Creating A Stellar Website

Creating a website for your business is one of the first steps to take in any marketing plan. It’s one of the things that cements the reader to your brand and really allows them to explore who you are, what your business is all about. It also tells them why they should use you for your stellar product(s) and or service(s). Think of it like a window into the soul of your business, because that it essentially what it is.

Your site should be exciting, clean and straight to the point. Lay out who you are, what you do and any other information you think will be useful. Sell yourself and your products.

Think about the way you design the website to begin with. No one wants to be looking at a screen with 20 different colours, a flying unicorn going across the screen and flashing lights, do they? Refer to this article to give you some ideas on how to start off.

Simple, clean and refined is the best place to start. You can build on that and make your website reflect who you are as a business after that. The key is to build your foundation first.

Typography and calligraphy is what comes next. Take a look at some different fonts and find one which is dynamic, unique but easy to read too. Then once you’ve decided on that you should look at your line spacing, the size of the text and the colour. Black is traditional however slate grey may add that air of modern to the site.

Image Credit: Pexels

When you pick your colour scheme, don’t think that more is more; because it’s really not. If you try to incorporate every colour of the rainbow into your website you will fall flat and the customer will be confused as to what your theme is supposed to be.

Think about the implications of certain colours and what they will mean for the tone of your website. Here are a couple of examples of colour schemes to get you started:

Grey, Yellow, and White – Monotone colours with a splash of vibrancy can make your website spring to life and feel incredibly clean and modern.

Red, White, and Pink – Using different hues of the same colour is a clever way to add tone and depth to your design when you want to stick to just one colour.

Green, White, and Blue – Cool tones will always make you think of the great outdoors or a sense of calm. Using pastel shades is a way to make the space feel larger and more sleek, whereas splashes of colour add that element of character.

Your logo and branding is possibly the most crucial step in creating that website which is ready for your information and content. Designing a logo that represents the tone, mission and overall feel of the brand can be difficult, but it is a rewarding mission once you have completed it.

You will need to take extra time making sure that the banners and headers for your website and social media platforms are cohesive with the logo and fit your tone of voice well.

Finally, once everything is designed you can look at the content. Remember to stay engaging, informative and to be transparent in your delivery. Gaining trust as a company takes time, and the website is the perfect place to start.

Adding a More Personal Touch to Your Business with These Four Tips

Owning a company comes with so many options that are as exciting as each other — like branding, sales, marketing strategies and so on. Each new venture is a joy, and each task completed makes you feel so proud. But there are some things you could be doing to give your company a more personal touch which will make your employees happy and will, hopefully, increase your customer return.

Starbucks-cups-on-wooden-table

Personalised Product

Branding isn’t just about sticking our logo everywhere. It’s about being memorable. The more people are familiar with your name and logo, in a positive way, the better. You can do this in a few different ways; the first is to sponsor local events — but make sure that it makes sense with your company.

Like a beer company at a festival — it makes sense, and you are going to be surrounded by your chosen audience. The second is to make your own products — whether that’s merchandise or flavors. Most coffee roasters will tailor make a flavor unique to each coffee company.

Specific Training

Training up your employees is an integral part of running a business — but how you go about it matters. With a store that deals with a particular product, the higher ranking employees at least should have product specific training that goes further than the basics.

This detailed training will allow your employees to give more care and attention to your customers. Training like this can include going to the brewery, to the roastery, the bakery or wherever your product originates so that your employees will be able to know more.

Product Specific Software

Sometimes you need more software that is more geared towards your actual product. If you own a brewery, then beverage software would be perfect for you. This sort of personalisation will help you to organise different aspects that might not exist with another product, like where you source the base materials or ingredients from.

Customer Interaction

Whether you run your business from an office or a store, your customers are everything. Customer care and customer service is something that every business should have at heart — if you have a great product but treat your customers badly then you’re still going to fail. But more than just treating customers right, you should also encourage them to talk back.

Client reviews will help you to improve areas that you might not have realised need improving – sometimes things in theory in the office might not work well on the ground in a store. Customers will always shape your business and if you ignore them is the worst thing you can do.

