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Keeping Small Business Website Design Simple

Website Design & Development

Less is more. The popularity of simple design is now seen in website design. Outlined below are key simple designs: 1. Grid Based Design Grid based designs are clean. Clients love grid based designs because they project organized content. This may mean less get ups regarding design, but it is an effective reach towards usability. In the end, that is the goal – easy website navigation to turn prospect customers into buyers. 2. Creative Typography Typography is the foundation of a good web design. It is the only design aspect that conveys a message as well. But, there are a few typography blunders to watch out for. First, do not put too much different typography. It is important to maintain consistency in the tone and theme of the website. Keep the different fonts to a few to get a unified look. 3. Whitespace With Bold Color Accents It’s the new design classic, 95% black & white and 5% color. It makes the designer’s job simpler because there is less fuss to be created and more content to be highlighted. The amount of whitespace must be gargantuan to give the website room to breathe. 4. Hierarchy: Direct Attention on The Main Element Websites need an organized hierarchy. What should the most attention-grabbing aspect be? How should the site lead the visitors to the call to action pitch? Should the company logo be the main face of the website or should it be in type? There must be a simple flow of elements that is effective in converting visitors to buyers. Messages, graphic, themes should be simple and very few but very powerful in asserting the brand of the company and the message that must be conveyed. What Next At Milkshake-factory, we are on a mission to make your small business marketing hassle free. You will find a lot of articles on our blog that can help you gain insight in the world of digital marketing. We hope these are going to be useful to you and we also look forward to your feedback on what else would you like to learn to help you to grow your small business. Consider hiring Milkshake-factory, complete marketing solutions, for all your marketing needs, contact us for a FREE...

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How The Cloud Can Improve Small Business Profits?

Brand Identity

There has been a lot of buzz about “going into the cloud” and what it can do for small business. But what can it o for me? Cloud services help save money and increase profits by shifting what would otherwise be costly or time consuming tasks – think buying, installing and maintaining your own servers plus the software running on them — to a third-party. In essence, it is outsourcing on the virtual level. Rather than add a new server or hire additional tech support for a growing business, you may be able to get the job done using a cloud service. Popular cloud services go beyond simply storing files and offer a variety of business solutions: Dropbox – A popular cloud storage service, Dropbox allows you to store files and then sync them to a variety of devices OfficeTime – Track billable hours and generate invoices Salesforce – Helps businesses manage customer accounts and leads. Also provides reporting and analytics as well as marketing services What Next At Milkshake-factory, we are on a mission to make your small business marketing hassle free. You will find a lot of articles on our blog that can help you gain insight in the world of digital marketing. We hope these are going to be useful to you and we also look forward to your feedback on what else would you like to learn to help you to grow your small business. Consider hiring Milkshake-factory, complete marketing solutions, for all your marketing needs, contact us for a FREE...

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Best Practices In Getting Your Content Right

