5 Things That Will Be More Valuable Than Cash to Marketers in 2021

As 2020 has officially come to a close, and as business owners start looking towards the new year, it’s understandable that many are keeping a closer-than-usual eye on their bottom line. The last 12 months have been completely unpredictable, and they have left even established companies in some industries scrambling around for cash.

There is no substitute for money in your business bank account, of course, but most of the entrepreneurs we know aren’t in dire straits. For them, our advice is to look at the bigger picture. We definitely think this is a good time to hold onto your money, but not if it stops you from winning customers or hurts you in the long run.

To help make sense of this advice, here are five things that will be worth more than cash to marketers in the coming year…

1. A Top Three Search Engine Position

When your company’s website is highly visible on Google, it allows you to reach an exponentially higher number of potential customers than your competitors. Then, you can continue generating leads and making sales even if you have to change your products, services, or pricing. Because organic search positioning builds over time, that’s an advantage that’s hard for anyone to take away.

2. A Sterling Online Reputation

Having a strong online reputationin terms of the right reviews and testimonialsis always important. When the economy is uncertain and money is tight, however, people are even more careful about the way they spend and whom they trust. For that reason, having lots of positive online feedback can give all of your sales and marketing efforts a huge boost.

3. A Strong Brand Identity

While brand identity and reputation are similar, they aren’t the same thing. When you have a brand that is well-known within your target market, it amplifies the effects of your ads, emails, and other outreach activities. If customers and prospects know what your business does, and they understand your unique selling proposition already, they will most likely to say “yes” to your offers.

4. An Email List Full of Buyers and Prospects

Email remains the most cost-effective sales and marketing tool around today. With a few clicks of a button you can reach out to hundreds or thousands of buyers at onceprovided you already have a list of subscribers to work with. Finding engaged subscribers who look forward to your messaging is a great way to generate consistent sales and make your business recession-proof.

5. The Right Marketing Advice and Strategy

Is it a little self-serving of us to say good online marketing advice is worth more than what you pay for? Maybe, but it also happens to be true. When you have a team of experienced professionals nudging you in the right direction, it’s easier to get results while avoiding common blunders. This is especially true at a time when many of your competitors are probably scrambling around trying to figure out their next steps.

How COVID-19 Changed Business Forever

It’s easy to say that COVID-19 has changed virtually every aspect of life in the past nine months. However, while some temporary measureslike social distancing, mask-wearing, and avoiding public gatheringswill probably fade away, some other changes will be permanent.

In our business, it’s easy to see how the pandemic emphasized the importance of having a strong website. Even though some entrepreneurs will be anxiously waiting for things to go back to “normal,” we think many of the shifts are irreversible. In other words, all the reasons your website was critically important to your company in 2020 will continue into the future. That’s because we were already moving towards a digital-first business landscape.

As a full-service agency, we deal with everything: print ads, branding, package design, and digital strategies. But this year has been all about online business. The internet has been critically important to marketers for years, of course, but current circumstances have shown what is possible and accelerated a trend that was already in motion.

What does this mean for you and your business going forward? Let’s look at a few things that are already becoming apparent…

Your Website is the Primary Point of Contact for Your Business

In many ways, your website is your most important piece of real estate, your best employee, and your biggest source of referrals all in one. That’s because it can be seen and interacted with by many times more visitors than you, your building, or all of your employees combined. That’s especially true if you’re using search engine optimization and social media to their fullest powers.

When you have a strong website in place it enhances your credibility. It’s easier for people to trust you, and to understand the unique advantages of your products or services. In order to gain these benefits, though, your website has to actually be impressive. It also helps if you can use interactive toolslike online chat and real-time social media feedsto engage visitors from the first moment they arrive.

It’s Not Just about Looks Anymore

Although we are in the “business web design” industry, we recognize that term has become something of a misnomer. That’s because the design (or aesthetics) of a website are no longer the primary or only consideration. What you can do with your pages is just as important as the way they look.

