One of the most common ways to interact or reach your target audience is by sending them mail. Whether you’re sending a postcard, envelope, booklet, or catalog, it’s important to first do your research on USPS regulations; there’s nothing worse than creating a design to find out that it gets covered up by a stamp or other barcode once shipped out . If you want to create a mailer that keeps true to your brand identity while following the US Postal Service rules and regulations, follow these tips and tricks.
Every piece of mail has designated sections the post office uses for shipping information, limiting where you can place designs. The most common of these is a 1” x 1” space in the upper right hand corner for a stamp, and the return address label placed in the top left corner, ¼” from the top and left side. According to Smartpress.com, the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) is something the post office also places on the bottom right of your mail, and it’s 4 ⅞” wide by 3⁄4” tall. Envelopes also reserve the middle for the mailing address. Putting designs on these sections of the envelope can give the mail scanner difficulty while it attempts to read the barcode. Also, leave 1/16” around the border clear of any designs so they don’t get cut off while printing. Envelopes can have some color and designs, but it’s best to keep them light and away from covered areas. Smartpress offers more envelope guidelines on their website at https://smartpress.com/support/resources/direct-mail/mailing-design-guidelines#envelope_mailing.
Self Mailer and Brochure Design
These rectangular items are mailed out without being placed in an envelope, and range in size from 3 ½” to 6” tall and 5” to 10 ½” in length when folded. One side is typically designed to have all the shipping information, so the remaining sections can focus on the content. Self mailers need to leave at least 1/16th of an inch around the border without designs. When creating your design, it’s important to know self mailers are shut with 2-3 wafer seals, which take up more of your design space. Self mailers need room for the return address, mailing address, stamp and IMB just like the envelope guidelines, and Smartpress.com notes they need to be placed on your mailer in line with the longest side. For more self mailer design guidelines, visit https://smartpress.com/support/resources/direct-mail/mailing-design-guidelines#self_mailer.
Catalogs and Booklet Design
These stapled mail pieces have similar guidelines to self mailers: they need room for the return address ¼” from the top and left side, a stamp in the top right corner, mailing address in the middle, and the IMB on the bottom right. One thing that sets booklets apart is they have wafer seals on both of the short ends of the mailer. Keeping their locations in mind while designing your layout is critical to ensure your branding isn’t covered up. As always, allow a 1/16” area around the border to make sure your design doesn’t get cut short. A visual template of a booklet layout is available at https://smartpress.com/support/resources/direct-mail/mailing-design-guidelines#booklet_mailing.
Postcards have a smaller area to work with, so one side of the postcard is focused on content while the other side mainly contains the necessary mailing information. Postcards need all the standard items that were outlined for a booklet: (stamp, return address label, IMB label on the bottom right half), but also have a section called the address area. According to Smartpress.com, this section needs to be ½” from the left and right of the postcard, 2 ⅛” tall, and ¾” up from the bottom. This is required on a postcard, and needs a ⅛” gap between the address block and other items. As always, leave a 1/16” gap around the border to ensure no part of the design is cut off. Details are further outlined at https://smartpress.com/support/resources/direct-mail/mailing-design-guidelines#postcard_mailing.
While considering the regulations for mailers, make your design consistent with your brand identity. From the letterhead, color scheme, and font choices, a recipient of your mailer should be able to recognize your brand. Also, be sure to consider how you’ll send out your mailer. Popular options include Every Door Direct Mail (which targets all locations within your local area), and USPS Marketing Mail (which will reach a much larger audience).
5 Important Things to Consider For Your Menu
July 16, 2019
Menus are often part of the food industry that can be overlooked. Many just view them as a list of food, however they contain a very important message. Menus add to the restaurant experience, and if they are cluttered and disorganized, it can take away from the experience for your customers.
1. Create a Visually Engaging Layout
Having a great design and layout for your menu is a very important aspect for a positive customer experience. Having illegible fonts or improper spacing can make it hard for the customer to read the menu and decide what they want to eat. To help with this, make sure to leave enough white space to separate the food choices and use fonts that are clearly readable at an appropriate size. Additionally, in a blog, What King of Falafel Taught Us About Restaurant Marketing, having an attractive menu draws customers in and helps you stand out amongst competing restaurants.