Content Marketing

As with any small business, it’s important to create a solid strategy and to employ best practices. We have outlined tips for small businesses to follow content marketing best practices: 1. Clearly define your target audience Know exactly for whom you’re developing content. Develop specific personas, such as a working mother in her mid-30s who lives in the suburbs — to inspire whatever you create. 2. Optimize with relevant keywords Start by doing your keyword research. Know which keywords you want your content to be found for in Google searches. Then use those keywords in your content to attract targeted traffic from search engines. For example, if you wanted to be found for the keyword phrase best milkshake drink, you could create a YouTube video on the topic and use the phrase in the video’s title and description. 3. Link your Google+ profile Anyone who creates online content should have a Google+ profile linked to the site on which they post content. This helps the content rank higher in Google search results. 4. Develop content your audience cares about To get content ideas, use the Google Adwords Keyword tool to understand what people are searching for. Also, read questions on topics relevant to your business posted on Yahoo Answers and other answer sites. 5. Make your content easy to share The more that people share your content over social networks, the greater your chances are of attracting new, targeted customers. Always add Facebook Like buttons next to your content, as well as icons for sharing on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Stumble Upon and other social sites. 6. Put a business hook in your content If you’re not putting some kind of potential hook to future business into your efforts, you’re not content marketing. 7. Make your customer a hero Develop useful content that will help your target customer solve a problem or answer an important question 8. Create an editorial calendar for content and share it with your sales people This helps them know when a video, white paper or other piece of content goes live, so they can share it with prospects. You might also get your sales team’s advice in creating an editorial calendar. 9. Repurpose content You could turn a webinar you recently conducted might into a downloadable PDF whitepaper, or turn portions of it into a podcast series. You might think about expanding a blog post into a YouTube video, and an infographic might serve as the foundation for a blog post. 10. Be timely When possible, develop content that tackles questions or concerns your customers have right now. Look to see what’s trending in Google News, on Twitter and on other social media for ideas. 11. Track and measure Use Google Analytics, Facebook engagement data and other information to see how your content performs. Look for new visitors to your site from a particular piece of content you’ve posted elsewhere (such as a YouTube video), the number of page views and leads generated from your content and the volume of social shares, among other metrics. What Next At Milkshake-factory, we are on a mission to make your small business marketing hassle free. You will find a lot of articles on our blog that can help you gain insight in the world of digital marketing. We hope these are going...

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High Rate Website Traffic And Lead Generation

Content Marketing

People are deluged with a surplus of content and data daily. Relevant, information-rich content will always be appreciated by your website visitors. Always aim to be helpful and provide your audience with informative content, which can be put into action to solve challenges. Do not waste your time creating content that no one will care to read. There are certain types of content that readers are more likely to share on social media by tapping into these trends will boost your website traffic, lead generation and conversion, and your online influence. Highly sharable content includes: 1.  Content breadth and depth. 2.  It covers real-time, relevant issues or news. 3.  It includes captivating images. 4.  Its titles are actionable, concise, clear, descriptive, authoritative and intriguing. 5.  Highly shareable content includes compelling and entertaining infographics. 6.  It conveys fresh, original thinking. 7.  It covers hot industry news topics a la newsjacking. 8.  It is not solely focused on pushing products or services. 9.  Highly shareable content is free of spelling errors, typos and grammatical flaws. 10.  It is visually attractive and presented in an organized fashion. Stay up-to-date with what is trending on Twitter and LinkedIn Today. Explore Topsy to discover the most popular content, sorted by topic shared on Twitter and the internet as a whole. Use Klout to uncover the most influential content creators in your industry. Post your content on the big four social networks—Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Strategic content marketing can amplify SEO, seriously increase website traffic, expand your reach, and prompt higher lead generation and conversion.  Highly shareable content could even get you recognized as an industry thought leader. What Next At Milkshake-factory, we are on a mission to make your small business marketing hassle free. You will find a lot of articles on our blog that can help you gain insight in the world of digital marketing. We hope these are going to be useful to you and we also look forward to your feedback on what else would you like to learn to help you to grow your small business. Consider hiring Milkshake-factory, complete marketing solutions, for all your marketing needs, contact us for a FREE...

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Using LinkedIn For Lead Generation

