eBusiness Blog

Should you purchase a WP theme or have a custom site created?

Today’s eTip is about what to do now that you have your business and marketing plan in place and you need a new website.

 

How do you get your website built?

Is WordPress your answer? Should you hire a website developer to build you a custom website?

Should you spend the money now or just go cheap so you have something online?

I’m going to review both options so you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.

The WordPress Solution

WordPress is great and if you’re brand new and still figuring out your business and what you want your website to accomplish for you then it’s a very easy solution to move forward with.

If you’re in a position where you’re still looking at things like who your target market is, then it isn’t worth your money to invest in a custom solution.

With WordPress you’re not wasting much money and you’ll get something up that is professional looking.

Many WordPress themes can do the trick and the newer ones are getting better all the time. Using a purchased theme can save money and your website will be up; however, there are drawbacks such as not being able to customize the theme very much and often they are not built very well, so lack in search engine optimization.

If you have no desire to grow into being a big business then WordPress may also be ideal for you.

The Custom Solution

By hiring a professional firm you get a custom site that is tailored to your business goals. You also get a team who can offer you things like assistance with upgrading your business plan, online marketing help, and they can show you how social media factors into your website’s success.

The custom solution is best for those looking to make a big splash in their market. You don’t want to waste time, so you need a site that puts you in a position to compete with competitors in your niche.

Your website is an online representation of your business and a full custom site is the best option to display your branding and business identity properly online. If you want to make sure you resonate with your target market right off the bat, then custom is for you.

Another reason for choosing custom is rebranding. You have a site and a business but it’s not performing as well as it could. Hiring a professional firm is your key to taking your business to the next level.

Any business needs some form of investment. So rather than expend your time and effort trying to be a jack of all trades and master web development and corporate branding while running your company, it’s best to hire seasoned professionals to help.

A solid team of professionals will help you grow your business and should be considered an investment rather than a cost. You’re paying for expertise from people who have already learned many lessons anyone new to web development will need to fumble through, and those missteps can be costly and aggravating.

Properly growing a professional business requires professionals like the eVision Media team so if you are in a position where custom is your option, then please get in touch.

If you have any questions about web development or design or branding then please post your comment or question in the comment section below.

Go ahead and leave a comment below and also subscribe to our YouTube channel or newsletter so you get weekly tips and strategies like these.

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

P.S. Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Our “All Under One Roof” boutique web development and digital marketing firm can help you make your vision a reality.

› CONTACT US TODAY
 

 

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

3 Telltale Indicators Your Website is an Epic Failure

3 Telltale Indicators Your Website is An Epic Fail

Glaring Red Flags Your Website is Under Performing and What to Do About it

Do you know how well your website is really performing? While a great website can help bring in business; a bad one may be costing you sales.

And just because you have a sharp-looking website doesn’t mean it’s an effective one. 

The sad part is that even though you may have spent a ton of money on a site redesign it doesn’t guarantee it will increase sales.

Here’s three glaring red flags indicating your website is not performing as well as it should and what to do about it.

Having a website is meaningless if no-one knows about it, visits it or sticks around long enough to see what you have to offer.

A Website is meaningless if no-one knows about it, visits it, or sticks aroundClick To Tweet

Here’s what to look out for:

  1. Low Volume of Website Visitors

    Since your website is the primary marketing piece for your business, sending qualified visitors to it is fundamental for success. Here’s some tips to boost your site traffic and get more visitors to see your offerings:

  2. Sending qualified visitors to your website is fundamental for business successClick To Tweet
    • Advertise using Google Ad and other browser paid search, social media advertising and display advertising.
    • Get actively involved in Social media. These efforts can build a following and drive loyal fans to your website.
    • Implement content marketing strategies by frequently adding search engine optimized content to your blog. Writing informative articles and posting value-driven videos will not only attract visitors but also showcase your expertise in your industry.
    • Enlist in an SEO expert who can boost qualified website traffic and also improve your search engine rankings.
  3. High Bounce Rate

    A bounce rate measures the percentage of many visitors leave your website without browsing any further after that first page they land on.  If people visit your home page and click away, that’s a sign changes are needed to keep their interest.

    Quickly leaving website visitors indicate several potential problemsClick To Tweet

    Here’s some reasons why people are leaving your site before exploring any further:

    • Your home page should be compelling and appeal to your ideal target market. Ensure your brand messaging matches what your visitors are expecting to see so they are drawn in and want to learn more. It’s also important to review where you are promoting your business and ensure your offerings are highly relevant for them. Be sure the call to action is clearly prominent for them to take a next step.
    • People can be very impatient. If your website is slow to load, they will leave long before they have a chance to see your offerings. Your site’s load time must be fast to capture (and hold) your visitor’s attention.
    • Users can get frustrated easily if they can’t find what they’re looking for quickly. Similarly if they encounter broken links, spelling and grammar errors and have a general bad user experience while trying to navigate your site.
    • Sadly, just having a website is not enough.  It’s critical to have your website display properly on smart phones and mobile devices too.  Today, 1.2 billion people are accessing the Internet from mobile devices. Of those users, up to 80% of them browse using a smartphone.
       
