16 Critical Elements of Great Website Design

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, a website design that pairs 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 subpar website design.

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

Certain elements of website design contribute the most to building visitors’ interest in a site. Including these elements on your website 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 web pages. 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, and recommended pages, along with a way back to the original page.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

Website Security

Online security should be an integral part of any website. Security and privacy have often been major causes 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 directly onto your site from their respective social media profiles online.

 

Adding Internal & 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’re 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 & 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 toward 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 at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line today to see how we can help elevate your brand 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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Practical Tips for Integrating Digital Technology Into Your Ecommerce Business

Practical Tips for Integrating Digital Technology Into Your Ecommerce Business

Today’s consumers are more connected than ever before. They expect to have access to information, services, and products wherever they are, whenever they want them, and at the lowest price.

To remain competitive in today’s ecommerce market, you must integrate digital technology into all areas of your business.

Fortunately, integrating digital technology into your ecommerce business doesn’t have to be a huge hassle. In this article, we’ll take a look at several tips that will help put you on the path to success!

Create a Customer Engagement Strategy

Once you’ve got your customers’ attention, you need to get them to take action. Constructing a customer engagement strategy is all about converting your website visitors into paying customers.

Of course, you can’t expect every visitor to eventually become a customer just because you want them to. Instead, you should focus your efforts on converting the most relevant and interested visitors into paying customers.

You can do this by creating and executing a customer engagement strategy. Customer engagement strategies range from seeking email subscribers to building and nurturing a repeat buyer base.

Build Automated Marketing Campaigns

Now that you’ve got a solid customer engagement strategy in place, you can integrate digital marketing techniques and ecommerce capabilities. The key to any successful digital marketing strategy is to automate as much as you can.

This can be done through email marketing automation and lead generation campaigns. As marketing guru Neil Patel notes, automation helps you create and execute your digital marketing strategy more quickly and effectively.

Digital Tech Trends to Try Today

When it comes to digital technology, there are countless options to choose from. For ecommerce businesses, the following technologies are likely to prove particularly beneficial:

Integrate Mobile Payments

While you may already have an existing mobile app, if there isn’t an option for customers to make online payments, you’re truly missing out. Before you integrate any payment feature, always make sure to first add API authentication.

API authentication allows clients to verify their bank account and routing number instantly via ACH. What’s more, your app will work seamlessly with other mobile payment options like Swipe and Dwolla. Your customers will appreciate the convenience and ease of use that come part and parcel with a mobile payment option.

Implement Remote Work

Letting some employees work remotely is an excellent start. However, you need to take additional steps to always ensure effective communication. Collaboration is key when working remotely, so be sure to make use of a process map template.

With process mapping in place, you and your remote team will find that it’s easier than ever to work together. You’ll be more organized and productivity will increase dramatically.

Initiate Data Analysis

Data analysis can be used to further improve the processes of your organization. Here, it’s important to differentiate process mining vs. process discovery. Process discovery – which essentially creates an optimized map of what a process should look like – is a part of process mining. Moreover, Harvard Business Review explains that process mining uses data to find, validate, and improve your ecommerce business’s workflows. As a result, your entire company will benefit.

This means greater efficiency, increased sales and revenue, better risk management, and hidden opportunities. To achieve all this, you’ll need to start by finding potential data sources and mapping out a timeline. Then, you can determine key stakeholders.

Final Thoughts

Whether it’s cloud computing, digital marketing, machine learning, process mining, or any other digital technology, there’s a wealth of resources available to use. The key is finding the ones that will work best for your business and your customers. When you find the right technologies, you will notice profound improvements in your ecommerce business.

HighClick Media helps grow businesses of all shapes and sizes by implementing comprehensive marketing solutions, such as website design, paid advertising, and other creative services. 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 Alyssa Strickland created millennial-parents.com for all the new parents on the block. Alyssa believes the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child, but she also thinks it takes a village to raise a parent! Millennial-Parents is that village. Today’s parents can be more connected than ever and she hopes her site will enrich those connections. On Millennial-Parents, she shares tips and advice she learns through experience and from other young parents in three key areas – Education, Relationships, and Community.

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How to Grow Your Business by Optimizing Your Website

Website Optimization: The Secret to Growing Your Business

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 your website optimization, 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! Call 252.814.2150 today or drop us a line here to see how we can help elevate your brand!