Social Media

Have you started to use LinkedIn for lead generation? if not, you’re missing out on a great way to drum up business. Below are some great tips on how you can easily use LinkedIn to generate quality leads for your small business. Tip 1. Creating a captivating LinkedIn company page LinkedIn allows you to build a company page which showcases who you are and what your business is about. You can use your page to explain your brand and build a brand narrative to be proud of. You can also post status updates and share content that’s valuable to your prospects. Tip 2. Use recommendations to build your credibility Testimonials are some of the most powerful aspects to build credibility. You can get recommendations not just for yourself but also for all of your products or solutions. Tip 3. Taking advantage of the “Who Viewed Your Profile” feature You might have noticed that LinkedIn shares notifications with you when someone “has viewed your profile”. Tip 4. Taking part in groups Playing an active role in groups can be a great way to develop quality leads. Some of them have between ten and hundreds of thousands of members who contribute to debate and publish updates. You can tap into this group of highly targeted prospects by posting thought leading updates. Think of them as a social network within a social network. Tip 5. Building a LinkedIn group of your own You can control the flow and direction of the discussion on your group. You get the chance to send a weekly announcement to all the members in your group. If your group becomes popular and highly active, that is effectively an email list you can target with your desired messages and special offers. Tip 6. Advertising using LinkedIn ads LinkedIn offers the chance to target specific groups of business people via their PPC platform. As you can imagine, it’s highly targeted and you can drill down based on industry, company size, location, job title and more. You can even target particular groups and choose the time of day for your ads to be shown. Tip 7. Invitations to connect Growing your presence and your connections on LinkedIn is a great way to get you and your brand noticed. It pays to get into the habit of connecting with a new contact after an interaction. The more people you are connected with, the wider your messages will spread. What Next At Milkshake-factory, we are on a mission to make your small business marketing hassle free. You will find a lot of articles on our blog that can help you gain insight in the world of digital marketing. We hope these are going to be useful to you and we also look forward to your feedback on what else would you like to learn to help you to grow your small business. Consider hiring Milkshake-factory, complete marketing solutions, for all your marketing needs, contact us for a FREE...

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5 Easy Tips To Manage Your Website

Website Design & Development

Small businesses need to be able to communicate their brand values and unique selling points successfully on a great website, and an engaging and easy-to-use website is key this. Here are five tips for creating and maintaining a successful website at an affordable cost: Tip 1. Get your website to reflect your core values As a business you need to identify the company’s core brand values before attempting to design the website. It is vital that these values are reflected in your online presence while at the same time ensuring the website meets the needs of your target audience. Everything you do or say sends a message: what you write and how you interact with clients influences the user, so you need to make sure your website mirrors your brand and its key messages. Tip 2. Use engaging and quirky methods to engage  By introducing more visual media such as video and music, users are more likely to spend longer on the site. Online video is simple and inexpensive to develop yet it is still considered by many as high-tech and so is an easy way to make your website look more professional while gaining an edge on your competitors. Tip 3. Choose the right images that are simple and yet create maximum impact When deciding which images to use there is five things to consider: –       Purpose: what is the image for? –       Tone: it’s not what you say it’s how you say it –       Audience relevance: does your audience relate to the image? –       Timeliness: how new is new? –       Uniqueness: is your image one of a kind? One of the most common misconceptions about photography copyright is a tendency to believe that if a photo is published online it is part of the public domain. However, no matter where they are posted, images remain bound by copyright. To use photos that can be found online, you need to have consent of the author of the image. Images need to be kept simple but clear and highlight what you want to say. Packing out your website with visuals makes it harder for the user to read the important facts. As a result, they can obscure your message rather than supporting it. Images need to be there for at-a-glance comprehension. Tip 4. Update the site regularly to show that the brand is active Creating quality content on a regular basis is the most effective way to attract and retain website traffic. By providing new information on existing web pages customers will be more willing to spend time reading your content. An active website boosts your search rankings. Search engines such as Google look much more favourably on websites with up-to-date and relevant content, so this is imperative to get onto the all-important first page of the Google results. One of the best ways to bring more content to your site is to have a blog. Sharing your expert knowledge can be a great way to add content and provide additional value on your website. Other ways could be simply changing some of the featured images and graphics throughout your site to make it feel fresh and revived. Doing this every few weeks can peek interest and allow returning visitors to explore other parts of your website they may not have explored. What Next At Milkshake-factory, we are on a mission to make your small business marketing hassle free. You will find...

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How Do I Get Brand Advocates?

