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Home Decorating Company has been named one of four finalists in the Best Small Business Website category.
Home Decorating Company has been nominated for the prestigious 2017 Blades Award for Best Small Business Website. Home Decorating Company’s ecommerce store, which was completely redesigned by Fan and Fuel in 2016, received one of four finalist nominations. The winner will be announced on March 9, 2017 during MivaCon 2017, an annual conference hosted by the Miva Merchant ecommerce platform.
Home Decorating Company offers a huge range of luxury bedding collections and home décor. They first approached Fan and Fuel in January 2016 for a full ecommerce redesign and custom coding of their new Miva 9 store. Working closely with Home Decorating Company to understand their unique market niche, Fan and Fuel’s creative team transformed the website into a visually stunning, easy-to-navigate site that maximizes the user experience and seamlessly boosts conversions. After the initial re-design was complete, the project was expanded to include the complete rebranding of the company and the introduction of a new Home Decorating Company logo. The award-nominated website, inspired by Home Decorating Company’s vision and driven by Fan and Fuel’s design direction and final production, was launched in August 2016.
“Yankee Retail Company is thrilled to share the Blade’s Award Nomination with Fan & Fuel,” says Wendy Potts, CEO of Yankee Retail Company – Home Decorating Company. “Fan & Fuel has been vital in transforming HomeDecoratingCompany.com into a sleek and clean website with great graphic style and user-friendly functionality for its shoppers.”
“Our goal at Fan and Fuel is to make web design and digital marketing less intimidating and more enjoyable,” says Matt Harding, founder and Creative Director of Fan and Fuel. “The owners at the Home Decorating Company provided us with feedback regarding their existing online retail and from there, we created a new framework that supports all of their product and gives a refreshed user experience. We gave each page layout individual attention to create brand story lines, and we streamlined the user flow so that all of Home Decorating Company’s product is highlighted and promoted. The new site gives customers the ability to view multiple product options and quickly add product to their cart as they become more educated on all of the bedding options.”
Based out of San Diego, CA, Miva Merchant provides total ecommerce solutions for businesses of all sizes and focuses on store security, flexible custom architecture, and sustainable business growth. Since its launch in 1997, Miva Merchant has grown to become one of the leading ecommerce solutions around, used by 1 million online businesses.
For 17 years, Miva Merchant has also held MivaCon, an annual ecommerce conference dedicated to community-building and knowledge-sharing among industry experts, B2B and B2C storeowners, and web designers and developers. The Blades Awards form a central part of the conference each year, highlighting outstanding ecommerce sites that use the Miva Merchant ecommerce platform. The Blades Best Small Business Website Award recognizes sites that offer high-end shopping experiences and custom site design that can handle large volume business. MivaCon 2017 will be held on March 8 – 10, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla in San Diego, California.
View Home Decorating Company ‘s Blades Award-nominated site at: http://www.HomeDecoratingCompany.com
- 92% of consumers hesitate to make a purchase if there are no customer reviews
- 97% say customer reviews factor into their buying decisions
- 32% say written reviews are the one element that makes them believe a site’s reviews are relevant/useful
- 73% say written reviews make more of an impression on them than star/number ratings
- 94% typically read written reviews
- 35% say one negative review can make them decide not to buy
The data from our December 2016 survey reveals that consumers want to see customer reviews for your products and services AND they look for the nitty-gritty details in customers’ written reviews—experiences and problems they’ve had, how you’ve responded to complaints, consensus on whether or not the product/service lives up to your claims and so on. Online customer reviews tell a story that consumers trust.
No Reviews, BIG Problem
If you have no reviews, 8% of people don’t care. The other 92% care very, very much.
The 32% who leave your site to do more research, they’re probably not coming back. And, when you have no customer reviews, you’ve created a barrier between customer and conversion. That is one barrier you can, and should, remove. Customers who have had bad experiences are more likely to leave reviews than those who have had a positive experience. So, you have to ask happy customers to leave reviews, which, admittedly, is not easy. Brian Patterson of Go Fish Digital offers ideas on how to ask for and get customer reviews because he says that, “Outside of the food and hospitality industry, it can be a real struggle for businesses to get positive reviews.”
It’s All in the Details
Not only are written reviews the most important element of customer reviews:
94% of consumers typically read the written reviews and 73% say written reviews make more of an impression on them than the star/number ratings.
Additionally, 34% say they like to see a mix of positive and negative written reviews. You’d expect some people to be happy and some, not so much. And that’s what people prefer to see—reviews that feel authentic.
