Attracting Customers vs Retaining Customers – How to Master Both

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.

Retaining Customers

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. 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.


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Your Website – An Extension of Your Sales Staff

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!

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4 Reasons that Operating a Mobile Website is Essential

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.


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Desktop Websites, Mobile Websites and Mobile Apps: What’s the Difference?

One of the most common questions we get is “what is web design?” More specifically, many of our customers want to know the difference between websites and mobile apps. Read on to learn more about their differences so you start crafting the best website design and mobile app development for your brand.

Full Website
A ‘full website’ refers to the website interface that shows up on a computer screen. Full websites can afford to take more risks in the type of information that they present on the page because of the larger screen size of a computer (as compared to a mobile device). For example, a website could have a rotating slideshow of examples of reviews or past work the company has done on the side of the screen. This would be less feasible on a mobile website, because it may hinder the user’s navigation.

Websites are an essential tool for attracting and engaging with customers. Chavan Mayur, marketing specialist and blogger at Medium, offers five reasons why websites can help your business run more smoothly. Some of these include: cost effectiveness (your website is a place you can advertise your business for little to no cost), customer service, and 24/7 display.

For our customers, such as our Madison web design clients, we base our design process around IH5 Web Principles. These are five guiding principles that collectively emphasize ease of use and unique, personalized design as the most important traits of a website. The best websites are able to convey the brand’s unique identity in tried-and-true web design layouts that users are familiar with.

Mobile Website
“Mobile website” refers to a scaled design of the full website that adapts to smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices with internet access. Due to the smaller screen size of mobile devices, minimalist design is a characteristic of successful mobile websites, according to copywriter Victoria K. and web designer Anton S. of RubyGarage. Simple design is also of heightened importance on mobile websites because mobile users are often in a hurry. They will want the most important information, such as address or reviews, to be readily available.

Our IH5 Mobile Web Principles, much like our IH5 Web Principles, emphasize ease of use and branding via consistent design. One way that we provide these values is by working with web development experts and web graphic designer consultants who use software with responsive web design capabilities. Such styles of website are ideal because they allow maximum consistency across device types. Rather than having to design many different websites for different screen sizes, a responsive site fits to the device it appears on, thereby keeping layout styles consistent.

Mobile Apps
Apps are very popular in the business world for a number of reasons. Mainly, they provide an experience that is tailored directly to an operating system, and they are often more interactive and user-friendly than a mobile website is. Many apps work great as a source of easily accessible information for the visitor, as they do not need to be connected to the internet to run. They also provide companies with more opportunities for engaging with their users because users can be notified of changes, promotions or new posts.

Apps must be submitted for approval to app stores before they can be downloaded. They also require effort and data on the part of the user, and will take up more space on their device’s screen. Therefore, customers will only want to download and keep an app on their phone if they have a reason to.

Apps are great for certain endeavors, such as coupon systems or engaging with a dedicated consumer base. However, apps are also a larger investment, usually costing more than web development and web design. So businesses should consider if they are in an industry that will support apps: for example, industries that rely on repeat customers might do better with a mobile app. And above all, businesses should ensure they are operating a top-notch website, social media presence, and mobile-format website before considering app development.

Full websites, mobile websites, and mobile apps each have their own share of benefits and disadvantages, and they each have slightly different functions. Full websites are the starting point for an online presence – a center of information that can double as a platform for marketing. Mobile websites offer the same information, with even greater emphasis on simple design and ease of use. And finally, mobile apps are a great way to connect with an already dedicated group of customers. They can also function as a promotional tool that fulfills a niche purpose, with a message that can be easily communicated to new customers. Be sure to keep these differences in mind as you develop your company’s online presence in order to best make use of each format’s strengths.

IH Concepts is a Madison-based graphic design firm. IH Concepts specializes in custom logo design, web development, mobile app development, and other graphic design services.

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General Data Protection Regulation: What You Need to Know to Be in Compliance

In May, the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation, a piece of legislation that places greater sanctions on what corporations can do when collecting web users’ personal data. The law requires companies to be more transparent about personal data collection.

