Author Archives: Stacey Mathis

6 Ways to Improve Customer Experience Through Your Website

6 Ways to Improve Customer Experience Through Your Website

Be a yardstick of quality.  Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. ~ Steve Jobs

If you are a marketer, business owner or other decision maker at your company, “improve customer experience” is something you should be looking to do as part of your overall growth strategy. That’s because customer experience affects customer satisfaction.  So does retention.  And both impact your return on investment.

In fact, a recent Walker Study indicates that customer experience is fast becoming the most important brand differentiator for companies doing business online. To put that into numbers, by the year 2020, 86 percent of buyers will be more willing to pay for a better customer experience over price competitiveness or product features.  With that said, there are a number of ways to continuously provide a great customer experience.

1. Personalization With a Purpose

According to research by Invesp, 59 percent of online shoppers agree that personalization allows them to find more products they are interested in. There is no excuse for your marketing to be generic. Nowadays, there are a number of ways to track customer preferences, behavior, and location.  This includes setting up customer relationship management software. If you personalize in a smart way, you not only appear considerate to shoppers, you can also receive valuable insight about them, which in turn allows you to deliver a tailor-made experience.

 Improve Customer Experience

Shoes in shop window display

Examples of good personalization include:

– Communicating in the customer’s native language
– Showing someone recently viewed items and suggestions based on those
– Tailoring interactions to suit someone’s location/time zone
– Sending personal greetings and birthday wishes

2. Provide Valuable Content to Improve Customer Experience

You’ve probably heard the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) in order to grow your online presence and attract more traffic. While this is true, creating content solely for SEO purposes will not get you the results you want over the long term. This is true even if you are ranking highly in search engines. Your website’s pages need to have a good flow of content from the homepage and “about” page to your product/service descriptions, contact page, and blog. Consider this: research shows that 86 percent of visitors to a company’s homepage want to view information about its products or services next.

Improve Customer Experience

Not only that, you also need to vary your content mix to include videos and images to increase engagement. You should also ensure appropriate links are placed on each page in a logical manner to lead customers where they want to go, as well as making sure that all information is up to date. Having a non-working link, useless telephone number, or bad email address anywhere on your website can easily frustrate a website visitor and cause them to never want to return.

Another good idea for content is to create an FAQ page, which answers the most relevant questions a customer might have. This will go a long way in providing self-support for those who try to find answers before looking up your contact page. By providing useful and informative content on your website, you will automatically add value to the customer experience.

3. Use Action-Packed Calls to Action (CTA)

Whether you want people to sign up for a newsletter or to buy a product, you need to tell them to do so in a concise but effective manner. The most compelling CTAs go straight to the point and use strong verbs and text to spur people into action. If you have vague CTAs like “submit” or “enter,” consider using more direct words such as “download your free e-book,” “learn more about [insert name of product, etc.],” and “reserve your spot now,” just to name a few choices.

Improve Customer Experience

4. Keep Landing Pages Up to Date

Landing pages make it easier for people to focus on what you want them to do, whether it is to download an e-book or to subscribe to your mailing list. Your landing pages should not only describe what is on offer but also stay up to date with your current offerings and specials so there is no confusion when the customer hits that CTA button.

5. Keep Sharing Valuable Content

In addition to keeping your website up to date with useful blog posts and content that helps improve the user experience, you also need to be sharing this content with your mailing list. Putting content on your website doesn’t mean that people will find and read it. However, once you have their email addresses, you can create newsletters and other content to share with them. While there is no guarantee as to how many people will actually open your emails, some will, and are likely to be drawn back to your website.

Ways to Improve Customer Experience Through Your Website

6. Interact with Customers Through Multiple Channels

People want to reach out to brands through the channels that are most convenient to them, whether it’s via social media, live chat, or telephone calls. Of course, email is a must; one study shows that 91 percent of Americans still check their emails daily. Customers want numerous channels but they also want to be able to connect with you at any time or place, whether on mobile or desktop devices. There is an emphasis on mobile since one comScore study found that mobile devices now account for almost two out of every three minutes spent online.