When consumers read written reviews, 37% say they’re primarily looking for details on reviewers experiences because those details help them decide if the product/service is going to suit their needs. 31% scan the reviews to look for descriptions of problems with the product/service.
The Trusted Source
Research shows that 88% of consumers trust reviews they find online just as much as personal recommendations. Most consumers do factor customer reviews into their buying decisions.
And, 35% say one bad negative review is enough to make them decide not to buy.
You can do something about that. And according to Blake Morgan, thought leader on customer experience, you should, because, “If you try and publicly fix the customer’s problem, others are watching and applauding you for your attitude.” Read The Ultimate Guide to Handling Negative Reviews.
If You Sell Products:
64% of consumers say that Amazon is the best site for product reviews.
Reportedly, Amazon has about 185,000 active marketplace sellers in the US. Most likely, you prefer to sell your products on your own website. It’s easier, cheaper (Amazon does take a cut) and when people are on your website, you have no competitors vying for attention. But as our survey data shows, product reviews help consumers and you might see some benefit from selling your products on Amazon.
If You Sell Services
42% say that Google is the best source of customer reviews for services. 34% prefer Yelp.
Google encourages businesses to ask their customers for reviews. Besides helping your customers with their buying decisions, reviews are also important for local SEO.
And then there’s Yelp. Yelp’s support center for businesses says: “Don’t Ask for Reviews. Don’t ask anyone to review your business on Yelp. It’s that simple.” Yelp wants you to believe that if you provide great customer service, people will be be inspired to write great Yelp reviews for you. (Kinda like Google’s mantra: if you build great content, links will just come—which pretty much happens NEVER!) Yelp reviews don’t just happen and even when you manage to get a legit review, Yelp’s “helpful” algorithm can filter them out. This article, 5 Yelp Facts Business Owners Should Know, decodes the nuances of Yelp’s policies.
An Added Bonus
Not only do customer reviews have tremendous influence on people who are researching products and services, they can also have an impact on your rankings—that according to Jayson DeMers of Audience Bloom. In a Forbes.com post, he writes,“The number of positive reviews you have on external websites might actually have a bigger impact on your rankings than the reviews on your own site. This is because Google’s local search algorithm incorporates data from a number of third-party directories and review sites.”
Consumers are skeptical about buying a product based solely on the seller’s information. Online customer reviews are often as important as photos and product descriptions. Start by asking your best customers to write reviews for you on Google and Facebook and encourage them to provide detail in their written reviews. Tackle bad reviews immediately—always respond and convey your eagerness to help the unhappy customer. Read this article for examples how real business owners have effectively responded to negative reviews.
David Sawyer of ZudePR asserts that “Google Reviews, especially in B2B/service sector industries, are criminally underused.” There’s an opportunity—especially for small businesses! Persuade your customers to write Google reviews and not only will you help your customers with their buying decisions, you’re likely to see better local SEO results too. Put these strategies into play and you can edge out competitors that put no effort into getting customer reviews.
When launching a startup, most entrepreneurs have to do everything single handed. But as you start to grow, it’s usually wise to turn over digital marketing to the experts. And when you don’t want to hire a full-time marketing team, that means outsourcing to an experienced digital marketing strategist.
The best digital marketing specialists can not only improve every aspect of your online presence, but actually grow your brand’s visibility, get you more clients, and earn you more money. What’s better than that?
Here are some of the focus areas a digital marketing strategist will improve for your business.
High Quality Website
If your website is working slow, you are doomed. Wholly 40% of people will leave your website, and most likely never return, if a page doesn’t load within three seconds. That’s all it takes to essentially make or break a company in 2016: three seconds. On top of that, most websites begin to look horribly dated after just two years.
By working with the professionals, however, you will always be the proud owner of a high quality website that not only looks amazing, but also functions great and loads quickly.
Search Engine Optimization
You can’t go too far in the online world if people can’t easily find your website. Just because you have a great product and a professionally designed website doesn’t mean people will automatically flock to it. You have to have some sort of SEO strategy to get your website to the top of a search result for your particular industry. Unless you have several years to spare to become an SEO expert, you’ll have better luck finding your own personal digital marketing strategist.
Social Media Marketing
There’s a reason your local plumbing company has a Facebook and Twitter page. Social media is an essential tool for any business looking to thrive on the web. Yes, a veterinarian or web design company might be better placed to stand out on social media, but every company should be optimizing their social media presence.
These social media platforms give you the opportunity to speak directly to your customers, and potentially find new ones.
Online Advertising and Remarketing Campaigns
Many business owners don’t realize just how many types of online advertising there are to choose from, or how these platforms differ from search engine optimization or social media marketing. But even if you understand the difference between online display advertising, remarketing campaigns, pay-per-click ads on Google AdWords, and “Boosted” Facebook posts, successfully running one of these ad campaigns is another story.
