Marketing & Social Media - WebSubstance - Web Design and Search Engine Marketing

Telling a Relatable Story


In the online marketing world, it's tough for companies to stand out. In many industries, competitors are elbow to elbow -- not only on the street, but also on the Internet, where millions of users type in the same keywords to look for product or service providers.

How Do You Beat These Online Marketing Blues?

In the earlier days, companies used strategies like keyword stuffing and detailed SEO page ranking implementations. They prayed their pay-per-click advertising that would pick up more web traffic than their competitors.

These days, more companies are investing in bigger, better and more professional websites to present a better face to their audiences. This can help a business to gain market share in its local community and reach out to a more distributed audience around the world.

Who Are You?

One of the big questions that anyone asks when they research a company online is 'who's behind this company? Where did it come from?' Of course, they're looking for what it's selling, as well -- which is why it's a good idea to have specific product pages and other technical information available to easily access on the site for these experienced shoppers. But beyond that, people want to have a sense of they are buying from, and what the company stands for.

Too many businesses shrug off this responsibility and talk to customers from behind a rather anonymous web portal. It's better, however, to see this as an opportunity to really get your message out and distinguish yourself from a flood of other businesses in your industry.

Building the Narrative

Some of the smartest online marketers know that personal narratives drive engagement and, ultimately, acquisition.

Think about a doctor who posts his or her bio on the provider website. Why would you do this? Why not just show what you're selling, explain treatment, and be done with it?

The reason is because the doctor's own personality and personal profile and philosophy of care are tied to what he or she is selling. You're not just selling a service -- you're selling that person's experience and skill and authority … and his or her bedside manner. Think about it -- what do people say when they pass on business recommendations through word-of-mouth? Do they talk about the products and services -- or do they talk more about the business owner?

So the next time you see a developed personal bio on a doctor's website, or you see a lot of really specific company history on a retailer's website, keep in mind this is a deliberate strategy that works out in that business's favor.

Want to Tell a Better Story for Your Business?

WebSubstance can help. We've extensive experience helping clients to innovate on the web. We can craft your business story that your prospects will love to read and share with others. Building relatable narratives for readers is a smart way to convert them as customers.  

73 Hits

What Do You Do?

It's a question that individual people ask each other at dinner parties, on the street or in any kind of informal meeting. But it's also something that web visitors ask companies every time they go online and eventually end up on a landing page.

People want to know what your business is about. From the very first mouse click they want to get a rough idea of products and services, as well as the philosophy of the business. They don't want to see a cryptic business name and some vague images -- they want real information so they can get about the business of making shopping choices.

Companies that understand this principle are well-positioned to do business on the Internet – which is the primary channel of business today. They invest in storytelling and narrative that makes a difference and set their websites up for success.

Don't Wait for "About Us"

One big trend that you'll see in web design today is that most landing pages have a concise and transparent summary of what a business is all about. It's essentially an elevator pitch, boiled down to its essentials and placed in a prominent spot where web-surfing eyes can see it.

The old strategy of doing a more elaborate presentation on an 'about us' page is pretty much dead. Companies have woken up to the idea that people aren't going to do a series of page navigations just to get to a basic description of a business. They're going to expect that upfront, so that they can choose how to navigate the site based on that information.

Smart Menus

Smart web design also extends to menu options. Instead of just tabs that say 'services' or 'products,' many companies are putting much more detailed labels on menu tabs in order to guide customers in a better way. Another related strategy is to actually put product images and specs in small, accessible boxes on the landing page -- that way there is another single-click strategy in place where companies can direct visitors straight to product information, or even to a shopping cart.

You'll see a lot of these trends in website content and design from the smart businesses on the internet. Some of these stuff might cost money, but other similar methods can be done on a shoestring budget.

At WebSubstance, we help our clients put together comprehensive web strategies that work. We understand how to get your message out to people quickly, and how to make your web footprint a more effective ambassador for your business. Ask us about everything related to your company website to get a new and improved outreach strategy in place and drive leads and profit. Let an established, professional agency of Northern Virginia help you touch up your website, and you'll see the positive differences soon!

76 Hits

URL: Why Does It Matter for Your Business?

Lots of smart business leaders know that a website URL can have a big impact on customer response.

It's important to have a domain that is easy to spell, that sticks in the viewer's mind, and something that's easy to navigate to. But beyond that, there are other questions about domain name purchases that can get a bit more tricky.

The Traditional Generic Approach
Throughout the early days of the Internet, many companies chose to buy up Internet real estate that matched generic search terms. They wanted top-level domains that were roughly the same as their keywords. A soap company might purchase soap.com. A pencil company might purchase pencils.com. You get the idea.

This idea made sense for a while -- and some people still argue for it. But there are two strikes against the traditional system of picking generic URLs. One is that in these domains are getting harder to come by, because we're not in the early days of the Internet anymore. The second point has to do with specific market research that shows some companies can get further using a branding approach than they can with generic top-level domains.

