3 tips for creating an effective mobile website

This blog article, 3 tips for creating an effective mobile website was written by Brian Casel, a professional web designer and founder of Restaurant Engine, a website design solution built for restaurants. In addition to consulting with restaurants on their website design, he also writes for several industry publications about web design strategy and web marketing for small businesses. This article provides some very important tips and advice that can help ensure that your site displays well on multiple devices.

3 tips for creating an effective mobile website

By Brian Casel

Mobile. Smartphones. Tablets. E-Readers. Everywhere you go, you hear experts say: “Your restaurant needs to be tapped into the mobile web.”

But what exactly does that mean? Here are few key strategies we use in mobile web design to attract more customers to restaurants, our primary customer base.

1. Your website and mobile website should be one and the same.

What is the best way to optimize your website for mobile, and make it easy to view on iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices?

The industry standard when it comes to mobile optimization is a technique known to web designers as Responsive Web Design. That means the website is designed to scale and adapt itself to fit any screen size and any device. In other words, your website and your mobile website are one and the same.

The benefits of having a responsive, mobile-optimized website are simple:

  • You can manage and make updates to your website all in one place;
  • Your website seamlessly scales down (or up) to fit any mobile device, even new ones that haven’t come out yet;
  • Most mportantly — your customers who find you using their mobile web browser will see the same website they normally would, complete with your branding, colors and style, except it is conveniently re-shaped for the viewing in the palm of their hand.

So in a nutshell:

DO: Go for a responsive, mobile-optimized approach when having your website designed.

DON’T: Rely on third party apps that claim to convert your existing site to mobile. These only complicate the experience both for you and your customers.

2. Lose the Flash, music and other website roadblocks.

Many of us know that having any kind of Flash on your website has become a big “No No” in recent years. Why? Because Flash isn’t supported by many devices, including iPhones and iPads.

But it’s not just Flash you should stay away from. You should also lose that background music playing on your website. Not only is this a big turnoff to your visitors (no matter how soothing the song may be), but it adds bloat to your site, making it slower to load on mobile devices — particularly when the visitor is on a slower data connection.

All web users are in a rush to find what they need and move on. But mobile web users need answers NOW. So it’s more important than ever that your website doesn’t create roadblocks in their path.

For example, if your website has an introduction page that the visitor must sit through before accessing your website, you’re probably losing many potential customers. Rather than waiting or clicking “enter,” most users will just hit the back button and move on with their search for another restaurant.

DO: Make your website easy-to-access and include fast-loading content such as a few photos, your logo and some short text that is easy to read.

DON’T: Rely on Flash, background music, or any other roadblocks that only frustrate visitors when trying to access your website on a mobile device.

3. Include your contact info near the top.

Finally, here’s a tip that many restaurants can implement on their website right now.

We know your mobile website visitors are in a rush. But we can make a few more educated assumptions about these visitors. They’re probably looking for two key pieces of information:

  • Where is your restaurant located? and
  • How can they contact you to make a reservation/order?

Make it easy for them and ensure that the answer is right at the top of your website. As soon as they land on your website, the answers they’re looking for are in front of them. Right there, you’ve captured a larger chunk of your visitors and converted them into potential customers.

Be sure that your address and phone number are in plain text, not part of an image (and of course not part of a Flash piece). Why? Because many devices, like the iPhone and iPad will automatically convert phone numbers and street addresses into links. Clicking the phone number prompt them to call you right then and there. Clicking the street address will open up the Maps app and give them quick directions to your door.

DO: Include your address and phone number near the top of your website, in plain text.

DON’T: Hide your contact info at the very bottom of your website, or show it as part of an image.

