Should I Re Design My Website Because My Sales Are Slow and Do I Even Need a Website in 2017?

Many website designers and programmers love to tell every business owner and decision maker that the cures to their problems in business and possibly in life will be cured if You Re Design Your Website Because That Is Why Your Sales Are Slow.   While a poorly performing website may be one of the root causes for a lack of quantifiable leads, more appropriately, often there are other root causes.  First, you need to understand that a website is NOT marketing.  It is simply an online business card.  There are over 1 Trillion (with a T) active websites online today.  Your website is not special, not recognizable, and not relevant unless you market your website.  You must send traffic to your website for it to have the potential to support your lead generation and client procurement program.  Simply creating, programming, and developing a website online is not enough to bring like-minded purchasers to your website in support of them taking an action ( A phone call, email, or a shopping cart order ).

Before you make the decision to re design your website, it is important to ensure that you have a well-executed marketing program that is driving appropriate like-minded purchases or interested users to your business and your website.   Once you possess a successful marketing program and you are driving a significant amount of traffic to your business, if your website is not performing at the appropriate conversion rate (1-5% visitors-to-conversion), then it would be the appropriate time to re design your website.

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YES, Your Business Does Absolutely Need A Website in 2017, and not just because we are a marketing firm and we say so.   One of our clients, is a high-profile business in their industry.  They were pitching one of the largest hotel chains in the world to remodel one of their 60-story buildings.  Someone in my client’s organization was using a Gmail address and the hotel chain took notice of that.  My client immediately lost the contract because the hotel chain was very concerned that our client was not large enough, or professional enough to manage the complete remodel of a 60-story hotel simply because someone wasn’t using a branded company email.  Something as simple as the wrong email address can cause you to lose a client.  A website is a critical component of your businesses Public Relations and outward facing client communication.  Your clients and potential clients will get you through your website.  Conversely, your audience may also learn more about your products or services through perusing your website.

Looking to take the leap and re-design your website? Our website design team in Melbourne specializes in WordPress, Joomla, and custom coded website development/design. Contact us today.

The AD Leaf – Who Are You?

People have asked us; Are you too small that we cannot pitch you to our investors? Are you too big for my company that I cannot afford you? How many employees do you have? Do you conduct your own marketing? Do you practice what you preach? Do you rank within organic search for your own keywords? Those questions are really great questions. Allow us to provide a bit of insight and give you a glimpse of who we are.

The AD Leaf is intrigued to collaborate in excellence with company’s at all sizes, in multiple business modalities, and industries. Our core focus is to foster positive relationships where our client’s culture centers around executing a business plan which in large part includes a well-strategized marketing plan in order to improve their company.Shareholders, employees, and investors like these sorts of new-fangled ideas, right? We collaborate and work with clients that possess a home based office up to and including one Fortune 50 and two Fortune 100 companies. Our marketing and advertising firm’s capabilities provide a boutique & mid-size agency level size with the flexibility to scale up or down to meet our client’s needs. Per the project, The AD Leaf can mold and mesh to the Main Street marketing firm size without the exorbitant cost structures often associated with these relationships.

Our capabilities allow us to develop strategies born out of the idea of ensuring our client’s success is at the center of our professional work product. We are not the agency that attempts to fit a square peg into a round hole. Please do not assume or ask if we are an SEO company because you may slightly insult us. We understand that digital marketing is not the best fit for every company, and conversely that when you tell us your only marketing program has been word of mouth that you absolutely need tremendous amounts of marketing help. We develop strategies and marketing programs that are tailored to your company’s needs, business trends, industry standards, and best practices. What success looks like to you, is what success looks like to us.

Advertising Agency Melbourne FL

Our team is comprised of degreed, innovative, well refined, and exciting professionals from diverse realms within the marketing vertical. Our leadership team has supported the growth and successful operations, and development of several Fortune 50 and 100 companies in the fields of senior level operations leadership and marketing. We also love coffee, environmental causes, human rights, and we are die hard gator fans. Once, we worked with a Noles fan and student on our team but we sent her back to college!

