Marketing Insights for Business Success

people using market research

If you read our earlier post about why market research matters, you may now be asking yourself how to use market research in YOUR business. Here is a quick checklist to get you started.
• Make sure you have a clear brand
Use what you learn from market research to better define who you are as a brand and to clearly articulate what you do/produce/sell better than anyone else.

• Clarify the benefits you provide
Emphasize benefits instead of features in your advertising, your content creation, and in your collateral materials. This will increase the perceived value of your product or service.

• Look at how you compare to the competition
Determine what they excel at and how you can keep your unique product or service while taking away some of their edge.

• Create a profile of your ideal customer
When you can identify their needs, what causes them pain (or frustration or anger or a loss of something they value like time or money), or what stirs their emotions, you can then offer a specific solution.

• Continue to collect data from multiple sources
Once you know your ideal customers, you also know where they spend their time. Go there (blogs, networking and other events, social media) and listen to their concerns. Ask yourself “how can I help?” without jumping into the conversation and selling to the audience just yet.

• Use the information you gather sooner rather than later
Too many people gather information and then do nothing with it. Act on what you learn so you are serving the right market for your product/service.

• Decide where to grow
Use the solid data you collect to make smart decisions. You’ll know where to
– Expand your product line or services
– Pursue new opportunities
– Follow trends
– Improve or modernize
– Take a completely different direction

• Communicate effectively
Once you have identified your client, listened to his/her needs, made evident your ability to meet those needs better than the competition with clearly defined benefits, and decided to take action and grow your company, you need to communicate often and well. Your message—whether advertising, blog, e-mail newsletter, packaging, promotional material,  or website —must touch your audience. With your market research, you will know how to make it all about them and answer the ever-present question: “what’s in it for me?”

• Always ask questions
– What are my objectives for collecting this piece of market research?
– Where is my business growing?
– What is changing?
– What solutions can I match to new needs?
– What is my competition up to?
– What feedback can my employees provide?

• Continue to monitor your data and make adjustments

We at Tate Design can help with analytics monitoring and market research. Give us a call at 610.725.0702 or e-mail info@tatedesign.net.

market research materials

You and your business need market research. Market research provides information about your audience, your competition, and how your product or service will do in the marketplace. It allows you to study your market—and how open your intended customers will be to your product or service—so you can make informed business decisions with less trial-and-error and less risk. Here are 7 reasons why market research should matter to you.

1. Market research clearly defines your customer demographics
You need to know who your customers are (or who they will be, if you are bringing a new product to market), what they like and dislike, where they spend time, what matters to them, what motivates them, how much they spend, etc. With this information, you can be strategic with your content marketing.

2. It helps you target your marketing
With a clear picture of your demographics, you no longer have to market to the masses. You can appeal to a very specific group of people, which will save you time and money in the long run.

3. It enables you to focus on customer needs
Market research not only reveals your customers’ wants and needs, it provides you an opportunity to meet those needs with a superior product or service and/or excellent consumer support.

4. It shows you where to spend your time and money
You will spend less time and money on useless advertising, meaningless content, cold calls, and products without much of a future when you rely on your market research and focus on what your clients need.

5. It helps you spot trends and anticipate future opportunities
You may have a great product or service but you will need to grow your brand in order for your business to survive. Market research shows you where those opportunities may lie.

6. It reduces your risk when making decisions
Market research removes some of the risk of decision-making by clearly identifying the options ahead of time. It helps you launch better products at the right time.

7. It keeps you ahead of the competition
Understanding your market helps you develop your unique selling proposition. Without this, you don’t stand out from your competitors.

If you need up-to-date market research, contact Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or e-mail info@tatedesign.net.

 

In case you missed these posts

We at Tate Design hope 2017 was a successful year for you. If so, you may have been so busy you missed some of our blog posts intended to help you and your business with

Apps
Track Mileage With These Mobile Apps
The Best Mobile Apps For Business For 2017

E-Mail Marketing
Email Marketing – Meet Mobile Reality

Graphic Design
The Top Graphic Design Trends Of The Year

Marketing
Marketing Messages We Love
Mobile Trends And Tactics To Get Your Business Noticed
Branding101: Corporate Identity
Corporate Identity Checklist
How To Get More Word-Of-Mouth Marketing
Online Marketing 101
Online Marketing Checklist

Need-To-Know News
What Is A Micro-Moment And How Do I Use It For My Business?
Are You Ready For Google’s Deadline?
Ultra Violet Pantone Color Of The Year 2018

