Is your website ready for an update?

UpdateWebsite

As I go through the process of re-designing the Bauerhaus Design website, I got to thinking: what are the signs that you need a new website?

It’s been over 3 years since you created your website

Technology is moving so fast, that a website from 3 years ago isn’t going to have the same benefits as now. With the popularity of smart phones, websites are now are built so they are “responsive” which means the size of your website adjusts based on your browser size. That way phone, tablet and desktop users all see a website that is clean and organized.

You have changed your positioning or niche

As a business owner you are constantly trying out new things. What sells best? Which type of customer spends the most money? Because of this, what worked for you 3 years ago, may not be who you are targeting now. By re-designing your website specifically for your targeted niche, you can create specific calls to action and convert more visitors to clients. For more on the benefits on a niche, read 4 ways to get more customers.

You need to add a blog

A blog is your opportunity to add new content specifically targeting your niche. For example, do you know that many of your clients are also avid golfers? Write to that audience. In “A Website that Works” Mark O’Brien shared this tip – if you add a minimum of 2,000 words per month to your website, Google will automatically place you higher than your competitor that has a static website that never changes. While creating content does take a lot of work, O’Brien estimates that you can easily get 20% of your leads through your website. For more reasons on why you should add a blog, read How to be number 1 on Google. Also, read Why your business should use content marketing.

You want to make daily or weekly updates to your website

By using a Content Management System(CMS), like WordPress, you can easily update your website without having to hire a web designer each time you want to add a photo or change some text. This gives you more control than past websites and also lets you play around with the order of things. For example, do you get more email newsletter sign ups when the sign up button is first in the sidebar? Or when it is at the end of each blog post? With a CMS like WordPress, you can constantly tweak your website.

Why I’m ready for a new website

While my own website is created in WordPress and I actively blog, its been over 3 years since it was first created. Since then I’ve refined my niche and want to create a website with more specific calls to action. Just like print ads should always include a call to action, so should your website. No longer can you rely on  “if you build it, they will come mentality.” Instead you need to have set steps you want your customer to take to ultimately become a customer.

Do you have a sales funnel set up on your website? Do you know what plan of action you want potential customers to take on your website? If not, contact me at [email protected] for a free 30 minute phone call.

The Importance of Having a Referral Network

Bauerhaus Design believes in promoting a variety of experts, including guest blogger, Dr. Linda Hancock, speaker, author and psychologist.
In order to have a strong, active and growing business, you will need to have good referral sources and also be able to provide good referrals for your clients to receive any services that you do not offer. Building and nurturing relationships with others will result in a steady stream of new clients for your practice and satisfaction for those who are referred elsewhere.
There are many different types of referral sources that can be cultivated as follows:

1. Word of Mouth

For years, marketers have stressed the fact that the best form of advertising is through individuals who talk about your services in a positive manner. Former clients, their friends and relatives can personally attest to the satisfaction they gained by working with you. It doesn’t take long until a community forms an opinion about you and your private practice. I remember hearing the words of a lawyer a few years ago who stated “It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and only a few seconds to lose it”. Remember this and the fact that people frequently refer their acquaintances for assessment and/or treatment to the people who have helped them to solve a problem.

2. Other Professionals

At times you might set up joint ventures where the client benefits from having different types of services from people who are part of a team. In divorce, for example, a lawyer, psychologist and accountant may all work together for the benefit of the client. Other professionals may work in tandem with you and ask that the client see you before or while they are also working with them. For example, for years I have been completing psychological assessments for an infertility specialist who claims that he does not have ethical practice unless the couple has had this assessment done first. You may receive referrals from teachers who request that you treat students or from managers who are concerned about employees. No matter what type of business you have, it is important to be creative in setting up your networks and working relationships.

3. Referral Services

Some professions charge members a yearly fee which is used to promote you and your business. Often, the fee for this is less than one purchase by a new client. You might also choose to purchase an advertisement in the newsletter or magazine that is published by organizations where you hold memberships or offer to write a column on a specific topic for their publications.

4. Self Referrals

I frequently receive telephone calls or emails from individuals who have found my listing in the yellow pages or read one of my newspaper columns. Lately we have been asking each caller about who referred them to me and are surprised to find that almost a third state that they found me through an internet search. This is a huge marketing nugget. Make sure that you have good web presence!
Ensuring that you provide excellent services, maintain a respectable reputation, and work at developing good relationships with referral sources will help you to turn every day of your business into a wonderful adventure. You see, marketing is not a one-time project. It is a daily ongoing process.
Do you want to learn more about increasing your business profits fast? If so, download my brand new mini-book “Discover the Secrets to Increasing your profit by opening your business for success.”