Ways to Improve Customer Experience Through Your Website

Speed and convenience are most important to the journey of a customer getting value from an interaction with you as well.  A McKinsey study found that 75 percent of online customers expect a response within five minutes.

While it may not be possible (or practical) to meet your customers across all channels, you want to make it easy for people to contact you. At the very least, have a contact page that explains clearly how to get in touch with you. If you have intentions of introducing another channel, you can let people know that as well with a note such as “coming soon” so that they have something to look forward to. Integrate with social media as much as possible because almost everyone in your target audience is using at least one platform.

Running a successful business online is much more than setting up a website and investing in professional web design. More and more, it is dependent on providing an exceptional experience for your customers.

Customer experience is the new advertising department. – Max Kalehoff

To learn more about how to improve customer experience through your website, contact Stacey Mathis Copywriting today.

 

15 Email Marketing Stats Web Designers Should Share with Their Clients [Infographic]

Email Marketing Stats for Web Designers

Listen web designers – If your clients don’t appreciate the enormous impact email marketing can have on their brand and bottom line, then it’s your responsibility to deliver that fun fact to them.  They’re not the tech experts.  You are.  They depend on you to enlighten them about web trends and whatnot.  Oh, and guess who they’re likely to tap to help them carry out this lucrative voyage into the unknown?  Uh, yeah, you. 

Update Your Web Design Customers TODAY About the Value of Email Marketing

How many clients do you have right now who don’t use email marketing to increase brand awareness? Do your customers even know that email is the most direct way to reach their own customers? Are they aware that email is the most powerful channel available to the modern marketer, and still has a larger reach than Facebook and Twitter? Radicati

Research continues to demonstrate the importance and monumental effectiveness of email marketing.  Maybe you want to let your clients in on a few other things, like: email continues to deliver strong ROI and value for marketers. And perhaps you want to tell them that the email audience is engaged and growing.

Email Marketing Drives Conversion

Every day your customers are bombarded with innovation, resources and marketing tactics. But . . . have you shared with them that, despite the dizzying number of marketing categories that exist out there, email marketing is the only one that has had staying power over time? When they ask why, you can simply tell them that for 10 consecutive years, email has generated the highest return on investment for companies. For every one dollar marketers spend, email marketing brings $44.25 in return on that one dollar investment!

Or you can just share the following infographic showing 15 mind-blowing statistics that highlight why email marketing is the best investment for growing their business:

Email Marketing Stats Web Designers Should Share with Their Clients

Share this Image On Your Site

The Web Designer’s Solution to Becoming a Market Leader in an Overcrowded Industry

7 Biggest Challenges Of Web Design [Infographic]

Challenges Of Web Design

So, I came across this infographic in my Internet research travels and thought my readers would find some value in checking it out. While this list could go on forever, the points listed are some of the biggest challenges facing design and development studios today.

7 Biggest Challenges Of Web Design

As to numbers 5 and 7, this is where copywriters and content writers can play a signficant role in eliminating the obstacles and enhancing the user experience and keep ’em coming back!
Courtesy of: Designmantic.com

Website Design Issues Every Designer Experiences (Infographic)

Web designing is a challenging task. It takes a lot of creativity, ingenuity and brainstorming sessions to produce a suitable web design. Only a web designer understands the challenges fellow web designers routinely experience. Web designs that are admired and valued by clients achieve that position only after constant development and critical thinking. Websites syncing with multiple apps, along with a site’s ability to be responsive are just a few factors that keep web designers up at night. The following infographic explores some of the most common challenges

Web designing is a challenging task. It takes a lot of creativity, ingenuity and brainstorming sessions to produce a suitable web design. Only a web designer understands the challenges fellow web designers routinely experience. Web designs that are admired and valued by clients achieve that position only after constant development and critical thinking. Websites syncing with multiple apps, along with a site’s ability to be responsive are just a few factors that keep web designers up at night. The following infographic explores some of the most common challenges faced by many web designers.