2. Use High Quality, Authentic Photos
When it comes to using photos on your menu, there are a few things you should keep in mind. It’s important to use actual photos of your food, avoiding stock photos of the same dish from the internet. Using stock photos could lead to disappointment as somebody might be expecting something different than what they are receiving. In a past blog, we discussed when to use custom photography vs stock photography. To avoid complaints as well as potential lawsuits or penalties, use original photos. However low-quality photos could hurt you, so it is important to use a high-quality camera and have good lighting or consider hiring a photographer to help make sure your pictures look as amazing as the food.
3. Consider a Theme for Your Menu
When designing your menu, there are several things to consider: what is my theme and who is my target audience? It’s important that your menu is cohesive with the theme rather than it being a distraction. In a blog from 2017, we talked about the importance of considering the color scheme, the logo, as well as décor in the restaurant to communicate the overall visual message. Target audience will depend a lot on what kind of food you are serving. Looking at these demographics will help you make decisions by knowing what your customers will enjoy.
4. Post Your Menu Online
In today’s world, everything revolves around technology. Before deciding where to eat, people will often do research by looking at reviews and what food is served. Because of this, it is important to have a copy of your menu online accessible to everyone. For example, recently we got into a conversation with a team member that was looking for an online menu and could not find it, leaving him to wonder about pricing and if it would be worth it to go. Although some menus change seasonally or have specials that cause the menu to change daily, it is important to keep up with and change the menus online to make sure no customer comes in to order something only to be disappointed when they hear it isn’t being served this season. Having specials posted daily can boost business and popularity among your customers.
5. Plan Accordingly Financially
Though menus are an investment of time and money, it’s an investment that could yield a return in the long run. While many may say that designing and marketing is something that they cannot afford to do, you simply cannot afford to not. In an industry with a high failure rate, it’s important to put enough into advertising to attract customers to be successful. Make sure to designate a part of your budget to menu planning, advertising, and upkeep to ensure that your customers are getting the best experience possible at your establishment.
Customer experience is one of the most important parts of the food industry, and menus can add to this experience. This is why it is important to have a good layout, use high-quality pictures, look at the theme and target audience, make menus accessible online, and budget time and money accordingly. By taking these important steps, you will be able to get the most out of your venture and passion for years to come.
4 Important Pieces of Information About Trademarks that Could Be Critical to Your Company
June 11, 2019
Trademarks are critical for taking care of your business and making sure that you’re protected as you move forward. You wouldn’t want to drive a car without insurance; a similar reason why you wouldn’t want to create a business without trademarking your logo and slogans. Today we’ll discuss the 4 most important pieces of information about trademarks and trademark research that could be critical to your company.
1. What Is Trademark Research and Why is it Important?
A trademark is a way to claim your brand’s logo, name, or defining symbols. This distinguishes them as your own, and also keeps them from being used by other companies. While it is not a requirement to trademark your logo or business name, it is highly recommended for your own protection and to eliminate costly trademark disputes in the future. It may seem faster and cheaper to go about creating your brand without spending the time or money to do research beforehand, however this can be an expensive mistake. Not protecting your brand with a trademark is kind of like driving a car without an airbag- while it might be smooth driving for a bit, once there is an issue, you’ll wish you had the protection.
If you have a larger business, a business that is going national, or you are entering into the world of e-commerce, you should definitely take the time to conduct trademark research. This will not only protect you from other companies who may be trying to impersonate your brand, but it will also make sure that the logo and slogans you’ve created are unique and will not create a trademark dispute with another company.
2. Why You Should do Trademark Research on Your Logo (Hint – It Protects Your Brand)
The internet has made graphic design creation “quick and easy” and “just one click away”. However, sometimes this can cause trademark disputes for businesses who are taking the fast approach to creation instead of making a one-of-a-kind logo. For example, websites like Wix and Fiverr now have logo creation capabilities, however just because they help you create a logo does not mean that they’ve done any trademark research to see if the design is in use. If the logo that’s created is already in use from another business, you could face an expensive lawsuit. Doing research to ensure your logo isn’t breaching a trademark protects you and makes sure that you have a unique brand image that sets you apart.
In 2018 there was a trademark dispute between Belmont University and Baylor University that involved their logos. Each of them had interlocking “BU” logos that looked extremely similar. While no legal action was taken, Baylor wanted to protect their brand, so they contact Belmont University accordingly. Ultimately after agreeing to some terms, Belmont University agreed to update their own logo. This shows that trademark research is extremely important – if it can happen to large universities, it can happen to your business too. This is why it’s critical to conduct research before creating.
