brendon-elliott-little-linksters

Quick best practice share for you…

So, we’ve developed some really cool appointment booking stuff lately for some of our clients.

If you’ve tried to find some time to talk with me, you’ve probably noticed that we’re using the system too.

It’s awesome – no more of this:

“Hey, do you have any time this week?”

“Sure, send me some days and times you’re available and I’ll get back to you”

“None of those days work, any other days?”

You get it…back and forth…total waste of time.

Instead, just add your appointments to your site like my buddy Brendon Elliot and his team of golf instructors at Little Linksters. They’re golf pros giving lessons to kids…they book everything and accept payments in advance right on their site. Really cool.

By the way, Brendon just earned the PGA’s National Award this year for Junior Golf Development…good stuff.

…Or just send someone a an email with a little something like this:

Here’s a link to carve out some time with me to talk about online appointment booking on your site.

Or add a link to your email signature…

See what I did there? ;)

It connects with your personal calendar…no conflicts…and when someone books time, it’ll just appear on your schedule.

Huge time saver…and an effective lead conversion mechanism for some sites.

Cool stuff…

Cheers

The Secret Marketing Formula

So, hopefully you had a chance to check out Matt Cutts’ short SEO video, and you now know the top running speed of a cheetah.

SEO can be awesome…the idea that people just “find” your company online and your phone rings.

Actually, that’s how we get most of our business aside from referrals…

But SEO isn’t the only way to bring new business in the door…

This super complex diagram illustrates the world’s most powerful marketing formula of all time. Just kidding…it’s not that complex (or drawn to scale either)…

But it is powerful in its simplicity. Here’s the premise…by the way, I can’t take responsibility for this tremendous artwork or the concept itself. My buddy Russel Brunson is the mastermind.


Step 1: Who is your ideal customer?

What kind of fish is it…an 18-year old kid, a 55-year old corporate executive, a small business doing between $1 and $5 million dollars per year? Here’s a link to create buyer personas if you need help with this part.

Step 2: Where are they hanging out?

Are they fiddling around on Facebook? Are they driving in their car? Are they at their office computer Googling stuff?

Last week we talked about one of our clients selling medical devices to hospitals. Their buyers aren’t Googling or Facebooking…they’re running around all day inside hospitals. That means SEO or Facebook ads won’t work…they need sales reps to physically visit them.

Step 3: What kind of bait are you going to use to attract them?

Maybe it’s printed catalogue or brochure. You could offer a cool ebook on your website to compel them to sign up for your mailing list. Maybe you host an informative webinar, a podcast, or invite a decision-maker to play some golf. What are your targets interested in, and what would entice them to take some sort of action?

Step 4: Where are you going to take them?

What is the absolute best way you can possibly serve them? What’s the end destination for your ideal customer? …this could be months, years, decades down the road.

Let’s say you’re an auto manufacturer. Your ideal entry level customer may be a 35-year old male making $65-80k per year. Your bait is a good value SUV because your customer has a young family. Over the years, the kids grow up and he’s got more disposable income. Your end destination is to eventually get him into your top-of-the line $130,000 sports car when he turns 60.

…Or maybe you’re in business consulting. The best way you can serve your top clients is with a fully immersive 1-week on-site evaluation for $50,000. You may not be able to sell this until you earn trust and deliver results with smaller plans, but incremental steps can lead them there.


So, it’s really that simple as you look at your own marketing…

Go ahead and draw some stick figures if you need to.

• Figure out what kind of customers you’re hoping to catch.
• Where are they hanging out?
• What kind of bait will work best?
• Where do you want to take them (how can you serve them in the best possible way)?

Cheers

company-niche-market-position

Look, I get it. We all fall into the daily routine and none of us have the time to go through those marketing exercises you learned back in undergrad.

We’re all way too busy for a little Marketing 101 – Especially since sales grew 10% last year, you got promoted, and the boss is on vacation this week. Whatever we’re doing, it’s working. Let’s not poke the sleeping bear, right?

Except everyone needs a little dose of the fundamentals once in a while. Here’s a quick stat for you:


75% of the $1M – $50M businesses we work with have never bothered to define their company’s niche market position.


They can’t answer these simple questions without falling back on easy answers or bland clichés:

• Who do you want your clients to be?

• Who DON’T you want your clients to be?

• Exactly what solutions do you offer?

• How do your provide those solutions?

• Why do you exist?

Sounds pretty simple right? Believe me, most companies don’t bother with this stuff. Most end up cutting corners by using canned responses like “we focus on customer service” or “we provide the best value in the industry”. Garbage. Nobody cares!


Properly defining a company’s niche market position doesn’t involve vague clichés and meaningless crap.


