Future Design Group https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog Your FUTURE Marketing Agency Mon, 23 Jan 2017 21:35:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.1 121362421 6 Reasons Your Business Needs a Website https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/6-reasons-business-needs-website https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/6-reasons-business-needs-website#respond Mon, 23 Jan 2017 16:31:38 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155768 In our ever-expanding digital world, having a website for your business is essential for continued growth and success! Finding information about a brand, product, or service online is how many people make their purchase decisions today. So as a small business always looking for growth, why would you not take advantage and have a website […]

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In our ever-expanding digital world, having a website for your business is essential for continued growth and success! Finding information about a brand, product, or service online is how many people make their purchase decisions today. So as a small business always looking for growth, why would you not take advantage and have a website for your business? This blog article will discuss the value a website gives businesses and will list the top 6 reasons why a business needs a website.

I found a great local shop for dresses and cute clothes on Instagram the other day, but I was amazed that the only way I could learn about their products was from the few lines they added in the comments section and was surprised that when I went to find them online, they only had a Facebook page! As a marketing person, I understand how social media is great for businesses to communicate and create relationships, but as a consumer I left their page and went elsewhere to look for products similar to theirs on another website, i.e. Amazon.

Think about how people find information today. Instead of making a trip to the mall or store of their choice and looking around until they find what they need, consumers can now search straight from their phone, tablet, or computer. Why would any business take the chance that their products and services would not be available to customers? Not only does having a website mean that your business can be found online anytime and anywhere, but it also adds value to your brand by letting your customer get to know you and your business on their own time.

Credibility – Your customers expect you to be online
Today your customers expect to find the information they want online. Having a website allows them to learn about you, your business, and the products/service that you provide when they have the time to look for them. If a customer cannot find what they want when they want it they will look somewhere else, which could be your competition.

Accessibility – E-Commerce
Your store may have hours of operations, but your website is always open for them to search. Your website gives your customers instant access to information about your products and services, access which they can have any time day or night.
Online purchases are expected to increase immensely in the coming years, so what better way to increase sales than to have a website where your customers can purchase online?

Competition –
If your business does not have a website, you can expect that your competition does. Why would you want them to have an opportunity to take those customers and the sales away from your business? Get ahead of competition by having a website that offers your customers a place to find the information they need from your business!

Marketing and Customer Service – Social Proof and Saves Money
Having a website not only can increase the value of your brand, but also allows for better customer service, increases your credibility through customer testimonials, and provides marketing at a lower cost. Customers look online to find information they want. Your website can give them that information, allowing them to research your business and provides access to reviews about your products and services. Also, digital marketing is key in today’s economy and the price is much lower than traditional marketing, saving you money while still making connections.

Search Results –
Having a website is key to increasing search results. How many times have you used Google to locate a business, check hours of operations, or find out what the menu is at a restaurant? Well, if your website offers all of that information, then it is more likely that your business will show up on Google’s search results when customers look for products and services that your business offers. If your customers cannot find what time you are open or what you serve, they will look somewhere else.

Blogging –
Having a blog for your business is a great way for your customers to get to know who you are! Your blog can showcase your business’s message, your mission, and how your business offers a solution to your customers. With a blog, you can provide information about the latest trends in your market, product reviews, access to manuals, or even show off the personality of your business! Not to mention, that by adding new information to your website, you are adding more keywords for search engines like Google to point your customers towards your business!

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Getting Smart With: Content https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/getting-smart-content https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/getting-smart-content#respond Tue, 17 Jan 2017 16:53:06 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155759 Are you content with your content? If that seemed confusing, it probably is for the majority of readers as well. The concept is sound enough, are you as a business owner happy with the wording and organization of the subject matter presented by your business both online and offline? However, somewhere in the execution of […]

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Are you content with your content?

If that seemed confusing, it probably is for the majority of readers as well. The concept is sound enough, are you as a business owner happy with the wording and organization of the subject matter presented by your business both online and offline? However, somewhere in the execution of the sentence the meaning got lost due to the similarity (or resemblance) of the two words. The English language is a vast, complicated forest that many businesses get lost in, but your business can benefit from someone with a map of the terrain. This is where a content marketer comes in.

Getting Smart With Content

Content writing is often thought of as little more than filler for websites or promotional materials. No one knows your business or what it is capable of better than you do, so you are best-equipped to do it justice in terms of content generation. In actuality, the act of content generation is much more involved than that. If you get it right, you will bring in more readers and the opportunity to convert them into customers. But, if handled incorrectly bad content makes a greater and more-lasting impression than good content. Often, you have one real shot to make a good impression, and glaring misspellings and grammar errors will be held against your business for longer than you want to believe. Years ago, I worked with a recording studio who declined my offer to look over their content, claiming that the services of a copywriter was outside their budget. Apparently funds to have t-shirts, vinyl banners, bumper stickers, and two magnetic trailer wraps re-printed was, because the entire first printing had the word “rehearsal” misspelled. One misstep can put your business in an unnecessary bad light, which you want to avoid at all costs, especially in terms of something that is so simple to fix.

Proof that all that Reading wasn’t wasted

It’s not just branded merchandise orders that need proofreading though, blog posts and everything that is posted on social media can be considered content. Therefore, it should be treated with the same respect and subjected to the same amount of scrutiny as a legal release or employment contract. And while you could easily proofread it yourself, you’ll more than likely miss the majority of errors even after a second read-through due to something known as an “inattention blindness”. You know that you meant to say, “the customer is entitled to fair treatment” so even though you read the text that says, “the costumer is entitled to fair treatment” you don’t see the error. Wait… did you have to go back and check? So, if I am not engaged in the practice of designing and sewing costumes, I’m not getting fair treatment at your business?

As ludicrous as it seems, without a dedicated content marketer you are often working on multiple projects with varied deadlines, which can cause unnecessary and easily avoidable mistakes. You can’t be expected to simply create something in one pass and hope that it makes sense. There are few better ways to proofread a document than to edit it with someone else. Oftentimes, one or more extra sets of eyes can suggest better ways to present the information so that it can be easily understood and shared by your audience.

