How Your Business Can Weather the Pandemic

Digital Marketing

The pandemic has the business world reeling. From the largest corporation to the smallest mom-and-pop joints, everything is affected, from the way we network to how we do business and keep our communities prosperous. If you’re struggling to keep your small business afloat, there are ways to weather the storm—and perhaps even turn things around so you thrive.

Social distancing changed how we’re conducting our daily activities in a multitude of ways, and the internet has proven to be a lifeline to small businesses and their clientele alike. There are many internet-related business solutions you can turn to, and the list begins with an e-commerce website.

 If you run a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment, the transition to e-commerce will take some doing, but with a little planning, you’ll be set up for success. You’ll want your website to include appropriate features and functions, like a shopping cart, links to your social media pages, blog push notifications, and contact information. A Level Up Design & Media can help you with creating your website quickly, saving you the time, money, and energy of trying to DIY a solution and ending up with a site that’s less than adequate.

 Another e-commerce aspect to consider is having your own app. A stand-alone mobile app offers a plethora of key benefits to small businesses. It’s a chance to build customer loyalty and tailor your marketing efforts directly to your clientele, capitalizing on their web and spending habits. You also amplify your visibility. Since you’re just a simple tap away, you can become their go-to. 

Delivery of Products and Services

Keep in mind that since you won’t have customers heading to a cash wrap counter, you’ll need to decide how you want to handle shipping and fulfillment. You can DIY the process, or you can hire a third party to tackle it on your behalf. Explore your shipping options to provide a good value to your customers, and remember that while you probably won’t be able to offer next-day shipping in the current climate, a decent turnaround time at a reasonable price will often more than satisfy your customers.

Similarly, those running service-based businesses can change their delivery method if they haven’t already done so. For instance, consultations can be performed online, in a similar fashion to telemedicine. Salons and spas can focus on selling related products for the time being, offer gift certificates, and even sell T-shirts and other promotional items featuring their logo. This way, you not only generate some income, you’re building marketing into your sales.

Market Appropriately

Gone are the days of Yellow Pages ads, and until travel picks up, almost nobody is seeing billboards. With social distancing measures in place, social media has taken on an increasingly significant role in people’s lives, and in the lives of small business owners. Small Business Trends explains that it’s an ideal place to connect with your customers, especially right now. With everyone cooped up inside, use is up dramatically, and it only makes sense to make it a part of your business’s marketing strategies.

 Social media provides your followers with the opportunity to get to know you more personally, and you can chat and comment with them, deepening the relationship and connection they feel with you. You can highlight new products and services, answer questions, and share information about your reopening, create a new website, and so forth.

 While the obvious outreach via social media channels is to post blurbs about your business, you can use it in other ways as well. Consider hosting a live event, for instance. Think about how it can mesh with your products and services. Bars are able to host trivia nights, boutiques can offer live sales, and musicians can perform for their followers. Having professional social media management can be a huge advantage.

Professionalism Counts

While it’s tempting to just try to use your smartphone’s camera for your broadcasts, for a more professional presentation, plan to set up some gear in your home or workplace for live events and other video recordings. Some lighting, an appropriate camera, microphone, and so forth, will make all the difference in producing a quality video to impress your followers and translate into sales. You can also opt for professional video and photography that can not only be used socially, but also make your website interactive through 360 degree photography and AR (augmented reality) services that are extremely affordable.

This option can open up a world of marketing and advertising options you may have had interest in, but didn’t know how to accomplish. In turn, this opens the door to your own video channel for your business. An advantage to recorded videos is the ability to control the output more cleanly, so you can highlight different aspects of your business than you might in a live presentation, and if you don’t like how something comes out, it’s easy enough to edit it accordingly.

Adapt Your Space

When the guidelines limiting travel were released, did you close your doors indefinitely? Depending on where you live and how quickly the nation recovers, you’ll need to reopen. Now is the time to think about what that might entail.

As CNN explains, stores are struggling to get masks for their workers, so you might want to consider what solutions are at your disposal. You can make them yourself or order them through crafters, or you might be able to source them online when the need isn’t so great.

In-house, many retailers and other small businesses have installed plastic shields to enhance employee and customer safety. Some stores have taped lines on the floors and hung signs to indicate where lines can form and where customers can wait their turn. Offices might need to space desks more broadly, and restaurants might need to spread out booths and tables. If you haven’t reopened yet, contemplate what reopening could mean for you so you have a plan.

Lastly, you need to determine what cleaning and disinfecting solutions are necessary for your small business. Executing government guidelines involves some planning and, just like with masks, some cleaning products are difficult to come by. If that situation continues, you need to decide if you will hire a cleaning service or attempt to acquire products sufficient to keep up a routine.