3. Where to Get More Information About a Patent or Trademark
The best place for patent and trademark information is the US Patent and Trade Organization (www.uspto.gov). They are a one-stop-shop for basic trademark information and walk you through the application process. One of the most useful pieces of information from their website is their database of Trademarks that are already registered – looking through this file is one of the main steps to ensure that your idea isn’t already trademarked by another company. You can apply for a trademark yourself to save some money, or you can register a trademark with the assistance of a lawyer.
4. Should You Get Professional Help During Trademark Research? (We Recommend It).
If money is not an issue, the answer is yes. Filling for a trademark with a lawyer is approximately $1500-$2000, however it includes a very comprehensive search of other trademarks that are out there. Now that the internet has grown so big and is such a vital part of business, it’s for the best to have thorough research completed on your behalf. Also, having a lawyer to file the paperwork for a trademark ensures that everything is done correctly the first time – which can remove headaches in the future. This approach is also recommended if you are entering any sort of license agreement. It’s best to protect yourself and your business from the beginning.
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of trademark research, it should be clear how vital it’s to the success of a company in the long run. While you can go about business without that layer of protection, an issue or conflict will inevitably surface. So, before it’s too late: protect your brand, image, and bank account by conducting trademark research.
Benefits of Working with a Designer with a Proven Process
May 2, 2019
A business is most successful when your brand is professional and held to a high standard. Although it is possible to hire someone internally or create your own designs yourself, it is extremely beneficial to invest in an experienced designer. In order to effectively manage your brand and grow your business, here are 3 ways working with a designer with a proven process can greatly benefit your business.
1. Has a Proven Track Record
First, finding a designer who has the expertise and has a proven track record will result in a greater chance of success for your marketing materials. Utilizing this experienced designer will help you to feel a sense of security knowing that your designs will be professional and done right. This nearly guaranteed success is necessary because there is a lot on the line when it comes to a brand. Often times, marketing material such as the website is the first impression a customer has on your brand. Having a professionally designed site and other marketing collateral will make sure you leave a lasting positive impact on your targets. According to Matrix Marketing Group, an agency provides an outside perspective on your brand that an in-house marketer would not have. Having an unbiased view is a good thing because it brings about a view that is more customer-based rather than a one-sided, internal business view. A marketing agency is able to focus on what your target customer wants and create visuals that communicate with them.
2. Creates Quality Work
Next, when you pay for a designer you’re paying to receive their quality work. Not only will this look good, it will also save you a lot of time and money overall. Rather than spending an overwhelming amount of time attempting to create designs for your business internally, a design firm will be certain to get it right the first time and in much less time that it would have taken to do it yourself. As explained by Arc Reactions, a marketing agency does not just create your designs; it also provides you with “tested and trusted strategies and access to advanced technology.” Agencies can help your business keep up with the latest trends and rules since it is difficult to stay on track on your own. Additionally, an agency only requires one fixed cost, which can often be a smarter choice than putting time and money towards marketing employees.
3. Brings a Return on Investment
Lastly, professional designs may come at a price, but the investment will be worth it in the long run. By paying for a professional design, you’ll eventually get a return on your investment. For example, our client, Madison Urban Ministry, saw a significant increase in donations when we implemented the redesign of their website. In a short time, MUM was able to make back the money spent on their designs and continue to bring in even more revenue. Hiring a marketing agency means that you do not need to invest in training or invest in software. Since a marketing agency already has the necessary resources, it is one less large investment your company would need to make. This is proven time and time again to create successful designs which will result in the best financial benefits for your company.
Overall, it is clear that working with a designer with a proven process will help your business in many ways. A good image is important in order to reach more consumers, to allow for customers to connect with and trust your business, and to show credibility. A designer will create a successful image with ease. Professional designs bring a greater chance of success, are high quality, and create a return on investment. A designer with a proven process is sure to be extremely worthwhile for any business, allowing you to grow your business and focus on what you do best!