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How To Rock Social Engagement with Imagery https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/social-engagement-imagery https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/social-engagement-imagery#respond Mon, 09 Jan 2017 17:13:56 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155741 They say a picture is worth a thousand words and today in our digital world that means so much more than it has in the past. Consumers are constantly looking, researching, selecting, and even making purchases from businesses they find online. What can make your business stand out more in our ever-scrolling world of digital […]

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words and today in our digital world that means so much more than it has in the past. Consumers are constantly looking, researching, selecting, and even making purchases from businesses they find online. What can make your business stand out more in our ever-scrolling world of digital marketing? Images, that’s right! A post, blog, or ad with an image is more likely to receive positive attention than without, especially on social media. Content may be king, but research shows that images alongside relevant content stand out more to consumers. People are visual learners; we are great at remembering pictures.

“Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%.” – Brain Rules

Adding an image to your posts is a great start, but the images have to mean something to the viewer for it to make an impact. This week, our blog will offer some suggestions as to how a business can use images to increase their brand’s awareness and engagement on the various social media outlets.

How To Rock Social Engagement With Imagery

Free Stock Images

There are many sites online that now offer royalty free images for anyone to use without penalty. Such as FreeImages, Pixabay, or Unsplash. These sites are great for those businesses that do not have access to a professional photographer or the time to create images for posts. When choosing images remember to match the mood, voice, or style of your audience, images that do not relate will be passed by without a second look.

Data/Infographics

Supplying relevant data to your audience is a great way to show off your expertise in a particular field. Infographics are great for data because they let you say a lot without having to use a whole bunch of words by presenting the data in charts or graphs. Using infographics helps to supply relevant information without overloading your viewer with a list of statistics.

Storytelling

“Stories are the way that humans make sense of the world.” – Hootsuite

Telling a story connects your consumer with your business on a personal level, rather than shoving features, products, facts or figures at them, they can relate to what you are selling and see why they can benefit from your product or service. Social media is all about connecting, so what better way to connect than with a story that your audience will relate to.

Sharing a Feeling

Alongside telling your story online, evoking an emotion that will relate to your audience is great for engagement. People want to know that someone else feels the way they do, even from a business. You start a business with an idea to solve a problem, a problem that someone else has probably also experienced. They can relate to your feelings, making a connection to your solution.

Behind the Scenes

Showing off who you are humanizes your business. People are more likely to engage with a real life person than a business that appears to be a robot. Taking the time to show your viewers who you really are entices them to take to time to personally connect with your business.

Inspirational

Everyone can use some inspiration sometimes. Sharing what inspires you and your business can inspire others to act accordingly. Posting quotes, achievements, or accolades can motivate your viewers in a positive fashion.

Social media is a visual culture, where scrolling has become the new channel surfing. Consumers pass by those ads that have no meaning to them, especially those that only use text. Posts that share content and images that are significant to their viewers are more likely to have successful engagement, which can to lead to increased brand loyalty and repeat business. Take the time to consider who your audience is and what content will matter to them.

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5 Digital Marketing Trends to Boost Your Business in 2017 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/5-digital-marketing-trends-2017 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/5-digital-marketing-trends-2017#respond Mon, 02 Jan 2017 17:31:12 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155726 It’s a brand new year, but the market never stops. We have spoken before on the fact that social media has taken control of the digital marketing game, and we will continue to write on that topic throughout the year. This article will not go over the importance of social media, but will go a […]

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It’s a brand new year, but the market never stops. We have spoken before on the fact that social media has taken control of the digital marketing game, and we will continue to write on that topic throughout the year. This article will not go over the importance of social media, but will go a little bit in detail on 5 digital marketing trends that you will see a lot of in 2017 within social media.

5 Digital Marketing Trends To Boost Your Business in 2017

Mobile Dominates

This is the news of yesterday. Everyone knows that mobile has become extremely important in today’s use of technology, but one thing that people are not doing, is using the power of mobile to boost their business.

Everyone is looking at their phone. That is where the attention is, point blank. As Gary Vaynerchuk says, “the television is becoming the newspaper and radio, and your cell phone is becoming the television”.

Live Video

If you have been on Facebook in the last year, you should have noticed an increase in live video. This should be of no surprise considering apps like Snapchat has have pushed the trend of a more engaging way to communicate to the masses.

Modern marketing, specifically digital marketing, no longer involves spreading a bunch of “sales offerings” or “discounted pricing” posts. The attention span of modern consumers does not allow spammy advertisement to stay in their lives. You need to provide value in your content in order to effectively earn the respect of your target audience. I went a bit off topic, but the main message to take away is: live video is one of the best and powerful tools to engage DIRECTLY with your audience and provide valuable content.

Target Specific Niches

I touched a little on the attention span of the modern consumer above. The specific targeting that can be done with social media advertising definitely eliminates those who have no interest in your type of business. One of the most powerful platforms to use specific targeting for advertising is Facebook. Running Facebook ads should have been crucial to your business this past year and even more important in 2017.

If you run a business selling custom made pottery, you can tailor your ads to only show to those interested in categories like art, pottery, custom art, homemade pottery, etc.. You are not limited to just that, if you happen to purchase a spot or table for an art/pottery conference/event in another state, you can create a video making a special piece of pottery (say your signature piece), while engaging and entertaining, then run that video as an ad! You can target the specific area you are going to visit, and in the content of the ad, mention the event, event date, and your booth information.

This is just one of many things to think about when considering how you want to take advantage of social media or Facebook ads. Get creative!

Video Ads

I mentioned a good example of this in the point above. With live video becoming a powerful tool in digital marketing, this means video itself is a powerful source. The digital marketing trends are pointing towards a more “vlogging style” of engaging with your audience. People who are interested in your type of business or service are interested in what you do behind the scenes. They appreciate transparency and this allows for a more personal connection with your audience, which they have shown to appreciate and will gladly help your business grow.