Keeping your small business afloat during the pandemic is challenging, but it’s far from impossible. Ensure you have your products and services available in a format customers can obtain, have a strategy for delivery, market wisely, and prepare for resuming operations. Things may or may not return to how they once were, but either way, you’ll be ready.

To help position your business for growth, turn to the digital marketing services of A Level Up Design & Media. We can take your vision and create the best user experience that will level up your business. 

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Leveraging Web Design and Digital Marketing for Business Success

Digital Marketing

The era of a business managing without a website is over. If a business wants to thrive in today’s market, it must have an excellent online presence. More and more of our lives are happening online. Everything from shopping, to entertainment, to meeting with friends and family can take place in the virtual world. It’s vital that business owners take advantage of this space and use the digital resources available to them. A Level Up Design & Media is an excellent ally when it comes to developing your company’s digital marketing. We’re going to take you through some of the basics of web design and digital marketing, including building a budget, auditing your site, and taking a look at some of the cutting-edge forms of digital advertising:
Your first step when it comes to developing a digital marketing plan should be determining your budget. Marketing is an investment, especially early on. Businesses that have only been around a few years should expect to allocate 12 to 20 percent of their gross revenue on marketing. If you’re more established, six to 12 percent should do the trick. Although this is a good rule of thumb, it doesn’t always feel possible. For example, a three-year company that suffered major losses due to COVID-19 might not be able to spare 20 percent and still keep the wheels moving. If you’re in this boat, look into relief funding. Although it might be tempting to simply skimp on the marketing budget, this will bite you in the long run. You need customers to think of you first when they need your product or services, and quality marketing makes that possible.
Building a New Website (or Auditing an Existing One)
A great website can do wonders for your business. Unfortunately, many companies don’t have great websites – in fact, many don’t even have good ones. It’s really common for business owners to put together a slapdash site at their company’s conception with a “We’ll fix it later” attitude. If this is you, “later” has arrived. That slapdash website isn’t doing you any favors. If you’re building a new site from scratch, we can’t recommend turning to a professional web designer enough. There are major, obvious differences between a professionally designed website and a DIY job. Even sites made with user-friendly site builders are better looking and more functional with professional input. Choose a designer with proven expertise in conversion-driven funneling techniques, a strong eye for design, and a good sense for the user experience.
If you’re tweaking an existing website, start with an audit. This is an evaluation of every page, link, and button on your site. Comb through your site to identify any dead links, missing pages, outdated information, or unprofessional typos. This also gives you a chance to identify any bugs that disturb the user experience, such as un-clickable buttons or frustrating dropdown menus. Make your site as user-friendly as possible, and always focus on creating pathways that turn visitors into customers.
Expanding Your Digital Reach
Finally, expand your reach by taking advantage of multiple marketing channels. For example, you can use geofencing to capture potential customers. This is technology that allows you to target advertising to a specific physical location, based on cellular GPS information. So you could use this to have an ad for your coffee shop pop up when someone down the road scrolls through their Instagram feed. You can also look into OTT and CTV advertising. These are methods of advertising that reach people who aren’t watching traditional TV. Since fewer and fewer people are relying on cable or satellite for their entertainment, reaching them over streaming services and smart devices is an absolute must. These are just a few ideas to get you started on forming your digital marketing plan. Remember, marketing is an investment, and you should make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Turn to your team’s marketing expert – or reach out to A Level Up Design & Media – to ensure you reach the customers you need.
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Practical Web Projects to Help Your Small Business Flourish

Digital Marketing, Web Design Tips

More and more consumers are turning to online resources for shopping and discovering new companies, and this trend doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon (if it ever does). That’s why it’s now more important than ever for small businesses to prioritize the web.

Since some web projects can seem overwhelming to take on yourself, you can enlist a marketing agency or even freelancers to help. By using freelance platforms, you can connect qualified professionals for any web-related task out there, and you can hire them for short- or long-term work. With a digital marketing agency, you get a team of professionals that specialize in every aspect of the digital realm. All of your projects are managed to save you time and money, and the agency should also help bring new ideas to your growth.

From website improvements to chatbots to survey forms, here are some rock-solid ideas for web projects that can take your business to the next level.

If you don’t have a website for your business, or if your website could use some improvements, that’s a great place to start. Having an attractive website that is easy for users to navigate is critical in this day and age. By providing visitors with quality content (e.g., blogs, videos, photos, etc.), you can ensure that your company makes a good impression. A Level Up Design can help you craft an excellent website that fits your business and appeals to customers.

Mobile Apps

In many ways, the term “mobile” is synonymous with the web. In fact, experts predict that nearly 73 percent of internet users around the world will use only their smartphones for the web by 2025. Along with making your website mobile-friendly, consider having a mobile app developed for your small business. There are no limits to the features you can include in your app, and it’s a great way to encourage customer loyalty and expand your audience.

