One simple idea to make your site more relevant to search engines

website design and SEO follow up

I run into many business owners that spend their hard-earned money to get a website created, and then they think; “it’s all done.” Or is it?

SEO tips of the daySEO Tip of the Day: Make sure you publish new posts or update your content regularly, because search bots crawl through sites on an average of every 18 days, and they are looking for fresh new content. Why? Google wants people to use its search engine as much as you want them to visit your website, so its goal is to return the most useful and current results for any given query.

Most WordPress-based sites are typically set up in a standard, blog-style format with a reverse chronological list of posts on the front page. However, many of you that use WordPress for your website, have mostly static pages. This type of site is not updated as frequently as a typical blog, so if you do have a website, it’s beneficial to have a blog component in your website that you update more often, (note my website here has a blog component as it’s home/front page). If you have the standard static home/front page, then link your front page to your blogging pages, whether by using a menu tab, or by using the Recent Posts widget in the sidebar of your front page. Because most new visitors land on your front page first, providing an obvious link to your most recent posts will help Google see that your site is current and active.

How much does a logo design cost to create, and what is a best-practice process?

Design costs for a logo.The answer depends on the size of the company, the design process and the approval cycle. The cost of a design escalates when the approval process involves more than a couple of decision makers or the client becomes hands-on involved in the design process. A good design is based on an understanding of the desired results of the design, demographics of the target audience, the need to meet specific business goals, and maximizes readability to engage potential clients.

The design process needs to be collaborative between the designer and the client – to a point. I once had a new client who hadn’t worked with a designer before and kept making dozens of Design reflects your mind's eye?changes to a logo design so it fit her mind’s eye. I cautioned her about the escalating costs, and coached that the changes she was making wouldn’t affect the sales or help the company grow. Unfortunately the client was trying to recreate the visions she had in her mind’s eye, versus evaluating the results using a design brief to see if the design met its main purpose and objectives. 

What is a best-practice process for a cost-effective and successful design? First, understand what a logo or a design is meant to be, and its main purpose. The design process must aim to make the logo or graphic immediately recognizable – inspiring trust, admiration, loyalty and an implied superiority to its customers. The design is just one aspect of a company’s commercial brand, and its shape, colors, fonts, and images should be different from other logos in the same market niche. Logo designs are used to identify the brand of a company, its products and services. Where to begin? Try the 6-step, best-practice process described below.

1. Start with a Design Brief  a completed questionnaire of the Design brief establishes criteria for the design before work begins.overall design objectives and branding goals. 2. Research on the company itself, the industry and competitors is paramount. 3. Ideas & Concepts. Get several design concepts that help determine a direction things needs to head in – to later be narrowed down. 4. Reflection. Let the designs sit and sink in, and then get a fresh perspective the next day. 5. Revise as needed. There should be solid reasons for change and tweaking the design – refer back to the Design Brief. 6. Final delivery of the design. There are many formats and medias that a logo or other graphic designs need to be able to work in, make sure before selecting a final solution, you see samples of its potential usage in all mediums.

Tip:  Behind a great design is functional eye-designeffectiveness; brand building awareness expertise, best colors to use for the target audience, eye flow manipulation, design dynamics that creates the best reader engagement, and moving the customer visually through the design to create a better user experience — all of which creates a higher level of perceived value. Trust your designer to know these things, or hire someone who does.

Designing from the mind's eyeIf you and your designer are both in the same mental place with the above, then you are probably a good fit for working together and it will be much more cost-effective for you, and more inspiring for the designer.


Identify Who You are Presenting to – Part 3 of 3

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.03.59 PMThe third type of listener I have identified are people-personsPeople who fall into this category are relationship-based, make decisions and behave based upon the way something feels to them. They buy-into people first, and prefer creating relationships based on trust. You could also call them touchy-feely people. They can be loyal customers, and buy from you because of how they feel about you and your company.

People-persons assimilate information through their sense of touch. And because of this, they rely on more on their physical senses. As an example, they are typically known to acquire a physical skill faster than the average person – observe if they fiddle with pens, paper and other objects as they talk. Do they intermix business with social discussions about family, and organizations they belong too?

Common phrases that you may hear from people-persons are like “that person or company is all washed up”. They may also use phrases like, “I feel your frustration” or “that feels right”.

They also like to give analogies that relate to the way they feel about things that happen to them. As an example, instead of saying, “I was really mad”, they would say something like “my blood was boiling”.

The key to engaging this kind of prospect is to build a relationship. Give them things to touch and hold – like your product or even a part of something bigger which you sell that helps you communicate the quality and value of your product. Once you make a people-persons connection with them, it lowers their guard and makes them more receptive to your presentation.

