Yesterday I found myself spending large amounts of time listening to two websites sell me on acceleration.
1. Tim Ferris selling accelerated learning techniques.
2. Eben Pagan selling accelerated business growth strategies.
I think both these guys know what people want.
We don’t want to wait.
We all want it fast.
We don’t want to give into a battle when there are proven formulas hidden in the minds of our successful predecessors.
You know the idea that we can eliminate the process of failure and experimentation, by simply learning what other’s have learned instead?
Have you heard the saying,
Experience is a hard teacher – for she gives the test first and lesson afterwards”?
I wonder how many people would respond to my services, if I through in with it a promise of “fast results” or “quick and easy”?
Now, I’m not gonna start promising something I can’t deliver. And I don’t recommend you do that either. However, I do think it’s important to truly know the desires and trigger that you customers, clients or prospects have in order to better offer them what they are really wanting.
This post is directed towards small businesses with a store front.
Have you heard of Google 360 Walk-thru tours??
Well, have you ever been on Google Maps, and clicked on a street view to see the outside of a business or residential location? (Most people have)
Google 360 walk-thru tours are similar to the street views, but it’s a business only features that takes you inside of a local business.
Can you imagine doing research for a local dentist, cosmetic surgeon and being able to ‘walk inside’ the location! Look all around the facilities and see different every rooms, hallways and vestibule?
Yeah, I’m sure some people would not want this, but I’m certain there are many other business that would highly benefit from this.
I recently met two certified Google photographers here in Tulsa. They’ve explained to me the benefit and the value of it, and thus I’m sharing it with you.
They say, they only take photos of the rooms and spaces that YOU ask them to. No more. No less.
Here’s a link to the two guys I know:
Why Should You Be Using Content Marketing in Your Marketing Strategy
As we all know, content marketing has evolved over the years, growing from having very little digital popularity, to having millions of marketers creating content for marketing purposes. During these years, a survey has been taken to catalog the changes in the rise and fall of the different types of content and the volume of each being used. These surveys were conducted by ContentWise, a monthly newsletter subscription for the content marketing industry and Design That Speaks is bringing you a summary of those results.
In 1999, when the first survey was taken, the average type of content was a bi-weekly, custom printed publication with roughly 14 pages and sent to about 19,500 people. These were marketed primarily to external audiences, rather than within the companies themselves. Of those external markets, the publications were aimed at BtoC and BtoB pretty equally (45% to 55%, respectively).
However, with the evolution of the times as well as technology, the average type of content has also evolved. The average type of content in 2012 was also a bi-weekly, custom printed publication with 30 pages, the largest amount in the survey’s history. These publications were sent to close to 51,000 people, which is much higher than in 1999; surprising considering the evolution and availability of technology. Wherein the publications were marketed primarily to an in-house audience in 1999, in 2012, publications were being mainly marketed to external audiences, with a split of 22% to 78%. Finally, the external markets in 2012 were aimed 63% at BtoC and 37% at BtoB.
Social and SEO Content Marketing
2012 was the survey’s first time to ask participants about their social media and SEO activities. Of all the options given, creating social content was ranked #2 and creating SEO content ranked #8 and #1 was “non-social-specific website updates”. When asked what forms of social activities they will increase, video was ranked number 1, with 57% of all participants saying they would “use more” in the next year. Web updates, social content and SEO content all came in at 44%, 41%, and 40%, respectively, showing us that nearly half of participants consider these high-priority efforts.
It seems pretty obvious that Social Media, SEO, and content marketing are still important to businesses and that they will most likely only become more important. Design That Speaks keeps up with data such as this (and offers SEO optimization with our website designs). SEO, content marketing, and social media all go hand-in-hand with your website, so it is imperative that we all try to continue writing our blog posts, optimizing our websites for SEO, and sharing to social media sites and profiles!
Spending on Content Marketing
According to ContentWise, “Print remains the biggest piece of the content marketing pie in terms of spending” and the surveys show this. Even as electronic content marketing has become more popular, it has not yet accounted for more than half of the amount of content as printed material. However, we can find evidence of printed material being abandoned when we look at large publications, such as TIME Magazine and others. TIME is one of a few historically large and insanely popular printed publications that have switched from paper to online-only subscriptions; another indication of where content marketing is headed in the future.
The survey’s participants say they spent 13% of their marketing budget on content marketing in 2001, and in 2012, 39% of those same funds were used; the highest in the survey’s history. More evidence that content marketing is simply not going anywhere and it is time to get online!
What Does This Tell Us about Content Marketing?
These surveys give us a fantastic view of how much content marketing has grown and how it continues to. While printed publications have not actually slowed, electronic content marketing is making its own mark on history. Social and SEO activities have each made significant changes in the way we now market to others, and only seem to become more and more integrated in our marketing efforts. Design That Speaks is dedicated to helping businesses get online and begin their own internet successes through website design and SEO optimization and we certainly recommend doing it now! The evidence is clear: you should be a part of this content marketing trend.