The GDPR refers to ‘personal data’ as “any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier.” This includes name, location, and other sensitive identification info. With the GDPR, consumers who are citizens of countries in the European Union can inquire about what data companies have collected on them, and ask those companies to delete the data, among other rights (for a full overview of the changes, see here). These changes affect American businesspeople, even small business owners, because any company who does business with European citizens, or uses the data of European citizens in any way, must comply. And the ramifications are significant: noncompliance with privacy laws of the GDPR can result in a fine of up to $20 million, or 4% of the company’s global turnover for the previous year. Furthermore, U.S. states, such as California, have begun to adopt similar policies to safeguard the privacy of their citizens. It is estimated that more U.S. states will adopt similar policies, and that the EU’s GDPR will have a wide-reaching influence on the standards that businesses are held to regarding privacy protection.

Therefore, it is important that small businesses are upfront about their data use, as a means of good business that will benefit both the customer and the owner. Here are some steps to take to ensure clear communication and secure transfer of data.

State what data you are using from the customer and require customer consent

The new GDPR requires corporations to state in plain terms what type of data they are using from the visitor and how it will be use. Consent must also be easy to withdraw, in addition to give. For most websites who have begun to implement this, a pop up window at the top of the screen has been used to state the use of information, like cookies, and require consent before continuation onto the website.

Appoint a data protection officer if you handle large amounts of information, information pertaining to criminal convictions, or other special categories of data

According to Article 37, businesses must appoint a data protection officer if they handle certain types of information, like criminal records, religious affiliation, or large amounts of information. The data protection officer, per GDPR requirements, can be a staff member or external service provider. Consult with a legal advisor to see if your business’s data usage necessitates a data protection officer.

Notify when a breach of security occurs

When the security of data is compromised, businesses must notify customers and national authorities within 72 hours of first detecting the data breach. In the U.S., the data controllers office is the Federal Trade Commission, according to Jason Weinstein, a lawyer, data security expert and content writer at iapp.

Become SSL compliant

SSL stands for Single Socket Layer. This is a feature that protects the transmission of information as it is being sent from the user to your business. This way, cybercriminals cannot access the information. The presence of SSL is indicated by a bar at the beginning of the URL, usually with a lock symbol (though it may differ depending on browser). It usually runs around $100-$200, an annual fee, with potentially more money required hire a web development expert to help you implement it. And SSL must be implemented with care in order to ensure that peoples’ search engine is being redirected to the new, secure URL. You can read more about SSL here.

Consult with a legal advisor

The above tips are a general outline of some of the ramifications of the GDPR’s latest changes. These tips are not meant to replace legal advice from an attorney, however. It is in your best interest as a business to consult a legal expert who can offer advice tailored the needs of your business.

The changes of the GDPR may seem overwhelming at first, and compliance will take some time and effort on the part of your business. However, complying with the GDPR does not just mean making changes just to fit predetermined criteria. The GDPR aims to make web usage a more pleasant, safe experience for consumers. By abiding by GDPR standards, you are taking another step in offering the best customer service to your web visitors. Knowing the rules of the GDPR and the reasoning behind its implementation will aid you not just in preventing potential legal disputes, but perhaps more importantly, in providing a safe and enjoyable web experience for all visitors.


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4 Things You Need to Know About Single Socket Layer Security

With the ever-present threat of cybercriminals, customers on unprotected websites remain highly vulnerable to data theft. Cybercriminals are continuously looking for ways to take data while being sent from the customer to the business, says Tarun Sharma, content writer at ServerGuy.

At IH Concepts, we have taken steps to ensure the security of our customers: we are happy to announce that our website is now officially Single Socket Layer (SSL) certified! If you’re wondering what that means, you’re not alone – but you are also probably more familiar with SSL than you think. The following are a few pieces of information that will help you create a secure website.

1) What It Looks Like

Most people are familiar with the padlock symbol that shows up to the left of the web page address. This symbol indicates the presence of SSL. Websites with SSL also have a URL that begins with “https://”, with the “s” at the end standing for secure, as opposed to the standard “http://”.

2) What It Does
SSL is a web security measure that reduces the likelihood of personal data, such as credit card numbers or email addresses, being compromised. It does so in two ways.

First, the presence of SSL on a website is a certificate of authenticity. It signifies that the website is run by the individuals/company who claim to run it.

Second, SSL requires that all personal data be sent cryptically between the web user’s server and the hosting server that the website operates on. This prevents cybercriminals from taking that information when it is being sent between servers.

