good way to load a site is by loading only the most current items and subtly loading older ones once the user scrolls past the new items. This creates a more seamless web experience while also preventing wasting the user’s data.

Just Because It’s New, Doesn’t Mean It Belongs In Your Site

When people were just learning to program HTML and its capabilities, they went crazy with a lot of technologies like GIFs, Flash, etc. — so much so that they’ve tried to find different ways to add them to their sites. The result? A mishmash of random animations assaulting users who dared to explore their bloated websites. That being said, avoid the temptation of forcing a new feature into your site just because nobody else has it on theirs.

Let Users Scroll In Peace

A rather strange web design trend that has caught on in 2015 is the manipulation of scroll speed. Notice how some sites add a little animation to each scroll you make? Most users find this feature annoying, as it disrupts their expected navigation pattern, therefore slowing them down. If people wanted a faster or slower scroll speed, they would’ve changed this at the operating system level, so don’t think that you’re doing the user a favor by animating and manipulating the scroll speed for them — they’ll end up looking for another site that lets them scroll in peace.

Conclusion

While there are more trends in web design like flat designs, it seems that some users are also veering away from overused design trends in order to stand out. The dilemma in web design is maintaining a perfect balance between creating something completely new and creating something familiar. If there’s only one takeaway you should take from this guide, it’s to make everything as easy as possible for the user. Do everything to make the user’s visit pleasant; your own aesthetic preferences should not stand in the user’s way.

 

7 SEO Predictions That Will Change the Internet in 2016

The world has seen SEO evolve in the last five years more than it ever did in the last two decades, but the entire progression of updates in search engine algorithms since Google Panda and Google Penguin drastically changed the playing field in 2010 has proven to be just the introductory phase. What started as an extension of SEO for mobile phones has become a territory of its own in 2015, thanks to the major Mobilegeddon update that gave all SEO players, websites, and other online marketers a compelling reason to comply with mobile Internet standards, lest they be penalized.

What does 2016 have in store for search engine optimization? Here are seven predictions to help you prepare for the competition.

  1. Direct answer will be the new demand.

Searching requires time and patience — two things that many Internet users no longer have. Hence, Google is emphasizing “direct answer” for its future algorithm changes. If you remember Microsoft Encarta, that is basically what Google wants — to give specific answers to specific questions in real time. Browsing and typing will be both minimized. Web pages may have to comply with simplified search algorithms whereas users are only shown the relevant parts, more like the combination of the Control+F function and search box.

Voice search, as expected, will play a big role here, especially that the use of mobile devices for online searching has surged in the last couple of months alone. SEO will no longer be a game of keywords and matching but of key questions and key answers.

  1. Mobile devices will completely dominate online searching.

The race is still very close, but mobile searching is increasing as fast as traditional computer searching is declining. It is a no-brainer to see that the future of online searching lies in the users’ hands, literally. The biggest SEO efforts should now be addressed to mobile users to tap this quickly expanding market.

When it comes to ad and app development spending, mobile devices are certainly on top of every businessman’s plan as they have already surpassed that of traditional computer devices as early as 2015. What more can happen in 2016?

Conversion from traffic through mobile devices is also steadily rising, so it will not take long before the majority of online transactions are finally done through these handheld gadgets. That also means businesses will be investing a lot in their own mobile applications, platforms, marketing strategies, and mobile selection interface services. In fact, businesses will no longer have much freedom to resist since Mobilegeddon — like its Penguin and Panda counterparts — now penalizes websites that are not optimized for mobile use. That is a pretty strict enforcement that you probably do not want to violate.

  1. Video content will be the golden standard for ROI in the B2C (business to consumer) industry.

Written content will remain the baseline for SEO practices, but video content is bound to give B2C businesses faster ROI (return on investment) because of its clearer message, more engaging content, wider reach, and potential for reaching viral status. You can attribute it to Internet users becoming lazier every minute, but to be fair, video-sharing websites Snapchat, Periscope, and Vine also deserve some of the credit.

Video and other media will still serve as major peripheral marketing tools for the most part, but SEO will start a compelling categorization of businesses utilizing this marketing strategy.

  1. Local searching will get even more specific.

How specific can local searching get? Apple Watch and the future of Google’s Project Glass are bound to make things more complicated when it comes to local searching (and experts are excited for possible surprise announcements in 2016), but until wearable devices become the norm for tech-savvy-ness, you have to focus on business listings and how to use local searches for a more targeted marketing strategy.

Google’s vision is to put every street and every façade of business establishment on the map, and online merchants are apparently supporting the advocacy to identify bigger but more concentrated sales funnels. Mobile directory search and mobile navigation services will also continue to become necessities for a lot of people, as proven by the upward trend in local searching. In fact, as of 2014, more than 70% of users who have used local business directories and navigation services have actually made purchases or store visits.

  1. Link building will become a prehistoric strategy.

Google’s very own trend analyst John Mueller said it himself: Link building should be avoided because of the many loopholes that bring it closer to a Webmaster Guidelines violation. There are still legit search operators that SEO players can use in looking for link building opportunities, but social media marketing has already taken the lead in this aspect a long time ago. Better focus your efforts on getting the “shares” you need instead.

  1. SEO will be a half-content, half-design Internet marketing strategy breed.

Search engine optimization is all about content. Unfortunately, Internet users are now becoming more visual and as already mentioned, lazier. They will be demanding more user-responsive designs that make everything they need readily available in just one look and one click.

As “direct answer” is bound to dominate Internet searching, websites should be prepared to provide the answers users seek without giving them too much text space to look at. Remember that mobile devices are not as spacious as traditional computer monitors are, so start thinking about what specific information and graphics you are going to put on their tiny screens.

  1. Google will try to monopolize everything.

Okay, that is a bit too far-fetched, but that is essentially what is happening. Websites optimized for voice searching are still at an advantage, but Google actually prioritizes its own sources when giving answers to “direct questions.” Unless your website is affiliated or is partly owned by Google, you may have to compete with other specialized search engines at the second page or at the lower part of the first page at best.

The technology is still too young at this stage and it just happened that Google has prepared for it earlier, too (which is expected since it is their technology to begin with).

The bottom line of these predictions is that SEO will no longer be exclusive to written content. It will also be about spoken content and graphics.