There is also the opportunity to get your clients involved — if you run a coffee store then have an evening where your staff teaches the public latte art, if you own a vineyard then wine tastings are an avenue you should be tapping into.

5 Creative Marketing Tips to Get People Talking about You

In business, marketing is everything! You won’t reach new customers, or make a profit if you don’t find ways to push your business out into the wider world. You have probably grasped some of the marketing tactics yourself, from arming yourself with business cards to harnessing the power of social media. However, I have some creative marketing tips that will really get people talking about you and your business. 

Become an expert

Okay, I’m telling you to go to university and take a master’s degree in your chosen field. Or go the route of working for five years to a decade and pick up some useful knowledge along the way. Your advice will be beneficial to others. Contact your local newspaper and see if you can write a weekly column or start a blog or guest blog on an established platform.

Try and get airtime on local TV and radio. Take part in debates. Speak at industry events. By broadcasting your name and face to the world, you also have a platform to market your business at the same time.

Enter awards ceremonies

Put yourself up for an award, or encourage your customers to put your name forward. Winning an award is free publicity for your company, and you will gain a lot of credibility, to boot. People are more likely to buy from somebody who has a few awards to their name.

Aggressive branding

If you don’t have a brand for your company, you really need to get to work on it. You can easily design a logo with WithOomph, and there is advice online in forming a company slogan. However, when you have created a brand, don’t limit it to your website or flyers.

Put it everywhere — pens, pencils, clothing, packaging, transport, banners, posters, business forms, mugs, water bottles, tote bags — the list can be endless. You want to be seen and heard, so brand absolutely anything and get it into the hands of everybody.

beverage, brand, breakfast
Image Credit: Pexels

Go green

We all need to be eco-friendly, and you may attract more customers than your competitors if you can prove your eco-credentials. Have a page on your site devoted to your ethical policy. You don’t want to be seen bragging about it, but showing you care for the world will make your business stand out.

From using recycled materials in your products to using non-toxic substances in your manufacturing process, you will make a difference to the world and in your credibility.

Launch an e-book

Another way of proving your ‘expert’ credentials, launching an e-book is an effective way to digitally market your business. You need to make it interesting, so consider hiring a freelance writer if your writing skills are below par.

Include tips on how to use specific products, or offer an insight into your chosen industry. To gain kudos, make it free, and promote it through social media and through your regular newsletters to customers and clients.

Here Are Some of the Basic Building Blocks of Business

When you’re first starting a business, it can be very hard to make sure that you have everything under control. With a lot of new things to learn about, a lot of startups will miss out or forget some of the most important parts of their building journey. Of course, though, while you will save time during this, you will also find it a lot harder to keep your business afloat without everything it needs. To help you out with this, the post will be going through some of the elements your business won’t be able to live without. With this in mind, you should be able to take all of the stress out of your new company.

Finance and Law

When it comes to money, a lot of small businesses think they have everything they need to get started. In most cases, though, simple accounting software like Freshbooks isn’t enough. Along with this, you also need an expert to be able to monitor, manage, and make changes to the money within in your business.

Of course, though, at the start, you probably won’t have a budget which will enable this sort of recruitment. So, instead, you’ll need to find a bookkeeping firm to help you. This sort of business can handle every aspect of your business’s money, without having to take your attention away from the work that matters.

Alongside money, a lot of start-ups also neglect the law in their area. In most cases, it will be unlikely that there are any rules which stop you from selling your products or from operating in a way which makes sense. But, it’s still worth getting some help. Like your bookkeeping, you can have this sort of area handled by another company.

Legal advice comes in lots of shapes and sizes. The free options you can find online are great, but won’t protect you from things which you miss. Instead, it can be much better to have a professional who already knows what will have to be done.

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Brand and Marketing

With so many competitors out there, modern companies have a harder time than ever when it comes to getting customers to notice them. This is where your brand comes in. Companies with poor or inconsistent branding rarely manage to be successful. Unfortunately, most customers will completely ignore you if you don’t have a good logo, color scheme, and house style to go from.

Along with this, though, your brand also represents the way you act and communicate with customers. To avoid issues in this area, it’s a good idea to get the help of both a PR and a graphic design agency. With these under your belt, it will be easy to tailor your user’s experience for the better.

