Design For Your Target Audience

Design For Your Audience.

All businesses have a target audience, and it’s important to define who that is! When you are making your marketing materials, whether it be a printed brochure or a website, you need to design for your customer, not for you. It’s all about what your potential customers are looking for and want.

Considerations When Designing for Your Target Audience

You should ask yourself the following questions:

  • What colors reside with your target demographic?
  • Are they searching the web on their phone, a tablet or a desktop?
  • Are they readers? Or visual people?
  • What drives them to make a purchasing decision?

Color Schemes & Functionality

When designing materials for your business, step into the shoes of your target audience and consider what they are looking for. According to a study compiled of information from The New York Times, Harrington College of Design, and other sources, the older end of the Gen-Z generation (1996-2015) enjoy muted and pastel colors, like spearmint and blush pink. Their style is influenced by the 80s and 90s, so try bright colors like yellow (named “The Color of Gen-Z”). Millennials and Gen-Z are automatically attracted to a service or product that is aesthetically pleasing to them. Of course, the quality of the service is always important, but initially attracting them and bringing them in relies a lot on visuals.

If you’re attracting an older audience, those who are a part of the Baby Boomer and Gen X generations (1943-1960, 1961-1980) enjoy a much more mature color palette. Warm yellows and whites, pale blue, and jade green, and shades of grey are comfortable and classic for these generations. Of course, this is not exact science and varies from person-to-person, but this is a good baseline to start. These generations may not care as much about aesthetics as they do about the functionality of a service or product. But your website is often the first time new customers interact with your business, so it’s worth thinking about.

Smart Devices & Navigation

Combining what your audience might enjoy aesthetically with a website that’s easy to navigate will attract current and new customers. Of course, Millennials and Gen-Zers might be accessing your website on their smartphone more often than on a laptop or desktop like Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers. In 2020, it’s safe to assume most people own and use a smartphone, so it’s always good to make sure navigation is easy regardless of the age of your target audience.

Aesthetics & Information Channels

You should also consider the amount of text on your website. Millennials like a very minimalistic look. They can be easily overwhelmed and distracted, so have a simple, straightforward point when explaining your services. Further, Millennials are more likely to seek out services from word-of-mouth. The Gen-Z generation, however, likes to use the Internet to research a business and their options. Gen X-ers are oftentimes quite direct and like to engage in honest, open conversations. Because of this, it’s important to consider bringing honesty and transparency when explaining a product or service to them.

To find out more information or if you need help finding the design and color palette perfect for your website, Paragon Marketing Group has the people and resources to help make all of it come to life.

Websites—The Face Of Your Business

Websites—The face of your business.

Websites. They’re the face of your business, your first impression on consumers, and a way to communicate with customers. Check out what you can do to update your website and what customers are looking for!

Personalization

In our previous blog, which you can find here, we talked about what it means to brand yourself – this includes your website! If your logo has certain colors in it, make sure you’re using that across your entire website. Keeping fonts, pictures, and color consist not only shows people that you have a clear brand, but they get to know you on a more personal level.

Ease of Navigation

Have you ever clicked on a restaurant’s website to try and order food and can’t find their phone number? How about frustrations with trying to schedule an appointment online? You may not realize it, but all of these small difficulties add up to a person’s impression of not only your website, but your entire business. If people can’t find it, how are they supposed to buy it? Use tabs to clearly label where things can be found. If you know of something that takes more than a couple of clicks to access, try adding a search bar to your website. You can also study the patterns of the use of your website and see where certain things can be fixed.

Call-to-Action

This one may seem obvious, but is often overlooked. You can have all the testimonials, photos, videos, and customer reviews that you want to validate the quality of your business, but if there’s nowhere to lead your customer to buy a product or an email to reach out to, how do they move forward with your services? Make sure there’s a, “contact us today,” or, “click here for more information,” etc. to point your customers in the right direction.

Updated Content

If you haven’t uploaded recent customer reviews, photos, or blog posts in a while, how do prospective customers know how you’re growing and developing? Having reviews from 8 years ago is great to show that your business has been about quality since day one, but how are consumers going to know how your business is doing now? Also, constant stream of uploading shows loyalty to your business and customers.