Sales and marketing presentationsOne of the most effective ways to build a relationship with any type of person is by determining which way a person best listens and relates to you. Aside from understanding your message more clearly, they will also feel naturally connected to you as people generally feel bonded or connected to those that remind them of themselves or those with whom they have things in common with.

The next time you begin a conversation with a prospective customer, start paying attention to the way they communicate. You’ll begin to notice that people generally fall into the visual, auditory or people-persons categories. Then as you move along through your sales and relationship building processes, you will be better equipped to communicate with your future customers.

Sales presentations and marketing effectivenessNow there will be times where people overlap some of the different listening and comprehension styles, but generally there is one dominant system that controls their outlook on life. If you need help tweaking your current sales presentation to appeal to the listening and comprehension styles of different prospects, click here to send me an inquiring email.

Creating more effective sales presentations: Part 2 of 3.

The next customer types are the auditory people. Auditory people absorb information by listening – they need to be able to clearly hear what it is that they are being told. They will look you directly in the eyes to hear you better, where as visual people are looking around, searching for visual cues so they can comprehend better.Sales presentations

Auditory people enjoy talking with others and conversation is something that they find very interesting. They might lean forward to engage you, just to test and hear if what you are saying is true. They will remember what you say – and possibly challenge verbal claims you make, later on in your presentation. So dial down the BS button with these folks.

Auditory people like to use phrases like, “that sounds good”, “that is clear as a bell” and “listen to me”.

Simply put, auditory people understand spoken language more than anything else. Therefore, when making a presentation to them, focus more on your verbal part of the presentation, (and with less speaker prompts to guide you, you will need to know your product benefits better). Verbally communicate your 5-7 main benefits (or value propositions). Tell them what you plan to tell them using a verbal roadmap of where you are going with your presentation. Writing things down or trying to create a vision for them may appear condescending to them.

If your website has videos describing your product, service, and other values, that can play an important part of your sales process – they will have other people in your company to listen too that tells them the story of your company and its products. Click here for an example of a video I created for a website that communicates directly to an auditory type person.

For auditory people their world is represented by sound, therefore, to get their attention and engage them, you must say something that sounds very appealing to them. Also make sure you clearly annunciate and be careful with embellishment – this group “hears” right through the BS.

Just as visual people like to look at directions, auditory people would rather hear directions read out loud by someone else, because retaining information by looking at it can be difficult for them, whereas hearing is better comprehension for them. If they are that type of listener, don’t waste your marketing budget dollars leaving behind your standard folder full of literature – ask if there is anything else they need, and listen to them like they listen to you.

Creating the best and most effective sales presentations: Part 1 of 3.


The best sales presentation

When some sales people make a presentation, they assume that the most effective way to gain acceptance and buy-in from prospects is by dumping all of the features of their product or service in their customer’s lap, hoping that somewhere in that pile of information, there’s a nugget to make them buy. The reality is that when they are trying to communicate value to a prospect, they must first gain the prospect’s attention. That is the first obstacle to overcome, because most people really don’t listen to what the salesperson is saying, they just simply remain quiet and wait for their turn to talk. People love to talk more than they like to listen to others. So now what?

They key to engaging your prospects is to construct your presentation around their needs and what kind of listener they are; as opposed to overwhelming them with what you have to offer.

The way you construct your presentation to fully engage them, is to understand how they listen and absorb information. There are three general ways in which people listen and absorb information – Visual, Auditory, and People-Persons. First, the visual people relate to the world generally by the way they see things. When they speak, they will use terms like “I see, what you’re saying” or “I can see why you would think that way”.

Visual people better relate and “get” your message by seeing pictures, diagrams, flow charts, and other descriptive imagery. Visual people also like to observe others and may be fascinated with photography or things that generally involve envisioning. They will remember concepts, product names and the value you offer – as a result of a visual cue that they receive. Also important, is the “professional look” of your brand, and they will compare your brand’s image to your competitions brand. If you look cheap, they will think your product is cheap, and they will expect your prices to be cheap too.

Sales Presentation tips


Visual people listen better when following a visual story and the value you have to offer – when it is clearly written down. When trying to influence a visual person, your best bet is to provide them with visual examples,  “proof on paper” of what you’re speaking about. Talk to a graphic like shown piece that is specifically designed to be left behind – that summarizes your presentation, is more effective for them to not only remember your points, but be able to retell your story to other stakeholders in the decision making process.

