Apr
03
2014

Building Intrigue with Design

Build Intrigue with your web site design.

I’ve seen so many web designs through the years that don’t do anything to intrigue me.  There are two distinct parts to a web site and most sites miss out on one or the other, or, in more cases than I can hardly believe, both.  It’s imperative that a web site be found firstly, and secondly, that it be intriguing enough to keep my interest.  I need to know, as a viewer, that I am at the right web site and that the site provides me the information I need immediately and pointedly.  There are some key points to keep in mind when designing a web site.  They are as follows:

  • The elements in all locations of the web site should be developed for optimal use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).  CSS allows for more SEA (Search Engine Awareness).  As such, CSS relies on fonts on the user’s computer and browser and thus sticking to primary fonts is advisable.  Graphical elements, such as a logo, allow more flexibility but also limit the SEO.  However, where possible, stick to textual content and CSS manipulation so as to maximize your SEA.
  • The textual content must be maximized for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), not just as filler but as real SEO maximized content.  Maximize the copy for SEO once the design of the site has been settled on so that the content fits the design.
  • Users want to see what they are looking for quickly and without too much clutter.  Opt for a cleaner header with the primary functions in the top menu bar for the purposes of providing users the option to quickly find what they are looking for.  It’s a good idea to ADD more clutter at the bottom where users will end up if their interest leads them there.  Interest them in the top third of the page with short pointed information so that they will scroll down to read the more robust two-thirds of the page.  This will help your SEO as well as keep your viewers intrigued.
  • It is often a good idea in today’s environment to offer a slideshow in an area at the top, preferably within the top third of the page, beneath the main menu items to offer some quick visuals for our visual world.  Scroll through photos along with textual content to the right of the photo that will also change with the photo.  People like to look at photos and feel at ease with seeing people who look like they are, not only having fun, but might be similar to themselves in their activities.  This is an area designed to attract their attention, provide them information, and make them feel comfortable.  The photos in this slideshow should be carefully selected from the photos available to fit this need.  The text that goes with the photo should also fit this need and be conscientious of the SEO definition.  It is important to use CSS for this slideshow for maximum SEO and SEA as well as the ability to have this slideshow load quickly.  Slow slideshows will be detrimental, so stick to the CSS slideshow designs for optimal intrigue and SEO.
  • The main area beneath the slideshow, but still in the top third of the page, can be split into a left side and a right side.  The left side or right side can be chosen for the main content of each page and will change according to the page.  The other side should be used as a sidebar for quick content access.  Again, this can be to the left or right but should be a thinner sidebar with some quick “important” items for the user.  You should have some links to your YouTube channel, Yelp reviews, Social Networks, News & Views and a Newsletter signup option which will be consistent on every page though could fluctuate in the order with which they are delivered.  PTC Computer Solutions utilizes an algorithm that will randomly place these areas top to bottom allowing for some feeling of change every time a user enters and thus compel them to read.  The randomization also signals the search engines that the page has altered and will force the Search Engine Robot to re-categorize the page improving the SEA as well as your Search Engine Rankings (SER).
  • PTC Computer Solutions highly recommends you have a YouTube channel of your own as well as an embedded Blog with newsletter sign up capability.  The Blog will allow you to connect with your prospects and former clients while the YouTube Channel will provide a place for videos.  Videos provide comfort such as was mentioned for the slideshow.  Video should be added to attract prospects.  Prospects should be defined through a Market Research Study.  A good Marketing Study will define the demographics as well as the psychographics of your prospect base.  PTC also recommends you get some videos produced of just general activities in and around your storefront, if you have one, including your services and your employees at work on and in their work.  Not everyone is a videographer, so if you get some stuff on film, PTC can help you compile it with our video editing staff.  Or, you can get some local help, but it is imperative you add video to your YouTube Channel.  YouTube, behind Google itself, is the second most utilized search engine on the web. And, of course, Google owns YouTube which will help your SEO greatly.
  • Moving down in to the bottom third of the page, there should be some links to What’s Hot, Featured Stories, Services, and Support areas.  These can all be fed right out of the Blog or can be changed separately depending on how you want to handle this.  It is a great opportunity to showcase support of the local community and the community for your area of expertise.  It is an excellent showcase for this but must be dynamic such as the Latest News section which will be fed from the Blog as well.  The Blog needs to be set up to handle all the business needs, but regular upkeep is important.  PTC works closely with clients to ensure the Blog is kept current and can keep your Blog up to date as part of a service and management contract should you wish us to do so.
  • Reviews from online sources are very useful.  If you have Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube reviews and comments or whatever you have out there should be added to the sidebar or the lower bar.  Again, this could be a revolving randomization of things which would help your SEO tremendously.  You must become familiar with all of your Social Networks and keep them current.  Again, you can contact PTC Computer Solutions to manage these if you need some help.
  • The Footer should be an “Open Footer” with all the links available and visible to the user shown for quick access to any part of the web site in it.  This is really something for the search engines and is not often looked at by the general user unless you’ve intrigued them enough to get to the bottom of the page.  If you have them there, you’ve done your job.

The idea here is to get people to utilize your services or purchase your products or come by your store to talk with you personally.  The objective is to generate more traffic for you but also compel the user to use you for their needs or at least contact you directly.  Offering some incentive to be part of your Subscriber network is a good way to build rapport.  The embedded Blog will help this tremendously, but we need to get people fired up about YOU!  So, be thinking about what fires people up, not what fires YOU up.  Video is excellent with regards to that.  In the video, you can work on compelling people to come by and try out what you have to offer.  Unfortunately, not everyone will take the time to view the video even though you want to add as many videos as possible.  The videos will generate more traffic through SEO and will likely not be watched, so we want to also compel prospects with the textual content of the site because that’s how they are going to find you.