It’s about coming up with helpful, specific, and precise information that customers want to know. A good strategy review session, with a little bit of focus, will set you apart from the pack immediately. I’m sure of it.

This article goes into the 5 areas leading up to creating your company’s positioning statement. Along the way, you’re guaranteed to think about some stuff that you hadn’t considered in a long time…if ever.

 

Let’s Start with Some Basic Rules…

For each of the 5 steps, use the listed questions to help you wrangle up some great ideas in each category. These questions are just guidelines. Nothing is off limits, so let the ideas flow like Donald Trump’s comb-over.

Rule #1: Answer with as much real detail as possible. No copping out with generic language that nobody cares to read.

Rule #2: Dig deep. Be honest with yourself, your company, and areas where you have (or don’t have) opportunity to succeed. Collaborate with your teams.

Rule #3: Set yourself apart. Find areas that make your group unique and really hit them hard. Differentiate like crazy.

Got it? Okay, let’s get started.

1. What’s Your Current State of Differentiation?

Let’s take a look at just how differentiated you are sitting here today. The goal is to separate yourself from the herd. Avoid the idea of being all things to all people and drill down into some targeted cracks that haven’t been explored.

For example, making the first page of Google for the search term “Car Insurance” isn’t going to be easy. Alternatively, you could quickly rise to #1 for the term “Classic Italian Sports Car Insurance in Scottsdale”. Granted, there aren’t as many searches, but you’ll be the top dog and everyone that comes to your site will be interested in what you’re selling. Here’s a link to our SEO Guide ebook if you want more on keyword researchusing long-tail keywordsand achieving search engine rankings.

Consider where you stand today with some questions like:

Who are your biggest competitors?

Who is the market leader?

What makes your company unique?

What are your selling points against each main competitor?

Give me 1 -3 sentences about what you stand for and how you differentiate your company currently.

2. What is Your Purpose? (not as easy as it sounds)

This is the “Why” part of your business model. This area is usually the most important for your customers, but the most neglected by marketers. There’s a whole universe of possible reasons why someone should buy your goods or services…many that aren’t so obvious.

At the end of the day, this is all your prospects ever really care about. Why you?

For example, let’s say you’re a golf pro giving lessons. There are a ton of reasons why people should learn golf…most have nothing to do with golf itself. Most golf pros would assume people take lessons to learn how to hit the ball, cure a slice, or improve their putting. Nope. I’ve surveyed golf students. They take lessons for bigger reasons than that:

• To meet new people
• To impress colleagues or my boss
• For exercise
• To get outside more often
• To avoid embarrassment at the next charity tournament
• To set an example for my kids
• Because it’s FUN!

golf-leap

Here are some good “Why” questions you should take some time answering:

Besides profits, why does your organization exist?

What would people miss if you weren’t around tomorrow?

Why to you go to work every day and why do clients want to work with you?

What value are you delivering specifically?

What specific problems do you solve?

That last one is the big one. Things beyond the nuts and bolts you sell. What do your customers really care about…what are they searching for? That’s the secret to creating content that is music to their ears.

3. Who are Your Best (and Worst) Clients?

This is the “Who” part  of the program. Defining who you want as customers is the starting point for marketing altogether. Maybe your model has evolved over time and your target market has shifted a bit. Ours has, many times.

If you haven’t already, check out our template for developing your buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictional representations of the people you are selling to – right down to their age, location and movies they like. Not really, but the more detail the better if you’re trying to create content they’ll fall in love with.

Equally as important is to create negative buyer personas. Figure out who you DON’T want as your customers so that you can cast them aside sooner in the process. Save your time for the best fit customers – whether that’s got to do with finances, attitude or just working with people you like.

Ask yourself these questions to solve for “Who”:

What audience are you hoping to attract?

What types of clients have been most successful in the past?

What traits do they have in common?

Which industries, categories or market segments do they occupy?

What types of clients are the most fun to work with?

What types of clients do you NOT want to work with?

4. Core Competency

Now it’s time for the “What”. Unfortunately, this is the part where most companies begin (and end) their analysis. Focusing on what YOU do and how great YOU are is not only boring as hell for your prospects, but also incredibly ineffective from a marketing standpoint.

Think about your personal relationships (real ones outside of the internet). Everyone knows a guy (let’s call him Steve) who just likes to talk about himself. You’ve heard all the stories about his glory days playing football or how all the girls loved him in high school. He brags all day long, never asks about you, and it wears you out. Don’t be the online version of Steve.

While it’s important to convey your expertise, do it in a way that doesn’t suck (like Steve). Where possible, have others demonstrate your expertise rather than bragging about it yourself. Case studies and testimonials are great for this.

I’m getting ahead of myself – before you start worrying about delivery, ask yourself some good questions:

What goods or services do you offer and what are you expert in?