At the end of the day, it’s people who make your business what it is, and what it could be. It’s time to engage more with these individuals and provide content they will appreciate. Make them happy and provide quality content often and they will reciprocate.

Dense Content with an Image

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of video, let’s not forget the power of quality images with relevant content. As mentioned above, you need to produce value in the content you are spreading in your daily posts. Along with the valuable content, an eye catching image to accompany your content will produce significantly higher results. If you scroll down a Twitter feed or Facebook feed, the post accompanied by an image will grab someone’s attention more than standard text.

Give your audience something visually pleasing and accompany that image with valuable content, every single time you post.

Your Thoughts on the Digital Marketing Trends

When it comes to digital marketing, social media is not a science. It takes constant evaluation and research to keep up with the trends. What worked for your business 2 months ago may not work now or for the months to come, so it’s important to constantly study your social media analytics and tailor to your audience.

I’ll say it again, social media marketing is not a science. So what has worked for your business? Have you tried any of the trending categories above? If not, what’s stopping you? We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences, and will continue to provide helpful tips that you can use for your business.

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Simplicity is Design’s Best Policy https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/simplicity-is-designs-best-policy https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/simplicity-is-designs-best-policy#respond Mon, 26 Dec 2016 15:00:36 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155711 Whether it’s a simple letterhead or a complete branding package, a designer must be very careful not to put too much into a project. The negative space is just as important as the text and images associated with an overall design. However, it is oftentimes overlooked. Even with something as straightforward as a logo, complexity […]

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Whether it’s a simple letterhead or a complete branding package, a designer must be very careful not to put too much into a project. The negative space is just as important as the text and images associated with an overall design. However, it is oftentimes overlooked. Even with something as straightforward as a logo, complexity can sometimes ruin the overall viewing experience. A designer doesn’t want to overwhelm the viewer. It is our job to comfortably guide the viewer through our design leading the client to whatever knowledge our design presents.

Negative Space Plays a Part

Use of negative space plays a huge part in good design, and separates the pros from the amateurs. Although color, typeface, and images are important, placement and spacing can sometimes be what makes a design. Too much of something can be a bad thing and cleaning up clutter creates a more pleasing experience for the viewer.

Keep It Simple

Have you ever seen a logo that just had too much going on? Oftentimes this occurs with fresh companies that do not yet have the finances to afford a Graphic Designer. Flat logo design has become popular again for a good reason. It is often easy on the eye and oftentimes minimalistic by choice. Application Icons are becoming increasingly important and due to the importance of a logo’s Icon large or small, Minimalistic design is oftentimes preferred.

Within design, the key fundamental to remember for a client is that oftentimes, they don’t even know when they are appreciating design. However, they definitely remember a design that is confusing or less than pleasing to look at. It is our job as designers to utilize both the negative and the positive space of our work, and not worry so much about complexity. No one is out there looking for the most intricate brochure or a logo that makes them scratch their heads in confusion. It is our mission to serve up design in the most pleasing fashion possible, so keep it simple!

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3 questions to Gain Traction Online https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/3-questions-gain-traction-online https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/3-questions-gain-traction-online#respond Mon, 19 Dec 2016 16:13:54 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155708 Targeting your Digital Audience Being present digitally is one of the most important things you can do as a business owner. One of the advantages of having a digital presence is the opportunity to stay up to date and assure that your website is utilized efficiently and effectively. Digital marketing agencies provide many of those […]

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Targeting your Digital Audience

Being present digitally is one of the most important things you can do as a business owner. One of the advantages of having a digital presence is the opportunity to stay up to date and assure that your website is utilized efficiently and effectively. Digital marketing agencies provide many of those solutions for businesses, but there are other proactive ways to reach out if owners want more exposure for their website.

In business, there are unlimited avenues to gain customers. Focusing on online traction is one of those avenues to research. Most local business owners prefer to interact with customers physically when discussing their service or product. Yet, how can you find those people digitally and remotely?

The issue with finding customers online is making contact while not knowing if someone would even be interested. The solution involves knowing your audience, both where to find them and how to best deliver value to them. The trick to figuring out how to reach out to more potential customers online can be found within the following questions.

Who is your ideal customer?

The internet adds 300-500 websites every minute, so knowing where to look and how to stand out can be very beneficial. Narrowing down the places to look first boils down to identifying who your customer is. No one knows a customer’s needs more than the business owner himself, so developing a customer profile consisting of their likes, needs and wants is necessary. Understanding exactly who you’re trying to target will shed light on certain websites and apps that align with your ideal target customer profile.

Where would your customer hangout digitally?

The online world is filled with plentiful of focal points with opportunities for engagement. Finding out which websites/apps your ideal customer uses will increase your inbound traffic. Recognizing which applications or sites reflect the interests of your customer can give you a pathway to communicate with prospective clients on many different platforms.
For example, a pool cleaning business may search online to see if any local swimming pool clubs/events have a website they can join in order to network and build professional relationships. Alternatively, an artistic painter who takes the digital advantage on Pinterest or DeviantArt can build a following of avid fans, increasing her presence online. Almost every community website has other social platforms for you to connect on such as Facebook, Twitter or a YouTube page.

What interests the customer other than your service/product?

This question brings up many creative inquiries. Figuring out what other things your ideal customers like to do is solely dependent on the experience of the seeker. A computer-building business can gain access to clients through a local video game store’s website because there is a strong possibility that some of them are interested in both fields. There is no clear-cut way to define what people’s interests are other than your service or product, but it puts you slightly ahead of the curve when you branch out into other avenues.

Results over Time

Having extra access to clients from the web can prove invaluable when compared to only speaking to those who arrive at your place of business. It can seem like an overwhelming task at first, but through practiced efforts, the results will compound exponentially over time. Depending on your line of work, there can be different processes to follow to find those customers, but the core method remains the same.