PTC Computer Solutions recommends all of this to every client, but it is up to you to provide your web designer with your thoughts and recommendations.  You know your business better than anyone else.  Let your designer know your thoughts on the design and the information mentioned here and they’ll provide a web site that intrigues and compels your prospects to contact you.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  PTC can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
4/3/2014

PTC Computer Solutions
P.O. Box 51604
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32240

904.992.9888
davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com
www.ptccomputersolutions.com

0
Mar
06
2014

Building Inroads with SEO

Getting listed high on the Search Engine Rankings (SER) is the primary concern of people these days. It is one thing to have a web site, but if no one can find it then it is pretty useless. Think of it like building a shop in the middle of the desert. Typically, a company builds a web site and then tries to draw people to it, much like building the shop and then having to build a few roads through the desert. But, then you also have to get people to drive down the roads. So, it’s a three step process, really:

  1. The first step is to build the web site with as much as you can to attract customers once they are there. In today’s world, we don’t want to build too much confusion in the site. Make it simple so the visitor to your site can find what they want quickly. People don’t read much anymore, so don’t put too much reading in there. It should be interesting, graphic, and compelling enough to stick around and find out more.  If people stick around, they will read more, so don’t neglect to provide the reading material in the sub-pages of your site so that those who want to find information can find it quickly.
  2. Secondly, you have to build the inroads. This is the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you hear talked about so often. But it’s not just optimizing the site for Search Engines. There has to be a general effort toward SEA (Search Engine Awareness). Search Engines have robots or spiders that crawl the web looking for data. They categorize data and thus categorize your web site based on the content and data they find. Optimizing the site for insuring your site is categorized in the correct searches is the SEO part and requires understanding of where you want to position yourself. Positioning is another part of this, but really requires a study of your potential consumers and the consumer market from a demographic as well as psychographic standpoint. That’s a whole study in itself and should be commissioned at some point in order to fully understand your target and positioning. However, if you are involved extensively in your product and thus understand intuitively your target market, you might forgo that if you wish. Don’t underestimate the importance of a Market Research Study, though, it can be invaluable and may provide you information you never even thought of.  The SEO, therefore, needs to be geared toward the target market. That’s not enough to complete the inroad, however. You have to ensure this data is dynamic, i.e. changes regularly. This builds SEA in to the search engine robots. The robots find a change in data and then have to re-address the page which, in turn, makes it pop-to the top again, much like on Facebook where the latest posts move to the top. Of course, the SEO must work together with the SEA for optimal exposure.
  3. Finally, you need to develop some incentive to go down the road to your website. This can be done through paid advertising for banners or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising on sites. You can also do this through involving yourself in clubs, associations, and organizations the industry and target market might be involved with. This is another part of the Market Research, but again, if you are familiar with this group, you can go on your instincts (a Market Research Study is highly advisable). So, you should be able to get some reciprocal linking and awareness through these organizations. Social networking and developing a presence on free sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and others is the final method of building awareness. This is much like building a “word of mouth” network. People tell other people and so on and so on. Between building reciprocal links, social networking, and the PPC potential, you stand a good chance at people taking the road to the web site.

That all being said, there is a good deal of development left for the site to be operational. You need to build the aspects to allow you to add product as needed, alter what you need to do including adding photos and pricing, and delete products as well as allow for you to add content through a blog format. This should provide you with the full functionality needed and the blog format will allow you to keep your SEA active. Ideally, you would want to have the Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ pages as well as a YouTube Channel to showcase your products. This can be a bit more time consuming but not as much as you might think. This type of stuff is something you would need to be doing regularly, maybe a few times per month. I always recommend actively participating in your site content at least once per month and twice if possible.

PTC Computer Solutions has been involved with bringing Search Engine Awareness to web site clients for many years.  It can be a time consuming process and businesses don’t often have the resources to maintain all of these aspects of web interaction not to mention having a member of the staff capable of creating the content necessary to improve the Search Engine Optimization for the web site.  PTC specializes in developing and maintaining this content for its customers.  If you need assistance with this, contact PTC today.

Building Inroads with SEO

Building Inroads with SEO

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  We can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
3/6/2014

0
Feb
12
2014

To Macro or Micro, That is the Question

To Macro or Micro, That is the Question

It has been commonplace in advertising to cast the net as wide as possible in order to attract clients.  A macro-world for a macro-environment, if you will.  It has mostly been about broadcast television and radio and billboards along the highway to attract the attention of every passerby.  These forms of Macro-targeting have their purpose, but perhaps it’s time to look at the potential of being more specific with your marketing dollar.  We can do better in today’s day and age, and we should be.

PTC Computer Solutions was recently involved in a project in Cartagena, Colombia…that’s Carta-hay-na, not Carta-hay-nya, please.  Michael Douglas infamously pronounced it wrong in Romancing the Stone in 1984 and so it stuck with lots of Americans.  It’s an interesting note in that Cartagena has not marketed itself well through the years.  Most people have no idea about what Cartagena is all about.  They are working on changing that, but you can see how a Macrotargeted movie like Romancing the Stone was able to affect a great number of people and many of those people have not visited and thus not become clients of the city.

