Deep-Dish Website Redesign

Deep-Dish Website Redesign

What a Deep-Dish Website Redesign Offers

Website Redesigns that lead to success: The benefits of redesigning your business website are more than just cosmetic.

Making changes to your website’s design, structure, and copy-writing can help to improve usability and profit margins. The other day I ordered a deep dish pizza (had it delivered actually). Boy what a difference after eating thin crust pizzas for the last 10 years. They’re both good, but I’d forgotten just how good pizza can be when there’s more of everything. Let us uncover a few key web design secrets and strategies for a deep-dish website redesign.

Many of today’s websites are thin-crust. From the top view, they look like a website, but when you look at them from the edge, you can see that they have a flat structure, and don’t offer enough good content, or a strong content marketing strategy throughout your website.

Benefits of deep dish website redesignHow to create a deeper website for your company

How do you create a deep-dish website? You need to start with good planning. The following checklist is what I would recommend.

1. Determine Your Website Redesign Goals

Why do you want to redesign your website? It can’t be just about design. Looking up to date and professional is certainly important, but it’s not a key reason for a redesign. Any experienced agency that designs websites will make yours look fantastic. But few will take the time to make sure the new website supports your business plans.

Focusing on how your website works, who visits it, what questions they have, and what you want them to do is key to your website redesign success.

2. Determine The Goals of Your Website Redesign

Have goals for each of the following web performance indicators:

* Number of visits/visitors

* Bounce rate

* Current SEO rankings for your website’s most important keywords

* Time spent on your website per viewer

* Number of new leads/form submissions

* Total amount of sales generated from your website

Once you determine your goals, create specific success metrics for each one. For example: “to increase site traffic by 100% over the next six months.” Before you engage an creative rebranding agency, it’s best to make sure you have the right ingredients on hand. Start by making a list of how you characterize your company and it relationship to your website.

3. Take a Snapshot of Your Website’s Strengths

Benchmark your current website metrics to determine how to build on your successes

* Which channels drive your best traffic and leads

* How does Social Media contribute to lead generation?

* How much traffic or organic vs paid?

* Which channels brought in sales leads versus website visitors interested in kicking the tires.

4.Take Inventory of Existing Assets Before Redesigning Your Website

Your current website, whatever you may think of it, is an asset:

* Some pages may rank well in Google Search Results

* Your domain has intrinsic value and history

* You may have back links to individual pages that need to be preserved

* Identify which pages are heavily trafficked

Not only do you need to document the assets of your website, you need to have a plan for preserving those assets. Otherwise you risk losing more than you gain.

Keep in mind that many web designers don’t consider this step because they are not marketers; they are graphic designers and coders.

Analyze the competition

Do you ever look at your competitors’ websites? Your audience does. In fact, they may have your website and their website open in separate tabs in their browser.

5. Research Before Your Website Redesign

At the very least, you should do some research on the following:

* Visit your competitors’ websites

* Note their navigation structure

* Try to identify if they are targeting specific audiences

* Document their unique value proposition

* Note what you like, and what you think you can do better

Run your website through a website analytics tool, such as Marketing Grader (https://marketing.grader.com) or WooRank (woorank.com). Then run each of your competitors through the same analytics tool and compare results.

Put together an action list of what areas you can improve and what you can do differently than your competitors. We will use our refined key web design secrets to help you move ahead.

6. Identify your unique value proposition

A new website will prominently display your marketing strategy with a unique value proposition. This is your chance to shine. Are you a Hawaiian style pizza? Or do you have all the toppings? Or are you a gourmet style pizza, with goat cheese and shallots?

Your value proposition must be defined before you can direct a website redesign. In fact, you may build the whole website around that value proposition. This step defines how the world understands your company. It begins with your website and it can dramatically affect your bounce rates and conversion rates.

Is your value proposition the same for each audience? Or are there subsets of your messaging that address unique audience benefits? What visuals will communicate your value proposition?

Do you want to leave this in the hands of a web developer? You should either work on this with your in-house team, or hire a marketing agency who can provide perspective and experience. Don’t skip this step!

7. Develop Buyer Personas

Your website should be designed for usability and to fulfill the needs of “ plans that appeal to your buyer personas.” A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer, based as much as possible on real customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about personal histories, motivations, and concerns.

Here’s how to get started:

Segment by demographics. Research your existing customer base to identify the most common buyers of your products and services. For each different type of buyer, write a detailed description, including a name, job title or role, industry or company info, and demographic info.