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Stand Out in the Busy World of Social Media https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/stand-busy-world-social-media https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/stand-busy-world-social-media#respond Mon, 12 Dec 2016 19:31:09 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155701 It’s no secret that social media is taking over the marketing world. Having your voice heard on a platform can relate to shouting an idea in the middle of a retail store on Black Friday. At times, it can seem like your content isn’t being seen or appreciated. I’m going to go into some of […]

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It’s no secret that social media is taking over the marketing world. Having your voice heard on a platform can relate to shouting an idea in the middle of a retail store on Black Friday. At times, it can seem like your content isn’t being seen or appreciated. I’m going to go into some of the many strategies you can use to increase the chances of having your message heard.

Before continuing, I have to credit Gary Vaynerchuk and his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. This book is a terrific read and has influenced some of the information in this article.

The Social Media Takeover

Busy, noisy, and impatient. These are some of the many characteristics of the social media takeover. While SEO, SEM, and many other marketing strategies are important, social media platforms have definitely shown their dominance and deserve the respected attention.

When you look around during the day, you notice that the majority of individuals are on their phones. Instead of physical, real world advertising such as candy or magazines by the registers in stores, or billboards on the road, many individuals are gravitating towards their phone to keep them occupied. When they are looking at their phone, chances are they are browsing through a social media platform. We know where people are looking; now it’s time to take advantage of the opportunity, the right way.

Stop Asking, Start Giving

There is one significant mistake we see businesses do on their social media, asking more than giving. In the past, before social media, popular methods of marketing and advertising included TV commercials, radio spots, website banner ads, billboards and many other traditional formats. The old school way of marketing was to ask for the sale right away. They would ask, ask, and ask without giving. While this was very effective in the beginning era of the internet, social media has now changed the game dramatically.

While those outlets can still prove effective when used in conjunction with modern strategies, they are not the primary source of marketing anymore. People are more attracted to content that is entertaining or insightful, rather than pushy advertising. The next section will go into how you can make that happen.

Blend In To Stand Out

Nobody has the patience to read an advertisement that is slamming words and selling points in your face. To effectively expand your brand, you need to provide content that blends in with the particular social media platform you are posting to. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and the list goes on. These platforms have their own individual personality. You need to post content which blends in with what you see when you scroll through your news feed.

What do you enjoy seeing when you browse through your chosen social media platform? What is the last thing that made you laugh, taught you something important, or inspired you? Most importantly, what has made enough of an impact to make you share that content on your personal news feed for your friends to view? We are in a time where it is important to treat your audience like human beings, rather than constantly asking them for a sale. Take note of this kind of content, and think of ways you can use these tactics to give to your customers, rather than asking.

Let’s Summarize with an Example

Let’s say you run a company that sells athletic shoes. Instead of constantly posting images of your product with pricing, post content that will inspire your audience to want to play their sport or share an amazing play. Keep up to date with the latest sport trends and plays. If an NBA player were to make an amazing game winning dunk, be sure to catch that moment and share it on your social media outlets. If there is an interview with a well-known athlete, and there happens to be a funny moment, make sure to share that feeling with your audience.

This will allow you to blend in with what your audience views on a daily basis. Maybe for every 10 to 15 times that you “give”, go for the “Ask”. This is the “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” concept as conveyed in Gary Vaynerchuk’s book. This will allow your audience to realize that it’s your brand that is pushing the insightful or entertaining content, and will make them more inclined to purchase your product or service.

Here is the important message to take from this: Make your audience FEEL as if they are treated like real human beings and BE the reason why they receive a burst of positivity in their day.

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Get Your Business LinkedIn! https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/get-business-linkedin https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/get-business-linkedin#respond Mon, 05 Dec 2016 19:28:41 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155699 There are multiple channels through social media that allow businesses to make connections with their followers, but how to use those channels will differ from platform to platform. Build a Link Many professionals use LinkedIn for staying connected with other like-minded professionals, but brands and businesses alike can take advantage of LinkedIn as well. This […]

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There are multiple channels through social media that allow businesses to make connections with their followers, but how to use those channels will differ from platform to platform.

Build a Link

Many professionals use LinkedIn for staying connected with other like-minded professionals, but brands and businesses alike can take advantage of LinkedIn as well. This article hopes to shine some light on how to build your small business’ brand, and presence, on LinkedIn.

Behind the Link

Launched in 2003, LinkedIn’s appeal was derived from its ability to match job seekers with potential employers. Today’s LinkedIn network still offers job search and recruitment tools, but is also a place where business professionals can find and connect with each other. Unlike many other social media sites, businesses themselves are finding ways to connect, and share with other professionals and businesses using LinkedIn. The same way a professional can be “endorsed” in terms of crucial skills and strengths by their peers, a business can garner accolades from trusted clients and partners. LinkedIn is growing into a place where companies can increase brand awareness and seek out potential leads through mutual connections. Not to mention the SEO benefits associated to using social media. Getting started is the first step!

Branded Links

Just joining LinkedIn and creating a business profile isn’t enough. As the business owner and manager of your business’ page, you will need to engage with your followers and audience to build your brand reputation. Listed below are some suggestions to building your brand with your LinkedIn page.

Create a Company Page

Create and update your company page. Having the latest information will increase search results.

Post Blog Articles

Blogging about relevant news in your market shows that your business is staying up-to-date with current trends and market changes, which can increase your credibility.

Encourage Employees

LinkedIn is about sharing and making connections through other connections. Your employees are your first connections; ask them to share and comment on your posts.

Meaningful Posts

Create content that your connections will find useful, insightful, and in-line with your brand reputation.

Joining/Creating Groups

LinkedIn Groups are a great way to connect with others, they offer networking within a particular niche, topic, or interest. By starting a group you get direct contact with followers via email so you can stay in touch outside of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn offers a great opportunity to not only make connections and get likes, but also to grow business relationships out of those connections and build up your business. Engage with followers by providing interesting and significant content that they will want to share!