Once you have a good brand in place, you can start to think about the marketing your business will get involved with. In most cases, it will be essential to at least be posting to social media platforms every couple of days. Along with this, though, you could also start to think about ideas which other companies don’t use. Most websites have mailing lists, giving you an excellent chance to collect customer data. With this data, you can do things like host competitions or sweepstakes, drawing more and more people to your company.

Image Credit: Pexels

Products and Services

With a strong sense of control over money, along with branding and marketing perfectly in place, you can start to think about the products and services you offer to your customers. In most cases, customers will expect the best-quality regardless of what they pay for something. So, to make sure you can meet people’s needs in this area, it’s always worth looking at mid-range options which offer good value for money.

Along with this, you should also make sure that the products you choose meet the legal requirements for safety where you’re based and selling to. When buying items from other countries, it can be very easy to overlook factors like this. But, in most cases, it will be hard to prove to customers that your products are worth their money if they don’t work within the law. Instead, it’s best to make sure you understand the regulations you have to follow.

Running a new business is usually a lot of work. With all of the new skills you have to learn, it can feel like you don’t have any time to focus on your actual company. But, with a little bit of help, you can solve this sort of issue before it even impacts you. It just takes some hard work and dedication.

First Impressions Count — Ensure Your Business Gets Them Right

In today’s business world, making a good first impression is absolutely essential. With so much competition out there, potential customers need to be impressed from the moment they come into contact with your company or they may end up walking away and going elsewhere very quickly. Ultimately, a professional, customer-first approach needs to spread throughout every individual aspect of your business. Maintaining an ethos of creating that good first impression every time can be challenging, but it will certainly pay off in the long-run. So, let’s take a closer look at just how your business can do this.

A Great Company Website

In the digital age, many people’s first impression of a business comes through the company website. So, you need to make sure that yours is kept both eye-catching and up-to-date. Ultimately, you want the key information to be as easy to find as possible — the products and services that are available, opening hours and contact information.

As many people may find your business through a search engine, you never know which page they will land on first, so you should state the key information clearly throughout the site. When you analyse your website, you should ask yourself some key questions. Does the look and feel of the site feel current or outdated? Is the content clear, accurate and regularly updated?

How easy is it to find the key information? It is a good idea to ask some people who have never seen the site before so you can get an unbiased opinion.

Image Credit: Pexels

Phone Perfection

Some customers may get their first impression of your company over the phone, so you need to make sure you are giving off the right one. If you don’t have someone who is available to answer the phone on a regular basis, a virtual answering service may be the ideal solution to this problem.

Otherwise, you should make sure whoever is answering is friendly and helpful in their approach to the problems of customers. It is worth analysing every aspect of the phone experience including the waiting times and hold music. Also, make sure that your return all calls in a timely and efficient manner.

Business Lobby

Some customer’s first impression of a business will be the moment they walk through the front door. If you have a parking area, is it totally free from debris and trash? When people come through the entrance, how are they greeted and is it obvious what they need to do next?

Does everything look new and fresh or is it starting to seem stale and outdated? These are all questions that you need to ask yourself as they are all things that potential customers are likely to notice.

Image Credit: Pexels

Business Culture

The business culture that you have created can go a long way towards influencing the first impression of visitors. So, if your employees ignore clients and don’t go that extra mile to help them out, this can immediately give off a bad vibe. Ask whether any underlying internal issues are seeping out of the internal working environment and affecting how people are viewing your company.

While customers aren’t really interested in the internal workings of your business, they may well start to care if they think this is going to affect whether or not you are able to provide them with the service they are looking for.

Marketing Materials

Good quality marketing materials can really end up communicating a lot about an organisation. So, everything from business cards to corporate stationery should look professional with your branding and contact information clearly on display.

Also, any advertising campaigns that you create should clearly communicate what your business is all about and why people should place their trust in you.

You Only Have One Shot to Make a First Impression

If a customer gets a bad first impression from your company, it is unlikely that they will be returning any time soon. That is why it is so important that you cover all your bases and think about every way that a potential customer may come into contact with your business, be it online, over the phone or in person.

