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Having the strongest tools in your online marketing toolbox should be one of your top priorities for your business. Having a strong, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to use website should be one of those incredibly sharp tools!
Hello, Summerville! Welcome back to the blog writers desk and welcome to December! How excited are you to drive and walk around our cute little town and see it decorated to the holiday nines? Don't forget to shop local and shop small this year. 2020 has been a hard year for all of our local businesses, and right now more than ever they need your love and support. Our incredible town has something for everyone on your holiday shopping list this year. Personalized and unique gifts, gift cards to your favorite restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries, and fun (socially distanced and safe) activities, and much more can all be found right here in the sweet tea capital of the world! Don't forget, shopping locally and supporting local small businesses help support our neighbors and our local economy. Investing in it is an investment back for you! Also, if you don't feel safe shopping or ordering in person from all of your favorite local businesses, many of them are selling their products, gift cards, and services on their websites! Many local artists are also selling their goods on Etsy, on their websites, off of their social media pages, and more! If you need any recommendations on where to shop this year, please reach out to us, visit your favorite local Summerville websites, and ask around! Make this holiday a very special one, regardless of how difficult it has been for all of us!
Speaking of online shopping, social media pages, and websites we wanted to focus on sharpening one of the many important tools you need to have in your small business toolbox this time of year, and all year round. We need to start the conversation about having an excellent website. After making it through all of your online holiday marketing planning these last few months and putting all of that into action, it's time to get ready for the upcoming new year. We know how busy this time of year is for you, but we also know you understand that work for a small business never stops. All of us at Creative are constantly pushing ourselves and working towards how we can better ourselves to help our clients, and how we can help our clients grow to their next level of business. One of the many steps we help our clients grow and prosper in, what one of our tops services is, and what we promote very often our on social media pages is having a strong, functional, and beautiful website. As the 2018 and 2019 winners of the Readers Choice and Berkeley County Best Web Design Firm, we wanted to dedicate one of our very last blogs of 2020 to the many reasons why having an excellent website is so important.
In today's world where almost all first introductions and interactions individuals make with a new company, restaurant, or service start with a Google search, having an excellent website is a must. This will be your introduction to most of your new clients, supporters, and consumers. It is more likely for a curious individual to turn to their web browser to look for what they need or ask for an opinion through their social media network than any other forms of search. Having a welcoming, easy to navigate, and beautiful website serves as that first handshake in these situations, and automatically gives you credibility to these new hopeful potential clients without you having to lift a finger. Google helps with these introductions too, especially if your SEO is top-notch.
However, if you don't even have a website, that can be a fatal blow to your company and a huge loss in clients and sales. The amount of organic traffic your company will receive by having a website is incredibly important and can be stronger than print, radio, or TV advertisement in many cases. However, if you are only using print, TV, and radio advertisement and don't have a website, this will automatically cause you to lose credibility too. It will seem strange in today's world that you wouldn't have a website. Potential customers want to learn more about your services, your prices, and how to contact you without having to go digging to find it. If this isn't readily available through a website, it is highly unlikely that they would choose your business over someone who does have a website with all of this information. Having a website is one step closer to knowing and trusting the company behind the website before even choosing to work with someone.
That being said, if you do have a website but it's not pleasing to the eye, difficult to navigate, lacking information, and lacking contact information, this will also repel your potential customers. No one wants to spend extra time nor do they want to get frustrated by having to dig for information, get confused on how to interact with your website, or not finding any of the information they are looking for. You want a design that's pleasing to look at, explains exactly what your company does and what it offers, who customers can talk to, all while staying true to your unique brand.
[Sense of Easy, not Urgency]
You have a strong, beautifully crafted, and easy to navigate website - now what? In 2020, the pandemic has kept many people out of brick and mortar stores, and kept them to window shopping on their phones and computers from the safety and comfort of their couches. This trend has been powerful and popular even before the pandemic hit. Physical window shopping is slowly becoming a thing of the past while the power of scrolling and Google search shopping is slowly starting to take its place. It's easier, faster, and a gateway to finding new products and services at the click of a button. It's also a huge time saver and potentially a huge moneymaker for your business. Where does this all start? With a strong website.
