Motion Graphics

 

Digital technology has advanced more in the last 10 years than anyone might have imagined. Trends emerge every year, and some stay while others flop. One trend that’s been around a while now is the use of motion graphics, where designs combine elements such as beautiful typography, images and video, and create movement that is realistic and animated at the same time.

 

The average motion designer makes $62,000 per year. Adding motion design to your resume seems like a smart move, especially for freelancers who work fewer hours and make about $3,000 more per year than their company-employed counterparts.

 

In addition to the potential for higher earnings, adding motion graphics benefits your designs and your clients in a number of ways. There are many advantages of using motion graphics in your designs.

 

1. Retain Users


By 2020, 80 percent of all online traffic will be people watching videos. When you stop and think about the billions of people online, with the vast majority of them viewing videos, the choice of enhancing your website with this emerging trend makes sense.

 

When you add motion graphics to your videos and on your website, visitors instantly engage with the site upon landing there. Your bounce rate will likely go down, and users are more likely to pay attention to your message.

 

wide sky trailer

 

The trailer for the video game “Wide Sky” uses motion graphics to illustrate some of what the game is about. The technique grabs the user’s interest because the background appears authentic while the motion graphics look animated. The use of animation lends a fun tone to any website or video. Since the video promotes a game, it makes sense to keep it fun and whimsical through the use of animation.

 

2. Create Brand Consistency


One of the most important parts of branding is creating a cohesive message users identify with your company. You likely have a presence across many different platforms, both online and off. Adding branding to each of those elements isn’t an easy task. However, with your videos, you can easily share motion graphics with your logo and brand name in the same spot and with the same style in every video you release.

 

3. Capture User Attention


Motion graphics don’t always have to appear in a long video. Smaller elements, such as a moving logo or other moving pieces on a website page, grab user attention and set your site apart from your competitors. You can also make just a portion of your logo moveable and leave other elements static. Apply the concept to any part of your site where you wish to draw user attention.

 

supershuttle

 

SuperShuttle adds motion graphics to its website and captures user attention from the moment site visitors land on the homepage. A shuttle looks as though it is driving as the background changes and the van passes various buildings and trees. The effect is simple but striking.

 

Designers should pay attention to the way the logo grabs attention but should also ensure it loads quickly. Vital motion graphics must be optimized for all types of devices. If the moving parts stall or crash a mobile device, they aren’t sufficient for half or more of your audience.

 

4. Educate Your Audience


When people see and hear information, they are much more likely to retain the facts. The human brain processes images faster than words, so motion graphics get your point across much more efficiently than words alone. Picture elements of an infographic that fly in as a spokesperson explains the mission of your brand. The viewer is much more likely to retain the information than without visual illustrations.

 

5. Tell a Story


Around 79 percent of people skim over what they see on the internet rather than reading in depth. You’re competing with thousands upon thousands of other companies clamoring for notice. When you tell a story, though, you connect with people on an emotional level, and suddenly they stop and listen.

 

apple watch

 

This Apple Watch video tells the story of what the product does for the user. Motion graphics highlight some of the features of the watch face and add bright colors to highlight the narrator’s words. Designers should take note that the motion graphics used in the video highlight the product and draw attention to the words from the script.

 

6. Repurpose Motion Graphics Videos


One of the most significant benefits of motion graphics used in videos is repurposing the potential of videos. Since so many people watch videos online, adding your engaging clips to social media sites or sending out a video in an email engages users and encourages sharing with others.

 

Social media posts with videos get shared more frequently than those with text only. Educate or entertain your audience, and they’re likely to tell others about what you’re doing.

 

Gear up for Motion


Adding motion graphics to your website doesn’t have to involve a lot of time or money. Start small with your logo or a moving element in an infographic. Then, as you find what works with your particular target audience, move to more extended content such as videos with motion graphics.

 

Motion graphics are another tool every design professional should have. With the addition of animated elements, your website will stand out from others and become more engaging and shareable.

 

Author

Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner

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TV & Print

 

For years now, digital marketing experts have predicted that someday soon, digital marketing would overtake traditional marketing on television and in print. As it turns out, someday has arrived. In 2019, the digital marketing giants known as Facebook and Google will officially surpass TV, radio, and newspaper advertising, leaving it in the virtual dust.

 

The Proof is in the Spending


Per estimates released by eMarketer, advertisers across the United States are slated to spend $129 billion this year on digital advertising, which overtakes the $109 billion they plan to spend on traditional means of advertising. This is the first time in history that this has occurred; in fact, it’s the first time that more than 50% of the market will be dominated by the US digital ad business. The same source predicts that with each passing year, the gap in spending will continue to increase. In fact, by 2021, it is expected that advertisers will spend some $172.29 billion on digital ads compared to only $104.32 billion on traditional ads.

 

Facebook and Google


There’s little denying that Facebook and Google have driven these numbers forward for several years. Both multi-billion-dollar companies operate internationally. Surprisingly, back in 2015 (only four years ago), the digital advertising market was only about half the size of the traditional market, and most advertisers still preferred television commercials, print ads, and even radio ads to paid ads on sites like Facebook or Google. Since then, though, these two companies have played a tremendous role in those numbers creeping closer and closer together, and they are hugely responsible for this tremendous shift in the American marketing dynamic.

 

Fears of World Domination


Though it is an exciting time for advertisers, this number also spurs some fears among businesses that could be considered Facebook or Google competitors. Just last year, both Google and Facebook’s CEOs found themselves before Congress defending their companies’ ad businesses. Many believe that both companies will inevitably face some heavy regulation both at home in the US and abroad, their ad business was left untouched. In fact, in 2018, the two massive companies generated $65 billion in revenue between them.

