Do You Need a Web Site, a Marketing Plan, or Both?

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What you put into the process determines what the outcome should be.

It is not unusual for a company to come to us asking for a website when in fact what they really need is a marketing plan that includes revamping or completely redoing their website. If you are not sure if you need a marketing plan first or a website first, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

What message do we want our customers to hear?
If you are unclear on this, you need to look at your overall marketing first – consider your goals, how you typically acquire your customers and why they choose to do business with you.

  1. How do we communicate our brand visually?
    We often hear customers say things like “We aren’t Nike, we don’t have a brand” or “Because we aren’t a large company, our brand isn’t important”. That is a fallacy. If you have a distinctive look and stay with that look consistently, across all your marketing channels – web, print, business cards, signs – it will help potential customers make the connection and feel confident in doing business with you. This obviously is connected to your overall marketing.
  2. How does our website fit into our overall marketing?
    We ask this question at every intake meeting. Having clarity about what you expect your website to do for your business is incredibly focusing. It transforms “Our website is just a brochure” thinking into “Our website is the hook that helps us reel in new customers” thinking. Or, to use another fishing metaphor, it might be “Our website is the fishfinder that helps us know where to drop our lines” thinking. In any case understanding how your site fits into your marketing, helps set the right goals and expectations.
  3. What are your goals for your website?
    Often, when we ask folks what their goals are, they start with “I want it to look better” or “I want it to be user-friendly”. These are great elements to include in a site but honestly they are not goals. A goal for your website might be “I want to get one solid lead each month” or “I need 10 new newsletter subscribers” or even “I need four additional online donations”. These are measurable goals that can drive design but they also make the most sense if you have a clear marketing plan.

If these questions resonated with you and made you think “We need a marketing plan.” or “We need a better marketing plan.” we can help. We have marketing partners we can bring in to your project that will bring clarity and focus to your marketing and to your website so it can help you grow.  Give us a call today at 303-268-2245 to get started.


Strategies for High Converting Websites

So what does it take to “take your site to the next level”? Whether you have a new web site or are looking to get a new site, there are several things you can do that high converting websites do. What are highly converting websites? Ones that get people to take action – fill the funnel like this:

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Here are the strategies we recommend for highly converting websites:

  1. Make your unique value proposition clear.
    Your business is unique. Why do people choose to do business with you? Why do they choose you over other choices? What sets you apart in your industry? The clearer you are on why people choose you, the more the right kinds of people will respond via your website.
  2. Test Calls to Action and use just one
    Unclear or confusing calls to action on your website can kill your business. Determine what you want people to do and make is crystal clear on the site what that is.
    It sounds so simple. And yet I had one potential client tell me last week that his NEW website doesn’t have a call to action. Yep. That is the case. He paid someone to build a website for his business but there is no next step for users to take.
  3. Test your headlines
    The words that you use on your pages matter. If you are getting traffic to a page but no conversions, try changing the headline or headlines on a page. Sometimes changing one word on your website can make a big difference. Imagine a used car parts online store with the words “Satisfaction Guaranteed” displayed prominently on their site. Satisfaction is fuzzy. What does that mean? Not clear. Change Satisfaction to Money-Back though and now I, as a potential customer, have a very clear concept of what happens. I can buy this part and if it doesn’t work, I get my money back.
  4. Use short forms
    If you are trying to build your email newsletter subscribers, don’t ask for the mailing address. The only thing you really need is the email address. If you’re going to add fields so it can say, “John, check out this sale” then you might want to capture the first name or simply have a name field. Only ask for the information you need and you are much more likely to get conversions.
  5. Use trust symbols
    While they may be legally required to do so, it does give us comfort or increase our trust when we see or hear a bank commercial that includes something like “FDIC Insured”. This is a signal that this place is legit. You can do the same thing on your website, even if you aren’t a bank.
    You don’t operate in a vacuum. Demonstrate that to the world. What organizations do you belong to or what certifications have you attained that show visitors they can trust you? Consider industry specific groups or chambers or other business organizations if you are in the B2B realm. If you are B2C, consider things like the Better Business Bureau or a seal from your ssl issuing company if it is an ecommerce site. If any of these groups or places have logos that you can use, they provide great visual cues for the trust you deserve.

How many of these strategies are you already using? If you are using 4 or 5, congratulations! You probably already have a high converting website. If you are using 2 or 3, kudo’s to you. You are taking some good steps towards making your site help your business. But if you want more, contact us and we’ll help you explore what can be done. If you are using only 1 or perhaps none of these strategies, stop. Pick up the phone. Call 303-268-2245 ext 4 and tell us you want help getting your site to convert more.


