How to Make the Most Out of Your Website

web designIt’s been said that the average web user today holds an attention span of about eight seconds. That means your website needs to act fast to grab their attention and stand out among the rest.

There are a number of key aspects to keep in mind when deciding how you want your brand’s website to look and function. If you’re starting to build your website, or considering refreshing an existing one, here are some ways you can make the most out of your digital platform.

 

Put What’s Most Important First

If you only have eight seconds to intrigue a web visitor, it’s important to waste no time. Your website viewers should be able to learn about who you are and what you do just by glancing at the first few sentences on your page. Giving a quick and concise overview of your brand can help cut straight to the chase. Users don’t typically enjoy having to do extensive research and digging to find out what your brand is about, so give them an introduction right off the bat. The quicker they are able to understand your mission and message, the quicker they can decide if your brand is the right fit.

 

Keep It Simple

If website users don’t find what they’re looking for in a short amount of time, they can abandon ship quickly, so keep your messaging brief and simple. Make sure the paragraphs on your site are short and direct using simple language. There is a lot of room for creativity when it comes to creating a website, but the verbiage should remain clear. Trying to use clever or intricate language when describing the work you do can confuse visitors, which will likely convince them to give up the chase. People inherently don’t like what they don’t understand.

 

Make Your Social Media Presence Known

Consumers can spend upwards of three hours a day browsing social media platforms, which is a significant difference from the eight seconds they devote to a website on average. To keep the conversation going after they close the browser tab, make your social media presence available. Linking to your brand’s social media profiles at the top and bottom of each landing can encourage visitors to seek you out elsewhere. If they are browsing on their phone, transferring their search over to a mobile-friendly app like Instagram can help keep them engaged.

 

It’s All About the Imagery

Many people feel the same way about books as they do websites – they enjoy looking at the pictures. For that reason, creative imagery should play a central role in your website content. There is one caveat: don’t go overboard. Using an overabundance of stock images can look forced and contrived. Preferably, your website should showcase real photos of your brand and your team. However, if you’re not able to integrate original photos in your web design, take some extra time to find the right stock photos that work best for you. This will help ensure that the images you use still convey who you are and what you do, even if you didn’t take them.

There are many factors that play into how your website is received and how effective it is in moving your brand forward. The tips laid out above are a good start to creating your online image, but it’s also important to continue developing and evolving your site as you go. You may only have eight seconds of a viewer’s attention, but a great website can change the course of a consumer’s decision and, eventually, your success.

Count on the experts at Allegra to review your website and branding elements to ensure you’re leaving people with a lasting impression.

Ways to Utilize Signage as You Reopen

As businessesWall Graphic reopen, it’s critical that they comply with both state and national guidelines. Protecting the health and safety of customers and employees should remain their top priority – and additional signage can be extremely helpful with this. Signage can both inform those who are unaware of safe social distancing practices as well as ensure that everyone is maintaining those practices. There are a number of ways to use signage on door, floor and walls for this purpose.

The CDC has laid out specific guidelines for maintaining social distancing (also called “physical distancing”), such as staying at least six feet from other people, not gathering in groups and staying out of crowded places. It’s important to follow these guidelines in your business, which can be simplified through correctly utilizing signage.

First, your customers should be informed of your business’s policies before they even enter the building. That means signage should be utilized on doors to clearly state if a face covering is required to enter, or if you are limiting the capacity of your business. If you’re dealing with customers lining up outside of your business, you can utilize floor graphics to outline spaces for people to stand in while they wait.

Floor Graphics 1You can also use this method in the interior of your business by using floor graphics for your check-out line. This helps maintain space between customers both insides your business and outside, without breaking the bank.

Placing directional signage on the floor to encourage organizational movement throughout your business can also be helpful. When customers feel organized and supported, they are likely to build trust and confidence, and ultimately, to return.

Signage on the floor is helpful, but there should also be signage at eye level. Place reminders to respect others’ space or to wear a face covering on the walls to encourage the safety of your customers and employees.

It’s vital to inform those who visit your business of your commitment to their health and safety. Especially if your state is enforcing the use of face coverings and social distancing, utilizing signage can help your business comply as you begin to reopen. Contact Allegra today to learn more about our reopening solutions.

Three Things Your Brand Should Keep in Mind When Responding to Current Events

When certain events or issues dominate a news cycle, many brands may want to know if and when they should make their own opinions known. Protests, demonstrations, public health crises, political controversies – these are all situations that businesses might feel the need to make a statement, or to communicate where they stand to customers.