We’ve already mentioned the big benefits that come with using online chat to engage with visitors directly in real-time. What we have also seen this year is that ecommerce plugins, online scheduling tools, and video training modulesto name just a fewcan all make a website more valuable. These kinds of features boost revenue, save money, and make it more convenient for customers to do business with you.

COVID-19 Will Pass but Digital Business is Here to Stay

Speaking of decreased costs and increased revenue, it’s important to remember that bottom-line considerations have been driving business website upgrades for many years. There are a lot of business owners out there who only made changes to their websites out of necessity in 2020. Now that they’ve seen the benefits, though, they won’t be going back.

There aren’t many silver linings to the struggles we have seen in 2020. However, it’s never a bad thing when entrepreneurs and executives can discover lasting ways to find customers or save money. That’s why it’s a safe bet that the “new normal” of relying on business websites is going to be with us even as the pandemic stops being an ongoing concern.

How Closely Should You Copy a Competitor’s Website?

Judging by the phone calls and in-person meetings we sit through, there is a certain level of ice cold dread that comes with finding out a close competitor has launched a new website. It’s not hard to understand why. Who would enjoy the thought of another company having a powerful tool to steal their customers?

Because things like income and prestige are squarely on the line, many business owners and executives will want to take immediate action when a competitor steps up to the plate. Specifically, they’ll inquire about copying certain parts of another website they have seen and liked. But is this a good idea?

Before we answer this question, let us point out that you’re always going to have competitors and it’s easy to over-react. When you see something new or interesting in your industry, try to look at it the way a customer would. Is the other company doing something valuable, or just vaguely interesting?

Once you have that mindset in place, you’re ready to come back to the original question: how closely should you copy a competitor’s website? To help you find the right answer, let’s go through a quick series of ideas…

Figure Out What You Like

Often, when a business owner tells us they “really liked” a competitor’s website, it turns out they actually appreciate a single feature or design point. This is important because you shouldn’t go and duplicate big parts of a strategy when you are actually enamored with a small part of it. It can be difficult to separate the various elements when you’re first looking at them, so break the website down into pieces and try to identify specific traits that you find engaging.

Separate Features from Gimmicks

Remember, the goal is to think like a customer. Often, the things we see on competitors’ websites seem fascinating to us as marketers but deliver very little in terms of payoff for customers. It’s important to be able to separate what is shiny from what is useful. Otherwise you could end up adding things to your website that get in the way of your success rather than adding to it.

Find Out What’s Feasible and Profitable

Suppose you determine there are elements of your competitor’s website that you really are fond of, and feel like your best customers would be impressed with. The next step is to find out whether you can add them to your own site legally, feasibly, and profitably. You certainly can’t copy word for word, but you might be able to add your own version of an app or a downloadable report. Talk to your web design team and figure out what makes sense in the context of your existing site or a redesigned page.

Put Your Own Spin and Improvement on the Idea

Rather than just copying something your competitors have done, why not take the next stepone most business owners and executives missand see if you can improve on the idea? Look for ways to put the unique spend on what your competitors have done or make it more engaging and valuable. Often this kind of brainstorming leads to groundbreaking innovations.

Get More Proactive about Web Design

Finally, regardless of whether you institute some version of your competitor’s idea or not, don’t settle for simply following their lead. Sit down with your web design team and internal staff and see if there are more ideas you can come up with that go beyond what is currently available in the market. Look for ways to give extra value to your customer base. The more often you do this the easier it will become to have the competition following you instead of needing to worry about catching up to them.

Ready to Start Leading the Pack in Your Market?

Far too many business owners feel as if they are simply following the herd online rather than leading the pack. If you want to have a website that gets your competitors worried about what they should be doinginstead of the other way aroundthen it’s time to get serious about thinking outside the box.

How to Make Complex Website Development Projects Simpler

Taking on complex web development projects—websites with hundreds of pages, unique apps, and digitized content—can be daunting. Not only are there the normal technical and creative aspects to get past, but the sheer volume of the work can present logistical challenges. Additionally, big web design jobs usually have multiple personalities involved at the decision-making level.

