social media

I Think You’re Under-Complicating This! The DIY Website Dilemma.

Building a DIY website is tempting. But before you embark on this journey, please read my take on this seemingly inexpensive road.

For the moment, the internet is a very chic place to hang out. Your social life is at your fingertips and your spending craves are satisfied in seconds. From job searches to social media groups chatting about cat hair-dos… it all seems so delightful. But, as we all have experienced, these highly-public tubes are often complicated to navigate, filled with icky bugs, viruses, hackers, thieves and dark roads that should not be traveled.

Websites, on the other hand, are private and controllable. Having your own website is like having a kingdom surrounded by high walls to protect all the bustling things going on inside. It’s all yours and as a website owner, you can climb your highest tower and shout to the whole world who you are, what you do and why everything will be perfect when they shower money on your business. No one can shout back unless you want them to. The only thing they can do is leave; a DIY website owner’s very worst nightmare.

Learning to build websites is a full-time job (and you already have one)

We love building business websites. It’s an honest living that helps entrepreneurs and business owners boast proudly about what they offer. Or what they sell. And, as our chosen profession, learning how to build intelligently was well worth the time as now we are building many of them. Because of our education in the field, we can face ourselves in the mirror each morning and call ourselves professional website designers without cringing.

Think about it. How much time have you spent learning new things in your lifetime? I don’t know about you, but everything I know had to be learned, by me, first. No one else has ever offered to learn things for me so if I want to stay relevant, and competitive, the learning will never end.

Now, for most of we humanoids, the learning process is exciting and makes us feel happy and accomplished. It’s an endorphin thing but, because there are so many things to learn within our own field of interest, it might be wise to let others handle certain tasks. This is especially true when something only has to be done once or twice, like sewing a wedding outfit… or building a website.

Things you will forget when building your own website

The inbound marketing methodology, which today is widely seen as the best way to find new customers on the internet, requires that every business has a “really good website destination”. Websites are the hub of successful internet marketing. They are usually the first and last stop before making a big purchase or commitment. It’s the place where we make up our minds to spend our hard-earned money.

There are many little pieces that go into building a good website and doing a good job on these individual elements, such as content writing or picking visuals, is extremely important. But making sure that all these elements function holistically, and show up at the right time to convince a customer, is a tricky proposition and takes experience.

This careful placement and timing will determine how well a website will look, feel, react, interact, inspire, motivate, and, finally, close the deal. So, why is it that so many businesses still turn to their newest, least experienced employees and tell them to go build a website on GoDaddy or Wix?

Why do some business owners try to do it themselves?

DIY website businesses think they are saving money. Really?

I get it. It’s tempting to tell a bored intern to “go build us a website”. Young people must be technical geniuses, right? Well, they might be, but without a solid understanding of website strategy, the kid might actually put up a website that chases customers away.

Then there’s the entrepreneur who enjoys the challenge of learning new things. But when it comes to IP addresses, domain names, pings, hosting packages, registrars without phone support and server crashes, the thrill might be short-lived. Getting a link to actually go somewhere is an amazing high, but understanding the psychology behind a visitor’s click, or figuring out why everything on your mobile device version is gigantic, can be frustrating and a complete waste of precious, entrepreneurial time.

When it comes to websites, “okay” is a four letter word

There is no getting around it—a website built by an amateur will look amateurish. With mobile-responsive designs and ever more elaborate desktop layouts there is too much that can go wrong, too much to troubleshoot, and too much at stake to settle on a website that’s just okay. Is “good enough” how you think about the rest of your business?

We seem to do our best work for companies that are not startups. They typically have 5-50 employees, know who their customers are and have solid, achievable long-term goals. If you’ve been in business for a few years and aren’t still bootstrapping your budget from the change jar, don’t waste your valuable time on something you know nothing about.

Invest in a professional website designer and leave the minutia to the pros. You won’t regret it.

Save your valuable time and money! Call Chroma Sites Today.

Say Goodbye to Worthless Social Media Groups

I just love joining new social media groups, especially on LinkedIn. It’s so exciting to see all those new faces. So, imagine my own sad face when I realized that I had reached my LinkedIn groups limit of… 50? !

What’s up with that? Why would LinkedIn, the preferred business social media platform for millions, not let people join more than 50 groups, especially when Facebook allows us to join up to 6,000?

In any case, it’s time to bite the bullet and detach myself from a bunch of dead-beat social media groups that I don’t benefit from anymore. That’s what I have to do if I want to grow my network and find referrals and customers that are a good match for my business.

Time to Weed!

Experienced gardeners purchase mulch by the truckload and pile it onto their flower beds 6 inches deep. Mulch suffocates the weeds so they can’t, in turn, suffocate the classy flowers. Unfortunately, we can’t just pour mulch over our LinkedIn social media groups and expect our clutter to magically disappear without putting serious thought into which ones are worthwhile and which ones are not.