 

7 Biggest Challenges Of Web Design
Courtesy of: Designmantic.com

SPEAKING PRESENTATION DESIGN WITH DAN NEWMARK

Presentation Design

Stacey Mathis Talks to Dan Newmark of Newmark Digital Presentations

Determination. Focus. Commitment. These are the driving forces of the New York-based presentation designer Dan Newmark – an entrepreneur par excellence, with over two decades of experience fulfilling requests both nationally and internationally.

In an interview with Dan, he reveals some highlights and challenges that come with managing a business in this digital market space. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts, with a BFA in film and video, Dan aspired to become a video editor. However, by the end of those few years he spent getting his education, technology had surged ahead. Video editing had switched from linear to non-linear editing the year of his graduation. Finding a job that aligned with his field of study was a huge challenge. But Dan refused to be defeated. His thirst for success drove him to take graphic design classes thinking he would specialize in print design. Not long after this effort, Dan was, yet again, facing another hurdle – the industry went digital!

Fortunately, however, he later found work doing web banner ads and digital presentations, namely Apple Keynote and Microsoft PowerPoint, and eventually parlayed this experience into his own business. I asked Dan to tell me a little bit about running a presentation design company and about some of the challenges he faces as a business owner in this field, particularly working with customers. Here are his responses:

Stacey: What are some of the biggest day-to-day challenges you experience as a design business owner?

Dan: One example of a challenge is when a customer gives me a presentation cobbled together from many disparate sources. But thankfully I am able to bring order to chaos without too much difficulty, because I have a deep understanding about masters, re-applying master formats, and deleting rogue masters that can cause great confusion when I hand back a completed product to a client to make their custom eleventh-hour edits.

“I turn a lot of boring words and graphs and tables into fun, easy to digest, stories, told in animated, engaging imagery.”
                                                                                          Dan Newmark

Stacey: Are you able to synthesize concepts easily, or is it a process of reduction from a more complex composition?

Dan: When clients come to me with complex concepts that they hope to convey in a more visual way, I am able to help them through targeted image searching, repurposing such images in Photoshop and Illustrator where needed, and then applying complex animation techniques to get the message across. Paired with
a passionate presenter explaining such concepts in spoken word rather than text, coupled with such imagery behind, the audience is much more engaged and committed to learning and understanding.

Stacey: How would you describe your style to someone who hasn’t seen your work before?

Dan: The most effective presentations, the ones that excite, intrigue, and engage viewers, are those that are more visual than text-driven. This is the Steve Jobs model of storytelling, and one that I endeavor to match when creating my stories for the screen. Key concepts can be much more readily learned and digested by an audience with colorful imagery and animation; they don’t want to be read to. They quickly become disengaged when a ton of verbiage is presented to them on screen. I always recommend to my clients to pare down text as much as possible (perhaps placing some of the larger tracts of text in the presenter notes or in a leave behind print deck) and instead allow their passion for their subject to come alive when they present, supported by imagery and tasteful animation.

Regarding animation, presentation softwares like Keynote and PowerPoint are far more robust than clients often are aware. And, given my background in animated web banners, I have also developed the ability to add such assets to presentations and then apply native software animations to these animated assets, creating levels of animation that look more like motion graphics. All while still maintaining a text-customizable presentation that is easier for clients to edit at will, unlike Flash or After Effects.

Stacey: What do you do to keep up with the graphic trends?