      In other words, if your website is not mobile friendly, you are missing out on a lot of potential business.
  4. No Conversions

    You can have all the traffic in the world, but if they don’t buy, it does you no good. Fortunately, if you aren’t happy with the conversion rate, there are ways to improve your site to improve the number of visitors who convert into paying customers.

    Non-converting website visitors are not good for businessClick To Tweet
    • Most visitors won’t buy after their first exposure to your website.  So it’s really important to capture those leads and follow up with them.  Offering a free giveaway is an effective way to get contact information and build your marketing list.
       
      But if people aren’t signing up for your freebie, then it’s time to make some changes.  You may need a more enticing offering or improve your call to action for the sign up.  Using a popup or exit popup can help boost sign up rates.  Having a more attractive graphic image of your freebie can boost conversions as well.
    • The best way to follow up with these leads is through an auto-responder series that is triggered immediately after they sign up for your free giveaway. Additionally, sending out consistent newsletters to your list is also very effective at staying top of mind for them, increasing your chances greatly of them eventually converting into a paying customer.

If you’re not sure where to find these three valuable metrics, the best way to analyze them is to check your website’s Google Analytics and monitor your website’s performance there.

Ready to Increase Your Website Performance and Get More Sales?

Does your website have high bounce rates? Are you getting minimal interactions on your social media? Do you have a low repeat visitor rate?  An experienced digital marketing agency can review, identify and recommend actions to remedy your website’s “profit holes” where you are losing sales.

The marketing experts here at eVision Media we can quickly boost your website sales and conversion rates. We’ve been increasing website conversions and sales for years with some fantastic results for our clients. Schedule a free consultation today about your website!

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

3 Telltale Indicators Your Website is An Epic FailClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Web Design: Understanding the Process to Avoid Disasters

Today’s eTip is about how to properly convey your desired results when working with a website designer.

 

What can you do to prevent your web design project from going sideways?

Being a website design and development agency ourselves we know the pitfalls and costs that come with misunderstandings during the development process.

It often seems like you need to be a mind reader.

This happened to us recently, and we got to experience the other side of the equation and it ended up being a great learning experience for us.

Our project turned out to be a wonderful success and in the process we gained valuable insight into the design process from a customer perspective.

How does a project derail?

What happens normally is miscommunication.

The designer may not understand your goals and has probably not asked you enough questions.

Some good questions that should be asked before the project begins are:

  1. What do you want this website to accomplish for you?
  2. What is your brand positioning?
  3. How do you want to be presented to the public so that they see you as you’d like to be seen?
  4. What message do you want to portray to your audience in order to get them to respond to your site?
  5. Who is your audience and who do you want to visit the site?
  6. What about your site then entices that desired audience?

I should state here that I am referring to a qualified web designer and not someone who can draw something up in Photoshop but doesn’t understand how to create a website that actually performs for you.

Give yourself and your designer enough time to perform the due diligence expressed above. Asking those questions will ensure the project is to your expectations.

By asking the right questions your designer will understand your vision and how to interpret your goals so you wind up with a website that you’re in love with and proud to show off to friends, family, associates, and most of all your desired clients.

Go ahead and leave a comment below and please subscribe to our YouTube channel or newsletter so you get weekly tips and strategies like these.

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

P.S. Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Our “All Under One Roof” boutique web development and digital marketing firm can help you make your vision a reality.

› CONTACT US TODAY

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

7 Frustrating Things Your Visitors Hate About Your Website

Why Your Business Can’t Ignore the Importance of Providing a Positive User Experience (UX)

7 Frustrating Things Your Visitors Hate About Your Website User Experience

Does your site provide the best user experience?

Bad website usability is not only bad for your users; it’s bad for your business too.

What exactly is website usability? It’s definitely one of those industry jargon terms that many entrepreneurs and business owners might not be familiar with. But should!

Website usability means: how easy is it to use your website?

If you’re unsure of what that is, then chances are you may need some help building a strategy for your website.

Your website’s use is how well it accomplishes the reason you built it. Is it to generate leads? Get someone to make a purchase? Direct people to something else? Each page of your website needs a purpose and if that purpose isn’t clear, then the usability is diminished.

A website's usability is gauged by how well it accomplishes your site's goalsClick To Tweet

When web marketers look at usability they’re looking to see whether or not a user can complete a defined task with little to no confusion or frustration.

So how do you know if your customers are finding your website easy to use?

Measuring User Experience and Usability

There are many services that have come and gone when it comes to measuring user activity and a site’s usability.

Heatmap services such as Hotjar or Crazyegg have been semi successful though woefully abused in the hands of those who don’t know what to do with the information. These types of services give the website owner a birds-eye view at where their website visitors are focusing their attention.

Testing groups can be a great asset but at the same time these are closed, controlled groups so they often inadvertently present misinformation by way of not being an accurate representation of the site’s actual target market.

The best way to check your website’s usability is your Google Analytics. Google offers its analytic web-based software for free for many reasons. One is so you can make your website better.

Within Google Analytics site owners can check things like how long someone is on a page, where they entered the page from, what they did on the page, and when they left.

