Five Web Design Trends For 2016

While there is a huge migration of users from desktop to mobile websites, there are still hundreds of millions of people every day who look over and utilize standard websites. The existence of a large audience for your standard website means that investing in the latest web design technology and trends will go a long way towards generating more revenue for your company. The new design trends for 2016 are actually fun to consider, and they will have a tremendous impact on the experience every user has with your website.

Semi-Flat Designs

Flat website designs started with apps that used simple boxes as navigational tools. It then spread to operating systems such as Windows 8, where the idea proceeded to fail miserably. People still like the idea of a website made up of basic shapes and designs, but they just want more from those sites. Look for design changes such as raised buttons and other interactive features that will help flat website design to evolve into semi-flat design, which should be more popular.

Hand Drawn Graphics

Just like music listeners started going back to vinyl records and newspaper readers started going back to the printed newspapers, website users are falling in love with interactive website graphics that are drawn by hand. This was a cute trend until hand drawn graphics started showing up on websites for organizations such as Kutztown University, and being the featured graphics on official PDF files for state and federal government resource guides. Now hand draw graphics are becoming a trend that is hard to ignore.

Moving Images

When you go to Paypal's website, you may get startled a little bit when the big front page image starts moving. The trend of putting looping movies or GIFs on the front page of a website has been around for a while, but the presentation was never very subtle. Now that these files can be relatively small and the presentation is not quite as dramatic, this will be a trend to watch for in 2016.

Impressive Native Ads

Native ads are designed to be non-intrusive and part of the regular content. Originally, these were quick little movies that would pop up or advertisements written as stories that users could easily dismiss, or choose to interact with. But The Atlantic just released native advertising that is getting tens of thousands of social media shares because of how impressive and comprehensive it is. This trend will not only continue in 2016, but it will grow and it should be something website owners consider to generate more income.

Long Scrolling Front Pages

The idea that all of your front page content has to be on one screen has been disappearing for years, but it may see its complete demise in 2016. Website design has become so advanced that the idea of scrolling endlessly to see a front page has become something that users expect, and it has also become a way to create longer engagement times for web traffic.

It is time to get your website up to date with the latest trends if you want to continue to attract revenue-generating web traffic. As 2016 makes its way towards us, you will want to work with a professional Internet marketing company to create a website that modern users will want to interact with and bookmark for valuable repeat visits.

 

Five Tips For Changing Your Website

Most website owners have no problem overhauling their website once in a while to try and update its functionality and make things interesting for their web traffic. While updating the website once in a while is essential to its operation, actually changing the site is something that should be planned and done properly.

It is true that making a wholesale change of your website could positively impact your web traffic, but it could also temporarily derail your traffic if you are not careful. There are some tips you should consider before you make significant changes to your website to make sure that you maintain your flow of web traffic and sustain revenue.

Group Changes Together

If you have a list of changes you want to make to your website, then your best bet is to group them all together and launch the changes all at once. If you have a wish list of things you want to do with the website that would lead to a complete overhaul, then you may want to consider doing all of those changes at once and launching a whole new website. It is easier for users to handle a large group of changes, instead of trying to adjust to changes happening in rapid succession over the course of several weeks or months.

Make A Big Deal Out Of It

For the most part, people love changes to websites and you can use that to your advantage. Once you have decided to make your website changes, you should create a little marketing campaign to create some excitement over the launch date. You can create pricing promotions and use other marketing tactics to turn your website change into more traffic.

Do A Test Run Of Your Changes First

Few things are more annoying to website users than a website that took out a perfectly fine website function and replaced it with something that does not work as well. New does not mean better and you need to make sure that you do a test run of your changes to make sure they enhance the functionality of your website before you allow them to go live.

Get Customer Input

Before you start doing any detailed planning for your website changes and long before you start doing any programming, you should utilize social media to see what your customers think of your website. If there are certain features or aspects of your site that are getting a lot of attention from people on social media, then you may want to consider making changes to those aspects during your website overhaul.

Consider Whether Or Not Change Is Necessary

If your website is generating good web traffic, then any changes you make are going to disrupt that. In business, you definitely do not want to fix something that is not broken. Write out the changes you want to make to your site and determine if they are really necessary, or if they can wait until you get more ideas.

Making any change to a website, positive or negative, is going to initially cause your status in the search engines to suffer. If you made good changes, then you will see your search engine results exceed what your previous web traffic numbers. But if your changes upset your traffic, then your website may not recover. Plan your website changes carefully and be sure that they are necessary before you make them.