A smart brand statement can help in gaining customer loyalty and support, while one that is less well thought-out could result in backlash or be perceived as insincere or opportunistic.

When the conversation on social media and the press is dominated by certain events, here are some things to keep in mind as your brand formulates a reaction.

 

Put Substance Behind Your Statement

A statement without substance can sometimes be worse than no statement at all. Make sure that your statement is genuine and sincere, and where appropriate, show what you’re doing to make a difference or give back, such as a donation or supporting a petition. Especially for issues related to social justice or inequality, consumers want to know where your corporate social responsibility lies. If nothing else, explain to your audience how the event has affected your brand, and what you will do as a company to ensure that you are standing on the side of justice.

 

Provide Resources

Before you comment on a situation, consider how you can lead by example. Encourage your audience to take a stand alongside your company and make a difference in their own way too. Include resources that consumers can use to educate themselves about the problem at hand. What can you share with your audience to help them be more informed?

 

Pay Close Attention to Engagement

After making a public statement, pay close attention to the engagement and feedback you receive from your audience. Whether it is negative or positive, it is imperative to respond to direct customer engagement. By acknowledging their comments, customers will feel valued and heard. Respond to a difficult comment with answers to their concerns, or when in doubt, direct them to another team member or resource that can help.

 

An open dialogue between your brand and your audience can be healthy and effective for your business. It may not always be an easy conversation to navigate, but if you are genuine, supportive, resourceful and attentive to the problem, your brand can use its platform to make a difference.

Creating Comfort for Customers as Businesses Reopen

Back to Business - We can help!

We are all eager for life to begin to return to normal – or at least a new normal, with increased social distancing and safety precautions. One element to that process that cannot be ignored is customer comfort. Even once stay-at-home orders begin to be lifted, individuals may still feel anxious at the idea of resuming normal activities like shopping and visiting local businesses.

As a business owner, there are ways to create comfort and stay top of mind for customers as you begin to reopen and welcome people back:

Share What (Unique) Things You’re Doing to Keep Customers Safe

Be thoughtful about the safety and hygiene practices you’re highlighting on social and in emails to customers. What do they really want to know? We have all started to feel fatigued at the sight of yet another COVID-19-related brand email with no new information. Try to anticipate your customer’s questions and concerns for your business in particular: “While we are following all local, state and federal guidelines for health and sanitation, I want to tell you about a few unique ways our business will be keeping you safe next time you visit.”

Let Your Customers Know You Missed Them

We’re all missing one another during quarantine, and now is a good time to let your customers know they’ve been on your mind. You may choose to send personalized messages to your most loyal customers, share heartfelt notes from your team or find other ways to communicate how much you’re looking forward to seeing them in-store once they feel safe enough to do so. You can even create an invitation to visit, date TBD, with a small promotion or discount included. Above all, be genuine in your words and put a face to your business as customers begin acclimating to communities reopening.

Express Community Gratitude

A simple “thank you” goes a long way. Show your support for the community with signage and graphics outside of your business and on your social channels thanking medical professionals, first responders, essential workers, teachers and other frontline workers. If it makes sense, create a special giveback for frontline workers or make a donation to a COVID-19 relief fund as a way to show your commitment to frontline workers in your community.

We know business owners are eager to reopen and welcome back customers and clients, but getting back to business will not be as quick as turning on a switch. In the meantime, nurture your relationships with customers with thoughtful touches as you begin ease them back into doing business with you once again.

Four Things to Consider Before Reopening Your Business

Allegra is open!As restrictions are beginning to loosen, more businesses are working quickly to adapt to a new normal. Officials are releasing guidance with unique requirements and restrictions, and as you begin to look ahead to the future, keep in mind ways to make sure your business reopens on the strongest footing possible.

Revisit Your Business Model

What should your business model be when you reopen? Thinking about switching things up may be the last thing you want to think about right now, but you should still be asking if there are ways to pivot your operations, products or services into a better revenue stream. Many brands have been forced to get creative with inventory, operations and services during the pandemic, but it may be necessary to see these less as temporary pivots and instead as opportunities to continue to diversify revenue in the days and weeks ahead.

 

Communicate with Employees

Be clear with your employees and staff on the safety precautions you will be following to safeguard both their, and customers’, health. Share all guidelines as early as possible. If there are new requirements for face masks, hand washing, social distancing and enhanced cleaning, let your employees know and remember to ask if they have any questions, suggestions or concerns.  As you are laying out new guidelines, anticipate how they will be implemented and enforced – will you provide face masks and gloves to employees or will they need to bring their own? What is your sick leave policy, and will it allow people to stay home when they are symptomatic? Above all, it is important to show that you value employees’ opinions and care about their safety.

