Tag Archives: Web Design and Development

Online Gallery for Artists of All Types and Mediums …

I recently created an online gallery of my creative images from the past few years and it’s divided into 6 categories:

Gary Greer Artist Gallery

1. Digital Art (creating images using Photoshop), 2. Abstract Symbolism (acrylic paintings on stretched canvas), 3. Photography (images primarily captured on my iPhone and some have a bit of Photoshop enhancement), 4. Fantasy and Romance (a combination of using 3D software and Photoshop), 5. Steampunk (gears and the Victorian future), and 6. Illustration (commercial art used in company literature).

One of the cool things about this site is that it visualizes for you what an image looks like when printed on canvas, steel, beach towels, pillows, greeting cards and even shower curtains! (And many other decor items too). The company hosting the site takes care of the printing, shipping and payments – easy-peasy!

Check the gallery out at: Greer Galleries

 

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The Best Email Marketing Campaign Tips: 7-10

best practice email campaigns

7. Customers have specific needs and what they consider value-based content. Because of that, it is best to divide the email list of customers into sub-categories which allows you to send even more highly targeted information to you customers – it could be by product categories, geographic location or even by titles of decision makers. The key is to more closely match the customers needs with your messages. Sometimes being made aware of other products they may not normally buy in addition to new versions of what they do buy, would be of value to them and another way to segment the lists. You could also provide referral bonuses for repeat customers or special introductory offers for products they don’t currently buy as a way to test them out.

email strategy of coordination8. Channel coordination. By using the same product promotion, language and images in social media, the website and the email campaign, it creates an integrated approach that enhances the brand and helps the customers remember that product that they may not be currently buying. Reinforcing a message is always a good thing, and if action is required, make sure it is up front so you are not telling a long story before getting to the call-to-action.

9. Test best time to send.  According to direct mail research studies, the best time statistically to send an email is between 2pm and 5pm. The largest volume of emails people get is typically between 10am and 2pm. You could also do an A/B split test for the emails and look at open rates from the email analytics so you can optimize the lists.

strategic email

 

10. Design and layout. Of course the email needs to be visually appealing but where the pictures and graphics are located, the headline, subhead size, and text formatting is a science unto itself. When I worked at AT&T we commissioned an outside firm to do readership studies of ads, website, product packaging designs and other marketing materials. We would have test groups look at the messages and lasers would track their eye movement, as well as we tracked when they stopped reading and lost interest. So designing an email to be effective involves helping the reader to move their eyes in an order that feels natural to them so they read the content you want them to read in the order you hope they will. In a nutshell, people read messages best that are designed in the shape of an “F”. Best at emailingHeadline is read left to right, then down to a shorter width subhead or image, back out to a longer subhead or larger image then down to a narrower width text content. The goal of the headline is to get the reader to the subhead, and the subhead then to the text – but pictures and graphics not carefully placed or sized can interrupt that flow, causing people to skip ahead or bypass key parts of the message. The design is as important as the content of the message – and an effective layout can move people to read the entire message.

What is Your “About” Really About?

Marketing bestOne of the most important pages on a website  is a company’s “About” page, yet most companies spend the least amount of time putting good content on it. They plop their official PR paragraphs from their press release, throw in a photo of the building and the boss, and – whoo-la, done! That said, if you look at the analytics of your site or your client’s sites, you will discover that the “About” page many times is the most viewed or searched page in the website.

When consumers go to websites they want to buy not just a product, but connect with the company and it’s brand. They want to know who is on the other side of the screen when visiting a site. Marketing and networking - the face behind the blogIt’s not just about price, but also about the company. Some of the most popular products and companies also have the highest priced products and services. People are willing to pay extra for great value – Apple Computers, Lexus and Louis Vuitton come to mind. Too often the company’s info in their “About” section is sterile and shows little personality or brand. Businesses of all sizes need to spend time and resources putting up pictures that reflect their team and culture, and writing the “why” behind the company and its products –  so customers perceive their products are the best value.

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.

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 above.marketing 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.

I can’t believe she left after only 10 seconds

OMG Fact: The  first 10 sec. of a visit to your website, blog or other social media is critical for a visitor’s decision on whether to stay or leave. Here’s what you need to know …

Why visitors leave quickly: The probability of leaving is very high during the first few seconds because visitors are extremely skeptical, having experienced countless poorly designed web pages in the past. People know pretty quickly when a site is not going to provide what they need – and they leave to avoid wasting more time than absolutely necessary on pages that don’t give them the information they are looking for.

What happens after 10 seconds ? If the Web page survives the first 10-second judgment, visitors will look around a bit. However, they’re still highly likely to leave during the subsequent 20 seconds of their visit. Only after visitors have stayed on a page for about 30 seconds does the drop off rate slow down. Visitors will continue to leave every second, but at a much slower rate than during the first 30 seconds.

What you need to do: If you can convince visitors to stay on your page for half a minute, then there’s a fair chance that they’ll stay much longer — often 2 minutes or more, which is an eternity on the Internet. How do you do that?  To gain several minutes of a visitor’s attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds! Communicate the reward, payoff, or benefit the visitor will receive from spending their valuable time reading your web page. They need to know in 10 seconds or less what are they getting for their time, and if you can provide what they need.

  –> Click here for my short blog about Value-based text.

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