COMPETING
CHEATING THE SYSTEM WHEN IT COMES TO GRAPHIC DESIGN…

feedback written on chalk board

feedback written on chalk board

Here’s a copy of an email response I recently sent to one of our clients with regard to content on their website.

For reference, they are re-branding their organization. They’re producing about 20 new web pages on a redesigned website with quite a lot of written content about the services they provide. Our mission is to create compelling text that delivers value up front, rather than falling into old habits of talking about ourselves (like most other companies seem to do)

I believe that if something is poorly executed, good leaders want to know it.
Poor leaders tend to surround themselves with “yes men”.

My reason for sharing is to highlight where I believe a healthy business relationship should become. Rather than being reduced to taking orders blindly, I feel that I am able to deliver most value as a participant in the conversation.

When you hire a pilot to fly the plane, you don’t sit in the cockpit and tell them how to do their job.


Hey xxxx,

If you’d like my honest opinion, I’d like to see a lot more detail and more insight in these texts. It’s hard work I know…and I get that everyone is super busy.

Writing good stuff requires some research, and quite a lot of time to do it right. Maybe some of these thoughts will help us as we move forward.

So, I’m glad to run with whatever you guys want to publish…it’s certainly not my place in the food chain right now to give orders…these are only suggestions to help you win some biz. By the way, learning as we go along is 100% normal. That’s why we’re committing to a process of continuous refinement. We put something out there, then review, and improve it as needed.

In my opinion, here’s the best litmus test for all content:

Consider one of our buyer personas (prospects). When they discover the content/text, will they be impressed, interested in learning more, entertained, or enlightened? Are we telling them something they didn’t know, or is it a waste of their time? Would you say the same words to them in person?

Before a meeting or presentation, wouldn’t you do some advance research, and info gathering? Online “touches” are the same thing, except harder. In person, you’re able to read their expressions and add context where needed. Online, you don’t get this opportunity…they just go away quietly.

Some texts we have so far are really good, but I think you’ll all agree that others are just filling space with fluff.

If we’re saying we’re experts in these service areas, try to demonstrate expertise rather than telling them we’re experts.

This probably means taking some time to do a little research to find useful info to share. We want to deliver some anecdotes, a story, accurate data, impactful statistics to support a case, and insights that help them understand that you know what you’re talking about. They should get value out of reading the text.

I understand it’s not easy…there’s a whole industry around strategic copywriting alone.

Here’s a Solid Social Media Service Example. It’s targeting agencies rather than end users. Section (1.) about Channel-specific social media Services is a good example I think. Notice how there are some real world stats, some statements of fact, advice, benefits in terms of achieving upside – or downside avoidance, and a set of logic that might lead a user to agreement and starting on the road to building authority.

It’s not written off the top of someone’s head.

Sections of this document can stand alone and bring value to readers. I’m sure various sections of this page and infographics are amplified on social media, included in long form articles, morphed into micro content and posts, and curated into emails, white papers or premium content guides, etc.

Also here’s an article I wrote with some basic Tips for Writing Stuff that Doesn’t Suck. There’s a disclaimer about copywriting as well as some tips for you.

Hope this helps, and I hope everyone knows my intentions are only to help you best I can. I know everyone’s really busy.

Best,
Casey

attention economy slide with yoga girl

attention economy slide with yoga girl

We’re living in an attention economy

95% of the Fortune 500 have declined in market share over the past 2 years. Average life expectancy for these firms has gone from 75 years in the old days to just 15 years today.

Why?

In most cases, it’s because incumbent businesses have mismanaged, or have totally missed, a monumental societal shift. They’ve been too slow to react to where the customer’s attention actually is…think Blockbuster and Netflix…or Uber, or AirB&B…

fortune 500 market share

Here’s what I mean…

The Cost of Advertising & Attention

There’s no reason that magazine, television or billboard ads should cost the same money today as they did in years past. We’re just not paying attention to ads in these spaces like we used to.

  • We don’t watch television commercials anymore…we fast forward or pull out our phones
  • We don’t stare out the car window and look at billboards…we pull out our phones
  • We don’t read magazines waiting at the doctor’s office…we pull out our phones
  • And we definitely don’t go to the yellow pages when we have a problem…we go online

yellow pages for problems

Huge Opportunity for the “Little Guys”

This circumstance presents a huge opportunity for small, more nimble companies to sneak in and grab market share. Fact is, the world’s biggest companies haven’t yet determined in a meaningful way that traditional advertising is over priced as compared to the under priced opportunity available through social & digital right now.

But when the big players figure that out and redirect their marketing spend into social and digital avenues, then $80 Billion is going to flood into the system. The price of our attention will go through the roof. The “little guys” will no longer have the opportunity that stands before us today.

So, now’s the time.

To hustle. To get to market quickly. To build brand awareness, and win market share before the music stops.