Identify their needs. Don’t stop with demographics. Ask yourself “What are the biggest problems each buyer is trying to solve? What do they need most? What information are they searching for?

Develop behavior-based profiles. Finally, characterize their online behavior. Are they active on Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks? What search terms do they use to find your products and services? What kind of information is helpful to them?

The design and architecture of your new website should address the needs of your different buyer personas. Again, don’t rely on a web development firm to handle this. Use a marketing firm or do this work yourself.

8. Optimize your Website for Search

It’s not enough anymore to build a website than “can” be searched. You need to have a strategy for maximizing your search potential. Keep in mind, the search engine bots are not really that smart. I’m not saying you should try and fool them. I’m just saying that you can follow a reasonable plan, not make obvious mistakes, and do just fine.

Here’s how to get started:

Document your highest ranked pages. These pages have the strongest SEO juice, the most traffic, inbound links, and keywords rankings. If you can avoid moving them (changing the URL), that’s the best way to go. If your new architecture necessitates that they live at a new URL, you need to use a 301 redirect on that page to preserve its value.

Create a 301 redirect strategy. 301 Redirects map old pages to new pages. They are the SEO-friendly way to preserve Search rankings. Simply create a spreadsheet to record all your current URLS, and their corresponding 301 redirects. This is then loaded directly into a file at the root level of your web host. Note: some Content Management Systems provide a different user interface for managing 301s.

Do additional keyword research. Every page should focus on one to two keywords or phrases. You might include a separate column on your URL map (for your own purposes, anyway) to show the keywords associated with each page. There should not be duplication. If two pages have the same keyword focus, the bots don’t know what to do. These pages are competing with each other and both will lose. Once you assign keywords to a page, use on-page SEO tactics to feature those keywords in header tags, and body copy as appropriate. Remember, you should never be writing for the bots; you simply need to obey the rules. Write the copy for real web visitors.

6. Create an ongoing content strategy

The old days of putting up a website and only updating it with new products, news, and events are over. Again, Google is heavily influencing this situation. Google’s algorithms rate sites with new content higher than sites with old content.  A 100-page website will rank higher than a 10-page website 99% of the time. A 500-page website might do even better.

So how do you create fresh content? First, you need a content strategy that adds more and more content to your site over time.

Start a blog. This is one of the best ways to add an on-going flow of great content to your website. Research shows that companies that blog have 55% more website visitors and 88% more leads than those who do not.

Generate Press Releases. A regular supply of news releases and updates provide additional pages to your website.

Add Videos. While videos by themselves don’t add searchable content, you can write abstracts and use meta information to fill that void. In the meantime, your web visitors will appreciate viewing rather than reading all of your content.

9. Map calls-to-action

You want people to come to your site, right? But then what do you want them to do? They aren’t all ready to purchase your products and services. Many visitors are too early in the buying cycle to be ready to purchase. That’s why you need to plan for alternative actions, such as:

  • Downloading an ebook or whitepaper
  • Requesting a quote
  • Entering a contest
  • Subscribing to a newsletter
  • Interacting with an ROI calculator.

If you identify these in advance, you can make sure that your new web design provides plenty of places to features these important calls-to-action.

10. Keep an Eye on Your End Conclusions

A successful website redesign starts long before the site is being “designed.” Often times, people get caught up in how the website looks and this focus overshadows how well it is working.

Remember, your website is the central piece of your marketing and it must integrate with social media, email marketing, lead generation, content creation and more. The deeper your design, the better your chances of success.

Start with this checklist and you’ll be well-prepared for any website redesign.

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Summary

What a Deep-Dish Website Redesign Offers

What a Deep-Dish Website Redesign Offers

Benefits of Re-Designing Your Website

Author: Tom Lauck,
Owner of Hivemind Studios
February 3, 2012;
Updated:December 10, 2015
Making changes to your website’s design, structure, and copy-writing can help to improve usability and profit margins. Hivemind Studios ensures that a new website supports your business plans.

 

5 Tips For An Awesome Email Marketing Strategy in 2014

Awesome Email Marketing

reposted from Murray Newlands Jan 28, 2014

With the hype and popularity surrounding content and mobile marketing, it seems as though many marketers have forgotten about email, but despite the fact that it’s been recently overshadowed, email is still one of the most successful vehicles for reaching and communicating with customers. Beyond that, email also enables marketers to send incredibly targeted and personalized messages that are simply impossible through other means. Thus, having an awesome email marketing strategy can provide great benefits for many marketers and should not be overlooked. To help you develop a first rate strategy, we’ve compiled five of our favorite email marketing tips so that you get hit the ground running and start utilizing email to its full potential. Here are The Mail’s top 5 tips for an awesome email marketing strategy!

