16 Critical Elements of Great Website Design

16 Critical Elements of Great Website Design

Thanks to advanced technology, building a website today can be extremely simple. However, designing a website that marries impeccable functionality with stunning visuals is still challenging. It goes without saying that websites are now a fundamental part of a business’s online identity.

No business can hope to survive, let alone thrive, in today’s cutthroat market without an attractive, easy-to-navigate website. Far too many businesses fail at building a substantial online presence for their brand due to a subpar website.

So, why do some websites fail to attract and hold traffic where others succeed?

Certain elements of a website design contribute the most to building visitor interest in a website. Including these elements on your site gives it a beautiful visual appeal along with flawless functionality and authority. These are also the components that are most often botched during development.

Let’s take a closer look at 16 critical elements for building a great website.

Color Schemes

The color scheme of a website is seldom paid attention to when developing a website. However, you should know how important a role it plays in influencing a visitor’s behavior. Therefore, it’s important to use a color scheme that will best appeal to your visitors while also representing your brand well.

For instance, if you visit the fast-food giant McDonald’s website, you’ll be greeted with a color scheme that combines red, white, and yellow. These colors have been synonymous with the brand for ages.

We suggest first choosing the dominant color that best represents your brand. You can then choose an analogous color scheme that complements your dominant color choice to highlight certain sections of your site, like call-to-action (CTA) buttons.

White Space

Open any website today and you’ll find that a majority of these websites possess white space that divides certain sections of the webpages. These spaces lend an immaculate and accessible design to your site. They make the content or CTA buttons on your site easy to identify and read for visitors.

Some websites also use white space to give certain aspects of the site more emphasis than others. For instance, white space can be used to make certain “special deals” the focal point of a page.

Make sure you’re consistent in spacing the gaps between sections of your site. We recommend beginning with the navigation and then moving your attention to the content of your site. A grid-based layout can help you design a clean interface that maintains consistency across the entire page.

Easy Navigation

Sites that make it complicated for their visitors to navigate normally experience higher bounce rates.

As such, it’s imperative to facilitate simple navigation by giving users an easy-to-use and intuitive website. The website should offer users simple routes to navigate to certain fundamental aspects of a site, recommended pages, along with a way back to the original page.

Take a look at this quick navigation menu bar in Marks & Spencer’s website:

We suggest using parallax scrolling as a navigation system, which includes arrows that make a website’s user interface (UI) easy to interact with. Therefore, you must place a strong emphasis on simple navigation if you want visitors to spend more time on your site.

Distinct Typography

Using unique typography to present content on your site is an ideal way to distinguish yourself from other similar sites online. The fonts you ultimately choose should complement your brand while communicating its message to visitors. It’s also important to consider a font that makes your site look professional without appearing bland.

We suggest using a font size of at least 16 pixels to make your site’s content readable on mobile and desktop devices. You can use different but complementary fonts to highlight the headings and subheadings on the site. Finally, use contrasting color schemes to match your text with the background perfectly. Pairing darker tones with lighter colors will do the trick just fine.

Outstanding Visuals

This goes without saying, but certain visual cues on your site will give any website a distinct edge over similar websites online. Populating a webpage with high-resolution images and beautiful illustrations can make your site more compelling to visitors.

For example, take a look at this high-definition image from Hershey:

Of course, you can’t use just any random visuals on your site. They should align with what your brand stands for.

Use stunning banner images. You can populate your page with custom-made images, which can also be used to highlight certain key focal points of your site. Try to avoid using too many stock photos on your pages.

Site Usability

Aside from beautiful design, you also need to create a site that provides users with a satisfying user experience (UX). Most developers make the critical mistake of compromising a site’s usability in favor of its overall visual design. It’s imperative to optimize a site in order to facilitate smooth interaction between the site’s elements and visitors. A subpar UX design could result in your website’s bounce rate blowing through the roof.

You can enhance the user experience by using animations, readable and engaging content, simple navigation, and more interactive elements.

 

High-Quality Content

Having high-quality content is integral to optimizing search engine rankings for your site and thus generating more traffic to your site. It’s also absolutely essential to populate your site with quality content in order to keep your visitors engaged. Top-notch content that’s relevant to your brand can persuade visitors to spend more time on your site, explore other areas, or make a purchase.

We recommend dividing your content based on its relevance. Always keep relevant information about your website, product, or service at the top. Follow it up with content that explains your services or highlights features that set you apart from competitors.

Finally, use an FAQ section to answer questions that a visitor may have about your service.

Have a look at this FAQ page design from Shopify:

Compelling Calls to Action

A website exists to persuade a visitor to take certain actions on it. CTA buttons on a site trigger this response from visitors. As such, you need to place CTA buttons strategically throughout your site to persuade visitors to perform desirable actions on the webpage. The call-to-action messages themselves must be persuasive. They should explain what you want visitors to do in a few words.

“Buy Now,” “Sign up Free,” “Contact Us,” etc. are all examples of CTA buttons commonly used by most websites.

Make sure your landing page leads users to all the CTA buttons present on the page. You can utilize contrasting color schemes, content, and white spaces to highlight a CTA button.

Take a look at this CTA button used by Spotify:

If you have a variety of CTA buttons on your page, determine which type is more important and use it more prominently.