E: info@theadleaf.com | P: 321.255.0900 | Skype: Chris.Delarue

Writing Content For Your Company Is Much Easier Than You Think?

The topic of creating content or writing content is one where marketing agencies and clients often times do not see eye to eye. Most clients expect the agency to create all of the content for them to use in support of improving the clients marketing performance, and most agencies have not built content creation into the marketing contract the client has agreed to, so a stalemate ensues. The agency does not want to execute a client relationship that is not profitable and the client does not or feels uncomfortable to write about their business. The result is nothing happens. Each person draws a line in the sand until the client ultimately leaves the agency and feels unsupported.

There is a glimpse of hope for both sides! First, using industry specific terminology and jargon can scare, put off, or intimidate your clients. When you ask for “content” or a “blog” you may be causing nervous energy with your client, as they may feel their writing skills are not up to par. Read more

What Forms of Marketing and Advertising are Effective For My Company?

Finding the proper Marketing and Advertising Strategy

In order to understand what types of marketing or advertising methods and practices are the best fit for your particular organization, you have to first understand and identify a few key facts. First, what is the mission and intended outcome of your marketing and advertising efforts? If your company is interested in expanding your brand within your existing customer base, introducing a new product line, business line, or maybe a new business segment; your marketing strategy might differ from that of a company interested in a quick lead generation. Additionally, it is extremely critical to understand your customer and industry demographics before you commence the planning for your Marketing and Advertising Strategy (Age, income, geography, interests) the competitiveness of your industry and targeted geographic area. Certain markets may provide a quicker result with marketing efforts than others. For more information on Determining Your Budget, click here.

marketing and advertising strategy

Based on the results of this fact finding mission, they will determine which marketing practices will work for you in support of your mission. For example, if your customer demographic consists of mostly clients over the age of 60, you would most likely realize the greatest marketing benefit with Print Advertising, Local market signage, Newspaper, Radio, Television, or Magazine article marketing. Digital marketing offerings would be less as important with your customer base.

Marketing and Advertising Strategy – Conversely, if your client base consists of mostly customers in the age range of 18-45, your company will be positively impacted if you employ a strong digital marketing strategy consisting of Search Engine Optimization, Banner Advertisements with relevant and key websites, Email Marketing, and Social Media Marketing.

marketing advertising strategy

Another key factor is realizing that a diversified strategy will provide the best benefit. It is important to employ different marketing services once you fully understand your client & industry demographics and then track their success to ensure your company invests money in the best possible manner. Additionally, spend time researching which vendors are the best fit for your company and vet them well. If you hire an in-house employee to support you with marketing, understand their limitations, knowledge, and educational background. If you outsource to an agency, you will need to understand what their capabilities are and what specific or exact services the company will provide for your company. At the end of the day, as the business owner or leader, you are ultimately accountable for your decisions. Certainly, it will pay off in increased sales and profitability for your organization if you hire the best resource to improve your marketing efforts.

 

E: info@theadleaf.com | P: 321.255.0900 | Skype: Chris.Delarue

Summertime Sales Slow Down But Does It Really Have To Be?

Summer time brings lots of fun at the beach, pool parties, barbeques, and fun gatherings.  It also can be a time for sales slowdowns for many businesses.  Depending on your business model, industry, product and or service, your sales can lower drastically during the summer months.  This drastic reduction in sales can lower profitability, cause you to lay off staff, and be enough of a downturn to instill worry about your business potentially affecting your quality of life.summertime-sales-slow-down-but-does-it-really-have-to-be

This thought our idea does not have to be the reality for your business.  While these trends are cyclical in many business models, there are tactics and processes you can employ to mitigate or lessen the effects of the summer sale slow down.

Because most millennials are enjoying summer break, parents are taking vacations while their children are off from school, and many people in general tend to enjoy more time off during the summer months.  This is a great opportunity for your company to redesign and execute a well-developed Social Media Marketing strategy for your company.

