Marketing and Technology Updates for Small Business Owners. Roundpeg is a full service marketing firm serving the Indianapolis small business community, we help you launch your ideas and most importantly, close sales!
Stephanie joined KeyBank in June of 2015 after over ten years of previous banking experience. Stephanie has worked in Retail Banking, Private Banking, and Commercial Banking. In her tenure as a banking advisor, she has developed a strong tie to her clients and the community in which she serves.
Stephanie runs Key4Women for the state of Indiana, KeyBank’s national women business owner initiative, providing local women CEO’s with a peer group of women for personal and professional development.
Now she is taking on a new adventure with her husband as owners of An Honor Yoga Studio.
You may have a lot to say on your website, but your customers need to be able to find it. Provide too much information at once, and you’ll either throw them off the road or send them walking back out the door. Leave things out and viewers won’t give the site a second thought. A good homepage requires a delicate balance that needs to be planned thoroughly in order to succeed.
The overall goal of any website is to provide information. It’s also imperative to deliver said information as quickly as possible. There are so many avenues to take. There is the customer journey to consider, as well as the mobile experience. Most importantly, a successful homepage needs to be well organized from navigation to footer.
This is another instance where you need to take the customer journey into consideration. If it’s their first time on the site, how easy is it for them to find what they need? You may think that supplying them with all the choices will make it easier. More often than not, though, the user will just end up overwhelmed.
You also need to keep the mobile experience in mind. Every item in your navigation, even those nestled under dropdowns, is going to be displayed on the mobile menu. If you have 8 tabs and each tab has 5 items underneath, the user is going to have to do quite a bit of scrolling to get to that last option. That, or they’re going to look elsewhere for the info they need.
A much cleaner way to provide users with every possibility at once is adding a search function. As long as your pages are tagged appropriately, users will be able to find exactly what they’re looking for in their own words.
When handling a more robust sitemap, I recommend also implementing some secondary navigation. This is a great alternative to dropdowns because every option ever isn’t going to be displayed on every page. The 60%+ visitors on their phones will subconsciously thank you.
Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes
Do: Prioritize content and organize accordingly.
Don’t: Give into the temptation of covering your entire website in one, convoluted page.
Play to Your Strengths
Don’t add things like reviews and calendars to your homepage for the sake of adding things. A newsletter form is great, but only if there’s appropriate follow-through. Keep it focused. Keep it authentic. Cultivate a site (and a brand) that builds trust and users will keep coming back.
Sometimes this means a shorter, more concise homepage. If you’re worried about SEO- stop now! That’s not the purpose of the homepage. The URL and information you do provide your site with a solid foundation. Add a footer containing key information and a decent SEO paragraph and your homepage is ready to be found.
Start Strong. Start Focused.
Do: Lead with a single header containing a strong call to action (CTA).
Don’t: Have a slider with endless unique slides.
Why? We’re Goldfish.
Sliders are, theoretically, a great way to showcase a lot of information in a smaller space, but tend to fall short in actual practice. In this day and age, attention spans are shorter than ever. You’ll be lucky if a handful of people ever stick around long enough to see more than two slides.
This doesn’t mean sliders are completely off the table. Maintain a sense of consistency by either rotating images or the call to action- just not both. My personal preference is to rotate photos behind a single message, like Girls Inc. of Indianapolis’s new website.
All Paths Lead To Your Website (Not Away)
Do: List contact information in the footer.
Don’t: Oversaturate the page header with every outlet of communication.
Yes, This Includes Social Media Icons
Notice how I haven’t mentioned these until now? That’s because your Facebook and Instagram should be used as a means to drive users to your website…not the other way around. Please don’t distract visitors so close to the finish line. Drop those icons down to the footer instead of the top of the page.
Much like those icons, an address at the top of the page distraction. For me, it’s both faster and more efficient to search Google Maps for a specific address than to search Google and/or a website first. Some will come to your site for this info, but typically not enough to warrant coveted header space. Instead, list your address in the footer and on the contact page. It’ll help SEO spiders find you more easily, too.
So What Can Go in the Header?
If the majority of communications are had by phone, link the phone number in the top header. If email is more efficient, create a swift path to the contact page or include a lead form. Once again, only include information that’s truly relevant to assisting users to reach you at the top of the page. Save everything else for the footer.
TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)
Your homepage needs to be concise. Your homepage needs to be organized. Most importantly, your website needs to make sense to your users. Sure, there’s no one size fits all solution for the “perfect” homepage. If you follow these simple rules though, you’ll be off to a good start:
Only place the most pertinent CTAs and contact information in the top bar
Keep your main navigation simple and utilize secondary navigation on interior pages (when necessary)
Focus on a main call to action for your header- even if you’re using a slider
Less can be more… the customer journey > SEO (on this page, at least)
As the old saying goes, “shit happens.” Whether it be a dysfunctional childhood, rocky relationships, divorce, or suicidal family members, my personal life has seen its ups and downs. My personal growth path has been an amazing journey and I am grateful for everything I currently have. I am also grateful for the personal success I have experienced professionally.
During my career I have had the privilege to work in a variety of Sales and Marketing roles. Each role had one thing in common: high stress. High stress to the point I was diagnosed with stress-related diabetes and also ended up in the hospital with a severe case of diabetic ketoacidosis, a few hours away from being comatose.
It was a reality check for me.
And now I have dedicated my professional career to helping other Sales and Marketing professionals avoid my mistakes and immensely benefit from the wonderful tools and techniques I have learned and experienced first hand.
If you are like most small business owners, you went into business to sell a product or provide a service and not necessarily to be a financial planner. But the tough truth is that if you are going to create something that has real value you are going to have to address the financial elements.
The elements of a good financial plan fall into three key categories: cash management, tax planning, and retirement planning. Let’s take a quick look at what each one entails.
I always say there are three days in the life of a project that give me an emotional lift. The first is the day I make the sale, the anticipation of the project is a great feeling. The second day is the day I send the invoice, the anticipation of receiving the check is also exciting. But the best day, is when the check arrives. From a cash management perspective each of those days plays an important role.
Cash management starts with a understanding of how much money you have in the bank. (It certainly helps when checks arrive.) How much are you anticipating in the next 30, 60, and 90 days? (Those sales certainly help to boost those numbers.) And what will your expenses be to deliver the sales commitments you have made?
One way to look at this is to simply check your balance sheet, compare your accounts receivable to your accounts payable. That will tell you if you have enough money coming in to pay your bills. If not, you will need to look to your savings and other assets.
Cash management helps you identify when you will need cash to fill a gap and pay bills before a big payment from a client comes in. That’s when a line of credit from a bank at a reasonable interest rate will be very helpful. Too often, unfortunately, business owners wait too long to go to the bank, and end up covering the gap with a high interest credit card. The lesson is if your business is doing well, and you have cash in the bank, talk to your banker about a line of credit. You won’t pay interest if you don’t use it, but it will be there when you need it.
In addition to the cash in the bank, when your business starts to generate revenue, suddenly you need to think about tax planning. If you don’t, the IRS can take a significant amount of your profits. Often business owners confuse tax preparation and tax planning. They are not the same. Tax preparation is simply filling out the forms, tax planning involves making the right decisions to reduce your overall tax burden.
As your business matures, you may need to talk with a tax expert to make sure you are paying your fair share, but not more than you should.
As you are starting out it may seem strange to think about retirement, but it is never to early. While you may build a business someone wants to buy, don’t count on that as your only source of retirement income. Your financial plan should include retirement funds regardless of the long term value of your business. So set aside a little bit of your income every month to be sure you are ready when the day comes and you can’t or simply don’t want to work any longer. Creating a 401(k) for you and your employees is a great way to take a little extra money out of the business tax free and create an incentive for employees to stay with you over the long term.
Do you have a Team of Financial Partners?
You don’t have to do it alone, just as you outsource marketing, IT and legal professionals, consider adding a financial planner to your support team. Where do you start? If you don’t have one, I would suggest a banker!
Consultant and author Julia Goldstein helps engineers, scientists, and executives communicate their ideas through clear and concise written content.
She shares her passion for materials and sustainability in Material Value, a book aimed at readers who care about the environment and want to make smarter choices about what they buy and how they use it.
I don’t know how to say this… but you stink at networking.
Don’t worry, it may not really be your fault. Maybe you are new to the networking game or big crowds really aren’t your thing. Maybe you have been networking for too long and you’re starting to lose your game and you don’t even know it.