Mobile-Friendly Design

It is a well-known fact that the majority of websites receive most of their traffic from mobile users. With over 7 billion active smartphone users around the world today, not optimizing your site for mobile devices means losing out on such a massive audience. Suffice it to say, mobile optimization is one of the first things you need to do when building a website.

You need to utilize a custom web design that responds and adapts to various mobile screen sizes automatically.

We recommend using Google Search Console or other free tools like Pingdom or BrowserStack to check whether your site is mobile-friendly.

SEO-Friendly Elements

As you may know by now, search engines like Google take many aspects of a site’s user experience into consideration when ranking a site. As such, a developer needs to consider search engine optimization from the very beginning of a website’s design process. Elements like simple navigation, scannable text, loading speed, and mobile friendliness contribute to the overall user experience.

A problem with any of the above elements will result in a user having a poor experience with your site, eventually increasing its bounce rate. Google will take this high bounce as a sign of bad UX and ultimately plummet your site in search engine rankings.

It’s important to consider how each element will contribute to your site’s SEO. We suggest working with an SEO expert, who will monitor and assess all crucial elements of your site while it is in development.

Right Usage of Ads

You’ll find many websites online that have successfully monetized their websites by displaying ads on them. If used appropriately, display ads can be a great way to earn some revenue from your website. However, such advertisements – if used incorrectly – can aggravate your visitor’s user experience. In short, advertisements have the power to make or break your site.

As such, we discourage using too many ads on websites as it can harm the user experience. You don’t want your website to look unprofessional, which is exactly what will happen if your webpage is littered with ads.

The most effective way to advertise on a site, in our opinion, would be combining banner ads with affiliate marketing. Make sure your ads integrate organically with your site. They shouldn’t feel out of place and interfere with the content on your site.

Security

Online security should be an integral part of any website. Security and privacy have often been a major cause of concern for individuals surfing the web. Security alerts popping up when someone tries to open your site is a surefire way of turning potential website visitors away forever.

Internet security should be given as much focus as the design and overall functionality of your site. It should be mandatory for your website to implement an HTTPS protocol. This will help protect a user’s information, lend some much-needed credibility, and build trust among prospects. 

We suggest buying SSL certificates from reliable hosting service providers. These are cheap to acquire and can be integrated seamlessly with your site.

Integrating Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have billions of active users from all around the world. So it only makes sense to integrate social media into your site’s design plan. You should have social media buttons that instantly redirect your users to your site’s official social media channel. You can also have buttons that allow users to directly share certain content or products from your website on their private channels. 

Having social media buttons strategically placed on your website is a great way of indirectly marketing your site, opening doors for people to leap in directly onto your site from their respective social media profiles online. 

Adding Internal and External Links

A proper link-building strategy can prove to be a great way of enhancing the brand authority of your website. It is important to learn how to build internal and external links to help boost your website’s performance. For instance, you can direct users to certain content on your site and improve its SEO performance by using appropriate internal links.

Proper link-building research requires a good strategy. We suggest finding out how your competitor’s websites are employing their link-building strategy. Draw inspiration for sites that are using the strategy with productive results.

Comments Section

We’ve already stressed how important it is to make your site as interactive and engaging as possible. Aside from content, you can add a comments section to your site, which allows users to leave their two cents below a particular content or product information. This can be a great way to receive feedback, which can be used to improve your service.

If you are running an ecommerce store, we recommend adding a review section similar to what is found on sites like Amazon and eBay. A dedicated comments and review section will make your site more interactive and improve brand loyalty.

Achievements and Endorsements

This is perhaps the most effective and widely adopted way of building trust among customers. It is in your business’s best interest to flaunt your past achievements on your website for all to see. Displaying your achievements can go a long way towards building a solid reputation for your business and brand.

We recommend having a dedicated section for testimonials, displaying positive comments from at least 4 to 5 past clients.

We also suggest highlighting the names of all the popular brands you’ve served. If you’ve received endorsements from authoritative brands, add them to your site as well.

Final Thoughts

While these 16 elements can seem a bit overwhelming, they’re essential to building a website that not only looks fantastic but functions flawlessly as well.

Are you ready for the good news? You don’t have to do it on your own!

HighClick Media is a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in professional website design. Our talented web designers will craft your business website with lots of TLC and plenty of technical prowess! We can build you a brand new website from scratch or spruce up your existing site.

Interested? Reach out to HighClick Media today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here. We’ll be glad to show you how we can help #elevateyourbrand with a world-class website for your business.

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Guest blogger Joseph Schneider is the Director of Marketing at Haitna, a digital marketing firm based in Texas.

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How to Grow Your Business by Optimizing Your Website

How to Grow Your Business By Optimizing Your Website

Prioritize Creating a Data Recovery Plan

Unfortunately, business owners too often minimize the importance of cybersecurity until after their company has been targeted and compromised by cyberattackers. Rather than waiting until disaster strikes, it’s imperative to educate yourself about cybersecurity data protection and be proactive about protecting your company’s website.

Coming up with a cyber-recovery plan to safeguard your company’s digital assets – including your website – should be your number one priority. This will allow you to get your website back up and running quickly in the event of a cyberattack. You’ll want to establish a proposed timeline with your preferred “deadlines” for system recovery, as well as details about which programs and applications will have to be addressed in order to execute recovery. Finally, make note of who will be responsible for conducting each task included in your recovery plan.