If someone lands on your page and leaves nearly right away you have what is called a Bounce. If the majority of your users are bouncing (called a high bounce rate) then you have a usability issue and are offering up a bad user experience where they have left too quickly to take any action.

Another way to check is to set a conversion measurement. This is when you input information into Google Analytics that triggers a signal when someone completes a task as defined in there. You can even assign monetary values to the conversion if you want to measure the revenue generated through the conversion.

This type of analysis is best left to professionals so get in touch with my team if you need any help.

But Google doesn’t stop there with its free offerings! Try checking things like your site’s speed or mobile usability using these free tools:

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Find helpful tools to assist in your website's usability hereClick To Tweet

Measuring usability is as complicated or as easy as your website is. Larger projects with many types of users and conversion types will have more complicated ways to measure usability but the overall message here is: does your website accomplish your business goals set for it?

Are Your Users Having A Bad Website Experience?

If you’re looking at the overall stats and the numbers are not good then it’s time to look at why your users are having a bad website experience.

Here’s 7 questions to ask yourself about your website to avoid frustrating your users:

  1. Have you clearly defined what your business does and is it appealing to the right audience?
  2. Did you make it as easy as possible for users to find the information they’re looking for? Typically there should be no more than 3 steps between landing on the site and finding what the user wants.
  3. Can a customer contact you easily if they are stuck or have any questions?
  4. Do you have any broken links on your site that will lead users to a dead end?
  5. How fast does the site load (see test above)?
  6. Is your website mobile responsive?
  7. How transparent is your About page?

Nothing can be more frustrating than a dead end so make sure you don’t have any. Users need to have trust established by a website if they’re going to commit their time, money, or both to it.

This is where user test groups can come in handy. Universal website staples that often get forgotten are there so someone who has never been to your website before can have a good experience on it.

Check the few points listed above and if there are areas you haven’t covered or you need help with then get in touch and we’ll be able to break it all down for you.

Is User Experience Really The Same As Usability?

The experience and expectations will vary greatly between websites depending and their purpose.

For large scale big businesses, user experience transcends platforms and current award winners are melding online with offline in attempts to boost both point of sale ‘conversions’ on site and web conversions.

For anyone working in small to medium sized businesses usability is your website’s user experience so focus on that. Make sure when someone lands on your website searching for something, they find what they were needing as quickly and easily as possible.

And don’t forget your user experience doesn’t end there!

A Conversion Is Not the End of the Road for Good Website User Experience

Provide Great Support

Your user experience doesn’t stop when the conversion does.

Think about the process of your conversion from the perspective of someone performing the conversion.

Once you’re done, are you coming back to the website? If you do, are you going to be able to get the support you need right away?

Not having a support channel or any indication of one is a big negative for any user. They likely won’t buy from you if they don’t think they can contact you afterwards regarding any problems.

Refine Your Website Based on Feedback

Make sure you respond to negative feedback with more than dismissive apologies or a canned ‘thanks for the feedback we’ll work on it’ email. Users who have a bad experience during a conversion but a great experience with support can be recovered customers who will likely buy again.

Accept negative feedback as an opportunity to improve even if you disagree with it.

Take what you learn from the feedback as a gift. If a user takes the time to complain about something, treat it seriously and remedy the situation (within reason).

Maybe they completed their task but have feedback on how easy (or not) it was?

In addition to analyzing your Google Analytics, you can follow up with surveys for customers (if they opt in for having one sent to their email of course) to help refine your user experience.

If you need help drafting a survey try this list of some basic website experience survey questions to ask.

I hope you found this all helpful in ensuring your website provides a great user experience. If you have any questions about user experience and usability please post them in the comments below or on our social media or of course feel free to reach out and contact us at any time.

Thanks for reading,
Mark Hare

P.S. For more tips on how to make your website get you the results you’re looking for, sign up for my free website guide plus weekly newsletter for entrepreneurs and small business owners today.
>> CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Social Media followers:

7 Frustrating Things Your Visitors Hate About Your Website User ExperienceClick To Tweet

About the Author, Mark Hare

Mark Hare

Mark has been working in search engine optimization, paid online advertising, content marketing, and usability since 2005.

He has worked with hundreds of clients on a wide range of web based projects and is a strong proponent of white hat SEO techniques and link earning over building.


Understanding The Type Of Web Designer Your Business Needs

Do You Need To Hire Help With Your Website?

When speaking with entrepreneurs and business owners, they often don’t realize all of the different components involved in building a business website.

Many assume it’s a simple task that any “techie” person can do, or themselves for that matter, and things will magically come together.

However, that approach could be a costly one. Before you start putting feelers out about hiring someone, you should first assess what exactly it is you need in order to get your website up and running while avoiding a lot of frustration at the same time.

Today’s eTip is a review of what you need to assess about your business website needs before selecting your web developer.

 

Do You Know What Type of Developer You Need?

There are two camps involved in the answer to that: those who already know what they need and those who do not.

If you who have a clear understanding of what you need your website to be then you will be best served by having a solid set of technical hands to execute on your instruction. In this instance, you will need to know project management, website design and development, copywriting, online marketing and social marketing, usability, and more in order to relay exactly what you want to your developer.