 

This means that these two single companies generated more than 60% of the digital marketing revenue in the country last year – and this worries some. For 2019, their combined revenue is estimated at some $77 billion despite losing a percentage point or two of the overall market share. Smaller companies struggle to compete, but it’s the traditional media companies that are truly paying the price for Facebook and Google’s quest for world domination.

 

Amazon is Bridging the Gap


Back in 2015, Amazon only had 1.2% of the digital ad market in the country, but the same eMarketer estimates claim that this number will climb to 8.8% in 2019, making the retail giant a distant third competitor – but one that is closing in. The next two biggest contenders – Microsoft and Verizon – are actually slated to lose some of their market share next year. Microsoft’s share will fall from 2018’s 4.1% down to 3.8% while Verizon will fall from 3.4% down to just 2.9%. Believe it or not, Google’s share is expected to fall, too, if only very slightly. Their 38.2% market share for 2018 will likely be higher than the anticipated 37.2% for 2019.

 

What Consumers Want


Consumers, for the most part, understand that advertising is just a part of being online. Companies pay the websites hosting the ads for the right to the space, allowing those companies to get their ads in front of the people who might

 

find them relevant. Recently, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, spoke with a Harvard law professor and backed his long-time claim that Facebook must be free for users in order to connect the world. He also acknowledged some users’ concerns (and annoyances) with Facebook ads, but he made it clear that an ad-free Facebook experience is not likely to happen – at least not soon – since those ads keep Facebook funded.

 

This means that Facebook (and Google, and likely Amazon) will only continue to take on more of the digital marketing share in the US and around the world. Though consumers may have some power over which ads they see, and while continuously-evolving algorithms get better at predicting the sorts of ads that specific users should see, there remains a fine line between benign data collection for ad relevancy and invasion of privacy – something that Zuckerberg has promised to rectify with his social media platform by giving Facebook users more control over their experience.

 

2019 is slated to be an exciting year for advertisers, companies like Facebook and Google, and consumers alike. The ability to collect and advertise data in such a way that ad relevancy has skyrocketed in the last few years will continue to drive these huge companies forward, even though concerns remain about these same companies taking over the world, so to speak.

 

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plastic surgery marketing tips 2019

Plastic surgery is a growing industry around the world, particularly in the United States. More people than ever before turn to modern cosmetic surgery, and while this means that your potential client base is growing, so are your competitors. The plastic surgery marketing tips below will help you stand out from the competitors and overcome the crowding in the industry to reach the right people at the right times.

 

Your Website is an Extension of Your Practice


In today’s digital day and age, your website serves as the face of your practice. People will garner their first impressions of you and your practice based on your site, and they often have a solid opinion in 10 seconds or less. For this reason, it’s important to build a website that accurately reflects the way you want both existing and potential clients to feel about you.

 

Things like font and color often play a critical role in generating a subliminal emotional response. Fonts should be pleasant and easy on the eyes without any excessive embellishment. For colors, think about blue, which has a naturally calming effect and is common in the medical industry, or perhaps even yellow or gold if you want to portray an air of happiness and peace. Finally, make sure images and text are properly balanced to provide a satisfying aesthetic.

 

Short Videos are Great for Showing Your Expertise


For many years now, plastic surgeons have relied on a bevy of before-and-after photos to show prospective clients their work. Many people immediately view these galleries to help them decide which plastic surgeon is best for their unique needs based on the procedures they want. Though before-and-after photos will always be an important part of your website, plastic surgeons who educate their visitors about the procedures and provide videos are often more popular on both the web and in practice.

 

Videos should be kept relatively short, and they should be assigned to the appropriate webpage. For example, if you have a webpage that focuses on lip augmentation, the only videos on that page should also be about lip augmentation. You can make yourself the focus of the video, talk about the procedure and how it’s performed, and perhaps even show some diagrams or photos to help visitors better visualize what you are saying.

 

Educate Visitors with Your Content


The content on your website should be divided into three very distinct categories. The first set of content should be your promotional content – the text that describes you and your achievements, your practice, and perhaps even your staff as well as your mission statement. The second should be your blog, which might cover a variety of topics ranging from new techniques and modern technologies to highlights on specific procedures. The final set of content should make up most of your webpages and focus on educating the client.

 

Having a separate webpage for each individual procedure is a great idea. When it comes to medicine and surgery, the more someone can learn about the procedure in advance, the more at ease they will feel when it comes down to scheduling the procedure. Each webpage should describe how the procedure is performed, when the patient can expect to see results, and what the recovery is like – including the steps your practice will take to keep him or her comfortable. The more information you can provide, the more useful your site, and the higher it will rank.

 

Plastic Surgery Blogs are Critical


Plastic surgery blogs give you the opportunity to really make your content your own, and they can also help your website’s ranking. Blogs are a great source of dynamic content, which is valued very highly by Google, especially when it contains popular and trending keywords and phrases. It’s important to use the tools available to you to determine what people are searching for, then write a blog that homes in on those phrases.

 

Some amazing ideas for a plastic surgery blog include focus pieces on nonsurgical treatments that can provide amazing results, new technologies in the plastic surgery industry, a focus on new products and procedures that are currently being tested, and sometimes even statistics based on specific procedures or demographics that show how the industry continues to grow as people become more accepting of plastic surgery in general.

