5 Website Design Trends for 2018

If you look at websites from the early 2000’s or even the early 2010’s, you will notice significant differences. As the way we consume content changes, we see new trends and design features rise to prominence online.

Websites that were once filled with flash animations, gifs, thick borders, and more are now streamlined to look more professional and polished. With that said, here are five of the biggest website design trends for 2018:

1. Making the Most of Negative Space

Minimalism is in this year, and it shows on our web pages. Using negative, or white space on your website is a great way to keep things looking crisp, clean, and professional. Sparse-looking websites also have a technical advantage since they are often faster loading. This makes a significant difference when content is viewed on a mobile platform.

2. Everyone is Getting Into Typography

Have you ever looked at a website outfitted with Comic Sans font or, even worse, Papyrus? These fonts look cheesy and outdated and will immediately ruin your credibility with a potential client. Unique, colorful, expressive typography is a must for any modern website.

In addition to looking flashy and professional, expressive typography is also a great way to optimize your website for speed since it doesn’t impact the website performance the way an image would, for example.

3. Animations & Cinemagraphs are the New Gifs

You knew Gifs were getting out of hand when iPhone started offering Gif reactions with iMessage. Today, one of the better routes to take is with a simple animation or cinemagraph on your website. These images are a mix between a video and still image, and they create a magical result.

However, web developers should beware and only use cinemagraphs when it makes sense. Don’t simply use them for the sake of it or your website might end up looking like some of the awful examples from the early years of the Internet.

4. Making Facebook the Place to Be

Many experts say your business Facebook page should be like a destination. It should be a place where you share interesting articles, pertinent to your business as well as giving customers up-to-the-minute updates about products and services.

In 2018, new customers will come to Facebook as a way to discover your business. Consumers will also look to Facebook for things like reviews, live-chats, question and answer videos, shareable content, and more.

5. Security, Security, Security

In 2017, hacking was a major news story for much of the year. Going into 2018, we still have it in the back of our minds. Secure websites are going to be necessary for everyone in the future because consumers are becoming wary of using sites that do not have security features.

With the rapid expansion of malware and ransomware, customers will not only expect a secure site, but your site’s security may also be a deciding factor in whether or not they support your business.

Is your website ready for what the future holds? Make sure you are up-to-par with the top website design trends in 2018. Book your free website audit with our experienced local experts.


Does Your Website Make You The Hero? Or Your Customer?

 

In a world full of misinformation, speaking clearly and concisely is more important than ever. Have you ever read a news story and then had to re-read it multiple times just to figure out the gist? It’s annoying, right? For consumers, it’s even more pertinent to get the message across because one moment of hesitation could cost you a potential sale.

The key to overcoming this is by writing copy for your website that is succinct, clear, and obvious. Marketing companies today need to speak to the masses and identify the messaging that will be most effective in your unique industry.

Stay Away From What the Customer Won’t Care About

Customers are not always looking for solutions to their external problems. Instead, they are looking to find ways to solve internal struggles or difficulties. What does this mean?

Take, for instance, a mattress company; although some of the practical reasons for buying a new mattress include replacing an old and worn out bed, you never hear this on mattress commercials. Instead, they reference giving you a better night’s sleep. Addressing a problem that many people have and offering a solution to their internal problem is a great way to communicate with customers and really help them “feel” what your product or service can do for them.

You Are Not The Hero in The Story

If you think of a shopping experience like a movie or novel, you can rest assured that you are not the hero in the story. The story would go something like this: “The brave and intrepid store waited until the customer arrived and purchased their items. The end.” No one wants to read that story.

Instead, switch it up and start thinking of the customer as the hero in the story. Your business is simply a guide on their journey to solve their inner problems. You are the Yoda to their Luke, the Mr. Miyagi to their Karate Kid. Once you understand this, it becomes easier to empathize with the customer and create meaningful content that will speak to them.

Avoid Information Overload

This tip is especially crucial for industries that include a lot of “insider” details. Imagine going to a plumbing website, trying to hire a plumber to solve your issue and get bombarded with technical details you can barely comprehend. It’s a huge turnoff for many people.

Marketing experts at StoryBrand call this “the curse of knowledge.” Not only will it alienate customers, but it may also make your message seem convoluted and difficult to understand. When it comes to making sure your message is heard loud and clear, the best trick is to say exactly what you mean simply.

Looking for help to fine-tune your brand’s messaging or do you need to completely revamp your content to get the point across? No matter where you’re starting from, we can help. Request a free audit of your current website to see how you can make the most of it.


digital marketing business coaching

What You Don’t Know About DIY Website Platforms

digital marketing business coachingFor many small businesses looking to branch out into the online realm, a DIY website platform seems like a great idea. Cost-effective, simplified, and trustworthy, platforms like Squarespace, Wix, Duda, Weebly, and more are gaining popularity with business owners who like to DIY.