While many new clients might find out about your products and services thanks to your social media pages on Instagram and Facebook, they will still be lead to your website landing page to decide if they're going to buy from you and what they're going to buy. Having a website can also expand your customer base. You or your brick and mortar shop might be located on the west coast, but having a website could allow you to sell your goods across the country or even globally. You are opening the market to anyone in the world, or where you personally choose to ship to, by having a website.
In this day and in this year, where the pandemic has made it hard to hold onto a brick and mortar location, a website can free you up from the responsibilities that come with it and the rent you have to pay to keep it. If you have a strong website backed up by an incredibly active social media and SEO presence, and you can ship your goods and products anywhere, you don't need that brick and mortar store unless you want it. On the other hand, if your company offers a service and you prefer to operate mobile out of a car or company vehicle, a well-crafted website can continue to promote your services while also avoiding a brick and mortar location.
[A Conversation Worth Having]
We've talked about the importance of communication in many of our blogs. Responding to comments or messages on social media in a very timely manner, responding to emails as quickly as possible, and giving your customers a place to start a conversation are some of the most important practices a business needs to have and provide. Having a website allows this communication to happen with ease and allows it to be organized for you and instant for your customers. It provides the information needed to contact you with any questions, problems, and concerns right away. Adding a chatbox can provide quick and 24/7 customer support instantly, too. This also allows, subconsciously, for your clients to connect with you and trust you with ease and without causing a headache.
Don't forget that a website not only makes the process easy for your clients, but it also makes your job easier too. That's the dream right there, isn't it? Once you create your stunning website and keep up with its maintenance throughout your company's lifetime, you're set to go. At this point, you'll have nowhere to go but up. A website will also be a godsend for your marketing team, who need all your love this time of year. Once you've established an excellent website, planning for sales, holidays, and new products will be so much easier for them. They have a landing page to display these changes, the ease to direct new and returning clients on where they can buy your goods and services, and an established brand to base all of their marketing off of! What a relief!
We understand the hesitations in hiring a company like ours to build, create, and manage a website. We've heard and understood all of them. However, if you want your company to continue to grow, have credibility, if you want people to know who you are and what your company does, continue to make money, and make a good first impression, a well-designed website is the way to go. We are here to chat with you about any questions and concerns you might have about building or redesigning your website and to help get you started. Creating beautiful websites is one of our many passions and something we hope you're getting excited about! Let's get started taking your business to the next level with the website of your dreams, contact us today! Until next time, stay safe and caffeinated Summerville!
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We promised more information on the importance and joys of adding Facebook Stories to your workflow, and so we are going to deliver!
Hello again, sweet Summerville! Welcome back. We hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy. Keep washing those hands and practicing social distancing! If you have the chance, we also encourage you to support local businesses as much as you can right now. So many of the staples we love that are Summerville through and through need your love and support. Get carry out, pick up some coffee, and visit your favorite local artist's websites or Etsy pages! Every little bit helps right now, and we encourage you to pay it forward. If you'd like some recommendations about some of our favorite local businesses, please don't hesitate to reach out to us! We have been enjoying our fair share of our favorite Summerville things thanks to delivery and pickup!