Develop Educational Content

Sure, your website is a sales and marketing platform – but it can also serve as a vehicle for customer education. Whether your typical customer is another small business, a nonprofit organization, or an individual consumer in your area, you can establish your website as a place that visitors can turn to for up-to-date resources on everything from product use cases to new developments in your industry.

So, how can you ensure that your marketing content is also educational? Business 2 Community recommends publishing blog posts that address your audience’s most common “pain points,” hosting live video lessons with product demonstrations on your website, or even establishing a special membership section of your site with bonus content for paying subscribers.

Integrate Your CRM & ERP

Your customer relationship management (CRM) system and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software are both indispensable to your business. From tracking and capturing leads to managing your overall operations, these software programs can be leveraged to carry out a plethora of key business functions. You can use these programs to their fullest potential by integrating them and then connecting the internal, integrated system to your website. In doing so, not only will you boost your team’s productivity and efficiency but you’ll also be able to seamlessly transfer information from your website to these interconnected programs.

User-Friendly Design

Have you ever had an unpleasant experience while browsing a particular website? Maybe you found it difficult to find the particular page you were looking for. Perhaps you tried to use the search function to find an important piece of content, but it didn’t deliver accurate results. Or, maybe you were seeking contact information so that you could get in touch with a customer support specialist – but no matter how hard you looked, you didn’t see any contact forms, email addresses, or phone numbers.

Crafting an enjoyable user experience should be at the heart of your website design and management approach. But, how can you go the extra mile to make sure that your customers can easily navigate your website and make the best use of all its features? Rock Content recommends designing a clear menu that allows your customers to visit key sections of your website with one click, including an easy-to-find contact form.

In addition, it’s also essential to make sure that your overall site layout looks attractive – after all, visually appealing content might prompt visitors to stay on your website longer (and the longer visitors stay on your site, the more likely they are to take action, such as making a purchase or booking an appointment). If you can’t find a theme that you like with your current content management system, you might consider enlisting the services of a professional web design and development firm that can create a custom layout for your site.

Local SEO: How to Get Found Online by Customers in Your Area

You might be acquainted with the basic principles of search engine optimization (SEO), and perhaps you’ve even been incorporating some useful keywords into your website content already. But have you taken the time to focus on local SEO? By emphasizing local SEO in your website strategy, you can specifically target customers in your area who are seeking products and services like those that you offer.

What can you do to reach customers nearby using SEO tactics? BrainChild Studios recommends putting your city and state on your homepage, adding your city to your page title tags (including the local schema code in your website pages), claiming your Google Business Profile listing, and including your business in local online directories.

Boost Your Conversion Rate

The ultimate goal of your business’s website is to convert visitors into paying customers. Therefore, you need to find ways to boost conversion rates with your website. While implementing user-friendly website design principles can help in this area, there are also some other steps you can take.

A/B testing is key to increasing conversions – you can run tests to analyze your conversion rates with your current site features. Then, as you implement new features like headlines, calls to action, or contact forms, you can run additional tests to compare their effectiveness. By conducting multiple A/B tests at once, you won’t have to wait until a new feature has been thoroughly tested to analyze the impact of another.

Speed Up Your Website

The ultimate goal of your business’s website is to convert visitors into paying customers. Therefore, you need to find ways to boost conversion rates with your website. While implementing user-friendly website design principles can help in this area, there are also some other steps you can take.

A/B testing is key to increasing conversions – you can run tests to analyze your conversion rates with your current site features. Then, as you implement new features like headlines, calls to action, or contact forms, you can run additional tests to compare their effectiveness. By conducting multiple A/B tests at once, you won’t have to wait until a new feature has been thoroughly tested to analyze the impact of another.

Final Thoughts

Your website doesn’t exist just so your company will show up in search engines. In reality, your website might be an unrealized tool for your business’s growth. If you haven’t prioritized growing your business by maximizing your website’s potential, you can get started by integrating some of these recommendations.

If you need help with optimizing your existing website, creating a new website from scratch, boosting your SEO for greater discoverability in Google searches, or any other aspect of your digital marketing, you don’t have to go it alone! HighClick Media is here to help! Contact us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help #elevateyourbrand!

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Guest blogger Cody McBride’s love for computers stems from high school when he built his own computer. Today he is a trained IT technician and knows how the inner workings of computers can be confusing to most. He is the creator of TechDeck.info where he offers easy-to-understand, tech-related advice and troubleshooting tips.

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5 Questions That Lead to Mind-Blowing Marketing Campaigns

5 Questions That Lead to Mind-Blowing Marketing Campaigns

digital agency in eastern north carolina helps you boost your marketing strategy and grow your business

There are endless ways to create brand awareness for your product or service through marketing campaigns: email marketing, social media marketing, SEO… and a whole lot more.

But such a wide variety of choices can become overwhelming. Which marketing strategies do you apply, and how are you supposed to determine what your campaign involves? Where do you begin? Choosing the appropriate outlet to promote your campaign prevents you from missing the opportunity to connect with your target audience.

It’s stressful, I know. Whether you run a large corporation or you’re a small business owner, you make important decisions daily. If adding one more thing to the list makes you want to run for the hills, 1. You’re not alone. 2. Relax. The groundwork for your successful marketing campaign is only a few questions away. When you ask yourself the following questions you’ll be able to identify 5 fundamental components of your campaign right out of the gate.