Print Marketing
Print Or Perish–Why Printed Material Still Matters
Making Print Come Alive

Website Design
Which Of These Web Design Trends Do YOU Want To Get Rid Of?
Signs Your Website Is Outdated
The Anatomy Of The Perfect Website Form
Make Your Website Work For You–How We Did It

At Tate Design, we are focused on propelling your business forward with strategic marketing, web development, and graphic design. Our services include

Brand development and corporate identities
logos, name development, tagline creation, a uniform corporate identity
Graphic design
ad campaigns, brochures, catalogs, direct mail, newsletters, packaging, stationery
Copy writing
articles, blog (WordPress) content and posting, direct response, editing and proofreading, e-mail marketing, print collateral, SEO
Website design and development
animation, content management systems, custom web design, e-commerce, hosting, mobile-friendly and responsive web design, search engine optimization, site management, video, website revitalization, WordPress websites
Internet marketing
AdWords campaigns, banner ads, blogs, e-newsletters and e-mail campaigns, e-zines, online video marketing, social media, web analytics, WordPress customization
Social media marketing
account setup services, branded images, complete social media marketing campaigns, content that provided organic search engine results, customized pages, latest knowledge about updates to social media sites, strategies to leverage social media to best fit your goals and objectives
Strategic marketing campaigns
Materials for trade shows and events
backwall exhibit systems, post-show materials, pre-show notifications, tabletop displays

In which of these areas can Tate Design assist you? Call us at 610.725.0702 or e-mail info@tatedesign.net.

Corporate Identity Checklist

Building your corporate identity can seem overwhelming, even with the concise steps we outlined for you in our post “Branding 101: Corporate Identity.” Today’s post is a checklist to help you remember everything you need as you build your brand, your corporate identity.

Claim your name
 Search on your desired name and make sure it is not already taken or copyrighted
 Register your company name with your state taxing authority
 Register your company with the IRS
 Register your company with your municipal taxing authority
 Register for a website domain name
 Register for a blog domain name
 Select and claim a professional username on
– Facebook
– Google+
– LinkedIn
– Pinterest
– Twitter
 Claim your company page on
– Facebook
– Google+
– LinkedIn
– Pinterest
– Twitter

Put important information in writing
 Tell your company story—include short and long versions for different occasions
 Define what besides your story sets you apart from your competition
 Spell out product benefits, exceptional services, etc.
 Create a simple mission statement that tells everyone why your company does exactly what it does
 Describe your vision, your hopes, and your dreams for your corporation in one sentence
 Sum up the feeling or emotion you want your brand to evoke—use a simple word or phrase that will attract your ideal customers
 Try on several company personas and pick one that fits the corporate image you want to portray
 Find the demographics of your ideal customer
 Create a profile of this member of your brand-viewing audience
 Outline numerous statements that tell your current and future customers “what’s in it for me?”

Add images
 Brainstorm ideas for a company logo
 Design your logo or let Tate Design create one for you
 Look at the unique value you provide for your customers and create a tagline or slogan that matches
 Select the colors you want to represent your company/brand
 Choose a font style that reflects the message you want to convey
 Experiment with font sizes to see what works best on templates, images, posts, etc.
 Dress up your corporate images with copyright information and your company colors
 Create properly-sized images for social media profiles and company pages
 Post images wherever you have an online presence

Add finishing touches
Finally, let Tate Design help you create the following collateral material so you consistently present a polished, professional image
 Create a written document detailing when, where, and how all branded materials (logos, images, taglines, etc.) will be used by everyone representing your corporation
 Set up a copyright log for images
 Let Tate Design create branded templates for promoting your corporate identity in
Blog posts
E-mail newsletters
Social media images and posts
Website pages

Make easy work of building your corporate identity by calling Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or e-mail info@tatedesign.net.

elements of corporate identity

Branding is what people remember and repeat about you and your company. A corporate identity is about creating the desired branded message. What do you want that message to be?