Getting back to our PTC related client.  Our client is interested in trying to attract a very specific and likely small group of people to its product.  This is a case where Macrotargeting is not going to be very cost effective, where the Return on Investment (ROI) would be better off spent on a very specific marketing effort.  It’s time to microtarget for maximum effectiveness.

Microtargeting is the use of direct marketing datamining techniques that involve predictive market segmentation or cluster analysis to track individuals and identify potential customers.  Microtargeting relies specifically on transmitting a tailored message to a subgroup of prospects on the basis of unique information about that subgroup.  This might sometimes be referred to as narrowcasting or niche marketing, but they all rely on the same thing:  defining the demographic, and more importantly, the psychographic of the prospects.

Gathering data about people is a necessary part of any marketing.  This data can be gathered through surveys or opinions on a web site or some other means such as on hotel registers or visitor entry cards into the country.  We found that Colombia was not asking simple questions on their visitor information cards to garner information about those coming and going from the country.  It’s important data to have.  The databases should contain specific information about a particular individual such as why they are visiting and what their destination is, and why as well as identifying other activities and habits.  Not to worry, this type of data can be purchased and is available from commercial marketing vendors such as Acxiom, Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Americas, and InfoUSA.

PTC Computer Solutions specializes in developing microtargeted marketing campaigns implementing such tools as: microsites, social media, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Awareness (SEA), WebPR, Blogs, and many others.  Don’t get caught spending more than you have to on broadcasting and macromarketing when you can be getting the most bang for your buck with Microtargeting in a narrowcasting environment with micromarketing.

Too much stuff to handle in one post?  Go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com or contact PTC directly at info@ptccomputersolutions.com and let us know some of your thoughts on this.  You want to create a website that encompasses all of these ideas AND satisfies you and your company needs.  It’s important that everyone is happy with your company website as you move forward.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  We can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
2/12/2014

0
Jan
13
2014

SEO DIY – Top 10 Helpful Tips

SEO DIY – Top 10 Helpful Tips

One of the many web related services we perform here at PTC Computer Solutions, and more of it lately, is Search Engine Optimization.  We have a team of experts with a ridiculous amount of experience in improving your SEO.  But, if your budget is tight and you have the time, you don’t have to have us do it if you want to Do-It-Yourself.   Just follow our recommendations listed below and you will be well on your way to improving your website visibility on Google and other search engines.

Keeping your website on the first page of the search engines requires a combination of best practices in terms of website design and coding, page and post writing and having well planned content that is interesting to both humans and search engines.  SEO is an ongoing process since the web is a competitive environment with millions of websites all vying for just 10 positions on the first page. In order to rise above the competition ALL aspects of SEO have to be actively managed in an ongoing strategy.

The following items are a Top 10 of Helpful Tips PTC Computer Solutions recommends to achieve SEO Best Practices for your website with suggested strategies to improve your page rankings:

  1. Unique Page URLs, Titles and Descriptions – Each page of the website should have a Unique Resource Locator (URL) that is keyword rich, a unique Page Title and unique Description. These metadata items are critical to basic SEO for all search engines. URLs are the actual website page names. These should be limited in characters but keyword phrase rich wherever possible. Keep in mind URLs are the exact location for the page on the web so any previous search engine page rankings (SERPs) will be lost if URLs are changed. Also, any pages with a Backlink or bookmark to the URL will get a “404/Not Found Error” if the URL is changed which is detrimental to SEO.
    • Page Titles must be a concise synopsis of the page content in the form of a keyword phrase. The title is used as a primary index and becomes the headline in search results. Make it a High-SEO value title and avoid using the same Low-SEO value title for every page.
    • Page Descriptions should be no more than 160 characters including spaces. These become the short description in search engine results and should concisely compel searchers to click and read the page. There should be a User Friendly description for every page that grabs the human eye as well as the Search Engine eye.
    • Image Titles/Tags: It is also very important that all images used on pages and in posts have file names (titles) and Alt Text that add SEO value. Be sure to set these whenever an image is uploaded and review/update for existing images.
  2. Blog and use a Page/Post SEO – If you’re using WordPress or some other blogging software, don’t rely on just one SEO plugin. There are lots of good WP.org tools but there may not be just one best option. Have several SEO options installed and utilize them all. Look to install one that offers tools to analyze SEO and Keywords to help less knowledgeable users ensure higher SEO values. Also, find one that includes the ability to keep an XML (Extensible Markup Language) site map and other features.  An XML Site Map is important to have on websites to assist Search Engine crawls. This makes it easier for Search Engine “bots” and “spiders” to index and re-index all pages on the website.
  3. Google is King – It is estimated that Google controls over 80% of search engine traffic. Having anything related to Google associated with a website, while they claim otherwise, is a good idea. Consider the following:
    • Analytics Tracking Code
    • Google Plus Account
    • Google Webmaster Tools (also has value for SEO and other suggestions)
  4. Robot Text – A robot text file is helpful to make Search Engine crawls more efficient.  If there are pages that do not need to be indexed for SEO purposes, use Robot Text to remove them from view and also tell the Search Engines when to come back. This should be evaluated and considered for any website.
  5. Footer with Navigation – A Footer with a fully revealed navigation offers value. The best footer is one that fully reveals all pages on the website to make it easier for humans find pages and navigate the website. It also does the same for search engine “bots” and “spiders”.
  6. Website Speed – Search Engine rankings take many factors into account in their algorithms (and it is ever evolving). One element is the speed of the website. The faster pages are delivered, the higher they rise above slower competitive pages. Be sure pages are loading fast and use the Google Analytics PageSpeed Tool regularly to ensure a fast load for all pages.
  7. Targeted Page/Post Content – Blog posts are a very important element of SEO if they are used to target keywords. A blog post can have high value even if a human never reads it provided that the proper SEO is set and specific keywords are targeted. Each post becomes uniquely indexed with search engines and targeting the right keywords can move a post quickly to the first page of Search Engines. A Keyword Study utilizing the Google Webmaster Tools can provide better understanding of the volume of traffic and competition for relevant keywords. The Keyword Study should be used to guide your web development team in updating web pages and writing targeted blog posts. Keyword Search Trends, like everything else on the web, are dynamic and fluid. It is important to update the study at least every six moths to ensure targeting is valid.
  8. Relevancy – Having web pages with URLs, Titles, Descriptions, H1 Headline Tags and keyword-rich content that match what users are searching for in their searches are critical to page rankings. As noted above, having the proper metadata, and SEO oriented text, is critical to rankings. This is an art that requires a balance between headlines and text meaningful to both humans as well as Search Engines. It is best to have the Keyword Phrase in the headline, and repeat the Keyword Phrase a few times in the first third of the page/post text. Be careful not to “stuff” the same keywords in a page/post or many pages and posts since this can trigger flags with Search Engines.  Keyword Stuffing is frowned upon by the Search Engine algorithms and will be detrimental to your SER.
  9. Recency of Content – “Recency” means regularly adding new content to a page. Search Engines place higher value on pages that have been updated recently. There is no specific period for making updates. However, pages that are dormant between several crawls by a Search Engine can lose rankings to other more active pages. THIS IS CRITICAL FOR THE HOME PAGE. Have a strategy to refresh content on a routine basis for the home page and other key information pages on the website.
  10. Backlinks – One of the most important elements of Search Engine Rankings (SER) are links from other websites. Backlinks are considered “votes” for popularity by the Search Engines. All Backlinks are helpful but they are not of equal value. Links from other highly relevant websites, and from other highly ranked web pages, increase the value of the “vote” and helps the pages being linked to rise in the Search Engines. A strategy to find non-competitive websites with relevant content and high page rankings is important. Offering reciprocal links is a way to get other websites to “trade” or “reciprocate” links. Having resource content with information of value to other websites in the form of blog posts is an excellent way to draw Backlinks. This can be the most difficult item to accomplish but it is also very high in the Search Engine ranking criteria so it must be a high priority for SEO.

With these Top 10 Helpful SEO Tips, you should be well on your way to improving your website Search Engine Awareness (SEA) and improve your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) placement.  Being on the first page of the SERP is almost as important as having a website in the first place.  You must have eyes to have sales.  Keep up your website like you would your store shelves and you’ll have Top 10 Results.

Too much stuff to handle in one post?  Go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com or contact PTC directly at info@ptccomputersolutions.com and let us know some of your thoughts on this.  You want to create a website that encompasses all of these ideas AND satisfies you and your company needs.  It’s important that everyone is happy with your company website as you move forward.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  We can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
1/13/2014

0
Dec
18
2013

Color Me Right

Recently, I had the pleasure of working on some new design ideas for a company selling Harley Davidson motorcycles.  They liked several black based designs and logos that looked fairly frightening.  I can see why they like them given the psychographic of the traditional Harley rider.  As for a color scheme, we can go anywhere with that one.  I know traditional Harley riders like the black stuff, but that is typically not a friendly design base.  I like to stick to a light background with some distinctive offset content.

OK, deep breath…

We looked at several designs.  I get why these appeal to the typical Harley rider.  They have a Harley friendly look to them and have dark backdrops.  But, it’s all very sinister.  The content is usually good, however, with the scrolling photos and slideshows.  I think that is a good way to go.  I’d like to get away from the darkness though and take a look at some other professions and their sites.

In creating a website, you need to state what you are selling clearly.  And, we need a friendlier atmosphere to do it in.  Get away from the typical ideas such as the “grease monkey” look that is typically associated with auto mechanics and the professionals involved with motorcycles.  The structure of these sites is good, so implementing something along those lines is good, but we want to choose our colors carefully.  Take a look at the following and think hard about why these are more pleasant to peruse:

I think you get the picture with these.  I don’t think any of these lend themselves to what we are doing, necessarily, with our motorcycle client.  However, it makes the point.  We need to be friendly with our coloring and our color scheme.  We are selling a service and need people to feel comfortable with the service.  Without any research into our Demographic OR (more importantly) our Psychographic (read more on my recent blog at www.ptccomputersolutions.com/blog), the client for this product likely a “New Age Retiree” between 40 and 65 with Expendable or Disposable Income.  A “New Age Retiree” is someone who, psychographically, has the mindset of being comfortably set financially with a need to put a little “rebel” in their lives without angering their spouses.  That being said, they want to portray the “Cool, Motorbike Riding, Harley Hugging Loverboy” but don’t want to get their brand new “chaps with the rearend cut out” dirty.  They are FAR more likely to choose a friendly comfortable trustworthy group to work with than not.  They are FAR more likely to distrust a bunch of “grease monkey” mechanics.