Successful marketing campaigns start with these 5 questions:

Who are you trying to reach, and why?

It all comes down to who you want to talk to and how the products or services your brand provides can benefit them. Your target customers want solutions and a reason to care, and it’s up to you to give them one! No pressure. 😉 But really, the answers to these questions are going to play vital role in not only what you say, but how you say it.

So before you move forward with any part of the marketing process, determine your target audience and what this audience can absorb from your marketing campaign. You cannot create and carry out successful campaigns without doing this step first and foremost. Identifying and understanding your audience is always the first step in the right direction.

What is your campaign goal?

If your first thought was “make more money!”… same. Seriously, that’s the same goal for everyone. We need to be more specific than that! The answer may not be as obvious as you think!

Ultimately, yes, your campaign will ideally lead to an increased ROI. But, try to think of campaigns as stepping stones – each individual campaign should elevate you to the next level within your overall strategy.

HighClick Media’s parent company, DataGroup Technologies, offers IT services, for example. Many of DataGroup’s campaigns revolve around the benefits of our services to intrigue potential customers.

The motivation behind creating a marketing campaign in the first place determines how the content you release will be consumed by your target audience.

How do you want to convey your message?

So now that you’ve decided who you want to talk to and what you want to say, it’s time to pinpoint the most efficient ways to communicate with your audience. In what ways will your potential customers best respond to your message? Are they active on Instagram, or do they still not understand the purpose of hashtags? Do they prefer emailing or texting?

Deciding how you communicate is where your brand will really benefit from having a creative marketing team in the mix. Digital marketing provides an endless selection of marketing channels, and more are created all the time. My advice to you: Don’t risk missing your mark because you made a quick decision due to feeling overwhelmed. Let the industry experts help you create a solid marketing plan.

How can you make your brand’s campaign stand out?

Once you’ve identified your target audience, goals, and platform for your campaign, the next step is making that campaign pop! In 2019, consumers are constantly being force-fed information 24/7. Even if you decide to “unplug” and go on a digital detox, you likely won’t leave your house without crossing paths with at least one advertisement of some sort, digital or traditional.

But don’t stress. This also means that your campaign has a ton of flexibility and potential! Digital marketing is not one-size-fits-all. Brainstorm and get creative with your campaign! The sky’s the limit!

What will you do to pull this off?

Brilliant ideas remain only ideas if you don’t have the finances to carry them out. I strongly suggest you determine your marketing budget before you get too deep into planning your campaigns. After you’ve determined your budget, it’s a good time to start looking at the details. What bells and whistles does your budget allow for? Where will you put your marketing dollars to ensure that the audience will remember your brand?

So, are you ready to launch a mind-blowing marketing campaign yet? If not, it’s all good – we’ve got you! Reach out to us and one of our campaign experts will contact you to chat about your marketing goals. We’ll help you make your marketing efforts a success!

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By the Numbers: Data Application in Business Operations

By the Numbers: Data Application in Business Operations

By the Numbers: Data Application in Business Operations

 

If you’re operating in the digital space, it’s important to incorporate data and process analytics into your work process. Analyzing data and forming insights are crucial to acquiring and retaining customers, mitigating risk, and navigating a path forward that’s profitable and risk-averse. In this article, we’ll outline a few examples of data application from an operational standpoint.

Customer Acquisition & Retention

Customer Management

Customer retention refers to the strategies you use to keep existing customers coming back. Analytics is critical in this regard, as it provides predictive metrics of how your customers might react to company changes, price fluctuations, etc. A data-driven approach using mathematics, statistics, and probability will allow you to safely test strategies and develop prescriptive insights without risking the real-life loyalty of your existing customers.

The same logic applies to new customer acquisition. The first and clearest advantage of an analytical approach to data involves taking a look at the costs associated with actually acquiring a new customer. With the right implementation, you can weigh the combined costs of advertising, offers, delivery, salary, and communications against the value of the customer themselves ahead of time. 

By contrast, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a user-centric strategy designed to increase the rate of desired behavior amongst users on a website. If you’re collecting data correctly, you’ll be able to more closely scrutinize the user journey across your website pages, forms, customer service, and ecommerce site and adapt your sales and customer journey accordingly.

Internal Process ManagementInternal Process Management Using an iBPM

Many businesses underestimate the importance of internal data capture. Depending on the size of your business, deploying analytics within the context of your own office can be cost-efficient for improving productivity and operational efficiency. Data can be used to improve hiring methods, give insights into effective management, and optimize training methods. It can also be used in conjunction with key performance indicators (KPIs) to more accurately measure team attainment and scrutinize work efficacy.

Another strategy is to use business process management (BPM) to analyze how the people, systems, and data within your business interact. You can also use this tool to automate and optimize processes and workflows, leaving menial tasks to the AI and giving your employees more time to focus on more pressing issues. Automation tools and intelligent business process management (iBPM) combine to make for a more efficient operation. When creating a BPM framework, just be sure that you’re always monitoring its effectiveness and making adjustments to improve output.