How to create an online marketing strategy

In the article 10 ways to increase your web traffic, I talked about the importance of an online marketing strategy. For any business right now, it is essential that an Online Marketing plan is built into your regular marketing plan. So what is an online marketing strategy (also called Internet Marketing by some) and how do you create one? Follow these steps.

Target market

Who is your target market? One way easy way to do this, is pull the info from your business plan. Don’t have a business plan? Think of your clients and pick your top three. How old are they? What do they do for a living? What do they do in their free time? Or are you starting from scratch? Install Google Analytics to your website and start a Facebook page. Both can deliver statistics on who your visitors and fans are. Every message you send out think of your target person.

What is your goal?

Is it to increase traffic? Brand awareness? Have people sign-up for your email newsletter? Buy a product? Have people attend an event? If you don’t pick a goal, you can not measure its success.

Keep your branding consistent

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. Can your customers or clients tell your business by a glance at a brochure and at your website? Do they match? The core elements need to be there: logo, color scheme, fonts, images and tone of voice.

Who is going to manage it?

Before you start your facebook page or sign up for Google ads, make sure you have a dedicated person to monitor and make updates. If you, as the small business owner, are taking on this task, plan to dedicating at least an hour per day to get everything set up. Once you get the hang of writing blogs, tweeting, checking stats and sending messages you can spend as little as 5-15  minutes per day.

What is your plan going to cover?

Types of online media to consider for your small business:

  • User-friendly website
  • Blog
  • Facebook fan page
  • Twitter
  • Email newsletter
  • Online Ads

What is the budget?

Decide ahead of time how much you are going to invest in the above. Remember the marketing rule is it takes 7 times for a person to see something before they buy. Which way makes the most sense to reach your ideal customer? Some costs to consider:
Website: Is your site user-friendly? Is it easy for a potential customer to find what they are looking for? Are your customers exiting on your goal page, such as a shopping cart purchase or email newsletter sign-up? Do you have links with all of the different ways people can contact or follow you, such as email newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and blog RSS? If the answer isn’t yes to these questions, it may be time for a site re-design.
Blogs: To keep a consistent brand make sure your blog matches the look of the rest of your website. Need a custom design? I offer custom blog designs.
Facebook: Free to set up, but to stand out from the competition you can add a custom “Welcome” page or a special page for a specific promotion. For a “Welcome” page example, view my Bauerhaus Design Facebook fan page. To see a great example of a special promotion page that they changes monthly, look at the Gap’s Facebook fan page. You can set it up  so new visitors are automatically directed to your custom page.
Twitter: Free to set up. To keep branding consistent have a custom background with your look.
Emails: Don’t forget to research the cost of email marketing clients such as Constant Contact or MailChimp. This fee will depend on how many people you are mailing to & the frequency at which you send. Make your branding consistant with a custom email template that matches your website and print collateral. Make sure you only email people who have opted-in to your email list.
Ads: Are you going to invest in Google ads or Facebook ads? Or other sites? Set a daily budget on whichever you choose, so you don’t get any unwelcome surprise bills.

Frequency

How often are you going to post, blog or tweet? I recommend to my clients to start out slow with a message on each type of social media once a week, until they feel more comfortable doing more. Gradually increase it to 3 times a week than daily. For email marketing, again start slow with once a month. To keep track of when you are doing what, make a spreadsheet or add it to your calendar.

Content

Stumped for what to say? Research your competition. What do they write about on Facebook and Twitter? Is their tone of voice different in their emails? Once you have researched others, make a list of 3-5 topics you are an expert on. Now for each topic, list 5 questions that people ask you the most about. Talk about an upcoming event, a special promotion, or post a photo of a new product. And don’t forget to work in the keywords that I wrote about in 10 ways to increase your web traffic.

Need help with any of the above? Want a free estimate? Contact me at [email protected]

Bauerhaus Design business card design

While designing my Bauerhaus Design business cards, my most important goal was to be able to stand out from my competition at networking events. When you meet someone at an event, it is hard to communicate what level of design work you do within 1 to 2 minutes of talking. I really wanted to design a card that the person receiving would say “Wow, did you design this?” and in turn go back to the office to check out my website.

Bauerhaus Design Business Card

Front of diecut business card

Back of diecut business Card

Does your business card stand out from the competition?