Now, let's jump back into some work. Our last blog kicked off our blog series discussing the importance of Facebook Stories. We just had so much to share - we couldn't limit it to just one post! Even though we are all smartly practicing social distancing, one of the many ways we can all stay connected is social media. We can stay close and remain in contact with as many people as our hearts desire thanks to social media. This is why it is so important. You can remind your audience that you're still here, you still care about how they're doing and that you and your company will still be here when all of this is finally over
YOUR CUSTOMERS; THEIR NEEDS
We've touched on the topic of customer experience and service multiple times throughout our blogs in the last few months. The importance placed upon it needs to become one of your top priorities. Good customer service is one of the top digital trends for 2020. How to listen and connect with your clients needs to evolve and grow over time. We love being heard, and we all love when our opinion is valued and listened to. Stories, videos, and going live on Facebook gives your client an in-person opportunity to give and voice their opinions. It opens up the floor to more of your followers to join in on the conversation and to agree and disagree with their peer's needs or opinions in a safe and productive environment. Take what your followers say to heart. If they aren't opinions or needs that you feel are in your companies best interest, that's ok. But acknowledging them means a lot to your customers. You can create images and stories to hype up announcements, new products, sales, and exciting events they can all attend - either online or hopefully soon, in person. When you go live on Facebook, you can see the comments your follows are making in real-time and you can physically respond to them. What an instant connection! You can answer questions, solve issues, express gratitude, and connect with your audience in real-time. This frees up time that you would be spending answering these questions and concerns via email or phone call, allowing you to get back to work.
Being consistent is an excellent tool in branding and leading a successful company. Being consistent creates a subconscious connection between you and your clients and a sense of safety and trust that they can depend on. But, that doesn't mean that everything you post has to be the same. This can draw more of your follows to check out other platforms that you run your social media on, and is another tool you can use to get your customers excited. For example, you might only make announcements about new products, deals, and giveaways on your Facebook stories. But, you hint on all of your social media platforms that to view and learn about these announcements you have to view it on Facebook stories. This can then bring your Instagram or other platform's audience to your Facebook page and vice versa. This is a great way to cross-promote your social media platforms and to keep up traffic to all of your pages. Also, different audiences prefer different types of social media platforms. When creating any story, tailor them to the platform and the audience that prefers it. Not only are you speaking to your audience through your Facebook videos, but you are also speaking to a very specific group and demographic.
IT'S ALL IN THE TIMING
Just like Instagram, Facebook Stories live right at the top of your followers' Facebook feeds. They are the first thing that pops up once the app is loaded on their phone or computers. Staying at the top of their page and in their minds' eyes is very important and effective for your business. This is very similar to putting in the much needed time for SEO and getting your company in the top few results in Google searches. This is why you need real and in the moment, not perfect, videos. The more honest they are and the more you draw in your audience, your stories will remain in a consistent spot in their feeds.
Are you getting excited about the potential Facebook stories can bring to you and your company? We hope so. Even if you're still a bit skeptical, now is a great time to try out the many features Facebook stories can give you. Have fun, be bold, and be honest. Your audience, customers, and fans love and support you for a reason. Let that reason shine through your posts! Don't let your audience forget about you, and don't forget about them. We hope you're doing well, Summerville. We miss seeing you and look forward to enjoying our town together very soon. Stay safe, stay smart, and stay home!
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With so much information to share about Instagram stories, we couldn't put all of the information in just one blog. We had to split them up! More information is always good, especially now since we all have a little more time to sit and read. Let's keep learning about Instagram!
Hello Summerville! As our quaint little town continues to get quieter, and we all start to settle into our homes, we wanted to continue our blog about the importance of Instagram stories, and how they can be beneficial to you and your company. Remember, as many of us are starting to work from home or remotely (some for the very first time!) it's easy to get overwhelmed with everything. Take this information as your daily dose of education, and see what joy it can bring to your social media campaigns! These tips are to help your followers increase, keep your engagement up and active, and to reach your audiences like you never have before. This is a wonderful time for that! We are all on our phones and computers more than ever before, why not do a little good with all this time? Sit back and relax. Have that second cup of coffee you've been craving, you've earned it. Let's get our minds off of everything and talk about Instagram!
Don't Repeat Yourself
Using the same business techniques over and over again can get a little old for both you and your followers. Why not shake up what you're doing in your marketing? Using stories or videos in your stories can be a fun opportunity for you and your team to create and work together. It can help build a fun and closer working relationship together, let an employee out of their shell or let them shine in ways you might not know they could. Think about it, this is a form of advertisement. This new type of advertisement can help keep the attention of your audience in this ever-changing world. You already have so much to work with that you don't have to spend a ton of time or effort to build a social media platform from the ground up like many companies did when they first started using Facebook or Instagram. You are just learning a new tool inside the application that is fun, exciting, and unique. There is a little extra fun in Instagram Stories than what a picture-perfect profile can offer. While your feed may be portfolio perfect, you can add fun stickers, emojis, text, drawings, music, and more to your stories and videos. While this additive might not be as professional or have the look for your feed, it has the fun and real quality people want to see!