Risk ManagementRisk Management

Without data analytics, it’s almost impossible to develop an effective, long-term risk management process. If you have the available technology, you can embed data to identify risks and react in real time to market shifts, faulty internal processes, etc., thereby reducing the likelihood of bad investments and wasted time. With risk profiles, it’s possible to create a framework that weighs financial and strategic threats and prescribes a course of action that would mitigate and manage them. If your data models are precise enough, it’s even possible to predict future outcomes and build workflows that respond automatically, without intervention.

A risk assessment matrix goes a step further and ranks the likelihood, impact, and severity of potential risks. These can then be manifested as key risk indicators (KRIs), which may grow and evolve over time depending on your application of machine learning. Ultimately, you want to create an approach to risk management that changes with the data, ensuring your company is adaptable to hazards as they emerge.

Through data analysis and efficient process management and automation like iBPM, your business will be able to make decisions based on behavior prediction that will improve customer acquisition and retention and company efficiency and reduce the chance of a major setback.

Data Analysis***************

Guest blogger Cody McBride’s love for computers stems from high school when he built his own computer. Today, he is a trained IT technician and knows how the inner workings of computers can be confusing to most. He is the creator of TechDeck.info where he offers easy-to-understand, tech-related advice, and troubleshooting tips.

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5 Ways to Get Your Small Business Ready for the Metaverse

5 Ways to Get Your Small Business Ready for the Metaverse

Is your business ready for the transition to the metaverse? Yeah, we get it – that’s a loaded question! After all, there’s still a fair bit of speculation and rumors about exactly what’s involved with the metaverse and what it will mean for us and our businesses.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve witnessed businesses placing a greater emphasis on ecommerce and digital transformation – thanks in large part to the global pandemic. But we’re also seeing businesses begin to shift their attention even further toward digital as the virtual world becomes less of a fantastical idea and closer to reality.

With internet users spending more time online than ever before, and many small businesses falling on hard times, it’s time for us to rethink how we will connect with our audiences going forward.

In this article, we’ll explore five ways to help your small business weather the world-changing transition to the metaverse – and thrive in its aftermath.

Know Your Niche

The concept of the metaverse – connecting people to technology (and vice versa) using virtual and augmented reality – isn’t a new one. In fact, the idea has actually been kicked around for decades, to varying degrees of execution.

No one seems to agree, or know for sure when the metaverse concept was originally conceived; it’s equally difficult to find an agreed-upon definition of what the reality of the metaverse means for us now.

What’s certain is that the first (and perhaps best) way to make sure your small business is ready for this new era of digital transformation is to have a clear idea of what you want for your brand and how you can make the most of technology to achieve your goals.

For one company, that might mean developing better AI in order to be able to better address customer questions through your website. For another, it might entail creating an entire virtual reality world that allows potential buyers to examine products before buying them as though they were actually there with the items.

Let’s face it: you know your business better than anyone else. Accordingly, only you can determine what the metaverse can (or can’t) do for your business.

Consider Updating Your Branding

With new tech initiatives and the emergence of newer, more diverse social platforms come new branding opportunities. This is a great time to take a long, hard look at your visual brand.

One of the great things about the metaverse is its focus on connectivity. Startups and small businesses alike must ensure that the visual aspects of their messaging make clear how important communication is to the business. As one of the founding values behind the metaverse, paying special attention to your visual branding must always be a top priority.

Claim and Update Your Business on Search Engines

More than half of business owners haven’t claimed their company’s listings on tools like Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business). This is a huge mistake!

Claiming and maintaining your online presence is absolutely crucial for a small business in today’s digital world. Without it, you’ll miss out on countless opportunities to drive traffic to your site, or to the business itself, as well as risk frustrating customers who can’t find the information they need when they need it.

Keeping this information up to date is just as important, particularly for things like holidays or hours of operation, as incorrect information could easily turn off potential customers.

I am not ready for that.

Don’t Abandon the Old Ways Too Quickly

Try to avoid the temptation to go “all virtual, all the time” too soon. Yes, the idea of the metaverse is exciting, and it’s likely that at least some of your customer base will be ready for it.

But good business dictates that you should always give the customer what they want – and the majority of consumers aren’t quite ready for this new way of doing business. At least not yet.

Even as you’re positioning your business to be ready for “the next big thing,” don’t be too hasty to cast aside the old ways completely. Many of your customers are going to want to stick with what they’re used to, for as long as possible. You should continue to give your audience the option to engage with your brand through more traditional methods.

Remain Adaptable

Last but certainly not least, be ready for anything! One thing that many entrepreneurs and small business owners know well is that right about the time you get comfortable, that’s when change comes fast and furious!

Sure, we have an exciting future ahead of us, thanks to an increasing tech-minded push, and it’s going to change the way we view and interact with our world. But if you get too hung up on tomorrow’s virtual reality project, you might not see what’s coming up next week.

 
 

Final Thoughts

Transformation is coming – that’s a given. How will your small business ride out these changes over the next decade? Well, that’s up to you. At the very least, you should be prepared for what comes next.

If you need help transforming your business for the digital age, HighClick Media can help! Whether you’re looking to update your website, get started with social media marketing, or optimize your website for search engines so it’s easier to be found online, we have a solution that’s right for you! Call us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help elevate your brand!

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An earlier version of this article appeared on Entrepreneur’s website and can be found here.

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Millennials Mean Business

Millennials Mean Business

I Have Never Met Someone Who Doesn’t Have an Opinion on Millennials.