Ok, that being said, I want to suggest some other thoughts.  Colors AND Navigation are two of the main keys to any website.  With colors, the color chart for web design often lends itself to the following definitions:

Color

Emotions

Black Symbol of menace or evil, popular as an indicator of power. Associated with death and mourning, unhappiness, sexuality, formality, and sophistication.
White Purity or innocence. Cold, bland, and sterile.
Red Evokes strong emotions, associated with love, warmth, and comfort. Still considered an intense and angry color that creates feelings of excitement, intensity, sexuality.
Blue A favorite color for many people and the color most preferred by men. Gives the feelings of calmness or serenity. Described as peaceful, tranquil, secure, and orderly.
Green Symbolizes nature and the natural world. Represents tranquility, good luck, health, and jealousy. Symbol of fertility, has a calming effect and relieves stress.
Yellow Cheery and warm, but can also create feelings of frustration and anger. Most fatiguing to the eye (that’s why you’ll rarely see a bright yellow website or a room painted with yellow with the exception of playrooms for kids) yet most attention-getting color (so great color for important details or calls to action- remember the yellow stop/caution color).
Purple Royalty and wealth, wisdom and spirituality, sex and relationships, exotic and special.
Brown (all of us love wooden backgrounds). Natural color that evokes a sense of strength and reliability, warmth, comfort, and security.
Orange (banner color of the counter-culture). Blatant and vulgar color, makes you feel excitement, enthusiasm, and warmth. As a combination of red and yellow it’s often used to draw attention.
Pink Associated with love, romance, youth, freshness and may have a calming effect. Pink effect depends on the type of pink (strong, light, deep etc).

 

I took this table of color information off of a website blog that was posted on color usage (more about that here at http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/design/color-psychology-website-design/).

Note that Pink, and more specifically, Baby Pink, is really the best color for any purpose.  We don’t use it much though since it is often associated with baby girls.  You’ll note that we use Blue and Green a lot, and you can see why.  Strip Clubs inevitably have some Purple in them.  You can also see why Black is used by many MALE dominated sectors such as cars and motorcycles.  You can also see why sites with Black in them often have young sexy women straddling or laid out on the product.  Though men are most likely a predominance of who this particular client’s product is geared toward, they also have to show it to their spouses.  We want to appeal to the masses…AND to the Psychographic of our client.

Let’s take a specific market and look at how they interact.  Let’s look at batteries.  Take a look at the following websites:

Note how they all look to utilize the power colors of Black and Orange, much like Harley.   Of course they want to convey Power, that’s what they do.  But also note how they don’t go right at eachother from there.  Energizer claims to have POSITIVE Energy.  Note the PINK Energizer Bunny.  The Pink Bunny is friendly and cute and cuddly and just makes you want to buy that battery for your toys.  Of course, he’s still cool because he has Sunglasses and beats on a Drum while Marching.  Very manly.

Ok, Duracell claims to be the World’s Most Advanced Battery with a Hi Density Core.  Well, if you are a Fireman or a Policeman or something, you certainly want the best and just have to have a Hi Density Core to your battery.  Of course you are going to want that.  No cute and cuddly here.  You’ll buy the Duracell for your emergency flashlight and the Energizer for your kids toys, RIGHT?

But wait, where is Eveready?  Eveready has positioned themselves right in between these two leaders in the battery market.  They have a RED scheme which tells you Emergency, but they claim to be for Every Family, Everywhere, Every Day.  Nicely done.  They are for your common needs.  Not just for toys and certainly not for REAL important jobs.  Just for everyday use.  They all fit together nicely but don’t go head to head, per se.

You need to find your niche and where we fit in.  Either do it FAR better than anyone else or go after the correct Psychographic with the right message.  Sometimes, the product is not clear and doesn’t mean anything to most people.  If someone searching the internet is looking for your product, what do they do?  They go to the Internet and look up something related to what they are looking for and probably associate it with a location.  Many products require someone nearby, so they add their city to the search maybe.  That’s where they’re lost if we have our city as our key point.  We want to make sure we represent ALL of the areas we can serve.  Ensure that all of your keywords are represented, and we want to convey that we are your “Every Day Company for Everyone” much like Eveready.  It’s a nice play.  We are not the biggest and best, we are the shop for EVERYONE.

Too much stuff to handle in one post?  Go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com or contact me directly at info@ptccomputersolutions.com and let me know some of your thoughts on this.  You want to create a website that encompasses all of these things AND satisfies you and your company needs.  It’s important that everyone is happy with the site as you move forward.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  We can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
12/18/2013

0
Nov
05
2013

Psst! Psell Psychographics!

psy·cho·graph·ics

/ˌsīkōˈgrafiks/

noun: psychographics

  1. The study and classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria, esp. in market research.

Psychographics are the attributes that describe the personality, attitudes, beliefs, values, emotions, and opinions of customers, and prospective customers.  Demographics describe “who” people are, Psychographics explain “what” people are.  Psychographics can help define “why” people buy what they buy and how to gain their attention and motivate them to buy.  By creating Psychographic Profiles, marketers are able to understand the motivational and non-conscious drives of a target audience.

Are you marketing to Demographics or Psychographics?  There’s a BIG difference…

Psychographics can easily be misunderstood or incorrectly applied. It’s quite common to contrast them with demographic variables such as age and gender, or with behavioral variables such as rates of use. In fact psychographic variables and the other major analytic variables are synergistic. Each is related to the other and affects the other.  A marketing approach that is focused solely on one such area can miss the point and, more importantly, not convey critically important information.