 

slide no media gatekeepers

No More Gatekeepers

It used to be that only companies with the most MONEY and RESOURCES had access to attention.

Not anymore.

We’re living in a new era where there are no gatekeepers anymore. It used to be that you had to pay a bunch of money to newspapers and magazines to win attention. You had to produce elaborate commercials made for radio or television. Today, access is simple. Everyone can publish content on the internet…for FREE.

We know there will be lots of winners and losers in the coming years – although the winners won’t necessarily be the richest, or the biggest, as it’s been in the past.

We’re playing a different game…where everyone has access to free or cheap attention online.

Daytrading Attention – Gary Vee

Check out this 2 minute video. This is Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s a global icon in the digital marketing space – one of the most sought after public speakers on the planet right now.

So, to Gary’s point, if you’re not committed to winning attention online, you’re already losing relevance.

Becoming a “Media Company”

slide media company mindset

I believe surviving the future is about adopting what I call a “media company” mindset. I believe businesses need to “become” the TV station, the radio station, the magazine, the newspaper…rather than being the commercials on those channels.

He who owns the attention of the end customer wins.

That means delivering content that your target audience finds valuable – not a bunch of sales pitches chasing short-term cash.
Delivering more value than you extract is how businesses win real attention, build trust, and grow authority.

Consumers Expectations Online are Insane…or are they?

Of course, winning more attention is meaningless if you don’t have a system in place to make the most of this attention. We need to convert awareness efficiently into sales revenue and increased customer lifetime value for your brand.

Automation helps, because most buying decisions aren’t made impulsively, but take time and consideration. Finding a way to stay top of mind until your customers are ready to buy is critical.

slide consumer expectations

Consumers now expect a flawless online experience from beginning to end.

Think about how you make your own major buying decisions. You don’t rely on salesmen to help you pick out a car you like.
You don’t call all of the airline customer service numbers to compare prices and flight times. You climb onto the internet and do some research.

If the first site you find sucks, you move on to the next one…it’s that simple.

We call this the consumer power shift. It’s where control of the information and process has shifted from companies to the end consumer.

Here are some things we know for sure about you as a consumer:

  1. Today, consumers want immediate answers to the questions they have, and the challenges they face…they don’t want to wait.
  2. You want to maintain full control over your own decision-making process, and the time it takes you to progress to a final choice.
  3. You want to find useful information that will help you along on your journey, without being subjected to aggressive sales pitches.
  4. You expect the experience to be personalized to your specific situation, your viewpoints, and the device you’re using (like your phone).
  5. You expect to have the ability to access all this information from any device, at any time, and from anywhere in the world.

So if you expect to win any attention or business online, you need to commit to this new world with your online presence. It’s not easy. We need to deploy a compelling, strategic ecosystem for winning and retaining the attention of the people you care about.

old world new world web design

The Old World

So, in the old days…meaning 5,10, 15 years ago, it was about having a simple online brochure. Your website was just a side note when it came to your marketing strategy. It was rarely updated, and the design quickly became outdated. Information was often inaccurate and not very helpful for users. Content was more self-serving and usual more laden with sale pitches than anything else.

Your web presence just was’t compelling because it was never really leaned on as a true marketing tool. As a result of neglect, it eventually became a negative reflection on your company.

The New World

Now, in the new world, man things have really changed.

We’ve figured out that long, expensive website redesigns are really lousy. Writing big checks without knowing what you’re getting is really bad business practice.

With no resources left over after website launch, it’s pretty much guaranteed that the site will deteriorate into a pile of crap in a matter of months.

Instead, the new world of web design is about the entire ecosystem. The website becomes your #1 marketing asset – the hub of everything.

It’s got a modern design for screens of all sizes, always optimized, and 100% accurate. Content is more compelling and helpful in nature so we can win attention and build trust up front in the buying process.

There are always clear pathways for users to dig deeper into topics they care about and make purchases.

Automation streamlines all the busy work, allowing us to stay top of mind over the long haul without a bunch of manual labor. Behavior tracking improves reporting and helps us personalize the entire user experience from beginning to end.

And at the end of the day, this ecosystem meets your prospects right where they’re paying the most attention…online. The “marketing machine” brings more sales opportunities in the door. Best of all, your salespeople are armed with complete customer history down to clicks and social activity. When you get in the room with them, you know exactly what their pain points are, and what they’re interested in, boosting close rates.

The Takeaway

Guys, gone are the days of the “online brochure”…and hoping people just call the phone number listed on your homepage, or fill out your stupid “Contact Us” form.

When was the last time you filled out a contact us form? Never.

The good news is the transition into the new world is pretty easy. It’s surprisingly inexpensive as compared to traditional advertising and marketing methods. It’s mostly about prioritizing your activities more efficiently based on where people are paying attention.