Taking a Brand Path
A lot of SEO people and marketers would agree that the brand path is more difficult, at first.
Having a branded URL can require a bit more work. At first, the domain is more obscure.
However, what happens is that the branded domain forces the company to build muscle. The company has to supplement its core website with social media campaigns, e-mail marketing and more, all of which ties back toward the brand name. Slowly, over time, this builds more power into the site and people start looking for that brand name everywhere, including on the web.

The Case for Transparency
In a way, branded domain names allow companies to more clearly see who's looking for them, and why. Instead of getting floods of visitors who are just looking for a generic product, they are getting people who made a deliberate choice to see their site and view their products and look at their approach to their industry. All of this is valuable when the company is really making a commitment to building a better web footprint.

At WebSubstance, we understand that the slow branding approach can provide a much better foundation for a company. We work with our clients to develop a long term digital strategy and help them find the best way forward in web design and development -- and that includes the domain choices that they make, as well as the site structure, and the core elements as well. We take a comprehensive approach to helping our clients to succeed on the Internet, and bring state-of-the-art marketing practices to their brands, in order to drive better conversion and visibility over time.

162 Hits

Content Marketing for Local Business

At WebSubstance, we've often talked about how valuable good content marketing can be. We know that we want to inject excellent content into the structure of a corporate website. But how does this work?
Here are some of the aspects of creating great content that local businesses can use to compete in today's digital world.

Brainstorm Before Jumping In

Too many content projects start with a hastily written list of topics and a green light for a race to the finish line. We're not suggesting that writers need handholding -- but there should be some creative process serving the creation of valuable content. It shouldn't just be a keyword and a knee-jerk reaction. Planning is important, and that's why writers need to do a bit of research and understand what's needed for a particular client.

Go Companywide

It's also important to have content writers and creators connected to your local business as a whole. This might look different in any given company -- writers may be interviewing suppliers. They may be talking to internal department managers. They may even be talking to customers. All of this collaboration is useful when it comes to creating a vibrant content platform.

Get Sharing

It's also important to have a sharing program for content. For example, many companies now link content to Facebook either with short-form social media blurbs, or with an actual link to a blog post. This is just one model, and companies can feel free to innovate and brainstorm their way to sharing success. One rule of thumb is that it's not a good idea to try to ask content writers to post business  items on their personal Facebook pages. Instead, a dedicated business Facebook page can be a central way to get this social data out to customers. Having a sharing plan that’s equitable and well-supported can make a huge difference in readership and return on investment.
 
Test Content

When content is out in the world, local businesses can go further by quickly looking at the metrics, and figuring out what works. Did a certain post net an extremely high volume of traffic and spike your page views for the month? That's valuable data that so many companies overlook. Just a few minutes of analysis can make a huge difference in managing an editorial calendar to reach more customers on an ongoing basis.

Talk to WebSubstance about setting up a great content marketing programs for your business that works. We’re specialized in content marketing for local businesses in Northern Virginia and can take care of everything from the initial ideas to the quality finished content. Make your website more competitive in the age of organic search and thought leadership.

 

207 Hits

The Value of SoLoMo for Web Marketing

Maybe you haven't heard of the “SoLoMo” model, but it's all the rage these days when it comes to digital marketing practices.

SoLoMo isn't brand-new -- in fact, it's been around for few years. But it's still a good guideline for upgrading your marketing techniques and building modern webpages that lead your business toward success.

Linguistic experts call SoLoMo a “portmanteau” -- which is a fancy name for a collection of words abbreviated into their individual syllables. In the case of SoLoMo, the term combines the three words: social, local, and mobile.

Social Marketing

To many people, the value of social marketing is as evident as the nose on your face. We tend to think of Facebook first, just because it's such a primary social platform. It's not just because everybody uses it, either. Facebook started accommodating business with items like the Facebook Open Graph, and specific builds for business profiles. Now it's considered kind of negligent for small business to not have a Facebook page. The Facebook enterprise profile is also a great way to reach out to customers and offer coupons or discount deals. Many businesses tie the Facebook page into the website, for instance, posting blog posts on Facebook.

However, Facebook isn't the only social media platform that's very useful in digital marketing -- companies are flocking to LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and many other platforms to get their message across to target audiences.

Local Marketing

This one can be pretty straightforward, too, but there is often a digital element that companies hire professionals to work with. Geo-targeting and related practices can be tricky with digital media. Professionals may tag parts of the website, use specific keywords, or otherwise target content or digital media toward a local audience. Then there’s also organic local marketing. With organic SEO and social, you're simply writing about things that are going on in the community, relevant for the local audience, which can also have a powerful impact. When you have localized content on a web site, that can really drive interest and a bigger readership.

Mobile Marketing

It's important not to leave out the concept of mobile marketing. We've always stressed mobile-first design and responsive design for websites, because we know that so many customers end up viewing business webpages on a smartphone.

True mobile-first design can require extensive graphic design and web design work. That's why WebSubstance employs the right people to renovate a website to get that mobile-friendly aspect applied.