April 4, 2019
When it comes to a business, there are a lot of essential aspects that must be taken into account. One of the most important parts of a business is its website. A website must be high-quality in order to leave a good first impression on customers and to effectively represent your company. In order to create the most ideal site for your business, here are the five major website mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Limited Visibility of Information
While Websites have gotten longer in length and screens resolution have gotten greater, it important to remember that there are so many different screens and resolution. 4k monitors and newer laptops have allowed users to see more of a website, but not everyone has a 4K monitor or a screen with big resolutions. Remember customers will come to your website with certain goals in mind; most often, customers will be searching for information. A customer who is looking for information will not want to spend more time than necessary retrieving that information. It is important to make sure your site is formatted in a way that allows customers to find information quickly and easily. In addition, ensure that your website has a proper fold. It needs to be noticeable that there is content underneath the part of the site that is immediately visible without scrolling. An article from Optimizely explained how most viewer attention will be focused above the website fold, no matter how you design your website. With an appropriate website fold, customers will scroll down and view all of the information on a page.
2. Endless Scrolling
Having to dig through the clutter in order to reach important information on a website can be frustrating to visitors. An article from the Nielson Norman Group explained how endless scrolling can be especially harmful to a site that is goal-oriented. For example, a customer may come to a website hoping to view information located in the footer. The footer commonly contains important details, such as contact information, and should be easily accessible. A common mistake that often results in endless scrolling is a one-page design. By placing all of the content on one page, a customer may feel overwhelmed or tricked scrolling through the site not knowing when they will reach the bottom. Endless scrolling is similar to a Midwest winter. Just as people do not enjoy the never-ending freezing temperatures, they would not like to be endlessly scrolling through a website either.
3. Putting Features Over Fuctionality
A website needs to be unique in order to stand out amongst competitors. Implementing innovative features can be very positive in many situations, but also comes with downfalls that are important to avoid. First, if features compromise functionality, customers will not understand how to navigate your site. If a user cannot navigate your website effectively, they will simply leave the site and look elsewhere. Next, if features are too innovative it may be difficult to adapt to older technology as some technology may not be compatible. For example, many people use older browsers or an older computer. It is important to keep this in mind in order to not compromise load time or user experience. Be careful to only include features that are functional and strengthen the site, rather than diminish its quality.
4. Preloaders When You Website is Taking Longer to Load
When thinking of a way to inform customers that website content is still loading, websites often utilize preloaders. While preloaders could be an acceptable addition to a site in certain cases, it is not recommended to use them in cases that a website take more than three seconds to load to keep the visitor engaged. In our IH5 Web Principles, we talk about the importance of people needing to get information quickly. Keeping your customer waiting may cost you in the long run. Your website should load quickly to eliminate the need for a preloader. In order to keep bounce rates down, make sure your website is fast and functional.
5. Hamburger Menu in Place of Menu Bar
The first thing a customer will notice on your site is the design and the layout. Having a standard menu bar is essential to maintaining the functionality of the site. According to News Style Digital, some companies choose to integrate a hamburger menu on desktop websites, which does not do the site justice. Hamburger menus can lead to confusion, inconsistency, and lower web conversions. A hamburger menu is acceptable for a mobile site, but standard navigation should be used for desktop sites in order to provide the best user experience.
6. Responsive Design that Doesn’t Take Smartphone User Habits into Account
A final and extremely significant design aspect is adapting your site to mobile devices. This tip is important to remember when creating a site, as mobile websites are viewed almost as frequently as desktop sites. ShivarWeb explained that your mobile site needs to not just fit the screen properly, but also needs to be “user-friendly” for all mobile users. Since 63% of all web traffic is coming from mobile devices, it is essential to take the mobile user experience into consideration in the design and functionality of your site.
An effective website is crucial to bringing in more customers and more sales overall. Avoiding a website with limited visibility, non-functional features, endless scrolling, preloaders, hamburger menus, and improper responsive design will significantly benefit your business in the long run. When building your website, avoid these common website mistakes to ensure your web presence is strong and will put you on the path to a successful business.
There are always exciting things happening in the graphic design world, and this year will be no different. There will be some returning trends, as well as some new styles, so keep reading to learn the 9 major graphic design trends for 2019.
1. Art Deco
When designing a logo, such as this cover photo, there are many paths you can take. In 2019, the modern and elegant styles that were seen in the 1920s are making a comeback. With so many classic yet fancy aspects, such as detailed line symmetry and shiny colors, art deco designs will be a staple for logos this year.