Dan: The advantage of being self-employed and working for a wide variety of clients, rather than dedication to just one, is that I am able to observe and learn from many different creative minds from many different industries and disciplines. Having worked for virtually every industry from marketing and advertising to pharmaceutical and financial, I have had the opportunity to stretch presentation software to its limits and beyond. Into Keynote and PowerPoint presentations I have integrated multimedia assets, Photoshop animation, motion paths, and hyperlink interactivity for kiosks and virtual website presentation experiences.
Stacey: Who or what has influenced your work the most?
Dan: I would say that my initial forays into print/page layout and animated web banners informs my presentation design and animation aesthetic. In the early days of presentation, the flat, one-dimensional look, created by admins rather than by artists, was the norm. The bar has certainly been raised quite high since those days, and my desire to integrate my page layout and animated web banner design into presentations has served me very well in this regard.
Stacey: What have been your most significant and satisfying projects to date?
Dan: My favorite projects have been interactive hyperlink kiosk presentations; presentations converted to web video format, complete with all original animation and audio & video; and presentations featuring animated gif/Photoshop animation, which together with native software animation, emulate motion graphics effects.

Stacey: What service do you provide that clients should be asking for more often?

Dan: Among the numerous services I offer, one that I feel clients could greatly benefit from, but ask for not nearly often enough, is the conversion of presentations to web video format. A lot of clients believe that only static frames can be converted to video viewable on the web (youtube or a homepage of a website.). Keynote and PowerPoint both provide poor support in exporting to effective multimedia presentations to web-based video, complete with all original animation, audio and video. But I have developed a technique to effectively and completely capture such presentations as video for the web. Presentations delivered this way can be viewed at any time and on any system without worrying about being on a Mac or Windows platform, possessing the correct version of the software, the right fonts, or the system resources required to properly render graphics. I have created very effective videos of presentations for those few clients that have availed themselves of this service.

Stacey: What do you do to attract clients to your company?

Dan: I am very active on Linkedin, and I also encourage satisfied clients to offer referrals to colleagues.

Presentation Design

For more on Dan Newmark, visit his Linkedin page.


Stacey Mathis is a NY-based copywriting agency owner specializing in crafting customer-focused copy and content for businesses and nonprofit organizations. She has more than 10 years’ experience in this marketing space. Find her on Twitter.

Copywriters v. Writers: The Do-It-Yourself Marketing Mistake That’s Costing You Customers

Copywriters v. Writers
“Mirror the reader to himself and then show him afterward how your product fits his needs.”Raymond Rubicam

Beauty may have the ability to contort itself to accommodate the viewer, but value through the eyes of your customers can’t be so easily undermined. If you’re writing your own marketing copy, or relying on the writing skills of a staff member who isn’t an expert, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with customers.

For many small businesses, the “fake it ’til you make it” sentiment has become a rite of passage, a way to maintain their markings in a temperamental economic market. It seems harmless enough, but ask yourself: Would you put your health or the health of your family in the hands of a doctor who had medical knowledge, yet lacked formal training? The same principle applies to marketing your business.

copywriters v. writers

Psychology behind copywriting

To the common viewer, copy is just a series of words strung together on a page. However, this mindset adoption is what separates the average writer from a professional copywriter. The goal of copywriting is simple: tap then latch. In other words, tap into the reader’s emotions and get them to latch onto your brand by crafting your product’s narrative around their emotional reservoir.

Have you ever found yourself purchasing a certain car or outfit and imagining how others would perceive you? If so, you have your emotions to blame, which accounts for the majority of purchasing decisions and sharing of information. According to Jonah Berger, author of a study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, our social interactions are driven partly by emotional arousal.

Benefits of hiring a professional copywriter

In 2015, online sales were $335 billion and are expected to reach $523 billion in the next five years. Here are 3 ways a professional copywriter can turn your website into a 24/7 selling machine.

copywriters v. writers

1. Higher website rankings on search engines. Landing on the first page of Google search results is the primary objective of every small business, and rightfully so. More than ninety percent of Google traffic never makes it past the first page, according to a June 2013 study conducted by Chitika Insights, an online advertising network. As a business owner, your time should be monopolized by making money, not deciphering keywords and building backlinks.

copywriters v. writers

2. Write from the outside in. When you’re attached at the hip to your business, it’s easy to glaze over the big picture: connecting with customers. People don’t care about how great your product is if they can’t understand how it can benefit them. A professional copywriter can provide an outsider’s perspective on your product and create marketing messages best suited to reach your target audience.

copywriters v. writers

3. First-hand knowledge of what works. A professional copywriter knows what sells and what dulls interest. This alleviates wasted time and energy in developing your online content. A copywriter who is well-versed in appealing to various audiences can also advise the most effective marketing strategy for your product.