Most business owners will not have all of those skill sets combined, or in some cases, any of those elements covered, so you’ll need to find someone to help you will all of that!

Your Website Is Your Biggest Piece of Marketing

You want your website to turn out great. You don’t ever want to consider the job done and be disappointed with the results.

To avoid being disappointed in the results of your web project, you’ll need someone to help you through the process.

By hiring a professional web development firm, you’ll have experts steering your website towards your goals so it’s attracting the right target market using the right marketing message while embodying the right overall vision.

A solid team of professionals can help you understand who your ideal target market is so your users convert into paying customers.

They’ll show you how your brand positioning helps you find that target market and what needs to be in place in order for it to work for them.

Most often one single person does not have all that ability. Hiring a team with experts in all the various fields will ensure the project meets your expectations.

You need professionals who really understand things like e-commerce, search engine optimization, marketing, copy writing, user experience, and more. You can get all of that if you hire an agency with a team who cover all of those important factors.

By hiring a team you get a variety of experts rather than relying on your own single expertise.

At eVision Media, we provide everything necessary to a complete web projects that work. If you’re looking to upgrade your website or are in the process of a redesign but hitting some hurdles, give us a call. We have experts in all areas of website development on hand to help you realize your project’s goals.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments below and if you liked this video you can subscribe to either our Youtube channel or our newsletter to get weekly updates on having a successful website and business online.

Sign up for our newsletter today to receive weekly tips on marketing online for entrepreneurs!

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

Social Blast for Entrepreneurs

What If You Could Learn Social Media and Online Marketing Each Month With Ease?

If you are new to Social Media and online marketing or find it overwhelming and confusing, my monthly group coaching program, Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs is a perfect way for you to incrementally learn the best strategies and tactics to help you grow your business online.

  • Uncover what it takes to execute a successful, revenue-driving social media strategy
  • Learn how to build relationships, trust, and brand awareness with your ideal customer
  • Discover actionable strategies to engage followers online
  • Master creating compelling content that’s always on target
  • Discern how to authentically differentiate your brand in a crowded marketplace
  • Find out the best times to post for higher readership
  • Stay abreast with the latest prospecting techniques to grow your list, groups and more…
  • Learn ways to engage through social media monitoring and listening

It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.

› CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Website Planning: Why Strategy Beats Design Every Time

Website Planning: Why Strategy Beats Design Every Time

What to Do First Before Designing Your Business Website

I see it all the time.  People are excited about their business.  They set out to hire a web designer.  They share their vision for their website and excitedly wait for the big reveal.

Then, disaster strikes.  “You got it all wrong.”  they say.

Design dollars are wasted.  Revisions begin.  Everyone scratches their heads and wonders where it all went wrong. And before you know it what should have been a simple project becomes a nightmare.

This doesn’t have to happen to you. 

Without a map, it’s easy to get lost in unfamiliar territory.  The same is true of website development. Before you begin you really need to have a solid plan in place.

Avoid website design disaster by having a plan in place firstClick To Tweet

That’s the real difference between working with a full-service marketing firm or a solo website developer.  A marketing firm can help you do the proper due diligence and analysis needed to make sure the website designed for you truly meets your business needs.

Much of the design process breaks down to a few simple steps:

MESSAGING

Who do you serve? Defining your ideal client is one of the most important steps before building a website. The more specific you are about who your ideal client is, the better you’ll be able to speak to their needs when they visit your site.

Here are some questions to ask yourself while doing an ideal client analysis:

  • Who do you have a passion for serving?
  • What are their biggest pains?
  • Are they men or women?
  • What level at they in their business or situation: newbies, established, or experts?
  • What are their values?
  • What are their biggest goals?
  • What is their personality?

This clarity helps you laser-focus your messaging to speak directly to their needs.

Being clear on your ideal target market will ensure your website messaging speaks directly to themClick To Tweet

Everyone has the same basic human needs.  Knowing and understanding the pains of your target market is critical.  Tell them how you will help them overcome their challenges or how your products will alleviate their concerns.

Having credibility is also important.  Most prospects haven’t heard about you upon their first encounter with your website.  So it’s your job to build trust that you have knowledge and experience and proven results.

Credibility comes through testimonials, media clippings, blog articles and sharing results you have achieved with clients. Showcasing the education, training and credentials you achieved also shows prospects you have expertise in what you do.

FUNCTION

Another critical part of the web design and development process is being clear on the website’s function.  The layout for your website will vary greatly depending on your business goals.

  • What is the goal of your website?
  • Will it be an online store?
  • Do you want to build a list and online community?
  • Will it serve as a free information site where you gain revenues on advertising and affiliate sales?
  • Are you selling services?
  • Is your website an online brochure?

Once armed with this clarity, your designer will know if you need a landing page, chat tool, email list management software, online booking tool, or other special features in order to support your vision.

Knowing the path you want visitors to go and take the desired action helps your designer put the right elements in place to accomplish that.

LOOK AND FEEL

If you have ever gone shopping in a store with a friend you have probably experienced that we all have very different tastes.  The same is true when you design a website.