 

Don’t Sell Procedures; Sell Happiness


When people visit Amazon, they have a very specific product and price range in mind. Plastic surgery is different because people aren’t exactly shopping for a procedure. They may know what sort of procedure they want – at least to a degree – but what they really want is happiness, and they want to buy it from someone they can trust. If your website and marketing campaign is set up to sell facelifts or Botox injections, you may still get traffic, but your visitors’ emotional responses will be lacking. Instead, sell them happiness. Show them how the procedures you offer can help them feel, and built trust and rapport along the way.

 

In order to achieve that happiness, people who visit a plastic surgeon’s website do so with a handful of goals in mind. Some of them want to improve their appearance, some want to improve their self-esteem, and others just want to feel better about their overall appearances – while some want all three. Your website should serve as a source of information that helps these individuals discover the exact ways you can deliver that happiness in the form of microdermabrasion, Juvederm, a chin implant, facial feminization surgery, or anything else you may provide.

 

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into digital marketing, and that’s especially true for your website. Remember that your site serves as the window into your practice and is responsible for creating that all-important first impression. If it is visually appealing, offers the right type of education, and shows these visitors how your practice can provide them with happiness rather than attempting to sell them a surgery, you’re already on the right path to success.

 

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CX With Your Live Chat

 

What do your customers want? Figuring out the answer to this question gives you an edge over the competition and develops an ongoing relationship with your clientele.

 

People like live chat more than other methods of reaching out for customer service. One study found 42 percent of users prefer live chat even over email communication.

 

However, if your live chat isn’t up to par, the customer experience suffers. Live chat is one way to improve your overall CX, but only if you offer a usable and functioning live chat. Here are eight key ways of creating optimal CX through a live chat that meets consumer needs.

 

1. Understand Why Consumers Like Live Chat


First, you must understand the reasons consumers like live chat. A recent study showed over 80 percent of people are satisfied with live chat as a form of customer service. Live chat offers an instant and personal level of communication not available via email. People hate using phone-in customer service, though, because they inevitably wind up going through multiple computerized prompts or reaching someone challenging to understand or not informed about customer service policies.

 

Live chat offers an opportunity for instant answers and a resolution to a problem without the aggravation of telephone prompts or the wait time of email correspondence.

 

Xfinity

 

Xfinity, which is owned by Comcast, offers live chat via its website. One thing it does that’s effective is offering different categories, depending upon what you need help with. Categorizing questions allows the company to guide consumers to an agent who can be of help, such as tech support for new customers trying to hook up equipment.

 

2. Choose the Right Placement


You have a few short seconds when a visitor lands on your page to grab their interest and keep it. If the visitor lands on your page with a question and can’t find an easy answer, you risk losing them to a competitor. Place your live chat in an area that is easy to find and draws the eye. Most sites place the chat feature in the lower right or over in the sidebar, so this is a natural place for customers to look for help.

 

Consider the other elements surrounding your live chat button, too. Is there enough white space, so the live chat feature stands out? Make sure the color pops, highlighting the feature and drawing the eye.

 

3. Personalize the Experience


Even if you use a chatbot, make sure you create a personalized experience for the user. If a live agent answers questions, give that person a name, and if possible, share a photo. Greet the person by name if possible and personalize the experience by repeating the question back and using the name and details for that specific customer.

 

 

KBG Injury Law offers a live chat on its main screen with an image of one of the lawyers. The button lives in the lower right of the screen above the fold. When you click on the live chat, a box pops up, and you learn the name of the agent you’re speaking with and are greeted immediately.

 

4. Chat 24/7


About 51 percent of consumers expect businesses to answer questions around the clock. Live chat gives you an opportunity for meeting this need, but only if you have well-trained agents that can answer basic questions and solve problems. Even though availability is important, poor experience with customer service in any form isn’t acceptable. If you can’t adequately staff your live chat 24/7, then only offer it during business hours.

 

5. Separate Pain Points


Identify your typical audience’s pain points. For example, one consumer might need one solution and a different consumer another. Separate your live chat channels and the agents who cover them accordingly, so customer service reps are trained sufficiently in the area they cover.

 

fitbit

 

Fitbit separates its live chat sections according to issues its customers might experience, which gives it an opportunity to thoroughly verse live agents on those topics. Well-trained agents have an immediate answer for potential and current customers, improving the user experience. They ask you to choose a product and an issue. They then route your chat session to the agent best trained in how to help you solve your problem.

 

6. Improve Customer Satisfaction


Studies show that a live chat improves customer satisfaction. In one survey, researchers found phone-in customers had only a 44 percent satisfaction rate, but live chat customers had a 73 percent satisfaction rate. Of course, this varies depending upon how well your live chat meets customers’ needs and hits the other points in this article. However, simply adding a live chat improves customer experiences.

 

7. Respond Immediately


People expect an immediate response via live chat. Imagine you’re a customer and you land on a business website. You have a question before you place an order. You don’t want to wait days for a response or bother with picking up a telephone. Instead, you just hop onto live chat and ask your question.

 

Businesses can nail user experience at that moment by offering fast and thorough help via the live screen. Users shouldn’t have to wait for a response but get an immediate answer. A bot answers basic questions that get asked frequently, and customer service reps answer everything else. Even if you have a 24/7 live chat, users grow frustrated if they have to wait a long time before connecting to a live agent.

 

federal student aid

 

Federal Student Aid offers live chat and does something a bit different that is very user-friendly. It starts a countdown timer of how long it will be before your chat agent appears. It also asks basic questions while you’re waiting, such as what your name is. This gives the agent a moment to prepare for the chat session but seems like an immediate response to the user.