With more users (your customers) reviewing social media during the summer months at a more frequent pace, a well-developed Social Media Marketing program will ensure your brand, your products, and your services are or remain at the forefront of your intended audience.  You will have more opportunities to present your business to your customers in the summer months.

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Consumers still purchase in the summer months, however, consumers will purchase from those brands that resonate with them and appeal to their needs and desires.  If you are nowhere to be found, if you are not interacting with your potential customers, and if you are not at the forefront of their attention when they are using the public and digital mediums, your sales will drop alongside of the rest of the businesses who realize a drastic sales slowdown during the summer months.

E: info@theadleaf.com | P: 321.255.0900 | Skype: Chris.Delarue

I Don’t Have Money To Market My Business

I Don’t Have the Money to Market my Business

If we had a nickel for every time we have heard the statement “I Don’t have money to market my business”, “It’s not in the budget”, or “We’ve spent so much money in marketing we are not going to do it anymore”, we would be billionaires!

Here’s the skinny. In the 1980’s my grandparents spent $2500.00 per month for a full page phone book advertisement for their business that may or may not have procured customers with their local audience of 25,000 citizens. Why? Because we had to market? Said Grandma. It wasn’t something we could afford to gamble with if we wanted to stay in business. Sure, we had referral customers, but people move away, retire, and their life situations changed.”

I Don't Have the Money to Market my Business

In business, like in life, we make time and money for what we ultimately feel is important. If you truly started a business without capital funding to run your business and execute your business plan, then you do not really have a business. What you do have is a whim and a prayer. That is not only dangerous for you, that is dangerous for your customers, employees, vendors, and will open you up to potential legal action should you default with one of many of the folks I just listed. In most situations, when we hear those statements around the availability of money written in the first paragraph, the sad reality is, is that the business owner or decision maker really doesn’t understand executing a business plan and budgeting critical expenses like compliance education, legal counseling, training, and marketing. Understanding the fundamental problem that we really do make time and money for what we “think” is important in business, the expense categories I just listed are treated as a luxury expense. The 2016 business playing field screams to us that these expenses are anything but luxury items.

In September 2013, Forbes Magazine and Bloomberg Weekly reported that 8 out of 10 business fail within the first 18 months. In addition, another sad reality is, is that many of the small business clients that approach our marketing firm to engage in marketing services have waited to the absolute last conceivable minute to do anything about marketing, they(you) are in jeopardy of losing the business and closing the doors. Many believe that $500.00 and one month of marketing is going to somehow function as the magic bullet that saves your business from failure. That is not the case. If you have waited to execute your business plan until you are in trouble, I’m afraid to tell you it may be too late.

I Don't Have the Money to Market my Business

Now that we have called out what the typical small business owner trajectory is, here is how you can prevent you and your business from becoming just another statistic and failed concept. First, educate yourself in writing a business plan. Put together funding to run your startup company. You are not the first person that has thought up a great idea, or invented a game-changing widget, or developed the best possible concept. You cannot start a business without funding and a business plan, it will not work. Interview and be sure you have vetted the right vendors to support what your needs are. Understand that you are not the subject matter expert in all areas and don’t treat critical expenses such as legal compliance, Human Resources training, corporate compliance, and Marketing as luxury expenses because they are not. Think about this conceptually like a baseball or football team. There is a reason why the pitcher is not playing all positions on the team. It’s simply because he or she is not great at right field or shortstop. He’s the pitcher! Finally, just like you would expect for the services(or goods) you sell, hire and pay your business contacts an appropriate and fair market value fee for their services. If you think you can get away with going the cheap route for any needed expense, you are going to make a devastating and costly mistake in 2016. Your competitors are educated, they possess business the professional business acumen that you don’t have, and they have been seated at the table long before you came around. If you think that you can take short cuts and create a pathway to business success you are going to become another Forbes and Bloomberg statistic in 2016.

E: info@theadleaf.com | P: 321.255.0900 | Skype: Chris.Delarue

South Florida SEO & Search Engine Optimization Florida – What Is SEO?

