Should Small & Midsize Business Be Spending More on Email?

By | Email, Email Marketing | No Comments

Whether your business is strictly online or is a brick-and-mortar, email marketing is still a great way to promote your business. Is this being forgotten about? Let’s see… it’s simple, it’s quick.. it will help to stay in touch with customers.. why aren’t we all doing this more?

Here are the reasons we believe your business should be using email:

  1. 1. Keep your customers informed. Having a consistent email sent out either weekly or monthly will keep your customers in the loop. Sending special offers or business updates will influence your customers to keep coming back. A great example of this is an email service reminder (ie. It’s time to schedule your next oil change!).

  2. 2. It’s cost effective. Rather than sending out expensive mail, you can save on postage and printing collateral. Email marketing is one of the cheapest ways to stay in contact with your customers.

  3. 3. It’s trackable! Marketing no longer has to be done blindly. With email, you can track those who open, click, call, and even buy. This helps you know what works and what doesn’t.

  4. 4. Traffic to your website. With a well-planned strategy, an email marketing campaign can draw a lot of quality traffic. With several embedded links to your site, a customer skips any potential distraction from your competitors during a search. Also, in comparison to business cards or direct mail pieces with your URL listed, email marketing is easier for individuals to visit your site since they just need to click a link.

  5. 5. It’s easy & fast. Email marketing campaigns are somewhat painless. With the correct guidance and advice, email marketing can prove to be very time effective as well. Once content, links, and tracking have been put into place, an email can be in a customer’s inbox in no time.

  6. 6. You can make it voluntary. If your first thought about email marketing goes to those annoying emails that you receive but immediately delete, you can avoid following suit. Send to customers who have used your products and services and who are already interested in what you have to offer. With a successful campaign, you can even begin to encourage people to subscribe to newsletters and special offers.

  7. 7. It can build rapport. By staying in contact with your customers, emails turn into relationship marketing. Your customers will begin to feel connected to your business and not want to go anywhere else.

We strongly believe in all of these advantages to running an email campaign to market your business. If you’d like your business to have high open, click-throughs, and conversion rates, you’ll want to be sure that you stick to sending only relevant, timely, and engaging emails.


My advice: Don’t do this alone. A great marketing solution is a team effort and you’ll want to work with experts. For more information, contact Turn the Page Online Marketing to learn how this can help your business grow.

What an Online Review Means for Your Business

By | Customer Reviews, Online Reviews | No Comments

Providing online ratings and reviews of your products and services can benefit everyone. For business owners they can enhance your credibility and even increase conversion rates. From a customer’s standpoint, ratings and reviews aren’t a sales pitch, they’re an honest opinion or experience.

Online Customer Reviews – The New Word of Mouth

Don’t we all wish we got all of our business from word of mouth? This is one of the most influential forms of marketing and the least expensive. So why not add this influence, with increased customer engagement, into your online presence? These days the internet allows conversations to spread quickly across a vast audience. With the added trust in another consumer’s review, this makes online ratings and reviews an extremely powerful factor in a consumer’s purchasing decision.

Benefits to Your Consumers

Ordinary consumers are given a voice through online review options. They are invited to share their experience, good or bad, with more than just friends and family. For someone looking to make a purchase, a good review can help solve an apprehension. A review can also build trust between business owners and consumers.

Benefits for E-Commerce

For a business, online ratings and reviews provide nearly unbeatable market research. With direct feedback from customers, merchants can better understand the opinions of their consumers about their products and services. A business owner can now monitor customer satisfaction and are given the chance to address any issues.

Honest and critical reviews can also help a business owner better understand the needs of their customers. It can also give them an opportunity to provide a personal touch to their online store.

Benefits to Your SEO

Ratings and reviews are also a piece of your optimization efforts. Not only do recent testimonials on your site provide fresh content, but reviews on third-party sites can drive traffic to your website. Reviews on these sites can also build rapport by making your business more relevant and visible on these types of search engines. Other benefits to your SEO include:

  • Reviews tend to be keyword rich

  • New and unique content about your business

  • Improved rankings

With a rapid increase in internet use, word of mouth marketing has also evolved. Giving your customers a voice and empowering them with the ability to share their experiences benefits everyone involved.

 

Talking to Mobile Ads- The Next Big Thing?

By | Blog, Mobile Ads, mobile marketing | No Comments

With the mobile ad market booming in 2013, Nuance has potentially developed the next best thing- Voice Ads.

The ability to chat with ads will work off the internet connection of iOS or Android devices. This new technology is described as being similar to how iPhone users talk to Siri.

When will we start seeing Voice Ads?

Voice Ad technology is currently available through a few app developers’ mobile ad frameworks. These app developers will embed an ad framework into the mobile apps they create and will be distributed. This new concept of two-way communication through a mobile ad requires only “yes” and “no” answers- at least for now. With voice-recognition technology, Nuance believes this turns a new page for advertising.

What does Voice Ad mean for advertisers?