Even though you have described what you envision, the web designer may have something entirely different in mind. The goal for both of you is to create a visual brand that is appealing to your target market. It needs to immediately say to them they are in the right place.

Before sending your designer a bunch of colour swatches and other websites you want your site to look like, the better approach is to create a brand standards guide first that encompasses the colours, fonts and style of your overall business brand. This process should be done at the time of designing your logo since your logo functions as the basepoint of your brand.

The key is to remember you are designing a website for your target audience in relation to your business, not for you personally.  Yes, for many entrepreneurs, your personality is directly infused into your brand but it is possible the look and feel could be quite different from your personal taste.  It all depends on who you are trying to attract to your business.

Website design is for appealing to your ideal target market, not for your personal tasteClick To Tweet

In saying that, it doesn’t hurt to still send your designer sample websites that you like and be specific about what exactly you like about them. That kind of feedback is very valuable especially with the layout and overall messaging of the site.

THE DO IT YOURSELF DILEMEA

It’s easy to think when you start out doing it all yourself is a better way to save money.

But how much is your time worth?  How much do you know about copywriting or effective marketing strategy or design?

How much more revenue could you create if you focused on business building and outsourced your web design and marketing?

Finally, you can’t put a value on the insights and expertise that a marketing team brings to the table.  It’s well worth investing in a polished website that converts clients.

Whether you are building your first website or redesigning your existing one, taking time to carefully plan it will save you time, headaches and money.

If you’re looking for a qualified web design and marketing team to help you with your website development project, let us know and we’ll go through the above process with you.

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Website Planning: Why Strategy Beats Design Every TimeClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Communicating to maintain effective client relationships

Communicating to maintain effective client relationships

How you communicate directly impacts your client relationships

How often do you get yourself in trouble because a situation has been misunderstood?

How often do you have to tell people what you “really” meant or that you didn’t like how you learned about a situation?

How upset do your clients and customers get about a product being unavailable?

How much do you dread letting them know that the product isn’t available because of how they will react?

All these scenarios often have nothing to do with what you need to communicate but rather with how you deliver the message.

How you deliver the message plays out both in what I like to call big “C” communications – big corporate announcements and organizational strategy – and in little “c” communications – emails and difficult conversations for example.

Believe it or not, much of the way we think and behave is unconscious. What we value, what we believe, our memory of a situation and past behaviours all feed into how we receive and deliver information.

When we become aware of how we come across we can take control of how we communicate with others.Click To Tweet

And this isn’t just the “soft stuff” of business.

Neuroscientists have been studying human behaviour for decades. I turned to Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton to provide some scientific backing for what has been intuitive for me for a long time.

Here are four ways neuroscience tells us we can help our audience be receptive to our message. To conclude, I’ll give you five practical tips to put this science into use.

  • Mirror your audience’s actions and behaviours

    Have you ever walked into a restaurant or bar and noticed how people are interacting with each other?

    Have you noticed groups of people who seem to dress similarly, or how married people seem to come to even look alike over time? Matching and mirroring is when you take on someone else’s style of behaviour as well as their skills, values, or beliefs in order to create rapport.

    This will make your audience feel comfortable and more likely to listen to what you have to say. You can deliberately match and mirror someone by:

    • Body postures and gestures
    • How quickly you breathe
    • How quickly you speak or move
    • How your voice sounds

    CAUTION: You don’t want to mimic people. There is a fine line between moving in rhythm with someone and fitting in, or mimicry. People will know if you are being insincere.

  • Listen so you know what people are looking for

    If you want to really have people buy into what you are saying, then you must truly be present and LISTEN. And that means making sure they know they have been heard.

    Acknowledge their point of view, understand where they are coming from and above all, be patient.

  • Build rapport when communicating virtually

    To build rapport in today’s age of virtual offices, make sure you:

    • Speak more slowly to ensure people can hear you
    • Make sure you have people’s attention before you make your point
    • Use people’s names more often than you might in face-to-face meetings so they feel included and heard
    • Visualise the person at the end of the phone line as you listen to the conversation
    • If you are in a video-conference, look into the camera and appear to be visually present (no escaping to Facebook during teleconferences here!)
    • Summarise the meeting afterwards and confirm via email what was decided upon
  • Use multiple ways of communicating to make sure your message gets across:

    Find out who your audience is. If they are audio listeners, the words you use will be important. If your audience is more visual, then graphs, charts and pictures will help them remember information.

    Kinaesthetic audiences will focus on the tone of your voice and the feeling they experienced upon receiving the information.

So what does this mean for your daily interactions with your clients?

  1. Ensure you have their attention before sharing your message.
  2. Did they understand what you had to say? Ask questions to probe their response to your conversation.
  3. Use language and mannerisms your clients can relate to – use mirroring to deliver messages in a way that makes them feel comfortable.
  4. Follow-up with email after decisions are made to ensure you’re both on the same page.
  5. Have you inspired them to act? Find out what they care about so you can better motivate them to participate in your desired outcome.

Following the tips included in this article will shape how you deliver your message and guarantee improved communications with your clients.