2. Vivid Color
Get ready for a bright and colorful year! Pops of vivid color will be seen in graphic design. Bring light, fun, and joy to your designs by adding vivid colors to your palette. Apple has shown to utilize this trend in many designs, such as the iPhone XR advertisements. By using pops of vivid color, your designs will outshine others and make sure to remain memorable.
For a different version of the vivid color trend, duotones and gradients will continue to be a staple this year, but with a twist. Rather than just using a gradient as a simple background as seen in years past, gradients will be seen in many various forms and contexts this year. Utilize a duotone gradient in specific parts of your graphic or even over an entire photo. The creative possibilities are endless!
4. Custom Illustrations
Looking for a way to channel your creativity in a unique way? Look no further than hand-drawn illustrations for your company. Custom illustrations can range from being delicate and simple to dynamic and complex, really showcasing your originality and helping you stand out. Airbnb does an excellent job at creating these drawings, as seen in a blog image below. Custom illustrations can take your company to the next level this year.
5. Typographic Focal Points (with Buxom Serifs)
2019 is all about standing out. Bold fonts will dominate graphics, showcasing as the focal point of a piece. These fonts include 3D fonts as well as the big return of the serif font. For example, the Jeep ad below grabs the audience’s attention with the words “Stay” and “Go.” Rather than placing any writing to the side of a graphic, utilize a bold font as the main aspect of your design and clearly get your message across.
6. Authentic Stock Photos
This year, graphic design is moving away from “perfectly polished” photographs and sticking with the more genuine and authentic stock photos. Authentic photos help a lot by connecting with customers and telling a story about your brand. For example, we decided to stray from the “ideal” body type for a company photoshoot in order to remain genuine. People are not using the same stock photo that has been used 100 times already. This is an opportunity to show that your company is unique and genuine.
7. Light/Dark Schemes
Remaining versatile with your designs is very important. Being able to create both light and dark color schemes, such as on a poster, can really go a long way. It is hard to fit all scenarios with just one color scheme, so why not provide both? This simple trick will create flexibility and help your designs to stand out in many situations.
8. Open Compositions
Open compositions help to create strong designs while leaving room for a lot of imagination. By embracing white space and eliminating boxes or frames, open compositions allow designs to be more free and powerful. For example, this open composition ad for Nivea night cream is minimal yet so effective. These open designs are sure to leave your customers interested and wanting more.
9. Isometric Designs
Isometric design is such an interesting, yet simple design trend to follow this year. Transform an icon by creating depth with isometric designs. Flat images can become boring after a while, but transforming objects from a 2D plane to a 3D space can liven up any icon.
2019 is going to be a very unique and interesting year for graphic design. There is so much room for creativity and so many different possibilities for designs. Whether you choose to implement a trendy color scheme, utilize custom photos or illustrations, update your logo or font style, or add openness and depth to designs, you will certainly be successful. Follow these trends and your designs will be sure to stand out to consumers.
What Not to Do in Branding: Follow These And You’ll Make an Impact
February 11, 2019
Perfecting a brand is extremely important to any organization. A brand is a first impression connecting your audience to your organization. When it comes to a brand, a company must keep several components in mind. There is a lot you can do to help boost your brand reception, but there are specific things to avoid. Here are our 5 things to avoid in branding:
1. Calling Branding Done at the Logo
A logo and a corporate identity are just one part of your overall brand. Branding takes on a much larger concept. In general, your brand encompasses who you are, what you stand for, and what you believe in. In a previous IH Concepts blog “5 Things for Businesses to Consider When Developing a Brand”, we discussed 5 key points in branding which include telling your story, keeping your audience in mind, being memorable and recognizable, staying current, and keeping it consistent. Your brand needs to have a purpose and represent your values. Achieving these aspects will show credibility, connecting your business to your target audience. For example, when customers view the Nike swoosh symbol, it is common that they associate it with the “just do it” empowering message Nike strives to promote. As a result, Nike continues to attract people who support the company. Finding your mission, determining your why, crafting your message, positioning your company, and then designing your logo will lead to success.