Posted in Design, Technical

7 Critical Things Every Lead Nurturing Email Needs to Communicate

This blog article, 7 Critical Things Every Lead Nurturing Email Needs to Communicate was written by Sarah Goliger, www.hubspot.com. One of the things we recommend on every website is a Call to Action to collect email addresses for use in your lead generation nurture program. This great article explains how you should be formulating these follow-up emails:

7 Critical Things Every Lead Nurturing Email Needs to Communicate

By Sarah Goliger

We use email as a form of communication. In fact, email is one of the most common forms of communication marketers rely on. And yet, a lot of the time when we’re crafting our marketing emails, we neglect to consider exactly what it is we’re communicating, whether it be in terms of the tone we’re using, the email’s design, or most importantly, the content itself.

One type of marketing email that deserves particular attention here is lead nurturing emails. The idea behind lead nurturing is to provide your leads with valuable content that targets their needs and goals in order to guide them through your buying cycle until they are sales-ready. These leads are people in your marketing database who you already have some information about, most likely collected from a lead-capture form that they filled out. And because you already have information about certain characteristics and behaviors of these leads, shouldn’t your emails be designed to communicate with them differently than you would if you didn’t know anything about them? The answer is yes 😉

Let’s take a look at how your lead nurturing emails should aim to communicate with your leads.

1) You know something about them.

First things first: You need to make sure your emails convey that you actually know something about your recipients. Why? Well number one, people like to know they’re not just providing you with information about themselves for no reason. But more importantly, you capture people’s attention when you make things about them. Show them you’re paying attention to what they’re telling you about themselves. If your form asks where they live, or what size their business is, or their role at their company, use that information!

Segmentation is important when you nurture your leads because it allows you to target each individual lead more closely. Let’s say you own a horseback riding school. Some of your leads may be potential students who have never ridden a horse in their lives before. And maybe you also have a bunch of more advanced riders in your database. You’ll probably want to send those very different leads something completely different, right? Just make sure your personalization goes beyond using the person’s first name in your email. You know more important things about them, and you should show them that.

2) You are aware of their needs and interests, or are looking to learn what they are.

The best marketing is focused around your leads and what they want and need, not what you and your company are looking to get from them. Therefore, your emails should show your readers you care about what they need and what their goals are. If you don’t already know this information, ask for it! A simple “How can I help?” email that doesn’t contain any links to download something actually makes for a great lead nurturing email, because it not only opens up a dialogue with your leads, but it also allows them to provide you with a better understanding of what it is they’re looking for and hoping to get from your company. Once you’re equipped with this information, you can begin your next email with “I understand that your biggest challenge is ______,” and that should have them hooked.

3) You have something valuable to offer them.

Okay, now your leads know you’re looking out for their needs. So what? So, you have a way to help them! Once you’ve identified these interests and needs, you can start sending them content that helps them learn more about these areas, or any other resources you think they might find useful. Make it clear in your emails that you not only understand what your leads need, but also that you have a way to help. Think back to our horseback riding school example in number 1. Those advanced horseback riders in your database probably wouldn’t appreciate your introductory guide to horseback riding, but that’s probably a great offer for the ones who’ve never ridden a horse before. See what we mean?

4) You know why this offer is valuable to them.

Arguably more important than simply having a valuable offer for your leads is conveying to them exactly why that offer is valuable to them. Why should they download your ebook? What are they going to learn? What are they going to be able to do differently or better after reading it? Maybe you’re a B2B company, and your offer is to provide a free consultation for some aspect of their business. How exactly is this going to help them? Why should they sign up? Assume that the default reaction to your offer is always “Why should I bother?” and tell them exactly why. It’s not enough to position your offer in terms of its content. You have to position it in terms of its value, too.

5) Why they should trust you.

You know how much spam is out there these days. Seriously, how many junk emails are you getting? The fact of the matter is, whether or not they think your content is going to be useful is not the only thing your leads are considering when deciding whether or not to open your emails. They’re also deciding how much they trust you.