 

8. Measure Performance


Test your live chat frequently, measuring the time it takes to respond, how on-target responses are and the performance of live agents. Internal analytics show how many customers who engage with live chat wind up making a purchase, but also poll regular customers and find out if there are any areas in your live chat you should improve.

 

Strive for Small Improvements

Strong CX makes your site stand out and keep loyal customers returning time and time again. While you might not be able to implement every technique at one time, strive for small improvements to your live chat. Make one or two changes and see how those elements work before moving on.

 

 

Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner

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Keep Website Visitors

 

Just as it’s important to focus your efforts on the things that make good web design better – informative content, high-quality photos, and an easy-to-use interface, it’s also important to think about the things your website visitors don’t want to see. If your bounce rate seems higher than it should be, but you can’t figure out why, there’s a good possibility that your website contains one or more of the five faux pas below.

 

#1 – Bad Overall Design


Once upon a time, getting to the first page of Google search results was as simple as inserting a few keywords into your website content. These days, though, things are far more complex. In fact, Google will rank your website based on its overall design – and so will your visitors. There are several things that might add to a bad design, and they include:

 

  • Lack of responsiveness – This occurs when your website isn’t as visually appealing or doesn’t work as fluidly on different types of screens.
  • Poor color selection – If you choose colors that are too bright, or if you put too many contrasting colors in the same place, this may aggravate visitors and cause them to bounce.
  • Bold, loud patterns – Though patterns are fine for backgrounds, it’s important to choose patterns that don’t overwhelm the visitors.
  • Poorly sized elements – Having a header that is too big, text that is too small or doesn’t wrap around images properly, and similar issues will cause frustration, too.
  • Bad fonts – Your font needs to fit your overall web design. If it’s too big or bold, it will likely annoy visitors, and if it’s too light or thin, they will struggle to read it.

 

It’s easy to get wrapped up in your website content’s quality while forgetting about its overall design. The biggest goal here is to make sure that it welcomes visitors without overwhelming them.

 

#2 – Bad or Misleading Navigation


In today’s world of fast internet and instant digital gratification, ensuring that your website operates the way it should is crucial. If a visitor can’t get to the information he or she needs within three clicks, it could be a deal-breaker. After all, why should visitors search endlessly for information on your website when they can easily find it from one of your competitors?

 

To combat this, make sure your website is easy to navigate and that users can get virtually anywhere in three clicks or less. Make sure photos and banners do not mislead your visitors, and clearly label your buttons with instructions like “Click Here” or “Buy Now”. Finally, be sure that your main navigation links are tucked neatly inside a menu rather than scattered across the website.

 

#3 – Poorly Structured Content


Content is still king when it comes to creating an excellent website that visitors will love. Unfortunately, many people continue to make simple mistakes that are causing their visitors to bounce and affecting their overall rankings. In order to ensure that your content is structured as optimally as possible, make sure that you avoid the following:

 

  • Too much content – Review your site’s existing content and remove any information that does not serve a direct purpose. It is better to have shorter, more informative content than to have a lot of content that doesn’t really serve a purpose.
  • Failing to introduce the website – When someone first lands on your site, they will want some sort of reassurance that they will find exactly what they searched for. Be sure that you include some sort of introduction for each piece of content that succinctly explains what visitors will find on that page.
  • Showing old content before new content – Dynamic content is your best friend (and Google eats it up) so be sure that you’re showing visitors your newest content at all times.
  • Straying from the point – Finally, if you include irrelevant information just to get some keywords in, you’ll end up confusing visitors. Avoid “fluff” at all costs and make sure that the information on the page all serves the same purpose.
  • Failing to include localized content – The focus on local content is huge, and Google has adjusted its algorithms to suit this. People want what they want, and they often want it now, so make sure that you’ve optimized for local keywords if this applies to you.

 

Statistics show that companies can lose up to 60% of their sales when visitors struggle to find what they were originally looking for. Keeping your content properly structured will help you avoid this.

 

#4 – Too Many Effects


When people visit your site, they want to be in control of their experience, so if you’ve considered the idea of videos set to auto-play or background music to help set a tone, you may want to think again. People find it aggravating when they are searching for information only to be interrupted by a video or background music they don’t like. If you’re going to use videos, allow the visitor to decide whether they want to watch it – don’t force it on them.

 

Photos are a great alternative to videos in many cases, and they load far faster, which improves your site’s response time – especially on mobile devices. If your site’s visuals are well-designed and appropriately placed (and sized!) they can go a long way toward giving your visitors a pleasant, memorable experience without the need for background music or videos set to auto-play.

 

#5 – Overwhelming Ads


Getting a small business off the ground can be tough, and online ads are indeed a phenomenal way to help you generate a little extra income to keep things moving forward. Though there’s nothing inherently wrong with having an ad on your site here and there, there is a limit. Everyone finds ads annoying to a degree, but if they are intrusive and interfere with your visitors’ experiences on your site, your bounce rate will undoubtedly skyrocket.

 

To combat this, make certain that your visitor does not see an ad before anything else on your site. Avoid pop-up ads where possible, and if you choose to use them, make sure they are easy enough for your visitors to close. Finally, if you have an entire sidebar filled with advertisements, there’s a pop-up on every single page, or there’s more than one pop up on any given page, there are far too many ads on your site and your visitors are almost certainly frustrated.

 

Focusing on good web design is crucial, and part of that involves truly critiquing your site to discover what might be putting users off. By going over your site carefully and keeping these five common mistakes in mind, you can discover what’s been increasing your bounce rate, resolve it, and start climbing the rankings once again.

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Client Testimonials

 

Client testimonials are one of the most powerful forms of promotion. People are much more likely to listen to the thoughts of someone they consider a peer than what your company has to say about your own service or product. Testimonials lend credibility to your site and show your focus on customer service.