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Personal and Professional Growth: A Marketing Approach for Business https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/personal-professional-growth-marketing-approach-business https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/personal-professional-growth-marketing-approach-business#respond Mon, 14 Nov 2016 15:00:32 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155688 “We are what we repeatedly do.” – Aristotle Key Factors Determine Growth Roadblocks are to be expected on the road to success, in both business and life. Factors such as change (changing markets, business models, and client needs); challenge (personal and professional challenges faced and overcome); and reception (how your business is perceived and your […]

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“We are what we repeatedly do.” – Aristotle

Key Factors Determine Growth

Roadblocks are to be expected on the road to success, in both business and life. Factors such as change (changing markets, business models, and client needs); challenge (personal and professional challenges faced and overcome); and reception (how your business is perceived and your message interpreted by clients and potential customers) impact the success of a business. It is a well-known yet commonly ignored rule in business that without facing and overcoming these detriments, there simply is no potential for growth.

Backbone Behind Success and Growth

The backbone and driving force behind success through growth is your approach to it as a business owner or manager. A successful person in life as well as business will put the time in that is required to do a task correctly, additionally they will always seek a new or original approach to looking at an issue. Although it should be a simple concept to put into practice, many business owners do not approach their business woes the same way they might manage a personal concern. This is an unfortunate eventuality, for both the business and the clients they serve.

There are countless ways in which a business might lose footing in their market but the fundamentals are essentially the same when confronting any problem that might arise. In the marketing industry, problems are the basis for growth potential. This is especially true in the way in which a business presents itself and its services to the public. The essential cornerstone in any market is growth. Growth is the key goal of any business that wishes to succeed in an ever-expanding marketplace.

A marketing approach to growth within a business model relies on a method similar to a personal growth model, in that the job is to find, examine, and remedy a particular issue or stumbling block. The steps are as follows:

Acknowledgement – I identify the fact that there is an issue, and this is what it is.

Evaluation – This is what caused or exacerbated the issue, what aspects of my life/business it impacts, and what it would take to counterbalance or defuse the issue at hand.

Execution – The action or behavior which performs the necessary correction to rectify the issue or concern.

We, as marketing professionals, help a business realize its growth potential by noticing a oversight or omission, whether in process or delivery of a business’ brand, product or service. This ability to look at the larger picture to correct the small matters correlates with an ability to acknowledge, evaluate, and execute a plan of action to give the business the problem-solving resolution. That is the very definition of “Marketing Solutions”. With our expertise, we are able to effectively pinpoint shortfalls in a marketing plan or business model while keeping our client’s original vision in focus, which allows us to work on improvement and implementation simultaneously.

Overcoming Growth Challenges

Acknowledgement is one of the toughest tasks for a business owner, however. With all the minute details of the day-to- day constantly on the forefront of your mind, the bigger picture is often more difficult to see. Without first acknowledging the presence of a problem there is no chance for progress or forward growth. One business’ marketing problem may not necessarily present as a problem to all businesses, just as one person’s trash is said to be another’s treasure.

Individual factors such as: product or service type, business size, or budget determines what services are most beneficial and indicative of positive growth. Determining these needs and what services will best benefit a particular client takes an astute business savvy and a practical understanding of what makes businesses stay in business, luckily our award-winning team at Future Design Group have had the opportunity to serve over 1,200 clients. This longstanding relationship with the local business community has allowed us to know what works as well as what doesn’t to better serve your business and facilitate the positive growth that will carry your business into the future.

Future Design Group; it’s your future, we just make it look good!

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The SEO Benefits for Creating Subdomains https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/subdomain-seo-benefits https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/subdomain-seo-benefits#respond Mon, 07 Nov 2016 15:00:14 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155678 SEO is a popular topic that comes up when speaking with new clients. We all know that ranking high on Google searches is extremely important when trying to increase your business’ digital presence. I will be going over one of many tactics used to improve your search ranking using subdomains. What Is A Subdomain? A […]

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SEO is a popular topic that comes up when speaking with new clients. We all know that ranking high on Google searches is extremely important when trying to increase your business’ digital presence. I will be going over one of many tactics used to improve your search ranking using subdomains.

What Is A Subdomain?

A subdomain is a part of your primary website. So if your website is www. example .com, an example of a subdomain would be www. event.example .com. Search Engines, such as Google, read a subdomain as a separate domain. This means that you increase your chances of visibility due to the fact that both your subdomain and your primary website could appear when being searched.

How and When To Use A Subdomain?

Subdomains are usually created when you want to push out an event or promotion with a style that is completely different than the theme of your website. You can use subdomains to promote a specific product or service, highlight and advertise an upcoming event, and many other creative ventures.

When creating a subdomain, it’s always beneficial to pair it with Google Ads and/or social media ads such as Facebook Ads. When running digital ads, you build the ad to direct individuals to the subdomain, or website. This can HEAVILY benefit your business’ Google search ranking depending on how much you can budget per ad.

A Perfect Example on the usage of Subdomains

One of our business partners, the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort, has an upcoming event during the month of December 2016 where they set up an Escape Room. This is where you have to escape Krampus, a half-goat and half-demon creature, within 60 minutes by solving a variety of puzzles to ultimately escape the room.

Since this is themed as “A Nightmare Before Christmas”, it is completely different from the look and feel of the primary Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort website. A perfect fit for a subdomain! Click the image below to visit the subdomain for the event or Click Here

Escape Krampus Event Subdomain Hosted By The Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort

A Better Understanding on The Benefits of Subdomains

Now that you have a better understanding, let’s sum things up. Subdomains are a part of your primary website that are usually built around a specific event, promotion, or service. They are seen as separate websites from search engines which benefit your rankings due to the fact that multiple instances of your business’ website can show up on the results.

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Illustrations with Adobe Illustrator https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/illustrations-with-adobe-illustrator https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/illustrations-with-adobe-illustrator#respond Mon, 31 Oct 2016 14:00:53 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155672 Adobe Illustrator is a great program for any designer wanting to create vector-art. Adobe Illustrator creates whatever you can imagine, from illustrations, typography, and portraits to patterns, infographics and even 3D effects. With all the different tools that Illustrator has, creating one of a kind work can be limitless. However, learning how to use all […]

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Adobe Illustrator is a great program for any designer wanting to create vector-art. Adobe Illustrator creates whatever you can imagine, from illustrations, typography, and portraits to patterns, infographics and even 3D effects. With all the different tools that Illustrator has, creating one of a kind work can be limitless. However, learning how to use all of those tools and the newly added ones can seem overwhelming.