Social Media

People want to stay in touch and see what’s going on! Maybe you’re a heating and AC service company; chances are, customers don’t need your services on the daily or weekly. If you provide links to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., your customers can stay in the know with your business and get to know you on a more personal level! That way, when it does come time for an HVAC tune up, they’ll know exactly who to call.

Personalized About Page

When it comes to making a business transaction with a new company, people want to know not only what your business offers, but how you got started, what your business’ morals are, and how you like to work. Including these things lets your customers get to know you on a more personal level. Would you rather do work with a company that provides their title and a bare minimum description of their services, or do you want to work with someone who is transparent and honest?

Validation and Testimonials

We touched on this one earlier, but this can really make or break providing services to a prospective customer. Showing before and after pictures of your services, video testimonials, or even written reviews from current and past customers lets consumers know how you run as a business, and of course, other people’s experience working with you. If your business takes pride in quality service for low prices, or treating your customers like family, make sure your customers are there to back you up! It only takes a couple of minutes to reach out to your customers and ask them to leave a review for you.

You have a lot of competitors. Make sure your competition has nothing on you! Be honest with prospective customers, stand out with your own personalized touch, and be open and consistent with communication.

Why is video needed in your Marketing mix?

This is a business team gathering around a laptop.

According to Wordstream, viewers retain 95% of information from watching a video compared to retaining 10% from reading the same information. This trend is astonishing to me but also understandable. When I look back at things I buy online or things I learn, it is the same for me. As a matter of fact, I think it may be worse because I can’t read a long article with my attention span but I can definitely watch a video or listen to a podcast. At this point, I am wondering how much more to write and how to line it up. According to that statistic, I should end it here! However, please continue and choose to be the 10%, then please go and watch the video or listen to the podcast to remember the rest.

 

Every good content marketing strategy encompasses a mixture of different things: blog, video, social, web, ads, and podcasts. Obviously, it is called content marketing for a reason! Think about those things, how many of those strategies can you incorporate into a video? The big question that we always get is, why?

 

  1. According to the same article on Wordstream, a video on your home screen can increase conversions by up to 80%. Who can’t use more leads?
  2. Video creates a personal touch that you can’t get anywhere else. The old saying, “People do business with people they like” is still important today. It may actually be more important because of the internet.
  3. According to an article written by Vidyard, 65% of viewers watch more than ¾ of a video. This is not even close to what people read!
  4. Search Engine Optimization asks you to link and backlink as much as possible as long as it is relevant content. What can be more relevant than you talking about your product on a video?
  5. Content Marketing Institute says that audiences are 10 times more likely to engage, share, and comment on a video than they are a blog or social post.
  6. Last but certainly not least, email is more seen and more returned with a video in the message.

 

About a year ago, a friend of mine told me that he was going to start doing a weekly video newsletter along with his regular newsletter. I got his newsletter and I fully admit that I only read about half of it on a regular basis. Since he started doing a video newsletter every Monday, I have learned so much about what is happening and what he is doing. I never knew most of that information before, even though I received his regular newsletter. This is an example of the power of video at its finest and a perfect reason to incorporate video into your marketing campaign.

 

The big obstacle that you will face with this is yourself. Most people do not like to be on video and admittedly, I am one of them. I believe I have a face for radio but I do videos on a regular basis because that is what is being asked of me by our clients. In the next article, I will talk about what you will do with a video once you have it.

Cybercrime affects Small Business

This is a blue circuit board with a blue lock in front.

We have all heard the word Cybercrime and we know that we need to protect ourselves. What most small businesses do not understand is how much it affects them. We have heard all the stories from the news about the big companies getting hacked and information being leaked. What we never hear about is the small businesses that get hacked on a daily basis. According to a survey done by CNBC less than 2% of American small businesses say that they are concerned about getting hacked.The big reason why is, “We are the little guy, they don’t want to hack us.” This thought process is incorrect and is exactly why you should care more than the big companies.