Hashtags Me Not
Hashtags have been a controversial topic for social media for some time now. How many should you use? How many are too many? Am I using them correctly or am I going to get in trouble? Are they drawing in the attention I want? Hashtags were created and are used to bring followers of certain topics together and for that group of people to see each other's pictures. But, as hashtags have become more popular, there are some new downfalls. If you use too many, post them in the comment section of your profile post, or use a very popular hashtag, you and your company could see some harsh repercussions. Your account could be frozen for over a week and you wouldn't be able to post, comment or follow anyone back. Your posts might not be seen or could get buried in the shuffle by the app itself. Your posts could even get removed. As of now, Instagram stories are neutral ground. Along with all the fun additives you can put on top of any posts in your stories, you can add hashtags and tag others and your post won't be pushed for doing so. Doing this can bring even more attention to your account, and invite more of your dream demographic you're trying to reach to follow and see what you're all about. Also, if your account does get frozen and you're unable to post to your feed, you are still able to post on Instagram stories with no issue. This will keep you in touch with your followers and their algorithms.
Thoughts For The Road
Are you still not convinced about Instagram Stories? I think we may have a few other things to add to finally convince you!
We hope that this blog has shed a wonderful light on Instagram, Instagram Stories, and the wonderful tools that this exciting and useful app can bring you and your company. This is a great time to start brainstorming, playing with the app, and seeing what specialized things you can make and create for your company. That is the great thing about these apps - you have so much freedom to make it your own. So go out and create! Stay safe Summerville, we are here rooting for you and all of our small business friends!
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Content creation is a huge part of our business, and a huge part of staying at the forefront of the Social Media Business world is paying attention to new and exciting trends to use in our work!
There is a lot of creativity that we use in our work every day. A lot of the images, logos, and designs that we use for our clients are created in house and we are very proud of that. But we also love learning and following new trends when it comes to graphic design - and we wanted to share some of the biggest Graphic Design trends that you will be seeing this year if you haven't noticed them already! Because who doesn't love a little inspiration?
We know that you need to stay on top of the latest graphic design trends no matter what medium you use or don't use. There is nothing wrong with a little extra knowledge! Keep your work fresh and competitive. Don't hang onto the idea that "this is how it's always been done." That is SO dangerous! You want your designs and work to stand out and be able to offer the same if not more to your clients than any competition out there.
2. Powerful Serifs
The rise of the serif font is at its height in 2019! I'm sure you've noticed the trend of illustrations getting lighter and the fonts getting bolder and much stronger. This year has gifted us with new, bold, ad beautiful serif fonts and they will just continue to grow and become more gorgeous. Custom type is becoming the rage for any company that wants to stand out and be noticed by their dream clients and put them ahead of the competition. The gift of these beautiful new serifs are perfect for the job, and if you're designing for a company that wants to brand or rebrand itself these new fonts will also come in handy! Check out some of these beautiful examples:
3. Lighter Illustrations
Out with the bold, dramatic, and very thick lines of illustration and in with the light and delicate! With the trend of the use of foil (hello rose gold!) embossing and other delicate materials, this feminine and innocent style is the perfect accessory. You will see this trend in packing designs and a lot of gifting and other artisan trade that involves intricate designs. These designs will often be paired with textured paper backgrounds.
2019 has been deemed a year of contradictions when it comes to new trends. But when hasn't design been filled with contradictions? This list is very small when it comes to all of the new trends out there - but I can guarantee that these trends are exciting and will lead to a lot of exciting and beautiful growth. Keep your eyes open as you scroll through your phones and as you are looking for inspiration. It's waiting for you to find it!