But don’t worry, your horribleness at networking doesn’t have to last! Here are a few simple networking tips you can start using today.
You don’t know what to say
Networking can be intimidating, especially if you are a young professional just starting out, not used to networking, or just kind of an introvert (like me). Not being comfortable at networking can lead you to get a little nervous, tongue-tied, and unsure of yourself. To counter-act being a big bundle of nerves, come prepared by practicing responses to potential questions.
One thing that really helped me get more comfortable networking when I was starting out was practicing and fine-tuning my “elevator pitch” (a succinct summary you can drop in just a few sentences) for myself, my job, and my company. Practice it enough and you can recite it in your sleep…or better yet when you are super nervous in a room full of strangers. Having a good, solid elevator pitch at the ready can help give your conversation direction, give your new acquaintance a better understanding of who you are, and how you could potentially work together.
While you are preparing your elevator pitch, be proactive and game plan follow-up questions you can ask during a lull in the conversation. You are expected to show interest in your new friend after all.
You are too overzealous
While some people newer to networking may be shy and nervous, I’ve seen many veterans of the networking world have the opposite problem: they are waaaaay too over eager. These kinds of networkers are really interested in talking to people, but not for a mutually beneficial reason. They are way too focused on talking about themselves, all the “great” things they are doing, and way too interested in trying to sell you something… and they aren’t too subtle about it either.
Taking this approach makes your efforts ineffective at the end of the day. You are so caught up thinking and talking about yourself, that you aren’t really thinking about your new acquaintance, where your relationship works or even if they are a good relationship to have at all. They, on the other hand, are likely so annoyed that the only thing they are thinking about is how to get out of the conversation. I know, I’ve been there.
Want to have better conversations at networking events? Stop talking and listen! A networking conversation is a two-way street and someone trying to dominate the conversation ends up ruining it for both of them.
You have no follow-up plan
You can also stink at networking after the event is over. A great networking conversation can be wasted if you don’t have an effective way of following up with the people you meet. Not everyone you meet at a networking event is going to be a useful business contact but, that doesn’t mean you should totally abandon those business cards, and the ones that do have potential as a new client or a referral partner you definitely don’t want to lose.
Establish a rock-solid follow-up plan before you even get to the event, and once you have your stack of new business cards put it into place. Connect on social media, drop certain names into your email drip campaign if they seem like a serious potential customer, or simply send a personal email saying that it was nice to meet them and you should grab coffee (if that part is necessary). They may not be a new client, but everyone you meet is a new connection that you shouldn’t lose.
If you need a little guidance figuring out exactly how to execute your networking follow up plan or you are looking for more networking tips, I literally wrote about just that thing here!
You don’t inspire a follow-up
As much as you want to follow up with all the new people you meet, you want them to be excited about following up with you too. But, if you didn’t inspire them during your conversation, what is going to make them? Other than just talking about yourself or your business, come prepared to present or talk about something that will tempt them to beat you to the punch of following up.
What could it be? Well, it can be whatever you want it to be or whatever fits the bill best! If you are job hunting, have some way of linking them to your online portfolio. If you recently wrote a blog post, have a white paper, or recorded a podcast about a topic that came up in your conversation, let them know and give them the link to your website.
Inspiring a follow-up doesn’t have anything to do about you being interesting enough. It’s about having the goods to want to connect with you before you have a chance to connect with them.
Before you start shooting out your LinkedIn connections, take a look at your page: is it as good as it can be? Our friend Javed Khan recently joined us on our podcast, More Than a Few Words, and talked about simple hacks to give your profile a big boost! Check out the recording.
The salesperson’s salesperson. Matt has done and seen it all—from both the trenches and from the boardroom. He understands salespeople and knows how to help them become the best they can be. He helps elevate the profession—and the professional salesperson’s view of himself.
An accident shaped Matt’s story: a football injury led to a summer spent selling vacuum cleaners door to door for Kirby. Two things happened that summer Matt won the Liberty Division Scholarship for best sales in 3 states and Matt discovered that he loved selling.
Transferring his discipline learned on the football field into the sales world let Matt succeed in a series of top sales positions with one of the largest consumer products companies in the world, Coca Cola. Later Matt sold in the brutally competitive world of residential real estate. In 1999, Matt became a client of Sandler Training, he says it “just clicked” for him. The purposeful approach of Sandler appeals to Matt’s pragmatism and provided a process to lead others to sales success without relying on “Positive Mental Attitude” or “Rah Rah BS Inspiration.” .