 

About 88 percent of consumers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation from a friend or family member. Adding testimonials to your website adds credibility and a level of trust.

 

You can highlight client testimonials in many different ways. Here are eight things to consider, along with some examples of sites using testimonials in powerful ways.

 

1. Ask for Testimonials


Your first step is gathering client testimonials. Simply ask your current clients if they’d be willing to write a testimonial for you. Have a few guidelines in place, but remember that you can always take too many words and edit them down, so don’t limit your clients if they want to sing your praises.

 

Have a few sample client testimonials on hand and share them with those who agree to provide you with one. Gather as many different types of testimonials as possible.

 

2. Design the Testimonial


If the client offers a testimonial, they may send you a rough draft of what they’d like to say. A great testimonial focuses on a specific product or example of excellent service. Narrow down the focus by asking the client specific questions about situations you know they’ve faced with your company. For instance, if you have a resolved customer service complaint and the client is now your best customer, ask them to tell the story of how your company fixed their problem.

 

The focus of the testimonial should be narrow and honed in on what makes your company stand out from your competitors.

 

bluebeam

 

Bluebeam offers a client testimonials page where they highlight particular things the company helped its customers solve, such as saving a construction company $50,000 and enabling a mechanical firm to compete with much larger companies in their industry.

 

3. Place Testimonials on Landing Pages


Testimonials can appear in several different areas of the website, but they’re more powerful in some locations than others. To decide where to place yours, think about the purpose of the testimonial you’re featuring. If the testimonial is more generic and talking about the advantages of doing business with your company or your customer service advantages, then the landing page is a good location. If a new site visitor reads or watches reviews about your product, they are 58 percent more likely to convert into customers.

 

4. Add a Testimonial to a Photo Gallery


Your sales funnel has a few different levels. Someone who goes to your photo gallery and views other projects you’ve completed is at the mid-point of your funnel. They want more information and are seriously considering whether or not to hire you to do the work. This is your opportunity to convince them by offering reviews and testimonials from your current customers.

 

cornwell door

 

Cornwell Door Service adds a testimonial at the bottom of the photo gallery images along with a photo of the finished job. The client explains the process of choosing their new garage doors and how happy they are with the finished result. The testimonial shows anyone on the fence that the process is easy and enjoyable and pushes them onward to the next phase of the sales funnel.

 

5. Sprinkle Testimonials Throughout Blog Content


Another technique for highlighting testimonials on your website is sprinkling them throughout your blog content. Keep in mind that visitors might land on a blog post page and never see your home page or your testimonials page. Adding testimonials within the posts themselves allows you to sprinkle in reviews without the visitor bouncing away to another page.

 

Blog post testimonials should be highly relevant to the topic under discussion. Don’t plug in a testimonial for Product A if the article focuses on a problem Product B solves.

 

6. Invite Users to Share Their Reviews


Engage your customers by inviting them to share their reviews of your products and brand easily. Include a call to action (CTA) button that encourages them to write a review. Put their reviews front and center, so other potential clients see you aren’t afraid of what your current customers have to say. Reviews help drive sales and attract new customers.

 

 

Sydney City Toyota features client reviews on their landing page with a sharp image and the number of stars the person rated them. Click on any of the reviews, and you’ll get more details about their testimonial and an option to “write your own review.”

 

7. Share Testimonials on Social Media


Testimonials also give you another piece of content for social media sharing. However, the end goal should be to either convert that traffic into newsletter subscribers or drive them to your website. Social media controls followers, with sites such as Facebook now charging to push content in front of your own subscribers. A better use of your social media efforts is driving traffic to your online real estate.

 

8. Place Beside CTAs


You’ve honed your CTA to perfection. The wording is just right, the color of the button contrasts with the rest of the landing page and you know the placement grabs attention. Add a short testimonial next to that perfected CTA to help convert people into clients. It’s a small bit of information that will help them make the final decision to buy your product or service.
&nbs

Using Your Testimonials

Make it easy for visitors to find your customer testimonials. They shouldn’t have to search deep into your site to find a specific page of reviews. Instead, they should see testimonials sprinkled throughout your site with clear links to additional details on what others think about your brand.

 

author:

Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner

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Business Strategies in 2019

 

A business that’s online exclusively faces a few challenges that those with physical locations don’t. Attracting the right customers is only one element of the battle to run a successful store online.

 

E-commerce sales in the United States are around $389.1 billion a year for physical retail sales alone. There are also additional e-commerce sales for services and wholesale goods. E-commerce is big business and growing each year.

 

There’s also a lot of competition for a slice of that revenue pie though, so improving your business strategy is one step toward improving your online sales. Here are eight key methods toward better business in 2019.

 

1. Rethink Your Target Audience


You’ve likely done a lot of research on your target audience, and maybe you already have an age group and specific demographic in mind. However, rethinking your target audience may provide just the boost your online store needs. Generation X does more online shopping than either millennials or baby boomers, with an average of about 19 transactions each year per person. Targeting a new buyer persona may be just what your business needs this year.

 

2. Integrate Social Media Marketing


About 77 percent of people use social media, so marketing your online business on at least the most popular platforms is a must. However, on social media, people care about interactions, not being promoted to. Invest in engaging with your social media followers and educating them on your product or industry for the best results.

 

3. Pay Attention to Packaging


Shipping is the lifeblood of an online-only business. Pay particular attention to packing so that you can avoid any damage during shipping. Invest in package testing to make sure items get from Point A to Point B in the best shape possible and as efficiently as possible.