Analyse each point of contact and think of ways in which you can improve it. Remember that your staff members make all the difference, so you should make sure that they are all well aware of how they should be treating all customers. Finally, ensure that all marketing materials are high-quality and professional.

Business Strategies That You Can Implement Today

When you start a new business, it can be hard to know how to get your name around to drive customers to you. Thankfully, there are many solutions to this problem that you can implement today to pick your business off of the ground.

Business cards are an effective way of getting people to recognise your brand. You can ask stores to display them, and you can attend networking events relevant to your business to hand your cards out. Getting your hands on business cards is so simple to do, and you can often buy them in bulk at reasonable prices. Be sure to design a card that recognisable and eye catching.

Adverts. These can be posters around town, newspaper articles, billboards, social media promotion, paid advertising through Google Adsense, radio advertising and TV adverts. There’s no limit on how much you can get your name around. Of course, the cost of advertising does come into play, but eventually, it will pay for itself when your customers start rolling in.

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Inbound marketing agency companies offer you a way of getting your name around and help you grow your business. They can advise on how your website uses SEO (search engine optimisation) and even help with social media promotion.

Social media is a powerful tool that you can use. Creating tailor-made posts that are exciting for people to see will increase your chance of it being shared. Showing off your skills in a video clip is a great way to make your company page go viral. Posting regularly and interacting with your customers is also important too.

New customer discounts are a brilliant way of getting people to try your service. No one can resist a discount, and you could also reward your current customers in some way too. Not only will this help you keep your already existing clients, but it will show that you’re a great brand to work with and attract attention to your service.

Developing your brand is also an important thing to do. Be consistent with your logo that you use, and try to stick to the same colour scheme. The easier your brand is to remember, the more likely it is for people to think of you when they need that particular service.

Image Credit: Pexels

Have a business plan that is continually growing. Set yourself milestones, and once you’ve achieved them, you can set up more to aim for. Make sure you think about what your clients are looking for when they come to you, and try to improve on that service.

Be available as much as possible. Decreased availability will put potential clients off, so make sure that you’re at least available to answer questions for anyone inquiring into what you do. If you’re unavailable, try to make it so that someone else can step in. A 24-hour service is a fantastic way of gaining clients.

Whatever it is that you do, if you can apply these steps to your business strategy then you’re sure to gain from it. Remember, exposure is key, and customer service is very important. Good luck with your enterprise!

The Best Ways to Maintain Brand Consistency

The key to branding success is consistency. If you give off mixed messages, you are only going to confuse customers and dilute your presence. Think about some of the most recognised brands, such as Coca-Cola. They are one of the best examples of unwavering brand consistency. With that in mind, read on to discover more about how to achieve this.

Richard Branson in a take-off pose with one of his Virgin Airlines plane in the background

Put together an in-house branding police squad

Most business owners are guilty of trying to do it all. But do you really have the resources and time required to monitor your branding materials and your brand name? In truth, you should not have to. Instead, put together an in-house brand police squad, and they can do this for you. If something goes against your official branding style, they should get in touch with you.

Ensure correct access to branding materials

Anyone on your team that distributes branding material needs to have complete access to graphics, logos, and other branding materials. The last thing you want is for a branding faux pas to occur because someone on your team has put together his or her own rendition of an important branding graphic.

The RB7 Showcar is seen on Flag Square before the Red Bull F1 Showcar Run in Baku, Azerbaijan on June 15th, 2012

Branding needs to be at the forefront of what you do

Never let your standards drop. It’s not just about your website or printed marketing materials. Branding needs to be at the forefront of everything you do, no matter whether you are invoicing clients or you are paying your own employees. There are plenty of invoice and sample check stub templates online that can make this easy. You can use these as the basis for your important documents, tweaking them with your logo and other important graphics so that they are consistent with the image you want to give off.

Make a branding style guide

It is a good idea to create a branding style guide so that everyone at your company is aware of what is deemed acceptable and fair when it comes to using branding materials. You should include the likes of your company name, slogan, mission statement, logo designs, copy guidelines, photo and imagery styles, typography, and color schemes.

Your entire team needs to be on board

The easiest way to ensure that team members are all on the same page is to find out what companies they love the most and why. By doing this, you will be able to find good examples of consistency that will resonate the most with your employers. No matter who is involved with brand building at your business, everyone needs to understand the correct use of logos, forum accounts, social media profiles, company taglines, and anything else that has an impact on brand consistency.