3) Why It Is Important for Small Businesses
If you handle online purchases, it is imperative to have SSL on your website. If you do not have SSL, you run the risk of having your customers’ data stolen.

SSL is also important for small businesses that do not handle credit card information. Cybercriminals can steal passwords, usernames, or information that your customers send to you through a chat service or email.

On Google Chrome 68, which was just released July 25, webpages without SSL automatically notify visitors that they are not secure. This will have a considerable influence on how many people will stay on your website.

When you implement SSL, the benefits extend beyond customer protection. For one, SSL provides a boost in search engine rankings, as search engines prioritize secure websites. You can also use the presence of SSL on your website to reassure visitors that your site is secure, therefore adding to your reputation as a trustworthy brand.

4) How to Implement SSL
SSL usually runs about $100-$200 annually and can be purchased directly from many domain hosting companies, as well as from third-party vendors. There are also packages that allow you to update multiple websites with SSL if need be.

At IH Concepts, we have recently finished outfitting our clients’ websites with SSL. Like many other elements of web development, updating a website with SSL is a process that extends far beyond paying the annual fee. We have gathered a few tips on how to outfit a website with SSL:

a. Be sure to modify your links in search engine results and on other webpages so that users are being directed to the new, secure site. You may need to work with a web development expert to ensure your links correspond with your website; we at IH Concepts worked with a web developer when outfitting our Madison web design clients with SSL.

b. Make sure that your HTaccess file is updated on the hosting server. This will redirect visitors to the correct link. Again, you should consult a web developer to ensure that this feature, along with others, is included correctly. Since web development is an investment, it is important to make sure that your SSL connection is implemented correctly.

With the preponderance of data use scandals in the news, as well as the inception of Chrome 68, web users have begun to pay more attention to the security of the websites they visit. Remember, however, that a secure website has countless benefits for both your customer and you. For example, it is a preventative measure, an SEO aide, and a sign of good customer service. And after adequate research and careful implementation, you will be ready to make the most of your SSL certificate.

IH Concepts is a Madison-based graphic design firm. IH Concepts specializes in custom logo design, web development, mobile app development, and other graphic design services.

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3 Things You Can Do to Attract Customers Online

Many successful small business owners may ask, “Do I need a website?” The answer most business professionals will give is a resounding “Yes!” A strong web presence is a great way to attract new customers and engage with current customers. The following tips will help you strengthen your online presence and make online interaction with your company a better experience for both new and old customers.

1) Make sure your company is SEO-ready

A 2014 study by Google, Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased found that 4 out of 5 people use search engines to find information about local businesses. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process of strategic web development and design that increases your website’s chances of appearing earlier in the pages of search results.

A key component of the SEO process is the inclusion of keywords throughout your website. You will want to research which words and phrases are commonly used in searches for products or businesses similar to yours, and include those words in text format on the pages of your website’s content.

Search engines also take into account how people interact with sites. Sites with high bounce rates will move lower in the page rankings, whereas sites that keep visitors engaged for longer periods of time will have higher rankings. Therefore, many of the practices that boost SEO are also typical characteristics of a good website, such as frequent content updates or the presence of reviews.

2) Encourage reviews and follow up on them

Operating a strong online presence involves more than just having the best web design. Whether a company has reviews online can influence a visitor’s willingness to do business with them: a survey of 1031 US Consumers conducted by BrightLocal found that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

However, many customers won’t leave reviews unless they are reminded. GoDaddy writer Dan Scalco suggests offering an incentive, such as a discount. He also suggests “meet[ing] customers where they are.” This means that you should ask for reviews through the medium of contact that your customer prefers. For example, if you work with people face-to-face, then you should ask them for a review when you are talking with them. If you are corresponding online, consider sending an email request.

It is also important to respond to all reviews, whether they are positive or negative. By responding attentively to negative reviews, you can demonstrate your credibility as a business – something that will help you stand out in the often impersonal world of digital customer service – and potentially resolve the customer’s problem.