Take some time to truly understand and internalize these techniques and you will be well on your way to avoiding difficult situations.

About the Author, Susan Elford

Kathryn Wilking

Susan Elford, PR Strategist & Leadership Coach, works with start-ups and seasoned entrepreneurs to help them get real about their strengths and celebrate them so they get more of what they want; clients, exposure and success, while living a life of balance.

Visit Susan at www.elfordcommunications.com for traditional PR support and www.susanelford.com for a look into how she works with her coaching clients.


What Business Owners Need to Know When Hiring Millennials

For today’s eTip I spoke with the author of the book 25 Powerful Strategies to Hire and Successfully Retain Millennials, JoAnne E. Marlow!

 

What is the difference in hiring millennials?

JoAnne sees a big change in the work place environment and as times have changed expectations at work have changed.

Years ago after the release of the book Boom Bust & Echo JoAnne began to see a noticeable difference in the work ethic demonstrated by her existing peers and employees vs. the younger generations.

Not everyone is the same but we do place age groups into categories and look for consistencies within those categories.

The people in those categories vary greatly with some not being as active or tech savvy as others. It depends on the person but know that you need to be careful when hiring on your new employee.

Set expectations up front

Be clear in your job description when it comes to millennials. Make sure the culture and job expectations are defined beforehand so you don’t run into any surprises.

Millennials may be resistant to recognizing an implied hierarchy so make sure they know what you and your company are like before you bring them on as an employee.

Educated and skilled workers may be less inclined to take on tasks like data entry or sweeping floors so if that is part of the expectation for a job it should be stated as such in the ad description.

Convey the kind of personality you want in your ad. The clearer you are as an employer about what you need in the office the better.

State what kind of advancement opportunities exist and when the new employee can expect to move up the ladder.

Some people might expect a raise after 3 months, some after a year.

The typical time you can expect them to stay with your company is about 18 months. If you keep a millennial for more than 2 years you’re doing something right!

Be prepared and ask a lot of questions. Don’t dive in right away and hire them on the spot. Be careful and mindful so you hire the right employee.

If you find yourself losing control and are rude or vocal with them, some will likely leave right away and not come back. Everyone can have a bad day but some new employees may not be thick-skinned enough to tolerate some behaviour.

Be clear about expectations. And know that some may take advantage of an employer’s generosity.

Provide a guide

Draft a policy handbook in relation to dress code, vacation time, etc. so they know beforehand what rules they must adhere to.

JoAnne’s most recent book 25 Powerful Strategies to Hire and Successfully Retain Millennials details how to deal with this generation and how to demonstrate the emotional intelligence to entice them to work hard and help your business. JoAnne is an expert in bridging gaps between generations.

In her book she has explained 25 different ways to hire the right new people from the millennial generation so you find and keep the best people.

She advises that the young person you hire isn’t going to change so it’s also important to make sure existing employees are fully informed about your new hire and how you’ve prepared for them.

For those of you who want to get in touch with JoAnne directly she can be reached through her website at: www.SystemsForEngagingTeams.com

Also please feel free to share you own stories about your experience in hiring on those between the ages of 19 and 36 in the comments below and if you’re struggling with your new hires try reading JoAnne’s new book!

You can pick up JoAnne’s book online from either of these two links:

Canada – Amazon.ca: http://amzn.to/2gfzYL6

US – Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2wzGe6S

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

Social Blast for Entrepreneurs

What If You Could Learn Social Media and Online Marketing Each Month With Ease?

If you are new to Social Media and online marketing or find it overwhelming and confusing, my monthly group coaching program, Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs is a perfect way for you to incrementally learn the best strategies and tactics to help you grow your business online.

  • Uncover what it takes to execute a successful, revenue-driving social media strategy
  • Learn how to build relationships, trust, and brand awareness with your ideal customer
  • Discover actionable strategies to engage followers online
  • Master creating compelling content that’s always on target
  • Discern how to authentically differentiate your brand in a crowded marketplace
  • Find out the best times to post for higher readership
  • Stay abreast with the latest prospecting techniques to grow your list, groups and more…
  • Learn ways to engage through social media monitoring and listening

It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.

› CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

5 Useful Decision-Making Steps to Buying Your Next Business Program Sold at an Event

5 Useful Decision-Making Steps to Buying Your Next Business Program Sold at an Event

How to Avoid Making Impulsive Purchases from Success-Promising Gurus

I recently attended a 3-day business conference in Vancouver. There were about 500 people in attendance, all business owners and entrepreneurs who where there to network, learn and be inspired.

All in all, it was a great event that resulted in my meeting new people and gaining valuable insights that I brought home with me to infuse into my business.

The conference boasted nine high-profile speakers including thought leaders like Jack Canfield, Dr. John Gray and James Malinchak. Their talks were entertaining, insightful, informative and motivating.

They certainly learned the craft of being an influential presence on the stage well.

But make no mistake, each of these speakers were there with the sole purpose of promoting their wares and influencing the audience to purchase their key strategies, programs and courses that promised business success.

And they succeeded.

The volume of people that ran to the back of the room to grab their limited-time, extraordinary low-cost offering before it was sold out was mind boggling.