 

Four Things You Need At Your Next Trade Show

There is plenty of detailed information on this blog and others about how to create the best trade show materials to show-off your booth. But it would probably be helpful to know which tools, of all the tools that get mentioned, you really need when you start to put your trade show presentation together. Along with your modern booth and all of its attractive accessories, there are four other pieces you need to bring if you want to find success at your next trade show.

Banners

You may have the best light show and the loudest sound system a trade show has ever seen, but all of those trappings are only doing half of the job. There will be a lot of people at your next trade show who are looking specifically for your company's booth. If you took the time to market your appearance at your next trade show, then there will be a flock of potential customers who want to talk to you. Banners let everyone know where your booth is located and act as unwavering reminders as to where people can find you and your sales team.

Custom Pamphlets

Too many companies avoid getting custom pamphlets printed for each trade show, which means they are missing out on an opportunity to capitalize on their trade show investment. When attendees get back to their offices, it may be some time before they review the material they collected. They may even go to other trade shows before they get a chance to look at your pamphlet. When you create a custom pamphlet, your audience will be reminded of exactly where they saw you and exactly why they liked your company in the first place.

Business Cards

Your business card acts as a pocket-size d billboard that advertises your business to anyone who sees it. If you do not take a full box of business cards to every trade show with the intent of giving every one of them away, then you are not going to be able to maximize your trade show investment.

Focused Product Information

Not only do you need to have new and customized product information printed for each trade show, but that information needs to be focused on the details that the attendees are looking for. A convention of engineers will not want to see the same information that purchasing managers will need. Each trade show you attend needs to have information that is focused on that trade show audience if you want people to be able to use your information to buy your products and get interested in your company.

When you decide to present your company at a trade show, you have made a significant financial commitment. Not only does it cost you a lot of money to present at trade shows, but it also requires a considerable investment of your time to plan each detail and make sure that the show goes off as you want.

Prior to putting together your trade show presentation, you will make a long list of the things that you will need. Each company's list varies for every trade show, but there are four elements that every company needs to bring to every trade show if they want to find success. Without focusing on the basics, it is hard to generate the kind of income you need to justify your trade show investment.

Why And How To Change Your Company Logo

Changing your company logo is never something you do on a whim. The decision to change your company logo should only be done when it is absolutely necessary, and it should be a well-planned event. Your logo is something you invest a lot of time and money into as part of your branding efforts. When you are going to change that logo, you are going to change everything your customers already know about your company. That is why it has to be done right, or else your company will suffer.

Why Change Your Logo?

The best reason for changing your logo is if your company changes its name. Whether you merged with another company or changed your name for legal reasons, changing your logo to coincide with a name change can actually be a very effective marketing tactic.

Another reason people use to update their logo is to modernize it to fit contemporary styles. If you feel that you need to change your logo to keep up with a certain style or look, then you did not do a very good job of establishing your brand. There are companies with logos that are hundreds of years old that have never changed because there was no need to change. Instead of changing your logo to meet contemporary styles, you may want to have a professional marketing company look over your branding process and fix it for you.

How To Change Your Logo - Step 1: Design A New Logo

Unless you are a graphic design or marketing company, you should not be designing your logo yourself. A professional design company will create a memorable logo that will make your new name announcement more effective. Work closely with a professional marketing company to design a logo that best exemplifies your new company.

How To Change Your Logo - Step 2: Gradual Shift

The biggest mistake companies make when they change their logos is they choose a random date and then just change everything over. Suddenly, customers are getting invoices with new logos on them and the website has been completely changed. This is not going to give your customers time to adjust, which is why you need to use a gradual shift.

A gradual shift consists of transitional stationary that has both logos at the top and says that the old one is becoming the new one. You should develop the front page of your new website and then let customers preview the new page before you actually launch it. Let your customers ease into the new logo and it will be easier to say goodbye to the old one.

How To Change Your Logo - Step 3: Make The Change

In all of your marketing materials that talk about your transition to a new logo, give customers a date when the change will take place. It is easier to make it a significant date like the first day or last day of a month. When that date arrives, make the change by launching the new website and switching over to the new correspondence and invoicing materials.

By creating a gradual transition to a new logo, your customers will be at ease with the change and it will not disrupt your business. If you must change your logo, then hiring a professional marketing company to help you make the change properly is critically important.

 

5 Reasons You Need A Killer Company Brochure

There is plenty of information on how to introduce your company with a brochure, and how brochures add value to your product presentations. But it is hard to find convincing information on why you really need a company brochure as a means of general introduction.