What do you do better than your competitors?

Which of your goods and services provide the most value to your clients?

If you could only provide one thing, what would it be?

What would your top clients miss the most if your company went away?

5. Is There a Company Culture?

Culture is all about the set of beliefs you live by at your company. It’s the “How” you operate as a group fundamentally. Depending on your industry and the nature of your clients, this just might be the most important aspect of your company.

For example, there are lots of people who would never buy cosmetics from a company known for conducting animal testing.

What are the philosophies and methods you follow to service your clients?

Do you have a unique way of thinking or any special work processes?

What is the one thing you would never change about your company?

Will you say “NO” to a prospective client based on your values? For what reasons?

What does it take for someone to succeed as an employee at your company?

Finally…Create your Positioning Statement

Using all the brainstorming and notes from the previous 5 steps, now it’s time to summarize what you’re all about. Your positioning statement can serve as your elevator speech, and should serve as a guiding beacon for your marketing and sales decisions.

Fill in the blanks:

We provide (this good/service/value/outcome) for (this type of customer/company/industry/market) by (using this kind of approach) because (why).

Here’s the Web Design Phoenix positioning statement:

“We provide value driven website design for growth oriented companies run by good people – because successful online marketing requires sound strategy and effective communication…and we just don’t like dealing with grumpy people.”

Take our PDF Version with you…

defining-company-market-position
self-evaluation-of-company-marketing-program

Take our free online marketing self-evaluation to figure out what your company is doing well, and also where may be some opportunities. This quick overview often helps uncover some “quick wins” in your marketing plan to help you immediately.

It’ll take you 5 minutes to answer some yes/no questions – a great tool that we typically reserve for our new clients to help uncover strong and weak areas in their online marketing presence.

Checklist for Marketing Best Practices

  1. Company identity and defining your niche market position
  2. Discovering your competition, value proposition, and selling points
  3. SEO strategy and generating website traffic
  4. Social media strategy
  5. Converting strangers into qualified leads
  6. Converting leads into customers
  7. Reporting and learning from results
  8. Marketing challenges and goals for future growth

Maybe you’re attracting a ton of website traffic, but aren’t converting any of those strangers into qualfied leads. Alternatively, maybe some data and analytics tracking would help to inform future design and business decisions.

We haven’t come across a company yet that is doing everything on our checklist, but everyone who goes through this exercise gathers some fresh ideas and perspective. Give it a try.

Intro to Inbound marketing video

Many companies mistake Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Inbound Marketing. The truth is that SEO is only a small part of the Inbound Methodology’s Attraction Stage. Sure, SEO helps to bring new visitors to your website, which is great.

What happens when visitors make it to your website?

• Do they come and go without a trace?

• What are they interested in? 

• Chances are, they’re not ready to buy just yet…how do you keep their interest over time? 

Inbound methods tackle the entire sales funnel…leading prospects into and through your sales funnel through self discovery and on their own time. Our Inbound Agency specialist Casey Bourque explains in this video how it works in principle…

Here’s your Intro to Inbound Marketing…

inbound-marketing
Inbound marketing

Inbound Marketing is a process that seeks to address the changing “balance of power” between buyers and sellers nowadays.

It used to be that sellers controlled all the information, and therefore had all the leverage in sales transactions. Today, if you consider recent purchases that you’ve made, chances are that you looked around online to research options before making your decision.

Inbound marketing is a strategy that puts your company in the places where your prospects are looking for information. Over time, strangers convert into leads and then become customers. Inbound is like a trail of helpful breadcrumbs leading the way toward your goods or services. All performance metrics are tracked along the way to both demonstrate returns on investment, and to provide a basis for continual improvement.

Beyond simple search engine optimization or pay per click advertising driving traffic to your website through search engine optimization or pay per click advertising, inbound marketing is a complete marketing strategy for all phases of your sales funnel:

Phases of your sales funnel:

  1. Attract new visitors to your website and online presence
  2. Qualify your audience through persona development and personalization
  3. Convert visitors into leads…it doesn’t do any good for them to come and go without a trace!
  4. Turn your best leads into your best customers
  5. Continually please those customers so that they’ll promote your company to their circles of influence

Learn more

Free Inbound marketing book – written by Web Design Phoenix

how-to-seo
inbound-marketing
thank you

Modern day e-commerce is highly competitive. Strategic insights, programming, design, and ongoing management sounds costly and time consuming. It doesn’t need to be.

First, wade into the waters slowly. Consider that Amazon wasn’t built in a day. Look to resolve core requirements first, with the mindset that added functionality, integrations with current systems, and complete automation should be added later on.

Chat with multiple e-commerce website developers. Consultations are free. Gather information on their approaches and suggested solutions. Share information on your requirements and you’ll collect ideas.