As a member of that audience, I was fascinated by what I was witnessing. Perhaps it was my state of mind or the confidence I already felt in my capabilities of achieving further business success, but I was not at all tempted to be a part of the crowd to run to the back of the room and grab a purchase.

I looked around and saw men and women who were involved in a variety of different businesses and industries. Many of whom where desperate to get that SECRET FORMULA that would transform their struggles into riches.

And the speakers on the stage knew this and played right into their hands.

Throughout the 3 days, the audience was presented with lots of solutions, advanced systems and formulas on how to achieve success in their business. But the problem is, not all proposed solutions were ideal for everyone.

But what is a business owner and entrepreneur to do?

They are attending such events to help them with their business so are naturally attracted to the offers made up on the stage.

To help you avoid making irrational and emotionally-based decisions when faced with the pressure of live event and even free webinar offers I have put together 5 steps on what to think about first before jumping in with the crowd and grabbing your purchase:

  1. Think things through first.

    Ask yourself if this opportunity is truly going to get you a return on your investment if you make the purchase. What are you willing to commit to in order to get the most out of that investment?

    The key here is to understanding success is not just going to happen by signing up but actually doing the work. Are you realistically willing to do the work? Are you going to be 100% committed to this or will you get home, set it aside, and promise to get to it when you get a chance?

    None of these programs will get you the results these presenters are talking about if you’re not committed enough to follow through on every single step provided.

  2. Be objectively critical.

    When these speakers are on the stage, they are sharing their best success stories possible – the cream of the crop. Often this reflects only a minor percentage of those who have taken the program.

    Be objective. And don’t make emotionally-based decisions that compel you run to the back of the room and purchase. This is exactly what they are counting on.

  3. Decide if your business can truly benefit from what you will learn.

    Just because they are telling you this on stage doesn’t mean it’s a perfect fit for you, your business model, and your goals.

    As an example, if you have the gift of service and support, then more than likely you will not do well learning to be a speaker on stage despite that presenter saying “anyone can do this using my system and processes”.

    If you have the gift of, say, music, then being a published author is probably not something you should pursue despite being provided with a “fool-proof, iron-clad method that will get you on the Amazon best seller list”.

    Ask yourself if what this presenter is offering is exactly what you need to learn in order to reach your business goals or is there something better suited for you available elsewhere? Do you really need to learn all of this yourself or is hiring someone who is an expert in that area a better decision that will help reach your goals quicker without having to become an expert in that field first?

  4. Recognize the emotional manipulation that’s happening.

    We see this all the time. Whether you’re attending conferences or online webinars there’s always a “limited time offer” that makes it irresistible to pass up.

    Don’t let these “one-time-only” offers lead you into thinking this is the only chance you’ll ever get to take advantage of what’s being offered. It simply isn’t true. It’s a sales tactic that preys on people who make emotional decisions and don’t want to be left out or miss out on an incredible opportunity.

    These programs will all still be offered after the hype ends. Even if that means paying $50 more, so be it. Give yourself time to objectively work through the pros and cons and decide whether it’s worth your investment or not.

    Don’t let your emotions be triggered by the slick sales speech or written sales copy on a page.

  5. Do your research.

    This may not necessarily be the case for headliner speakers we see on the stage, but sadly, there are a lot of very smooth-talking “gurus” out there who are nothing but smoke and mirrors. They offer a lot of hype but little substance.

    Do your pocketbook a favour; before investing in any kind of program or product, research the person selling it first. Do a Google search and see if any bad reviews come up. Ask people in your social media groups if they’ve had any experience with that person and what were the results.

    Your goal is to make an informed decision, not an emotional one based on the promises of the sales copy. And if you do encounter negative reviews – listen to your gut. So many times wrong decisions are still made because, as human beings, we’re highly influenced by emotions and we can easily justify our actions based on those promises despite finding evidence to the contrary.

After reading this, you might think I’m against purchasing programs and courses all together but that’s not the case at all. I’m not saying not to invest in business growth strategies, but instead to make informed, objective decisions on which investments to make in the first place.

The sad fact is that marketing can be a very manipulative process that is meant to create fear- and lack-based, emotional responses. The people we see on stage, as well as those that do highly visible free webinars, are masters at pulling these emotional triggers.

Simply be aware of that manipulation and follow the guide I outlined above to help you decide whether or not your business can truly benefit from that investment you’re being asked to make.

Do you have any stories of acting on impulse and regretting the purchase later?

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

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About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Easy Project Management Tips for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Get It Done Right, Right Now

Easy Project Management Tips for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Get It Done Right, Right Now

Using these project management concepts will increase your chances of success

Entrepreneurs, by their very nature, are big thinkers with big plans who want to make a big impact in the world. As an entrepreneur / small business owner, I get it – I do too. I also understand how many distractions there can be vying for your time every day.

After a long career with large corporations and earning my Six Sigma Green Belt, I realized that many of the things that worked well for me work equally as well in small businesses. 