Most business owners understand the value of brochures designed specifically for certain products, and the need for having brochures that are customized for each trade show. But there are plenty of good reasons for your company to print up and use general company brochures every day of the year.

An Elevator Speech With Pictures

Every corporate executive, business owner and sales professional prides themselves on having a great elevator speech. A corporate brochure is an elevator speech with effective pictures in a glossy and professional package. When a business professional understands the potential of a good corporate brochure, it is easier to see why they are so valuable.

No Bounce Rates

When you hand a prospect a brochure, there is no other brochure for that prospect to bounce to and put yours to the side. With a website, thousands of people a day will bounce from your website to other sites in seconds and take away your chance at telling your company's story. But with a brochure, the audience is captive and will read your story without jumping to read the story of the competition with the click of a button.

Show Your Professionalism

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with handing a prospect who is interested in your company a nice business card, the impact of a professional brochure is worth the investment. As with any marketing piece, think of how you would react if a business owner was able to give you a colorful brochure of their company along with a business card. You would not only be impressed, you would immediately have a positive impression of that company.

Highlight Your Company's Strengths

In the marketing world, a picture is worth 1,000 words and the picture you put on the front of your company brochure can make a strong first impression on any prospect. If you have a product your company is known for that has a sleek look that appeals to clients, then make that the cover of your brochure. Your company brochure should use your company's biggest strength to make a first impression your audience will never forget.

Give Them Something To Look At Later

Your prospect may listen to your pitch and take your brochure, but they may also fold up that brochure and put it away without reading it. But hours later, when they are flying back to their office, they will reach into their pocket and pull out your professional brochure and spend some time actually reading it. One of the most valuable aspects of a brochure is that it cannot be turned off or ignored like an online ad. Once your prospect has your brochure, the marketing impact can be felt at any time.

A good brochure can be an invaluable corporate marketing tool that you should carry with you at all times. A brochure can enhance other marketing pieces, and it can be that professional first impression your company makes that sets your organization apart from the competition.

 

3 Ways To Strengthen Your Remarketing Program

Remarketing is the process of taking visitors who have bounced from your website and turning them into buying customers. It can be an immediate result, or remarketing could take weeks to bring in a sale. But by staying touch with everyone who expressed some sort of interest in your company's Internet presence, you will be able to maximize your revenue and achieve your business goals.

Make Immediate Remarketing Contact

When a consumer is looking for products, they will usually go through several websites before they make their final decision. If your website is one of many that a consumer is using to get pricing and product availability, then you are definitely in the running to get the business. If that consumer does not place an order on your website during their initial search, then you must respond quickly with your remarketing program to bring in that business.

It is common for consumers to go through a list of websites looking for the best price and then settle on the last website they visit to place their order. When you have an aggressive remarketing program on your website, those consumers that left your site without placing an order will start to see ads on the other websites they browse. With this kind of exposure, you significantly increase the chances that the consumer will click on your ad and place the order on your website.

Get Involved In Google's Remarketing Program

Google's remarketing program is so comprehensive and effective that it is almost impossible to describe in this article. Not only can you customize what types of customers your Google remarketing program targets, but you can also collect a lot of marketing information that will allow you to update and improve your website.

Google allows you to create marketing programs based on remarketing data from past campaigns, and Google also has several different types of remarketing programs for you to choose from. When it comes to getting the most from a good remarketing campaign, it is important that your Internet marketing firm utilizes Google.

Separate Your Mobile And Standard Website Remarketing Programs

Many website owners either try to combine their mobile and standard websites into one remarketing program, or they choose to not put a remarketing program on their mobile website at all. Since the majority of consumers access your Internet presence through their mobile devices, it would be a very bad idea to ignore the remarketing potential of your mobile website.

Work with your Internet marketing team to develop very unique remarketing plans for your standard website and your mobile site. You will want to collect different types of information for each type of site, and you will want each site to utilize that information in different ways and react differently to remarketing opportunities. The best way to maximize your remarketing revenue is to develop focused plans for standard and mobile websites.

If you are not utilizing good remarketing programs, then you are letting revenue slip away. When consumers use your website, they are doing so for a reason. While that reason may not lead to a sale at that particular moment, you can use remarketing tactics to keep your companys' Internet presence in front of interested customers and grab the revenue that you would have otherwise left behind.

