Title Image

responsive website design Tag

Good design + good content = increased readership

Outdated, confusing or convoluted design can greatly diminish your content’s effectiveness. That’s true whether your content is web-based, or a PowerPoint, newsletter, print ad, or social media.

But a well-constructed, thoroughly planned design can brilliantly lead the eye through content, illuminating key points, and facilitating understanding.

Effective marketers know that design and content are intricately linked together. They are also very good at understanding what drives human behavior. Because (of course), the nature of human behavior affects everything we do. And buy. Which means that to be an effective marketer, you’ve got to be focused on what will persuade your potential buyers to see, appreciate and “get” what your product/s are all about, no matter what format you are using.

Powerful persuasion is the point. And it is both an art and a science.

To get there, you’ve got to use effective design and psychology to engage readers in specific behaviors, leading the eye and the brain toward creating calls to action at the ‘right’ times.

Good design persuades users to engage with your product or content in the way you want, leading to a specific outcome – brand influence, product awareness, understanding, reinforcement, and/or the desire to purchase.

The opposite is also true. If your user confronts five pop-up ads, a long loading time, or a sea of disclaimers before they reach your primary content, chances are good they won’t stay long enough to be persuaded.

So how do you get someone’s attention long enough to present them with information, using good design and good content?

That’s where the true art of persuasion comes into play. You not only have to be good at understanding human nature, but you also have to be a good storyteller – on two very distinctive levels.

That first level of effective storytelling is a very central one. It is message and fact oriented. You reach your audience with Focal Point Designinformation specifically framed to reinforce attitudinal thinking. For instance, “This paint is formulated to cover colors better. Here’s how…” This is sometimes referred to as central route processing.

The second level of good storytelling uses secondary influence such as visual appeal, presentation and enticements like sex or humor to engage users on a more superficial level. For example, “Look how rich, colorful and smooth this paint can look when applied to your (drab and boring) walls.”

The best marketing uses both effectively, since some people are more drawn to having all the facts and want to know the “why” behind what they purchase, and other folks are more interested in having what’s cool and beautiful. Since most of us seek a little of both types of information, the best messaging and design addresses both as seamlessly as possible.

In summary, truly effective marketing understands what will drive all types of end users. The advertising messages need to be relevant to the consumer and easy to access and understand.

They must be written and designed professionally — in a way that takes into consideration psychology, design, and technology — to influence or motivate a desired outcome, a purchase decision. Because if one of those elements is missing, the desired outcome is far less likely to happen.

0

“Can you help us pull together a website?”

At FocalPoint, the answer is, “Sure, we’d love to be your go-to company on your website project. But let’s talk about this before we get started.”

If this is our first work with a new client, we initiate a lot of conversations before we touch the cursor. We like to think of this as “Website Design and Development 101.” It really is a prerequisite before we begin work.

Why? Because the best place to begin is to really consider why you want a website in the first place.

  • Is this to replace or update an existing site? Why replace it? What was right and what wasn’t about the existing site?
  • What is your single most important message and why?
  • What does the site need to do?
  • Answer questions about what you do or be a resource to provide info or tools to existing customers?

We want to be sure that your website is more than a place to talk about who you are and what you do. If that’s all your website does, it won’t drive traffic. It will probably just sit there as a line on your business card.

For a website to do what it’s supposed to do, it has to:

  • Is your website responsive?
  • Draw you in
  • Provide you with needed information right off the bat. In three minutes, a potential customer should know who you are, what you do, and why your company matters
  • Be strategically engineered to drive readership
  • Built around intuitive navigation (i.e., making your key points easily understood and getting eyes further into the site to provide more information)
  • Set a strategically considered tone with color, visuals and copy.

Once we begin communication with new clients around the strategic design of their website, we often uncover previously undiscussed topics, for instance:

  • What really sets you apart from your competition?
  • How does what you do matter?
  • Does your logo accurately reflect a sense of what you are/what you do?
  • Does your tag line provide memorable new information about your company, or just sit there because you’ve used it for ten years and never thought much about it?

Even after the site work is begun, we’re really just getting started. Because once that website is up, you’ll need to manage it to keep if working for your business, adding fresh content from time to time.

So yes, we can help you build and design that new website. But with us, the site will be much more than new.

It will provide the right information to your audience at the right time. It will drive the right kind of traffic to your business.

It will also provide your potential client with a reason to contact you to learn more.

This is how we think at FocalPoint.

We position our clients strategically to succeed.

0

In 3… 2… 1…

You’ve got less than 5 seconds to pique someone’s interest enough to click on your link.

The first few sentences of any presentation determine whether your idea gets heard.

Studies show that each of us has to connect on some level with any new idea or product at least three times before we are willing to give it a chance with our pocketbook.

How does the information above square with your marketing campaign?

Here are basic questions to ask before you launch any new marketing campaign:

  • What need does this fulfill?
  • Are there typos?
  • Is the idea sexy?
  • Is the design compelling?
  • Is it this offer too good to be true?