Hackers know that you do not have the time, money, or knowledge to protect your site like the big companies do. Therefore, your website is targeted more than any other. Just because you only have 100 clients or 1,000 clients does not make you immune. It makes you a perfect candidate for hackers. They can go in, get what they want, and get out without anybody knowing. What’s better is that because you are a small business, the word that you got hacked won’t go out to everyone in the world because it won’t be considered a big story.

So, what can a small business owner do to protect themselves? More importantly, what can a small business owner do to protect their customers? Well, here you go!

1. Make sure your website is on a secure server. You have a lot of options when it comes to hosting your website. We highly suggest that you find out what equipment or software your host has to combat hacker attempts.

2. Redundancy is very important. Make sure your host has more than one copy of your site. Having multiple servers in different locations would be ideal. This way, if one location gets hacked then they can quickly change over to a backup copy.

3. Consistent security scans. Security scans should be happening weekly on your site or at the minimum monthly. If you keep up on your security scans you will remove any trackers that may have attached to your site in-between scans.

4. You must be updating your site monthly at the minimum. By staying up to date you are also keeping away any new hacks created by having an old version of the theme or integrations your site requires.

5. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encrypts any conversation that you have with the customer, the website and your office computer. This item is so important that Google is now requiring this if you want your page to be found on Google. It is required as of June 1st to have it. You’ll know you have one by seeing HTTPS:// instead of HTTP:// in your URL.

By following these steps we cannot guarantee that you will never get hacked or that your information will never get out. Hackers are getting smarter and smarter every day and nobody can ever guarantee that. What we can tell you is that by following these 5 things you are giving your clients and yourself the best protection you can.

6 steps to retail marketing

This is a view of a mall from the top floor.

Marketing in the retail world can be a lot of fun. It also can be very time consuming and monotonous. However, without marketing in the retail world, you will not maintain or grow. Retail has an attrition rate and it doesn’t matter how long you have been in business or how great of a reputation you have, there still has to be marketing. You have to replace the people you lose yearly or you might as well shut your doors right now. How do you do this, is the question and how do you do it well?

1. It all starts with building a brand. You have to have a brand recognition or you will not grow. When people think of the typical products you sell, you want your name to come to mind first. In marketing, there is a rule called the rule of seven. Now, some marketers will say it is the rule of 10 or a rule of 5, regardless, it is still important that you follow it. A person must see your brand 7 times before they start thinking about you for a certain product. How those 7 times is achieved can be hard, however, the rest of this blog explains a few tricks.

2. How you are found is important and that is where listings come into the equation. There are literally hundreds of sites that your business should be listed on depending on exactly what your product is. Personally, I believe that if you are listed properly on the top sites then the rest will follow over time. What people do not realize is that everything HAS to be exactly the same across all of your online listings, right down to the dot in the same place.

3. Social media marketing is going to give you the most bang for your buck. Depending on your demographic you will utilize Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Anyone of these 4 are going to be important, however, the two most important are going to be Facebook and Twitter. The most important thing with these platforms is to not post just 1 time per week about your store and expect people to flock in. You have to post regularly and you have to not only educate the consumer about you but also about your products.

4. You have to create a personalized experience. Just as we talked about social being important well, so is mobile marketing. It is said that 58% of people will look on cell phones before they look for your store on a desktop or laptop. With the world of artificial intelligence growing it is very important to learn new ways to use personalized mobile marketing in order to attract new clients.

5. Reward programs are becoming very popular. Create an awards program through email marketing and offer a free product for being a member of your newsletter program. Once you start getting emails from consumers, do not miss a single month of sending newsletters out. I would suggest that you send out an email at a minimum of bi-weekly. One can be a newsletter talking about anything new that you have done and the other can be an offer of the month for members of the group.

6. People will come in and spend more if they know you are supporting the community. Your local chamber of commerce or business group will have a list of events that are community-based in order to help you find a great charity or event to support. Once you find one, offer your support or sponsorship then market about your contribution. Millennials today want to know that you support a charity or local event. They will remember that and come back to you because of it.

Having a retail establishment is a very exciting and fun thing. In today’s world, you have a great opportunity to provide a great location for people to get what you need. The more people that know who you are, the better. With the digital world, you have a great opportunity to tell the world about you! Have fun with it but remember to be respectful and responsible. You will be successful with these suggestions.