A Corporation’s Identity
As we mentioned in our post “Corporate Identity For Small Businesses,” every company needs a corporate identity.Your company or brand’s identity includes
• Name of company and key employees
• Story behind the brand
• Tagline, slogan, or catchy jingle
• Logo
• Corporate images
• Company colors, font styles, and chosen placement of images and text
• Packaging
• Proprietary products, services, or designs
• Mission
• Personality
• Strengths
• Values
• Anything unique to your business that sets it apart from the competition

Create Your Corporate Identity
To begin creating your corporate identity, claim your name
• Do a search to make sure you are not infringing on someone else’s copyrighted name then register your company name with the IRS and with your state and municipal taxing authorities
• Register for a website and/or blog posting site domain name
• Select and claim usernames that reflect your professional self on social media sites including Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter
• Authorize company pages in your corporate name on the same social media sites

Tate Design can
Design a website or blog site for you
Set up social media profiles and company pages for you

Next, use your words—or the Tate Design copywriting services—to
• Share your story
• Define what else (beside your story) sets you apart from your competition—include product and service benefits
• Craft an easy-to-read mission statement that describes your purpose for doing what you do as a company
• Draft a one-sentence vision statement that describes your hopes and dreams for your company
• Choose a keyword for your brand that will evoke emotion and attract your ideal customers
• Pick a company persona—flirty, fun, scholarly, serious—that matches that keyword
• Create a profile of your ideal audience member
• Tell “what’s in it for me?” in a way that appeals to that ideal audience member

Add graphic design elements prepared by the Tate Design team including
• The selection of specific colors and fonts to match your company persona
• A corporate logo using those same colors and font(s)
• A tagline or slogan that “fits” with the colors, style, and size of your logo
• Corporate images that have been dressed up with your company colors and/or protected with copyright information in your selected font
• Properly-sized images for social media profiles and company pages

Finally, let Tate Design help you create the following collateral material so you consistently present a polished, professional image
• A written document detailing when, where, and how all branded materials (logos, images, taglines, etc.) will be used by everyone representing your company
• Branded templates for posting images on social media sites and for blogging and publishing e-mail newsletters

Call Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or e-mail info@tatedesign.net to get started with brand development and building your corporate identity.

mobile devices in handMobile usage is on the rise. As we noted in an earlier post on privacy, more than 68% of adults in the United States now own smartphones and 45% have tablets according to the Pew Research Center. Here are mobile-friendly trends and tactics that will help your business get noticed by mobile users.

• Instant results
– Make sure your website is both mobile-friendly and responsive, no matter what device a user may choose for viewing
– Double-check that pages load quickly
– Add big clickable buttons so it is easy to take action without hitting the wrong tab
– If you provide emergency services, know that most help is now sought from a mobile device so prominently display your contact information

• Visuals
– Almost everyone likes visuals but you need to know your audience to know if they prefer videos, infographics, or text with pictures included
– Use high-quality images that tell a story themselves
– Avoid tiny fonts and pages and pages of text

• Quick and easy one-stop service
– Provide an app that rewards customer loyalty and/or speeds ordering
– Enable users to purchase directly from your ads and e-mails with a Buy Now button
– Save the environment and make their entire transaction paperless

• Immediate help
– Optimize your local listings so you come up in “nearby” searches as explained in our post “How to improve local search engine results: local SEO for your business
– Provide tools that enhance the in-store shopping experience if you own a brick-and-mortar business
– Don’t forget basic information like your hours, phone number, and parking information

• Entertainment
– Create plenty of quality content
– Experiment with soundless and/or dubbed videos for those who silence video (in order to not disturb others at work, school, home, or during their commute)
– Remember that some users are turning to their devices when they are bored, not when they want you to bore them with a talking-head video of yourself

• Problem-solving information
– Offer solutions to your users’ problems
– Share useful information in a clear, concise manner
– Offer short how-to guides and videos

• The ability to be social on their terms
– Make it easy and fun to share
– Include images that are already optimized for sharing
– Encourage users to add their stories

• The option to do a voice search
– As more people look to Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana for answers, create content for your website that answers real questions
– Enable voice search options on your website and/or your app

• Personalization
– Know your audience and match content format to their learning style
– Personalize e-mails and ads based on previous purchases

• Safe and secure
– Provide all of the above in a safe, secure package

Let Tate Design help you develop the mobile-friendly website that will get your business noticed. Call Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or e-mail info@tatedesign.net.

secure URLscreenshot

Since 2014, Google has hinted that web pages with a URL beginning with HTTPS instead of HTTP will receive special ranking treatment. There is now additional motivation to secure an SSL certificate and its accompanying HTTPS for your website.

According to Emily Schechter of Google’s Chrome Security Team, pages that collect credit card information and passwords will be labelled “non-secure” if their URL does not begin with HTTPS by January 2017. At some point in the future, all non-HTTPS pages will display a red triangle and the words “Not secure” before the URL in the address bar.

non-secure website warning

What exactly is a SSL certificate?

