10 Signs You Need A New Website

10 Signs You Need A New Website

In the age of social media pages and profiles, websites can be easily overlooked. I can see the appeal – Facebook is freshly updated every day and quite engaging as you cherish the Likes & Shares; most websites are static all year round and simply there to inform. When designed for modern times, however, websites will always be the best tool for reaching, engaging and creating customers. 

Customers aren’t buying on Facebook nearly as much as they do on websites. Customers are looking for a responsive, well-designed, engaging, easy to navigate website that lets them do what they came to do: shop, browse, buy, explore and learn. With dozens of hot web design trends for 2015, a website can be even more engaging than social media. And, as you’ve tragically learned after the umpteenth, unprompted change to your Facebook Timeline’s look and style, Facebook isn’t a replacement for a custom-made website.

So how do you know when it’s time for a fresh website design? What will it take for you to finally overhaul your flagship web presence? Maybe you need a sign. We’ll give you ten of them to look for:


1) Your website isn’t responsive. 

No, we don’t mean your site isn’t responding at all and gets the dreaded 404 Error: Page Cannot Be Found window, though that’s pretty bad. Responsive means that your site doesn’t adapt to the wide range of devices your customers use…and it’s the new standard in web design. Statistics show that 62% of companies that designed a website with mobile in mind saw increased sales. Your site may look fine on a desktop computer but if it “doesn’t fit” on an iPhone or iPad, you’re losing sales. A “smart and responsive” website adapts to different devices and different screen sizes and lets your customers experience your business exactly as you intended.

 

2) You’re directing people to your Facebook page instead of your website.

Ashamed of your website? That’s pretty sad. You have so many possibilities with a custom-made website so stop feeling ashamed and start changing it! As we mentioned above, social media is not a replacement for your website. Facebook is limiting, the design is ever-changing and organic reach is decreasing. Step back from social media, clarify what you hope to achieve from your website and connect with web designers who can help you discover all the possibilities of having a ridiculously cool website.

 

3) Even Google can’t find you. 

Google your main service or product right now (like “Kosher Meat Restaurants”). Did you come up on the first page? What about the second page? Not even on the second page? Are your competitors above you? Yeah, that’s not good. Ok, now Google yourself. Did you come up? First page, second page, where? How does your profile look? Wait, is it even there? There are a lot of ways to improve your search engine results and many of them start with your website. How your website is designed, how it’s coded, how your content is written, how your images are categorized, and how your site is indexed will all determine your place in a Google, Yahoo or Bing search. And if Google can’t find you easily, you can bet customers won’t find you either.

 

4) Your website is way too chatty. 

Think of your website’s homepage as a storefront. Visitors come by, look through the windows, maybe see something they like and go right in. If customers see an overly chatty, overcompensating salesperson talking their ear off at the front door, they may run back to their car. Overloading your website with a ton of text will turn off customers. The most effective websites combine strong, to-the-point copy with engaging visuals that illustrate your business without the noise. In other words, clean your store windows and get rid of the chatterbox. Have your web designer work closely with your marketing team to effectively design a clean, appealing website that clearly illustrates your mission statement and personality.

 

5) Your website sucks at selling.  

You work hard. 10 hour days. 12 hours maybe, wow. You don’t work as hard as your website, though. Your website is your non-stop 24/7 sales, marketing and PR team. Question is – is your website really working or slacking? Are you getting sales from your website? How about leads? Is your website easy to navigate for impulse buyers? Can someone look at your site and know everything they need to know about you and understand what you can do for them? Can it convert visitors into customers? Evaluate your website. If it can’t do any of the above, maybe it’s time to fire your website.

 

6) You have more pages on your website than in your printer.

I see, you have a page About Us. And a page for The Team. And also a page for Meet The Boss. And then a page for Our Promise To You. And a page for The Boss’ Promise To You. Ok, I promise never to come back to your website. Eliminate the clutter and get rid or combine obsolete pages. All those above pages can be in the About Us section, that’s it. Stick to the core pages that provide the most value to your visitors and are designed to convert them into customers. The rule of thumb is that every page on the site should be only two clicks away. If it is easy for your potential customers to see what you offer and buy easier, your investment will be worth it.

 

7)  Social media and your website aren’t mixing well.

Having a social presence online is a given. Your customers and visitors may visit your site to buy but they’ll also connect with you on Twitter and Facebook to socialize. If you aren’t sharing your social media pages with your target audience on your website, then how else will they find you? Modern websites have a social integration tools and widgets to maximize the social/website integration process that goes beyond merely adding a Pinterest or Instagram badge. Also, be sure your social media design looks similar to your website so as not to disconnect with customers. Designs that don’t gel together is like a customer buying a delicious peach from you one day and then getting a subpar one the next; inconsistency in look and design is not a good image to show customers.

