Holy Awesomesauce Batman! Look Who’s Got a New Website. Palmettoscapes!

Does your backyard look like it belongs on the set of the Shining? Is it so scary that even your dog won’t go out at night. Well, maybe it’s time to get that hideous monstrosity under control. Seriously. If alligators can’t be bothered to play in your pond, in coastal South Carolina, you’ve got some real issues.

Caleb Wiggins and his adept team of Palmettoscapers are ready to help you conquer that lawn. Be terrified no longer. Throw that quinceañera without worrying about losing your children in the corn. Palmettoscapes has been making backyards beautiful for the better part of a decade, and they’ve never met a landscaping problem they didn’t have a solution for.

Oh, and did I mention we just launched their new website? Check ’em out at PalmettoscapesLandscapeSupply.com.

Purdy Schools + Greyphin = Success

Purdy Schools, of Purdy Missouri, are taking a tech based and proactive approach toward filling their halls with students that are eager to learn and accomplished teachers that are ready to support them.

Dr. Chancellor, superintendent, and his excellent team understand the world is full of technological solutions to problems that may not exist yet. Furthermore, they recognize every student needs to have leading technologies incorporated into their everyday learning environments if the students going to succeed.

This is why Dr. Chancellor and his team have decided to move forward with a new Greyphin website that will showcase how they’re handling the educational challenges this ever changing world has to offer.

So, please welcome Purdy Schools to the Greyphin Client Phamily!

How Giving CRAP to Your Clients Will Keep Them Coming Back For More

Are your promotional materials – your flyers, websites, business cards, and logos – just utter crap?

Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity.

Thanks to Robin Williams (no, not the actor) and her signature book, this cheeky little acronym will help you remember the core principles you need to create designs that keep your audience engaged.

Let’s look at how each of these principles can be used to make your message clearer and more compelling to your customers.

Contrast

Contrast is what we use to show the reader what is most important. Clearly identify the main thing, and then build your page to highlight it. The last thing you want is for your reader to be confused because your contrast is weak and elements on your page are only “kind of different.” Be contrast-strong! This can be achieved through: large/small font, cool/warm colors, small/large graphics, etc.

Take a look at the difference between these two images. Notice how color, text size, and message importance can be conveyed or neglected depending on a strong or weak contrast. Below each colored design is how that graphic looks in grayscale.

William Beachy, Go Media: Become Master Designer: Rule Three: Contrast, Contrast, Contrast

Tip #1) Don’t make everything symmetrical

In a great Shutterstock blog about design mistakes, they recommend dropping the boring idea of symmetry and instead using asymmetry as a way to “create visual interest and spontaneity.”

Think how “not special” the Apple logo would be if it looked like this:

And not this:

Or Pepsi, if it decided to keep this dull design…

…instead of a more interesting and unique look:

These examples and more help with symmetrical and asymmetrical design can be found at the Pandaqi Design Tutorial.

Repetition

Consistency is key. Users are always trying to make sense of your pages. Make this easier on them by repeating the same design styles throughout your document to unify the message and design.

Notice how this image uses similar round shapes in the flower petals like in the bee. This helps to stick to the theme of the document.

Zach and Jody, Tuesday Tips: Accomplishment Through Repetition

Tip #2) Not everything has to be a bold typeface and 100 colors.

Pick a small color palette and a few shapes and typefaces and repeat those to make your design organized. Generally, I recommend picking between 2-3 colors, shapes, and typefaces and using those over and over within the same graphic or document. Let the color wheel guide your color choices, and get to know complementary colors. If you want to use two colors, pick a color you like and go directly across the color wheel. For three colors, pick a color you like and then divide the circle into thirds, where the lines fall are the other two ideal colors to use.

Eric Kim, Color Theory For Photographers: Color Theory 101

Alignment

There is no better way to create a confused user, and look like an amatuer than to have poor alignment. Your goal is to guide your reader through your content. Alignment ensures that the user’s eye flows to each part of your information.

Tip #3 ) Give up on centering your text.

One, it looks quite messy. Two, the uneven and jagged edges are hard on your reader’s eye. A quick change to left or right alignment will help your user know where to start and stop.

Here are two business cards. No color or graphics here, just focus on the alignment. What might it “speak” to you about my work?

Proximity

Things that relate should stick together. Create relationships on your page between graphics and text. Don’t spread out your design. We can only process a limited number of elements at a time. Grouping things makes it feel like there are fewer elements and keeps from overloading your reader.