Khaled Saleh, author of Conversion Optimization: The Art and Science of Converting Visitors into Customers, offers advice for how to best respond to complaints: respond promptly, be real and admit your mistakes, correct inaccuracies, highlight your strengths, write like a person (not a corporation), provide restitution if it’s warranted, and be consistent. It may be fitting to first send reviewers a private message first thanking them for their feedback and then continuing with your response. If you are able to rectify the situation, Sherry Bonelli, owner of Early Bird Digital Marketing, recommends politely asking the respondent via direct message to edit their review to reflect the changes that have been made.

3) Make website navigation and action simple

Whether you are a web designer, or are looking to partner with a web development firm, you should seek to design a website that is easy to use.

A good website begins with a good homepage. Your website’s homepage is the window to your brand, and may be the first thing a potential customer sees that is related to your brand. Its main purpose is to intrigue readers and direct them to other pages of the website.

Your homepage should tell the visitor what your brand does and why you are different than your competition. This is may be tricky, as a homepage should also be light on text; the best homepages tell a brand’s story with just a few sentences or words, and make use of images, video clips, and design. Consulting with a web graphic designer or other individuals with an extensive graphic design portfolio will help your website achieve a balance between utility, entertainment and clarity. The website should also have a single navigation menu that is accessible on all pages. Calls to action should always be present on the head bar. This makes your services available to the visitor at all times, without appearing pushy. When working with our Madison web design clients and clients from surrounding areas, we emphasize the important calls to action as a key component of our IH5 web principles.

Remember that a successful website visit ends with some form of interaction: a call, a purchase, a follow or like. It is important to make it as easy as possible for customers to take this next step.

Following the previous tips will require time and money that could be spent elsewhere. The extra effort is worth it, however, because it will lead to more satisfied customers. By following these three tips, you’ll be on your way to greater exposure and a stronger, more coherent brand image.

IH Concepts is a Madison-based graphic design firm. IH Concepts specializes in custom logo design, web development, mobile app development, and other graphic design services.

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What King of Falafel Taught Us About Restaurant Marketing

When it comes to marketing, different types of businesses require different strategies in order to be successful. While there are some things that are inherently necessary (staying organized and planning ahead), there are also unique obstacles to keep in mind when marketing for a restaurant. As Restaurant Week approaches once again, we recently reflected on our recent work with King of Falafel & Grill. Earlier this year, we touched up some of their graphic design and branding. Along the way we found 5 important things to consider when marketing for a restaurant.

1. Flush out Ideas in Advance and Plan Ahead

Before getting started with marketing your business, it’s important to know your brand, create your identity, and be consistent. This might seem like a simple step, however it is one that can often be overlooked with any business type. Once you make a decision on the type of brand you want to be and your message, stick with it. This will save time, money, and a lot of headaches down the road. This decision helped figure out what the visual aesthetic of King of Falafel would communicate to the customers. It was important to stick with a similar look and feel that was already there because that’s what customers know. While some businesses think that giving their entire business a makeover is necessary, that is rarely the case and can instead lose customers who are looking for the brand they know.

2. Make Sure Your Strategy is Cost Effective

Marketing is extremely important for a business, and in order to maximize the effectiveness of it, a specific marketing budget should be set aside. A higher budget doesn’t necessarily mean better results, however, it can make different tools and options available when creating a strategy. While working with King of Falafel, we decided that in order to effectively use the marketing budget, part of the funds should go towards a TV menu board. As the price of ingredients fluctuates in the market, restaurant menu prices will need to change too. In order to avoid reprinting costs for traditional menu boards, we found that the TV menus were a smart decision. An alternative option for restaurants is to create a menu on chalkboards, which can add an artistic flavor to the appearance of the business.

3. Less is More

Working with restaurants presents a unique challenge that other businesses don’t face: designing an effective menu. Menus need to find a perfect balance between pleasing text and mouth watering images of feature foods. While it might be tempting to provide an image for every item on the menu, this can become distracting and take away from the “WOW” factor that feature items should have. Choose images carefully and highlight the best of the best to maximize your impact.

4. Engage the Customer with your Menu

Once you’ve decided on the perfect blend of text and pictures to put on a menu, it’s time to make the menu engaging. This is especially important for restaurants that create printed menus for customers to take home. While there’s often a menu online, some people will always prefer a physical copy for them to look over. If you’re creating a take-home menu, make sure the menu is engaging visually and something that the customer would want to pick up. High-quality images and an easy to navigate menu will maximize the effectiveness of your menu and simplify the experience for your customers. This will also minimize the number of customers who throw away printed menus.