Brand Identity

A relationship between a small business and a customer who promotes brand loyalty, brand love, and brand advocacy is something we all aim to achieve as small business owners. Finding and leveraging a partnership with your brand’s advocates is one of the best ways to spread positive word of mouth. Below are some simple pointers how you can get brand advocates. Tip 1. Who do you think your consumers trust the most in your small business? Customers no longer trust officials, CEO’s, and institutions. Tip 2. Who do my customers trust? Consumers trust their friends, people they can relate to. It is one of the reasons why social media and review sites like Yelp continue to grow. People want to know what other people think, not what companies want them to think. This brings us to why advocates are so important.  Advocates want to tell all of their friends why your product or service is amazing. And advocates want to spread this news to as many people as they can. Tip 3. What are the characteristics of an advocate? Advocates have positive feelings about your brand. Advocates actively love your brand by frequently talking about it and openly sharing their experiences. And here is something very important: advocates also have a want and need to influence others. What Next Empower your advocates to speak for your brand, defend your brand and mold your brand! Never make your advocates feel like they are being used. Be authentic and develop a relationship that is mutually beneficial. It is up to your brand to identify these advocates and then mobilize them. At Milkshake-factory, we are on a mission to make your small business marketing hassle free. You will find a lot of articles on our blog that can help you gain insight in the world of digital marketing. We hope these are going to be useful to you and we also look forward to your feedback on what else would you like to learn to help you to grow your small business. Consider hiring Milkshake-factory, complete marketing solutions, for all your marketing needs, contact us for a FREE...

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Starting Your Small Business Online Checklist

Website Design & Development

Identify your market So you’ve got an idea and a product/service. Now it’s time to start thinking about who you are planning to sell to. This should help you to decide some of the fundamentals for your website, such as the localisations and designs you will be using. Set realistic budgets This is core to the success of your online business. Good web design and online marketing professionals aren’t cheap and cutting corners with companies offering their services for next to nothing is an accident waiting to happen. Pick the right domain name Getting your domain name right is a very important step, because once you have it you can do a lot of damage by changing it later. You need to ensure that it fits the brand, is easy to spell, as well as avoiding confusing words such as ‘dot’ or ‘dash’. Get your design right Choosing the look and feel of your site can be one of the toughest elements to get right because you need to ensure that usability and functionality aren’t distracted by pretty designs that don’t lead to sales. Search engine optimisation (SEO) Ensuring that your target market can find your site is essential to making your new business work and SEO is core to that. Doing this right from the start is essential to your site’s long-term visibility. Pay per click (PPC) Through effective PPC you can make sure that your target market see ads for your products for all relevant searches. Making sure you are running a competitive Ad campaign can be the making of an online business. Social media Social networks such as Google+, Facebook and Twitter are integral parts in the online business machine, allowing you to engage with your audience and attract new customers. Ensure you secure your brand name early for these. Brand protection Securing as many social profiles with your brand name as possible is important because this should ensure that you dominate the first page of search results, as well as protecting yourself against malicious use of your brand name. Pick the right host You really do get what you pay for here, and to make sure your site remains live at all times and loads as fast as possible you need to pick the most reliable host for your site. Maintenance and getting the right content management system (CMS) Once live, it’s a certainty that your site will need maintenance. Finding the best developer to handle the technical stuff and getting the best CMS for you is very important. What Next Don’t forget to go back and revisit your older content to share it. Maybe you had a popular blog post that’s a few months old. It’s ok to tweet that again with a new message, especially if it’s content that supports your current inbound marketing campaign. At Milkshake-factory, we are on a mission to make your small business marketing hassle free. You will find a lot of articles on our blog that can help you gain insight in the world of digital marketing. We hope these are going to be useful to you and we also look forward to your feedback on what else would you like to learn to help you to grow your small business. Consider hiring Milkshake-factory, complete marketing solutions, for all your marketing needs, contact us for...