Tip #4) Whitespace is your friend.

By having whitespace on your document, you help to give a visual hierarchy to the elements on your page, telling the reader what is most important and what to look at first.

See what I mean?

Jason Forrest, Digital Ink: The Importance of Whitespace

And not to compare apples to oranges here (or in this case  juice and whiskey) but take a look at these websites. You can see how the whitespace keeps the distillery’s website looking modern and clean, while the juice site looks way too busy.

David Morton,MarginMedia 5 Examples of Poor Website Design

JustInMind, 10 Most Inspiring Whitespace Design Websites You’ll Want to Copy

So there you have it. The four cornerstones of design: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity will help you communicate more clearly to your customers through all of your design. Now go give ‘em tons of CRAP!

Clarify Your Message & Clients Listen

Businesses want their digital marketing to get them in front of the right people, make them look good, and get people to buy from them. The problem is, they’re unsure if their website is doing any of that.

Maybe your site doesn’t show up on Google when people search for your industry. Or you hope it doesn’t show up, because you’re embarrassed by what people would see if they actually went there. Or maybe you’ve spent a lot of money on a custom site but now you feel taken advantage of because you can’t tell whether your site is getting you more business or not.

The worst part is, you don’t know what to do about it. You know you need to be marketing online. But digital marketers are hard to trust when they seem bent on confusing you with all of their buzz words and techno-babble.

We feel your pain. You deserve to know what you’re paying for, and so do your customers. That’s why we’ve teamed up with StoryBrand to bring simplicity and clarity to your digital marketing. Using the StoryBrand framework, 1000’s of businesses have clarified their message and increased revenues, some having doubled, tripled, and quadrupled their sales in less than 6 months! How did they do it? Communicating more clearly.

Now, as a StoryBrand Certified Guide, Greyphin is excited to bring that same clarity to your company, and it starts with your website. We want to remove the mystery surrounding online marketing so you can be confident that you’re getting what you’ve paid for, that your message is getting through to your audience, and that you can turn your audience into buyers.

So if you feel like your online marketing is confusing, stressing you out, or non-existent, here are 3 steps to help you regain clarity.

1. Contact us for a free website review.

2. We’ll help you identify what you really want from your website.

3. We’ll build you a plan to help you get it.You know that you have a great product/service. Let’s make sure everyone else knows too.

Why a Website Can Make or Break Your Marketing Plan

Pop the following query into Google, “Marketing definition”, and you’ll get this:

mar·ket·ing

(noun)

the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.

Other sites also include steps such as “identification, selection, and development of a product”. While technically correct, at this point, the latter items are about as germane to you as a guide on raising horses when your thoroughbred is already being led to the starting gate.

You already have a product. And now, you need to skillfully present and promote it, while gathering the necessary information to further target your prospective consumers and really kick in the metaphorical afterburners.

You must sense how critical a great website is to your marketing plan, or you wouldn’t have landed on a website that promotes… well, website services. What you may not fully understand (yet) is how and how much your site can help your sales realize their full potential.

  • Over 80% of folks begin their search for a product with a trip to a search engine (much as you just did). The general consensus is that the number is even higher when it comes to service searches. The lack of a website immediately places your product at a 4-to-1 disadvantage to your competitors who feature one. By the same token, having a killer site places you head and shoulders above your siteless competition (and at least a head above those who let a well meaning, but talentless nephew create one for them).
  • A top-tier site ensures that you will always create a great first impression (a tie-in to the title, cool, eh?). One click of a search result and there you are, instantly communicating a sense of credibility, trust, as well as the impression that (to quote Rick in Casablanca), “…this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”. The right layout: clean, fresh, and inviting, will hold your visitors attention. A great logo, font, and colors will reinforce the impression that your company is worthy of further exploration. And positive reviews will go miles towards furthering the perception of credibility.
  • With the best possible version of your marketing message placed near the top of your front page, you can reinforce the prospect’s sense that they’re in the right place. Then with photos, dynamic videos, and a drop-down highlighting employees, you can establish a sense of familiarity before you get to person-to-person contact.
  • Any marketing plan of today pretty much has to include social media. Having said that, social media by itself is a lost child. That might seem a bit harsh, but have you ever done a web search, clicked a link, and then been directed to a static Facebook page? You probably received a pic of the front of the business, 2-3 snapshots of something product related, and maybe a few comments: “One of the best high colonics I’ve ever received!” DON’T be that business. Solid social media exists to bring the customer to your website. In turn your site can refer folks (“like us on Facebook!”) who are already familiar with your company to a fun place to engage with others around your principal message.
  • If marketing is about promoting and selling your products and services, then your website traffic is a veritable goldmine of insight and research data. Solid web analytics keep you grounded in reality so you can fine tune your message and narrow your target focus. How long does a typical visitor stay on a your landing page? Which additional pages receive the most attention? Are there particular parts of your site which prompt contact better than others? Your site’s lead generating email forms, won’t just provide you with contact information, but a list of folks who are so motivated that they will actually fill out the damned things!
  • No matter how dedicated you and your employees are, everyone needs to sleep. Sick days happen and an occasional vacation is nice. Having stated the obvious, with an online presence, your best foot is forward 24/7/365, maintaining that positive exposure that is so crucial to your business plan.