Ask WebSubstance about getting professional results that will help your business soar to new heights with a combined Social, Local and Mobile strategy. We’ll take care of all of the details, and consult on how to re-brand with a fully functional and appealing web footprint, to boost profits and visibility, as well as your business reputation. Don’t wait to utilize the power of the Internet to achieve more with your business.

So next time your hear SoLoMo, think of WebSubstance.

277 Hits

Customer Experience Without CRM

Many companies are realizing that they need some way to create a better experience for customers online. They want to analyze customer behavior and figure out what customers like, so that they can tailor their sites to those preferences. Doing this is likely to bring better visibility, more customer loyalty and retention, and eventually, a bigger profit for a business.

Many established companies, especially larger ones, may use a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to build customer relationships and figure out more about customer likes and dislikes. But that's not the only way to generate this kind of information that's so useful to a business.

What is Customer Relationship Management?

A customer relationship management or CRM tool is a platform that houses information about individual customers. It's useful in a number of ways. First, companies can put a name with a face for each customer, and compile elaborate dossiers on each person who has interactions with the business. On the other hand, companies can also mine the customer relationship management dashboard to figure out some of the above issues -- what do customers like best, and what are they looking for on the site? They can get a clear visibility of a customer’s journey on their web properties.

Alternatives to CRM for Business

As mentioned, though, having a comprehensive CRM platform is not the only way to track customer behavior and figure out how to build a better experience for the people who are visiting your website. Also, many CRM platforms can be prohibitively costly for smaller firms.

Just evaluating an active website can tell you a lot about what customers like. There are free tools like Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools come handy. Accessing data like page views and bounce rates shows you what types of on-site content get read the most, and which ones get the most engagement or where your audience drops off. Over time, if you pay attention to these signals, and create more engaging content, you're bringing more value to customers, and building a more loyal customer base.

At the same time, you can use the same approach with visuals and special features. Given the right kind of site set up, you'll be able to see how often people view a certain video, or what part of the site they gravitate to.

This is just one more reason why extensive website work is so important. Companies may be able to get by without CRM, but increasingly, they can't get by without an optimized website that really reaches out to customers through an inbound marketing model, and makes them feel comfortable, so that they spend more time on the site and get more interested in what the business is all about, and finally buy.

WebSubstance can help your company to build one of these professional, interactive websites. We understand the principle of customer experience and how it brings companies big dividends. Talk to us about how to structure your site to make it customer-friendly. Figure out how to bring your website visitors a better online journey that can result in real business for you.

219 Hits

Is Bounce Rate Bothering You?

What is a bounce rate, and why should you worry about it?

The bounce rate is one of those very important metrics for your website performance. A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Google Analytics, a bounce is calculated when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without clicking to or visiting any other page. Bounce rate calculated as the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page.

So it is no-brainer, if you see a high bounce rate in your Analytics, you have reasons to be worried. It simply means visitors coming to your site are not taking any interest in your website, your business or your value prop. Usually a bounce rate higher than 30% is not good.

So you what can do? Let’s try to understand the possible reasons for a bounce. It can be one or combination of many in the following list

  • Website content is not well written or not clear enough to convey the business service or product, making it difficult for a new visitor to figure it out in a reasonable time.
  • Website design and navigation are not good enough for a visitor to stay interested in browsing the site.
  • You might have the best design and copy, but your site downloads quite slow; your visitor is impatient, and she or he will bounce.

Serious businesses always pay attention to lower the bounce rates. They want eyes on the page, not just page views. In fact, in many cases, time spent on the page has become more important than the raw number of page views that you get.

Let’s talk about the copy and content factor for the bounce rate.

Create Clean Text for Visitors, and Make It Make Sense!

Investing in quality text is one of the best ways to make sure people stay on your site to see what your business has to offer.

Breaking Down Text

Another key rule is to avoid the temptation to hammer web readers with long, dense paragraphs of text. Even if you have something technical or detailed to say, it's imperative to keep sentences and paragraphs short. It helps both ways, for human and search engines. You’ll get less bounce from human, and search engines will look at your site more favorably as they also prefer structured content.

Hide the Hook

Of course, it's also important to really have something to say to people. At the end of the day, you need to be reinforcing real ideas and concepts that appeal to your customers.

How can you take care of all these?

You don’t need to. Let WebSubstance take care of your bounce issue and website copy. We have extensive experience helping clients to get their messages heard on the web correctly and in an engaging way. Along with web2 standard design and UX, illustrations and high-quality photos, we provide complete copy services for your main business sites, blogs and social media. And that will have a great impact on your sites bounce rate. Ask WebSubstance about how our teams can make it easy for you to build or revise a web site that’s really inviting, not just a “wall of text.”

275 Hits

Corporate Photography

Contact Us

WebSubstance
21800 Town Center Plaza, #266A-281
Sterling, VA 20164
(703) 470-0808
Jenny Le - President
contact.info@WebSubstance.com