Here are a few questions that helped me decide which LinkedIn groups to leave:

  • Which groups do I rarely visit?
    Make a list of all these groups and then leave them.
  • Which groups don’t I participate in?
    Unless you really want them to show in your profile, leave any groups you do not participate in.
  • Which groups are dominated by one or two people?
    This was true for a lot of my groups. These groups are worthless unless the participants are true thought leaders in your industry.

(Be patient because LinkedIn only allows members to quit groups one at a time.)

My only other exception to these quitting rules are social media groups that tout good causes, like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and The Jimmy Fund. I will keep my memberships in these because I support their causes and want to learn all I can.

Time to Replant!

As I was deciding which groups to leave, I have to admit that I may have joined a lot of these groups for some pretty shallow reasons…

  • how many people were in the group (popularity)
  • whether or not the group had a pretty logo (visual appetite)
  • I got invitations from people I didn’t know (ego)

Not terribly effective ways to choose groups.

Choosing LinkedIn Groups that Matter to Me

With these wrong reasons for joining still in my head, it should be much easier to find new groups that will help me. Here’s the criteria that I will use…

  • the group must be relevant to my business… and therefore me
  • I can visualize myself participating intelligently
  • it will have active and current posts by more than a few people
  • my expertise will stand out from the crowd

With social media being such a big part of business networking these days, it’s important to be thoughtful about which groups will produce the highest-quality referrals, and maybe even some customers…

And, now that I have used my own advice to break up with a bunch of groups, I’ve also decided to take it slow and only re-add one group per month at the most. I think it makes sense, for me, to participate with depth… instead of trying to be all things to all groups.

In any case, I’m down to 20 groups and it feels great!

6 Spooky Stats for Small Business Websites

Every so often, we like to take a look at our industry to see what’s going on. In honor of Halloween, here are a few scary statistics that are hellishly haunting.

1. More than half of all small businesses do not have a website.

Granted, there are a select few businesses that can probably get by with a simple presence on Facebook or Google+. It’s truly baffling though, how many companies do not recognize the massive market they’re missing without an actual website. If you’re among those naive souls, it’s time to take some action… and it’s probably less expensive than you think

2. 70% of small business websites have no call-to-action.

Ten years ago, websites were designed to be online brochures; informational, one-way pamphlets, used to tell people what you did. Today, they are so much more than that. Every square inch of a website needs to be designed with the sole intention of converting or interacting with your visitors. Calls-to-action are the driver that get people to do just that.

Also check out: Some tips to improve your website’s organization.

3. 27% of small business websites do not provide a phone number.

A huge percentage of your potential customers still prefer to pick up a phone and talk to someone. If you accept phone calls, your phone number has to be on your website. If it’s not… rest assured that your competitors will accept your could-have-been sales.

4. 56% of small businesses have no clue which of their marketing efforts are working.

You probably know how much you made last month, and you might know how much you spent on marketing, but more than half of you haven’t tied those two together. Marketing budgets make up a big chunk of small business expenses and it’s crazy to think that most of ’em have no idea if all that money is even worth it.

5. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those who don’t.

We’ve been preaching blogging for a very long time. Industry news, company events, fun editorials… blogs take many forms and are powerful tools. Internet marketing has been and always will be based around great, original content, and there’s no better way to publish than with a blog. If you’ve still got doubts about whether you have the time, know what to blog about, or whatever… consider how many leads you’re missing out on.

6. Google+ receives more monthly visits than Facebook.

For those of you that use social media to actively promote your business and engage your customers, my bet is that most of you don’t regularly do so through Google+. If I’m right, today’s the day to start. Google+ receives 1.2 billion visits per month compared to Facebook’s 809 million.

If your company made this list… don’t go having nightmares—these are all very fixable problems. Give us a call and we can help you find the best course of action and a solution that’s right for you.

Happy Halloween!

Stat sources:
https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/snap-out-of-it-the-surprising-basics-business-owners-are-ignoring/
http://www.yodle.com/company/press-releases/yodle-smb-sentiment-survey
https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/83-exceptional-social-media-marketing-statistics-2014-160016146.html

7 Professional Secrets to Help Capture New Website Leads

There is no better way to improve your website promotion and capture new leads than to follow what the professionals do for their clients. Here is a step by step guide to

1. Collect the information you need with a customized contact form.

Collect information from visitors with powerful contact forms.
  • Contact forms can go on any page or blog post on your website
  • Add custom fields and ask the questions you want
  • Validate email, phone, address and required fields
  • Receive submissions right in your email
  • Browse leads’ information within your website or export them to a spreadsheet
  • Add form submissions to your favorite CRM or email service automatically
  • Superpower your forms with optional auto-responders, conditional questions and calculators

2. Blogs are a great way to keep in touch with customers, prospects and new visitors.

Post news, events, opinions, promotions with a blog
  • Add relevant new content to improve your SEO
  • Post news, events, opinions, promotions… anything you like
  • Compose and update a blog post just like a page
  • Let your visitors interact and ask questions through comments
  • Encourage users to share your posts on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn
  • Transfer your existing blog posts, categories and comments