Segment Your List

A big part of email’s success as a marketing channel is its ability to be hyper-targeted, sending only relevant messages likely purchasers. Thus, you should do you best to avoid sending generic email blasts and focus on sending specific users the types of offers that interest them. By using data points such as gender and location, you can drastically improve user experience and increase your open rates, clicks, and sales.

Get Personal

When building your list, you should encourage your subscribers to share as much of their personal information as possible as this will make it much easier for you to segment your list and send them emails that are relevant to them. Ask for their name, where they live, their age, gender, and any other data point that might help you tailor your messages. Also, try to add personalized recommendations into your messages such as suggestions based on their browsing history. Not only will this increase your one-to-one communications, but it is also proven to increase conversions.

Create Email Exclusive Offers

Email is a great way to share exclusive offers with your followers. Create some email-only deals and send them to relevant subscribers on your list. According to the 2012 Channel Preference Survey, people prefer to receive deals via email rather than Facebook because it’s easier to find offers in the inbox than it is on Facebook’s cluttered News Feed.

Creating email-only offers is also a great strategy for driving people to sign up for your list. Use your social channels to create awareness about your offers, and encourage users to your sign up for your list by visiting your website.

Optimize For Mobile

In 2014, a large majority of consumers are checking their email on their mobile devices. If your email isn’t mobile compatible, don’t expect to reap the rewards of email marketing. In fact, according to Return Path, 63% of US consumers delete emails immediately if they are not optimized for mobile. Take the time to make sure that your messages are ready to be opened on mobile devices and that they are appealing and easy to navigate. Avoid using high quality images and try to keep your emails short and sweet-users don’t want to read a long email on their phone and if the message doesn’t load quickly, they’ll simply banish it to the trash bin.

Get Permission!

We left this one for last because we wanted to make sure it was fresh in your mind after reading this post. One of the most important things you can do to ensure your email strategy is working at maximum efficiency is to make sure that you have permission to use customers’ data and to send them emails. The email marketing industry is plagued heavily with spam messages and the quickest way to get in trouble is to ignore compliance laws and standards. Industry best practice is to get users to double opt in, so before you start sending messages to your list, make sure that you have permission to do so and that you provide a clearly marked unsubscribe link in the body of your email.

If you have any email marketing questions, comments, or tips of your own, please share them in the comments below!

6 Steps for Creating A Successful SEO Strategy

6 Steps for Creating A Successful SEO Strategy

Organic search engine traffic to your website is consistently ranked as the highest converting traffic you can have. It stands to reason that companies would want to increase visits— and essentially revenue —by establishing a successful SEO strategy.

Building this strategy requires some effort and knowledge of how the ever-changing world of SEO works. Here we will discuss the steps your organization should take to implement a successful SEO strategy for your brand.

1. Understand The Target Visitor

For years search engine optimizers have referenced their brains as being the best keyword research tools. This simply refers to the empathy and understanding an optimizer must have to envision what a target visitor is looking for when they enter a certain keyword.

When we accurately understand what the visitor is looking for, we can provide the answers they need that lead to a conversion much more easily. Using existing analytics tools and other keyword information collected, a plan can begin to form around providing the answers, products and data the visitor needs.

2. Analyze Keyword Search Numbers

Aside from understanding what the visitor wants when searching using a specific keyword, software tools often give the number of searches performed for each phrase on a monthly or daily basis. A particularly specific search query is often representative of a visitor who is more advanced in the buying process. This is important to remember as the numbers for these “long-tail” keyword searches won’t be as high, but these searches often convert at a higher percentage rate.

3. Make A Keyword List

In this step, the keywords from steps one and two are combined to paint a descriptive picture of what the prospect is looking for and how often they are searching. This important list represents the corner stone of your entire successful SEO strategy. From here content titles, ideas and topics can be created.

4. Strategize The Content

Each keyword from the list should be turned into a page or post on your website. These posts/pages should not be added all at once, but over time. Each of the pages will need a topic, because keywords are generally not specific enough, a title to grab the visitors attention and encourage them to read, and proper optimization.

The content team should use a content planner or editorial calendar to list the titles, topics, and keywords. Ideally the planner will have space for designated internal links as well — an important optimization tactic.

5. Optimize the Content

Once each piece is written it should be optimized for search engines. WordPress and many marketing automation platforms enable you to add meta tags to the content using a visual editor or plugin. Most companies find that an SEO checklist will help as it specifically describes each item that should be optimized.