Are you using a blog or other social content marketing in your strategy? Tell me why or why not in your comments below!
In today’s online business landscape, the value of blogging is growing tremendously. It has gone from being one of many internet marketing strategies to a critical component of sweet talking Google for better search rankings.
On the other hand, email marketing or email newsletters is just about as old and the web itself. It’s not sexy, not flashy nor trendy. And yet with all it’s spam woes and overloaded inboxes, email remains a valid and high performing marketing channel.
In one sense, blogging and email marketing can be perceived as two completely different communication channels. Email newsletters are sent to an established database of contacts. They often mirror traditional print newsletters with multiple sections, graphics and categories. (This traditional complexity, I believe, makes it intimidating for average business owners to develop and execute regularly.)
Blogs are generally not sent to people, rather posted to the web— then we hope readers will find our blogs via search engines, or our regular readers will see our posts on our websites and will grow to trust us a little more. We may even post them to all of our social media channels hoping one of our followers, fans, friends or connections will click and read.
And so, how do you choose which tactic to give your time and attention?
One key is to realize the work of blogging and the work of email marketing can be the exact same work.
This work being writing, of course.
You’re primary concern shouldn’t be which channel to use but, “am I committed to write?”
IMO, I’d start with blogging, but prioritize my email marketing.
You start with blogging because it has a universal reach and an infinite shelf-life.
Universal reach meaning – your blog has the ability to reach your current network of customers or prospects, since they ALL can find your writings on your website. Your blog can get picked up by search engines and show up in many different search results — then from this presence, strangers can choose to spread your blog to their network via the social sites and tools they use.
Infinite shelf-life meaning – compared to email, which may remain at the top of a given inbox for maybe a few hours or a only few minutes, a blog post can remain indexed in Google for years!
Prioritize your email list – For most businesses, whether start up, mom & pop shop or Fortune 500 company, their greatest source of new business comes from word-of-mouth. And so the relationship you have with your list of customers, prospects and associates will bring your greatest ROI.
Email is a direct message to people who already know you and trust you. Thus, you must prioritize the way you nurture and communicate with these people through email.
1. Yes, you should do both, emailing and blogging, but I don’t think you should automatically send blogs as emails. I think they are two different mediums and should be treated differently (unless you’re in a unique situation where your blog and email audience is the exact same group).
2. I don’t think your emails need to have a complicated design or too many graphics. Ha, just so long as you’re not in the graphics or design business. Often times you can simply write in plain text with a personal salutation. Keeping it simple and personal may entice your reader to read the entire message.
3. If you are not able to write regularly, you don’t need to purchase an expensive blog or email marketing software with outrageous monthly fees. I personally use 10CentMail for my emails, no monthly fee there.
4. For blogging, personally I just switched from Posterous to Tumblr. Tumblr is free, very popular and has many viral/sharing features built into it. Though I’ve considered WordPress for blogging, the verdict is still out on whether I’ll make a full switch to it, need to give Tumblr more time.
5. If you’re a busy professional and don’t have time to email or blog- contact DTS – we can help manage your brand’s online communication.
Here’s are a few new ways I’m looking at social media for 2013 —
If you find anything useful or helpful, please share it and/or take it.
1. Branding over Marketing
To me, the mind set of marketing is ROI – return on investment. I’m normally very critical with my time and thus, I don’t want to do ANYTHING, unless I feel that my efforts (especially business activities) will bring have a relatively soon impact on my income.
However, I’m not realizing or see social media as branding instead of marketing.
With a branding perspective, the goal is making a lasting impression in the minds of either prospects or associates who may become referral sources.
With this mindset, I can assume a patient posture, preparing for future not immediate results.
2. Something is better than nothing
I need to fight off the perfectionist part of me that is just the flip side of procrastination.
By committing to do something, I’m resolving that I’d rather show flaws and be seen- than be picture perfect only in my own mind.
3. Outsourcing myself
My business takes care of other company’s online marketing needs. But who takes care of mine?
Pride has told me that only I can be the voice of my company. And with that, I’m rarely heard from since I’m usually so busy.
This coming year, I’m going to allow others to speak for me. I’m going to be a customer of my own product and see what I’m worth.
The SEO world has gone through some major changes in the past year.
Unfortunately I’m not old enough to have lived thru major changes, however I am luck enough to have friends and mentors who have advised me as the to ways of world.
Concepts like “bubbles burst” and “tactics change but fundamentals always remain have been ringing in my ear – providing me guidance as I navigate this new landscape.
SEO is a tactic to help a company get eye balls to see and learn about their product.
The fundamental is that businesses need eye balls.
At one point this happened via fax machines (so I’m told) and relics on advertising.
I recall 2 years I sang the song of ‘The Yellow Pages are Dead’.
And now I find myself on the brink of worrying whether or not SEO has really come to an end.
