We were in a quasi-sales pitch meeting yesterday and the prospect began discussing the “break-even” analysis. (I used to hate it when sales guys told me how many sales I would have to make to break even. If I just break even , the only person who has made money is the sales guy. If I just break even, I’m working for him, not me.)
In the analysis, we brought out the tried and true “Customer Lifetime Value” (CLV). (CLV is “a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.”) And as content marketers, we have pretty firm ground to stand on when we do. Content marketing is all about educating both your potential and existing clients. Sy Syms made the following statement famous in the business world. “An educated customer is our best customer.”
1. Educated Customers Stick Around (Customer Retention)
As Syms understood, if your client or customer understands the full benefits of your service, they will have more confidence in the outcome when the critics show up. The spouse might say . . .
“You should try __________.”
“No”, your educated client says, “what we’re doing with this vendor works because . . . ” (more…)
Read Part 1: Tablet-Centric, Part 2: Shrunken Heads, Part 3: Spacing, and Part 4: Sidebars.
We’re continuing our analysis of the new USAToday site design and coming trends for small business web design. Today, we’re looking at trends in logo design. If you’re really pressed for time, just skip to the end of this post and we’ll show you an exercise to “2013” your logo.
As businesses move more and more web-ward, we’re seeing a trend toward simplicity and size reduction. Logo design used to begin with letterhead in mind. Now, logos are designed with the web in mind. The starting question is, How is the logo going to look and fit on the website?
Gone are the days of hi-resolution printed letter-head through which you could pull off nearly anything: multiple visual symbols, gradients, intricate artwork, fancy-schmancy type fonts, you get the idea. The trend in logo design is toward clean, simple, strong solid colors, and small. Our own logo is on the larger side, but it’s a simple design with a strong color impression. (We have a smaller, horizontal version which we use for some applications.)
Web-ward: USAToday exemplifies the trend
Very strong brands like USAToday can get away with over-simplification. The lined-blue globe has been reduced to a solid blue dot. Some brands are not even using their names on their websites. Look for the word “Twitter” or “Target” next to their logos on their sites right now and you will not find it. You will find that little bird and those red circles. Enough said. I could definitely see National Geographic going with that simple yellow rectangle and no words at all. Facebook doesn’t use any type of shape or symbol at all. They could get away with using that single “F” if they decided to. (more…)
In Part 1, we discussed how the growth of tablet usage is going to effect small business web design in 2013. In the next few parts, we will take a look at the innovative new USAToday.com design which launched a couple of months ago.
What does USAToday’s design have to do with small business web design, you ask? A couple of points on that and then we’ll jump into an analysis of the new design.
- Much of web design already owes its heritage and terminology to the newspaper industry. In web design, we often talk about what is going to show up “above the fold”. That means what content is going to show up without the user having to scroll down. Newspapers used “above the fold” to describe the top half of the front page of the paper because newspapers sat in display stands folded in half. You had better get good content “above the fold”. Same thing holds true in web design. First impressions are crucial.
- USAToday turned the news design industry on its head in the 80s and they continue to lead the way today. Big bold color on the front page, daring use of white space in the page content, and have you ever heard of an infographic? USAToday pioneered the infographic which has carried over particularly well on the web.
Yes, there are some differences in objectives with news sites and small business websites, but there are significant shifts coming in web design and USAToday is leading the way.
Small is the new big. Well, when it comes to the header, we see a trend towards reduction. Look at the headers for these three news orgs. We’ll talk logos later in the series, but you can see very quickly that USAToday is trying to get everything else out of the way and get you to the content (what you came to the site for) quicker. They had to make some reductions in menu choices up top to pull it off. Check out the number of menu items on the three sites . . . (more…)
On my way in to work this week, I was listening to local talk radio. For several years, the owner of a car dealership has co-hosted a 30-minute automobile industry segment every weekday morning. It is a paid sponsorship with an advertisement for the owner’s dealership mixed in the other advertisements.
It occurred to me that this radio segment co-hosting is in some ways similar to Inbound Marketing. I’ll do my best to be objective about some of the similarities and differences as we compare the two below in Radio Co-hosting Sponsorship vs. Inbound Marketing . . .
- Content Creation – We’re always quick to point out that “interruption advertising” has lost a great deal of its past effectiveness and therefore the ROI of ads of any kind, radio included, has to be carefully considered. Co-hosting a radio segment as an expert in the industry, however, is actually creating content that people are there to listen to, not interrupting another program. The dealer is creating the content, not interrupting it. (more…)
My nephew Oliver illustrates the new found power of the consumer.
I am 4 pages into writing a new eBook. We’re working on an accompanying InfoGraphic as well. Stay tuned. I’m having a blast writing it.
In some of my research, I came across what I think is one of the best statements of the tectonic shift away from Outbound and toward Inbound Marketing that I have ever read. And it is not from a company that has anything to benefit from promoting Inbound. Here you go . . .
Shift of Power to the Consumer
Euromonitor International published a study in January titled “Online Travel: Shift of Power to Consumers” with the following synopsis . . .
The online travel revolution which has taken place in the last 10 years has led to substantial changes in the travel industry’s competitive environment. These are so significant to force companies to re-think their business models. In particular, consumers now play a much more central and active role, while technology players have become essential partners for travel companies. Customer knowledge and social interaction are key requirements to compete successfully in this new environment. (emphasis ours)
Those are heavy words. Revolution. Substantial. Significant. Force. Re-think. Essential. (more…)
According to web analytics data from a broad range of our local TriCities clients, mobile web usage nearly doubled in the past 12 months from 8% to 15%.
As an Inbound Marketing and web design firm serving Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol, TN, we compile web stats for small business websites in the area and tracked the percentage increase in mobile usage from October 2011 through September 2012. The types of businesses in the study included industrial, professional services, financial planning, retail, and tourism. (more…)