Have no fear; there are tons of tutorials out there that can show you how to create great content. Once you can understand how to manipulate the cool things each tool can do, you can create great scalable vector-art! Here’s a list of really great sites that have tutorials for you to check out.

Adobe Illustrator CC

Straight from the creators of Illustrator, here you can get to know the basics of Illustrator or try out some more advanced tutorials. What is great about this site is that it shows you all of the newest features and tools that Adobe has added and tutorials to showcase how to use them all.

Digital Arts – 42 Best Illustrator Tutorials

This site is full of great tutorials for all graphic design disciplines. Digital Arts covers all areas and programs that can help any designer learn new skills. Learn how to create a vector map, low-poly portraits, stickers, vector characters, or play with 3D effects. The tutorials are usually step-by-step or they offer a way to download certain files that you may need.

Creative Bloq – 100 amazing Adobe Illustrator Tutorials

Not just for the graphic arts, Creative Bloq is a great place to look for inspiration and learn a few things with topics covering graphic design, as well as art, web design, typography, or photography. This article lists a variety of Illustrator tutorials, starting with opening a document and creating “a trippy kaleidoscopic effect.”

Designrfix – 70 Awesome Illustrator Tutorials That Every Designer Should See

With the intention of evolving art, Designrfix is a community of designers who like to showcase and share work, along with tutorials, Designrfix has freebies such as icon sets, patterns, or brushes, and also resources where you can read the latest articles from the design world.

Creative Nerds – 30 Fresh New Illustrator Tutorials from 2016

This is a great place for inspiration, tutorials, and resources for any creative. Creative Nerds has a passion for design and works to share it with others. Their article offers tutorials to help sharpen designer skills and learn new techniques.

This list gives any designer a start, a few places for inspiration, resources, and tutorials. If you’re looking for a new technique or want to learn how to use a certain tool in Illustrator, check out these websites, they each offer similar ideas but the approach is not always the same. Learn new things to create new great work!

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The Beginner’s Guide to Learning Website Development https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/beginners-guide-learning-website-development https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/beginners-guide-learning-website-development#respond Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:00:40 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155667 There are tons of resources out there for learning website development, but it can become very overwhelming. I remember feeling completely stuck and confused about where to start. This article will go over the steps I took to get started in web development. Do You Even HTML Bro? The first thing to learn is HTML […]

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There are tons of resources out there for learning website development, but it can become very overwhelming. I remember feeling completely stuck and confused about where to start.

This article will go over the steps I took to get started in web development.

Do You Even HTML Bro?

The first thing to learn is HTML and CSS. To keep it short and sweet, HTML is the structure of the website where you add text, images, links, and so on. CSS is used to style the website and all of its content. If you had no CSS, your website would just be text and images on a blank, white background and look extremely plain.

Here is an analogy… because analogies are fun, don’t fight it! So HTML is like drawing an outline of a flower in a sketchbook, then CSS is where you would add color and texture to bring it to life!

Codecademy is where I got my start in web development. Here is a link that takes you straight to their HTML & CSS interactive tutorial: Learn HTML & CSS: Part I. Create an account, it’s free! It’s an awesome place for learning and you even gather points and badges along the way.

It’s Time To Get A Little Interactive

Definitely go through the tutorial above to get a good grasp of HTML and CSS before diving into this section. I would even recommend creating a variety of simple websites.

So this section is about Javascript. There is a lot you can do with CSS3 to make a website interactive, but you’ll need a language like Javascript to take it to the next level.

For the sake of simplicity, I’ll just be going over jQuery. jQuery is a library that makes a website more dynamic by adding interactivity and animation.

If this is a little overwhelming, skip down to the next section where I talk about Bootstrap. There is definitely lots to learn with HTML/CSS before getting into Javascript and jQuery so don’t feel rushed!

Here is a link to Codecademy that introduces you to jQuery and Javascript: jQuery Course.

Rapid Website Development with Bootstrap

Bootstrap is my absolute favorite website development framework. According to the description on their website, Bootstrap is the most popular HTML, CSS, and JS (Javascript) framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web.

So if you have played around with building your own practice websites, they are not mobile friendly unless you add the appropriate CSS styling to make the pages look right on all mobile devices. This is where Bootstrap comes in like a superhero. Bootstrap has a stylesheet full of classes that allow you to code rapidly while maintaining a responsive — or mobile friendly — website. This is a great area for playing around and their website ( http://getbootstrap.com/ ) is full of resources with elements you can copy/paste into your project. You can always manipulate those elements to give them the style you want. I’ll list some quick links below:

Use the above links for reference and to copy/paste some code to play around and familiarize yourself with how Bootstrap works. I would also recommend looking up Bootstrap tutorials on YouTube or Google, depending on if you learn better reading or watching videos.

Time To Regroup

I hope I’ve provided a great way to get started with website development! This was how I got my start!

For your start, get a superb grasp on how HTML and CSS work together to create good-looking websites.

When you get a good grasp on that, there are two directions I would point you. The first I would recommend is using Bootstrap. This comes with Javascript elements, but you can use the HTML/CSS portion of the framework to create some amazing and mobile friendly websites.

The other way is learning about Javascript and jQuery, which are powerful tools for interactivity and the use of animations. You will eventually learn it all, so go the route that comes easier and more naturally.

Most importantly, it’s all about having fun. Now go write some code and slap some art on the internet!

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Growing Strategies for Your Small Business https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/growing-strategies-small-business https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/growing-strategies-small-business#respond Mon, 17 Oct 2016 14:00:24 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155661 Starting your small business was a task all on its own, but you made it past the first few difficulties! The continued success of your business depends on growth, but how do you go about this as a small business owner when you have less people, less money, and less time? Developing a growth strategy […]

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Starting your small business was a task all on its own, but you made it past the first few difficulties! The continued success of your business depends on growth, but how do you go about this as a small business owner when you have less people, less money, and less time? Developing a growth strategy does not have to take focus away from running your business, it could even make the daily concerns easier to maintain.