 

8) You fell in love with your Flash “ENTER SITE” intro.

Watching an intro takes up your users’ time and turns them off from entering your site at all. There’s absolutely no benefit to having an introduction about your site; it’s an outdated trend. In fact, a Flash intro is actually a detriment to your brand because Flash animations don’t show up on iPhones and iPads, devices that customers frequently use to web browse. You only have about four seconds to get visitors to click around on your site. Don’t waste those seconds with a Flash intro.

 

9) Your website is all about YOU.

Yes, this is your website, but if you’re looking to get business, increase donations or be a community resource, you need to start thinking about the end-users. Your website is for your clients and prospects, not simply for telling the world how awesome you are. It is your chance to show customers that you understand their problem, that you can help them find the solution, and that you are the best choice to get them where they want to go. From colors to visuals to content, it should be designed with the customers best interest in mind.

 

10) You can’t stop looking at your competitors website. 

You know you do it. You can’t help it. It’s so attractive. If you find yourself spending a disproportionate amount of time creeping around your competitors’ sites, oohing and aahing at the look and design, you need a website redesign. Their site may be easier to navigate, more organized, or even just nicer to look at, and it’s safe to assume your potential customers are going to spend plenty of time there if you do. Don’t worry, you can design a website similar and better than your competition.

 


LET’S SUM IT UP: Your website is your best tool for reaching, engaging and gaining customers. And if it’s not designed with those conversion tactics in mind – or if you can see any of these 10 signs directly! – you should consider redesigning your website for the modern customer. Let’s get started…

Isaac Hyman, Founder  |  Henry Isaacs Marketing  |  646.833.8604  |  info@henryisaacs.net

 

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7 Trends in Jewish Marketing & Communications

7 Trends in Jewish Marketing & Communications

2014 TrendsIt’s 2014. And that means it’s time to re-evaluate your marketing & communications plan. Your focused on ensuring your business or non-profit is at the forefront of people’s minds in print, digital & social media channels. So here’s 7 marketing & communication trends relevant to the Jewish community you should be aware for 2014.

7 Trends in Jewish Marketing & Communications

LOCAL & HYPERLOCAL JEWISH MEDIA OPTIONS

With printing costs at all-time lows & growing populations within Orthodox Jewish communities, niche newspapers and penny savers keep popping up in Five Towns, Bergen County, Queens and Brooklyn. Hyperlocal email lists focused on communities and regions, such as eBergen BlastTeaneck Blast & eFiver (Five Towns) are adding a hyperlocal digital & social media option for advertisers as well. The end result is low cost, targeted advertising options (the trade-off is that these media options have questionable circulation & readership numbers). When creating a marketing campaign, enlist the help of an expert media buyer who understand the nuances of each media option & is able to determine what will work for you and what is a drag on your budget. (Learn More About Hyperlocal…)

THE MOBILE JEWISH ENTREPRENEUR

All you need to start a business these days is a business card, mobile device, social media page & a handshake. We’ve always known that the Jewish market was full of entrepreneurial souls but these days, with iPhones & Android devices becoming the office of choice, Jewish entrepreneurs can launch a business in days instead of months. Apps can replace office services, such as faxing, office reception & scanning, and can also conduct business, including mobile banking & credit card processing.

Numerous Jewish startups will rely on image & visibility to sell, which increases their need for marketing, PR & branding. A co-op marketing strategy with an established complementary business – such as a startup interior designer teaming with a real estate management company – is a smart option for 2014. It mimics the trend of digital companies teaming up with brick & mortar stores to gain offline customers. (How To Market Your Startup…)

CONTENT MARKETING IS WHERE IT’S AT.

We’ve all seen articles on BuzzFeed such as “10 Reasons to Celebrate Denver’s Playoff Berth” and “9 Ways to Protect Yourself In The Event Of An Alien Invasion” that may sound ridiculous. In reality, content marketing- or branded content – is highly contagious within social media. Essentially, the goal is to create content that is not only useful but interesting; similar to a business blog but without the formalities. For established businesses & non-profits, content marketing can help make your brand more approachable to the 18-32 year old demographic. Here’s how we used Content Marketing in our favor.

When creating content for the Jewish market, you’ll need to take their location, language, habits, denomination & standards before creating the content otherwise your content will be lost in translation. Relevant content marketing is a delicate balance between what you want to say and what customers want to read.   (See how you can create content marketing…)

MEDIA BUYING = AD + ARTICLE 

You used to have to pitch an article to the press in order to get it published. In these recessionary times, though, all you need to do is be an advertiser. Similar to the trend of content marketing, advertorial options & blurbs have become part of an advertising media buy – with a paid ad, newspapers & websites will throw in a free mention in their briefs or an article in their paper.