 

The speed of shipping makes a difference in how customers perceive you as well. Do your products arrive within a few days of being ordered, or are customers waiting weeks for these items? The faster the shipping, the happier your customers.

 

4. Understand the Importance of Mobile


Mobile access will continue to grow into the foreseeable future, meaning your site’s mobile experience is one of the most important you can focus on. On Cyber Monday 2017, mobile orders hit $2 billion, and that number will only rise as more and more people access the internet from their mobile devices and use apps like Apple Pay.

 

If your site isn’t already mobile-first or mobile responsive, make the necessary changes so that users see the best version of your site no matter what type of device they use.

 

5. Add Email Marketing


Email marketing is still a useful tool for promoting your products and brand. One of the key goals of many online business owners is driving traffic to their website. However, not everyone who lands on your page makes a purchase. There may be some slight interest there, and if you can entice them to sign up for your newsletter, you’ll have a direct and highly targeted marketing avenue.

 

In a survey of 254 smaller retailers in the United States, researchers found that 81 percent used email marketing for customer acquisitions. A customer might not want your current products, but a new release in the future could spark interest.

 

6. Cultivate a Personality


The one thing making your brand stand out from the competition is your unique personality and views. Stay away from controversial topics — such as politics and religion — so that you don’t alienate half of your customer base, but embrace the things that make your company unique, such as your passion for bringing clean water to the world or your love of everything outdoors.

 

Whatever personality you show as a brand, it needs to be authentic and based on what you genuinely care about and not just what you think customers want to hear. Consumers see right through fakeness, so always stay true to yourself.

 

7. Ramp up Your Content Marketing


Content is still one of the most effective ways of marketing your e-commerce site. In a recent B2B content marketing report, experts discovered that 58 percent of marketers spent more on content creation in 2018 and plan to spend even more in 2019. Content marketing is another way of promoting your e-commerce site without spamming your target audience.

 

Adding a blog to your e-commerce site gives site visitors insider information they can’t get anywhere else. Unique content also provides a marketing tool, giving you material for social media posts and information for email campaigns.

 

8. Improve Customer Service


The experience your customer has with your site is one that determines if they’ll become lifelong customers or walk away from your company forever. Small changes can have a significant impact on customer experience, such as adding live chat features or hiring additional customer service reps so that response times are shorter.

 

Start with a robust customer-centered service policy so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to handling customer complaints and questions. Think about how you want companies to treat you as a consumer and go from there.

 

Keeping Current Customers


While gaining new customers improves revenue, your current customers are your best chance of growing your brand. Focus on making the experience for existing customers the best possible, and new customers will follow via word-of-mouth and natural marketing channels. Focusing on both current and new customers allows business growth upward and outward for the best chance of success.

 

Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner

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Small Business Branding

The Internet has leveled the playing field for scores of small business owners, enabling them to get their products and services out to the masses easily and at a fraction of the cost. However, it has also created a crowded marketplace where standing out is harder than ever before. With fewer winners, the way a business markets itself online becomes the determining factor for success. Do it right and the small business can become the next all-American success story. Do it wrong, and it can end up in the heap with other third tier players.

 

When it comes to brand building online, search engine optimization is everything. Marketers use it to draw more traffic to a company’s website and keep them there. Take a dry cleaner for one example. The higher the business appears in local search results the better off it is. How many people do you know are going to scroll through multiple search result pages to find a florist or dentist? Landing higher on Google search results has become a science, even spawning an entire industry whereby agencies offer search engine optimization to businesses of all sizes.

 

Not surprising, SEO can be applied in all aspects of brand building, whether by using keywords or blogging. If you’re looking for a way to build your business, check out this list of six key brand building tips for small business owners.

 

6 Brand Building Tips for Small Business Owners


 

1. Keywords Can Move a Business Up

 

Leading search engines like Google and Bing are vital to building your brand as a small business owner. However, if you’re like most, hiring a marketing firm to get your business to show up on the first page of a search result is out of the question. For DIYers, that’s where keywords come in. Keywords can be an invaluable way to land higher up in search engine results — and it’s not going to cost you anything. Think about what people search for in your industry and then include those words and phrases in your website and in your online content. The more your website uses keywords that are typical search words, the easier it will be for customers to find it online.

 

Let’s say you sell custom business cards. If your website mentions “custom,” “business cards” and other variations of those words throughout its content, it will show up more in search results.

 

2. Cover Your Bases

 

When it comes to moving higher in search engine results, you want to make sure you are using keywords everywhere. That means on your website, your social media pages, and via email. Finding your business, particularly for ones just starting out, is the goal. Emblazing your brand on everything can help to achieve that.

 

Remember to have your address, email, and phone number prominently displayed in your branding material. The last thing you want is a potential customer finding your website via a Google search and then be unable to find your contact information.

 

3. Blog Your Way to More Customers

 

Blogging has become a popular way for small business owners to communicate with existing customers and potential ones. It can also be a way to boost traffic to a website without spending a dime. You don’t have to be a celebrity to create a buzz or provide valuable analysis to customers and prospects. Publishing an article each week, for example, will increase your chances of being found on search engines.

 

Guest blogging is becoming a popular way to boost traffic and build awareness about a company or brand. With this marketing strategy a small business’ owner pens blog posts for other websites and even online news publications. The more that executive or company shows up in stories and blog posts on the Internet, the higher it appears in search results. These guests post usually include linkbacks which means more traffic to its website.

