Author: Squiggly Marketing

3 Tips to Make Your Website Actually Useful

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Gone are the days of a “form over function” internet. Where once the simple novelty of seeing a business online, in any fashion, was often enough. Now, today’s more savvy audiences simply want to get where they are going. So with the priorities of today’s business websites being speed and ease of use, here are 3 tips that can make sure you are providing your customers the information they require in the best way possible to help you make conversions either on your site or in person.


1. Where is the business?

Contact information is the most important information you can have on the internet. Seems simple enough, yet many well-intentioned websites make this information difficult to find. Studies show that people will tend to look at the top left corner of your website first, like they’re reading a book. This is where the most important information should be, your contact info—don’t make customers scour the page looking for a way to find your business.

There is lots of data you can include in the contact information section. The trick is finding the balance of information overload vs. unnecessary vagueness. There are three things you need to specifically include:

Hours of operation

People seeking this information are likely close to buying, so having your hours of operation listed accurately and in a fashion that’s easy to read is a huge priority. Here are two examples, one bad and one good, to showcase how your hours should be listed online

Don’t do it like this
We are open Mondays – 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Tuesdays – 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Wednesdays – 8:00 am-7:00 pm, Thursdays – 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Fridays – 8:00 am-7:00 pm, Saturdays 12:00 pm-5:00 pm and the service shop is also open until 7:00 pm.

Looks hard to read, right? It doesn’t look nice, it’s hard to look at specific days, and you don’t know if the service shop is just open on Saturdays, or if it’s always open until 7:00 pm every evening.

A better example
Sales:
Mon 8 – 5
Tues 8 – 5
Wed 8 – 7
Thurs 8 – 5
Fri 8 – 7
Sat 12 – 5
Sun Closed

Service: 
Mon-Sat: 12 – 7

Looks a lot nicer, right? It’s a lot easier to read and find the information you need. The most important part is to make sure the hours are accurate. Even if it takes an extra line to better explain a confusing set of hours, customers greatly appreciate knowing when they can expect your business to be open.

Address

Unless you’re an online retailer, your address is an essential part of your contact listing. But just like hours of operation there is are a variety of ways to share your location. Here is how we recommend it. Provide enough information so that Google maps can locate the business. For people in major cities, often times just your street address is sufficient. But if your business is a little tricky to find consider linking to a map application, or have the map right on the website. If you’re going that direction, make sure to use an accredited map engine like Google Maps, instead of a hand-drawn creation. People tend to be a lot more familiar with popular map formats and might get confused/scared at the sight of your beautiful artwork.

Phone number

This is the number where customers can most easily reach you. Businesses with multiple departments equipped with individual phone lines, might want to stick those on a “Contact Us” page. There’s no sense in cluttering your home page with 30 different phone numbers. Businesses should have one phone number on the homepage display to be a catch-all for any inquiries. Don’t forget an area code for those out-of-town customers. Make it easy for on-the-go customers to hit a button and have their mobile device ring the business instantly.

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2. Who is the business?

You likely have a lot to say about your business so the real challenge here is the distillation of your story. Here, think of the company from the customer’s’ perspective; what makes you unique? Why are you better than their competitors? What do you do for customers? These question will likely shed light on the most important information to share, at least at the top of the page.

Once you’ve got your top level information cased, consider designing a way for interested customers to learn even more about the business. There you can dive deeper into your history, philosophy, and share any achievements or media coverage your business has had in its past.


3. What does the business do?

This is where functionality needs to be the highest priority. Customers are looking for confirmation that your business is what they are looking for in the moment they are searching. You can’t afford to have this information be anything but concise, easy to find, and extremely helpful. It’s challenging to know the exact right strategy for your business but a tactic we recommend is taking a look at your closest competitors for insight.

Look at those website and assume the perspective of their customer. If you like something about the way their website works, make a note. If you find something super inconvenient or confusing, again, make a note. Have these notes inform your approach.


Conclusion

A lot of people think a website should be an online version of your business. In reality, this is virtually impossible. A website is more like a messenger for your business. It’s a tool for relaying information about the business to potential customers. If your messenger is long-winded, confusing and tries to use flashy bright colours to grab attention, the customer is not going to be engaged. If your messenger relays all the information in a simple, concise and memorable way, customers will be much more likely to engage. It is quite likely a website is the first impression the customer might have of your business—remember, you only get once chance to make a first impression!

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Let’s Start Something new
Say Hello!

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Let’s get your project started. Fill out the form below and we’ll get the ball rolling. Talk to you soon!

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Trucker Style Hat For Elliot Aiken Construction

A Great Looking Trucker Style Hat Can Create Better Brand Recognition

We’re excited to show off our latest project for Elliot Aiken Construction. Elliot asked us to give them a sweet looking hat that wouldn’t show any sweat stains after a hard day’s work. We delivered! These Richardson caps really are the best trucker style hat we’ve come across. With the charcoal front with heather gray mesh in the back, this hat not only shows off the coolness factor, but is a great product for showing off their brand.

trucker style hat elliot aiken construction

Hats are a great way to give your employees a consistent look that represents your business while they are out on the job. They also are great for giving to your suppliers or most valued customers to spread your brand awareness. Keep this in mind when ordering project quantities. The more your brand is out there, the more people recognize your business presence.