3. Adding pages and making changes to your website is easy and intuitive.

Edit and manage your content easily
  • Edit from anywhere in the world
  • No knowledge of HTML necessary
  • Add unlimited pages
  • Auto-save and revert to old revisions
  • Change and re-order menu items
  • Upload photos and videos right onto your pages
  • Build on WordPress – The world’s most popular CMS

4. Track your website visitors with Google Analytics integration.

Track and learn about your website visitors
  • The most popular website analytics tool on the planet
  • Track media promotions or ads in real-time
  • Find out where your visitors are in the world
  • Learn which pages your customers view the most and like the best
  • Compare blog posts and landing pages to determine which ones convert better
  • Analyze which sites your visitors come from and your best SEO keywords
  • Use your existing Google Analytics account or your own analytics software

5. Keep your website highly visible for Google, Bing and Yahoo! with SEO

Completely SEO ready websites
  • Include meta titles and descriptions on every page and post
  • Continual sitemap generation and automatic search engine submission
  • Search engine friendly URLs and search engine readable layouts
  • Fully customizable, for complete control of every blog post and every page
  • Optional on-site SEO audit and custom configuration available upon launch

6. Build-in Social Media integration with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the rest.

Interactive social media integration including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Visitors can follow you without leaving your website
  • Readers can easily Like, Tweet and Share your content to their own friends and followers
  • Opt for branded social media icons that match your website’s design
  • Add your real-time social media stream seamlessly into your website
  • Show visitors which of their friends already follow your business
  • Embed your favorite Facebook Posts and Tweets onto any page
  • More on how to integrate social media…

7. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and designed to look amazing on smartphones, tablets and desktops.

Mobile Responsive Design
  • Auto-adjusting layouts adapt to the device each of your visitors is using
  • Mobile optimized formatting for easy reading on any size screen
  • Optionally remove big images and photos for super-fast mobile viewing
  • Learn more about our mobile-friendly websites…

Check out why our websites are built for business.

Experimental Marketing: Outbound’s Out. Inbound’s In.

For businesses, the biggest advantage of having a website has always been the ability for customers to immediately access information about about a company, no matter where they are. To this day, no other medium allows businesses to broadcast their products and passions to such a large audience, in a way that matches their brand.

One of the biggest challenges, however, has been getting this great website content in front of the eyes of the people who want to see it. Outbound marketing techniques, such as advertising, continue to be one solution to this frustrating problem—but it’s far from a perfect answer. Costs continue to rise, managing a campaign is becoming ever more complicated, and without the proper understanding of analytics, ads still may not be finding the right people.

So where do leads come from (if not from advertising)?

Most ad campaigns are designed to seek out potential customers, but what if the customers were the ones seeking out companies? When you boil it down, that’s what inbound marketing is all about.

As web technology evolves, companies have more opportunities to be creative in their marketing efforts; Creative in ways that could have been potentially harmful to their brands just a few years ago.

Easy-to-change websites, ever-evolving search engines and widespread social media adoption now allow companies (both big and small) to run mini-campaigns that come with a whole slew of advantages.

Find marketing concepts that work.

Experimentation has always gone hand-in-hand with modern marketing. Nobody knows for sure what’s going to work well and what’s going to bomb miserably. An inbound marketing strategy lets you try new things to attract potential customers. By keeping a close eye on what people like most, you can hone the effectiveness of your entire marketing strategy. You can expand on the concepts that work best to bring in new customers… and ditch the ones that don’t.

Get to know new target markets.

Any good small business will have a pretty good idea who their target market is. However, this is typically based the market they’ve been able to sell to in the past. A creative inbound marketing campaign can expand that potential audience tremendously simply by measuring the interaction of each of their efforts. A new age of analytics for websites, email, social media and search make it easier than ever to figure out who’s interested in what, and more importantly, where you can find them.

Do it all for less.

@Hubspot, an undisputed guru on inbound marketing, recently published the results of their annual survey. They found that 54% more leads come from inbound efforts as opposed to outbound. This is particularly significant given the massive amounts of money being spent on traditional advertising (like TV, radio, billboards, print, etc). One of the most compelling reasons for a small business to practice inbound marketing techniques is the low overhead cost. But what’s even more valuable, as any good business knows, is a great return on that investment.

Inbound marketing allows even the smallest of companies to experiment like the big guys, without giant budgets and massive risk.

Can’t do it all on your own?

Take a peek at our all inclusive marketing packages.

Our New Marketing Packages: SEO On Steroids

This is big. Chroma Sites’ inbound marketing packages have new personalities… and they are bold.

Our packages are for any type of business and every size budget—but only one level of enthusiasm… HUGE!

How Do Chroma Sites Inbound Marketing Packages Work?

Our packages generate excitement for your business, a prime motivator that will get people to your website fast. Your visitors will already know that your business has what they want, need, or dream about… even before they get there.

Every month, we’ll help you pick a new topic to explore and broadcast to the world. Your ideas, catapulted by us, will have your competition’s head spinning and their customers running to your door.

Come meet our packages:
The Marketing Team, The Strategist, The Optimizer, The Socialite and The Blaster.

Learn more about what our marketing packages can do for your business!