If you want to see fast results from your digital efforts, then online advertising is an ideal solution.
Looking for a digital marketing strategist to help improve your company’s online presence? Contact Fan and Fuel today!
It’s no secret that the future of advertising is all about digital marketing. From web design to SEO strategies, it’s standard procedure these days for business large and small to carefully monitor their online presence and to use the Internet to attract business.
But that’s just it: As more and more brands flock to the web, it’s become increasingly difficult to stand out from the pack. That’s why top-notch digital marketing services will be more important than ever throughout the months and years to come.
A Growing User Base
Estimates suggest that by 2019, over half of the world’s population will be on the web — 3.9 billion people. E-commerce today generates some $1.2 million USD every 30 seconds, but as more consumers begin to rely on the Internet, sales — and competition — are bound to increase.
At the same time, the Internet is also getting smarter. Google’s algorithms have become increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to weed out the spam from the steak, so to speak. Digital marketing services that can provide you with real, human content that connects with other real humans will be key in taking your search rankings to page one.
Social media outreach is nothing new in digital marketing, but the ways that users engage with the dozens of apps and sites they may use on a daily basis is always changing. From quizzes and streaming to Snapchat filters and dating apps, the opportunities are ripe for clever social campaigns that utilize all of the latest cutting edge features.
Security will also be an important issue in the coming years of web design, mobile outreach, and digital marketing. You want to not only make sure that your company is safe from data breaches or hacks, but that your consumers feel safe and confident when conducting business through your site or app.
Ready to Launch
As 2016 slowly draws to a close, we can learn a lot from the year behind us. Anyone who works with the web knows the power it has to spread content, engage audiences, and drum up new business. The key for the future will be to keep that momentum going.
Website design trends come and go, and if your page is feeling and looking a little “2012,” it might be time to think about an upgrade. Modern web design is all about bold understatements — a juxtaposition of beauty and simplicity. Here are four trends we’ve got our eyes set on for the next wave in web design ideas.
- A Strong Hero Image
A “hero image” is a large, full-screen picture that takes up your landing page. This trend is popular among businesses and services because, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s important that the picture tells a story or conveys an idea — it’s not just a random shot unconnected to your company aesthetic. Simple text over the image can also help enhance the effect.
- Long Scroll Pages
Instead of having to navigate through different pages, continuous scroll websites offer a kind of responsive web design, especially for mobile users. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: You have to think mobile when you think about modern web design. Companies that take the time to build a specific mobile web design for their site see increased sales 62% of the time.
- The Hamburger Menu
At the same time, you can’t always cram everything onto one long-scroll page, and having multiple pages still has its benefits. The three-line menu button, called a “hamburger menu,” has become par for the course on mobile and computer sites alike. It’s sleek and unobtrusive, which makes it perfect to utilize on any kind of site.
- Hover Animations
Animations that kick into action only when the user is hovering over them make for a fun “Easter Egg” experience, to engage customers and propel them to action. It’s an easy way to highlight what’s clickable and lead your viewers through a map leading to eventual action at the end of the road.
If you’re ready for a website makeover, you’re in luck. Today’s modern web design trends are more sophisticated and simple than ever, making for computer and mobile pages that benefit consumers and companies alike. Contact us today to learn how you can bring your site into the modern age.
The design of your company’s website can truly make or break your entire brand. Everyone is on the Internet today (some of your potential customers even grew up using it), and users know what they do and don’t like when it comes to web design.
Your website either looks professional, or it doesn’t. There is no middle ground when it comes to website design.
It’s important to consult with an experienced digital marketing agency for website assistance, but here are some essential modern web design ideas that you should keep in mind for your site.
- Speed — If your website doesn’t load fast, you’re doomed. In today’s instant world, if people don’t get to where they want immediately, they go crazy. If it takes more than three seconds to load your site, a majority of visitors will click away.
- Usability — A 22-year-old tech prodigy and a 69-year-old retired grandmother should be able use your website. A surefire way to get visitors to leave in angry frustration is to make the website too complicated.
- Functionality — Along with usability, the simple ability to do what a website is supposed to do cannot be understated. Make sure your scroll bars scroll, your pictures load, your links work, and that all the crucial information users need is easy to find.
- Aesthetically Pleasing — Small details like using bullet point lists over regular lists can actually make a major difference. One survey of online behavior found that roughly 70% of people will take the time to look at lists that use bullets, but only 55% of people will read lists without bullets. Your website doesn’t need to look flashy, but information still needs to be displayed in a readable way.