Are you looking for apparel solutions to show off your brand?  Contact us today for your next apparel project.

Apple breaks some Important Marketing Rules

There are many ways to create a buzz and promote goods in a creative way, and Apple has mastered how to generate expectation around their products at the point that everybody talks about them, small rumors evolves in complete rendered concepts of that “most-wanted” device, and the list goes on and on.

In the other hand, there are bad practices or decisions that bring the wrong kind of response that you are looking for. And Tim Cook just did one of those, he broke with the systematic and skillful pattern that Steve Jobs created through his long life as a successful CEO, by writing a letter with a formal apology for the Apple Maps application that rose so many critics for it’s errors on 3D views, deleted streets, streets with wrong names, and countless wrong directions that almost is a useless App.

Think before an apology

We support the idea of saying “I’m sorry, we screwed it up…” it’s totally ok to make mistakes even for the big companies. What we are pointing out here is that the company seems like they didn’t think this through and it’s one-man’s decision to put his career and trust in jeopardy. The letter is addressed from a personal stand point and there is an important flaw within it; Tim Cook states that millions are using the Maps app and “the more our customers use our Maps the better it will get”. So, seems like they released a version that needed real-time feedback from users, it’s not a game application to kill some time or a photo app that let’s you add vintage filters to your photos.We are talking about a tool that is meant to guide you through real-life places and potentially there are 100 million devices being mislead by this little mistake.

Oh! That is what a Beta product is all about

There will be hundred of posts about this letter, but we want to highlight that this statement reveals why Apple is taking a dangerous road and their products are raising more concerns than ever. When looking at all the secrecy behind the iPhone 5, was it worth to keep Maps in the same level? Why Apple didn’t release a Beta Maps 6 months before the iPhone 5 to improve it’s data through all the community using it and providing real-time feedback that effectively would have bring the responses that now they are looking for? It’s too late to say “I’m sorry, but hey as more you use it, it’s going to get better”.

The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.

Don’t Use it, but Use our Competitors’ Tools

If all of the above wasn’t enough, Tim Cook decided to give another hint of what Apple is doing: promoting the competition.

While we are improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

That’s one of the most important rules on marketing that nobody should break, even if your product is terrible. But Apple’s new CEO is working hard to make all their customers to try other products from the competition.

$30 Billion reasons why not to Set high expectations

Did Tim Cook know about all the flaws of Maps? Why he released it with the new iPhone 5 if it wasn’t ready? If he didn’t know about all the problems and he decided to add it with the new iOS 6, this shows that he might didn’t care about the high quality of it’s products as it’s predecessor Steve Jobs did. Or he knew it wasn’t ready but he still included it on this package. If the latter is the case, he really mislead us with all the higher expectations that were generated by Apple.

This little app caused Apple to lose $30 Billions in Stock Market, according to The Guardian.

We believe that after this letter was released, every single CEO in the world is taking notes as an example of what to don’t do in the near future.

Does this flaw from Maps gives you second thoughts to trust on Apple’s products? Feel free to post your comments below.

The SEO is Dead

SEO has been around since the web was conceived as we know it in 1995.
The history of SEO
In February of 2011, Google released the first of a series of major changes in their algorithm, called Panda, and it’s main focus was to clean the database of farm linking
websites and sites with duplicate content erasing them from Google’s index list. This change was applied first on the US and later worldwide. Many sites with top positions were affected Panda, mainly because their content was poor, they were linking farm sites or many of their internal pages had duplicate content.

Adobe® Edge – Animation with HTML5

Adobe® presented today a new software: Adobe® Edge. The big discussion of ‘Apple’s products not allowing flash content’ might have an end with a new generation of Design tools using HTML5 as the main framework.

Adobe® Edge promise to bring animations for graphics and text to devices that before were denied on the web browsers, like iPhone and iPad. This is a great move from the guys of Adobe. We are pretty sure that it might subject of the same critics of it’s partner software: Flash,  after the amateurs designers filled the Web with cheesy and annoying animations, useless Flash intros and others practices that we want to put it on our past for ever.

Hopefully the new developers will embrace this tool as a helper for special parts of a website, and not as the main focus of it.

Motion and Interaction Design for HTML5

Adobe® Edge is a new web motion and interaction design tool that allows designers to bring animated content to websites, using web standards like HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3.

Edge will be updated regularly to add new functionality, stay ahead of evolving web standards, and incorporate user feedback to provide the best functionality and experience possible. This is an early look at Edge with more capabilities to come.

You can download the free version of Adobe Edge here -> http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/edge/

Facebook & Skype

Facebook and Skype have teamed up. Get started using it here.

Before you can call your friends, you need to complete a quick, one-time setup:

  1. You will be asked to complete the setup the first time you try to call a friend, or the first time a friend tries to call you. To call a friend, click the video icon at the top of your chat window.
  2. Simply click the “Set Up” button and follow the instructions for how to set up video calling on your browser.
  3. Once you’ve successfully completed the setup, the call you’ve started with your friend should connect automatically. If it doesn’t, you can call again by clicking the video icon at the top of your chat window.