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#worththeconversation Tag

Web Design - Focal Point Marketing

Now that we’ve set up your website, the real work begins.

Wait, your website is complete.

Isn’t that the goal?

Well, a lot of companies think just that. They set up a nice looking website, print the site URL on all their marketing materials, and move on.

Getting your website set up, well-designed and saying what you want it to say in a compelling way is really the first step in your on-line marketing strategy. Your next step is to make sure your website is working for you now, as well as in the months and years to come.

If you want your website to stay meaningful, you’ve got to keep it relevant.

That’s where managing your website comes into play.

  • Monitoring and tracking visits to determine if visitors do more than arrive, look at your first page and leave. If so, something’s wrong.
  • Make sure your prospects get to the information they are seeking with as few clicks as possible.
  • Make sure there is new material added to the site on a regular basis. That could be blogs, product updates,  special offers, videos, or testimonials.
  • Stay on top of crucial software updates.
  • Execute website backups on a regular basis.

It all comes back to strategic planning, designing your website is just the beginning. It’s the hard work, the know-how and the strategic thinking that keeps your website working for you when it’s brand spanking new, and in the months and years to come.

If you have questions or would like to learn more feel free to reach out to me via email.

brien@focalpoint.co

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“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.

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Big picture. Small steps

Spearheading a new product launch or marketing initiative? Although all of us understand change is ubiquitous and needed, it does seem to be in our very nature to resist it. And that we all do, in big ways and small.

If the marketing launch you are undertaking is massive, here at FocalPoint, we recommend taking small steps from the gate. Here’s what we mean:

For instance, separating communication about the initiative from action. Start by outlining what’s changing and provide a clear “why.” Customers, staff, senior advisers and folks on down the line – even the voice in your head – all need that.

Follow that first step by parsing out a series of additional ‘bite-sized’ steps, and attach a dateline to each. This way, you can provide those in your organization with a chance to taste success one step at a time, and build confidence along the way.

Every couple of weeks, provide a status update and remind your team (and your customers, as appropriate) of the big picture.

Breaking any big marketing change down into smaller elements while keeping the big picture in mind can help everyone in your organization appreciate the ultimate goal, gain positive momentum and contribute to its ultimate success.

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.

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shake-things-up

Shaking it up

Do you want your marketing to fit in with everyone else’s? You want to stand out. Get noticed.

We thought so.

At FocalPoint, we know it takes real work to become a stand out. It takes questioning basic assumptions and trying a few crazy new ideas to create something different. Something of value.

If you have a vision that’s different from the norm and a passion that pushes you to move forward with it, here at FocalPoint, we consider that a gift.

We like to work with the movers and the shakers in the business and tech world. We enjoy working with folks that aren’t looking for different just to be different. Like us, they are looking for different to be better.

If that sounds like you, let’s shake a few things up together.

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Getting it right

Attention to detail is big for us at FocalPoint.

We believe in getting things right. The first time.

And – what we seek to get right that first time matters more than just about anything else. Like what’s really important.

Really important like…

  • Creating a product or a service you are truly proud of
  • Addressing a workable business plan that meets a real need
  • Hiring a team that cares about the dream and the details
  • Building shrewd creative marketing around your business model that will speak to your mission and your audience

About that last bullet point…

FocalPoint creates marketing strategy with an end point in mind. The tag line won’t simply be ‘catchy.’ It will support that business plan you lost sleep over.

We understand that there will be endless details to get right before you launch your web site and your social media plan. That’s the ground point where we work best together. Before you have something that you’re truly proud of. That’s an ideal place for us to be. So together we can create, double check, test, and launch with more than just a hunch.

We want to get things launched right— right alongside you and your team. Greeting success together after hard work ironing out what’s most important.

See the Fork First

More than a few famous poets, authors and songwriters have waxed poetic about the point along the road where one has to decide which direction to take.

At FocalPoint, we think the key to making the best decision about the road less travelled, the road not taken, or the fork in the road is NOT the crucial part of your journey. We think that first you have to SEE the fork, and recognize it for what it is.

That’s a huge thing in marketing and communications strategy. Many, many organizations misstep by failing to see that there is a critical decision to be made at a particular juncture — and do not understand the importance of the fork in the road.