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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 Marketing Lessons We Learned from the Fyre Festival Fiasco

5 Marketing Lessons We Learned from the Fyre Festival Fiasco

5 Marketing Lessons We Learned from the Fyre Festival Fiasco

If you’ve paid any attention to social media or your favorite streaming apps within the last month, you’ve probably heard about 2017’s now-infamous Fyre Festival. The story of Fyre, the “festival” that never actually happened, is so fascinating that it became the subject of recent Netflix and Hulu documentaries, released within just days of one another. If you’re part of the tiny percentage of people who aren’t aware of this twisted tale, here’s the rundown:

 

The Fyre Festival Fraud

The festival, founded by Billy MacFarland and Ja Rule, was shamelessly promoted across social media by A-list supermodels and Instagram influencers (including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Emily Ratajowski), as an exclusive, luxurious experience spanning multiple days on a private Bahamian island. The promos and Instagram ads were mesmerizing and suspiciously vague, using the brand hashtag #fyrefestival. Ticket prices ranged from $1,500 to over $100,000 for the “cultural experience of the decade,” and included airfare, gourmet meals, and luxury accommodations.

Upon arriving, festival-goers were disappointed to discover that the “luxury villas” were actually disaster relief tents, the “culinary experience” was actually cold cheese sandwiches, the “branded jet experience” was actually a commercial 747, and the artists scheduled to perform were actually… nowhere to be found. Fyre Festival organizers, who were unreachable for help or clarity, released a vague statement that the festival had been canceled, and a plethora of lawsuits was filed against the organizers and other parties involved. The chaos was chronicled by furious attendees, whose videos and photos spread like wildfire across social media platforms, making national news. Talk about trouble in paradise.

 

5 Digital Marketing Lessons We Learned from the Fyre Festival Fiasco

From a digital marketing standpoint, Fyre Festival demonstrates how powerful, and ultimately, detrimental, digital marketing (social media marketing and Instagram influencer marketing in particular) can be without a proper strategy in place. Although the festival was a disaster, it serves as an important lesson to brands and marketers alike, and we’re discussing what we learned below.

 

1. Never Underestimate the Power of Experiential Marketing.

Millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences over material things – and they are willing to pay extra for it. In fact, many brands already recognize this and are turning to experiential marketing to try to connect. Basically, this encompasses setting up opportunities for interaction, but with the brand and with other consumers, often through special events.

Understanding the Research on Millennial Shopping Behaviors | Angela Woo

Tickets to Fyre Festival promised more than a live music event. Promos for the festival heavily focused on providing an experience, implying that, if only for three days, attendees would live the same lifestyle as the celebrities in the SMM promos. From traveling to an exclusive destination on a private jet to partying on a yacht with supermodels to having the chance to win an actual buried treasure, Fyre Festival marketed the event as an organic, magical experience for its target audience.

 

2. If You Make Big Promises, You Have to Hold Up Your End of the Deal.

Rule of thumb: don’t overpromise and underdeliver, or you risk ruining your brand’s reputation. Organizers of the event regularly referred to the Fyre Festival as “an experience that exceeds all expectations.” Fyre’s audience consumed these promises for months on end, truly believing that the event would exceed their already high expectations. We already know what happened when Fyre failed to deliver, to say the least. Now, everyone associates the Fyre brand with fear, dishonesty, and chaos. RIP Fyre.

 

3. Influencer Marketing Comes with a Price.

Festival organizers launched an influencer marketing campaign featuring over 400 widely-known social media brands and influencers, aka “Fyre Starters,” to share photos or videos to spark discussion about the event. Within the first 2 days of their Instagram marketing campaign, the promoted Instagram posts attained 300 million impressions. Impressive, right? But let’s not get carried away. This marketing strategy was anything but strategic, and here are the cold, hard facts:

  • Kendall Jenner snagged a sweet $250K for a single post promoting the event.
  • Billy MacFarland spent millions on marketing and endorsements from famous celebrities and Instagram users, using up a majority of the budget.
  • This careless spending left little to no budget for proper infrastructure, staff, and artists.

Now, this is not to say that influencer marketing isn’t effective – it obviously is. But successful influencer marketing all boils down to implementing a specific digital marketing strategy and doing what you say you’re going to do.

 

4. Don’t Play the Blame Game.

Once the crap hit the fan, Ja Rule took to Twitter to apologize for the frenzy. Claiming that he was working to refund everyone’s money, he still had to emphasize that the failure of a festival was “NOT MY FAULT.”