 

Clean Frequently, and Implement social distancing

Sanitation and disinfecting practices are paramount to fighting the novel coronavirus and that means reevaluating the way your business is cleaned. Beyond that, everyone will need to take part in keeping an office or business clean as a joint responsibility. Employees may need to be trained on how to clean high-touch areas and offices will need to be spread out with desks or work stations at least six feet apart. Keep alcohol or cleaning wipes around the office, remind staff to regularly wipe down surfaces and make sure everyone, from managers down to the newest employees, is pitching in to keep the workplace sanitary.

 

Acclimate to the New Normal

At this point, it seems likely “business as usual” is not in anyone’s future in the near term. Instead, employees and customers will be wearing face masks, facilities will be undergoing more frequent cleanings and social distancing practices may change the way your business looks and feels. Regardless of what type of business you are in, as you prepare to reopen your focus should be on demonstrating to employees first, and only then to the general public, that the work environment is safe and that you have developed innovative and creative ways to continue to delivery valuable services or products.

Businesses that stick to new guidelines and show concern and proactively plan for employees’ and customers’ well-being and safety are likely to succeed in the new normal.

Allegra is ready to help you navigate getting your business ready for reopening. Contact us today for our Reopening Readiness Checklist.

 

What’s Next? with Carla Johnson

Your ability to adapt, embrace, and find opportunities in every interaction with customers and staff will help drive the success and continuity of your business. Things continue to change rapidly. Business owners across the U.S. and Canada are figuring out ways to reopen their businesses while keeping their team and customers safe. If this is where you currently are, this video is for you. Allegra has partnered with author and marketing expert Carla Johnson to bring you a series of short, 10-minute videos to help your business. Here she discusses five things to keep in mind as you plan the next steps for your business.

Working with other businesses in the community has given the Allegra team the expertise on solutions you may need to get back to business. If you are looking for help with anything related to print, marketing, or mail, contact us today!

Consistency Rules with Carla Johnson

In times of change or crisis, being consistent is the key to success and business continuity. Consistency is the key ingredient that helps businesses build trust and become memorable. In this short, 10-minute video, Carla Johnson explains how to build consistent business practices and shares common mistakes to avoid. Here, she discusses unique ways to stay present in your customer’s lives. Being at the right place at the right time is necessary, but the most important thing is to always deliver a consistent and meaningful message that represents your brand.

If you need help finding new ways to reinforce your relationship with your customers, contact your local Allegra today!

Triple Threat with Carla Johnson

Balancing how much of your marketing efforts and budget are used to nurture existing customers and attract new ones is always a challenge. In this insightful, 10-minute video, Carla Johnson will walk you through a new way to approach your strategic planning. Here she will give you a few examples of ways your business can reevaluate your short, medium, and long-term goals. By following this exercise, you will be able to identify valuable opportunities that you can begin implementing from immediately. Taking an overall look at the larger picture will help you pave the way to accomplish your business goals.

If you are looking for a partner to help you plan your strategies, consider reaching out to our team. Allegra has years of experience helping businesses in diverse industries reach their marketing goals. Contact your local Allegra today!

Becoming an Indispensable B2B Partner with Carla Johnson

A partnership is an arrangement between two or more people, where they establish a mutually beneficial relationship. When working with B2B clients, establishing a good partnership can help you build successful and lasting business relationships. Allegra has partnered with author and branding expert Carla Johnson, to bring you useful insights on how to become an indispensable B2B partner. In this short, 10-minute video, you’ll learn about earning your client’s trust, exceeding their expectations, and anticipating their needs. Her simple and effective advice can help you deliver valuable and memorable experiences to your clients and help you become an indispensable B2B partner.

If you are looking for other ways to improve your B2B partnerships, contact your local Allegra today!

Take 10 Video Series – Marketing on Purpose with Carla Johnson

Consumers today care about the impact brands have in their communities. They want to know and understand what a brand stands for…in both good and tough times. Defining who you are as a company or organization through your brand purpose, can help differentiate you from the competition.

Listen to marketing expert Carla Johnson in this 10-minute “Marketing on Purpose” video where she discusses the importance of developing your brand purpose to accelerate your brand and help shape future marketing decisions. You’ll learn what a brand purpose is, why brands need one, the benefits and energy it can bring to an organization, and how to create your own powerful brand purpose statement.

RSVP has partnered with author and branding expert Carla Johnson to bring you proven tips to enhance your brand. If you are ready to get started and need help promoting your brand, contact your local Allegra today!