 

4. Get Social Online

 

Social media is now a mainstay of a small businesses marketing plan. It simply can’t be ignored. Facebook alone has more than 2 billion active monthly users. Add the other popular social media sites like Twitter and Instagram to the mix and it’s clear a business has to be on social.

 

When it comes to brand building on social media, where you spend your time depends on the type of business you operate. For some businesses being on top of the news and posting a lot of content will work, while for others, customers only care about deals and discounts.

 

If your business lends itself to images, then having an active Instagram page is going to matter more than tweeting on trends in the industry. The key to building your brand on social media is maintaining it on a daily basis. Using the same keywords in your social media posts that are on your website can also boost your search results.

 

5. Link Back to Boost Traffic

 

A powerful and free brand building tool that is growing in popularity is the link back. That happens when another website shares a link to your website, in essence giving your business a referral. Link backs can be achieved by penning an article for another website or appearing as a guest during a live Q&A.

 

You can also share links with other local businesses or write blogs you post on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to drive more business online. Getting social media influencers and other prominent people to follow you online can result in a huge boost in traffic for your website. Make sure you are including keywords in that material as well.

 

6. Become an Expert in a Niche

 

A quick way to stand out from competitors is to be the expert everyone turns to for advice and analysis. One way to achieve that is to pick a niche and excel at it. By doing that you’ll become the go-to source for information about a specific aspect of your business. That should drive more brand awareness and make it easier to expand into other areas of your industry. After all, you will have already established yourself as an expert.

 

Becoming the expert in a niche can also help your SEO efforts greatly. Search engine results favor well-known brands, so the more content you create on a specific topic the more you will become the destination for it. If you write about one aspect of your industry one day and a completely different one the next, it will be hard to become an expert.

 

Final Thoughts


Brand building on the Internet has become more important than running ads in the newspaper for scores of small businesses. But how you go about promoting yourself can determine your success or failure. SEO is the key to a successful brand building campaign. That means making sure you are using the proper keywords in all of your marketing material and taking the steps to establish your brand as the expert.

What brand building tips have worked for you?

Mary Phillips is a freelance writer and small business owner. She draws on her experiences to contribute to various digital platforms. She lives in New York.

 

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gdpr complianceIn May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect. The new rules apply to the way companies protect and handle information collected from citizens living in European Union (EU) countries.

 

However, about 75 percent of brands see GDPR as a challenge to implement, and around 42 percent of brand websites still aren’t GDPR compliant. Taking steps toward protecting the personal data of consumers is a positive change, but the results of GDPR won’t appear until most sites come on board and figure out the best ways of protecting data.

 

The impact of GDPR on the web industry is multifaceted. Here are seven ways GDPR creates a change online and predictions for where the regulations will go in the future.

 

1. Making Information Clearer to Consumers


One thing the GDPR provides is a clear source of information about the privacy policies of the site. The GDPR requires brands to put their privacy notice in an easy-to-locate place on the website. You’ve likely noticed that most companies have a link in the footer of their websites. However, some also have pop-ups letting site visitors know they updated their privacy policy recently.

 

Think through the reading level of your average customers and stay away from legal style language. If you need a lawyer to translate the policy for you, then it needs to be rewritten so your users understand it upon first glance.

 

2. Creating Policies


Updating your privacy policy forces your company into thinking through every element of your policies. How long do you keep information on file? What exactly do you use the information for? Create a plan for how you collect it, how you store it and what happens to information when you no longer need it for business purposes.

 

One of the easiest ways to ensure GDPR compliance is with a privacy policy template that lays out the specific elements needed. Look at your policies through the eyes of your users. How often should you update your privacy policy? Regulations change frequently, so revisiting your policies at least once a year keeps everything current with laws and your own company’s changes.

 

GDPR

 

AT&T shares their privacy policy in a way that’s straightforward and easy to read. Note the way they list out the main points in bullet points for easy reading. They summarize the main points, but also provide clickable buttons to the full privacy policy.

 

3. Fixing Security Holes


One of the elements of the GDPR includes a responsibility for companies to keep information secure. Appoint a data protection officer (DPO) and ensure they have the tools needed for secure data storage. The DPO serves as a point of contact for consumers with questions about how their data is stored.

 

The DPO also updates any information collected at the request of consumers or deletes files promptly as outlined in the privacy policy or when consumers ask for removal.

 

4. Including Subscription Forms


In the past, companies collected emails or information via forms, but consumers weren’t always aware of how that information was used. More companies clearly list privacy policies on their forms now to ensure GDPR compliance. Adding the privacy policy on the form or near it gives consumers an opportunity to choose whether or not they agree with the use of their personal data. They can then decide to share the information or not.

 

cherrys industrial equipment

 

Cherry’s Material Handling has a form near the bottom of their page for promotional offers. The form has one field and a call to action (CTA) button — just under the subscription box is an invitation to “View our Privacy Policy.”

 

5. Adding Better Accessibility


One requirement of the new regulation is using simple language that makes the policy understandable for users. Sites that serve more than one country now have details translated into multiple languages. For example, AARP offers a page with their privacy policy and a link for the Spanish version. On the Spanish version of the privacy policy is a link to the English version. Providing two translations serves both languages and expands their customer base.

 

6. Changing Data Sharing


The new rules require companies to outline how information is shared with third parties. This change is both positive and negative. Consumers’ information is more secure because companies are less likely to sell data without informing their subscribers of the possibility. However, fears of regulatory laws limit how two or more companies work together and share data between themselves, reducing promotional opportunities for businesses.

 

GDPR

 

Dyson states in their privacy policy that they never sell your information with others. Note the visual aesthetics of their privacy policy page. The company lays out their commitment and understanding of the responsibility of protecting your information. Scroll down the page and find a summary of their principles behind privacy and a link to the full policy.