Investing the time upfront to prepare your project plan and get everyone onboard is time well-spent.Click To Tweet

Project management is one of those critical skills that I believe every business owner should learn to do well.  I know how many distractions come up that could easily derail your goals if you don’t focus on doing the important things first.

Let me explain how you can utilize this skill to grow your business.

  1. Decide on your next big project goal

    Write down the name of the project and create a charter. The charter describes briefly what results you expect to accomplish.
     
    One of the many advantages of preparing a charter is that it forces you to clearly articulate what you really want. Once you know what your goal is, plan the steps to get there rather than just “winging” it and hoping for the best.

    For instance, is your project designed to:

    • Save money?
    • Increase sales?
    • Increase the number of email addresses you have in your management software?
    • Get more speaking gigs?
    • Write a book?
    • Increase the number of high-paying clients?
    • Create a new group or online program?
  2. Identify the scope of this project

    Keep the project small, focused and manageable. If it’s too big, chances of success are lower because there are so many moving parts that might compete for your time or resources. When you write your scope, list what you will do — and what you will not do.
     
    For instance, if you are working on increasing your visibility to your target audience you might consider a project around Facebook or LinkedIn. I recommend that you pick just one of them and knock it out of the park. In this case, if you picked Facebook, then state that this project does not include LinkedIn.
     
    Then you can do a separate project to work on LinkedIn with its own timeline and deliverables when you are ready.

  3. Define your baseline and your goal

    This will help you know where you are today and where you plan to be upon completion of this project. For instance, say you want to increase the number of people whom you can send marketing emails to.  
    You need to know the number of contacts today as well as the number you want to have at the end of the project. If it’s annual sales, then it’s easy to look at the past 12 months to get your actual sales. Then just set your goal as a dollar or percentage above the baseline.

  4. List each major step of the project.

    Include the name of the person responsible for completing each major step, and when each step will be accomplished.
     
    Oftentimes, one person cannot complete their step until someone else finishes theirs, so it’s important to understand the interdependencies.

  5. Determine the start and completion dates.

    Once you will have the start and completion dates, you will be able to identify milestones along the way.
     
    This will help you stay on track and accomplish your goal without a lot of stress, wasted time or forgotten steps.

  6. Prepare a budget

    The budget will define how much you will spend to accomplish the goal and when the money needs to be available. Your project may be designed to save money, such as taking on the marketing of your program yourself or changing vendors.
     
    In this case you would list when the savings will start showing up and how much more you will have in your bank account at the end of the project.

  7. Make a list of resources

    These are the resources you will need to accomplish the project. Are you going to do everything yourself or will you have a virtual assistant?
     
    Will you hire someone to prepare marketing materials, or to create your website, Facebook posts or a LinkedIn profile?

  8. Communicate clearly to everyone involved in the project

    And by clear, I mean precise, with no room for guessing or individual interpretations about what others think you want. Draw pictures, share examples and learn to speak their language if you are talking to technical people.
     
    Once you know who’s on your team, make sure they have an opportunity to provide input. One of them could hold that one big idea that will take your project from good to great.
     
    Have a brainstorming meeting – it’s is a great way to get everyone’s ideas and come up with a plan better than you could ever do on your own. After all, that’s why you invited the best & brightest to join your team in the first place, right?
     
    This process also guarantees that you have buy-in on the project and that everyone knows the objectives and their role in accomplishing them.

  9. Set up regularly scheduled meetings on your calendar

    This schedule will help you review progress, clear up any confusion, remove any barriers and provide direction.
     
    There is nothing worse than getting close to your project completion deadline only to realize that what you are getting is not at all what you expected! Especially if it all could have been avoided if you had set up the time to check in on the progress. Inspect what you expect!

  10. Set up team ground rules

    The ground rules can include frequency/length of meetings, notifying you in advance if they are going to miss the meeting, how conflicts will be handled and agreement by all that they will show up to the meetings prepared with their deliverables or notifying you well in advance if they are at risk of missing any critical milestones.

  11. Sign your charter

    I know – this might sound cheesy. But it really isn’t. This is a commitment you are making to yourself and the simple act of dating it, signing it and putting it up on your wall where it is literally in front of you all the time will make it much more likely that you will follow through and reap the benefits.

  12. Celebrate your wins along the way

    This doesn’t have to be at a high cost – it can be a simple “Thank You” card to one of your resources who delivers on schedule or a group dinner or pizza or a Starbucks gift card.
     
    A little goes a long way in motivating yourself and those on your team when appreciation is shown.

Your chances of reaching and most likely hitting it out of the park increase dramatically. And remember, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

About the Author, Katherine Hartvickson

Kathryn Wilking

Katherine Hartvickson is the founder and president of Hartvickson & Associates, Inc. dba Quantum Ascendance. She is an experienced business consultant and success coach. Since leaving the corporate world in 2009, her clients include business owners and other seriously committed professionals and entrepreneurs who want to gain the confidence and skills to break through the barriers of success and achieve their ideal life.

What separates her service from others is her experience in leading large teams and developing top performers in corporate environments and because of this, clients achieve individual & financial rewards and the recognition they earned without sacrificing their personal life. If you are interested in knowing more, she can be reached at www.QuantumAscendance.com.