Business promotion, brand awareness, lead generating, and research…all perfectly addressed by a well-made website. Ready to create one? Let’s chat.

5 Softwares Every Small Business Needs to Use

Running a small business is big work. Fortunately for you, there are some stellar tools out there that can make that work a little more manageable. Here’s our list of the 5 Softwares Every Small Business Needs to Use:

GSuite: Everything you need in one packageGoogle’s been providing the world with solid business solutions since Britney Spears got married… the first time. With GSuite, you can connect to your clients and colleagues via Gmail, create collaborative documents with Google Docs and Google Sheets, access and store files in the cloud with Google Drive, and control your data by managing users and devices. Google designed these tools with business in mind.

Trello: Make lists not warThis productivity management software helps you efficiently move projects from concept to completion. Time’s a limited resource, and unless you’re Hiro Nakamura, you only have 24 hours in a day. So make those hours count, with Trello.

Hubspot: Close deals faster by selling smarter not harderThis handy little tool is more than just a customer relations manager. It’s an inbound marketing and sales platform that allows you to attract strangers, convert them to leads, and make them your customers. And without customers, this whole business thing’s just busy-ness.

Quickbooks Online: Smarter business tools for the world’s hardest workers. With over 4.3 million users, QBO knows a thing or two about making accounting more tolerable. Whether you need to track income and expenses, digitally invoice and accept payments, or maximize your tax deductions, you can with Quickbooks Online.

MailChimp: Build your brand. Sell more stuff. Small businesses need marketing automation, and people around the world are sending 1 billion automated emails every day using MailChimp. Whether you want to build your brand or sell products via the internet, you need to spread the word. Because as Derby Brown always said, “The business that considers itself immune to the necessity for advertising, sooner or later finds itself immune to business.” Build your business with MailChimp.

10 Reasons to Incorporate Video Into Your Marketing

It’s no secret why YouTube has more than 1 billion users (over ⅓ of the internet), is the world’s 2nd largest search engine, and is the world’s 3rd most visited website.

Content may be king, but video content is divine.

If that alone isn’t enough to convince you, here are 10 more reasons why you need to be doing online video marketing now.

The internet is becoming the vid-ternet. By 2019, 80% of all internet traffic will be video. If you’re not doing video marketing, you’re not marketing.

Get ranked 1st on Google. Content that includes video is 50 times more likely to rank 1st in Google search results. (That’s the first link below the paid ads…you know, the one you click on.)

Get more site visitors. Videos in search results have a 41% higher click-through rate than plain text results.

Increase site engagement. The longer people spend on your page, the better. And visitors stay on web pages with video 2.8 times longer than those without.

Move people to purchase. This is the main idea, right? So remember this: 64% of consumers buy after watching a branded social video.

People are more likely to link to your page. Your off-site SEO is arguably more important than your on-site SEO. Blog posts with video get nearly 3 times as many inbound links as plain text posts.

Your customers will spread your message.  If you create videos your core customers love, they’ll share them with everyone they know. 92% of viewers of mobile videos share them with friends.

People prefer video. 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service than read about it. If you don’t give those people what they want, someone else will…and that someone will get the sale.

Executives prefer video. (Yes, executives are people too!) If you think video advertising isn’t for business-to-business sales, think again. 59% of company executives would rather watch a video than read an article.

Move people to purchase! I know I already said that, but it’s worth saying again. Videos on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%. That’s huge! Video marketing works. Plain and simple.

Good Copy Bad Copy

How do you know which one you’re writing?

Good sales copy is about connecting and collaborating with customers. It focuses on truly meeting their needs. Contrary to popular belief, the goal is more than just to get you lots of sales. It’s to get you lots of sales from people without them regretting doing business with you.