 

Meanwhile, Billy McFarland issued an apology of his own to Rolling Stone:

We launched this festival marketing campaign. Our festival became a real thing and took [on] a life of it’s own. Our next step was to book the talent and actually make the music festival, and that’s when a lot of reality and roadblocks hit. We were a little naive in thinking for the first time we could do this ourselves.

One surefire way to destroy brand trust and loyalty is to deny responsibility for an issue that’s clearly your fault. Successful brands are accountable for their actions, acknowledge their shortcomings, and don’t rest until they make things right.

 

5. Just Be Honest.

Transparency has been a popular term in marketing lately, and for good reason. Customers only want to cultivate relationships with brands they can trust; Brands that are honest, transparent, and authentic. Every brand makes mistakes, and accidents happen. However, deliberately misleading your target audience to make a quick buck will ultimately leave you broke as a joke – because if consumers can’t trust you, they’re not going to support your brand.

McFarland admitted to launching Fyre’s multimillion-dollar marketing campaign before the actual event organization was even a thought. Fyre organizers knew that they were in too deep long before the scheduled date of the event, but they made no effort to warn their ticket holders.

Final Thoughts

Fyre Festival’s marketing campaign was, albeit short-lived, a massive success. It was the product, not the marketing, that didn’t deliver. As of right now, the only influencer who has made an apology is Bella Hadid, Ja Rule is still desperately trying to defend himself on social media, thousands of Bahamian festival workers remain unpaid, and Billy MacFarland is in jail.

The Fyre Festival turned out to be a total trainwreck, built on fraudulent activity and lies, but one truth remains – social media is a powerful component of the digital marketing game.

Curious as to how you can utilize social media marketing (SMM) to elevate your brand? Our expert team creates honest, authentic, and transparent campaign strategies to make your brand the best it can be! To set up a free consultation, reach out to us today!

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How to Strengthen Customer Relationships

How to Strengthen Customer Relationships

How to Strengthen Customer Relationships

 

Developing strong customer relationships is essential for business success. This is common knowledge, or at least it should be.

One common mistake I see business owners make is this: They put so much focus on connecting with potential new customers that existing customers get put on the back burner.

According to a recent Acquisition vs. Retention survey, The likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the chances of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%. Additionally, when compared to new customers, existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and typically spend 31% more.

Without customers- especially those that return for your products or services again and again- your business wouldn’t exist.

 

How Does Cultivating Stronger Customer Relationships Benefit You?

Let me count the ways.

  • Stronger relationships lead to repeat business, which establishes a loyal customer base.
  • Having an established customer base allows you to save money by cutting back on customer acquisition marketing spend.
  • You’ll fully understand and easily anticipate the needs of your customers regardless of what stage of the relationship you’re in, giving you the opportunity to provide excellent customer service.
  • The number of organic referrals will increase.
  • Your business has a higher chance of generating positive reviews.

I could keep going, but I think you get the point.

No two customers are exactly alike, but each of them will pass through the same stages of the customer journey your brand provides for them. Strengthening relationships is an ongoing process, and if you’re wondering how to connect with customers in each stage of the relationship, keep reading!

How to Build Customer Relationships in Each Stage of Their Journey

 

Connect

Your relationship begins the moment your potential customers first become aware of your brand. This stage of their journey includes the action that occurs before a formal relationship is established. This connection could come from a Google search, a social media campaign, or even word-of-mouth.

How do you ensure potential customers make a connection in the first place? Strategic marketing. The right people need to see the right content at the right time. Research and analyze everything from your target audience to your industry leaders to your direct competition. A solid strategy is a must if you want to connect with quality leads.

But don’t get ahead of yourself. While connecting with new consumers is worth celebrating, they will not convert to paying customers this early on. Your goal during this stage is to capture consumers’ attention. Once that’s happened, you keep building from there.

 

Collaborate

So, you’ve connected with a potential customer, and now it’s time to nurture that connection through collaboration.

If you’re a business owner, you likely recognize the value of collaboration between colleagues. But did you know that you can benefit even more by collaborating with customers?

Collaborating with customers may look and feel a little different than collaborating with colleagues. It can happen in a variety of ways, big and small, including:

  • Engaging with them on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other social platform they’re active on.
  • Inviting them to attend business workshops or webinars.
  • Developing personal connections via customer-centric events.