5. Test the Legibility of Signage

Your customer’s experience is key. While working with King of Falafel, we agreed with KOF that TV menu boards were the best way to keep an updated menu at all times. One thing that needs to be noted about this is legibility. It is always important to place yourself in the shoes of a customer when looking over a menu on a 40 inch TV or while looking at a printed tri-fold menu at the table. At IH Concepts, we personally tested the visibility of the text on a 40-inch screen and spent time experimenting with font sizes. By doing this, we were able to design a menu board that was visible to customers at the appropriate distance they would be standing away from the menu. Menu boards are a type of signage, and legibility is always essential to providing a positive customer experience.

The restaurant business is an industry that is competitive. With so many choices of cuisine for restaurant goers to choose from, having a plan, being strategic and engaging, coupled with great design will make you stand out and increase the chances of your restaurant being the talk of the town, ensure long-term success.

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Demographics: How It Relates to Sales & Marketing

The idea that certain products attract certain age groups is a cornerstone of advertising and marketing. It’s often overlooked, however, changes in population play a large role in changes in sales.

Local news NBC15 anchorwoman Leigh Mills spoke at American Family Insurance’s DreamBank on Tuesday, June 5, about the role that demographics has on the economy. Demographics, which is the statistical study of populations, can be utilized to better understand changing trends in sales. Ms. Mills suggested that many drastic changes in sales can be explained by underlying population changes. For example, the Baby Boomer generation had roughly 78 million births in total, while Generation X had about 69.5 births. With less babies being born, many maternity wards closed down and foreign auto producers saw a decline in sales when these babies grew older. It’s not necessarily the case that people decide they don’t want these products and services anymore – rather, a smaller population in a target age range leads to less demand.

The following are four tips on how you can use demographics to your advantage.

1. Know Your Key Demographic
It is important to know who your consumers are and to study population changes, as the size of your target age group plays a large role in how well products sell. Ms. Mills gave the example of motorcycle sales in the late 1980s being influenced by differences in generation sizes. In the late 80s, individuals in the target age for motorcycle sales (18-24) were of Generation X, which was a markedly smaller generation than Baby Boomers. Thus, motorcycle companies saw a decrease in sales because their key demographic had a smaller population. When studying demographics, consider the following questions: Have birth rates changed from what they were when those currently in your key demographic were born? Will those who age out of your key demographic be replaced by a similarly sized population, or will there be a change?

2. If Sales Decline, Don’t Panic
Statistics can be misleading because the influence of demographics often goes unconsidered. Ms. Mills used the example of news stories that have reported on increasing death rates in the U.S. over the past few years. This rise in deaths, she suggested, is not because of poorer health or disease: rather, the increase in deaths has paralleled the increase in number of aging Baby Boomers, a generation with 25 million more people than the generation that preceded it. Businesses such as Toys R Us have been affected immediately by changes in population sizes, such as the reduced birth rates that followed from the 2008 recession. However, changes in population sizes will not have as large an impact on your business if you are aware of them. If a decline in sales matches up with a population change, it is important to reassess how you can stay competitive in a market where there are fewer consumers in your key demographic. It may benefit to look to another demographic that might be able to pick up some of the lost sales, and redirecting advertising efforts may help to engage a different group.

3. Understand Generational Differences
There does tend to be differences between generations related to personality and attitude. For example, millennials value making a difference over earning money, want flexible schedules, and don’t want to work for someone whose mission they don’t support. These shifting values already have had an impact on the workplace, with many businesses adopting more collaborative workspaces where younger employees work alongside those with more influence and experience, and more are able to work from home. It is important to consider how your business can appeal to new generations as they age into adulthood and influence the types of goods that are demanded. Because millennials are the largest generation yet, surpassing Baby Boomers by 8 million, those who cater to the products and services millennials like have the potential to prosper. In the case of the millennial generation, catering may mean communicating through online advertising. Or, the narrative of your marketing campaign may benefit from increased focus on millennial-favored ideas, such as a focus on making social change, or promoting the things your company does for others, like buying local goods or reducing waste production.