Bad copy, on the other hand, is primarily focused on you and your company’s needs. It is about getting what you want out of the customer. But before long (in the words of a wise colleague), “They’ll see right through that shit.”

So here are some key features of good and bad copy for you to compare yours against. And for fun, just like in all those police dramas, we’ll start with the bad cop…y.

Bad Copy

  • Boring: The worst thing your copy can be is boring. No one cares about your “commitment to excellence and customer service”. I promise, we’ve heard it all before and we have no reason to believe you more than anyone else.
  • Technical/Complicated: I know that you’re really jazzed about the inner workings of your products and services, but most of us…won’t be. Plus, we don’t want to feel stupid when we encounter your marketing messages. And I don’t want you to bore me.
  • Outlandish/Misleading: There’s a reason we all cringe when we think about politicians and used-car salesmen. Yes, their tactics work in the short-term, but people grow to hate them. I can assure you that you don’t want people to hate your company.
  • Flowery: You’re not Emily Dickinson, and you don’t want to be if you’re trying to sell me office supplies…or toys…or lawn care…or software…or art. I mean, she barely sold any of her own poems. Keep that in mind.
  • Meaningful only to insiders: It’s possible for your marketing messages to make perfect sense to you and your team but not to your customers. This happens to a lot of businesses because, unlike you, the customers are not living and breathing your company vision, mission, and values. They simply may not have the context and experience to speak your language. You’ve got to speak theirs.

Good Copy

  • Straightforward: I have to understand what you’re selling me and how it will solve my problems if I’m going to bother to pay for it. But I don’t have to understand how it works. Make it as easy on me as possible, but pretty, pretty please, don’t bore me.
  • Creates intrigue: Your sales copy should show how your product or service solves your customer’s immediate problem. But it should also invite them to be a part of your community.  What are the defining characteristics of that community? Is it exciting? A place of safety? Exclusive? Show your customer what it means to belong.
  • Art that works: Artistic flair in your sales copy is like salt in your recipe. You need it, but you don’t want too much. Remember, you’re not writing art for art’s sake. You’re trying to communicate.
  • Relatable to your customers: You first have to know who your customers are, and then you have to connect with their concerns. What are they after? How do they want to be treated? What are they afraid of? If you don’t speak to that, they won’t believe that you can help them.

Good sales copy is, above all, about the customer… and not boring. Did I mention that already?

5 Ways to Make Your Website Not Suck

Message. Know your target audience and how to communicate with them in a way they’ll understand. Your marketing message might make sense to you, but does it make sense to your customers? Find out by sharing it as often and with as many people as possible, asking for their feedback. This process can be painful, but it’s worth it. Once you’ve distilled your marketing message down to its best version, post it above the fold on your home page. Be bold. Be concise. Be understood.

Design. Think of web design the way Martha Stewart thinks of home design; inviting, clean, and practical. A house becomes a home when people want to spend time there. And, to get people to want to be in your home, every element must entice your visitors to take their shoes off and stay a while. Make the most important rooms the most rewarding rooms to visit. Whether it’s through the added value of a bowl of bon bons tastefully placed in the center of the credenza, or the free product offer on your homepage, leave your visitors feeling pampered.

Lead Generator. Speaking of free product offers, don’t forget to collect your visitors’ contact info when you’re giving those bon bons away. You can do this with a simple pop out form, but don’t get too nosy. Try not to ask for more than you would want to give if your were the customer. Maybe start with just their name and email. If you want to do more than dip your toe into the lead generation pool, read Inbound Marketing and learn how to become a pro at generating inbound leads.

Call to Action. Don’t be afraid to ask for the business. We recommend placing a call to action button on every page and panel of your website. Each call to action should pertain to the content listed in the specific area of the site the customer is visiting. This will help you keep your call to action relevant and your customers from feeling like you’re a slime ball.

SEO. Search Engine Optimization refers to the techniques used to help people find your website more easily when searching for you via an internet search engine. This tip takes a little more time and discipline to carry out, but if you’ve got the GAS (gumption and stamina) you’ll crush your competition. Here’s a great starting point. Blog weekly, tweet daily, and tell your friends to follow you. Put links in all of your blogs and social media posts that direct people to your website. If you don’t start building an audience today, you’ll wish you would have tomorrow. For more info on SEO, checkout a beginner’s SEO course.

If you want to conquer the internet, or you just like what you read please leave us a comment below or sign up for our newsletter and get a free gift.