Reputable newspapers & websites will limit these articles to certain sections or online only while other media outlets will publish material all the time.  The advantage isn’t just getting free content; it’s about creating content that is worth reading. Jewish media buyers know which publications will provide free content but connect with content creators (see below) that will make your content compelling & optimized for SEO purposes (Start media buying…)

ISRAEL TARGETS AMERICANS

With sales edging higher & e-commerce websites creating more demand, Israeli companies and startups are starting to look towards the American market in more ways than just print advertising. Israel-based companies have started to sponsor events & create “satellite” offices in the U.S. as a way to attract the Jewish customer more often than just Passover or Sukkot vacation. Google Voice and Skype allows Israel entrepreneurs to create video & chat meetings with American customers, selling items from jewelry to travel services to real estate all online. As a result, more Israel companies will be looking to target Americans through more than just media buys in print. They’ll be looking for events, branding & direct sales. (Learn more…)

FROM WRITER TO CONTENT CREATOR

Just like cops moonlight as security guards, writers are using their talents for marketing purposes. As the newspaper industry staggers in the digital age, seasoned writers & editors are using their talents in the copywriting & branded content arena. Blogs, content marketing, advertising & press releases are all areas where an experienced writer comes in handy. Jewish writers in particular have a loyal established following that can come in handy when targeting the Jewish market through content.

SOCIAL MEDIA OUTSOURCING & FOCUSING

The days of merely posting up a Facebook & Twitter page are over. At the same time, joining every single social media service in existence is a huge timesink & dilutes your core network. What worked for the nascent social media audience in 2006 won’t work for a 2014 audience (Facebook turns 10 years old this year, did you know that?). Mobile devices allow customers to get content quickly and on time. News breaks in minutes and goes viral in seconds. Push notifications provide app alerts, breaking news and social media messages. Focusing social media efforts on the strongest ones for your business is the key to a successful social media strategy. Posting consistent and timely messages, video’s and content on your best networks is smarter than having one or two pieces of content on every social network.

However, employees sitting on Vine, Pinterest or GoFundMe all day long could make for highly distracted workers that are out of touch with the end goal, which is sales & marketing.In a 2012 Intuit survey, one third of business owners said they want to spend less time on social media though they know it’s valuable. The 2013 solution has been outsourcing social media; specifically, companies are outsourcing social media design, content creation and analytics. From a cost-benefit analysis, outsourcing quality social media control is a better method than hiring full-time employees or college kids. (Read more about social media…)

BUSINESS IMAGE MAKEOVER FOR 2014

Redesigning your website, brochures & advertising to suit the needs of digital customers that browse with tablets, mobile devices & iOS 7 is the first step towards a successful 2014 marketing campaign. Responsive web design with swipe navigation or one-page navigation has become the best way to reach customers on iPhone’s and iPad’s. Creating interactive brochures and business “storybooks” that resemble a magazine is a hot feature on Flipboard. Focusing on pictures & video for your marketing is more important than a PowerPoint.

Overall, it’s important to ensure your brand’s image & logo looks as relevant for 2014 as it did in 2005. Creating a badge, Favicon and Icon for your company is an important branding technique for being seen in browser windows & in social media; a badge is just as important as a logo! Designing social media components that are consistent with your advertising, brochures & website are often overlooked areas of design. With social media threatening to replace traditional websites, remaking your look for the digital age should be on your marketing budget for 2014. (Learn about a brand makeover…)


Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

 www.henryisaacs.net | info@henryisaacs.net | 646.833.8604


Jewish Marketing 101 – Merchant Circle Survey on Marketing & Social Media Trends

Jewish Marketing 101 – Merchant Circle Survey on Marketing & Social Media Trends

Merchant Circle Marketing Study

MerchantCircle Press Releases

Social Marketing Continues Meteoric Rise Among Local Businesses

New research from MerchantCircle reveals local merchants flocking to simple, free marketing methods such as social media sites, are slow to adopt mobile marketing and group buying.

Group buying gets mixed reviews: 55 percent of merchants who have offered a “daily deal” through a group buying service would not do so again

Mountain View, CA, February 15, 2011 — MerchantCircle, the largest online network of local business owners in the nation, today shared results of its quarterly Merchant Confidence Index survey of over 8,500 small and local business owners across the U.S. The data reveals that local merchants, who have very limited time and money for marketing, are gravitating towards simple, low-cost online marketing methods such as Facebook and other social media, as well as towards tried-and-true methods such as search and email marketing. The research also demonstrates that while new marketing services such as mobile marketing and group buying are generating significant buzz in the media, local merchants have yet to tap these unproven marketing methods.