How is your budget doing? How about your leads?

This is an image of measuring your budget.

It is very important that you keep up with your budget on a regular basis and track what your Cost per lead or cost per sale is. Ultimately you should be keeping this up on a regular basis however at minimum you should do this quarterly.

The first step is to determine how much you have spent on marketing so far. Hopefully you have been tracking this independently if not I am sure your accounting department has. Hopefully either you or they are keeping track of where the money is going. Not only that it is going to marketing but where in marketing it is going.

The next thing to determine is how many total sales you have for the the quarter. Again you should be getting this information on a regular basis from your sales team so this should be something you know but if you do not then find out from your sales manager. This should be broken down by new sales and existing sales. This should also be broken down by the amount of sales and the amount of leads. In short, how many appointments the sales reps ran and how many appointments the sales reps closed.

Now here comes the math:
Marketing spend/amount of leads = Cost per lead
Marketing spend/amount of sales = Cost per sale

I suggest you go further as well. Hopefully you have been asking where leads are coming from, television ads, radio ads, web, and social are just some of the categories. You should be able to get this same information from your sales if in fact you did get it.

Here comes the math again:
Marketing spend for category/leads from category = Cost per lead for category
Marketing spend for category/sales from category = Cast per sale for category

When you set up your budget I showed you how to do this same thing for your budget. How are your actuals working towards these numbers? What category is trending higher than budgeted? What category is trending lower than budgeted? What should you be focusing on for the next quarter to fix the differences? This is how you know that you are on track with what you budgeted and expected and this is how you stay on top of your budget make it adaptable.

On page and Off Page SEO what is the difference?

This is decorative text of SEO, Search engine optimization.

The latest and most important thing about websites is SEO also known as Search Engine Optimization. However there are 2 different kinds, so what is the difference and why are both important?

First, lets cover On page SEO. Searchmetrics defines On-Page SEO as, “Onpage optimization (a.k.a on-page SEO) refers to all measures that can be taken directly within the website in order to improve its position in the search rankings.” This involves a few things:

Meta Description – This is the page description of a webpage that is keyworded to match. They should be no longer than 16 characters and must be relevant to the page they are describing.

Title Tags or Meta Tags – This refers to the description in the URL. These are not seen on the page but they are both seen and ranked on the search. These are also referred to as page titles. These should be no longer than 70 keywords and they must not repeat keywords.

Headings – We refer to these a lot as H tags. H1, H2, H3…. These are tags that are used for the creation of headings. They will most likely be the heading for the post you are creating.

Site map – As the name implies, it is a map of what is on your site and where exactly the content is. Google uses this to crawl your site and create the roadmap of your site.

Now, let’s cover Off-page SEO. This is a technique that is used to improve the position of a website in the search engine results page (SERPs). This includes many items but most importantly are:

Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Linkedin and Pinterest are just to name a few. Social media allows you to create stories while linking and creating a web of links that go back to your site.

Listing Services – Sites like Yelp, Yahoo, Google and Facebook all have to be tied and linked back to your site. More importantly are the smaller spaces like Hotfrog and Citynet. The key to this is that everything must be EXACTLY the sames right down to the dot in certain places, otherwise it hurts you.

Blogging – Writing a weekly, monthly or even quarterly blog with links back to that section of your website will increase your backlinks.

Podcasting – Again, this helps create backlinks to section of your website. It also shows you as an authority of the market you are in.

This list could go on for many pages but you get the point. The more backlinks and associations that you can get to your website, the more it helps get you ranked. Ultimately you can think of On page SEO as your website and how it is created and maintained and Off site SEO as everything else you should be doing across the web. Both are very important for your website and where you show up. Off site SEO also creates a relationship with your company prior to them getting to your website and On page SEO carries that through to the ultimate step which is conversion.

Millennials are a different type of Marketing

This is a clip art of Millennials and marketing.