Our customers are the lifeblood of what we do, and therefore we want them to feel they are a part of our decision-making process and our brand. Whether it is through social interactions, live workshops, or feedback surveys, we are constantly listening to them, and based on what they are telling us, improving the customer experience.
– Sahar Meghani, Trunkaroo CEO

 

Create

Relationships are built upon trust. After the collaboration phase, there should be a level of trust between you and the customer, and now it’s time to create!

And, for you business owners thinking something along the lines of: But, I own a clothing store/accounting firm/dance studio… I don’t create anything! 

Wrong!

Every business, whether knowingly or unknowingly, creates a customer experience. A customer experience refers to the impression you leave with your customer, which directly influences how they think of your brand.

How do you create a great customer experience?

  • Create a seamless UX (user experience).
  • Respond promptly to their questions or comments.
  • Understand and solve the customer’s challenge.
  • Build a positive connection with your customers.

 

Confirm

Let your customers know that you value their opinion. Ensuring customer satisfaction is key to getting repeat customers, positive reviews, and referrals – all of which can increase ROI and improve relationships.

Here are 5 easy steps to measure and confirm customer satisfaction:

  1. Outline your goals, and make a plan.
  2. Create a customer satisfaction survey.
  3. Choose your survey’s trigger and timing.
  4. Analyze the survey data.
  5. Make adjustments and repeat.

 

Commit

Let me tell you something I’m sure you already know- there is no business without a customer.

Now, let me tell you something else you probably already know but might not always remember – what you want your customers to give you, you must first offer them.

It’s not enough to send a customer satisfaction survey. Customers want to know that you’re thinking about them and still eager to help them.

How can you show your customer base that you’re committed to helping them?

  • Show appreciation by rewarding long-term customers with a loyalty program.
  • Tell your brand’s story and promote your solutions on platforms that your customers frequent.
  • Follow up with them periodically after their purchase to ensure that they’re still satisfied and assist them further if need be.
We live in the digital age where building relationships with your customers is more important than ever. Whether positive or negative, customers will share their opinions on a variety of channels. The effort your brand puts into maintaining and strengthening relationships will make or break your business. Just like any relationship, successful customer relationships are an ongoing work in progress, but the benefits are SO worth it!

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Attracting Busy & Tired Customers: The Complete Guide for Small Businesses

Attracting Busy & Tired Consumers: The Complete Guide for Small Businesses

Finding new customers can be a challenge when you’re a new startup or a small business. Nobody knows your name, your budget is tight, and you’re competing with gigantic corporations that have well and truly sunk their claws into consumers and won’t be letting go any time soon. Not to mention that your ideal customers are likely busy, tired, and generally suffering from choice overload.

Essentially, you have a mountain to climb – and while it will be tough, it’s by no means impossible. Countless businesses make it – despite the odds – and so can you! You just need to work hard and make sure you’re on point with your marketing efforts and you’re driving engagement.

In this mini-guide, High Click Media offers tried-and-tested insight on how new businesses can reliably find, draw in, and engage with modern-day consumers on a limited budget.

Understanding the Modern-Day Consumer

Before you craft a new marketing strategy, you need to ask yourself how well you understand your ideal customers – or any customers, for that matter. In order for your marketing endeavors to gain any traction, you have to play to the audience – understand your customers’ mindset and then communicate your message to match.

As the Visual Capitalist notes, modern consumers – Millennials and Generation Z, in particular – are significantly different from their predecessors. Here’s how:

  • Less Discretionary Income:  Thanks to increasing education, food, healthcare, and housing prices, modern-day consumers have less money to spend. Extra work – and consequently, tiredness and burnout – is common.
  • Delayed Life Goals:  More and more, these younger generations  are delaying major life goals like marriage, purchasing a house, and having children. This tendency makes them less likely to take risks or indulge in whimsical purchases.  
  • Greater Diversity:  The racial makeup of consumers is changing considerably. You should expect to be doing business with a seriously diverse crowd.
  • Reeling from the Latest Disaster: Last but not least, everyone – small businesses, in particular – is still struggling with the impact of the pandemic.
  • More Choices: If Walmart doesn’t have it, Amazon will. Consumers need you less than you need them – and they know it. 