You can’t blame your prospects for ignoring you. You’ve got to know the game and cut to the chase differently, faster, and most importantly, memorably.

Stand apart from the crowd in a way that is memorable. And timely. Then you will be heard above the fray.

0

Is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Ranking Update Penalizing Your Website?

Google’s Mobilegeddon Is Upon Us

Tuesday, April 21st (just about 48 hours ago) was a big day in the online marketing world.  It marked the official beginning of Google’s “Mobilegeddon.”  In layman’s terms, this means the date in which Google has vowed to start favoring mobile friendly websites in its search engine rankings (over those sites which are not designed with mobile in mind).  This is could potentially be a big deal and I am about to explain why…

But, before we go any further, if you’re not sure if your website passes Google’s mobile friendly design test, take a moment to go here to check it out.

Background – Google’s Mobile Update
For months and months the search engine giant warned all digital marketers, website designers and business alike that compatibility for mobile devices was a must.  Then, in February, Google issued the official announcement that starting April 21st, those sites which are designed with the  mobile user in mind will be given priority in ranking over those which are not.  This was enough to send the SEO and web design world into a bit of a frenzy to meet this “deadline.”

While it’s still unsure exactly what type of impact this new Google algorithm update will have on search results (it could take up to a week for Google’s index to be completely updated), many have predicted that because of the way it was announced, it could have as big of a a long-term impact as the Penguin and Panda updates.  For those not familiar with these updates, they had arguably the biggest impact in Google search rankings that marketers and web designers have seen in a quite some time, forever changing the way in which websites are ranked.

Need some help figuring all of this out?  Reach out to me here!

My Take On Mobilegeddon
While many people are no doubt complaining and will continue to complain when their site’s ranking takes a hit with this update, it’s really for the better when it comes to long term business growth.  This mobile-friendly update really is about doing what’s right for your customers.  And at the end of the day, what’s right for them is what’s right for your business.

If this announcement from Google is what it takes for those who haven’t jumped on creating a mobile or responsive website design to finally go for it, then I am all in favor.  Regardless of how extensive the impact and changes end up being, the point here is that many who would have put these updates off for years to come will finally jump on board.  This is actually great news for all digital marketers and I will tell you why…

Your Customers Want A Mobile Experience
It has been reported in comScore research from the summer that smartphones and tablets combined accounted for 60 percent of total digital media time in May 2014, up 10 percent from the previous year.  Let me say that again – 60%!!!  This new Google update is simply being done to compliment that growing trend by favoring sites with large text, easily clickable links, and optimized sizes that fit the smaller screen of a smartphone.  If you haven’t moved to a responsive design or mobile friendly version of your website, it’s your customers that are really getting penalized with a poor usability experience on their smartphones and tablets.

Responsive Web DesignMobile Friendly Website Design or Else…
Regardless of the type of business you’re in, your current customers and potential customers want a great mobile experience when it comes to website design and it’s up to you to give it to them…or else.  The “or else” simply means that you lose out to your competitors that are delivering that easy to navigate, mobile-friendly website.  The ones that will now be ranking above you in Google search…and no one wants that.

Who Will Feel It The Most?
I read today that the two types of businesses that will be affected the most from this update are the small ones and the large ones.  Those businesses that were small enough to not previously have the money or know-how on building mobile friendly websites and those businesses that were large enough that creating a mobile design was just too big of an undertaking.

What Next?

If you currently have a responsive website design or one that’s otherwise mobile-friendly and passes Google’s test, then you shouldn’t have much to worry about in term’s of search rankings.  In fact, you may notice some improvement in position over some of your competitors that are arriving late to the mobile-friendly party.

If Google’s mobile-friendly (Mobilegeddon) update has completely blindsided you or your business and you start to notice a drop in traffic/rankings, the best thing you can do is to attempt to temporarily replace that traffic while moving forward with a responsive website design.  This could mean setting up a Google AdWords campaign or ramping up your social media marketing efforts.

It’s also worth noting that this update impacts websites on a page by page basis.  This means that if one page of your website happens to not be mobile friendly while the rest of the pages are, only that one page could see any negative impact.  It also means that if you find yourself behind the 8 ball and have a few critical pages on your site that receive a great deal of traffic, you could start by updating those first.

Need Help?
Still not sure if your site passes Google’s mobile-friendly test?  Ready to talk online marketing strategy?  Contact me today!

0

Why I Am Focused On My Content Marketing Strategy

Focal Point Video Marketing

As of late, I have really been making it a point to focus on the content marketing strategy for my business.  Having been in the marketing industry for over 25 years, it only seems natural to begin to share some of my thoughts, opinions and stories via my company blog.  You see, for a long time I have been known to my network as the “video guy” and while video production is definitely one of our core services here at Focal Point, there’s so much more to the story. It has always been my passion to build an Digital Marketing Agency that is truly engaged in the success of each client.