Once we understand our customer and client demographics, we will then be able to develop an appropriate marketing strategy that communicates effectively with our target audience.  Gen X, Gen Y, and Millennials use Google and Bing as their preferred method of searching for goods and services. Our south Florida SEO service can help you reach this lucrative market.

Many small businesses have a hard time wrapping their heads around developing a search engine optimization FL campaign or an SEO campaign because many business owners think the idea, the concept, or the action of  south Florida SEO is fake.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Over 90 million people per day use Google.  How many times have you Googled something only for the search engine to return a search result that was not accurate Or maybe, that search was not relevant.  Think about the long-standing impact that has on Google’s integrity.  If users and people (Google’s Customers) experienced this problem each time they used Google’s search engine, then Google would lose their business.  Businesses would stop advertising with Google and the consequences would be devastating.  Of course, Google does not want this to happen.  With that being said, Google works very hard to ensure the results that its search engine pull to the first page are the highest quality, the most accurate, and the most relevant for the users or Google’s customer.

 

Importance of South Florida SEO

 

Search Engine Optimization FL, SEO Melbourne FL, in part works to ensure that all of your business information presented to the search engines is consistent across all public and digital mediums.  It ensures that the information that your customers and users see when they search for your goods and services via the search engines is accurate.  Your hours of operation, your business address, your telephone number, email address, your website, and your customer reviews are all presented in a manner that may showcase your company in the best possible way for your potential customers.  South Florida SEO also serves as your digital marketing platform to allow your business listing to rank via each search engine.

95% of all users who use search engines will find and select their goods and services from the first page of the search engines.  Research has also proven, that users will only go to the 2nd page of the search engine if they are not able to find accurate or relevant information on page 1.(See how important the information presented above is now?)

South Florida SEO

Now that you understand What SEO does, let’s talk about what SEO is.  Search Engine Search results breaks out into 3 sections within the Search Engine Page.  The Pay-Per-Click section is located at the top and far right of the page.  This section is easily identified because each search result in this section is labelled as an “Ad”.   The local search results section (This section will be provided by the search engines should you search for a city or town identifier when searching) which is also commonly referred to as the Maps section is typically located underneath the Pay Per Click section ( notice the presence of the Google Map), and the “Organic Section” which are the search results that are located beneath the Google Map’s section.  Users will typically select the Pay Per Click section about 30% of the time to find goods or services.  The remaining 70% of the user selection process is directed towards the Organic search results and if a Maps segment is served by the search engine, the maps placement will be the last section of choice. Get your website to page one with our custom built SEO program today! For more information, this article by Forbes outlines why south Floirda SEO is so critical in the modern age.

E: info@theadleaf.com | P: 321.255.0900 | Skype: Chris.Delarue

Everyone says social media is the next big thing but I haven’t had a single sale from Social Media. People are lying or I’m really missing the mark-Help!

In 2015 social media marketing and social commerce drove 30% of all website traffic to websites-did you know that? With Millennials (Customers born around 2000), social media is their number one used search method to find goods and services. Gen X(1960-1980) and Gen Y(1980-2000) use social media as their 2nd preferred search option for goods and services behind Google, which is number one. Everyone says social media is the next big thing but I haven’t had a single sale from Social Media!

There are many reasons that you might not have success with Social Media Marketing. I, would not allow a Dr’s receptionist to operate on a broken bone should that emergency arise. I cannot figure out for the life of me why so many of you think you are the best person to manage marketing and social media for your business? As the florist, plumber, electrician, counselor, dentist or doctor wouldn’t your time be better spent utilizing your skills as the subject matter expert in your field?

Everyone says social media is the next big thing but I haven’t had a single sale from Social Media. People are lying or I’m really missing the mark-Help!