Page Speed: How Fast is Your Site?

Does your site load on people’s computers quickly? If it doesn’t, does it matter?

Fast1The answers to those two questions are “It better be fast” and “It absolutely matters”.   There are two main reasons:

  1. User Interface. If users are waiting and watching the spinning circle or other indicators that the page is loading but it hasn’t finished, they leave.
  2. Google rewards fast web sites with better, higher rankings. Not just Google of course but since Google accounts for 75% of searches, we’ll just say “Google”.

So what can you do to tell if your site is fast? We have two answers for that as well:

  1. Google actually tells you how fast your site is and gives tips on how to make it faster. Visit and enter your domain and see what Google says about your site.  It is a good idea to visit on a regular basis – monthly or quarterly to make sure that nothing has changed either on your site or how Google views your site.
  2. There is another great, free tool that lets you see the speed and uses several other tools to help you understand what is happening on your web page. One of the biggest issues we see with this tool is that images aren’t optimized well. The cool part of it is the tool provides you with the optimized version of the image in question. No more trying to guess what it means.

So take some time to check out your website today. Use both of the tools above to check not just the homepage but also other key pages on your site. Just because you get the home page to load quickly doesn’t automatically mean other pages will.

Just as I wrote this article I found that one of the plugins we were using had “gone rogue” and was lowering our score for page speed. That plugin is gone and we’re back to fast loading pages.

The tools will help you measure the speed and once the tools say your pages are loading fast, you can go back and work through your site from a customer perspective and verify that they are indeed going smoothly and quickly.

And of course, if you would like assistance in speeding up your page or pages, call us at 303-268-2245 ext 4 and we’ll get the ball rolling.


Running the Wrong Race

This last week I had an email conversation that went something like this:

Potential Customer: I’m interested in what you do – how much does it cost?
Me: Well, we build websites to meet our customers’ needs and business goals. What are yours?
PC: I already have a web site, how could you help me grow and become more visible?

And that was when I knew this guy was running the wrong race.  If you have a VW and you think you’re going to race it in NASCAR. . .  well you only win that race in Disney movies.  We still had a good conversation and he is considering his options but that conversation surfaces the biggest issue we see in the digital marketing arena today.

If you have built your website to display your wares like the ancient markets where, on market day people would walk by and some would stop and buy from you and you want a powerful, inbound campaign that brings people to you, you need to start with your web presence in general and your website specifically.

How do you gain a new customer now? What is the decision point when you know “I just got a new customer!” If that isn’t built into your website, how will it help you grow? Take some time to ponder this. It really is the crux of the matter and key to winning the race.

Understanding the key decision point(s) your customers face and then putting that into your site shows your customers you understand their pain. Why does every mortgage lender have a mortgage calculator on their site? That is the issue or pain their customers face – “How much will I be paying?” While that is important, everyone (all mortgage lenders) do that. So what is the decision point that comes up when your customers choose you? That is the issue to build into your website.

Once you have your site optimized to help you attract and capture new leads or more business, then you’re ready to run the race – whether it be Search Engine Optimization, Paid Advertising, Social Media Marketing, email marketing or some combination thereof.

Whatever you decide, if you think we might be able to help you, give us a call today at 303-268-2245 and ask for Brian.


Becoming a Customer (Part 1)

Have you ever thought about how you interact with web sites?

When we speak with potential clients, they rarely have stopped to think about how they want visitors to interact with their site. But what does it mean to become a customer? That, ultimately is what every business owner wants from their website.

Social media websites have it easy – some would say too easy. To become a customer all you have to do is create a free account and start sharing. A cousin of mine just joined Facebook last week. Within minutes of joining, he was able to be posting and sharing. Facebook had just acquired another customer that they can then sell ads to – and make money.

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If you aren’t clear on your goals, neither is your customer

But what about a service company? How do you want visitors to interact with you? Too often I look at a web site and it has a pleasant enough look and it displays information. And when I talk to the business owner and ask “What is your goal for your web site?” the answer is “I want to educate (or inform) the visitor.”

But isn’t it really more than that? Very rarely, unless we’re talking to a school, is the goal to educate. Almost always, even for the schools, the goal of the site is to acquire more customers. For social media sites, that can be as simple as having a new person with an account. For ecommerce sites, the goal is pretty obvious, successfully complete the checkout process after putting “stuff” in your shopping cart.