Now, of course SEO is not dead. It hasn’t come to an end. Google is still making billions each quarter or month.
But the glory days of simple link building to boost website to the top of searches is no longer like it use to be.
Today, with the help and advise of my friends- I’ve come to realize that I must change with the times. And the my current simply yet profound change is to focus on traffic and conversions as compared to traditional SEO.
SEO is a means of traffic. But this means isn’t the only means. It may not be the best means either.
I’ve always loved helping people. I’ve never loved SEO. But when SEO could help clients, it became a very easy to create win-win scenarios.
Today, I realize that traditional SEO isn’t as simple as it once was – and so, I need to be bit more broad. Give people what they need and not my pet tactic.
Traffic is still critical. And they way we’re doing it now is a more encompassing model, using 4-8 tactics.
And conversions is even more critical. Our ‘design that speaks’ will analyze and improve a websites ability to convert traffic to leads.
It’s a time and season of great change, challenges. But we’re entering new seas of opportunity with hope and expectation… Will you join us for ride?
For inquiries on Dentoola Dental Consulting and online marketing, please contact Design That Speaks! at 918-200-9572.
There are three basic questions you need to answer when you have decided to build a website.
1. What will be my domain name?
2. Where will I host my website?
3. Who will design / develop my website?
With all of these decisions, the most important things you need to think about are (a) quality services, (b) reliability (c) accessibility — to me these are the critical components that make a venture successful or incredibly frustrating.
In this post- I want to just speak on finding a website hosting company.
If you are thinking about where to host your website – I would recommend you NOT WORRY ABOUT IT! Seriously, I think you should first find a website design and then decide where to host it. This is because you will not be able to determine what features are required for hosting your website until it is built!! And even after it is built, when troubles arise you will likely need a technical expert to communicate with that company.
Many web companies will want you to transfer your website hosting to their recommended servers when you start working with them. I use to wonder why they did this since the amount of money they make is so small – it never really mattered to me. However, I’ve come to realize that when I design my clients websites – I become their first point of contact when there are technical/hosting problems. So when the website is not hosted on my servers, I have to go thru a third party company whom I have no relationship with and try to get answers for my clients. This becomes an unnecessary headache.
At Design That Speaks, we host our clients websites at NO COST for the first year, and only charge them in future years if we are not providing any marketing services. If you just starting to build a website and have questions about hosting, domains, or designs – please give us shout!
With the recent completion of our own mobile website – www.dtspeaks.mobi – we are now offering mobile website design services for existing and new clients. (Note: You don’t have to visit that link – just visit the main site and you’ll be redirected) This experience has taught us a lot about what needs to be done to create a WordPress hosting mobile website that works well with an existing site…
NOTE: Though our company is continuously shedding our design services to become more effecting marketing and lead generation, we decided to get into mobile website design because when it comes to marketing, seo, and social – mobile is where the future is heading…
See the following mobile web/usage stats:
- By 2015, mobile usage will increase by a factor or 26. [source]
- Mobile browsers are 45% more likely to search for local services. [source]
- In the first six months of 2011, mobile website usage 77% [source]
- 1/3 mobile searches have local intent (The Kelsey Group)
So we’re convinced, and thus moving forward.
One thing I can say about Flash design / development – was that those who had a passion for it, have a passion to be inspirational. I know when I first began designing in flash, I was drawn to it because of it the creative liberty.
As I mentioned yesterday, with the advent of Apple’s decisions and HTML5 Flash is a dying art, but I wonder if people will be as passionate about HTML5 as they were about Flash.
I doubt it.
Why? Because Flash seemed to flow out of people who loved design and story telling – not writing code. Though of course people who now work with Flash code as well – I don’t think that is the average candidate. I recall hearing an interview of Hillman Curtis – one of my original Flash heros. He no longer does anything in flash. Rather video. (In my understanding) He explained that flash turned into a programmers tool instead of designers tool.
So anyway, the question is – are there any inspirational designs out there? Are they all made from non-iPhone friendly Flash and take 3 minutes to load?
Well, I’m not going to offer any answers but I did want to list 4 of my favorite places to see inspirational design:
1. THE FWA
To me this is the place to get the best of a best – flash or flash-ish designs… Cutting edge. The latest and greatest from the best of the best.
2. Webby Awards
This the classic corporate sponsored national awards site for website design. What I like about is it’s diversity. You can select through multiple category and types like : Fashion, Media and blog, etc.
3. Ministry CSS
Ministry CSS is a gallery of church, missions and ministry websites. Even though it seems like 90% of it’s selection come from one company, I still like to go there whenever I’m going to design a non-profit and church website.
Smashing Magazine is not a simple gallery like the rest, but rather a blog. The cool thing about it, is that you see styles and trends for various countries or years. You can see inspirational navigation menus or call to action buttons. It’s not just websites, but sub-sections or the components that make websites awesome to see and use and sell stuff.