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Tips To Amplify Your Reach

Brand Identity

Tip 1. Put social sharing and follow buttons on all of your collateral Ensure your social follow and share buttons are easy to find on your content assets. It makes it easier for your audience to take that next step to follow you or share your content much easier! Tip 2. Consider the time of day you post on social media The time of day you post on social media totally affects engagement. Find out what times of day are best for your audience. Tip 3. Tailor your content to the social network & specific personas Every social network is a little bit different. It’s easier for people to see a visual than it is on Twitter — and same goes for Google+. LinkedIn, however, might benefit from a link to a more in-depth content asset, pulling in a snippet from the content itself. Treat the content you post there accordingly so it resonates with that audiences, and is more likely to spread. Tip 4. Respond frequently to your fans and followers One of the best ways to grow your audience is by fostering a chatty community. Why? Because the more your entire follower-base communicates publicly, the more exposure your social presence receives. Post content people want to talk about, and foster the conversation with your own responses, too. Tip 5. Keep your social media profiles up to date Stay current, stay active, and most of all, mix it up a bit so people have a reason to come back! Keeping people on their toes not only helps prevent fan/follower churn, it gives new people a reason to both share and follow your profiles, too. Tip 6. Target your audience through paid advertising Social networks have really upped their game of late with their paid advertising options. Facebook, in particular, has done a great job improving their segmentation capabilities so brands that have a little money to spend can increase their reach. If you have some budget, consider running some paid ads that encourage more fans and followers. Tip 7. Newsjack on social media Newsjacking refers to the practice of riding the popularity wave of a current event for some business gain. If something’s incredibly popular, be the first person to talk about it in social media. What Next Don’t forget to go back and revisit your older content to share it. Maybe you had a popular blog post that’s a few months old. It’s ok to tweet that again with a new message, especially if it’s content that supports your current inbound marketing campaign. At Milkshake-factory, we are on a mission to make your small business marketing hassle free. You will find a lot of articles on our blog that can help you gain insight in the world of digital marketing. We hope these are going to be useful to you and we also look forward to your feedback on what else would you like to learn to help you to grow your small business. Consider hiring Milkshake-factory, complete marketing solutions, for all your marketing needs, contact us for a FREE...

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LinkedIn Startup Tools To Generate Leads

Social Media

It doesn’t matter if you’re an employee or a business owner, a freelancer or a marketer within a company, LinkedIn is the largest professional network for working people. There are over 200 million active and engaged members on LinkedIn. People typically visit LinkedIn with a purpose to make connections, gain insights about their industry and anything that can help them get smarter. LinkedIn Tools To Help Generate Leads Studies have shown that it takes someone 7 exposures to you before they really start to pay attention, listen and determine whether it makes sense to take the next step. Position yourself as a thought leader. Your main goal is to aim to be consistently visible and valuable. Look where you are building influence with your network and niche. It’s the right thing to do when it comes to attracting leads and people for your business. The smarter you are about marketing, the less people realize you are marketing to them. LinkedIn Today is a great way to quickly find content that is relevant to your target market and be able to share it on LinkedIn. You’ll find out the benefits of using these rich status updates to stay top of mind. It’s really important to keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date. The more people see you on LinkedIn, the more they are likely to come and check out your profile to learn more about you. And if that person is relevant and potentially interested in your business, they may click through to your blog or website and take the relationship from there. Another great LinkedIn tool to consider is Groups. If you spend time in group discussions, you have the opportunity to connect with mutual group members whom you might not necessarily know. As you get to know some of the members in the group, you can send them an invitation to connect with you. Small Business Owners Should Use LinkedIn To Find Leads First of all, it’s important to build a rich personal profile on LinkedIn. You need your prospective clients and customers to be able to understand what you do without using any fancy terminology. A lead generation process that works really well is: Build a great personal profile. Share interesting, valuable, helpful content with your network. Be consistently visible and stay top of mind. It’s not about selling. You have to educate and provide great information. The Process Of Growing Your Network If your goal is to generate business and leads on LinkedIn, you need to think about growing your connections. There are many different ways to connect, from meeting people offline to connecting with them on Facebook or Twitter. Think about peers in your industry, clients, prospective clients, community leaders, —anybody you may know and have a good reason to be connected with. Getting The Most Out Of LinkedIn Open rates for InMail on LinkedIn are greater than open rates for typical email marketing collateral. InMail gives you the ability to send a direct message to any member of LinkedIn, regardless of whether you are connected to them. The response rates on these are high. But remember, you’ve got to have a good reason to connect. It can’t be just a sales pitch. What To Avoid On LinkedIn Be thoughtful in the way you promote your own content. Also, you need to...

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