In order to realize success with social media marketing, you must first understand social media(based on your age demographics really define that knowledge level), the concepts surrounding success with each social media channel and the how best those principles will support your company. You must ensure that you have picked the right social media channels for your business, and you must communicate with your customers or potential customers in a way that supports them, not necessarily yourself if you’re not even your own target customer. Additionally, understand what realistic expectations should be surrounding social media success. If you’re constantly plugging your product or service three times per day, seven days per week, you’re drowning your audience, turning people off, and irritating people. Did you know that social media serves as a branding tool for your business first? Did you know that social media also serves as a customer facing or customer service segment of your business? Be meaningful and purposeful with your social media strategy and posting. Are you consistently branding your social media messages? We have seen many small business owners using the same social media accounts for business and their personal lives. That decision is disastrous for the business for many reasons.

Everyone says social media is the next big thing but I haven’t had a single sale from Social Media. People are lying or I’m really missing the mark-Help!

Give us a call and we would be delighted to audit your social media marketing performance as well as develop a comprehensive pathway to success in your branding and long term marketing performance.

E: info@theadleaf.com | P: 321.255.0900 | Skype: Chris.Delarue

Your Marketing Company Relationship: What Should Reasonable Expectations Be, How Much Should I Be Involved?

The typical progression with marketing and the life of a small business owner takes a few twists and turns. Typically, a North American based small business owner will start their business without the appropriate level of business acumen to effectively start and run a business. Forbes Magazine and Bloomberg reported that 8 out of 10 small business owners will fail in business within 18 months. (Published September 2013)

Due to this lack of knowledge, many small business owners in order to save costs (in their minds) will attempt to conduct and manage the marketing themselves. In most instances, this action quite honestly has lasting negative sales impact, profitability impact, customer service impact, and overall business branding impact. In some cases, that negative impact is difficult to realize (at least in the beginning) short term. Once you have realized that the marketing side of the business is taking significant amount of time away from you actually doing what you love(the very thing you decided to do when you opened your business), you realize that you need to hire some type of marketing support.

The next step in business owner life progression brings many of you to a crossroads. Should I hire an in house marketing person( I have read the Craigslist Ads that you have written looking for a marketing coordinator, customer service representative, sales person, personal assistant, and support person *all in one* for the bargain price of $10.00 per hour  ), or should I entertain those “spam” emails and phone calls I receive about marketing?

Once you have realized at this point in your business life progression either: Hire the $1600.00 minimum, per month cost to employ a $10.00 per hour Jack or Jane of all trades to manage Marketing, or hire one of the agencies that have been emailing you (multiple times per day) and calling you regularly. No matter which direction you have chosen, what you should establish are reasonable expectations with respects to how you manage those relationships and how much you should be involved.

Keep in mind that a marketing staffer “might be” but the marketing agency “will be” the subject matter experts in marketing and advertising. You as the business owner are the subject matter expert around your business model or widget(s) that you create and sell. If you truly wish to realize sales and profitability success with the marketing you are paying for, you must be involved in the process. It is critical that you help your employee or agency create content, images, videos, sound bites, and specials or promotions. You must provide feedback and approvals. If you are paying an employee or paying for a service why would you not show direct involvement in something you are paying for? How much time do you need to be involved? That is a great question. The answer is really contingent upon how “bad” your marketing, sales, and profitability performance historically has been. If your sales are down or flat, if your profitability is down or flat, or if your marketing program is dismal-you should plan to invest the time necessary to ensure that your employee or agency is steered in the right direction in support of success for your business. If you hire an employee or an agency and then drop off your mess in their laps, your ultimate success could be improved but most likely would only show limited improvement.

You must be collaborative: If you approach your employee or agency with a jaded eye and an “ah ha I gotcha” mentality, your employee and agency are not going to be able to function in a creative, forward looking, and proactive manner in support of your marketing success. If you spend all of your interaction time looking for items that the employee didn’t complete or the agency didn’t complete instead of looking for creative ways to execute each segment of your campaigns, you are wasting valuable time and resources. It is human nature for “people” to work hard in support of doing a great job. Work to solve the root cause of problems and then focus on moving forward. If your employee or agency missed the mark with marketing did you fail to send in content? Did you fail to create content? Did you fail to direct them with specials, promotions, giveaways? Did you take weeks to provide feedback or an approval on a priority they were waiting for? Did you NOT take the work they sent you over for approval seriously? Did you not even review it? At the end of the day, as a business owner, the only person you are accountable to is the person you see in the mirror. Be sure to be purposeful, honest, and involved with what you are paying for in business. The CEO’s of major U.S. Fortune 50 organizations do not run their day to day operations on vacation 365 days per year, why do you think that you do not have to be: Supportive, hands on, helpful, proactive, and respectful with vendor and employee relationships, while still expecting great success?