By allowing consumers to talk with a brand, taking action requires very little effort. A consumer no longer has to “click on the banner for more information” or jot down a phone number. They are now being given the opportunity to engage in conversation.

If a consumer is actually engaging in a live conversation with a mobile ad, they are likely to feel closer to the brand itself. The more your audience is engaged, the more connected they’re going to feel to that product or brand. This may sound silly, but it truly is building a relationship.

What does the future hold?

For Voice Ad to catch on, Nuance’s new technology is going to need to provide a great and unbeatable experience. There is a very unique potential here, and we think it’s going to take off faster than Facebook replaced MySpace (too soon?).

With mobile advertising expected to hit $11.4 billion in revenue this year, we might see voice recognition technology in apps taking a large chunk of that. If business owners are encouraging potential customers to have a conversation with their ad, the sales potentials are one of a kind. Consumers will likely see this as better than speaking with a salesman and easier than trying to quickly click links.

As people become more used to communicating with their virtual personal assistants, Voice Ad should have no problem telling the old mobile ad to move over.

Google + Local Takes Over Google Places

By | Business Listing, Customer Reviews, Google Changes, Google Places, Google Plus | No Comments

If you haven’t heard, we’ve recently said goodbye to Google Places and hello to Google Plus Local.

At Turn the Page, we’ve anticipated this merge for months assuming that Google+ would become more relevant for local search. The time has come and we are busy making the most of these changes for our clients.

Local Search- Now More Social

Google’s goal of creating a single web experience for users has taken its next step. Google has now integrated Google Plus Local into its networking site to allow users to share information about local shops and restaurants.

With social networking being a huge part of our lives and our businesses, people look to online resources when making a decision. We often seek the opinions of our friends and family as well as the reviews of others before making a purchase. The new “Local” tab on a Google+ page allows users to search for local restaurants, hotels and more with a full integration of reviews, ratings, and comments.

Converting Your Listing

In order for your business to take advantage of Google+ Local, it will need a verified G+ page. A Google places listing will not merge without it. If your business has this in place, the conversion should have been painless.

So is this beneficial? We think so. A consumer now has several ways to find you- Google Search, Google Maps, Google+ Search or in Mobile Apps- and now will have a very consistent experience.

Users then receive a much more engaging experience with reviews and several sources of information. Not only is it more visually interesting than Places was, but it is inviting to social interactions as well.

For a user, by choosing the Local tab, they are given a few options. They can simply browse the home page content for local businesses or they can conduct a search similar to a Google.com search. Two search boxes are visible allowing a category search as well as a location. Of course, Google knows your location, but in case you wanted to conduct a not so local search.

Zagat > Yelp ?

Integrated into this new local tab is Google’s Zagat which includes reviews, rating and comments from friends. Rather than a business being rated on a 1-5 star scale, Zagat allows users to fill out a more comprehensive review.

This helps to separate components such as food, service and atmosphere instead of being forced to factor them all into one. Zagat’s more complex scoring system prevents scores from converging and allows for a much more accurate review.

Changes to Mobile

Android devices have already seen these changes in Google Maps for Mobile. Still pending is app updates to iOS. However, Apple users may never see this based on predictions of its own Maps replacing Google Maps for the iPhone this summer.

Overall, these changes in Google+ Local and the integration of Zagat reviews provide a more useful local search experience for consumers. We are also excited about the large degree of social and recommended content that Google+ Local and Zagat have to offer.

For more information about getting your business active on Google+ Local, contact Turn the Page Online Marketing.

 

The 5 Must-Haves Of A Design Consultation

By | Branding, Graphic Design, Website Design | No Comments

So, you just bought a new website, logo or brochure for your company. You want it to look amazing and you might already have some ideas of how it should look in your head.

Our suggestion? Remember that graphic designers are designers – not mind readers. (Although our graphics department does have many super powers we pull out from time to time.)

Here’s what you can do to help us get the vision in your head onto the layout we present:

1. Know what you don’t want in your website design

In every design consultation, I ask the client what sites they like or what colors they prefer. A common response:

“I don’t care.”

But, experience has shown me that this not true – you DO care about the look and colors on your website (or logo, or brochure, etc.) So not stating any preference isn’t a good response.

When you don’t give any direction, you’re allowing the graphics team to come at you with anything. For example, a hot pink and neon green website.

Unless you’re a roller skating rink or company bringing back the 1980s, this probably isn’t your thing. But, if your input is “I don’t care,” it gives us free reign to be creative.

So the point – analyze yourself and your business. Pick out colors and a “feel” you want to replicate. This will save you lots of time, and possibly even money.

2. Decide on Color Schemes for your Website

I know, I’m back on color, but it’s a big issue. Choosing design colors isn’t like picking paint for your walls – you don’t need exact color schemes. But having an idea of a few colors and “feel” that want will help the process go smoothly.

Don’t just give us one color, for example – my business logo is red.