Don’t be fooled into thinking consistency is boring

Last but not least, one of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is believing that brand consistency equates to being boring. This is definitely not the case. Do you find Apple boring? What about Google? If you think about any brand that is memorable and makes a positive impression, you will find that consistency is one of their keys to success.

Creating a Voice in Content Marketing and Branding

Who are you?

What makes you different?

Why are you special?

These are the questions that successful business owners ask themselves regularly to ensure that they have a brand worth believing in.

Content marketing is an essential tool for growing your brand and establishing your business’ identity in a heaving ocean of competitors. When you’re engaged in the day-to-day operations of your business you’re probably asking yourself every day what you can do to ensure that your customers want to come to you and not your closest competitor. It may be in the quality of your product, your interactions with the customer or the aesthetic of your premises but every day you’re making decisions about the kind of business you want to be.

This is equally important in digital realms.

It’s unfortunately easy to damage your brand with an incoherent or inconsistent approach to content marketing. Even if you outsource your content marketing to a service like Digital Logic, it’s still important to decide on a definitive voice for your brand and tailor your content to that voice.

Finding that voice, however, can prove difficult. Here are some helpful tips to giving your content a fresh and distinctive voice.

Describe yourself in three words

Yeah, it’s a tired icebreaker for awkward networking events but it’s also a very useful way of determining the kind of voice for your brand. If your brand was a person, what three words would you use to describe them? Would they be quirky, creative and fun? Steadfast, reliable and transparent? Sleek, sexy and desirable? Obviously these will be determined by what your business does best and the general needs of your client base.

This is a great step towards knowing your brand and creating a starting point for your content strategy.

Now, start streamlining

Take a cross-section of your blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts or email shots. Pick out the ones that best exemplify your brand’s voice in action. Share them with your collaborators and content generators. Make it explicit why these are exemplary materials for the kind of online presence you want to create. They can then start to tailor content accordingly.

Of course, it’s important to ensure that this is all in line with the target demographic of your customer based and not determined by creative whimsy.

Translate characteristics into action

Having decided on your brand’s characteristics and some key examples it’s important to get together with your content creators and start translating them into actionable examples.

So if one of your key characteristics is ‘quirky’, how would that translate into an approach to content? What would that content say about the brand?

Perhaps it might go like this:

“We are quirky, which means we celebrate the fact that we are different from our competitors. We will show this in our content by using creative language; vivid imagery or unorthodox examples. We will adopt a colloquial, breezy tone that is fun and engaging for the reader.”

In so doing, you will ensure that your content is unique, consistent and engaging while standing out from that of your competitors.

Just be sure to adjust your strategy and rethink your voice as your business expands or your customer base changes.

Female artist in well-lit home studio

The Practical Person’s Guide to Navigating the Creative Aspects of Business

Have you ever fallen into the trap of thinking only creative people can succeed in business? You wouldn’t be alone. Many of us who struggle to engage that part of our brain shy away from going it alone. After all, without creative thinking, how can you stand apart from the crowd?

There’s no denying that creativity is the easiest way to an innovative product, but it may not be as important as you think. Now and again, a more practical thinker can come up with an idea worth pursuing. Of course, the idea in itself isn’t everything. The process of getting a company off the ground also requires creativity. The good news is, there are plenty of ways around any problems you might face. We’re going to look at a few cases where creativity seems crucial and show you the ways around it.

Branding

Creation starts straight away. You can’t go anywhere if you don’t have a brand name and logo. With both of these, it’s a case of the more creative, the better. So, what can a non-creative brain do? Instead of dwelling on your lack of creativity, play to your strengths. Surely a literal thinker can find literal solutions to the problem?

If you have startup money behind you, it might be worth looking into creative company names for sale. There’s no denying that these will set you back, but failure to develop a popular brand will cost you more.

If you don’t want to spend the money, it’s worth talking the issue through with a few of your friends and family. When it comes to something like this, more brains are better than one. Make a note of any ideas people give, then look through each one and decide which best represents your brand. Of course, you’ll need to make sure the person who made the suggestion is okay with your using it!