In short, modern consumers are, for the most part, a busy, harried lot. They have less money than they’d like, so convincing them to part with what they have will be tough. They also have fewer needs and higher expectations overall.

How to Attract and Engage with Customers

The picture isn’t pretty. But, like Benjamin Franklin said, out of adversity, comes opportunity. Business owners can turn these circumstances to their advantage by utilizing more targeted, savvier marketing.

Respect Their Time

When you’re busy – like, working two jobs – and stressed out, you don’t have time to listen to a marketing monologue. In fact, even being subjected to such a monologue can leave a bad taste in your mouth and likely turn you off to the brand. Keep this in mind when communicating with customers. Come up with a clear, to-the-point message and then try to refine it to 15 words or less – just like an elevator pitch. Practice it until you can get your message across meaningfully, clearly, and impactfully. 

Treat Them with Kindness

Kindness is a new business trend, and for good reason. Life can be challenging for modern-day consumers, and kindness is a soothing balm for the soul. Consumers remember businesses that treat them with genuine kindness, speak well of them, and keep coming back. Show kindness to your customers by offering meaningful advice, prioritizing customer service, resolving their problems, and keeping things simple.

Prioritize Convenience 

Customers’ time is at a premium. If you make it easy for customers to do business with you, they’re going to appreciate it. Some ways to make doing business with you more convenient for customers include posting regular updates on social media, offering digital services, accepting multiple payment options, and providing greater flexibility with your products and services.

Institute a Loyalty Program  

Loyalty programs are an effective way to both attract new customers and retain existing ones. If customers receive discounts and deals that few others are receiving, they’re going to feel recognized, special, and privileged – and this will make them want to keep coming back!

Speak Their Language 

The modern-day consumer has solid values and cares about authenticity, transparency, sustainability, and other ethical concerns. When you include these values in your marketing message, it’s more meaningful and attractive to customers.

Be Authentic  

It’s not enough to talk the talk – your brand will have to walk the talk, too. Ethics is incredibly important in modern-day marketing, according to Hubspot, and customers can tell when brands are faking it. If you manage to be authentic, however, you’ll have an easier time winning customers’ trust.

Remember to Personalize 

It’s flattering when someone remembers you, including your choices and preferences. When it’s a business doing the remembering, that’s even better! Build up a profile for each of your customers – it’s easy with technology – and personalize your products and services through recommendations, suggestions, and generally being welcoming.  

Ask for Feedback  

Gathering feedback collected from customers and using it to make improvements is what separates great businesses from good ones. Sometimes we don’t see our shortcomings – or our greatest potential, for that matter – until other people point them out. Feedback can not only take your business to new heights, but also has the added benefit of making your customers feel valued.

Get People to Vouch for You

Customers are more likely to trust their friends and family over the words they read in an advertisement. Get your customers to vouch for you, in any number of ways, to build on your brand in the market. Some ways to do this include starting a referral program, featuring customer testimonials on your site, and offering incentives for customers to review your business.

Be Memorable

Having solid branding is essential. It creates a bigger impression on customers and makes it easier for them to remember you. Getting a DBA (doing business as) name is an effective marketing strategy. DBAs allow you to sell your products under a different, more memorable moniker – or even branch out into a new niche. Furthermore, it’s handy when you want to market your services under a new domain but your desired domain isn’t available. 

Emphasize the Human Touch

Last but not least is the human touch. Names and branding are obviously important – but people remember other people and how they make them feel better than anything else. Some ways to emphasize the human touch are offering face-to-face meetings, training your sales team well, and making it easy for your customers to get in touch with a human being on the phone. 

Final Thoughts

Being successful in business, like everything else in life, revolves around your ability to build and maintain relationships with people. Prove yourself a worthwhile business partner and your customers will be happy, remain loyal, and keep coming back. 

If you’re in the early phases of your new startup or small business and you’d like some help getting started with digital marketing, give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line at marketing@highclickmedia.com to see how we can help elevate your brand!

 

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About The Author:

Alyssa Strickland created millennial-parents.com for all the new parents on the block. She believes the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child, but also thinks it takes a village to raise a parent! Millennial-Parents is that village. Today’s parents can be more connected than ever, and Alyssa hopes her site will enrich those connections. On Millennial-Parents, she shares tips and advice she’s learned through experience and from other young parents in three key areas: Education, Relationships, and Community.

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Millennials Mean Business

Millennials Mean Business
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 Mean Business

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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