 

3 Facts About Your Website Content For 2015

It seems like there is some new content rule coming out every week that caused marketing companies and content creators to have to alter the way they do business. The marketing experts who understand the changes being made to search engines and online marketing in general know that the core values of good content still remain and, in many ways, those core values have been reinforced by any changes made by search engines or other online exposure vehicles.

Companies always want to get the very best value for the content they put on their website and that can be difficult if those companies do not understand the basic values of good content. In 2015, the changes made by Google and other search engines only help to solidify the idea that content is king and the people who know how to utilize content will always grab the most traffic.

Quality Content Is Critical

For years, content written by people who did not speak English as a first language was ruling the Internet because it was stuffed with keywords. When Google cracked down on keyword stuffing, the content was still manipulated by the use of well-placed keyword phrases that sometimes did not match the rest of the content. Recently, Google has demanded that all websites utilize quality content, but the use of quality content has been something reputable marketing professionals have insisted on since the Internet was very young.

Good content needs to offer value to clients for it to be effective. Back in the early days, content that was stuffed with keywords brought traffic, but that traffic often bounced from those sites when it was realized that the websites offered no value. From the very first days of website marketing, good content has been the key to a successful website. Now that Google is insisting on good content, that only strengthens this notion that professionals have known for a long time.

Website Users Hate Intrusive Ads

Effective advertising is strategically placed around good content, but not within that content. The websites that generate a lot of traffic but then bury that traffic in pop-up ads and intrusive marketing tactics are starting to see less and less revenue, which only bolsters the notion that customers have intrusive ads.

The new organic ad and link placement techniques being used in 2015 help to get marketing content into the text of articles without causing readers to leave the website. Marketing experts are creating more non-intrusive ways to advertise to Internet users and it is those methods that are becoming the most effective.

Customized Content Works

In 2015, marketing experts were able to devise ways to use a consumer's web browsing habits to customize content and create focused marketing programs that appeal directly to those consumers. In the early days of the Internet, the desire to customize the user's experience led to the creation of a wide variety of Internet technologies and applications. Today, the ability to deliver customized content to a consumer has become important in the overall success of a company's marketing programs.

Your website content is still one of the most important marketing elements for your company on the Internet and through mobile computing platforms. Throughout 2015, marketing experts have been developing plans and programs that stick to the core values of good content and enhance a website's ability to bring in revenue-generating traffic. As long as your site sticks to the basics, you will find it easier to meet all of your marketing goals.

Best Ways To Use Printed Banners In Your Business

Sometimes success in business centers around who can call the most attention to themselves for the least amount of money. At a trade show, the company with the huge light show gets all of the traffic because it attracts a lot of attention. But there are ways to call attention to your company that are more subtle and cost-effective than a huge light show, but equally as effective.

Large, printed banners offer a great marketing value because they can be used over and over again in a variety of situations. The key is to know when to use your banners to call attention to your company and get a strong return on the relatively small investment you made in having those banners printed.

Storefront Window

Your company name is on the sign out in front of your business and all your banner does is repeat that company name. But the advantage your storefront has over your sign is that your storefront is at eye level with the people walking down the street. There are zoning laws regarding your sign, but you can hang your printed banner in your front window and attract traffic all day long.

If you feel like investing in focused banners for your window based on events or promotions in your store, then you will attract even more traffic. The next time you are planning a sale or promotion in your business, have a banner printed for your storefront window and watch how much more traffic you get this year than you got last year.

Outdoor Events

When you are part of outdoor festivals and events, it is critically important that people know where you company's booth is located. If you pay attention at outdoor events, you will see some companies with printed banners at their booths, and other companies without banners. The companies with the banners are always the ones attracting the traffic and taking full advantage of their event exposure.

Press Conferences

If your public relations people are doing a good job, then your company will host one or two press conferences each year that bring in good attendance. The key to getting maximum exposure from a press conference is to own the press conference and give the media plenty of visuals to take pictures of and talk about. A large banner at your press conference helps to enhance your brand name recognition with the media and it will also result in some free advertising when it shows up in the pictures and video from the conference.

Local Parades

Local parades are excellent marketing opportunities that companies often allow to pass by without using them. Contact parade organizers of the most popular parades in your area and offer to sponsor some part of the event. The result will be your company banner slowly moving down the street as it is seen by thousands of enthusiastic people.

A durable printed banner offers a lot of marketing opportunities to companies that know how to gain exposure. The return on the investment in a banner can be significant, provided you spend the time getting it seen by plenty of people. Even a simple banner with your company name, logo, and website address on it can gather attention and help to significantly enhance your company's brand marketing efforts.