How does one develop the insight to take the right path? At FocalPoint we set out these reminders for ourselves:

  • Stay focused on shifting currents
  • Be open to change and stay nimble
  • Be accessible and approachable
  • Consult with others and listen
  • Understand the way it always was is not the way it is

Recognizing the significant, life-altering twists in your company’s path is difficult. It helps having a company by your side to help you anticipate change.

Together, we can decide which new direction to take to forge ahead.

 

 

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Entrepreneurial Marketing, Selling the Sizzle

What's-Your-StorySteve Jobs was famous for entrepreneurial marketing. He created gadgets we didn’t even know we needed, and then marketed them so effectively, we knew we craved whatever he blessed – asap.

At FocalPoint, we’re quick to give Jobs his due, but we also appreciate that he’s not the only one to market entrepreneurially. There are many great examples of reading the marketplace correctly and capturing consumers’ attention, from hot movie franchises to new cars, popular political slogans to toy manufacturers.

According to Adrian Slywotzky, author of Demand: Creating What People Love Before they Know they Want it, “Demand creators figure out how to solve the big and little hassles we all face.” They tell a story about how their product will make our days more convenient, more productive and more fun. Then, they market that hassle-relief instead of the product itself.

It’s a great strategy, but not a new one. That theory used to be called “selling the sizzle, not the steak.” And it’s still a very effective way to market new products and new ideas because it relies on human emotion.

But it’s not always the first entrepreneur that succeeds in a big way. It’s the first to market to the emotional business or marketplace. Effective entrepreneurs and marketers have the uncanny ability to turn “fence-sitters” into customers by correctly pinpointing and marketing to buying triggers.

How can we help you use this marketing philosophy to help you with your business?

Marketing Effectively in 2016

It doesn’t matter how new you and your product are, you have to find ways to command attention to break through the noise and get noticed.

The holiday season is a great time to see this in action. Businesses of every sort are finding it increasingly difficult to rise above the noise and seize the attention (and buying power) of new customers. Some just succeed in making a lot of noise. Others break through the noise in brilliant ways.

Ask the Right QuestionsSo how can you build the kind of focused attention that allows you to market effectively? Some ideas:

  • Focus on inquiry. People like being asked for their opinion. They like to feel like they are connecting the dots to the right (buying) solution.

Like most guys shopping is not my thing and shopping for clothes proofs to be even more of a burden but the Trunk Club has the solution.  The Trunk Club grabbed my attention from a marketing perspective first and then from a consumer perspective.  This company is a perfect example of using marketing to inquire and engage their customer — leading them right down the path to a buying decision.

  • Shake things up. Challenge and surprise prospective customers with your marketing. Stimulate their imaginations.
  • Be authentic. Be genuinely and powerfully engaged in your business. Customers love to know that you love what you do – and that you do your best for your customers. Let your customers know they can depend on your word.

It’s not enough to get your message ‘out there.’ To get noticed and win business in today’s incredibly crowded marketing landscape, you have to command attention in unexpected, memorable and moving ways.

That happens to be our sweet spot at FocalPoint. We can help get you where you want to be.

Budget-stretching creative marketing techniques for small businesses

How can I expand my business in a slow-growing economy, you ask?

We get that question a lot here at FocalPoint. Because despite news that employment numbers are up and the economy is percolating, we’re not feeling any kind of surge here in the Midwest.

So, what can you do to increase your marketing share?

The short answer is: get creative! But of course, any marketing solution we recommend begins with us doing a lot of listening to what you do, how you do it differently, and what you are trying to achieve.

That said, here are some interesting ideas we may consider for small and medium sized businesses on a budget:

  • Believe it or not, on-line advertising may be your best bet. Depending on your business niche, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin may be good places to invest for little money.  We can help you figure out which type of on-line advertising creates the best pop for you by doing test ads. Test ads are run for a short time (for very little money) to see how well an ad will play out before we make a bigger buy. (Yes, we really can do that!)
  • You most assuredly cannot match larger competitors dollar-for-dollar but, you absolutely can use unusual or unexpected media approaches to woo business your way.
  • If your budget is tight, chances are you need to be more targeted with your advertising. Rather than a broad brush approach, we hunker down and do some real due diligence and discover how your potential customers actually make buying decisions. Only then do we select a medium that targets your customers in a way they want to be approached.

Here’s a glass half full way to think about marketing on a budget: Because your business is smaller, you have the ability to react quickly to current conditions and (together with us) create ads and promotions that use trends, changing circumstances, opportunities, and headlines to your advantage.

Let the creative sparks fly!