It takes patience and a little extra work to create a presentation that appeals to all three types of listeners. I’ve heard comments like, “I don’t have time for that, I have sales calls to make” or, “I have no idea how to vary my presentation to appeal to all audiences, I just use what the company gives me”.  In the long run, making the effort, or hiring a consultant who can create those tweaks for you, will Businessman Running In Front Of Sale Signmake for a higher percentage of sales wins for you and your company. You can run around from call to call – putting lots of lines in the water and hoping for a big hit, or know how to cast an effective sales presentation and catch more customers on a regular basis.

The next two blogs will talk about the other two ways people listen and absorb information – and how to identify the other types of listeners, follow this blog, and you will get a ding when the next blog is posted.

Here’s 5 Search Engine Optimization Things You Should Be Doing

Image of Freshen up your websites content1. Freshen Your Content: Search engines typically scan your site every 18 days, so make sure you are adding fresh content which makes your site relevant to search engines. If your site content doesn’t change often, your site needs a blog because search spiders like fresh text. Blog at least once a week with good, fresh content to feed those SEO crawlers. The goal of a search engine is to return the most relevant results to users. What part of your site would benefit most from freshness?

How to link text and pictures to your website2. Linking: Put text links somewhere on your page for the search spiders to follow, and the quickest way to get your site spidered is by getting a link to it through another quality site. One single, good, authoritative link can do a lot more for your site than a dozen poor quality or irrelevant links.

photo of: use special words from search analytics3. Special words: Here’s something you may not have thought of – use the words “best”, “image” or “picture” in your photo ALT descriptions and captions. A lot of searches are for a keyword plus one of those words.

4. Keyword Phrases: Be sure you have your important keyword phrase in your title tag on every page of your site. Use keyword rich captions with your images. If your company is a well known brand use it in the title, if not use other keywords instead.

SEO for phrases and keywords5. Google Webmaster Tools: Features You Should Be Using. Once your site is set up, it’s time to log in and get to know the interface. If you need an introductory tutorial, here’s a good overview.  At its core, Google Webmaster Tools is all about metrics: what’s getting indexed, what’s getting linked, and what’s getting traffic.

5 Reasons to Use Numbers Instead of Writing Them

The best marketing and writing tipsNumerals have been tested to be an advantage in advertising and social media writing, and when used correctly, they may actually attract 10 – 20% more readers than an article that uses only letters. Whether writing for print or social media, it definitely helps to know how to use numbers to your advantage.

Numbers writing in business and marketingOk, ok, all the old rule books say spell out numbers under 10. Use nine instead of 9. But there’s an ah ha! The exception in most writing rule books says use figures (even when the numbers are less than 10), for numbers of technical significance: percentages, pages, sizes, money, measurements, clock time, coordinates, etc.
For example:
See page 6 for the explanation.
Since 2004, turnover has been approximately 9 percent.
Tickets for the 2 p.m. webcast are almost sold out.

5 best reasons to use numbers

Now for My Best 5 Best Reasons to Use Numbers …

1. Numbers attract readers
Psychologically, people are naturally drawn to numerals more than words. They’re visually different from most text, so readers are Marketing writingmuch more likely to take notice of them. This works to your advantage when you want to draw attention to a particular element of your writing, such as a benefit customers will receive (“Buy 2, get 1 free!”). Numbers also represent facts, so they naturally attract people who are searching for concrete information.

2. Facts and statistics create authority: so use numbers
Cold, hard facts are almost always more effective than generalizations. McDonald’s doesn’t just say “We’ve served lots of people!” They spell it out for you: “Over 10 billion served.” If you can assign a specific number to your claims, your writing will come across as much more authoritative.

3. Shocking info: Numbers read faster
It takes a lot less time to read “525″ than “five-hundred and twenty-five.” Fewer characters means that your writing will take up less space and be quicker to read, which ultimately means that your audience is more likely to read what you have to say. This is especially important for headlines, which are designed to get your reader interested with an extremely limited amount of writing.

4. Let readers know what to expect by numbering your points
writing for business and marketing
When you write a headline using numerals (such as “10 Reasons to Choose Product X”), the audience knows exactly what to expect. Taking away the mystery of your content makes it easier to get the audience interested because they know they’re not going to be stuck reading a 20-page article.

5. Numbered lists are easier to read and write
Not only are numbered bullet points a great way to make it easier for readers to skim your content, they also make it easier to keep track of which bullet point was just read. Also, a numbered list format allows you to split up a large topic into several digestible bites; simply create a basic numbered outline of the various elements you plan to write about and fill in the appropriate fields.

If you have discovered 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 reasons for liking and/or sharing this blog, please do so, thanks!


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