3 Must Haves for Your Mobile Website

If you are still debating whether or not to invest in a real mobile website, then you are about three to four years behind the technology curve. More people access the Internet via their phones and tablets than their desktop computers and laptops. That means that if your site does not have a fully-functional mobile companion, then you are not being seen by a huge part of your target audience.

Now that mobile websites have been moved from the optional to the mandatory shelf in your marketing closet, it is time to take a close look at what you really need on your mobile site for it to be successful. A good mobile website can generate you a lot of revenue and set your company apart from the competition, but only if it has these essential elements.

Responsive Design

Google does not give your mobile website any extra points for using responsive design, but it also does not punish your site for taking the easy way out either. Responsive design allows your mobile website to be able to interpret the highest resolution the customer's device allows and then adapts your site to that size. That means that your one mobile website looks just as good on a smartphone as it does on a tablet, which makes it easier for your customers to use. Your alternative is to maintain several different mobile sites for each type of device and that can get expensive.

A Custom Navigational System

The worst thing you can do is try to cram your desktop website navigational system onto your mobile website. When you hire a professional Internet marketing expert, that person will develop a custom mobile website navigational system that will make your mobile site easy to utilize and easy to understand.

A Strong E-Commerce Function

In the early days of mobile websites, companies would encourage customers to browse information on the mobile sites, but then go to the desktop site to place orders. Today, your mobile website needs to have a robust and secure e-commerce function if you want to attract users and make money. More people are going to want to order from your mobile website than your desktop website, so be sure to have a comprehensive ordering platform on your mobile website to promote success.

Analytics

Any professional who sets up your desktop website will include a robust suite of analytical software to help you gather as much information about your web traffic as possible. If it works for your desktop website, then it will work for your mobile website as well. You want to gather the same web traffic defining information about your mobile website that you gather for your desktop website to help make your mobile site more effective and profitable.

The shift from desktop computers and laptops to mobile computing devices has caused Internet marketing experts to have to change the way they look at Internet traffic. If your company does not have an effective mobile website, then you are missing out on a great deal of money. But even when you decide to invest in a mobile website for your business, it is critically important to make sure that you are including all of the elements and information that your traffic needs to buy your products and help your business to grow.

 

Direct Mail vs Email Marketing

As technology advances, many business owners start to think that the old ways of doing things are being replaced. For example, it is a common misconception that email marketing is replacing direct mail marketing because of cost and effectiveness. But when you look at what is really happening in the worlds of email and direct mail, you start to realize that direct mail is just as effective now as it has always been.

Filling Up Your Inbox

There was a time when marketing companies were sending out billions of unsolicited marketing emails to inboxes around the world. After a while, Internet service providers created rules that made it very hazardous for businesses to send out mass emails and technology was introduced that could filter out those messages and prevent the intended audience from seeing them.

As email was being utilized, direct mail did start to fall off in popularity. It did not take the more creative marketing experts long to realize that email marketing messages were not reaching their audiences, but the postal mailboxes of those audience members were almost empty. Sending direct mail is more effective now because less companies do it, but your target audience is still going to read the direct mail messages you send.

Putting Real Offers In Your Audience Members' Hands

While email marketing asks customers to click on a link to find out more about the deal or to print out a coupon, direct mail offers all of that information immediately. You can send out the details of your promotion and any associated coupons or registration forms in one package. It gives your audience the opportunity to take advantage of your offer without having to do anything extra.

No Viruses In Direct Mail

Unfortunately, the world of email marketing is infested with marketing people who will do anything to make a dollar, and that includes putting spyware and viruses in their emails. If your company gets involved with an email marketer that uses those tactics, then it could ruin your reputation and get your company in a lot of trouble.

Direct mail does not deliver viruses or anything that could harm your audience. A direct mail campaign is a pure way to deliver a message that does not offer anything except for helpful information. You can also give your audience members the opportunity to opt-out of future direct mailings and help maintain a list of prospects that want to get the information your company has to offer.

Why should your company consider a direct mail campaign? Because the same technology that has helped to make text marketing campaigns and successful email campaigns effective is also being used in direct mail. You can work with a marketing professional who will develop a targeted list of contacts who are interested in getting direct mailings and who have shown a habit of responding positively to direct mailings in the past.

With direct mail, you have complete control over how your message is delivered and what it looks like. With email marketing, you have to worry about how your message looks with certain email services and how your images will look in certain browsers. But with direct mail, the message you create is the message that your prospects will receive and that will bring you a much more positive result and an increase in overall revenue.