Instead, give us the type of color schemes you prefer. We’ll need at least two or three. Input like

“I prefer warm colors over bright colors.”

or

“Cold colors or a combination of warm and cold colors work best for us.”

This type of direction helps our team nail it.

How to Pick Website Colors

If you’ve never sat down to think about colors, here are a few tips to help you get started:

3. Look At Website Layouts

Once we have colors sorted out, our next question will be layout. Again, even if you don’t think you have an idea or preference on your site layout – you most likely do. Giving us your thoughts will help us present a website design that you’ll like.

Use these tips to get started on analyzing website layouts:

Analyze other websites – any website

Look at other websites and analyze what you do and don’t like about them. A few things to think through:

  • What is your style?
  • Do you like a lot of black and white?
  • Are you more attracted to clean and minimal designs?
  • Do you need something “busier” to incorporate all the elements you want featured?

Note:  When it comes to a website, there’s a difference between clean colors and a clean layout. To a designer, clean colors usually means a lot of white. A clean layout is more about keeping elements separate, like the picky eater who doesn’t like their food touching on the plate.

Analyze other websites – competitors

In the midst of looking at other websites, make sure to take a peek at what your competitors do.

Many new clients come to us with their competitor websites and tell us what they like and don’t like about them. THIS IS GREAT!

Just remember that when it comes to layouts, you don’t have to simply stick with what your competitor is doing. We want to see examples from any company – in or out of your industry – and features you want.

Whether it’s a website, brochure, poster or mailing, any examples of things you like will help your designer.

4. Bring In All of your Graphic Stuff

Typically, Turn The Page customers are not brand new to business. Companies typically have been up and running anywhere from three months to 50 years.

This means you probably have some kind of marketing materials. Whether it’s a logo that your neighbor’s son came up with or a full catalog of items you sell… we want to see it all.

Even if you don’t like it. (Especially if you do.)

All of your existing stuff helps us know what direction to take for your website design. It’s the same reason we always look at a new website client’s old website. We ask,

What do you like about your old site?

Typically, the immediate response is:   “NOTHING!

However, after we talk about it for a little bit the client will say something like:

“Oh, that button that says ‘Follow Us on Twitter,’ we still want that on our homepage.”

All are good things we need to know – up front.

5. Trust Your Graphic Designer

When I call you for a design consultation, that means you have already made a decision. And we are so thankful you chose Turn The Page with your website or graphic design project.

You should always have a say in what you want – after all, it is your company and your brand. We want your opinions and ideas to be part of the process!

However, our best designs typically come from a scenario where the client gave great input and then allowed the graphic designer freedom. When we can be innovative and do something new,  or create something you may not have seen before, we typically push the bar for our clients.

Of course, if you don’t like it – then you don’t like it. And it’s your investment, we will work until it’s right.

But, know that designers think creatively and a lot of them like to push the envelope. By hiring us at Turn The Page, you can use this to your advantage and really make your website stand out.

Utilize these five steps when it comes time for your design consultation. We bet in the end, if you give us this input, we will have you convinced we are super heroes who can read your mind.

Google Now- Now Available for iOS

By | Google, Google Search, iOS | No Comments

Google Now- Google’s predictive search service- is now available to iPhone and iPad users. Google Now has been available for Android devices since last summer and has gone from its early stages to possibly shear genius since then. The way it has evolved in just the last year leads us to believe desktop users may even be using Google Now sooner than later.

How does Google Now work?

Google Now gathers your personal information and provides you with information “cards”. Based on the information it has gathered, Google Now searches for what it believes to be information you need or would like at the time. To determine these searches, Google Now pulls information from:

  • Your current location and your location history

  • Your Google searches

  • Your gmail account and flight or hotel confirmations sent to your email account

  • Events on your Google calendar

  • Google+ contacts and birthdays

  • Companies listed in your Google Finance portfolio

With information from these sources, in combination with public information such as news and traffic for example, Google Now comes up with answers before you ask the question.

Google Now Information Cards

The information provided to you through Google Now is displayed using cards. Examples of these cards include: Weather, Traffic, Sports Info, Stocks, Packages, Boarding Passes, Public Transit, Birthdays, Appointments, and many more. As you can see, Google Now needs access to your accounts and your location to be able to work its magic.

Let’s say you searched for the score to the Royals game last night. Google Now has now qualified you as a Royals fan (Go Blue!) and that info will now be provided in the cards without you having to do a search.

Google Now for Desktop?

Though Google hasn’t said, we believe that it makes sense for Google Now to begin to appear on our desktops where many searches are also being made. Perhaps we’ll even see a transformation in the Google homepage soon. In the meantime, Android users can update their device via Google Play to use Google Now. For iOS users, download or upload the Google Search App via the App store.

So what’s the catch? The only thing that could make Google Now inaccurate or not helpful is for those who don’t use Google products for email or search. For Google Now to work properly, it needs access to your information and location.

My advice- Get Google Now.. now. If iPhone users haven’t already, it may be time to leave Safari and Siri in the dust.