But there are many other very good goals. If you have a long sales cycle, you might be getting a huge win every time someone signs up for your newsletter. If you are a consultant, your goal may be for someone to fill out a form before downloading a white paper or other document. If you are in the trades like a plumber or electrician, having someone schedule an appointment online could mean you just got another customer. For many businesses, simply getting the phone to ring is a win. If that’s the case, make sure you have a clear call to action focused on why calling you is a great idea.

EduCyber can help you get a clear call to action – why not work with us?


What is Your Focus?

“Brian, I just learned that a competitor is getting 60% of their business through their website. How come my site isn’t?” This question and many with a very similar tack gets asked a lot in my business. That along with customers new or existing asking about all the spam emails promising great results in the search engines or a huge number of leads coming in.

How does a company get a website that generates qualified leads consistently?

The simple one-word answer is focus.

This site is a great example of a site without focus.

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There are so many choices, so many things to look at, to click on, to decide on, that most people simply click the only button they know for sure will help them – the back button. This site is trying to sell you everything from the front page. Everything.

Now take a look at

Converse 1024X785 1They too have a lot of different products from shoes to clothing and within shoes a wide range from Men’s to Women’s and Children. And yet their site is focused on what they do best, what they sell most: shoes. If you’re looking for an athletic shoe, you can quickly figure out whether this site can help you or not. You see three very different styles beneath the picture.

Giving folks THREE choices is just right. More than that and they have to think too much. If they pause to think, they’ll likely remember that they were really interested in Nike shoes, not Converse. Or that Zappos has all kinds of shoes and all kinds of deals. But by showing three clear choices, Converse draws us deeper into the site. This pulls us deeper into the sales funnel and makes it more likely we’ll click the checkout button and pay.

One click further in you can give a few more choices if needed but the key still is focus. We recently started working with a new customer that handles residential and commercial flooring. The owner clearly recognizes that most of his web business will be residential. So there will be a small link on his home page to commercial flooring but the main choices will be residential choices. Notice, he is NOT saying “We don’t do commercial flooring” and he is not hiding it. But the FOCUS on the home page will be the residential choices because that is where the web leads will come from.

The biggest pushback we get from business owners is that by focusing on a niche, they exclude their broader market. I say that is nonsense.  In fact, the more focused you are on a niche, the better you present your company and the MORE folks outside of your target want to use your services.  Disagree? Let me know!



Economics of Conversion Optimization

I spend a lot of time every day explaining Conversion Optimization because it is such an important part of what we do.

The general idea is to get more of your visitors to perform a specific task – a task that will help your company grow. It may be as simple as signing up for your newsletter or sharing on Facebook something about your site. Or it could be as significant as buying something online or calling you up, ready to do business.

First you have to determine what you want visitors to do, then start working on the process. But why? Is it really useful?

Let’s say you have a web site that sells widgets. Each widget is $10. During a typical month you get 10,000 visitors to your website and you sell 100 widgets, one to a customer. You have a 1% conversion rate:

100 (customer)/10,000 (visitors) = 0.01 or 1%

So you set to work on improving the conversion process and after much work you go from a 1% conversion rate to a 1.5% conversion rate. What? Only a .5% increase?

No. Not a .5% increase. Look again. That is a 50% increase. Now instead of making $1000 for every 10,000 visitors, you make $1500.

Conversionoptimization 1Stop and think about that. If you had not conversion optimized your site, and instead run an SEO campaign to increase traffic to 100,000 visitors a month you would make $10,000. But if you first optimize your site for conversion and then do the SEO campaign, you are suddenly making $15,000 month.

Spend time optimizing your site before you optimize your search! If you spend the resources to improve your conversion rate from 1% to 2%, you will double the money you get from your site.

Well that makes sense for ecommerce but what about a lead generating site? The same principle applies. If you get 1000 visitors a month, ten of which call and one of which becomes a customer, you now have a formula. First look over your site and see what you can do to optimize the conversion process. Then make some changes. It is actually better to make small incremental changes so you can determine which changes are working.

On the web site itself you can’t change the conversion rate of 10 calls to 1 customer. That is an internal process you can (and should) work on. But you can work to get more people calling. Again, get 15 or 20 calls a month and you have a 50 – 100% increase in conversions, leading to more revenue for you.

So invest the time and resources to make your site better. It will have a positive impact on your bottom line.


Formed for Success

A pixel? A color? Or More?

For going too far we have the phrase “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.  In a similar vein, bridges often have a sign announcing their load limit which conjures up interesting mental images about what testing they performed to determine those limits.

But in a positive vein could it be that your web site is one pixel away from a break through? What if the color of your button was the barrier between you and a lot more customers? It sounds too easy to be real. But what if?