2. Overdoing Your Logo
Thorough research from BusinessBlogs Hub has shown that when it comes to a logo, staying simple is key. Creating a simple logo that does not have too many colors, objects, or words keeps your visual message concise to draw in your audience. For example, the McDonald’s arches logo and the Target bullseye logo have remained so effective over time due to the straightforward designs and minimal colors. Successful organizations are following the trend of simplicity in order to remain more memorable, provide more clarity to customers, and make sure that people will continue to come back. Creating a logo that can be easily recognized and recalled will leave a lasting impact on customers.
3. Designing or rebranding without purpose
Considering if and when to change your logo requires thought and rational. Examining how this change in identity would impact your company is important. When deciding whether it is appropriate to rebrand, it is important to pause and ask yourself why you want to do this, what you would change, and how your current audience would react to the change. It is important to avoid making a change just because a competitor may be doing it or because of a current trend. If you are creating a new organization, designing with purpose can ensure that you will be meeting your goals and doing it right the first time. This will result in credibility and give your organization the highest possible impact.
4. Going the cheap route
Logos should be unique in order to stand out, but most importantly to avoid trademark disputes. Creating a logo is going to be one of the most important decisions you make for your organization. It is necessary to keep this in mind over choosing the quickest or least expensive option. With many logo makers available such as Wix, many businesses are starting to navigate towards these alternatives because they appear inexpensive. However, this route can be more expensive in the long run. For example, two well-known companies, HealthPartners and Sam’s Club, experienced a trademark logo dispute because their logos were too similar, as discussed in an article on StarTribune. Finding that one-of-a-kind logo can assure you steer clear of similar trademark disputes. Just like McDonald’s logo finds success in its simple design, it is also known to be completely unique of all other brands. A logo needs to clearly represent who you are, making it an extremely important investment that should be handled with careful consideration.
5. Overlooking trademark research
When it comes to research, it is smart to use an attorney depending on how big you want your organization to grow. In an article on Belmont Vision, it was discussed how Baylor University and Belmont University experienced trademark disputes because of the similarities between their logos. Being in a trademark dispute can often be very costly in attorney fees and wasted marketing efforts. In order to avoid a situation like this, do the research ahead of time and consider an attorney. Think about where you will be in the future and how far you want to grow. Thorough research is necessary to protect your brand and your reputation for years to come. A business is a significant investment in both time and money. While putting in the proper steps is an upfront investment, it will be worth it in the long run.
When you foster a brand that represents your values and goals, you can leave an impact on customers for years to come. Your brand is what represents your company and the perception you want to leave your customers. Looking at the whole picture of branding, keeping your logo simple, having a design plan, investing in your brand, and taking the proper steps to protect your brand will put you on the path to success and create an impact with your audience.
Attracting Customers vs Retaining Customers – How to Master Both
December 4, 2018
Attracting customers can be a challenge, especially online, where people have a wide range of options to choose from. In order to attract and keep more customers online, a small business owner must be familiar with how customers behave online and how they react to branding changes. In this article, we will examine consumer behavior and offer insight on how businesses can use strategic branding to attract and retain customers.
Attracting New Customers
When marketing towards new customers, a business must make a strong first impression. A study by Liu, White and Dumais found that users become less likely to leave a website the longer they stay on it. As Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group says “The probability of leaving is very high during [the] first few seconds because users are extremely skeptical, having suffered countless poorly designed web pages in the past” Following these critical first ten seconds or so, the user becomes less likely to leave the page. Though many users leave the page after 20 or 30 seconds, by this time the chance of leaving has roughly leveled out and is far lower than during the first few seconds.
What should you do about the high bounce rate at a time when your potential customers are just getting to know your brand? Jakob Nielsen says you must find a way to communicate your value proposition to the visitors before they can leave. To attract new customers, your homepage should communicate who you are and why you are the best option for your customer in ten seconds. For the Madison websites and other area websites that we work, we take extra time to develop those features that customers will likely see first: the logo, tagline, and your mission statement. It may help to partner with a web graphic designer or several graphic design companies to provide services such as custom logo design.
To attract new customers, you should focus on branding that is immediately appealing. To retain customers, on the other hand, you should brand with consistency in mind.
You should aim first and foremost to be consistent in your values. If your first customers came to you because you offered excellent service, your service and care for your customers should be emphasized in your advertisements, publications, and media posts. This way, you will keep your returning customers happy by staying true to the characteristics of your brand that have already proven to be helpful.
Other elements that contribute to your brand identity such as visuals and the selection of goods and services you offer are more open to change. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to know when something constitutes a major change in values. Consider Volvo as a case study for change done both well and poorly.