Hiring a copywriter to market your business is optional, but then again, so is business growth and success. Saving a few extra bucks in lieu of hiring an outside expert may seem like the best course of action, but at what cost to your business?

Let us know if you have any questions. Just drop a note in the comments section below. And while you’re at it, share your favorite copywriting tip or observation. We’d love to hear from you!

Game-Changing Tips for Black-Owned Businesses That Sell Natural Hair Care Products for African American Women

 

sell natural hair care productsThe natural hair care product brand can be said to have revolutionized the hair industry. The black hair care industry has undergone quite a transformation as more and more black consumers are embracing their natural self. Research indicates that black women feel more liberated and confident when they wear their hair in its natural state. This is because it gives them a tremendous sense of pride to be able to display their natural beauty. This incentive has everyone and their mother signing on to sell natural hair care products.

sell natural hair care products

Black women spend a lot of money on beauty when compared to other ethnicities. The natural hair trend increased the sales of styling products such as styling moisturizers, curl cream, pomades etc. In 2015, the sale of styling products was estimated to be a whopping $946 million. Of that amount, black hair care sales dominated 35 percent of the market[1]. Hair is an important part of the female black culture. As such, it is not alarming that so much money is spent on it. Studies show that black women spend nine times more than the general population on hair. When it comes to achieving the perfect look for their natural tresses, black women are willing to shell out top dollars.

sell natural hair care products

Navigating the Black Hair Care Market

With the growing popularity of the African American hair care industry, many new brands and products have saturated the market. As such, new businesses experience tremendous growing pains trying to break into the hair care market. Owning and operating a small, handmade manufacturing business is extremely challenging, and being an African American can present more challenges in this particular industry. Challenges such as getting your product into beauty supply stores that are dominated by Asian owners who often know nothing about black hair care. And then such issues are complicated by the fact that African-American hair has many different textures and require different treatments and hair care regimens. Additionally, due to the popularity and market domination of the African American natural hair industry, a lot of older and larger companies known for their Caucasian hair products have come out with a natural hair care product line. But it is very common to find that these products are not truly made for the African American hair texture and often contain ingredients that are damaging to the natural tresses of black women. However, because of brand loyalty and brand familiarity, it is extremely difficult to compete with big companies who have financial and distribution muscle.

How are small businesses able to stand out and get their natural hair care products noticed by African American women?

sell natural hair care products

Connect with Your Customers in Order to Sell Natural Hair Care Products

One of the key strengths black women entrepreneurs have in successfully competing with other hair care products is that they are able to speak directly, and often personally, about the effectiveness of the products they sell. Ask your satisfied customers to share testimonials and reviews about their experience with your hair care product. If you can video record it, do so. Perhaps you have your own testimonial you’d like to tell. Stories are powerful, including brand stories.

More Help with Reviews:

5 Secrets to Use Storytelling for Brand Marketing Success

Use Customer Reviews to Put Your Business “On the Map”

sell natural hair care products

Social Media is Queen

For those entering the natural hair care market, social media is a critical component in introducing products to consumers and driving sales. Find bloggers and YouTube vloggers to review your product. This puts your product in front of millions of viewers and gives you tremendous exposure. Women constantly share best hair care practices and product reviews.

You can also capitalize the natural hair care market by paying attention to social media traffic. That is, regularly check the networks to see what your target audience is discussing, their likes and/or dislikes, what problems they are experiencing with their hair and then be a reliable resource that provides them help with tips etc.

Learn the mechanics of how to maximize your social media accounts to increase the likelihood of viewers sharing your content.