The End

graphic-design-cheat

Alright…who likes golf? …and what the heck does graphic design have to do with golf?

Really not very much, but read on and I’m gonna help you design some cool stuff AND play better golf…or your money back (just kidding, it’s all free)…

So, if you don’t have an in-house graphic designer, you still probably need to throw together some graphics once in a while…

Rather than paying a bunch of money to produce a simple facebook ad or blog post image, I’m gonna suggest you check out Canva.com

Canva is kind of like graphic design for dummies. Add some background images, overlays, some cool fonts and export to jpg or pdf…super easy.

The free program is probably all you’ll ever need…and just so you know, I don’t get a kickback if you sign up. It looks like this…

We use it all the time to put stuff together quickly, like this…

Our services guide lays out the principles around our website design processes. We give it to new prospective customers to help assess fit. Every graphic in this guide was put together in Canva with their stock (and free) materials.

All our ebooks are built in Canva including our most comprehensive Inbound Marketing Guide. It’s 45 pages long with an easy to read layout with some simple graphics to keep it interesting.

beginners-guide-to-golf

Yep, I wrote a golf instruction book…Click the image to grab it for free…I’d love to know what you think.

I like to think I could play that game a little bit in a past life…and still enjoy moving meetings out of the office and onto a golf course whenever possible.

When you’re done playing golf, go check out Canva.

Cheers!

inbound-marketing-calculator

Take Your Pick: Online or for Download

Measuring marketing success can be really challenging. With all the players and moving parts involved with a sale, it’s often really difficult to figure out where things are going.

The mathematics of marketing is actually quite simple.

We use these simple calculations for our clients every week at least, and now we’re turning over the secret sauce to you. It’s actually it’s quite underwhelming when you see it, but some of the best tools are the simplest ones.

We’ve got two separate marketing calculators for you to choose from. Both will help you calculate how many new customers, new leads, and total website traffic you’ll need to generate in order to achieve the sales goals you set.

If you want to bring in a million dollars in revenue every month, great! …but logically it’ll take a certain number of new customers to do this. Working backwards, you’ll need to generate so many new leads on a regular basis to get those customers. Still further, you’ll need to attract an even great number of website visitors (strangers) that you’ll be able to convert into the leads you need.

Using this data, you can find your weaknesses and figure out which areas of your sales funnel needs work. Maybe you need to boost your Search Engine Optimization efforts, or if conversion rates are low, you might want to focus on lead conversion path building. If you’r ramping up and looking to grow, here’s a great article that discusses the outsourced lead generation vs. handling inbound marketing yourself.

The online calculator is a quick and easy way to figure out how many customers, leads, and website visits you’ll need based on the sales goals you set and close rates.

The excel template is slightly more comprehensive, and you’ll have the ability to access any time you want.

Either way, you’ll benefit from knowing what is required from your marketing activities and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. We hope you find these tools helpful.

If you’d like us to review your site and your marketing efforts, we’re glad to offer some suggestions…no strings attached. There are often some low hanging fruit that can serve as quick wins for most companies.

Good luck!

intro-to-inbound-marketing-video

As marketers, we spend endless hours evaluating and reacting to tons of metrics…facebook likes, page visits, conversion percentages, you name it. We know that these indicators help to guide our inbound marketing success.

The problem is that high level managers don’t care about this stuff. 

These “soft” indicators of success don’t always translate to the bottom line. You need to show real marketing ROI to your boss that can shape the way they view marketing programs…and more importantly, the money and resources they’ll allocate to marketing.

Here’s what we’re gonna go over:

  • 6 Marketing metrics that prove the value of your work
  • Outline the formulas so you calculate these metrics yourself
  • Explanations of why certain metrics are important and how to interpret them
calculating marketing metrics to show roi to your boss

Let’s dive right in…

1. Customer Acquisition Cost

This metric shows how much your company spends to pick up each customer. Of course, the lower this number, the better. It’s easy to calculate and if you can show that your work is helping to reduce this number, you’re improving marketing efficiency…and you’re going to be the hero at the next staff meeting.

2. Marketing % of Customer Acquisition Cost

This metric separates marketing costs from sales costs as a ratio of customer acquisition cost. This paints a more accurate picture of the actual load that sales and marketing teams are carrying in terms of bringing in new business.

If this figure is rising, they the marketing department may be underperforming, spending too much or has too much overhead, or perhaps you’re in an “investment phase” with new marketing initiatives that haven’t yet gained traction.

3. Customer Lifetime Value to Customer Acquisition Cost

This figure is a great justification for marketing investment. It’s a measure of how much value your company can expect to recieve from each new customer, as a function of the outlay required to capture that new customer.

This can be a meausure of marketing efficiency, attracting the “right” highest value customers, and perhaps upselling those customers based on marketing data and insights.