Testimonial

I was first introduced to Becca at a business function and saved her business card. Months later when I wanted to build a new website for my business I thought of her first because I wanted to work with someone that I could develop a relationship that would get to know me and what I was looking for in marketing for my company. I liked the fact that I could sit down with her face-to-face and she would listen to my needs and concerns about my website development. Each company is different and I wanted to make sure that my needs were listened to. I was very impressed with her ideas and help. Once my website was developed I also appreciated the fact that she took the time to teach me how to work on particular needs I had in my website and social media marketing. As time has gone on I have also been pleased with how I can reach her easily by email to update minor things for me, or do major enhancements. Each one is billed appropriately and it has been very economical for me as a small business. I love the fact that Word Press is a platform that I can easily update myself or reach out to Becca for help and ideas on how to do something. I’m so excited about the many possibilities that Word Press holds for my business in the future as I grow and my website grows as well.
– Debi Mitchel, Owner of Wish Upon a Star with Us

Our family would like to convey our deepest appreciation for the exceptional work you did designing our logo and wine labels. After a brief discussion on what we hoped to convey with the logo and labels, you captured that vision and translated into a powerful graphic that will be used by our family winery for years to come. I’ve worked with many graphic designers, but none rival your ability to capture what’s desired and deliver it on time and under cost. We wish you continued success and look forward to our future collaborative efforts together. Simply put, you are the best!
– Bob Eachus, owner Thousand Oaks Winery

It was always a pleasure working with Rebecca. She is a very talented and efficient designer. Every project she worked on for my companies was executed with great creative and technical skill. One of the best compliments I have ever heard about a designer came from our printing company about Rebecca. According to the printing company, her files were always prepped with perfection, and from my companies’ perspectives, her designs were always fully developed with the clients’ unique needs in mind, and of course, they were beautiful too.

Mallarie Zimmer Founder and former Executive Director, Venus Envy

Former Communications Manager, Craft Alliance

Executive Director of Sprung and Rung

“I have been both a colleague and a client of Rebecca. Becca produces excellent work in a timely and effecient manner, while ensuring that the strategic direction is understood and delivered upon. She asks questions to truly understand the needs of the client and then develops creative visual solutions. She has developed design solutions for both print and digitial projects and understands the requirements of the media vehicles being used. I continue to use Becca for design work and highly recommend her to others.”
– Mark Witzling

Becca is extremely creative and dependable. When Becca says a project will be done…it is done and within budget. I would highly recommend Becca for any graphic/visual project. She has a great, natural talent.
– Terri McEachern, Executive Director of the Museum of Transportation and Author of Mable’s Magic Spell

It is a difficult task to take an idea birthed in the mind’s eye of another and create a pleasing design…but Rebecca did just that for me. I hired her to design a cycling jersey and was incredibly impressed with both her service and the final result. Througout the process, Rebecca’s attention to detail, expertise, personable manner and timely responses produced a result which exceeded my expectations! I will most definitely use her design services in the future.
– Bianca Schmidt

I have known Rebecca professionally for the past nine or ten years. During that time, she has handled all of the graphic design needs of my small jewelry design company, from logo creation to print ads to catalog updates. She has also served as my web advisor, designing my web site, as well as pushing me to embrace the internet as a business tool. Rebecca has a wide breadth of knowledge of graphic design. As a working designer, she is aware of the latest technologies, both in terms of tools of the trade, and actual production techniques. Her design ideas are vast; she seems as able to design a slick presentation as a very rustic one, all depending on the needs of my audience. Rebecca has great communication skills. I rely upon her to lead me into unknown design territory, and she is always able to make me understand the why’s and how’s of each project. I feel more aware of the capabilities of graphic design to support my business because of my association with her.
– Randi Chervitz, Uncommon Threads Jewelry and Brando Boutique

“After a long process of researching websites based on initial impact, ease of use, e-commerce integration and the ability for user updates, we decided to use Rebecca Ritz of Bauerhaus Design for our website remodel. She had created a number of sites that seemed to tick all our requirements, so we contacted Rebecca to get the project underway. Once the design process started, it seemed to flow very well with Rebecca being able to translate our ideas into an online presence that we are very happy with. We had very specific ideas as to the flow and impact of each page and Rebecca did a great job in translating that into template that we can now manage on a daily basis. The ability to manage our site has been outstanding and we are very happy with Rebecca’s process of consultation and implementation. I would highly recommend Rebecca Ritz of Bauerhaus Design for any website based development that you have or envision.
– Whare Heke of Moana Nui Designs

“We contracted with Rebecca to design our new company logo. I was so impressed at how she was able to capture the essence of our business in an elegant yet simple visual depiction. She listened carefully to our needs, quickly and expertly created a range of options, and responded quickly and expertly to our comments and questions. I highly recommend her!”
– Phil Gordon, KIPS

We really appreciate your flexible and responsive working style and will gladly recommend your work to others.
– Marilee Comfort, KIPS