6. Track Everything

Google Analytics is one of many analytic software solutions that provide tracking for what works on a website. While there are more advanced tools on the market, Google Analytics is a good starting point.

Customized reports can provide information on which pieces of content are converting, what keywords are being used to find the information (in webmaster tools) and where visitors are spending the bulk of their time on a website.

In Summary

A successful SEO strategy requires strong planning and execution. Using the six steps outlined here, an organization can structure their strategy around the right keywords while speaking to the audiences that most need this information.

Start improving your SEO using these 6 steps today and if you need assistance, consider contacting HiveMind Marketing.

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12 Questions to Ask After Major Marketing Transitions

12 Questions to Ask After Major Marketing Transitions

Digital internet marketing continues to advance and meet consumer demands. They are much in the forefront with company mergers.

There are various reasons, assorted catalysts and numerous “straws that can break the camel’s back” that trigger the need for a major reevaluation of your marketing. You may have:

  1. Hired a new CMO (or CEO, CFO, or VP Sales)
  2. Acquired a company or a product line
  3. Divested your company of a product line
  4. Merged with a competitor

It’s at times of fundamental changes and major marketing transitions like this that your company needs to update its positioning to stay current with market trends in your specific industry, shed negative images, differentiate from competitors, or create a new entity (as a result of a merger or acquisition).

The marketing objective in this case is to discover or uncover and put a “face” on what makes your company and its products and services stand out from the crowd and why that “special sauce” is fantastic, relevant, and attractive. To be successful during major marketing transitions, you need to evolve your thinking about your company and its markets. It’s an excellent time to bring an outside team to help you see the “forest” for the “trees”.

Where do you begin? We think you begin by considering and answering the following questions:

12 Questions To Ask After Major Marketing Transitions

  1. What problem are we attempting to solve?
  2. Has there been a change in the competitive landscape that is impacting our growth potential?
  3. Has our customer profile changed?
  4. Are we pigeonholed as something that we (and our customers) have outgrown?
  5. Does our messaging tell the wrong (or outdated) story?
  6. What do we want to convey? To whom?
  7. Why should anyone care about our company, our products, our services?
  8. Have we isolated exactly who should care about our brand?
  9. Have their needs, or the way they define them, changed?
  10. Is our company out of step with the current needs and desires of our customers?
  11. Is the goal of this marketing effort evolutionary or revolutionary?
  12. If we were starting our business over today, would this be the positioning and messaging we would use?

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What is the next step?

It might help to talk to an agency who has helped several companies reimagine themselves during major marketing transitions. That would be HiveMind Marketing. If you give us a call, we can answer your preliminary questions and help you achieve success. Feel free to email or call. We look forward to helping.

9 Ways to Truly Suck at Lead Management

Are your leads regularly turning into clients for your business? If not, the most likely reason is that you suck at lead management. The good news is there are ways to fix this. In this post we discuss 9 ways you suck at lead management and how to fix each issue that is keeping your prospects from becoming clients.

1. No Immediate Follow Up – When a lead submits their information to your company, they should immediately receive some kind of follow up. This is easily done with an email solution that provides auto responders (most of them do).

The follow up should provide any download links promised. It should welcome them as a subscriber, include links to socially share the download and offer to assist them in any appropriate manner your company can fulfill.

2. Nothing to Offer to Entice Leads – The acceptable format of enticing prospects is through a downloadable file they receive for becoming a subscriber. When companies overlook providing a front end content giveaway, they tend to have a lower number of leads come into their funnel.

3. Let Them Turn Cold – Although it seems ludicrous to let a lead turn cold, this is precisely what companies do. For various reasons companies will receive leads through their website and never do anything with them. The simple fix for this is to have a lead flow plan for dealing with leads and prospects.

4. No Plan – A staff that is unfamiliar with email marketing and lead management and does not have a plan in place to handle incoming leads will inevitably suck at lead management.

Not having a plan will likely result in committing every other mistake in this post. Which, in turn, will seriously hamper your company’s new business efforts. Planning is the most important step to effective lead management.

5. An Understaffed Sales Department – Without enough people on staff to handle incoming leads, they are overlooked and will eventually become cold. Companies need to keep tabs on the number of incoming leads and the capabilities of their sales staff to address each one. A website that is effective at turning visitors into leads will likely need to increase their sales staff.

6. Dropped Communication – Although no one likes to admit it, leads fall through the cracks. Too many emails come in, emails are caught in a spam filter, emails are overlooked because of time restraints, and other factors contribute to dropped communication.

