We’ve come to the last of the installments of our 2017 website tips. We’ve been through design. We’ve been through content. Let’s talk through the final piece of the trifecta: web development. This is where the rubber meets the road. All your strategy, design, and writing will pay off…if you build it correctly.

Even though websites are designed for people…they’re built on code. If you don’t do that right, you’ll have slower page loads, tougher indexing (which kills your SEO rankings), or wonky mobile experiences.

So obviously, have someone dev your website who knows what they’re doing.

But beyond that…here are some ways to NOT dev your site:

1. Put way too much hope in slideshows.

These get used all the time at the top of . . .

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In one of my former jobs, I was conducting a highly-complex systems training session with a group of people…and I had a “challenging” leadership moment. It was the kind of moment where corporate politics was the game, jockeying for position was the play, and keeping my cool in the middle of it all was the only wild card I had. You’ve probably been there as a marketing leader. It sucks. It’s the kind of situation where you can’t wait to get home and vent to whoever will listen (my cat got an earful that day).

Let me set the scene for you:

The class I was teaching had a pre-determined list of tasks that participants had to accomplish before the class was . . .

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How Not to Kill Your Marketing Team

Shepherds. They tend their sheep daily. They guide them, rear them, and teach them. It is their duty to protect the flock and count each sheep’s lil’ fluffy head to ensure none have wandered astray. For thousands of years, shepherds have watched over their flocks with care.

I’ve heard business leaders use the analogy of shepherds and sheep when they talk about managing their workforces. The analogy can be poignant. If there’s a leader (shepherd) who cares for his or her employees (sheep), protects them, and guides them along their way in developing their skills and furthering their careers, I know I’d want to be part of that shepherd’s flock! Wouldn’t you? It sounds great!

Here’s the rub…and it’s not a fluffy . . .

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A debate topic being tossed around our office right now is marketing (Is it a good thing? Is it evil?). I’m willing to bet we’re not the only ones arguing.

Some people have majorly negative connotations when the words “advertising” or “marketing” come up in conversation, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, perceptions about marketing are being shaped by brands that never should have been in the conversation to begin with. Some companies will do whatever it takes to make a buck, chasing any “prospective customer” alive. (cough…Volkswagen)

Companies that chase the almighty dollar first and foremost tend to get themselves in trouble with their marketing (and sometimes even business practices) because they value short-term gain over long-term, quality customer relationships.

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The Catch-22 of E-Commerce

One of the most difficult things a business owner can do is see their brand the same way a customer does. Our companies are our babies. We watched them grow from nothing into something. We’ve seen them overcome challenges, rise above competition, and become forces with unlimited potential. We don’t see them as they are now, but as they could be tomorrow.

Unfortunately, nobody else will see your children the way you do. People don’t want to look at your baby pictures. How do businesses better understand their clients’ perspectives and cater to their needs?

Luckily, we can take advantage of countless data analytics tools and marketing practices to allow us to optimize the experience for our target audience. We can get . . .

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Writing is hard.

I lamented that fact to my author mother recently, and she solemnly shook her head in affirmation. Working in sales usually means you’re loaded with interpersonal skills. But the digital divide means those skills don’t transfer 1:1 to writing emails.

“Cold calling is dead,” says Hubspot’s Jill Rowley. Cold emailing is now the go-to outbound sales method, and there are some inherent challenges in that. Compared with face to face chats, phone communication loses so much nonverbal information. Email communication lacks even the vocal tone and interpretation that phone conversations offer.

The question is, how can we maximize sales opportunities using a far less media-rich medium?

Opening Sentences Go a Long Way

The one tip I want to talk about here is . . .

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Trusted. Secure. Convenient. Simple. Blah de blah de blah.

Talk about a saturated market. It only takes one morning commute to see a bank or credit union operating on every other corner. Between the FDIC and the NCUA, there are about 12,500 banks and credit unions in the United States.

That means you’re more likely to see a financial institution than you are a Starbucks.

The Problem

The banking and credit union industry is in crisis. Everyone looks the same, and is saying the same thing. Nobody’s communicating anything special.

“Financial security,” “friendly service,” and grey suits on the homepage don’t mean canned peas when 10,000 other organizations are exactly the same.

As a result:

Marketing programs are ineffective.
Competitive differentiation is absent.
Growth initiatives, such as a merger, acquisition, or . . .

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Flush. That’s the sound of a shockingly large number of marketing dollars spinning down the toilet. I hope you waved goodbye.
Marketing has always been more of an art than science, but that art form has become extremely complex. With all the strategies, calendars, campaigns, digital tools, and activities involved, many companies have resolved to simply try to hold on to the bucking bull as long as possible. I don’t blame them. Technology has blown the lid off this marketing beast.

It’s incredibly difficult to run an effective marketing program, and at times it can feel like absolute chaos.

We hear these kinds of of “headless-chicken directives” all the time:

“We need social!”
“Get us on Google advertising.”
“I heard video is the next big thing,”

Am . . .

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Growth. You’re as likely to hear this word come out of a CEO’s mouth as you are to watch the Cubs not make the post-season cut. In today’s economy we use words like:

acquisition
merger
new products or services
geographic expansion

Each of these situations presents its own set of challenges. Mergers and acquisitions include bringing new people into an existing culture and trying to retain a consistent customer experience. They’re extremely delicate situations, and a lot depends on organizations being able to transition well. Many a CEO has suffered sleepless nights during these transitions.

New geographic markets and new products/services imply an intentional effort to expand the reach of an organization, and are likely backed by substantial financial resources. Board members and senior leadership are . . .

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One of the most prevalent problems we see companies face today is the lack of competitive differentiation.
If you were to do a quick Google search of liberal arts colleges, banks, or CPAs you’ll see a thousand websites that all say the same things, feel the same way, and send the same messages. Very few companies will pop out as unique or special.

Luke took some time to share his insights on the topic. We’re going to give you the sneak preview though…it involves identity.

Resound loves helping companies discover their authentic identity and begin to implement that into their marketing and communication. Interested in seeing what that process could look like in your situation? Get in touch.

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