Today’s blog will discuss how to develop business strategies and provide a list of some growth strategies that can be implemented today to start building up your small business.

Strategies that Handle the Business

No one business can do everything, it’s impossible. Trying to could lead to a loss of customer satisfaction, a loss of repeat purchases, or a loss of profits. Developing a business strategy avoids this; it can help you as the business owner focus on your customers and their needs. A business strategy does this by tailoring your product or service to solve a problem for a specific group, by focusing on the goals, strengths, and what differentiates your business from the competitors. It also guides your business in reaching out to the market that your product or service will serve.

Creating a plan for ‘the who’, ‘the what’, and ‘the what for’. As your business gets busier, you can return to your plan and strategies, adjusting as different areas change. Having a business strategy in place keeps a focus on your business’s goals, breaks down who your target market is, and establishes a foundation to build a loyal customer base.

Strategies that Build Growth

Many of the strategies on this list seem pretty simple, but if you take the time to review these and their questions you might find ones that fit your business model. Areas that you did not think to research or fully understand. Growth starts with change and change starts with looking at what the purpose of the business is and who benefits from that purpose. Look through the list, pick one or more, and start today!

What’s Your Value Proposition

What is it that sets your business apart from the competition? What makes your business credible, valuable, and different? Understand why your customers should come to your business.

Check Out the Competition

What are they doing well? What are they doing badly? What makes them seem unique? Don’t run with the same ideas, but notice how they go about things differently.

Know Your Ideal Customer

Who is your business selling to? Why should they buy from you? What problem does your business cater to? Who needs that problem solved?

Deliver Consistent Value

Don’t allow the day-to-day stressors to hinder the business’s job performance. Hire employees that know and understand the business’s goals, employees that want the business to succeed.

Create Strong Branding

How do your customers view your business? What attachment do they associate with the business, the employees, the logo, and the locations? Is your brand strong, meaningful, and consistent throughout?

Become Familiar with Market Trends

Watch the market trends. Track how these trends affect your customers, their mindset and buying potential. Prepare for expected demand increases and decreases.

Price It Right

Modify product or service prices to meet the needs and preferences of the target market. Understand how demand affects price.

Now Go Grow, Small Business

A small business that is successful keeps solving problems for their customers. Profitable small businesses know their customers, what they need and how to give it to them. Growing your small business will be hard work, but having a strategy that keeps your business, your team, and you on track can make growth possible. As the business does expand, revisit your business’s strategy and modify it to keep with the core goals of the business and its customers. Don’t wait to get started! This is just the beginning!

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Why Text is Still Essential in a Visual-Focused World https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/text-still-essential-visual-focused-world https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/text-still-essential-visual-focused-world#respond Mon, 10 Oct 2016 14:00:47 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155652 Many of you have lost your appreciation for text. The hot social media is all image-based. Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, Vine… the list goes on. Everyone talks about how great something looks, but rarely how well it reads. Heck, I’m a writer working for a company called Future Design Group. But here’s the thing: text hasn’t […]

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Many of you have lost your appreciation for text.

The hot social media is all image-based. Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, Vine… the list goes on. Everyone talks about how great something looks, but rarely how well it reads.

Heck, I’m a writer working for a company called Future Design Group.

But here’s the thing: text hasn’t gone away, and it’s still vitally important. All of those girls are still writing things like “OMG my BFF and I went to this hot new brunch spot, and it’s literally to DIE for!” underneath their Instagram pictures. Future Design Group’s website, while visually stunning, is still full of text to tell you about the services we offer, the clients we’ve helped, and the awards we’ve won.

Here are a few reasons text is still a vital part of any communication strategy.

Information is easier to find in text

According to Reuters Institute’s 2016 Digital News Report, 78% of respondents who took part in research rely on text more than video news. When pressed, the main reasons people give for not using more video is they find reading news quicker and more convenient (41%).

When I’m visiting a website, I’m usually there for a specific set of information. I can quickly scan an article of text to find what I need — or see that the site doesn’t have what I need — and move on with my day. If it’s good information, I’ll bookmark that site and make it my first stop when I need to learn more.

With video or audio, the only way to find out if it’s even worth my time is to sit through the entire post, at a speed slower than I can read, trying not to zone out while I wait for the information I need. I can’t skim the subheadings or scan for the information I need and skip the irrelevant parts.

Text brings clarity to your ideas

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but are they the right words?

Their openness to interpretation makes visuals a double-edged sword. Without accompanying words, it’s far too easy for your audience to imprint their own ideas on an image and completely misunderstand the idea you’re trying to convey.

Text allows you to communicate precisely what you mean to say with no ambiguity, which is why so many photographs are posted with captions to explain them. Your audience needs to know what you’re trying to say.

Video and audio also allow you to communicate using precise words, but someone had to write those words. Text also allows your audience to consider and review those words until they’re certain they understand your ideas, which is harder to do with video or audio.

Without text, there is no SEO

As a business owner, the biggest reason you need text is for the SEO benefits.

Put simply, search engines can understand and interpret text. They don’t have eyes to view your images and videos or ears to hear your audio. You search using text.

The keywords that search engines use to pull up relevant results? Text.

Images, audio, and video are useful; good visuals and audio will benefit your SEO strategies. But first, they need text in ALT tags for web crawlers to even find that useful content.

Here’s a quote from Google’s webmaster guidelines:

“Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in images. If you must use images for textual content, consider using the ALT attribute to include a few words of descriptive text.”

A major factor in SEO is also time spent on the page and proponents of audio and video will point out those content types force your audience to stay on your page for the length of the track or video. This is a fair point, but it fails to take into account the people who will leave your page and never come back if you make them sit through content they neither want nor need.

Not that other types of content aren’t important. Images, video, and audio each accomplish things that text can’t.