Social media is everywhere. People can be so consumed with their devices that it is hard to keep their attention for more than 5 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, being on social media has many positive outcomes like fitting in different communities, gaining self-confidence, gaining exposure, and most likely for a good laugh. But with all the positive there are also negatives within social media such as cyberbullying, the ultimate case of FOMO (Fear of missing out), negative body image, and unrealistic expectations.
So when social media becomes too much for your life and you need to take a little break checkout my personal top 5 reasons for a social media detox.
Live in the Moment
When I first started using social media I would attend events where something special was going on and I would try to capture every moment on my camera. When you are focused on recording, you miss out on actually living in the moment. It is so easy to feel like you need to share and post every little thing in your life even if it’s unnecessary. I started to wonder, why do I need to record an entire concert? For what purpose? And every single time I looked back on a recorded video I would notice how poor quality it was and ended up deleting everything anyway.
I personally avoid being on my phone during any kind of event nowadays because I have a short attention span and fear that I would miss something important happening right in front of me because I have my phone in my hand. Do you post everything you do to Facebook while each activity or life event is actually happening? Do you spend so much time taking a picture in a beautiful location that you miss out on taking in your surroundings?
*Posting to social media is definitely a viable way to document your life, but it can also become a burden that takes you out of the moment. If you’re living everything through the lens of social media instead of directly interacting with it, your experiences are going to be of lower quality and become less memorable.
Connect with the Real World
I sometimes gravitate to my social media accounts when I am feeling a bit of social anxiety. I hide behind my phone when I am around too many strangers making it nearly impossible for someone to talk to me. In this instance, social media is my crutch. I have all my attention focused on my phone not what others are doing. I could be potentially missing out on something great.
I have been actively working on connecting with people at networking events, seminars, and even outings with my friends. Making sure my phone is only out when necessary, allows me to focus on what is happening in front of and all around me.
Do you find yourself scrolling through Instagram or Facebook feeds looking for your next laugh instead of spending time with people? Do you connect well with others online but find yourself never connecting in person? Don’t be afraid to suggest that phones should be put away during family time or while watching a movie.
*Become more conscious of how much time you spend on social media. Spend more time taking in the sights or having meaningful conversations.
You’ll Stop Feeling So Competitive
I use social media to find something to laugh at or see what my family and friends are talking about on their own platforms. It is never my intention to see someone doing so well that it makes me feel like I should be doing so much more. I’ll be honest, more than a few times I left Instagram feeling a little bit more down than when I first opened the app. Luckily the feelings don’t last, they actually urge me to attend an event or reconnect with a friend or stop spending a beautiful day indoors.
Social media can definitely bring out your competitive side without you even realizing it. Because almost every post is supposed to grab your attention and make you like or comment, you could wind up wanting to outdo others based on likes and comments alone. This type of competitiveness is not healthy, and it can cause anxiety and depression.
*Remind yourself why you are on social media. Enjoy what your friends are posting, NOT STRANGERS. Taking a mental health break by stepping away from social media is a must if you sometimes feel like an underachiever because of other MISLEADING profiles you are viewing!
More Free Time
It is completely understandable when people spend 90% of their time on social, especially if they are in the business of social media like youtubers, fashion bloggers, video game streamers, reviewers, and YT reactors (people who record themselves reacting to strange videos…it’s actually pretty dumb but entertaining). The list can go on and on. But what about the rest of us who aren’t looking for that YT or IG paycheck?
Do you feel like you begin your day with so much promise, with a list of IMPORTANT things you need to get done and end up glued to your phone or computer screen? Do you feel like you never have enough time to exercise, walk your dog, or tidy up? It is safe to say that although your fingers are getting exercise with all of that scrolling, you may need a little break for some actual physical exercise.
*If you have a difficult time unplugging completely, consider social media topics or influencers that are positive and will give you great motivation and encouragement.
Improve Your Overall Mood
If you’ve been feeling highly anxious, stressed out, or depressed take a break from social media. You may feel a little strange at first but your overall mood should begin to improve when you give yourself time to breathe and de-stress.