- Social Media Links — Providing visitors with a way to follow you on Twitter, “like” you on Facebook, and share your content is a great way to engage with your customers and build your brand.
- Mobile — So many online consumers shop through their mobile devices, so it’s important that your website properly works on cell phones. About 62% of eCommerce companies that designed a mobile site saw a subsequent increase in their sales.
- Images and Videos — One of the better web design ideas that business can take advantage of is simply adding pictures and videos to your websites. You don’t want to have too many photos and videos on your page, but your visitors will enjoy looking at a few. Hero images and background videos have become especially popular in recent years.
- Simplistic View — According to Inspired Magazine, you only have 10 seconds to make an impression on a visitor and let them know what they’re going to get out of your website. If your website is filled with nonsense and clutter, it will actually stress users out and they will flee. However, if you have plenty of whitespace and a nice, clean layout, you will see positive results.
- Make Sure Everything Fits — Everything should fit on the page. It’s okay for users to scroll down and check out the rest of the page (in fact, long scrolling is the new standard for homepages), but you should never, ever have horizontal scroll bars!
- Organized Menus — You should have a quality menu bar at the top of your page that will allow visitors to easily maneuver through all of your web pages. Make sure every page is labeled properly and in its correct position. On the backend, make sure you have a sitemap.
- Don’t Forget the Call To Action — Make sure to have a simple way for your visitors to easily find the contact page and information about how to get in touch with you. Introduce compelling calls to action throughout your website.
If you are in need of digital assistance of any kind, contact Fan and Fuel today to speak with our web developers and learn more about your web design ideas.
Owning a small business is hard, really hard. You essentially have to do 50 people’s jobs at once. At least during your company’s infancy, you probably have to handle all the finances, the payroll, the maintenance, the production, distribution, the product and service itself, advertising, and much more.
And in 2016 there’s a relatively new phenomenon that small business owners can add to the list: digital marketing.
Digital marketing — if you aren’t properly trained — can seem like a completely foreign language. You have to worry about HTML coding, SEO, and a whole bunch of acronyms that can cause your stress level to go through the roof.
Luckily, there are solutions out there for you.
What Digital Marketing Services Are Available Today?
Ecommerce makes more than $1.2 million every 30 seconds. It’s a massive industry that didn’t even exist a few decades ago. Now, companies and professionals dedicate their entire careers to figuring out this new industry and learning how to transition offline companies to the online world.
That’s where digital marketing services come in.
Web Design Firms
Working with an experienced web design firm will enable your website to not only stand out from the crowd, but actually function properly. Too many people put too much emphasis on aesthetics when it comes to web design and not on functionality. That’s a major problem. Wholly 40% of people will leave a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load. That’s it — three seconds. Professional web design firms can ensure that doesn’t happen to your page.
Search engine marketing, another industry that was nonexistent a few decades ago, is changing the way businesses use the Internet. Google, Yahoo, and other search engines now influence just under 90% — 88% to be precise — of all business purchasing decision. There are new rules and new ways to improve your search rankings that come out seemingly every month nowadays, so it’s important to work with companies that know what they’re doing. They can provide your company with a strategic SEO plan and improve your entire online marketing campaign.
It’s amazing to see how far we have come over the last 100, 20, or even five years. Ecommerce — buying and selling via the Internet — now generates more than $1.2 million every second. That’s $72 million every minute coming from a network that didn’t even exist a few decades ago.
Times have changed.
It’s more important than ever to stand out online and succeed in this fast-paced virtual world. There are plenty of things that you can do to improve your business yourself, but consulting with a digital marketing specialist is your best bet.
What to Look for in a Digital Marketing Specialist
There are a lot of factors that go into your businesses’ marketing campaigns. Our online advertising has to look professional, provide necessary information, and actually function.
Many businesses underestimate the importance of quality web design. If your website has one broken link and a customer finds out, you can almost guarantee that you will lose their business. Even if everything does work, if your website feels too slow for the user, they will leave. Wholly 40% of consumers will leave a web page if it fails to load after only three seconds. Three seconds, that’s all it takes.
Search Engine Optimization Services
The marketing specialist who you’re going to be working with should be knowledgeable on SEO and know how to incorporate it into various marketing campaigns. Search is a major part of online interaction nowadays. More than 80% of all Internet users are using search engines.
The digital marketing consultant who you decide on should know more than just SEO keyword stuffing. They should know how to affect mobile searches, content marketing, social media SEO, and much more.