Prior to the 1990s, Volvo had built a reputation for making safe and reliable cars. Then in the 1990s, the company began offering slightly more sporty and luxurious vehicles. According to Eric Friedman, owner of an ad agency that worked with Volvo in the 1990s and a content contributor on Jalopnik car blog, Volvo at the time “looked at abandoning safety as a message, but it was deemed integral to their DNA, so instead they doubled down. The ads started to show people living wonderful lives where they relied on the car to get them where they needed to go, safely.” This is an example of a shift in branding that expands a company’s reach without alienating old customers. Volvo still offered the features that they had built their reputation on safety, manual transmission, fuel efficiency. But they were able to attract an entirely new demographic by advertising their cars as both powerful and safe. They altered how their cars looked to stay current and expanded the type of product offered, but their original values remained central to their branding approach.
Following an acquisition by Ford in 2000, Volvo ads began to focus more and more on the cars’ luxury and performance, and less on the safety features. Some models were also less fuel-efficient. The company attempted to attract luxury buyers, but it was a case of too much, too soon. The change alienated some of Volvo’s most loyal customers, and though sales have rebounded since the recession, Volvo lost their core values in the process. Edmunds.com analysist Michelle Krebs commented on the topic “Many companies have more safety features than Volvo does, so they can’t own that anymore. Same with durability. The average car on the road today is over 10 years old — which speaks volumes to the quality improvements made by the industry. So what is their niche? It’s hard for them to compete in the luxury world with Mercedes and BMW.”.
Customers value consistency and trustworthiness. Therefore, always take caution when making changes, and ensure that they fit your values. This becomes easier the more connected you are with your customer base, who can provide feedback, and will in turn appreciate your attention. Establish a Loyalty program, listen, test changes gradually, promote your core values, allow for and read reviews online, maintain an active social media, and share your appreciation with your customers.
When attracting new customers, you should aim to make your information easily accessible. Be able to communicate your value in a short amount of time. With return customers, cultivate consistency – everything should come back to your core values. The same values that the new customer learns about the first time they see your homepage should be part of their experience as return customers. If you follow these guidelines, you will be well-positioned to build a loyal, wide-ranging, ever-expanding customer base.
November 2, 2018
If your website was an employee of yours, what would you want out of it? You should consider this question during your web design and development process. A good website handles a set of responsibilities much the way an employee does, and helps other employees in the process. Your website should likewise be a valuable part of your team.
Websites are important because they can help you reach more people. every time a potential customer or a current customer visits your website, he or she is trying to obtain information about your business. Your website may be the first representative of your company that customers interact with. Therefore, your website must be functional and have a presentation that is professional. People tend to remember bad websites and won’t return to a website they didn’t like, so having a website that represents your business in a professional manner is extremely important. The following are characteristics that your website must have in order to be working for you.
Ease of use
Your website needs to have everything the customer is looking for and be easy to use. Customers want all relevant information to be easy to find so they can find what they came for. Being informative is key to success. A customer should be able to find the answers to any questions they may have on the website; they should be able to learn about your business. The information they seek should also be easy to find because as a business, you want your customers to be informed and content with their time spent on your website. Like an employee providing information to customers, your website should be reliable and personable. The more reliable your website is, the more people will want to come back to it to do business.
Once you have established a professional website that is reliable and provides the information that users are looking for, building trust with returning visitors is an important next step. Why should you be so concerned about having customers return? Return customers comprise a huge portion of the average small business’s sales. If you miss out on a repeat customer, you miss out on revenue.
Trust and brand loyalty are created through strong relationships with customers. Think about which characteristics lead you to trust someone For one, being knowledgeable is makes someone more trustworthy. The best websites are trustworthy in this regard; they provide information. Your website should be informative. Also, when customers form trust towards your business, you build brand loyalty. Since they trust you, they trust your brand. Every time they see your logo or visit your website, customers will have this prior positive attitude towards your brand. This positive association will make them more likely to think of your when they need your type of good or service. This will lead to higher sales and revenue.
Strong Sales Capabilities
The last but very important characteristic your website needs is a capability in sales. An important way that your website can work for you is not only by developing your customer base but also by generating direct sales. The website needs to be an extension of your sales staff.
