Posted by Winning Web Design on July 18, 2010 | No Comments
One of the best ways to promote small business and expand your reach is by networking with fellow entrepreneurs. Keep reading to find out the secret to successful networking.
According to entrepreneurial expert Ivan Misner, the crucial elements of effective networking are “visibility, credibility and profitability” followed in a three-step process.
First and foremost, make sure you’re visible. In addition to approaching potential small- and medium-sized businesses in your clients’ industry, attend networking events in your area and connect with centers of influence in your own professional or social circles. Remember: nobody can invest in your solution or send referrals your way if they don’t know you exist.
Next, Misner urges readers to establish credibility. Make sure people know that they can trust in you and your solution. Maintain a professional manner when you interact with others, and demonstrate that you’re backed by a trusted team of industry experts. Misner also points out that it’s important to express your desire to work with networking associates and prospects. You want to help them, not sell to them.
When you effectively follow the first two steps (establishing visibility, then credibility), you’ll achieve the third: Profitability. It’s that easy.
Some of you may feel that you can’t follow this advice. If you’re introverted and don’t believe you’ve got what it takes to be a networking superstar, think again! Misner argues that both extroverts and introverts can be successful at networking. After all, extroverts may do a great job of opening up and talking to people, but introverts make excellent listeners, and that’s just as valuable when it comes to interacting with business associates.
So devote some time to communicating with others about their professional goals as well as your own. Start networking – gain some visibility, build your credibility and watch your profitability surge.
Posted by Winning Web Design on June 8, 2010 | No Comments
More and more small business owners start to understand why a web site is essential to the success of their business. But they may be overwhelmed by the other facets of a web presence – social media accounts, blogs and so on.
Our Boston web design solution provides one centralized location for businesses to control every aspect of their online operations. Our web solution’s benefits discussed below will help small business website owners to understand why we’re offering much, much more than just a web site.
Integrated Social Media: Expand your Reach.
“If your business doesn’t have an active Twitter account and Facebook page, then you’re already behind the competition,” writes marketing blogger Glen Stansberry, “They aid in customer support, and they give yet another element to your site.”
Business Insider’s Bianca Male agrees. “There are few better ways to put a face to your company, get free PR, and build relationships with your customers online all at once!”
But small business owners are busy enough without having to make time for visiting a jumble of sites to update their social networking accounts! Winning Interactive web design solution’s social media widgets are perfect for these small business owners.
Blogs: Show off your Authority.
We developed the Blogger integration tool so that small business owners could easily take advantage of a powerful online marketing channel. As Stansberry points out, blogs provide an opportunity for business owners to “showcase your expertise.” There’s no better way for a business to enhance their credibility.
But that’s not all that blogs can do. Small business website owners should know that updating their blog regularly will boost their site promotion success, too. “Blogs are an excellent way to add more volume to your site that search engines can consume,” Stansberry explains.
E-mail: Engage on a Personal Level.
E-mail marketing campaigns are the ideal way for small business to interact with their customers. No other promotional strategy can accomplish what e-mails can. With our small business web solution, business owners can develop and launch targeted e-mail campaigns designed to engage specific contacts on their list. Surveys show that personalized messages increase customer retention, and that’s one of the best ways for any business to improve its bottom line!
So, when a business owner is evaluating a small business web design solution, she/he should pay attention to the tools and features that make it more than a web site! The business owner willl establish even greater value from the web site and demonstrate to their existing or potential customers that why they completely outshine the competition.
Posted by Winning Web Design on March 11, 2010 | No Comments
The recent blizzard conditions that swept the US were a stroke of good fortune for online businesses! According to MasterCard’s SpendingPulse survey, e-commerce sales in February experienced 16.7% growth over February of 2009. That was the seventh consecutive month that e-commerce showed year-over-year growth, according to SpendingPulse, “suggesting weather alone is not boosting its performance.”
SpendingPulse analyst Michael McNamara said the findings show a sustained transition towards Web shopping. “This sales channel continues to outperform traditional brick-and-mortar stores as consumers shift more of their purchasing online.”
It’s further proof that consumers are going to keep turning to the Web for its convenience – no matter what the weather has in store!
Let’s we looked at the data from last year. Marketing research giant comScore said the 2009 Christmas season (i.e. November and December) was, despite the economy, a success for online retailers in the US. Tuesday, the 15th of December 2009 was the single largest online spending day recorded in history – $913 million was spent shopping online that day.
comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni indicated, “[A] strong late season spending surge, propelled by effective retailer promotions, guaranteed shipping and a major snowstorm on the eastern seaboard that convinced many to shop from the comfort of home”.
What could brick-and-mortar stores do to benefit from this new trend in customer spending?
Simple. Just provide the same level of convenience to the customers — service your customers well online as you do in the local stores!
Today’s emerging technologies empower small businesses to establish trustworthy bandings online without breaking the bank. A few years back, a decent business website cost tens of thousands dollars to set up. Nowadays, a few thousand dollars could send you home a professional web presence with all the features you have seen, such as online shopping cart, e-newsletter, contact form, online payment, online catalog, customer review and feedback, online coupon ( be nice to the trees), map and direction, blog, photo gallery, etc.