We are condemned for our love of avocado toast (it really is good – you should try it!) and pinned as the self-absorbed generation.  But, on the flip side, we are known for being open-minded, collaborative, tech-savvy problem solvers. Making up a quarter of the U.S. population, it should come as no surprise that Millennials have a huge impact on brand marketing.

Who We Are:

According to the Pew Research Center, if you were born between 1981 and 1996, you are a Millennial. There are currently over 76 million Millennials in the United States, and this number just keeps growing. More diverse than other generations, nearly half of Millennials are people of color.

Having been raised in a damaged economy, we are drastically more socially and technologically connected than any other generation. It’s true; We are the generation of iPhones, social media, apps, and streaming.

To put it plainly, we have a different perspective than the generations before us. Millennials are all about transparency, culture, and moral responsibility.

Our Generation Stays Connected

A whopping 86% of Millennials stay updated on brands through social networks – 82% of us are active Facebook users, with Gen X not too far behind at 76%. Not only that, but we are 2.5x more likely to adapt to new technology earlier than members of older generations.

The Millennial Income

A minority of this generation is wealthy, but for the majority of young adults, this isn’t the case. The average Millennial today earns $10,000 less than young adults in 1989.

help me im poor

Millennials Are a Health-Oriented Generation

We tend to make healthier eating choices and develop stronger exercise habits than prior generations. Using fitness apps and the internet helps Millennials research the healthiest options – and we’re willing to spend more on compelling brands.

How Millennials Shop

We are more likely to search for a deal. Nearly half of us use our smartphones to search for a better deal on a product while in-store, and 92% have made a purchase on their phone. Approximately half of Millennials spend 1 to 3 hours researching their finance options before making a major purchase. More brand-loyal than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, 69% of Millennials have chosen the same brand for a major purchase in the last year. When Millennials were asked if they would try a new brand when making a major purchase, only 17% said they would.

Millennials Perceive Your Brand Differently

We appreciate brands that are truthful, ethical, and unrestricted. Seeking products and services that improve their lives, Millennials enjoy interacting and engaging with brands on a personal level. Thirty-six percent of Millennials expect an interactive experience when looking for solutions.

All of this matters to your marketing.

Having such remarkably different characteristics, tastes, and expectations than prior generations, Millennials challenge stale marketing tactics, emotionless branding, and lackluster customer service. They want their voices heard, they want to trust your business and they are looking for a brand that will be an experience.

If your audience is young and you lack a creative strategy for marketing to this fresh generation, reach out to us to schedule a meeting with one of our marketing geniuses! Marketing to Millennials is one of our specialties!

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How to Turn Your Followers Into Clients

One of the best ways to reach potential customers is through social media marketing. Social media allows you to build a brand presence, reach a wider audience, and engage with current and potential customers.

However, many business owners make some of the same mistakes when getting started on social media. For instance, they might limit themselves to creating awareness on a single platform. While this isn’t entirely unreasonable, you could be targeting the wrong audience.

Maybe this particular scenario describes you…

You’ve worked hard to build your follower base over time. Your content is amazing. You’re always sharing the best advice you can find. But something still isn’t right. Your conversion rate is low.

You’re finding it challenging to turn loyal followers into returning clients. This may be due to a number of reasons. But ultimately, it boils down to poor marketing strategies and tactics.

Luckily, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll explain how to convert your followers into clients as well as how to generate tons of leads via social media channels. Excited? Let’s dive in!

Start a Conversation

Create Unique Content

One of the most critical steps in converting followers into customers is to create unique content.

While it’s a good idea to consistently post on your social media accounts, if you keep posting the same kinds of content, you will quickly become ignored. Try to come up with some new and innovative ways to engage with your followers and potential customers.

If you can think of a way to reach out to your customers in a way that’s more interactive, go for it! You’ll find that this is one of the best ways to get more people interested in what you have to offer.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and invest time and money into developing new strategies for engaging with your customers. When everyone else is posting about the same boring things, your posts will stand out from the crowd.

Create Contests and Giveaways

Creating contests and giveaways is a great way to generate viral marketing for your business. Encouraging people to talk about your business by creating a contest can go a long way toward attracting more followers, clients, and customers.

A successful contest must have an objective that entrants can strive for. It should be fun, and engaging, and should also be easily measured. An excellent example of this is a contest to get the most tweets or Facebook likes.

To make the contest more enticing, you can offer prizes for the winner or runners-up. Be sure that your contest is easy to enter so all your followers will want to participate.

To further increase the number of entries, you could offer additional prizes for entrants who are creative enough to submit creative content such as photos, videos, or blog posts related to your product or business.

Turning followers into clients is more attainable than you might think. While you may assume that your content alone is enough to entice your audience, that isn’t always the case.

Today, social media platforms are littered with brands competing for brand awareness. In order to succeed at converting your followers into clients, you’ll have to be unique in your approach to positioning and branding your business. It’s essential to identify your unique selling proposition and maximize it effectively.

One of the easiest ways to turn followers into clients is by starting a conversation with them. Rather than merely posting content for the sake of doing so, engage with your community and ask relevant questions.

Be sure to respond to any comments or questions that visitors leave on your page. In doing so, you will show prospects that you’re interested in them – and that they’re being heard and valued by your company. This will help build trust with potential customers and make them feel like they’re more than just another potential sale.