Demographics often look at a person from the outside while Psychographics delves inside the person making Psychographics a critical tool in marketing.  People don’t buy something based on their age, race, or gender ONLY.  They have far reaching internal motivations for purchasing that must be defined, diagnosed, and addressed for a comprehensive and successful marketing approach.

Psychographics are used to define persons by their interests, personal moral codes, attitudes and experiences. Most marketing efforts are targeted toward a demographic market alone where the quantifiable parameters of persons such as gender, age and marital status are all important.  Marketers get trapped into selling to what is going on outside (demographics) and ignoring what is going on inside (psychographics).

Defining your clients by their demographic data is going to fall far short of garnering new prospects.  Without Psycographic understanding, there is little to no clarity on their personal beliefs or their interests and attitudes toward what products or services you have to offer.

Defining your clients’ Psychographics can go a long way to defining what your prospects and future clients might be interested in.  It’s not as simple as “what is your age?”  It’s “WHO WHAT HOW and WHEN” that Dr. David F. Parker of Parker Associates asks.  Dr. Parker has spent a great deal of his career focusing builders and developers on just this sort of thinking.  Defining the Psychographics of the communities he has helped place are first and foremost in his defining the types and mix of products within communities he has been involved with.  His clients know this and trust his many years of experience in the field of Psychographic Analysis, and the proven success to show for it.

PTC Computer Solutions takes that same knowledge from Dr. Parker to apply it to web site design and development.  Regardless of the products or services offered, understanding a prospect’s Psychographics will go a long way to offering them the right marketing delivery.  Ask some pointed questions from your clients to define the marketing toward your prospects:

  • Who are your favorite role models?
  • How do you get to work?
  • What car do you drive?
  • What restaurant do you eat at when you eat out?
  • What hobbies are you involved in?
  • When do you feel most relaxed?

There are many questions to ask.  The questions are not ones of demographics.  These are Psychographic questions that help define the mentality of your client and future client.  If you need help with defining your Psychographic market, contact David F. Parker at Parker Associates or work with PTC Computer Solutions on your web marketing strategies.

Don’t market to a demographic … market to a mindset, a code of values, a type of person.  Start interviewing your clients. Talk about what is important to them and what they are interested in as individuals.  This type of information will reveal clearly how to start (or stop) marketing to them and your prospects.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  We can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
11/5/2013

0
Oct
04
2013

Stick to What Works

Recently, I was asked by the Jacksonville Business Journal what I thought about some of the latest web designs.  In a long winded reply, I told them to Stick to What Works.  When it comes to web design, the key is to make it easy for people to find what they are looking for.  Knowing what they are looking for is the key.  So, what DOES work?

I have been operating PTC Computer Solutions since 1996 and have seen lots of interesting things come and go.  I find that the web design and development industry is much like other industries where methods, strategies, and design styles and themes are constantly changing to try to stay fresh. I recall the era of the discovery of the animated gif when everyone wanted to have animation on their web sites despite the ridiculous nature of these image bytes.  Then there was the days of the landing page where web sites had a page to land on that said something as profound as “Enter Our Site” on a clickable button.  Why else would we be there, right?  Then there was the advent of the Flash era where everyone wanted a Flash designed site with tons of way cool and way useless stuff. Few listened to reason on these since most people think they know about marketing and advertising and many of those think they know how to put together a web site.  They are typically wrong on both accounts.

So, lately, the trend is towards the specialized full-screen background photos.  This style has been very popular recently and can be seen on such sites as hilton.com, super8.com, and tijuanaflats.com.  Again, this will likely be a short lived trend.  The advantage of this concept is the ability to put some “wow” images in front of the viewer. The disadvantage is that it is very distracting to the eye. Try to find what you’re looking for in a sea of varying colors, patterns, and images.  It’s difficult enough sifting through the content without these types of confusing eye distractions.

Full-screen background photos can provide some zing but they should be utilized very selectively and are really only for the few. Pushing a point without being distracting should be the marketing objective.  You can see this in the way, conversely, Sheraton.com handles their point pushing marketing effort.  It is a more organized and less distracting methodology that the online marketing industry has been utilizing for many years.  Don’t get involved with these trendy methods that only cause confusion and difficulty for the viewer.  They can be cool, but that’s where the fun ends…and your prospect leaves.  Keep your marketing focus in full view.  Sticking to what works is the best policy.  Make your site navigable and friendly by using the following proven marketing techniques:

  • it must be easy to navigate
  • make it quick to find the most important stuff
  • anticipate the viewers interests and make it obvious
  • provide everything your clients need
  • make it easy to find what your clients need
  • no distractions
  • lots of images and photos used selectively
  • less words for the viewer
  • lots of words for the Search Engines

You can’t go wrong with using what works.  Keep it simple and keep it to the point.  You only have a few seconds to get someone’s interest, so make it count.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  We can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
10/4/2013

0
Sep
03
2013

Focus Marketing On Influencers

Influencers should be your target for any social marketing efforts.

It’s become a world where the microcosm is the norm.  Marketing is no exception.  In the past, we did not have the tools or ability to look at small groups of prospects or purchasers, but things have changed.  The Internet has leveled the playing field.  It’s no longer about how much money you can throw out there, but how many people you can reach with sincerity.  Influencers are the key to successful marketing in today’s world.  They provide a sincere ambassador for your products or services.  Who are they?  How do you reach them?  Read on.