The amount of time you spend on social media may be directly related to whether or not you feel stressed out or happy.
*We all have our go tos on social media but its sometimes hard to avoid a spiraling path of stress, anxiety, and depression. For some, it is easy to detach but for others, it will always be an uphill battle. Mental health is sometimes overlooked but it is a vital component to actually ENJOY your life and the little things.
We all want to capture the moment but it is important that we live in life’s beautiful moments because we may not get a chance to experience certain things again. If you have experienced a social media detox please share your thoughts on the subject below.
Oh, an when you do hop back on social media, be sure to look for the Roundpeg team, and say hello!
Everyone is not your customer. Some people might be at some time in the future and others never will be. So if you have limited time and marketing resources, you want to narrow your focus, concentrating on a niche where you can be the best choice.
In a recent podcast, my guest Gerard Doyle drove that point home when he said that no one recommends the third best restaurant in town.
Segment Your Customers
Even if you have narrowed your market and have a well defined target audience, your customers are not all the same. Some are casual buyers and others are rapid fans. Some only care about your sales and promotions, and some are frequent buyers. When you begin to think of customers as individuals it is easy to understand that what appeals to one may not interest another.
As you plan email newsletters to be sent to existing customers, you shouldn’t treat them as if they were all the same. If you do, some of your customers will get too much information, others not enough, or they will get information at the wrong time.
Good email marketing is about relevance. Relevant emails are opened, irrelevant emails are unopened or deleted.The result is that many of these customers, who you fought so hard to attract, will simply unsubscribe from your email newsletter. Then you won’t be able to talk to them at all..
Potential Email Segmentation Strategies
There are lots of ways to divide your customers. Recency, frequency, and monetary value are three key ways to segment your customer base. Here are a few ways to look at your customers:
Divide customers by purchase history. If you have a product people are likely to buy often, create a subset of frequent shoppers. Special offers and invitations to special events may appeal to this group. VIPs are a wonderful first audience segment. Try emailing your very best customers your earliest product announcements or best deals.
Separate experts and beginners. If you have a product that customers need to learn more about, divide your list by expertise. That way you aren’t boring experienced customers with emails about how to get started or overwhelming new customers with more advanced information.
Divide by the types of products they have bought. If you have a broad product line, this will allow you to offer coupons to encourage repeat purchases, or cross promote and introduce new products to old customers.
Divide by geography. This allows you to promote local events to customers who are near enough to attend in person.
Data Helps Divide the Groups
One of the best things about email marketing is that you can use customer interactions with your email to segment your audience. If you have only limited information about your customers send a few general emails when they join the list. Make sure you have something for everyone, then look at your reporting data to see who clicks on which article or offer.
By looking for patterns, you can begin to create one or two audience segments. Once you identify one or more segments, send a targeted test email to each with different subject lines and content directing readers to targeted content. Emails that are targeted to each audience’s interest are more likely to get better open and click-through rates.
If you use a product like Constant Contact you can take advantage of features like Click Email Segmentation. With these tools readers are dropped into different lists based on which links they click. They are automatically segmented by interest and you can now begin delivering more custom messages.
Worth the Time
Yes, creating custom campaigns for niche audiences is time consuming, but if you actually want people to pay attention to the emails you are sending, then send them something that is relevant to them. For example, a sporting goods shop which sends an email to people interested in skiing with the subject link “Ski Blow-Out Sale” will see dramatically better results than a general “End-of-Season Sale” email. So if you want to sell more, then treat customers like individuals by sending more personal and relevant messages.
Want to learn more about email segmentation for your business and using advanced email tools? Check my webinar on email personalization.
Lorraine was taking notes furiously as Lindsey shared her strategy, and you will too.
Be sure to have a pen handy as you listen to today’s conversation.
About Lindsey Anderson
Lindsey Anderson (One-Click Lindsey) is a web strategy expert working with small business owners to help them utilize the web to produce more website traffic and leads using the power of digital marketing.
A serial entrepreneur, she is the the host of the Traffic and Leads podcast.
More than a Few Words - Episode: 392 The Challenge Method July 5, 2019 Webinars are a thing of the past. So how can you reach new audiences instead? According to Lindsey Anderson, Facebook Challenges are the next big thing. Lorraine BallRoundpeg Lindsey Anderson,...