  • Stands for secure sockets layers (SSL), otherwise known as transport layer security (TLS)
  • Ensures secure transactions between a (customer’s) browser and a (provider/seller’s) server by means of digitally encrypted data
  • Builds trust in the security of a site, encouraging people to purchase or provide sensitive information
  • Visible as the HTTPS at the beginning of a URL and as the padlock icon in the address bar
  • May improve Google search engine ranking as Google algorithms show preference for encrypted pages—recently indicated by Schechter’s report of “more than half of Chrome desktop page loads [are] now served over HTTPS” at a time when most web pages are still unencrypted
  • Comes in a variety of options—all with encryption—including
    – a DV or domain-validated certificate that is a quick, basic validation proving whoever registered the domain name also responds to the listed e-mail address or phone number, which has proven popular with those engaged in phishing scams
    – an EV or extended-validation certificate that takes longer to process but then displays your legal company name—as registered with the government—before your URL in the address bar
    – a Wildcard certificate for multiple subdomains using one SSL certificate

EV SSL certification for Twitter

What is it not?

  • Because a SSL certificate can be acquired very inexpensively if you go with lesser known providers, HTTPS in the URL is not a guarantee that a site is safe and dishonest people are taking advantage of this false sense of security
  • According to Kevin Johnson from The SSL Store, migrating a site from HTTP to HTTPS is not a one-click process
  • Having a SSL certificate is not the norm, with 97% of websites still unencrypted by Johnson’s estimate

Protect your search engine ranking, whether or not your web pages contain sensitive data. Add a SSL certificate and enjoy the security of that extra encryption.

Tate Design can help you design or redesign your website and make this move to encrypted web pages, thanks to a SSL certificate. Call Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or e-mail info@tatedesign.net.

Website Designs Guarantee

Your business needs a website that converts leads to sales and visitors to customers. Avoid these website designs that are guaranteed to kill conversions:

• Obviously too busy
Cram too much text—especially long, wordy paragraphs—on a page, add too many colors and widgets, employ too small a font, or leave too little white space, and you risk overloading your visitors’ senses.

Substitute these for the “too busy” elements
– Shorter sentences, subheadings, bullet points, and numbered lists for wordiness
– 2-3 colors that match your brand
– A single video or widget only if it enhances the customer experience
– Generous margins and white space

• Unresponsive
According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study,  75% of young adults in the United States have smartphones, and they want to use them to quickly access all the information they want and need. Design a slow-to-load, not ready for mobile, generic website and you are asking for trouble with users and search engine rankings.

Instead, make sure your website is
– Mobile-friendly
– Responsive
– Quick to load

• Lacking contact information
Omit contact information to make your web page pop and you encourage your visitors to click away because they can’t confirm your whereabouts or your existence.

Replace this and build trust by giving website visitors
– Multiple ways to contact you
– A map that shows location and parking if you are a “brick and mortar” store
– Extra help with a “Get directions” widget

• Missing a clear call to action
Only mention your product or service in general terms and you leave web visitors wondering “What can you do for me?” Worse yet, they may just depart from your website to see how your competition will answer that question.

As an alternative, guide them with
– Copy that sells
– One clear call to action on every page (research shows that limiting choices also helps in the conversion process)

• Delivering a terrible user experience
A website that is hard to navigate, difficult to read, full of links that don’t work, and/or impossible to search drives prospective customers away.

In its place, offer a website that treats visitors well
– Make the navigation intuitive for novices and experienced users alike
– Be clear and concise
– Include accurate descriptive text instead of loading your descriptions with meaningless hashtags or keywords
– Use professional-quality pictures that can be enlarged at the click of a button
– Add a Search widget
– Check often and repair links, if necessary
– If this appeals to your demographic, personalize the user experience based on prior behavior, location, and the user’s profile
– Make sure your website loads quickly and correctly every time
– Choose a mobile-friendly, responsive design that will work with desktop PCs, smartphones, tablets, and wearable technology
– Select font sizes that will accommodate visual challenges and different user preferences
– Check other usability features mentioned in Usability: Web Versus Mobile

Don’t let bad website design drive away customers and kill your conversions. See what the Tate Design team can do for you and your business’ website. Conversions start with a call to Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or an e-mail to info@tatedesign.net.

social media productivity tips

Celebrate World Productivity Day by being more productive with your social networking. Follow these five simple tips for success.