If your company has a strong reputation in your industry, great – you probably don’t have much to worry about. If you’re still building up your authority, your emails need to make it extremely clear that you are a trustworthy source of information. How? First of all, send quality content. Don’t be pushing out unreliable or low-quality content just so you have content to use in your emails. Second, use trust seals (e.g. BBB) and privacy policies on your site, or include them in your emails. Third, make sure the language of your emails comes off as friendly, not spammy. And most importantly, keep your emails relevant. Spam emails are never relevant, and almost never personalized.

6) Why they’d be missing out if they didn’t take advantage of this offer.

Here’s where the real convincing comes in. To really seal the deal, you have to go one step further than conveying the value of your offer. You have to create a sense of urgency. Don’t just tell them why they should take advantage of your offer, tell them why they’ll be missing out if they don’t. No one wants to fall behind in their industry. No business is comfortable knowing that their competitors are outpacing them, staying more relevant, using better tools, driving more revenue. Even in a B2C context, most consumers these days are concerned with staying ahead of the curve with the latest products and technologies. Use this information to incentivize your leads to take action. Create the need, address it, and then fill it.

7) You’re looking to help them, not you.

We glossed over this point earlier, but it’s definitely worth more emphasis. This is ultimately the most crucial idea you could communicate in your marketing emails. The second your recipients think you’re just looking to get what you want, you lose them. They’re not interested in being marketed to. They’re interested in solving their problems. Your job as a marketer is to figure out how to get what you want, but by making it about them. Start your emails with “you” instead of “I”. Use the information you have about them. Target your content to their needs. Show them that you’re looking to help.

Emails can be pretty complex. You have to find the right content, the best positioning, the clearest language, the most appealing design, and then some. But really, the effectiveness of your emails at engaging and nurturing your leads essentially boils down to one thing: the way you communicate. If you pay close attention to what and how you’re communicating, you’ll be able to optimize your emails to be far more effective, and start converting those leads into customers.

How well are your lead nurturing emails hitting these 7 communication must-haves?

Copyright HubSpot: Original Article

Posted in Marketing

Think social media isn’t made for B2B? Think again!

Here are some very eye-opening stats contained in the infographic below. Take your time and see what else you can find to motivate your business’ social activity now! And don’t forget – Tweet this to your followers too!

  • LinkedIn generates more leads than Facebook, Twitter or Blogging for B2B.
  • 70% of the buyers journey is compete before it gets to sales.
  • Pinterest is the FASTEST growing Social Media Network in HISTORY!

B2B SocialMedia Inside view

© NowSourcing.com and InsideView.com

Posted in Marketing, Social Media

Facebook Timeline for Pages

Facebook Timeline for Pages

We've updated our Facebook Page to the new timeline, what do you think?

If you use Facebook personally you are likely aware of the Facebook Timeline for Profiles.

What you may not be aware of is that Facebook is now planning a rollout of the Facebook timeline for Pages as well, which you can preview or publish now, and expects it to be in place for all pages on March 30th.

The Facebook Timeline for Pages offers Businesses the perfect opportunity to tell the story of your business and create your businesses’ identity on Facebook. Perhaps one of the greatest elements from the Timeline is the cover photo, a large horizontal banner that can be an image of your brand, an upcoming product, or anything else you want to showcase.

To find out more about the Facebook Timeline and the importance it has for your business, take a look at this article from Mashable – Facebook Timeline for Brands: The Complete Guide.

Posted in General, Social Media

Napoleon Hill and Masterminding

This blog post is courtesy of John Assaraf, PraxisNow

One of the richest men in the world, Andrew Cargnegie, used the power of masterminding to gain the knowledge and income that made him very wealthy. His charitable contributions after his death are still making a big difference in the lives of so many people.

If you want to learn some of the powerful strategies and tactics you gain from masterminding, I just posted a great “how to” article for you to read and enjoy.

Click here to access it

Please leave me a comment after you read it!

All the Best,
John Assaraf
PraxisNow, LLC P.O. Box 5020 PMB 1101 Rancho Santa Fe, California 92067 United States

Posted in General