How Much Money Should My Business Spend On Marketing & Advertising-How Much Should I Budget For Marketing

Statement:  We have never really budgeted, invested or taken a look at marketing and advertising.  But now things have changed.  The population has moved and our customers are moving towards internet based research, e-commerce, and we need to change with the times.   How much should I budget for marketing?  I mean really!

-OR-

The baby boomers have retired, which is the age demographic group that relied heavily on referrals and word of mouth referrals.  We now need to do something different with our business to stay in business in 2015.

First let’s look holistically at our business model, our geographical location and our customer demographics.  Many small business owners view MARKETING, Human Resources, Legal assistance, Compliance, and training as luxury expenses.   Often times these expenses are only added to the business operations when a major problem has occurred within one of these categories or the business is running the risk of failing.  Marketing, HR, Compliance, Training, and Legal Assistance for a small business are ANYTHING BUT luxury expense items.  They are the most critical components to effectuating a successful business plan.  So, let’s discuss How much should I budget for marketing!

Successful, established, North American based businesses budget and spend 4-6% of their annual revenue in advertising. Company’s like McDonald’s, Starbucks, Walgreen’s, Walmart, mine and your successful peers.  What did I emphasize and bold type face established?  Established businesses are defined as businesses that have created an executed their business plan correctly, which in large part includes a well strategized and executed marketing plan.  If your business has not completed those components even if you may have been in business for many years, I would still categorize your business as a startup.  You are a startup because you most likely have never realized your full potential in business with sales and profitability. Startup businesses will budget and spend upwards of 10% or more of your revenue| start up capital | or borrowed capital to brand yourselves as well as generate new client leads.  Where you all will fall within your 4-6% or your 10% or more depends on the type of industry your business trades in, your location demographics, and complexity around your business model.  If your business model trades within a competitive business space such as a:  Lawyer, Dentist, Electrician, Construction, Plumber, your marketing spend will need to be budgeted at the high end of the ranges given.  If your business sells obscure, niche, or hard to find items, you would be able to budget a marketing spend at the lower end of the ranges given above.  Now that we have discussed How much should I budget for marketing, let’s discuss how to make this topic a big more palatable.

Budgeting ANY expense in business is formulated as a percentage of gross sales and included in your budget as a line item on your P & L and your budget.  I have always told my leaders in business to “solve the right problem”.  If your Labor, Cost of Goods Sold, Marketing, Office Expenses are too high, then you should control the expenses that are the outliers.  Many of us want an A office building, at the top floor, with an ocean view, however, if that rental payment causes your rental expense on your P&L to report over 16%; that is typically not an affordable rent expense.  If our budget requires us to have a home office, or rent in a B or C office building to ensure we stay between 12-16% of sales- that is the answer.

If you make it a habit to “solve the wrong problem” in business and cut expenses within the wrong line items of your businesses P & L you could very well negatively affect your top line revenue, customer experience, profitability and you could start the downward spiral of death for your business.   Lastly you might be saying to me “We’ll I don’t have the money that McDonald’s, Starbucks, Walmart, and Walgreen’s does” you’re probably right.  The key differences though between them and YOU is, is that when they were a small business like you are today, they executed their business plan correctly.  They budgeted marketing at 4-6% when times were good and when times were lean.  In large part, those decisions when they were small, allowed those companies to be who they are today.  Please send us a message if you’d like to discuss this topic: E: info@theadleaf.com | P: 321.255.0900