You want this figure to be high, but not too high. You company always needs to be reinvesting in reaching new customers…good leverage at the next budget meeting.

business-blog-ideas

4. Time to Payback Customer Acquisition Cost

How long does it take to recoup your investment in each new customer? This number is usually measured in months, but not always. In industries where customers pay a monthly fee, it’s typical to expect this number to be less than 12 months.

Obviously, the sooner you can pay back your customer acquisition cost, the sooner you can start making money off your new customers.

5. Marketing Originated Customer %

This is a big one for marketing teams looking to legitimize their efforts. It’s simple…you’re showing what percentage of all customers started with marketing. When it comes to delivering new business, this is one of the best measures possible.

Ideal ratios vary depending on business model. Companies with a focus on outside sales or with a sales force in the field may be looking at 20 – 40%, whereas companies with inside sales and more of an inbound lead focus might be more like 40 – 80%.

6. Marketing Influenced Customer %

This is a similar measure in a way to Marketing Originated Customer %, but looks at the ratio of new customers that “touched” marketing programs at some point in the buying process. It’s easy to argue that marketing influenced the sale if someone downloaded materials from the website, or marketing data passed on to sales was used in the final pitch.

This measure is a great indication of how integrated marketing and sales efforts are, how effective marketing is at generating quality new leads, and nurturing existing leads. A sale is usually a team effort.

Some final thoughts…

I encourage you to download our little cheat sheet 6 Marketing Metrics Your Boss Actually Cares About (or click image below) to help you calculate these marketing performance metrics. Maybe you’re already reporting on similar stuff, but might add another 2-3 new measures of your success to please the boss.

Good luck!

marketing-metrics-your-boss-cares-about
Inventory Management & Tracking
  • Track inventory across all sales channels
  • Integrate with existing accounting and OEM systems
  • Manage product lines proactively with real time data
  • Offer promotions and discounts to move excess product

Your e-commerce website will integrate seamlessly into your existing inventory tracking system. Many online sales companies place a high priority on tracking available inventory, accounting, and open-to-buy programs, and your online solution needs to accommodate these imperatives.

From a customer standpoint, it’s also important to know which items are in inventory and which items may either be unavailable or back ordered. Inventories are updated in real time across all sales channels.

Understanding inventory can help management implement product discounts and buying incentives to help remove excess inventory or make room for new product. All e-commerce websites developed by Web Design Phoenix include inventory tracking systems. This proactive, data-driven approach to e-commerce boosts sales, increases margins and grows profits for any company.

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Shipping-Integration-Shipment-Tracking
  • Unlimited shipping rules and rate calculation
  • Complete integration with major shipping carriers
  • Real time shipping calculations
  • Allow for selection of shipping options
  • Order tracking for customers via personal account

Your shipping policies are a critical factor in a customer’s buying decisions. Web Design Phoenix will help you establish your shipping pricing rules and ensure that your customers are never surprised with additional shipping fees or charges.

Shipping rules are set up however is most appropriate for your company. We can offer a variety of shipping options from which the customer can choose…ground shipping, air, expedited, next day shipping, same day shipping, and even select for a variety of shipping companies. Your pricing can be fixed, free, contingent upon product weight, package sizes, purchase amount, or based on actual price quotes from shipping companies in real time.

Web Design Phoenix consultants can guide you with either establishing accounts with appropriate delivery companies such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, and others. However complex or simple you would like your shipping rules to be, your e-commerce solution is equipped with the ability to calculate shipping charges and present this information to your customers. Order tracking numbers can be added to customer accounts to enable self tracking of delivery dates.

However simple or complex your shipping rules, a modern e-commerce website solution will tabulate and present this information to your customers before the final buying decision is made.

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E-Commerce
  • Quantifiable analytic data
  • Marketing decisions based on numerical analysis, not theory
  • Understand where customers are coming from
  • Know what may be driving customers away, and fix it
  • Learn what your competition is doing, and how to beat them

Web Design Phoenix marketing consultants lean heavily on data driven solutions for your company’s e-commerce strategy. All of our websites come armed with the ability to track analytics, traffic referral patterns, and bounce trends. We work hard to keep an accurate pulse on what pages and layout structures are attracting business, and seek to change any items which may be costing your company money. You are provided with regular analytics reports, online traffic analysis, and insights on improving website profitability.

Analytic data allows our search engine optimization team to track keywords and website standing among your competitors in every major search engine. We come to understand exactly where your customers are coming from, where they’re going, what they’re buying, and what we might do to attract more business to your website.

Our recommendation and marketing strategies are not estimates on based on theory. Our e-commerce website clients are presented with quantifiable data, serving as the basis of all informed business decisions. We enlist in Google analytics as well as running adword analysis, and website search engine audits where appropriate. Web Design Phoenix experts know exactly what your competition is doing, and what you’ll need to do to get ahead and stay ahead of them in search engine rankings.

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