To start a conversation with one of your followers: first, take a look at their profiles to see what types of things interest them and which companies or organizations they follow. Then, use that information to start a conversation with them.

Don’t introduce your website or product into the conversation directly when you do this. Demonstrate that you are an authority on the topic by giving more information than is asked for – and then mention your company as if it were an afterthought.

Build Relationships with Influential People in Your Industry

Like any other business, it takes money to make money – and social media is no exception. The problem with social media is that you can spend a lot of time and energy engaging with people for “free,” but there’s no guarantee that any of the relationships you build will lead to sales.

The secret to making sure your efforts are worthwhile is to focus on connecting with influencers – people who are capable of influencing the people you want to reach. There are several ways you can go about doing this.

Start by identifying influencers who are actively focusing on your particular niche or industry. You can learn more about them by searching for their names on LinkedIn, reading their blogs, and following them on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

Take a closer look at prominent influencers’ social media accounts and see if they are posting links to content that’s relevant to your business (and your potential customers). You might also be able to find them by seeing who’s active in groups relevant to your niche or industry.

Once you’ve identified these influencers, engage with them by liking or commenting on their posts. Even if they don’t reply directly, they’ll see that you’re interacting with their content – and this might lead them to engage with yours as well. It’s a good idea to comment positively.

Take Advantage of Trending Topics

Businesses are often afraid to jump into a trending topic out of concern that their involvement will come off as inauthentic.

The fact is, if you’re not leveraging the opportunity that comes with trending hashtags, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to increase your awareness.

There are several ways to get involved in the conversation without forcing. If you want to be seen as an active participant, research the trend and make sure your answer is helpful and relevant to your target audience. Convince people that you’re an authority in their niche.

Once you’re recognized as an expert in the field, try linking your response to your business or industry. If you have something valuable to contribute, take the time to write out informative blog posts for the same. Ideally, your blog post should also point to your products or services as an ideal solution to readers’ problems.

The Bottom Line

Before you can convert followers into paying clients, you have to get them to know, like, and trust you. Building a social media following is time-consuming and requires a great deal of patience and consistency.

Once you’ve attracted your potential clientele, start sharing your work in subtle ways that encourage followers to contact you without forcing your work down their throats.

If you’re struggling to get started with social media marketing or you need help building your follower base and converting them into customers, HighClick Media is here for you!

We are a full-service digital marketing and web design agency, dedicated to helping grow businesses of all shapes and sizes by implementing comprehensive marketing solutions. Our talented team of creative thinkers, innovators, and digital marketers bring extraordinary skill to every project, positioning your business for blistering success.

Whether you’re looking for a website refresh, social media marketing, or brand development, reach out to us today by calling 252.814.2150 or dropping us a line here.

*****

Guest blogger Margie Heaneythe writes high-quality content and helps manage social media marketing efforts for Get Plus Followers. She helps save social media marketers time and money by finding active and engaging Instagram users for their personal profiles or business pages. Margie is proud to partner with LearningFuze, a premier coding and data science boot camp offering part-time or full-time courses, available in person or online.

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Essential SEO Strategies for Small Business Owners

Essential SEO Strategies for Small Business Owners

Essential SEO Strategies for Small Business Owners

 

Search engine optimization, or SEO, can be massively beneficial for businesses of all sizes when it comes to marketing. Whether you’re looking to expand your customer base or gain an edge over your competition, there are several simple, cost-effective ways to utilize SEO. When partnered with creative brand design and social media usage, SEO can help your business gain credibility and get a foothold in your field.

In this article, we’ll take a look at a few key strategies to help boost your company’s search rankings online in order to get new customers to come to you.

 

Get Help with Your SEO

Get Help from SEO Professionals

In this age of technology, it’s essential for even the smallest businesses to have solid search rankings on Google. As more and more consumers rely on their phones for everything from driving directions to shopping, you’ll want to ensure they can easily find your business, get in touch with you, and buy products with the push of a button.

Enlisting the services of SEO professionals to help optimize your rankings in Google searches as well as on Google Maps can go a long way. The more mobile-friendly your business is, the better chance you’ll have of finding – and keeping – a larger customer base.

 

Website Accessibility

Make Sure Your Website Is Accessible

Not only is it important to give your customers lots of options when it comes to your business, but it’s also equally crucial to make your website as accessible as possible and to load it up with high-quality content. You can utilize several types of media on your site to make your business more visible in searches, from multiple links to videos. Just don’t forget to make sure all of your customers can benefit from them. Using captions, alt text (a written description of an image), and font options will help differently-abled customers easily interact with your products and marketing, among other tactics.

 

Keep Your Content Fresh with Frequent Updates

Keep Web Content Fresh with Frequent Updates

Whether you have videos, written blog posts, or photos on your site, you’ll want to ensure that your content is updated frequently. The more you refresh your content, the more traffic you’ll drive to the site – and increased traffic has a direct effect on your search engine rankings.

Every time you post something new, keep possible keywords in mind that are relevant to your customers. What would they type into Google when looking for your specific products or services? Try to keep these keywords as unique as possible on your website pages to prevent disruptions to Google’s algorithm. You can use online resources to figure out the best keywords and placement on your site, as well as tools that demonstrate how to write good content.