Even Wordpress, one of the most-trusted open-source programs out there has options for the intrepid entrepreneur looking to DIY their own website. But should you really do it yourself? Here are a few things you may not know about these popular DIY website platforms:

They May Not Always Perform Well

Websites these days need to perform well in order to be successful. This means making sure the back-end of the system is optimized and running efficiently. With DIY website templates, these unique tweaks and changes are not always possible, which often results in an inefficient website.

For example, did you know that the time it takes a page to load has a massive impact on how it ranks on Google and also how it performs with consumers? Most consumers won’t wait longer than 3 seconds for a website to load. So if your DIY website has issues with this, you could miss out on significant opportunities. The bigger problem with template websites is that it’s actually harder to know if you have this problem, to begin with.

They’re Not Unique

Do you want your website visitors to get an overwhelming feeling of déjà vu when they enter your site? Maybe it’s the color scheme, the layout, the buttons, something about your web page reminds them of something else they have seen. That’s what you can expect with a DIY website template. These templates are not unique, and, therefore, can be used numerous times all throughout the Internet.

Do They Account For Different Browser Rendering?

Did you know that the way your web page appears on a Safari browser could be significantly different than the way it appears on browsers like Chrome or Firefox? A good website must take into account different browser rendering. Unfortunately, many DIY options do not account for this and simply default to the most popular browser settings only.

You May Not Be as Objective As You Think

Are you a graphic designer with an eye for color, spacing, and style? In addition to these skills are you also a talented coder with experience in various coding languages, compliance standards, and other web tools?

Chances are you aren’t. However, you may feel that you are proficient enough at these tasks to “get the job done.” Before deciding on making your own website, you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and decide if you really have the skills needed.

They Might Not Actually Save You Money

For many people, the main reason to DIY a website is to save money. We get it; websites are expensive. But does building your own site automatically save you money and improve your bottom line? Probably not. Building your own website might save you the initial cost of hiring a web developer, but what about when something goes wrong? Are you able to troubleshoot the problem?

Using a template could also cost you business since your site will look like thousands of other sites out there and may not be optimized properly, you could miss out on leads and sales due to the lack of attention-to-detail.

A good website today requires excellent support and web developers who know what they are doing. To learn more about our local business, schedule a free audit of your current website today.


lead-generating-website

How to Use Your Website to Generate Leads

lead-generating-websiteIf you spend any time at all perusing marketing blogs, you are going to hear a lot about leads. What are they? How do you get them? Why do you want them? Lead generation essentially means engaging customers in order to get them to inquire about your product or service.

There are many ways to generate leads for your business. One of the most effective methods is using your website. Here are a few ways you can generate leads using your website:

Create a Lead Magnet

If leads are good, then a Lead Magnet must be really good, right? By definition, a Lead Magnet is an irresistible offering that consumers will want and will do almost anything, like submit their contact information, to get. A Lead Magnet gives businesses the perfect opportunity to collect information from prospective clients in order to reach out to them later.

Some examples of excellent Lead Magnets include:

  • PDF’s containing pertinent information.
  • Access to a free webinar or workshop.
  • Offering free consultations if you sign up for other services.
  • Or, it could be a simple blog post with great information :)

Promote The Heck Out of It

Once you have your Lead Magnet, it’s time to start promoting it. Ideally, you want your Lead Magnet to show up on as many different channels as possible to get the biggest audience and capture the most leads. Some of the best ways to market your Lead Magnet is through SEO, social media (posting about it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and email marketing.

If you find you are not getting the expected level of engagement, you may need to change tactics, so make sure your marketing materials are flexible.

Clean Up the Landing Page

No one wants to follow a link to a website landing page only to find every bell, whistle, and add-on available on the Internet. These types of pages with gratuitous animations, thick borders, and clashing colors make your landing page stand out for all the wrong reasons.

The best type of landing page is one that is simple, easy to navigate, and pleasing to the eye. By keeping it simple, you will attract more leads in the long run.

Try Video

Although your landing page should be clean and professional, that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and engaging. Ideally, you should have at least some information on the landing page. For some businesses, a video is the best way to explain their products or services.

But be wary of making a video that is too long, has too much information, or is too dry. These types of videos can drive away leads. On the other side of the spectrum, a silly video that has no relevance to your business is also a bad move. You must find the perfect balance between entertaining and informative.

Make Sure Retargeting is in Place

Have you ever browsed your favorite online store, not made a purchase, and then noticed ads for your favorite items displayed on Facebook or other parts of your online browsing experience? This is retargeting.

Retargeting is a small slice of code that goes on to your website. It’s so tiny that it doesn’t have an impact on the design or performance of your site. However, what it does do is make sure that people who visit your site are likely to see online ads targeted at them after visiting your page.

This is an interesting tactic because it makes sure that your service or product is always at the forefront of their minds and it will make them more likely to sign up for your product or purchase something from your store.