When it comes time to select a developer, get multiple offers. You can play them against each other, compare pricing and recommended strategies, learn about prior work, and properly vet each candidate company.

Consider motivations. Many companies will simply charge by the hour or quote a flat project rate. These fee structures provide incentive for reduced work, minimal time investment, and slow delivery times. While it’s fair that both sides have skin in the game, suggest some sort of contingency component based on established, measurable metrics most important to you: say gross sales, website traffic counts, etc.

Increased contingency component might mean reduced or eliminating out of pocket development costs for you. When cash flow is tight, this can be an effective approach with minimal downside risk for you.

A good website developer will agree to this (under fair terms), while a lesser company may not. There should be sufficient upside potential for each of you, but also downside protection in the case of failed or ineffective solutions. It’s fair to work toward shifting some portion of the risk across the table to the developer.

An experience website developer will spend time discussing these arrangements and seek to craft fair fee structures with aligned incentives, somewhat shared risk, and upside potential.

fedex logo

This is a great example of how the world’s most effective logos often carry multiple meanings or messages, yet remain simple and easily identifiable. This is the goal of Web Design Phoenix when we are asked to develop brand logos for our clients, and speaks to the thoughtfulness and resourcefulness of quality logo design.

Panda,-Penguin,-Hummingbird,-Pigeon-RankBrain-

Panda,-Penguin,-Hummingbird,-Pigeon-&-RankBrain

There’s no denying that getting penalized by Google can seem like the end of the world but the reality is that you need to focus on repairing the damage rather than being afraid. So, no matter what Google Update has affected you, just read onward and see how you can deal with penalties.

Panda

Google Panda issues can be triggered by duplicate content, thin content, plagiarism, a poor user experience, keyword stuffing and other similar problems. Not only that, but it can also cause you to drop in search results or even getting removed from them. What you need to do here is to:

• Check your site for duplicate content and replace the duplicate with original content
• Check for plagiarism and, again, replace that with your own content
• See if there’s thin content on your site
• Start creating an audit for keyword stuffing
• Fix all the issues you find as the penalty can go away since your site will get revisited

Penguin

Penguin is usually focused on removing or downranking the sites that have an unnatural link profile. If you have paid links, links that are coming from sites that are created only for SEO, from poor quality sites, overly optimized anchor text and so on, then you might be in danger of getting downranked by Penguin.

You can do the following to see if you were hit:

• See if there are any penalty risks, tools like SEO SpyGlass are a great choice here
• Try to remove all the harmful links

Hummingbird

Hummingbird is an algorithm focused on content quality, and that’s why you need to avoid a poor user experience, keyword stuffing and exact match keyword targetings.

How to adapt to Hummingbird:

• Make your keyword research better by expanding it, try to find new keywords
• Understand and discover the audience language and focus on addressing it
• Focus on concepts rather than exact matching.

Pigeon

It’s an older algorithm that focuses on local search and it’s triggered by pages that are poorly optimized, which don’t have good backlinks, NAP inconsistency or which don’t have a citation for the local directories.

What you should do?

• Perform proper local optimization
• Create a Google My Business Page
• Check and ensure that the NAP consistency is there on your content
• Try to get featured in local directories
Mobile friendly update

Your site needs to have a viewport configuration, a great mobile friendliness and even support plugins. You need to focus on:

• Making your sites mobile friendly and responsive
• Take a test to see if your site is mobile friendly and adapt it properly

RankBrain

RankBrain is a system that was created to rank algorithm changes and it helps offer higher quality results based on stuff like machine learning and relevance. Issues can be caused by a low quality user experience and the lack of relevance features that are query-specific.

How to deal with RankBrain changes:

• Try to create a better user experience
• Understand your competition by researching them
As you can see, each Google Algorithm focuses on specific things so it all comes down to you to address the issues and either repair or prepare yourself properly. Try to focus on following our ideas and instructions, then the results will definitely pay off.

Sales Tax Compliance
  • Local, state, national or international tax calculations
  • Fixed rules or real time integration
  • Consult with a tax expert or attorney
  • WDP can implement any tax rules for your e-commerce website

Web Design Phoenix e-commerce websites can be programmed to automatically draw from current tax codes and adjust in real time as policies change. Whether you’re selling to customers locally or around the world, Web Design Phoenix can help implement either fixed tax rules, statewide policies, or national and international tax calculations.

We work with out clients to ensure that tax regulations are considered appropriately and our e-commerce website and accommodate whatever tax regulations you are confronted with in your jurisdiction, industry or selling practices.

Of course, tax law can be complex and you should certainly consult with a tax attorney or tax expert before engaging in e-commerce, particularly across state and national borders. Our team is available to help streamline this process however you see fit.

More on E-Commerce