You can even update your web site by yourself as frequently as you want without waiting for your web designer to put your request in his/her busy “queue”. If you need this kind of feature, you can ask for CMS, which stands for Content Management System.
If you are thinking about getting a web site for your local business or want to upgrade your existing web site, feel free to contact us at Winning Interactive. We provide free consultation on web design and Internet marketing for small businesses.
Posted by Winning Web Design on February 23, 2010 | No Comments
Winning Interactive’s local business web solutions are packed with tools and features that will help local small businesses increase revenue, decrease expenses, and provide your customers with a higher level of service and support. We are here to help you, the local business owner, to leverage the power of the Internet and gain all the benefits listed here with our turnkey website solutions. The goal is to grow your local business continuously.
Here are some examples of how local businesses will benefit from having a Web site:
- Open up a virtual storefront that creates an additional sales channel
- Sell products online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Introduce new products to the market faster
- Compete with big corporations based on service, price, and quality
- Capture the impulse buyer
- Accept credit card orders online in real time
- Optimize existing advertising (add a .com to ads directing customers to your dynamic, informative Web site)
- Expose your local business to new markets you may not otherwise reach
- Establish credibility with potential customers
- Create an additional, inexpensive form of advertising that costs less than mail outs, phone book ads, etc.
- Automate the sales process
- Eliminate costs typically associated with expanding sales–employees, rent, utilities, insurance, etc.
- Display your entire inventory without increasing warehousing costs
- Drop ship products to reduce inventory levels
- Reduce dependency/money spent on traditional advertising media
- Update documents and manuals online in one centralized location
- Replace mass mail marketing campaigns with bulk e-mail
- Make your marketing efforts highly targeted and efficient with e-mails through the Contact Manager and statistical tracking of promotions
Improve Customer Service
- Provide fast, personalized service to customers
- Provide answers to frequently asked questions 24 hours a day
- Offer special packages or deals through your Web site
- Display testimonials from satisfied customers
- Send customers exclusive online coupons or discounts
- Allow customers to set appointments online
- Facilitate pro-active communication between you and your customers
- Respond to customers’ changing demands faster
The following section provides several examples of industry-specific benefits for various industries.
- List the different services provided – small business, personal, commercial, estate planning, etc.
- Post preparer’s credentials
- Provide customers with tips and information regarding the latest tax laws
- Explain why and how services can assist a customer
- List partners and affiliates – enhancing credibility
- Company profile
- Post product line (product catalog)
- Post type of services residential/commercial
- List product manufacturers
- Post warranty
- Create a preventative maintenance or product upkeep page
- Create a frequently asked questions page regarding products/services
- Dedicate a page to the latest in product technology
- Conservation of energy page
- Online day timer – set appointments, create a to-do list, post upcoming job events (Contact Management Tool)
- Create mailing lists (Contact Management Tool, Feedback Tool)
- Sub-contract/employment page (Contact Management, Feedback Tool)
- Employee of the month
- Post a map to business/physical location
- Post credentials and city/state licenses
Auto Body/Paint Shops
- Before and after pictures of cars
- Sell salvage cars online
- Sell car parts online
- Types of paints and materials used
- Furnish customers with tips on maintaining their paint, finishes, etc.
- Special services like murals, pin striping, window tint, etc.
- Let your customers know that your shop works with insurance companies
- Post whether or not on-site estimates are available
- Post whether or not work is subcontracted out
- Attract out-of-towners who commute and work in your town and may not know where to go
- Online scheduling
- Post pictures of happy customers and their hairstyles
- Feature each stylist in salon
- Post rates
- Promote hair shows, bridal packages
- Feature seasonal packages, offer discounts for online customers
- Sell hair care products online
- Feature ancillary services offered by the salon such as facials, nail care, etc.
- Use site to acquire new stylists
- Provide hair, skin and nail care tips
- Supports both types-where the objective is to acquire additional merchandise and where the objective is to sell more merchandise
- Acquire merchandise-post which items are/are not acceptable, seller’s percentage, and any applicable store policies
- Sell merchandise-display a wide selection of merchandise retail customers can expect to find through the store; feature any unusual items which may interest collectors; run promotions offering an additional discount to retail customers who mention Web site; shoppers can request an item specifically-if not available, request can be posted on the Web, then sold to the retail customer when located; charge customers an extra fee to post the products they consign on Web site
- One of the most popular uses for the Internet
- Attract companies who need to search for employees
- Post an online application
- Search for potential employees
- List areas of specialization (e.g. engineering, marketing, technical)
- Post top 10 companies looking for employees
- Tips for preparing resumes
- Interviewing advice
- Provide a map to office for interviews
- Easy transfer of correspondence from companies to Web site
- Prospect out of state-not limited to local market
- Job hunters can e-mail requests for employment by using the Feedback page on the Web site
- Post prime interest rates
- Make recommendations for property appraisers
- Provide information for first-time buyers
- Feature approved lenders
- Pre-approve clients online through Web site
- Set up e-mail for referral business
- Implement online questionnaire for pre-qualification purposes
- Provide perspective clients with your company’s profile, credentials, etc.