When a potential customer comes upon your website, they have seen that it is reliable and trustworthy. Now, they want to buy your product or service. To help facilitate closing sales, calls to action are important. Giving customers frequent opportunities to purchase or contact your company are an important part of any well-designed website.
After you have created your website and improved its sales conversion abilities, let it officially work for you! You can sit back while the website informs customers and makes sales. It is like having another salesperson on your staff without actually having to pay them. The revenue for your business will soar.
It is clear that a business should have their website working for them. It is more likely that the first time a customer encounters your business, it will be online. That is why you need a professional website design that shows customers that you mean business. They should be able to get all the relevant information about your business on the website. The site should be an employee: knowledgeable, easy to work with, and sales-driven. If your website can follow these guidelines and leave customers satisfied, your brand will grow!
4 Reasons that Operating a Mobile Website is Essential
October 19, 2018 77% of American adults now own smartphones. Consequently, more people than ever are likely to reach to their phones rather than their computers in order to visit your website. However, businesses frequently underestimate the importance of having a website that looks good on mobile devices.
In a recent article, we talked about mobile websites, and explained how they differ from desktop or “full” websites. In this article, we have gathered some of the best studies on mobile websites, and we have found that mobile websites aren’t just a nicety to be added when your company has the extra time and money to spend; they are an essential component of any business’s web presence. Here are four reasons why.
1. Mobile sites boost SEO and can improve conversion rates, as shown in this study.
According to a study, In November of 2015, footwear retailer Offspring launched a responsive mobile website, and saw a 15.19% increase in their mobile/tablet conversion rate. The company’s decision to go mobile also had an immense influence on their search engine rankings: their visibility on the first page of results increased by 77.59%.
Offspring’s switch to mobile shows how a mobile website can directly influence sales and brand visibility. Aside from a higher conversion rate, their redesigned website was in a better position to attract more customers.
2. Mobile web use is now more common than desktop web use
According to research firm Statcounter, mobile web use surpassed desktop web use worldwide in October 2016. Statcounter, which keeps data on page views to over 2 million different websites, recorded the type of device used in those visits and demographic location of the device used, among other information.
The ongoing study has revealed that U.S. web users now slightly favor mobile devices, such as tablets and phones, over desktop devices. And while desktop web use still constitutes a large portion of U.S. web visits, web users have trended towards mobile use in recent years, as is suggested by the next study.
3. Mobile website use is growing rapidly
A study by StoneTemple looked at 2.0 trillion web visits in 2017 compared to 1.9 trillion recorded in a 2016. In 2016, mobile use constituted 57%, of web visits. In 2017, the share had jumped to 63% of web visits, with desktop use constituting 37% of all visits.
Given the very drastic shift from desktop to mobile web use, some predict that websites as a whole will become primarily mobile-oriented. Eric Enge, General Manager of Perficient Digital, advises to design the mobile site first, and get the basics down, like contact info and product info. “Then you can figure out how to leverage the larger screen real estate available on a desktop platform as a second step,” he says.
In order to build a strong mobile website that is the basis of their web presence, small business owners without extensive web design experience will greatly benefit from partnering with a web designer or web development expert.
4. The amount of time spent on mobile sites also is growing
Examination of 513 trillion visit-seconds in the same 2017 StoneTemple study found that the average amount of time spent on any given mobile website is increasing. Though the average user still spends more time on the average desktop website than the average mobile website, mobile sites experienced a greater growth in average visit time than desktop websites did between the years of 2016 and 2017. It appears, therefore, that mobile websites are getting better at keeping visitors engaged.
When looking at the distribution of the 513 trillion visit-seconds in total, users spent 49%, or 251.37 trillion visit seconds, on mobile sites. The remaining 51%, or 261.63 trillion visit seconds, were on desktop. This roughly equal split, even though users spend less time on the average mobile website than the average desktop site, suggests that mobile users switch among websites more rapidly.
Therefore, it is especially important for a mobile website of a small business to be easy to use and have quick loading times, in order to bring in new customers who are used to spending less time on mobile sites.
As these studies suggest, mobile websites can really change how you do business. Though desktop websites are certainly important, especially for transactions, mobile websites communicate more effectively with the growing number of people who may be learning about your business while on their phone’s web browser. By making a greater investment in your mobile website, you can provide the best web design and web experience for your customers on all devices.