To fix this, leads should be entered into your CRM program as soon as they are received. Or your lead program should be integrated directly with your CRM program. Adding the appropriate information and dates should alert the user to leads that need to be addressed in a timely manner.

7. Not Sharing Relevant/Unique Content to Keep Them Interested – Part of keeping leads warm is continuously getting in front of them to provide relevant content and useful information. Follow-up emails can be scheduled and broadcasted based on how long it has been since the prospect first submitted information. Newsletters are another way to keep leads warm.

8. Lack of Appropriate Tools – While mentioned in other items in this list, marketing information systems are enough of their own factor of lead management to be discussed in more detail. Tools will help employees save time, stay on top of leads, keep them warm and segmented, and tranisition them to conversions — if they are used appropriately. The sales staff needs to have access to effective marketing tools, along with the training necessary to use them. Consider software such as ActOn, Silverpop, Marketo or Hubspot that includes auto-responders, lead management, and email marketing to simplify processes and optimize ROI.

9. Not Segmenting Leads – Most companies have a handful of ideal clients. These clients do not all need or want the same information from you. As leads come in, they need to be segmented based on their demographics, personas, downloads they’ve requested, and where they are in the buying process.

Smart autoresponder programs, along with advanced content marketing strategies provide the best solution to accurately segment leads for optimal conversion.

Setting up your company website to generate leads is simply the first step in increasing income through the Internet. Lead management is just as important, if not more so, than collecting visitor information. To make the most of your lead generation plans, consider these 9 mistakes and take appropriate action to make sure they are fixed.

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The Importance of Your Linkedin Profile

The Importance of Your Linkedin Profile

Every website you join has its own membership login, password, email or other information you have to remember. Some, like Linkedin, require you to fill out a profile as well.

On Linkedin, this isn’t just any profile. This is perhaps the most important profile you will ever fill out online. This is the profile that will get views from other active members on the largest business platform in the world.

The people viewing your profile want to learn more about you. They want to know if you are experienced, what you’ve done in your career, and how you could add value to their projects, campaigns and company.

Your Linkedin profile isn’t just a page visited like Facebook or Twitter, it’s a page that helps other businesses decide if they want to do business with you. In that respect, it’s a page that has a large financial bearing on your future.

Consequences of Not Filling Out Your LinkedIn Profile

A big mistake people make when joining Linkedin is ignoring their profile. They throw their name in and ignore everything else, or they put in very vague pieces of information and leave it unfinished. The problem is, if you plan on doing business with anyone who is active on Linkedin, they will search your name and try to connect with you.

If you aren’t there, you’ll potentially lose the opportunity to connect with them. If you are found but your profile isn’t complete, you’ll lose an untold number opportunities down the road. And the sad thing is that you’ll really never know what you are missing out on.

What is a Complete Linkedin Profile?

Picture – Time and again, you’ll see someone’s profile on Linkedin and that don’t have a picture. This is a red flag. The first thing other visitors will think is: “What are they trying to hide?”

You absolutely MUST have a picture of yourself on Linkedin, no excuses, no logos, no whining.

The picture doesn’t have to be professionally taken, but it should be your face. It should show a friendly face that is welcoming. You can find highly unprofessional pictures on Linkedin profiles, but I guarantee it costs them business.

You might find pictures of people laid back, hands behind their heads, and making goofy faces. But they are shooting themselves in the foot. It is one thing to be casual and quite another to be unprofessional. You need a good picture – end of story.

Experience – Fill in where you’ve gone to school, places you’ve worked and projects you’ve participated in. There are some visual tools you can use now to improve the look of your profile.

There’s no need to include every place you’ve worked unless it adds to your experience and will help you get more related opportunities.

Summary – Here you should describe who you help, how you help them and how they can connect with you.

Links – You have the opportunity to link to your website, your blog, a Twitter account or another value-added page. These links help show potential connections what you’re all about. You can share past projects, current web information, ebooks, resources, anything.

Headline – Arguably the most important part of your profile is your headline. The headline will be featured next to your name everywhere your profile is listed on the site. Make sure it accurately displays your value statement, but does not violate any guidelines such as keyword stuffing.

The key to getting business from Linkedin is having a profile that impresses and accurately describes who you are and how you can bring them value. If your profile isn’t complete, hurry over to Linkedin now and complete it, add a good picture and update links to your website. You won’t regret it.

HiveMind Marketing provides social media strategies and consulting, as well as paid LinkedIn advertising. Give us a call to find out more.