In a recent 2013 survey by Technorati Media of what monies are being spent for marketing, there are some insights into what and where money is being spent as well as to where there are opportunities for where it should go.  In this survey, it is apparent that companies are spending the largest portion (nearly 75 percent) of their digital budget on display ads, search ads and videos. Spending on social marketing, including influencer outreach, makes up only 10 percent of the amount spent on digital marketing.

It can be seen that of that social budget, more than half goes to Facebook. YouTube and Twitter each get 13 percent, while just under six percent is spent on influencers and  just over five and a half percent is spent in advertising on blogs.  It’s the six percent we should focus on.  Influencers deserve more attention.

What are influencers, you may ask?  Wikipedia defines influencers specifically as those having influence over specific to discrete market segments, and are used as conduits to the entire target segment. While there are lists of generic influencers, they have limited use in marketing to specific segments.  Market research techniques can be used to identify influencers, using pre-defined criteria to determine the extent and type of influence. For example, Keller and Berry propose five attributes of influencers:

  • Activists: influencers get involved with their communities, political movements, charities and so on.
  • Connected: influencers have large social networks
  • Impact: influencers are looked up to and are trusted by others
  • Active minds: influencers have multiple and diverse interests
  • Trendsetters: influencers tend to be early adopters or leavers in markets

Most of the literature on influencers focuses on consumer markets. There is less insight into business-to-business influencers. A key distinction between consumer and business markets is that most of the focus in consumer markets is on consumer influencers themselves. This is because word of mouth communication is prevalent in consumer environments.  With marketing to businesses, influencers are people that affect a sale, but are typically removed from the actual purchase decision. Consultants, analysts, journalists, academics, regulators, and standards bodies are examples of business influencers.

Influencers are where the marketing dollars should be focused.  If one influencer can be swayed into purchasing or utilizing your services, this could go a long way, depending on the sphere of influence, toward getting future clients.  Try to assess the influence and look at what is of interest to these individuals.  There are a number of measures companies use to determine the strength of an influencer.  They include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • ComScore/Nielsen Ratings
  • Twitter Followers
  • Facebook Friends
  • Facebook Likes
  • Blog Unique Users
  • Blog Page Views

There are a number of other indicators, but these are the primary measures for determining the reach of an influencer.  There are plenty of tools to help calculate the extent of influence attributable to the individual.  These tools include but are not limited to the following:

  • Commun.it – Twitter Community Management
  • GaggleAMP – Leverage Your Internal Influencers
  • Cyfe – Monitor Everything
  • BlogDash – Over 100,000 Bloggers Listed
  • Traackr – Enterprise-level Influencer Engagement
  • mPact – A Different Take on Influence

The idea is to reach your influencers, engage them, and measure the engagement effectiveness.  If you are not doing all of these, you are not reaching your potential.  If you need assistance in any way marketing to influencers, contact PTC Computer Solutions, experts in marketing online and marketing to influencers since 1996.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  We can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
9/3/2013

0
Aug
01
2013

Handling Marketing Strategies AND Sales Objections

Marketing is all about getting your company noticed or putting your company in front of people, preferably people who might be a prospective client, and making sure that the message is clear, enlightening, poignant, and relevant without turning people off.  Sales is the follow up to marketing.  It’s the reason we market.  It’s simply the act of selling your services or products once you have successfully made contact with your client prospect.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Well, it isn’t.

More companies fail at simple marketing than in any other aspect of their business.  I read more garbage emails and posts on marketing that just simply fails to spark an ounce of interest.  Forbes Magazine had a good article outlining some key points marketing should NOT involve:

  1. Stop making everything all about you.  Put the audience, the prospect, first and foremost on any marketing efforts.
  2. Stop making everything complicated.  It’s just plain simple.  Don’t make it so hard and realize that your prospect doesn’t care about all the details, just the results.
  3. Stop acting like a robot. People are almost lost on the Internet.  That’s probably why social media is making such headway.  It’s personal.
  4. Stop speaking to yourself. Get out of the office and meet some prospects face to face.  It’s personal.
  5. Stop focusing on tasks and activities. What’s the result, not how many emails were sent out.  Are you getting results is all that matters.  The Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is what we need to know.  More on that below.
  6. Stop being anti-social. The way things are going, we may not talk to each other at all in a few years.  Let’s keep the conversation going.  Talk to people instead of just texting or emailing.  You’ll get better results.
  7. Stop holding on to the past. There’s nothing worse than talking about the “good old days” when things were ramping up to impossible standards.  It’s NOW, not then.

That all being said, don’t keep doing the same old thing.  It’s not working or you wouldn’t be reading this.  Start trying something new.  Especially if it’s uncomfortable.  If it’s comfortable, then it’s probably not working.  You are at where you are at because of what you’ve done and you’ve done what you’ve done because of where you were at.  Try some new tactics and measure the results with analytics so you can judge the KPI.

The KPI and Keys to Sales Success

It’s all about the Key Performance Indicator (KPI).  Go to the trusty source of all things these days, Wikipedia, and you’ll find the following: organizations may use KPIs to evaluate success, or to evaluate the success of a particular activity in which it is engaged. Sometimes success is defined in terms of making progress toward strategic goals, but often success is simply the repeated, periodic achievement of some level of operational goal.