Decorating Your Space

If all goes well with the startup, it won’t be long before a need for creativity rears it’s head again. Whether you have an office space or a shop front, it’s crucial you design and decorate in the right way. If your business is forward facing, this is essential for attracting customers and giving the right impression. But, even if you don’t intend to host customers in the space, it’s important you get it right for your colleagues. How can they produce good work if they’re in an uninspiring environment every day?

Again, you could opt to pay somebody else to deal with design for you. By this stage, money shouldn’t be such an issue. Of course, you may have to give them some idea of what you’re after. But, once you’ve told them your basic requirements, they can get stuck in with the creative side.

Or, you might want to take inspiration from other sources. Nothing is going to be quite what you need, but searching online, or visiting existing offices, will provide you with some ideas. Merging them together may be all it takes to get the space you need. As your colleagues will be sharing the space with you, it’s also worth asking for their opinions. That way, you gain creative input and ensure you’re catering to their needs.

The words CREATE, SHARE, and GROW communicates SiteManager’s ultimate goal | Source: SiteManager

Developing Your Product

You may have been lucky enough to have the original idea for your product, but the creation doesn’t end there. If you never change or develop your stock, customers will soon get bored. The market moves fast, and you need to make sure you run with it. But, if you lack creative inspiration, this may be easier said than done.

The good news is, there is another foolproof way to ensure your product is growing in the right way. Market research is the best way to see what’s popular. You don’t need to be creative to spot a gap in the market. Once you spot it, you can fill it. It’s also worth looking at your sales and customer feedback. Customers often have ideas about where the would like a product to go. Listening to these suggestions will earn you respect, and ensure you’re producing the product your customers want to see.

Conclusion

No one said that starting a business without a creative streak was going to be easy. But, as a literal thinker, you should have no problem finding a way around the problem. Plus, your other strengths will give you an edge that purely creative business people won’t have. Make the most of them!

The Ugly Truth About Your Business’ Brand

Think about your favourite brands or at least the brands that are most recognisable for you. You’ll probably think of things such as Apple, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and other similar big name brands that we’ve seen all over the world. The reason we think about these brands is that they’re internationally renowned. We’ve seen them on everything from newspapers to online advertisements and even television commercials. They’re hard to miss and, as a result, they stick in our minds.

Now let’s take a look at your own brand. Perhaps you don’t even have a logo or a name yet. Maybe you’ve just used your name as the name of the company, and perhaps you took 5 minutes to make a quick little logo in the paint program that comes bundled with your operating system. Either way, it’s unlikely that you’ve put much effort into your branding thus far, and that’s something that needs to change.

Logo design is worth the money

Many marketing companies will charge you a hefty sum of money to get something like a logo designed. Some logos can be deceptively simple. Despite some logos being incredibly basic, there are many that cost several hundred million dollars, such as the rebranded BP logo that has totalled over $211,000,000.

However, there are also equally cheap logos, such as Google’s which cost absolutely nothing. Twitter is also in the same boat, with a logo that cost just $15 to make. Those are extreme cases where either something simple turned into something iconic, or the logo was designed in-house and thus cost the company nothing.

Either way, getting a logo designed professionally will go a long way in business, and it’s recommended that you replace any ugly branding you currently have with something made to order from a reputable designer.

Customers are put off by a lack of branding

If you show up to a trade exhibition and lack any kind of advertising or banner, then the chances of you attracting any kind of attention are slim. This is because customers are put off the idea of a company that doesn’t actually have any branding. It makes your company look ugly, cheap and questionable.

If you want to look trustworthy in the eyes of the consumers, then you need an eye-catching design. Be it the logo or just some text that represents your business, it should be clear, bold and represent your company. The colours you use will also make a difference in how the customer perceives your brand.

For instance, red colours are typically seen as passionate ones and green is a natural and ethical colour. This theory is important because if you use a simple black and white logo, you don’t invoke any emotions or feelings from the customers and they’re less likely to purchase from you.

As you can see, an ugly brand can break lots of potential sales. If you want to create a brand that’s worth talking about, then you need to invest the money and resources into your branding instead of ignoring it and using placeholders all the time.