Always Growing and Improving
Because the Internet is always changing — see 1990s CNN — it’s important for digital marketing specialists to stay up to speed and even ahead of the game. We never know when new versions of marketing services like SEO, social media, or even email will be implemented into the digital world — so it’s essential we plan ahead and always leave room to grow.
Consult with digital marketing professionals today if you need any help improving your digital marketing strategy.
The term, “Search engine optimization” should now be in the lexicon of every business in the world. Without SEO, your company doesn’t stand a chance in the competitive virtual world that is the Internet. You have to make sure you’re focusing enough time, energy, and resources on SEO so you can maximize your profit and improve your business.
There are many SEO strategies that are all important for business. Here are a few that should help you:
As the (new) age-old expression goes, “content is king.” People don’t want to see boring nonsense stuffed into their newsfeed and on the web pages they visit. They want to actually benefit from what they found. If you can write quality and engaging content while implementing that into your SEO campaign, your business will be much better off.
If you’re a dentist, for example, your SEO content should be a little more substantial than just a few dentistry keywords jammed next to each other. However, if you write something that tells a story, entertains, informs, or engages with your target audience, you will have a much better chance of succeeding online.
SEO for Mobile Devices
Just about every functioning company is online and a high percentage of them are using SEO. That being said, there are so many companies that do not have SEO for mobile devices or even mobile web pages at all. More than half — 52% — of consumers are less likely to shop with a company that has a bad mobile site.
Having a strong mobile online presence is more important than ever. Wholly 62% of businesses that have designed a website for mobile use have seen an increase in sales. Consumers are on their phones more than ever before, so it’s important to be accessible. Approximately 70% of all mobile searches lead to an online action within one hour.
National and international SEO campaigns work well depending on your business, but a local SEO strategy is what your company needs to stand out against area competitors. You don’t want consumers to decide where to take their business bases on proximity. You might have the best shoe store in town, but if you aren’t advertising correctly and ranking high on those search engine results pages, people are going to take their business to closer stores and places they found online. Reaching your local audience with your SEO campaign can help ensure your target audience is aware of your business.
Improve your SEO marketing by writing compelling content, implementing SEO for mobile devices, and having quality local SEO campaigns.
Technology has revolutionized how our businesses advertise. The competition between organizations has now not only reached a global level but a virtual level as well. There are millions of companies and billions of web pages out there — so standing out online is tougher than ever.
If your company is not online, there is a good chance you won’t even have that company soon. It’s imperative for businesses to be online and have a successful online presence. Here are some tips that can help improve your digital marketing:
Professional Web Design
Having an unskilled intern design your entire website is never a good idea. This isn’t something that you should just glance at and then ignore. Having a website gives your company an image, and if that image is negative or unprofessional, your whole organization will suffer from it.
While it’s important for your website to be aesthetically pleasing, it’s just as important to have a functioning site. Wholly 40% of consumers will abandon a web page completely if it takes more than three seconds to load. If you’re unaware of how to improve your site’s functionality, consult the pros.
To have your company stand out, hiring a web design firm to focus on your mobile site can be great for business. Roughly 46% of all mobile users report having difficult interactions with mobile web pages and 44% admit that navigating these sites was difficult. A web designer can ensure your page is both mobile-friendly and functional (and make sure it looks professional).
Search Engine Optimization
Along with email, searching is the number one activity online users take part in. Search engines now influence more than 88% of all business-purchasing decisions. Consulting with a professional marketing company that offers SEO services can help you get ahead of the competition and rank higher on a search engine results page (SERP).
Because there are billions of web pages and only 10 or so listings on a results page — and only the top three get the most traffic — the competition in the SEO world is extremely tough. That’s why it’s important to use SEO services and give your company a chance at competing.
Using content marketing for your SEO campaign can increase your rankings and improve your business. People want to have access to quality, original, and engaging content. Rather than just typing business keywords into a nonsense page just to boost your ranking, actually spending some time and producing high-quality content can result in a much more profitable gain.
Having a good website and strong SEO strategy is a great start, but you can always do more to improve your online presence. Your social media accounts are a reflection of your business just as much as your official website is. If you are not active on social media, your target audience will assume that your company is lazy and might not offer the best product or service. Stay active on all your social media accounts by posting relevant information, links to your SEO content, and anything else that can benefit your target audience.
Being active on your social media accounts is one thing, but engaging with your target audience on there can make your brand stand out even more. Simple things like responding to a customer’s question, saying thank you, or just conversing with your target audience can shine a wonderful light on your organization.
There are so many things that you can do to improve your company’s digital marketing strategy. But working with professional web designers, consulting with an SEO service provider, and improving your social media are three great places to start.