Once the marketing has been achieved to the satisfaction of the prospect, the sales aspect looms large.  Sales tactics are all over the board and can be found on the Internet and in life in regular intervals.  But, some of the things we see missing in many sales people is the ability to simply understand what the client’s or prospect’s needs are.  The following are some Key Points from a recent Google Engage moderated webinar that we found useful:

Key 1:  Emotional vs. Logical Needs – people and businesses buy emotionally, but rationalize with logic.  Discover what the client or prospect finds emotionally stimulating but also realize what they need to rationalize their purchase from what is the emotional AND logical needs.

Key 2:  Listen to Understand vs. Listen to Respond – this is a delicate balance between understanding their comments or objections and responding to them.  Listening to understand what they are saying and their needs versus listening to respond to their objections or questions is an important differentiation.

Key 3:  Discovery – what are their expectations of you as a potential partner.  People don’t ask enough questions but jump to the solution.  Are you discovering as you discuss or are you just telling them?  Discover what the client wants and what their short and long term goals are.  What is the KPI for them?  Every client thinks they have a unique situation and have a unique offering.

Key 4:  Answering the Major 8 Objections

  1. Cost – the biggest objection and easiest to define.
  2. Terms & Conditions – the proposal might have some issues, so find out what they are and fix them.
  3. No Need – they just don’t see a need for what you are offering and work with us on their advertising.
  4. Think About It – is it a true objection?  Maybe they are just putting you off to get you out of their face.
  5. Hassle Factor – is it too much trouble to go through with what you are offering versus their perceived benefit from this.
  6. Experience – do we have the experience to handle the job.
  7. Have to Talk to a Colleague, Boss, or Spouse – a potential indicator that they are putting you off or maybe that you are not talking to the right person.
  8. A Previous Bad Experience – it may be that they have tried it before and it didn’t work.  If so, they are going to need reassurances.

People hate to be sold but enjoy buying.  Everyone needs and wants something different in the sales process.  You need to create a non-confrontational process for selling whereby you are just the harbinger of good news for them and you are working with them to find the best solution for them.

Key 5: The Process –

  1. Clarify and Listen – try to understand what their objection is and listen to the answers. Don’t sound confrontational in response.  Sound supportive and use the correct voice tone.  Don’t argue or confront them.
  2. Restate and Cushion – restate the question and support it with final cushioning to ensure you understand and show them that you understand.
  3. Draw it out – ask them if there are more objections.  If one of their objections is that they have to go to a partner or boss or spouse, what might their objections also be?  Find out what they might object to?
  4. Isolate – try to isolate the issues they have so that you can break it down to handling one objection at the time.  Which objection should we talk about?  That’s the main one, so resolve it and the others might go away.
  5. Respond – only after you have determined all the others do you respond to any of them.  You need some evidence to support your response.  If they have a specific objection, then provide some evidence or previous experience that might help overcome that objection.
  6. Trial Close – tie down the objections and see if they are interested in closing by asking some simple questions like “so, does that make sense?”  Are they ready to close, or have you not answered all their objections?

The process should help reduce the resistance and make them more receptive.  You need to become their consultant or assistant and not a salesman.  You must show interest in their company and how it can best help their company.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  We can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
8/1/2013

0
Jul
06
2013

What are your web site visitors looking for?

What are your web site visitors looking for?

The question of who your audience is seems to be far more interesting to clients I’ve had the pleasure of working with more so than what it is their audience is looking for when they come to the web site.  It never ceases to amaze me that my clients often have a great deal of knowledge about who they believe their prospects and clients to be but when I ask them why a prospect would come to their web site, they have no answer.  It’s imperative that you know what they are looking for and not just who they are.  So, what are they looking for?

Visitors to a web site are there for one of two reasons:

  • They have to be there
  • They want to be there

Either way, they are going to want to see what they came to find.  What they came to find and how long they stay will depend on the following things:

  • People want to do business with a company they believe to be not only professional in nature, but have credence and aptitude in what they are doing.  If visitors to a web site like what they see, they will stick around to see what they like.  It’s a simple creed I’ve used for as long as I’ve been in the business, and I’ve been in the business a long time.
  • Visitors to a web site want to be able to find what they came for quickly and easily.  They don’t want to have a laborious experience.  They also want to get as much information as they need without a need to ask more.
  • The last item for an effective web site is something I hate to admit.  Make it short and sweet.  It’s such a simple motto, but it works.  The less people have to read, the more likely they will stick around.  People just don’t read anymore.  It’s not that they don’t like to read, it’s that they don’t have time for it.
  • However, if they are really interested and have made the time, don’t be afraid to show them everything in the universe.  Give them everything they could possibly need about your company or product.  When someone has gone through the trouble of finding your site, don’t let them leave to find information or satisfy their needs elsewhere.  You don’t have much time to impress these people, so make sure you give them what they want.  Don’t give it all to them in one big rush of information, though.  Make sure to distribute it within the site so they have to look around.  Make it easy to find by all means, but not all on one page.  Don’t forget the previous credos to make every page short and sweet and looking pretty and professional.

So, in a quick reference to these:

  • LIKE WHAT THEY SEE, SEE WHAT THEY LIKE
  • FIND IT QUICKLY
  • MAKE IT SHORT AND SWEET
  • GIVE IT TO ‘EM

Provide for your visitors and they will provide for you.  Say it to yourself and think about what you like to see when you go to a web site.  If you need help with any of this, check out my web site at www.ptccomputersolutions.com for some easy to find, professional, nice looking information about everything.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  We can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (the “W. B.” stands for WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
7/6/2013

0
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