“Online marketing continues to be a challenge for most local businesses, and many merchants are working with very small budgets and almost no marketing resources,” said Darren Waddell, Vice President of marketing at MerchantCircle. “The marketing methods we see gaining the most traction are therefore the ones that offer merchants simplicity, low costs and immediate results.”

Key conclusions from the survey include:

(1) Local businesses have little time or budget to devote to marketing.

According to the MerchantCircle survey data, more than half of local merchants are spending less than $2,500 a year on marketing, and 60 percent have no plans to raise their budgets this year. These merchants are also price-sensitive: one quarter of merchants cite high costs as their chief complaint about online marketing (26 percent).

Many merchants are also struggling to manage their existing programs and don’t have time to take advantage of new, unproven services, with lack of time and resources the top online marketing challenge for more than one third of merchants (37 percent).

(2) Social media are now the top marketing strategy for local businesses.

With its huge consumer adoption, ease-of-use and low barrier to entry, Facebook continues to be a popular way for merchants to market their business, with 70 percent using the social network for marketing, up from 50 percent one year ago. Facebook has now surpassed Google (66 percent) as the most widely used marketing method amongst local merchants, and is almost tied with Google search (40 percent) as one of their top three most effective marketing methods, with 37 percent rating Facebook as one of their most effective tools.

Facebook Places has benefited from this high level of adoption, soaring past Foursquare to reach a 32 percent current usage rate, with an additional 12 percent citing plans to use Facebook Places in the coming months. While Foursquare’s usage is up from just 2 percent one year ago, use of the location-based service has remained steady at about 9 percent over the past two quarters.

Twitter has also grown in popularity over the past year, with nearly 40 percent of local merchants using the microblogging platform to build awareness and community around their products and services, up from 32 percent in Q4 2009.

(3) Tried-and-true online methods trump new, unproven approaches.

With little time and budget to devote to marketing, local merchants are slow to adopt unproven technologies such as mobile marketing and group buying and are relying on more familiar methods that have delivered results. Three of the top marketing methods for local businesses — social, search and email — are also cited as being the most effective, with 36 percent putting social networking in the top three, 40 percent citing search and 36 percent choosing email marketing.

In spite of the hype around mobile marketing, less than 15 percent of merchants report doing any sort of mobile marketing or advertising, and more than half have no plans to do so in the coming months. Lack of understanding remains a huge barrier to adoption: 74 percent of merchants state that they don’t have a good idea of how to reach consumers via mobile marketing.

Group buying will also take time to penetrate the local market. Only 11 percent of local merchants have offered a “daily deal” using a service like Groupon or LivingSocial, with an additional 20 percent planning to do so in the coming months. Results of group buying have also been mixed and may be hindering growth: 55 percent of people who have run a daily deal campaign said they would not do so again.

(4) Use of traditional offline marketing methods continues to decline.

Traditional offline marketing methods continue to decline across the board. Over the course of 2010, use of print advertising dropped by 33 percent (from 40 percent usage to 27 percent); use of print Yellow Pages declined 18 percent (from 45 percent to 37 percent); and use of direct mail decreased 26 percent (from 39 percent to 28 percent).

Don’t expect these methods to disappear anytime soon, however, as many continue to deliver results for local merchants. 24 percent say that coupons or direct mail are still one of their top three most effective marketing tactics, 23 percent say print Yellow Pages are a top three tactic, and 20 percent put print newspaper ads in the top three as well.

(5) Online marketing services companies are aggressively targeting local businesses.

Despite the fact that local merchants have very little budget for marketing, online marketing services companies are working hard to reach and serve this market, often with a direct sales force making cold calls. MerchantCircle’s research reveals that 51 percent of local merchants get at least one online marketing sales call a week, with 10 percent getting called almost on a daily basis.

About the Merchant Confidence Index

The Merchant Confidence Index is a quarterly survey conducted by MerchantCircle, the largest social network of local business owners in the U.S. with over 1.6 million members. The Index is designed to track trends in small business sentiment over time and is derived from four key questions designed to synopsize the prevailing trends among local business owners. The overall index score is based upon a standardized five-level Likert scale.

This fifth Merchant Confidence Index survey was fielded online, between January 22nd and February 3rd, 2011, and sent to a random sample of MerchantCircle’s member base of over 1.6 million local business owners. There were 8,456 total responses from local business owners across the United States. Responding businesses classified themselves as legal and financial services, automotive, health and beauty, entertainment, travel and more, with 75 percent of respondents having less than 5 employees. The survey data can be broken out by state, business type or business size (by headcount) upon request. No incentive was offered to complete the survey. To read the full survey and its results, please visit www.MerchantCircle.com/corporate/blog.


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