- History of the organization-how and why it was founded, etc.
- Attract additional members
- Save money on extra software tools and other computer management systems by utilizing features like the Contact Management System
- Save money on direct mail, dedicate a page to online donations
- Sell tickets to special events
- Feature organization’s mission statement
- Specify how the monies are allocated (what percentage of donations go to cause)
- Highlight past accomplishments-success stories
- Feature a monthly/current project, state future goals and objectives
- List affiliates and/or satellites, thank and highlight prominent contributors
Office Maintenance/Maid Service/Janitorial Service
- List bond certification and qualifications
- Devote a page to testimonials from most satisfied clients/ customers
- Provide customers with rate information
- Online scheduling
- Coupons for new and referral clients
- Post service area
- Companies can send you a bid for services using the Feedback page
- Feature special cleaning products for environmentally conscious clients
- Sell eyeglasses and contact lenses online
- List health insurance providers to reduce number of telephone inquiries
- Physician profile-post credentials-increase credibility
- Provide a “wear care” page for patients (caring for your contact lenses, etc.)
- Online scheduling for patients
- Provide the latest information on radial keratotomy
- Provide referrals to qualified ophthalmologists/surgeons
- Display work on Web site
- Sell your work 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Receive special requests for work/ consignments/ commissions
- Provide pertinent background information
- Feature any specialty work such as mural painting, faux finishing, etc.
- Feature services offered
- Sell products like skimmers, heaters, and chlorine
- Provide helpful tips for preventative maintenance of pool cleaning
- Address frequently asked questions (Why acid baths? Why clean my pool? The proper pH balance for pool water, etc.)
- Furnish pool safety tips and emergency information
- Provide referrals to affiliates/partners like pool contractors and designers
- Customers can e-mail questions or problems
- Outline service area, request appointments
- Online reservations, post menus
- Photograph of restaurant/staff and best dishes
- Profile exceptional chef and his/her credentials
- Feature dinner and lunch specials
- Tribute to employee(s) of the month
- Provide a map to restaurant location
- Promote catering services
- Special events scheduling
- Provide an online tour of special facilities (banquet, private dining room)
- Provide online coupon
- Customers can place orders for take-out or delivery
- E-commerce capable; sell products 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Post special product promotions
- Develop an extensive product list with thousands of items
- Develop affiliate relationships and partnerships
- Use Contact Management Tool to e-mail notification of sales and promotions
- Provide an online coupon that retail customers can print out and carry into the actual store
- Banner exchanges with local pet stores and kennels, humane society, SPCA
- Sell ointments, leashes, eye drops, etc.
- Put online live video of dogs/cats in kennel so that pet owners can see their pets while on a trip
- Display vet’s resume and credentials
- Tell special stories (”I rescued a cat…”)
- Display rates, services offered
- Offer a “classifieds” area where customers can advertise (Free to good home, etc.)
There are many other industry-specific ways that a Web site will enhance your local business. Please contact us today to discuss your Internet marketing needs.
Posted by Winning Web Design on February 10, 2010 | 9 Comments
National Association of Retail Marketing Services (NARMS) recently reported that for every one complaining customer, a business may lose ten more!
Kristina Knight at BizReport says this means “many more consumers are experiencing problems than are reporting them.”
But it’s not all bad news! The NARMS study also found that 95% of lost customers will return if a problem is resolved “in a timely manner.”
If you receives occasional complaints about your business, it’s important for you to know how to resolve and prevent these issues. To that end, Knight provided several suggestions, such as asking customers about their overall experience and offering “an easy outlet” for them to communicate. The complete Web solution we’re offering is perfect for that! It allows site visitors to provide feedback, testimonials and reviews 24/7!
As a business owner, you can use customer feedback information from the business website to ensure you’re providing the best customer experience possible. With the help of our web solution, you’ll keep more customers coming back!
Posted by Winning Web Design on January 25, 2010 | No Comments
Study showed that the advertising spent for online local business search reached $3 billion in 2008 (resouce: Kelsey) and the projection for 2010 is $13 billion (resource: Forbes). More and more businesses realized the unbeatable benefits of Internet marketing as below:
- Cost effective. For the same results, Internet marketing costs much less than traditional medias, such as newspapers, trade shows, tv commercials or yellow books.
- Wide coverage. Internet marketing is not limited by the geographic. You may be able to do business with anyone in the world.
- Instant effect. In a few seconds, people for any corner of the global can be connected through the Internet any time.
- Always open for business. E-stores can take orders even the Bricks and Mortars are closed at night.
Internet marketing vs. traditional marketing
|Local sales rep
||Printing medias, face-to-face
||Limited by work hours
||100 prospects per day
||Limited by store hours
||500-2000 prospects per day
||A few days
||A successful web site could attract tens of thousands online shoppers every month.
||Web site, video, real time online chatting, email newsletter, social medias (facebook, twitters, linkedin, etc), online coupon, interactive text messaging.
||365 days a year, 24 hours a day