Look at these two forms:

First Name:


Garish Buttons Don't Help Conversions

First Name:


Button With Good Conversion Color

Which do you like better? Why?

Sometimes choosing the right color of button is the difference between no one ever signing up and getting lots of new subscribers. Users often report skipping over the bright red stuff as it simply is too bright or doesn’t fit with the color scheme. The important take away is that it should fit within your color scheme. A good example of this in action can be seen at where the Schedule your tour button clearly grabs your attention but the color fits within the scheme.

Now look at these two forms:

First Name:


Button With Good Conversion Color

First Name:


Button With Good Conversion Text

Which one do you like better? Why?

If you don’t think about it – and many folks don’t – submit either is very bland or some kind of kinky command, but neither really tells folks what is next. Sign up for Free on the other hand tells folks exactly what is going to happen if they click on the button. It is very important to help folks understand what happens when you click the button. One newsletter  provider users the same button “Proceed to Send” for the first two steps in preparing to send an email. The first time through this is a scary undertaking because the only way I can get to the next step is to click a button that suggests I’ll actually be sending the message instead of going to the next step. Then when I’m actually ready to send it, my choices are clear – Deliver Immediately or Schedule Delivery. If it were up to me, I would rename the first button “Choose Who to Send it To” and the second could be as simple as “Next” or “Proceed to Last Step” so I know I won’t be  actually sending the message yet.

And finally, look at these two forms:

First Name:


Button With Good Conversion Text

First Name:


Button Optimized For Conversion

Which of these are you most likely to fill out? Why?

Having a friendly button can make a big difference in whether folks will click the button so they can “click” with you. Using beveled edges and drop shadow, especially fitting it within the look of your web site, can make all the difference in the world.  If you’re experiencing problems getting folks to do what you want them to do on your site, give us a call (303 268-2245) to discuss it. You could be just a button away from success.


Testing Your Web Site

Do you like to take tests? How about give tests? For many of us testing is something we did a long time ago when we were in school.

But it shouldn’t be. We should be testing things on our web sites all the time. There are two powerful reasons why:Test 1

  1. Testing your web site leads to a better site and a better understanding of how it works (in other words, it helps you make more money).
  2. Testing your web site doesn’t have to be a big, expensive endeavor and neither does it have to be time consuming.

We all have opinions about what works best visually but when we test these opinions, surprises abound. I came across a test that surprised me on the Which Test Won web site this week: Breaking up the visual monotony by alternating photos from left to right seems like a no-brainer.  Only that isn’t what actually engaged people. Having all the photos down the right side is what worked – even with the right column having other images.

If your site doesn’t get a ton of visitors, you can still do testing – the tests just need to go a bit longer. You can test simple things like does making the button green instead of blue get better results. You can test whether your call to action should be to fill out a form or to call you. You can test different copy. Take a look at your site or better yet get a colleague to look at your site and see what is clear for them and what isn’t. Then create a test based on that.

And it doesn’t have to cost you anything. Simply create the two versions you want to test and use a free tool like Google Analytics to set your test up. The more traffic you have to your site, the sooner you’ll get results that are valid but if your traffic is low, you can simply run the test for a bit longer.

Sometimes the answers you uncover will surprise you. But isn’t it better to be surprised and understand what not to do than to just sail along, never quite understanding what is working and what isn’t?


Radical Refresh

Is your brand / web site / logo old? Afraid it is getting boring? Sometimes it can be a good thing to radically refresh who you are so a new crop of customers can find you. Take your favorite old comic book characters, for example.  DC Comics has radically refreshed their lineup  of comics, not tossing the colors but making them more relevant to a new generation.

If a company with such well known characters as Superman, Batman, Flash, Aquaman and Wonder Woman can do it, so can you.

Here is what DC seems to be doing right:

  • They are keeping the familiar characters
  • They are delivering their content old style (in comic books in stores) and new style (digital delivery)
  • They’re bringing the stories that were started in the early to mid 1900’s up to date.
  • They’re introducing some new characters along with “refreshing” the old characters.

What does this mean for you? Take a look at your brand. How is it evidenced in your logo? In your print materials? In your web site? In your interactions with customers?

How have your customers’ needs changed? What do they need now that they didn’t when you started your brand / business? How can you meet this new need?

Keep this discussion at a high level and paint in broad brush strokes. Consider how you want people to interact with your brand – should they be buying branded clothing? Downloading your app? Friending you on Facebook? Commenting on your blog?

Take this information and carefully consider whether you can meet the needs of your current consumer by: making small changes, doing a remodel, or doing a radical refresh that will bring out a new vision of what you company does and how it responds to customers.иконииконописikoni


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