1. If you haven’t already done so, decide where to focus your energy
To be more productive, determine which social media sites appeal to your ideal clients then spend time there. Tate Design can help you leverage these social channels to fit your goals and objectives.

2. Do more than post about yourself
• Collect information: what interests your fans? What problems do they face? How can you help them?
• Share about topics that interest your followers—some of this will be from your content archives and can be scheduled ahead of time and some will be in-the-moment retweeting and commenting positively on other people’s material
• Monitor your social media accounts so you can engage in real-time conversations

3. Show your uniqueness
At Tate Design, we work with you to create content for your social media sites that will attract attention and engage your desired audience. We do this with
• Branded images for your social media profiles
• Original content that provides organic search engine results instead of pay-per-click results
• Photos and images that add impact to your posts
• Social media campaigns that are individualized for your business
• Up-to-date knowledge about changes to established social networks like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter and about emerging social media stars like Instagram and Pinterest

4. Choose the right tools for the job (these are free for now)
• Analyze which posts, pins, and tweets are creating the most engagement with Facebook Insights, Klout (analytics and more), Pinterest Web analytics, and Twitter analytics
• Manage your accounts and/or schedule future posts with Buffer, Hootsuite, the IFTTT app, Social Oomph, and Tweetdeck
• Monitor who is talking about you, your brand, or topics that interest your audience with Backtweets, Google Alerts, the Mention app, and Social Mention
• Spot trends like the best content and places to post by subscribing to blogs like this one

5. Set up a system for measuring your social media ROI
• Analyze who is viewing videos and registering for conferences through your social media sites before you decide on the geo-location of your next event, increasing attendance and revenue
• Ask for customer feedback on new product ideas before they go to market and look at clicks, votes, and money saved by tweaking an item in the pre-production stage
• Sell directly to your social media community and measure purchases

Seize the day—World Productivity Day—and make your social networking more productive and profitable. Call Tate Design at 610.725.0702 or e-mail info@tatedesign.net for social media marketing assistance with branding, content creation, social media account setup and strategies.

Corporate Identity, logo, brand on chalkboard

Every company needs a corporate identity. This seems to be no problem for big businesses like Apple, BMW, Coca-Cola, FedEx, GE, Google, Honda, McDonalds, Microsoft, Nike, Pepsi, Rolex, Shell, Starbucks, Target, Toyota, UPS, Visa, Volkswagen, and Walmart—all companies with easily recognizable logos, brand consistency, and value to their customers—but what about corporate identity for small businesses? Start thinking like a big business with these key steps.

Make a commitment to build your brand—your corporate identity.
Building a corporate identity doesn’t happen overnight because it involves more than a company logo and a clever tagline. It also includes
•    Corporate colors
•    A Web site
•    Industry images branded specifically for your company
•    Customer interface
How you and your employees personally present yourselves to customers—both face-to-face and online—which may include how you behave, how you dress, what you say, and what standard you use to make decisions
•    Customer service
How you care for your customers and their personal information
•    All the content you create
In multiple formats
Across many channels
For advertising, customer service, events, and speaking engagements

Start and stay focused
Know (or figure out)
•    What you are passionate about
•    Why you do what you do
•    What you excel at—in your mind and in your customers’ opinions
•    What makes you and your company unique
•    What value you will offer your clients now and in the next 5 years
•    Who you want to be fans, friends, followers, and target audience
•    How you will make sure you stay true to your passion, mission, and value proposition

Continually link these 3 elements together
Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi, reporting in the Harvard Business Review, identified three elements of a strong corporate identity:
“the value proposition you offer your customers, the capabilities system that allows you to create that value, and the set of products and services that leverages those capabilities and delivers against your value proposition.” The same authors, commenting on a Strategy& survey noted increased sales for companies that provided “a truly distinctive way of providing value, powerful capabilities, and coherence between the two.”

For the corporate identity of the small business, brand consistency is of utmost importance. This means that you consistently communicate
•    The unique benefits you provide for your customers
•    What products and/or services you offer
•    How precisely you add and deliver value to your clients

Don’t be shy about your strengths, your uniqueness, your passion, or why you do what you do. As we explained in Tate Design’s 3 Ways to Avoid a Corporate Identity Crisis, if any part of this message is vague, your corporate identity will be unclear and sales will suffer.

Whether you need a company logo, name development, a tagline, a Web site, or graphic design and templates to brand your newsletter and social media posts, Tate Design can deliver. Contact us at 610.725.0702 or info@tatedesign.net in order to build the elements of your corporate identity.


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