One important way to keep existing customers engaged with your content – and potentially convert leads into customers – is to make use of email marketing. An effective email campaign will help boost sales, keep your business in regular contact with its target audience, and directly promote your products and services. Connecting with your audience via email on a weekly basis helps balance your need to keep them engaged against the desire not to be overbearing.

 

Take Advantage of Google's SEO Tools

Take Advantage of Google’s SEO Tools

One essential online resource for small businesses is Google Analytics, which helps you track the performance of your website pages and provides lots of information about your customers, such as which social media platforms they used to find your business. Not only that, it can give you valuable insights about your competitors that could prove advantageous throughout the year. You can use these metrics as a guideline for taking your business to the next level or to learn where you could benefit from changing things up.

Becoming proficient with Google Analytics can be a daunting task for new users. Fortunately, there are many guides available online to introduce its tools to new users in order to facilitate a productive learning experience. A good guide will walk you through setting up your account, analyzing your SEO performance, and evaluating reports.

 

Final Thoughts About Essential SEO Strategies for Small Business Owners

Final Thoughts

SEO is an invaluable tool for businesses of any size, and there are many ways to utilize these tactics. Do some research on the best ways to integrate search engine optimization into your standard practices, and get help from professionals like the folks at HighClick Media who can assist you in making the most of your website, social media accounts, and overall marketing strategy.

If you need help with any of these aspects of your digital marketing, we’re happy to help you out! Drop us a line here or call us at 252.814.2150 to see how we can help #elevateyourbrand!

 

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Guest blogger Cody McBride’s love for computers stems from high school when he built his own computer. Today he is a trained IT technician and knows how the inner workings of computers can be confusing to most. He is the creator of TechDeck.info where he offers easy-to-understand, tech-related advice, and troubleshooting tips.

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Brand Persona: What, Why, & How?

Brand Persona: What, Why, & How?

Brand persona is a term that’s gained recognition in the digital marketing world over the last several years. Maybe you’ve heard of it, but if you haven’t, fear not! I’m going to explain what brand personas are, why they’re valuable, and how to establish yours in order to elevate your brand.

What is a Brand Persona?

Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like! A brand persona is the embodiment of a company’s brand in the form of a persona. It’s the attitude, the voice, the qualities which highlight the personality you want your brand to be associated with. If your brand was a walking, talking, living, breathing human, what would it look like? How would your brand carry itself? How would it speak, and what would it say?

Look. I know what you’re probably thinking.

Is this crazy lady really saying I should develop a character based on my brand?

The answer is yes! I know it sounds silly, but developing a brand persona is a necessary component of your overall brand strategy.

With that being said, it’s important to note that your brand persona doesn’t have to be a literal person- though sometimes that works! (Shout out to Flo from Progressive!)

 

Brand personas can simply be an idea.

Why does my brand need a persona?

Let’s start with a statistic. 90% of US marketing leaders say brand persona is key to retaining customers.

You see, today’s consumer has a unique purpose when making a purchase. Sure, they want high-quality, budget-friendly items. That’s nothing new. But, now more than ever, they also want an emotional connection, a sense of belonging, an array of options, and a full-blown experience.

A dedicated brand persona will allow your brand to shine in an increasingly emotional and visual world.

How do I create a brand persona?

Know Your Brand

  • Review your brand materials. Look over everything from your website to promotional items, and take note of what’s working and what’s not.
  • Do some research. Visit your favorite social media platforms to see what’s trending in relation to your brand.
  • Make lists. List descriptive words that you want to be associated with your brand.

Know Your Customer

  • Examine your customer demographics, and attempt to understand who they are.
  • Define your customers’ pain points and expectations.
  • Analyze your customer engagement.

Brand Persona Tips

Aaron Walter, the author of Designing for Emotion, provides excellent advice on creating a successful brand persona. His provides a list of elements that are helpful to consider as you define your brand persona.

  • Create a personality image. How would you visualize your persona? Is it a person, an animal, or another object?
  • Describe your brand’s voice, and provide examples of copy. Would your brand’s voice be cheerful, sarcastic, encouraging, something else?
  • Describe how your persona engages with others. Is your brand a buddy or more of an authority figure?
  • Create a style guide that includes fonts, colors, and images that match your desired brand persona.

5 Brand Personas to Use for Inspiration

When it comes to brand personas, one size does not fit all. However, if you’re new to this, look to these personas for inspiration.

  • The Nurturer: Empathetic and kind, this brand is full of compassion and care.
  • The Intellect: This persona is a leader and influencer who helps users make decisions based on the facts.
  • The Cheerleader: Spirited and optimistic, this brand’s excitement is infectious!
  • The Athlete: This confident and competitive brand is a little rough around the edges.
  • The Class Act: This elite brand radiates elegance and style.

Conclusion

You want to establish lasting connections between your brand and your customers, so if you haven’t already, the time to intentionally develop a brand persona is now. Without one, personality will still come out of what you do, but it might not convey the vibes you want.

A solid brand persona can take your business to the next level. Your customers want to know what you’re about, so they can be about it, too. The most important thing to keep in mind when developing your persona is that it embodies what you want customers to think about when they interact with your company.

If you’re not sure where to start or need a little extra guidance, reach out to us! We’ll work with you to create an authentic brand persona that will resonate with your customers for years to come.

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