4. Adult Consumers Follow the Same Pattern
Adults begin to contribute more to the economy through working, spending, and paying taxes as they approach middle age. Those between the ages of 40-60 are known as “heavy lifters” for their significant economic contributions. Though millennials as a whole tend to be less concerned with financial gains in their twenties, they will ease into the heavy lifters category as they start families and attain higher-up positions. Therefore, it is important for business owners who may be struggling to reach younger audiences to consider that they may not be financially ready to contribute as greatly as those who currently are part of the heavy lifters category. Knowing how dependent your product is on heavy lifters will also help you to understand how to market to other age groups. For example, expensive children’s toys will need to appeal more to their parents than cheap ones because parents have control over larger amounts of money. For cheap toys, however, the marketing message could be altered to appeal almost exclusively to children, as they may be able to buy them.

Demographics has a large impact on businesses that often goes unconsidered. Those who understand their key demographic, the characteristics of the generation who is a part of it, and understand how to interpret statistics in relation to demographics are poised to be successful, regardless of the size of the age group they cater to. By keeping demographics in mind, you will have an advantage over others because you will be able to see how strongly sales are influenced by changing populations, and therefore have a leg up in deciding how to adjust your message to remain competitive.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Next Presentation – Do These and Captivate Your Audience

There are two important parts to every presentation: creating the message and effectively presenting it. Previously we talked about creating a presentation, but now it’s time to give it. Standing in front of people and talking can be intimidating, and if you’re nervous, you may not pay attention to all of the little actions you make while you’re the center of attention. However, if you focus on these aspects of presenting, you will be able to power through your presentation confidently and have a greater impact on your viewers.

1. Know Your Environment

This aspect focuses on checking out the space you’ll be presenting in, which is extremely important. IH Concept’s CEO usually goes to the location the day before he actually presents to become more comfortable with the area. Seeing the location before going in can give you more confidence and will let you know if there is a podium or table to stand behind. It’s also critical to know what is available to use in the room, especially if you need a computer to use a slide show.

2. Practice Speaking at a Comfortable Volume and Speed

Arguably the most important part of presenting is how you speak. You need to make sure you project your voice loud enough so everyone in the room can hear you and also speak at the correct speed so everyone can understand you. There is a fine balance you need to find to perfect the pacing and volume of your presentation, so make sure to practice not just the words, but how you convey them. Practicing is also a good way to help reduce the nerves that come along with public speaking.

3. Be Aware of Your Body Language

Having appropriate body language is important to look professional and command the room.. Negative body language habits like: folding your arms, putting your hands in your pockets, and pacing back and forth can distract viewers from your message. A couple examples of good body language are: smiling and making eye contact with the audience. It’s important to relax as much as possible before a presentation so your nerves don’t show while you are in front of your audience. Remember to take a deep breath and focus on the presentation.

4. Present to Your Viewers Verbally and With a Handout or Slideshow

The way you present your info is a key component to how the viewers receive and take in the message. People learn in different ways, so it’s important to not only have a thoughtful verbal presentation, but to also show your audience a slideshow or provide them with a handout as well. This allows people to have a reference to the main points while you add additional details with the things that you say. Remember to not strictly read off of your note cards or your slide show, because it won’t give your audience any additional information they didn’t have. Also, be sure to justify the importance of everything you present, otherwise the information could go over the viewers’ heads. However, be concise to keep your audience engaged.

5. Engage With your Audience and Be Ready for Questions

The goal of a presentation is to ensure that the information you are presenting sticks with the viewers, so creating some sort of engaging activities for your audience will help the audience learn more of the information being presented. This can include a small game of trivia based on the information in the presentation, or even a physical activity so they can learn hands on. Also, be prepared for questions from the audience after you’ve finished presenting. The answers you give are almost as important as the presentation itself because it is more interactive and might stick in the audience’s memory. These questions can also be more difficult since you can’t prepare for every question out there. While you are creating your presentation, try to think of possible questions you might receive and be ready to address them.

Similar to a movie needing a good actor to portray a character, a presentation’s effectiveness is influenced heavily by how well it is done. The audience can’t digest the information well if it isn’t given to them in an easy to access manner, so make sure to follow these 5 tips. If you follow these aspects of presenting, you will allow your audience to digest the information more easily and become a more confident presenter yourself.

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