READ MORE

2 Must-Haves for Every 2015 Online Marketing Plan

It’s never too early to write a blog post predicting the keys to a successful online marketing plan for the following year.   After all, the hope is that readers like you will get the message and start taking action now.  Well, I’m here to fill you in on the 2 online marketing plan must-haves that are going to make or break your success in 2015.

2015 Online Marketing Predictions

Before we get started, let me just say that these are two trends that many online marketers saw coming but were still overwhelmed by how fast they happened.  Let me also say that your online marketing plan and marketing strategy needs to include these things because they are not going away.  They will only continue to become more apparent.

1. Multi-Device Consistency and Compatibility

Is your brand represented well on every device?  Businesses who aren’t thinking about this question are getting blindsided everyday when they realize that 30% 40% of their website traffic is coming from smartphones.  And another 8% – 10% from tablets .  All at once they realize that beautiful website design isn’t exactly user friendly for the majority of their potential customers.

We live in a multi-device world.  We watch TV with our iPhone in hand.  We regularly switch from PC to tablet throughout the day.  If a potential customer views your site from their desktop at work, gets distracted and comes back later that night from a smartphone – will the experience be consistent?  It’s no longer a choice.  Responsive website design is here to stay and the customer experience MUST be consistent or sales and leads will be lost.  End of story.

Statistics from a recent Marketingland.com report:
“Mobile web traffic has grown 50 percent over the past year and now represents more than 25 percent of all internet visits according to a study by Wpromote. The company looked at traffic to 35 of its client sites, including e-tailers, B2B industries and consumer services.

Consumer services was the category with the highest percentage of mobile traffic at 33 percent. B2B sites had the lowest percentage of mobile traffic at 16 percent.

Source: Wpromote

With a much larger sample of sites, StatCounter shows a higher aggregate percentage of mobile traffic in the US market:

  • Desktop: 68.8 percent
  • Smartphone/mobile: 21.4 percent
  • Tablet: 8.7 percent

Recently I was told by mattress retailer Sleep Train that roughly 40 percent of its traffic now comes from mobile devices. This is also true for sites that offer real-world or “local” information (e.g., Yelp, YP). These sites are seeing traffic north of 40 percent from smartphones and tablets.”

Who is doing responsive website design well?
Take a look at WeAreIU.com.  It’s a website all about helping Indiana University upcoming freshmen prepare for the college experience. The majority of the content is written by students, for students.  The mobile version of the site features a condensed menu with the “Must Reads” front and center using large text that makes it easily clickable.  The content is the start on this website and they make the best stuff easy to find.

WeAreIU

Make Your Website Look Great on Smartphones

Ready to talk about a responsive website design for your business?  Get in touch with Focal Point here to chat.

2. Visual Approach to Social Media Marketing

I don’t need to cover the importance of social media marketing.  By now, you’ve heard it a million times and you get it.  But what I can tell you is that social media marketing skills are going to become like Microsoft Office skills – every new hire is going to need to have them.  It’s just that important.  The other thing that I can tell you is that having a visual marketing strategy for your business is going to be the most critical thing to your success on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

These social media sites continue to make changes that put more and more emphasis on images and videos.  This isn’t going to change anytime soon.  Facebook continues to increase the size of images in its news feed.  Twitter recently made changes to the way its images are displayed, added filters, etc.  Google Plus allows its users to show off their photography skills like never before.  Instagram continues to grow in popularity along with Pinterest.  Is your company adapting to these changes?  Are you using video and images to tell your story?

Stats about Visual Content Marketing:
Hubspot put out an article about the effectiveness of using images and videos in content marketing entitled 19 Reasons You Should Include Visual Content in Your Marketing [Data] back in 2012 (hint hint – you should be doing these things by now) and the trends mentioned have only become more true today.  Here are a few of my favorite points:

15) Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them. (Source: MarketingSherpa16) Mobile video viewing increased 35% from 2010 to 2011. (Source:Nielsen)

17) 25 million smartphone users stream 4 hours of mobile video per month. 75% of smartphone users watch videos on their phones, 26% of whom use video at least once a day. (Sources: Ooyala and Ipsos)

18) Mobile video subscription is expected to hit $16 billion in revenue by 2014, with over 500 million subscribers. (Source: Ooyala)

19) Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. (Source: Internet Retailer)


Who is using visual social media marketing well?
Remember Dollar Shave Club?  They’re the ones who had to wildly popular video that went viral back in 2012 (go here for a reminder).  Well, they’re still at it and doing a great job with their social media marketing strategy.  Take a look at the example below.  Simple.  Funny.  Best yet, it gets interaction and drives sales.  This one FB post had 276 likes, 44 comments and 25 shares.  Not bad for a post about razor blades!

Dollar Shave Club

Ready to talk about your visual content marketing?

Focal Point can help you share your story through the use of stunning photography and video that can be incorporated into your social media marketing strategy.  Contact us today to talk about your visual online marketing strategy!

0