Given all of these factors, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a lot of complex web development jobs tend to take longer than expected and go well beyond their initial budgets.

That certainly doesn’t have to be the case, though. Today, we want to outline a handful of steps you can take—in conjunction with your web design and development partner—to make complex web design projects simpler, smoother, and more efficient…

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Why a DIY Website Costs More Than You Think

Lately, we have been hearing from potential clients who want to know whether they really need to pay for professional business web design when there are so many DIY website templates available at little or no cost. Why hire a web designer or creative team when you could build and host your own pages for just a few dollars per month?

The simple answer is that DIY web templates end up costing you more than you might think.

In this case, we aren’t talking about the add-on expenses you might face while getting your website online, although you do need to look out for those. Neither are we referring to the lack of customization, the extra coding that will be hidden in your pages, or the fact that you might not own the resulting website if you use a DIY service? These all factor into the value of one solution versus another, but they shouldn’t be your primary concern.

In fact, to understand why DIY websites cost a lot more than advertised, you just have to grasp something a little more basic…

Business Web Design Comes Down to One Thing

Although it’s easy to focus on things like layouts, content management systems, and SEO plans when thinking about business web design, those are just details. Your main concern should be earning a positive return on investment through the project.

In other words, the point of your business website is to help your business grow. It’s true that it needs to look good and function correctly for that to happen, but you should never lose sight of the fact that the website’s sales, marketing, and cost-cutting power are what make it so valuable.

With a DIY website template, you’re getting the appearance of a custom website without any of the underlying benefits—like a unique design, messaging that appeals to your customers, and plugins tailored to your business model—that actually help you generate results. It’s the online equivalent of spray painting something gold and hoping it will suddenly have great value.

The Math of DIY vs. Professional Web Design

To understand how this dynamic plays out and affects your bottom line, we can turn to some simple numbers. Imagine for a moment that your business website receives 100 unique visits per week. That would be very low for the clients we would work with. But, it makes the math easy, so we’ll stick with that figure.

100 visits each week turns into 5,000+ opportunities to make an impression on new customers roughly every 12 months. If 1% of your traffic converts after visiting your custom website, that’s only 50 new customers per year. You’ll pay more long term versus what you would spend with a website design team. A proper web design team will help boost your PR, recruit, and much more.

The average client might see 10 times the traffic to their website, of course, and get 10 times the return. But the simple math helps put the costs of a custom web design in perspective… along with the risks of a DIY template.

Do You Want a Business Website That Pays for Itself?

Your website and online presence is your investment. The cost won’t matter as long as you are receiving a positive ROI. Websites take time, skill, and money. Don’t build a DIY website on your own. Put your investment to better use when working with our web design team. We help you achieve the positive result you’re looking for. Any money you invest that isn’t getting you positive results is money wasted.

 

If you found this article helpful, check out our similar blog on website diy templates

3 Things That Make A New Web Design Work

For most business owners and executives, it’s relatively easy to look at work folio samples or website mockups and find a preference. Most of us know what we like and don’t like when we see it. However, getting an effective website for your company isn’t as simple as choosing the right layout or visuals. If you really want your site to help you make money, you need a design that actually works.

What do we mean by “works” in this context? We are referring to the idea that, in addition to appealing to your artistic instincts, the look and layout of your website help you to meet your business goals. Or to put it another way: if your site isn’t drawing in visitors, convincing them of your competitive strengths, and turning them into sales opportunities, then why have it online in the first place?

With that perspective in place, let’s take a look at three things that make a new web design work…

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3 Web Design Difference-makers You Can’t Overlook

A lot of business owners don’t realize that it truly can be the little things that make all the difference when it comes to establishing a strong and profitable website design and presence. Items like layouts, logos, and headlines are important, but many of our clients tend to overlook a few special touches that can help them gain an edge over their competitors.

Here are three web design difference-makers to consider to make the most of your business website and web value…

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