Chatbots

Another web project to consider is adding chatbots to your website. Perhaps the most significant benefit of using chatbots is that your customer service will reach new heights, which can ultimately increase audience engagement and sales. Many of your customers won’t have to wait for a returned phone call or email response, as they can get the majority of their problems solved and questions answered instantly through your site. Social media, too, is an excellent platform to use for customer service chatbots.

Checkout Experience

If you have an online store, make sure the checkout process is as seamless and secure as possible for customers. While most third-party platforms have an already-designed checkout, you have a lot of customization power for your own website. Focus on efficiency; don’t bother a potential customer with a lengthy sign-in or registration process, and ensure that the process is easy to navigate. Make it to where finding an item, choosing a shipping method, and paying for the order is fast, safe, and secure.

SEO is what helps your company’s website show up on web searches. For example, search engine optimization increases the likelihood that a consumer searching for “boutique baby clothes” will see your website show up on the first or second page of searches. SEO is complex; similar to the other projects on this list, it’s something that you want to be handled by a professional if you don’t have adequate experience.
Survey Froms

What better way to learn how you can better serve your customers than to ask them? Surveys and questionnaires allow you to collect relevant data on your target audience so that you can know what improvements to make to your business plan and operations. And you can make them as short or as long as you like.

It’s difficult to imagine most small businesses surviving these days without using the web to their advantage. Evaluate your company’s strategy, and consider what kinds of web projects could help you reach a wider audience and inspire customer loyalty. Along with those listed here, always be on the lookout and stay open-minded to other projects that could help your venture thrive now and in the future.

Contact A Level Up Design & Media and we’ll help you gain insight into what practices can work best to help your business thrive. You can call us directly at (520) 809-2145

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Search Engine Optimization & Online Marketing

Digital Marketing, On Page Search Engine Optimization

Effective Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization can be a serious challenge for most online businesses, making it effective, even more so. Changes to algorithms by Google, Yahoo, and Bing will continuously alter your SEO and online marketing strategies. At the same time, greater time strains will be put on you and/or an in-house marketing team. If you’re managing all of your Search Engine Optimization efforts, you may want to consider hiring the services of experts in the field.

On-Page Optimization

High page rank through back-linking is among the many goals of SEO. Raking in the inbound links from various other sites to yours will be possible through quality and relevant content coming from your website. This strategy is commonly thought to be On-Page Optimization but is actually Off-Page Optimization, and both can take months or even years to cultivate. But these strategies are crucial to being found online. Both strategies share similarities while having key differences which we will delve into within another article. For now we will simply refer to the strategy as on-page optimization.

Here are some pointers to help in adding that extra something to your website content:

Researching Keywords

Most people understand that keywords are important for any website design as they attract traffic to your website based on what your potential customer base searches for on any given search engine. Keyword research and creation, however, is not a one-time process. Targeted words must be updated at regular intervals. There are tools such as the Google Keyword Planner which can be used to research keywords for your site. It must be remembered, however, that there are numerous overlooked keywords and key phrases. Also, there are misleading ones which can hurt you in terms of relevant traffic.

Keyword Analytics | A Level Up Design & Media | Search Engine Optimization
A Level Up Design & Media produces search engine optimization analytics for clients. This helps give an understanding of rank changes and new strategies needed in on-page optimization.
Landing Page Creation and Optimization

Landing pages are an important factor to not only the optimization of your website, but also to lead generation and customer connection. Interior pages of your website can be optimized for specific long-tailed search terms instead of using the site’s home page for every single term that you care about. At the same time, a professional will create ads based around these landing pages or vice-versa in order to ensure the right content is being found by the right individual, thus potentially generating better conversions as the customer is directed and “lands” exactly on what they’re searching for. This improves the overall visibility of the higher-level pages on a broader term search.

Optimize Page Titles

Title structures are an important part of on-page optimization. Your keyword should ideally appear in the title of the page, and its length should be 60 to 65 characters. A note to mention is that Google has now even begun to take the pixel length of a title into consideration.

URL Optimization

Keyword and phrase logic that applies to a titles optimization applies to URLs too. The main or critical words you want to rank for should also be featured in the URL. This can be a time-consuming process and A Level Up Design & Media can handle this expertly for you.

Meta Data

Meta tags, also called the description tag are key elements to your website’s optimization. These description tags should be on every page you want to target. Information contained within these tags are used by search engines and are the main description your potential audience will see. Therefore, the words contained in these tags should be relevant to the content on the site or individual landing page. 

Though we attempt to break down this information and make it a bit simpler, there are a lot of technical nuances that go into SEO and on-page optimization. It also must be remembered that every business has different marketing needs. At A Level Up Design & Media we study your business requirements and offer customized solutions. Call us at (520) 809-2145 or visit our digital marketing page to start your impactful online marketing journey.
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