Resources:

Mailerlite - Offers a free solution for collecting emails via pop-ups and landing pages.
ClickFunnels - This runs about $97 a month, but is a powerful lead generating solution!

Learn more about using your website to generate leads by getting your free website audit from our local online marketing gurus.

 


facebook marketing mistake number one

Top 3 Mistakes Most Businesses Make Advertising on Facebook

As one powerful component of your overall digital marketing strategy, Facebook advertising can deliver a knockout punch that brings your message directly into your target market’s virtual living room. As recently as the 2nd quarter of this year, it was estimated that Facebook had over 2 billion monthly users.

As a marketer, it’s understandable that you’d be salivating when you see those numbers. But I’m here to tell you that no matter how many fish are in the pond, if you are using the wrong bait, your results are going to stink. If you want to be successful with your Facebook advertising, it’s crucial to avoid the mistakes that have sunk countless campaigns before you. Here are 3 of the most common ones:

facebook marketing mistake number one

1. Asking for the Sale Right Away

For some reason, many marketers seem to think that since it’s in a virtual space, the golden rules of selling no longer apply. That you can just dive right in and ask for the sale without letting your Facebook audience get to know you first. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t do it in real life, don’t do it on Facebook. You wouldn’t even think of walking up to a random person on the street and asking for the sale without going through the process first, so don’t do it on Facebook either! You need to prove yourself as an authority in your industry first, and then your prospects will trust you.

facebook-marketing-mistake-number-two

2. Ego-Driven Content

Allowing your ego into the copy of Facebook ads and messages is a surefire way to lose potential customers. Although it may seem harsh, no one cares about what you are selling, how wonderful your company is, or how many accolades you have accumulated over the years. Traditional marketing platforms like television, radio, billboard marketing or postcard marketing may have that “sell, sell, sell” mentality, but you can’t do that with Facebook advertising.

Consider the benefits your product or service offers your target audience and then back them up with features that illustrate your experience, etc. It’s natural to think that working with you is a benefit to your potential customers, and it may very well be, but they want to know what’s in it for them, not how great you are. “We have 30 years’ experience” is great, but “You’ll complete double the work in half the time” is the kind of info that will attract attention and appeal to your readers.

facebook-marketing-mistake-number-three

3. Not Taking the Time to Nurture Relationships

Taking the time to create and nurture relationships with your prospective customers can rectify both of the two previous mistakes. Even with paid Facebook ads, you need to build a relationship with the people you want as your future customers, and then nurture that relationship over time. Facebook is the ideal platform for relationship building, and people are perfectly comfortable handing over their money to you if you make them feel special throughout the process. No one likes the idea of being sold to, but most people have no issue buying from someone they trust, which is what relationship building is all about.

If you’d like to learn more about the ins and outs of a successful Facebook advertising campaign, give me a call today at Coastline Marketing Group, Inc. and we can get the process started.

Phil Fisk
President
Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.
831-759-2273


advanced-seo-report

Why Reputation Management is an Important Part of Your SEO Efforts

advanced-seo-reportSo you've hired a web developer and your website is perfectly outfitted with the most effective SEO for today. You have all the right keywords in all the right places. Your load times are fast. Your website is optimized for desktop and mobile. With all these things in place, your Google rankings should be great.

However, there is one thing that Google doesn’t know for sure, and that’s whether or not your company is inherently good. With that said, it’s still an important factor in your rankings. So how does Google figure it out? It listens.

Going Above and Beyond All the Time

People rarely give rave reviews for mediocre service; which is why you should always strive to go above and beyond for your customers. Although this is something that should always get taken seriously, in today’s digital age, it’s even more important.

People today can research your company with the click of a button and dismiss your business because of a negative review just as quickly. If you are constantly churning out success stories of excellent customer service, you can expect clients to take notice and head to their computers to offer a five-star review online.

But Don’t Ignore the Negative

Most consumers will understand when a company has 20 positive reviews and one negative comment. In most cases, it’s a case of a disgruntled customer that perhaps had a bad day worsened by something minor that set them off. However, ignoring negative comments on Facebook, Google, Yelp, or other review sites also doesn’t look good on the business.

When customers read reviews, they want to see helpful and positive replies to negative comments since it proves that the company is active online and willing to make things right should something go wrong.

Think of It as a Marketing Tactic

You can spend thousands of dollars on the biggest billboard in town and not get as much good press as a single positive Google review. Today’s consumer is increasingly wary of marketing ploys and “too-good-to-be-true” products. This is why your online reputation has to be something you consistently work on. In addition to keeping customers satisfied and connected, positive reviews will also boost your SEO rankings, improving your bottom line. Since Google likes positive reviews, it will rank your company higher than companies with poor reviews. This will give you a significant edge over the competition.

Not sure how to get started on improving your online reputation? Reach out to our local website experts for a free audit of your current website. We’ll point out all the areas you can improve upon to make sure your website and online reputation are in tip-top shape.