More Help with Social Media:

5 Ways to Grow Your Business with Facebook

The Complete Guide to Building a Successful YouTube Channel

4 Tips to Improve Your YouTube Marketing

Pinterest Marketing: Your Complete Guide to Pinterest Success

Twitter Marketing: How Smart Marketers Are Succeeding

Copyblogger’s 11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs [Infographic]

Find a Niche

The best way to ensure that you are producing worthwhile content is to establish yourself in a niche, e.g., dreadlocks, bi-racial curls, braids, twists, washing, growing, maintenance. By way of another example, one of the recent areas of growth in the natural hair care market has been that of “transitioning” products. This involves targeting women who are growing their hair out of their chemically relaxed styles.

More Help with Niche Marketing:

Niche Marketing: 7 Ways to Get It Right
Niche Marketing Best Practices: Achieving Targeted Profitability

As long as African-American women are buying different products according to what works for them, the natural hair industry will continue to thrive in many different areas and marketing opportunities from African American merchants will abound.


 

black-owned businessesStacey Mathis Copywriting/Consulting’s writers (SMCC) craft customer-focused content and copy to engage your ideal customer. To book one of their writers for a project targeting the African-American market (B2B or B2C), call (800) 862-0361.

Web Designers Can Use Content Marketing to Drive Profits

 

use content marketing to drive profits

 

“Language is everything . . . The right words, in the right order, at the right time, can do wonders,” according to Kissmetrics in their article, “13 Critically Important Lessons from Over 50 Growth Hackers.” While it has been two decades since Bill Gates first touted the importance of content, online marketers have finally gotten the message and placed the value, along with $1.8 million dollars, where it belongs – content marketing. Businesses worldwide are beginning to appreciate its power and use content marketing to drive profits.

“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” – Mark Twain

According to a recent survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute in partnership with MarketingProfs, business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers will allocate 32% of their total marketing budget towards content marketing this year, up from 25% in 2015. A HubShout survey revealed that more than half of small to mid-size digital marketing agencies expect content marketing to be one of the three most highly requested services in 2016.

What does this mean for web design and development firms? For one, it could narrow the already shrinking playing field. With the development of user-friendly, content management systems and pre-designed templates, the need for ongoing website maintenance has diminished. By adding copywriting and content writing services to their offerings, web design and development firms can not only increase revenue, but also solidify current standings with clients who require turnkey marketing solutions.

Read below for some of the benefits of this win-win collaboration.

use content marketing to drive profits

Leverage a Fresh Perspective.

Designers are visual and think in terms in symmetry, lines and color palettes. Copywriters, on the other hand, are only concerned with one thing: using words to ultimately sell more products and services. Creating engaging content requires consistency and a surplus of creativity. Having a diverse assortment of copywriters ensures your clients’ social media and blog content never goes stale. Writers with specialized knowledge in industries such as financial services, technology, or healthcare help web design and development firms broaden their customer base and attract clients in various industries.use content marketing to drive profits

Increase Customer Retention.

For most web design and development firms, the “cheaper to keep them” argument can make or break their profitability.  A 5% increase in customer retention rate raises revenue by more than 25%, according to research performed by Fred Reichheld of Bain & Company.  Acquiring new customers can be costly, not to mention, time-consuming.  Unlike web design that can be tweaked at the client’s discretion, content is an ongoing need, which requires continuous client interaction.use content marketing to drive profits

Accelerate Growth with Faster Turnaround.

How many times have you designed a website only to find the project has stalled due to missing copy? Having writing services at your disposal alleviates the back- and-forth dance that often occurs between the copywriter and web design team. This, in turn, speeds up the process and allows more time to work on other projects.

Content marketing is here to stay and has the marketing dollars to prove it. While differences in creativity have seemingly pitted designers and copywriters against each other, both must coexist in unison to increase profits.  By offering copywriting and content services, web design and development companies stand to gain a hefty slice of the multi-million dollar content marketing pie.