3 Must-Haves for Your Website

3 Must-Haves for Your Website

3 Must-Haves for Your Website

When you review your website traffic data, do you feel

(a)   Ecstatic

(b)   Satisfied

(c)    Disappointed

(d)   Frustrated

If you answered (a), your site probably has an entertaining explainer video, a strong value proposition, and a clear call to action. These are “must-haves” for every website in 2014 because they show how your product solves customers’ problems, demonstrate why you are a better choice than your competitors, and motivate potential customers to take that next step.

Explainer videos increase conversion rates

Show how your product or service improves customers’ lives with an explainer video.  This quick, memorable format explains how you will solve the viewers’ problems. Companies using explainer videos have seen their conversion rates increase by at least 20%. Explainer videos are dynamic, entertaining, and easy to share. They also keep visitors on your page. Explainer videos run about two or three minutes—if a visitor watches even half the video, that is longer than the average person spends on a text-only web page.  End the video with a clear call to action and watch your conversion rates increase.

Value propositions answer “why you?”

Why are you the best person to solve your customers’ problems? Your value prop explains why you are uniquely positioned to fulfill your customers’ needs. Visitors to your website need to quickly understand the value that you bring, how you differ from your competitors, and why you are the best choice. Make your value proposition concise and persuasive, and convey your company’s personality.  Frame your value proposition so readers immediately see why your service is exactly what they need to fix their biggest headaches.

Calls to action start relationships

What do your visitors do on your website? How long do they stay and what pages do they leave from? You have only a few seconds to motivate a visitor to do something. Successful calls to action often ask for a low commitment from the visitor. Instead of asking for a sale right away, ask to start a relationship. Make your request direct and obvious. Your call to action needs to be visible and it needs to inspire action:

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Target your call to action to the goals of your website—do you want to expand your mailing list, generate leads, engage social media followers? A focused call to action on every page will help you accomplish your goals.

10 Reasons You Need a Business Pinterest Page

10 Reasons You Need a Business Pinterest Page

10 Reasons You Need a Business Pinterest Page

Pinterest isn’t just for pretty pictures anymore. Even the National Hockey League has a page—with over a million followers. If you’re still sitting on the bench, here’s why you need to get in the game and create a business Pinterest page today.

1. 70 million users

Go where potential customers are. With 23% of Pinterest users on the site daily, you can reach over 16 million people a day.

2. Increased referrals to your business website

Pinterest’s share of social referral traffic is exploding, outpacing the combined referrals of Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Google+. Pinterest is responsible for 20% of total social referrals to commerce sites.

Every pin represents an average of two website visits and six page views. Half these visits occur more than two months after the initial pin. This long shelf life helps your site stay relevant for search engines. Search engines are partial to high-traffic sites so they like Pinterest. If you optimize your site properly, Pinterest acts as an SEO tool for your business. Give your pins descriptive names, incorporate hashtags, and include a reference link back to your business website.

3. Pinterest users spend money online

Each pin on your business Pinterest page is estimated to generate 78 cents in sales. Pinterest users spend about $140-$180 per online order (a 25% increase from the end of 2012). They are likely to click from a pin to a commerce website and are more likely to buy and to spend more than people referred from other websites.

 4. Increase brand visibility

Pinterest is the place to connect with customers—pins are 100 times more viral than tweets. Over 80% of pins are repinned, and most pins generate 10 or more repins. The typical female on Pinterest has 67 followers. Cultivating a core of loyal customers can quickly lead to hundreds or thousands of people hearing about your business.

 5. Your competitors are doing it

This is one time you want to follow the crowd. In the first nine months after Pinterest started offering business accounts, 500,000 businesses signed up. There is a “Pinterest for Business” LinkedIn group and companies are developing analytics and marketing software specifically for Pinterest.

6. Pinterest business pages are free

For now. There are no rumors that Pinterest will be charging for business accounts in the future, but the online world changes rapidly. For now, Pinterest offers a cost-free, easy to use venue for reaching over 25.6 million unique visitors every month.

7. Pinterest wants your business

Pinterest regularly develops new tools to make it easier for businesses to engage on their site. They run a business blog, an e-newsletter, and host a site just for businesses. New offerings in the last few months that help businesses include the “Explore Interests” dashboard search, a “buy from site” button for rich product pins, promoted pins, the ability to post GIFs and other interactive media, and the “now-trending” tool.

Pinterest web analytics make it easy to know how visitors are using your Pinterest business page. Rich pins make it easy to sell services and products. External services are popping up that help you track what happens to your pins.

 8. It’s not just for pictures

Even if you aren’t selling steaming, golden-crusted apple pies or red and purple bedrooms with permanently fluffy pillows, Pinterest is still for you. Service businesses and even insurance exchanges and financial services companies are connecting with clients on Pinterest. You can post GIFs, videos, slideshares, and podcasts in addition to arresting infographics and pictures of pies.

9. Informative market research

A little time on Pinterest can let you know what your competitors are doing, what your audiences are interested in, and what’s trending. Using this market research, you can adapt your content to catch the eye of your target audience.

10. It’s fun

Work should be fun. It’s great to spend a Friday afternoon “researching” your competition while reading witty quotes and drooling over photos of steaming java in hand-thrown mugs served on a veranda with an ocean view. You can almost smell the home-roasted beans as you sip the cold coffee you grabbed on your way in this morning.

Hopefully this has motivated you to lace up your skates and score some goals by creating a winning Pinterest business page today.

Stats are mostly from reports by Piquora, Shareaholic and compilations by Craig Smith, Digital Marketing Ramblings Editor/Owner.

Developing the Web Designer

Developing the Web Designer

Developing the Web Designer

Any time two individuals who have never met before come together to collaborate on a project, there are going to be challenges and differences in opinion. In the web design and development industry the differences are amplified due to perception and perspective. The right-brained web designer and the left-brained developer need to have the same vision for a project. This can prove challenging for several reasons.

The most common problem is communication. The web designer’s original intent for the user experience can easily get lost since the developer is receiving a static file and only thinking of the function. Part of this common issue is design versus functionality. The designer should always be aware of standards, compliant code and what works versus what does not; however, it is easy to get consumed in only the design elements. Obviously, this does not mean web designers should become developers, but asking questions about what functionality is possible can go a long way to keep a project on time and keep the vision aligned. The biggest issue though, in this relationship, is of course ego. Getting out of your own way during any project is a big step toward success.

The easiest way to avoid most of these problems is simply by keeping an open line of communication during the project. This does not just mean waiting for the other person to call/come over or every once in awhile going to the other person to ask questions, etc… My team constantly collaborates throughout the day and sometimes we both compromise and come up with a completely different solution. Being open to learning about the other side of the coin can also go a long way. Asking why the designer did certain things, or why the developer does not like to do certain things helps the other person show you actually care. Let’s be honest, learning more about design or development can only help the overall goal of the projects you work on and make you better at your individual role within the project.