Marketing Insights From Mid Minnesota Marketing

Mid Minnesota Marketing is your local resource for Web Development, Social Media and Marketing.

"We help small companies do the things that make large companies successful, in a way they can afford."
Tim Haas | President

THE NIGHT SKY IS FILLED WITH STARS - WHICH ONES SHINE BRIGHTER?

IS YOUR WEBSITE THE NORTH STAR - OR A BLACK HOLE?

According to Netcraft, a UK research company, as of August, 2016 their web server survey indicates that there are 1.285 billion sites and 6.1 million web facing computers world wide. To help put this in context, Dorret Hoffleit of Yale University has determined that there are 9,096 stars visible to the naked eye in both hemispheres combined. To get a visual reference to how big 1.285 billion is, take a photo of the night sky (both hemispheres) and superimpose it onto itself 141,270 times.

Does that make your company website seem a bit small?

THERE ARE TWO BASIC WEBSITES IN THE WORLD - THE ONES THAT WORK AND THE ONES THAT DON'T

A website that works is simply one that can be found. It takes a great deal of skill and experience to develop a website that stands out from the rest. There is no single  "magic bullet" to making your website successful, there are many things to consider. 

  • Design: The site must be designed to be user friendly.
  • Code: Your site must conform to the latest acceptable standards in code.
  • Content: Your content must be unique and of value.
  • Search Engine Friendly: Your site must comply to the standards of the search engines in order to be accurately indexed. Stray from that path and you will suffer ranking penalties that may even include being banned.

PARTIAL ASSEMBLY REQUIRED

Your best bet is to hire a professional web developer, such as Mid Minnesota Marketing,  to assure your website is properly built. Over the past 12 years I have worked with many companies that have tried to go the do-it-yourself route. I have noted a few things over that time:

  • The low cost, do-it-yourself service provider's concept of "easy" does not meet the expectations of the average user.
  • Above average users may be able to put together a design that looks pleasing, but it lacks usability and effectiveness.
  • The majority of people who do manage publish a site have little or no concept of how to make the site work for both the viewer and search engine.
    • The viewer must find the site useful  and the search engine must be able to accurately index the site.
  • The appeal to the "easy" solution is always the apparent low cost. However, there are a couple of ways they make up for the "savings" offered upfront.
    • They suggest to frustrated subscribers that they can build the site for them, for an additional fee.
    • After the basic site is built they begin to offer additional services. The site is built, but how will anyone find it? They offer to sell you optimization services, enhanced content, etc, etc, etc.

ARE YOU READY TO STEP UP YOUR WEB PRESENCE?

If you are ready to step up to the next level with your website, call Mid Minnesota Marketing today for an appointment. 320-582-2288.

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It's That Moment When . . . .

Your website needs to be professionally developed to reach its full potential.Terrifying, heart pounding, stomach aching moments.

I was recently at a Networking Referral Group meeting where I stood and presented my weekly 60 second commercial. I looked at the crowd of business people in attendance and and told them,

"It is that moment . . .

  • When you start brushing your teeth and realize that wasn't toothpaste you put on your brush.

  • At three O'clock in the afternoon when you realize you have been walking around all day with your fly open.

  • When you open the car door in a crowded parking lot and realize this isn't your car."

I asked if that was the feeling they had when last visiting their website. Did they notice it was lacking in interest or really not doing much of anything to draw new customers into their business? I hope not, but many business websites seriously lack power.

You have less than 10 seconds to grab your visitors attention. Can you do it?

Small business owners will often cut corners on their web development budget by using an "easy to use" template or having cousin Ernie's "techno" kid build the site. Inexpensive, yes. Effective, No. The site may look OK externally, but when it is examined from the inside out, it may be lacking in power.

There are some very common, and serious issues with this strategy.

  • Effective content: Consideration needs to be given to keywords & phrases, your call to action, frequency and positioning of contact information and more. Your content must be written in a way that will appeal to your customers and be easy for search engines to accurately index. This is not an easy line to walk.

  • Effective Layout & Formatting:  Does the layout of your website adhere to marketing best practices that are proven to help catch and retain the attention of potential customers?

  • Obfuscated Code: I am sure cousin Ernie's kid is bright, but internet technology is continuously changing.  Your website needs to stay current to allow for the best cross browser functionality possible.

  • Reliability: Will cousin Ernie's kid be available to help you when something goes wrong? What about getting help from the hosting provider that offer's those inexpensive templates? They say they offer support, but how fast is that support and at what additional cost?

Studies have shown that website visitors will spend 10 seconds or less determining if they want to spend more of their valuable time looking at your website.* For this reason alone, it is critical to enlist the services of a professional website designer.

Make the most of your 10 seconds.

Mid Minnesota Marketing has 12 plus years of experience developing websites and writing professional content designed to make the most of your 10 seconds. We believe small companies need to do the things that make large companies successful in a way that small companies can afford.

Call Mid Minnesota Marketing and take control of your 10 seconds. You may reach us at (320) 582-2288

 

* Study Source: Nielsen Norman Group

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Does Your Website Need to Be Entertaining?

Entertaining No . . . Captivating YES!

Your website visitors are much more sophisticated and impatient than they were in the past. Today's web users want to find the information they are looking for fast, easy and hassle free.

You must meet three basic criteria to satisfy the needs of your website visitors.

  1. Usability
  2. Informative
  3. Visually Appealing

Usability

With the development of technology over the past couple of decades a retraining of society has occurred. An overwhelming number of people have become impatient expecting immediate satisfaction. In my youth shipping products was expected to take a minimum of several days. Today consumers are demanding next day and even same day delivery.

Visitors to your website expect to find the information they are looking for immediately. If you do not grab their attention fast . . . they simply move on. There are several concepts you must keep in mind when developing your website:

  • Visitors scan, they don't read: Studies have found that website visitors scan a website looking for triggers that indicate they have found the information they are looking for. Once they have determined that the site provides information worthy of their attention, they will read content.
  • Avoid Clutter: Too much visual stimulation will distract the visitor causing them to miss the content they are looking for. A visually appealing site that directs your visitor's eyes smoothly to the content you want them to read will result in higher conversions.
  • Clear navigation: Don't make your site visitors search. Your navigation scheme should be clear and easy to use.
  • Responsive Design: Make sure your site will detect and display according to the format of the device your site visitors are using.

Informative

Your site visitors are looking for information, give it to them.

  • Visitors want quality content that is credible: Your site visitors want solutions to their problems . . . that is the product or service you are selling. They don't want to read a bunch of fluff or hype, give them the facts. Demonstrate how you are able to meet their needs.
  • Make it easy for them to get what they need: Make your contact information easy to find on every page of your site. Provide clear instructions on how to proceed . . . phone, online contact form or purchase online.

Visually Appealing

Make sure your site is easy to read and pleasant to view. Part of our conditioning has become to avoid things that are unpleasant or unappealing.

  • Place content "above the fold": Get right to the point and put the most important content at the top of the page. If your visitor is interested they will scroll down until they loose interest or make a decision to buy.
  • Make it easy to scan: Remember people scan, they don't read. Don't bunch information together in thick looking paragraphs. Use images, short paragraphs and bullet points.
  • Use color and design: Careful use of colors and design principals will help to grab your website visitor's attention. Use color and design to focus their attention on the content you want them to read.

By designing your website to help your visitor's find the information they are looking for quickly and easily, you are certain to increase the number of conversions generated by your site. Higher conversions mean increased sales.

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