Telling you I’m wearing blue jeans and a checkered blue and white button-up shirt while listening to movie soundtracks and writing these words is not the same as a picture of me in this outfit, a recording of The Imperial March, or a video of me writing with the music playing in the background.

But declaring text dead would be a grave mistake. Even if we accept, for the sake of argument, that visuals are the future, text is the present and is not going away soon.

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A Beginner’s Guide To Hosting https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/beginners-guide-hosting https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/beginners-guide-hosting#respond Mon, 03 Oct 2016 14:00:19 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155641 Before getting into the nitty gritty of website hosting, I’d like to briefly go over the difference between a website host and a domain name. I get this question quite often so here is my chance to clear the air. A domain name is the name, or URL, of your website. It goes in the […]

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Before getting into the nitty gritty of website hosting, I’d like to briefly go over the difference between a website host and a domain name. I get this question quite often so here is my chance to clear the air. A domain name is the name, or URL, of your website. It goes in the form of www.domainname.com or .org, .net, etc. To compare it to real world examples, this is simply the address of your home. Hosting refers to your actual home where you can store information. You will house your files and website in your hosting and point people to view your site by sharing your address, or domain name (web address, domain name, URL – these are all the same thing).

Now that we have a better understanding of what exactly hosting does as opposed to a domain name, let’s talk hosting!

What’s So Important About Hosting?

As mentioned above, hosting refers to “your house” which stores all your files and data needed to view your website. Just like a home, you want to make sure you have the right security. You wouldn’t want to leave your front door open all the time would you? There are multiple areas you can set up security to ensure that your home is protected as best as possible. When developing a website, you need to ensure that certain code is placed throughout the site that will act as a security wall. You will also want to ensure that security is configured in your hosting settings to act as another security wall. You don’t want to set security so tight that the functionality of your website is obscured, but you want to make it extremely hard for someone to pursue hacking your website (or breaking into your home).

Hosting Is All Set Up, Now What?

When hosting is all set up, your website and hosting setup will need to be maintained. If your site contains forms, collects user information, or sells products, you have more risk of someone injecting unwanted code and/or data. This is where you would want someone keeping an eye on things weekly and checking the security logs to see if anything suspicious is going on. The most common reports seen on security logs include individuals trying to guess the admin or log in URL of your website, then when they find it, proceeding to guess or hack the login to your site.

This kind of activity can be prevented by creating a custom login URL. For example, if you use WordPress, everyone knows that yourdomainname.com/wp-admin is the default URL for logging into your site. The first thing you should do is change wp-admin to a custom name which makes it harder for hackers to get into your website. This is just one of many things to keep an eye on once your site has been hosted and live.

Local Hosting Support Team

Have you ever tried to get in touch with your hosting company and had to go through loops and turns before getting ahold of someone? When finally getting in touch with a real human being, is it sometimes difficult to communicate due to the lack of a personal connection? I have heard it all and have experienced this in the past.

I highly recommend having your site hosted and supported locally. Not only can you physically visit the facility for a personal connection, but you can call knowing that someone local will be on the other side of the phone for any kind of issues you are having. Not only would you have that local connection, but you can also have your local hosting team keep an eye on your website to ensure everything is in order on a weekly basis.

Hosting In A Nutshell

A website host refers to the “house” in which your files, data, and other important information are stored in order to view your website and keep it secured. Just like setting up optimal security on your home to keep the bad guys away, hosting setup is no different. It’s good to have a technically savvy pair of eyes maintaining your site and hosting configurations, and it’s even better when that pair of eyes is local. Partner up with the “nerds” at your local web hosting company. We promise we don’t bite, unless it’s a malicious intruder!

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What’s the Word on Your Business?? https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/word-mouth-marketing https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/word-mouth-marketing#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 14:00:14 +0000 https://www.futuredesigngroup.com/blog/?p=155636 What’s the word on your business? How do you and your business stand up to the competition according to your greatest critics? What do your customers say about your products or services? Good things, right? Hopefully. WOMM Everyday, consumers make purchases, how and why they choose your brand over a competitor may have more to […]

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What’s the word on your business? How do you and your business stand up to the competition according to your greatest critics? What do your customers say about your products or services? Good things, right? Hopefully.

WOMM

Everyday, consumers make purchases, how and why they choose your brand over a competitor may have more to do with what they heard from family and friends than the advertisement that came on last night. There are many articles that show statistics on the benefits of organic marketing, also called Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM). Below you can click to review some of these statistics, but first, today’s blog will discuss what WOMM is, why it is important to any sized business, and how utilize it in the digital world.

Word of Mouth What?

WOMM, as stated is just that, Word of Mouth Marketing. Businesses using happy, satisfied customers to promote their business. This is not paid advertisements; this is an organic and natural response. A customer who cannot help but talk about the great experience they had. Delivering everything that you would want if you were your own customer and maybe even beyond.

Importance of WOMM

WOMM has an impact; it can influence buyers and their decision-making. Working to build a great brand that provides awesome products and services. Giving customers a reason to share their experiences, a product that delivers more than expected, or service that goes farther than the usual. A great WOMM strategy can build brand exposure, increase referrals, and directly impact future sales.

Digital WOMM

Conversations happen even more frequently today with the increase in communication with smartphones, social media, and sites like Yelp! and Angie’s List. As a business, taking advantage of WOMM not only means providing an excellent experience but also by engaging in these conversations.

Other ways to engage and create great WOMM:

  • Ask customers to review your business on website, social media, other Internet channels.
  • Rewarding customers with discounts, specialized gear, events, or other creative incentives for referrals.
  • Encourage conversations by asking customers questions about their experiences with products, their story, getting to know them.
  • Host contests, organize events, and create loyalty programs.

Conclusion Words

A great WOMM strategy puts customers first by delivering amazing products/services, hiring employees that share the brand’s mission, and offering an unique experience that goes beyond the expected. WOMM is important for successful business, it encourages customer engagement, starts conversations between businesses and customers, and can increase the chances that your customers will talk about and recommend your products or services to their family and friends. Provide your customers with an experience that is worth talking about!

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