I find research for millennials and what they want very fascinating. See, I love the psychology of marketing and what makes people want to do things and work with companies. First, let’s define what a millennial is, it is said that a millennial is born between 1982 and 2004 although some demographers just say early 1980’s to mid 1990’s or early 2000’s. There are approximately 76 million of them in the United States alone and according to a recent article, 81% of us want to work with a company that are community advocates and boast about it. As a matter of fact, millennials will go through pain to support a company that does. I heard a story once that a gentleman bought a new pair of shoes every 6 weeks even though they were uncomfortable just because the company donated a pair of shoes for every pair he bought. Now that is loyalty!

Multitasking is the new normal for millennials. They have this innate ability to switch between cell phones, tablets, desktop and laptops all within a minute and understand everything on all the screens. What is my friend doing today, how is the latest celebrity spending the day or whatever the latest trend is in the life of a millennial, this is the relaxation that they look forward to. The social life of a millennial is the most important thing in their life and that is all done through technology. The next generation is not getting any better either, as a matter of fact it is getting worse. I think any parent of teenagers today will agree that the worst thing in the world for their teen is having their phone taken away or taking away technology in general. Their life is over if you do that. Telling them to walk down to a friends house and see if they can hang out, is something they think is from the caveman days.

So, how do you get these generations to act? It is relatively simple yet difficult at the same time.

1. They are very click minded individuals and very social. So, you must go where they are, which is Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, podcasts and many other social sites that are out there. These generations do very little reading, unfortunately, so you must make your writing concise and to the point. The best way to get the attention of this generation is video, however they need to be powerful and very concise. Their attention span is only a minute or so.
2. Show that you are community advocates and you support organizations like homelessness, veterans, or women’s rights. As human beings, we all want to help and many of us do. It is not done because we want publicity or even recognition. It is done because it is the right thing to do and we want to help. Why not do both though? You can support organizations that you believe in and also get publicity for your company. So go for it!
3. You must get personal with this generation. They want to be acknowledged as individuals and not part of the crowd. Everything you do must individualize the experience for them. Tell a story and do not command them to do anything.

Here is the great thing about millennials, they are the most loyal group that you will ever have the pleasure to work with. The old quote, “People do business with people they like and trust” are not just words for millennials. It is required and they WILL tell all of their friends!

Who cares about Voice search? You should!

This is a Google Home device.

We keep hearing about voice search and how important it is going to be, therefore, we want to take the time to explain what it is. Voice search is asking an intelligent device a question and getting an answer.

The four most popular devices that use voice search are:
Alexa – Made by Amazon, some say that it was the first “Voice Assistant” available. It also utilizes the Bing network for answers.
Siri – Mostly used on Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad. It was utilized by Bing originally, however it switched to Google services towards the end of 2017.
Cortana – Microsoft made this available on many laptops and tablets. It answers via the Bing network.
Google Home – Created by Google to compete against other “Voice Assistant” platforms. It uses the Google search engine.

You are probably thinking, “Who cares? I don’t have one!” However, this couldn’t be more wrong if you are a business owner. “40% of adults now use voice search once per day,” according to Location World. Furthermore, “50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020,” according to comscore. The no screen revolution is coming and you need to be ready!

How do you get ready? Well, it all comes down to SEO!

First of all, the way you think about keywords must change. Most voice searches involve more than five words that are spoken. People do not talk in Keywords. When was the last time you said “Restaurant near me” to anybody? You may have even typed it into a web browser this way. When we speak to voice search we say something like “Hey Alexa, Who has the best fish fry in Milwaukee?”. Your site needs to reflect these words to be ranked. So having keywords is great but you also need to keyword how you speak. Put yourself in the shoes of the potential client, the way that you would ask questions would most likely be the way they do. Of course, this means that your keyword research is going to require a lot more work.

One great way we recently read about is creating a frequently ask questions page with the answers. Brainstorm with your team the top 20 questions the team gets asked and create a page for the questions. Say the top one you get asked is, “What is the best process for creating a great website?” then use it and keyword it. This way, when someone asks Alexa “Hey Alexa, what is the best process for creating a website?” your information will come up and say, “According to www._____.com the best process is…..”

Many experts have different ways of dealing with voice search as it is still so new. We are all figuring it out, however, rest assured it is here now and it is here to stay. There is no fighting it, you must embrace it, and not only embrace it but get ahead of it.