 

7. Reducing Invasion of Privacy


The GDPR is changing the invasion of privacy perpetrated by companies such as Google and Facebook. In the past, you had no choice but to accept their demands to access all sorts of personal information to use their platforms.

 

However, Facebook and Google face $8.8 billion lawsuits for not giving users a way to use their platform and still opt out of sharing information such as what types of searches they’re conducting. Specifically, they’re in trouble for their predictive search bars that show users what others have searched for.

 

The GDPR forces big brands into considering the privacy of the average Internet user. Although this is a pro for consumers, it’s likely going to change the way you use Facebook and Google’s search engines.

 

GDPR’s Future


Some brands balk at initiating a bunch of new policies and following regulations when they aren’t even located in an EU country. Already, a few brands have refused to do business with consumers in the EU. Opponents point to the vague language of the GDPR as an area of concern. However, expanding into global business provides you with an additional customer base you otherwise wouldn’t have. Once the cases against giants Facebook and Google complete, rules should be a bit clearer and help smaller brands understand what changes they need to implement.

 

Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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Conversion rate optimization, CRO concept and lead generation.

 

No matter what type of business you run, converting site visitors into customers is the root of success. Figuring out ways to optimize your conversion rates isn’t easy. The number of leads collected translates to the percentage of new customers gained from those leads, so the more leads you collect, the better.

 

When visitors land on your page, you want them engaged, or they’ll bounce away to another site. Around 80 percent of those abandoning a website won’t return a second time. Higher engagement leads to higher conversion rate optimization (CRO) and lower bounce rates.

 

How do you increase conversions on your website and reduce bounce rates? Here are six web features that lead to higher CRO and follow-through:

 

1. Offer Incentive to Buy Now


One method to upping your conversions is creating a sense of urgency in the site visitor. Offer a discount if they order within so much time, and it may just put them from the maybe column to the yes column and convert them into customers.

 

Even in traditional retail, there is a rule of thumb that if a customer walks away, they’re less likely to return and make a purchase. Online, you have the advantage of abandoned shopping carts and collecting an email. Follow up on any abandoned shopping carts with an email offer that provides an incentive for the consumer if they complete the order within 24 hours.

 

Higher CRO

 

Schwan’s creates immediate sales that are only good until midnight that night, encouraging visitors to order within a few hours and save on sale items. In addition to daily deals, the site also offers various coupons, such as saving $20 on the entire order.

 

2. Speed up Your Pages


Studies show that slow-loading websites drive visitors away. A mere one-second pause in load time translates into 7 percent fewer conversions. Speeding up your site requires a multifaceted approach that includes optimized images, a fast web host and limited scripts.

 

3. Provide Printable Coupons


Local businesses should provide printable coupons customers use when ordering services or visiting a brick-and-mortar store. Conversion rates aren’t just about who buys the second they land on your page. There are times when the customer thinks over the purchase and then comes back to your business as their solution.

 

Add printable coupons to your page and remind customers of your business days or even weeks later. This method works well for service businesses in particular.

 

Higher CRO

 

Haynes Plumbing uses printable coupons to great advantage. First, it places a coupon in the footer of its page, serving as a sort of call to action for the site visitor. It also has a page devoted to available coupons. The coupons cover different services Haynes Plumbing offers, such as new sump pumps, water heaters and toilets. Print the coupons or simply mention when you call.

 

4. Test Call to Action Buttons


Your calls to action (CTA) directly impact your conversion rates. About 53 percent of websites don’t have a clear CTA that’s easy to find. In a perfect world, your CTA stands out and grabs the attention of site visitors almost immediately.

 

One study showed that out of 330,000 CTAs, those with personalized wording converted 202 percent better than generic CTAs.

 

However, minor tweaks make a big difference in how effective your CTAs are. A change in the wording on the button, its color or placement all works toward better or worse CRO stats. Test your CTAs and do so often. Anytime you make a change on your landing page, test against the previous version and see which CTA performs best with your target audience.

 

5. Buttons Should Look and Be Clickable


User experience (UX) determines how long users stay on your page and whether they’ll return, which directly impacts your CRO. Make sure any CTA buttons not only look clickable but are clickable.

 

The button should contrast sharply with the background of the page, so it stands out and the user feels it is something clickable. When the user does click on the button, it should immediately shift to the action you’ve asked the user to take. If the button says, “Get a Free Quote,” clicking on it should pull up a form that gathers information for the quote.

 

Think through the steps a site visitor goes through to turn into a lead and make each step of the process as simple as possible.

 

CRO

 

Hulu does an excellent job with its CTA button by creating a burst of green that stands out against the muted blue background. The button is rectangular and easily clickable and states “Start Your Free Trial.” Once the user clicks on the button, they immediately go to a page with several options, including no commercials or adding Live TV to the package.

 

6. Drive User Trust


Step into the mindset of your site’s visitors. Imagine you’ve never heard of the brand before and you’re not sure you can trust the company. What would sway you toward making a purchase? One way to overcome the doubt of new leads is providing reviews and testimonials showing other people’s glowing praises.

 

Consumers read about 10 reviews online before feeling a local business is trustworthy. On top of that, 84 percent of people believe online reviews are just as reliable as a personal recommendation. Gain the trust of consumers with authentic reviews from current customers.

Improving CRO


Improve your website CRO takes time and testing. Try different methods and add various features, studying the results of each change and seeing what works best with your specific audience. Even a small increase in conversions improves your revenue and makes your marketing efforts more successful.

 

Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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