Author Archives: Porsha Thomas

How Much Money Should I Invest for a New Website?

The first step in getting a new website is admitting that you need one. Congrats! 🎉 The next step in the process is figuring out what you need your website to do, and how much cash flow to set aside for your investment.

While the overall formula may differ from business to business, the one thing we like to advise our clients is that what you put in, is what you’ll get back out. Make sense, right? Another rule of thumb is to invest in a website early. If you’re a seller who opens a brick and mortar without a nod to your e-commerce solution, there’s a chance you could begin using a POS that doesn’t integrate with your e-commerce site when it comes time to build one. It’s a good idea to tackle the online and IRL store together to make sure the two systems are talking to each other when it comes to getting those dollars!

OK, enough with the preliminary stuff, let’s get into it!

When it comes to investing in your website, work towards putting 5% of what your business makes a year into your site. So for example, if your business is bringing in 100K a year, you would want to invest 5K of that in your website each year.

We hear what you’re saying, “really, each year?” The answer is yes. Set aside a yearly budget make sure you’re able to keep your tech up-to-date and on par with new capabilities. Think about it, you don’t want to own the pretty website that doesn’t work right because your plugins are broken! 

We hear your next question too – what if my business isn’t making money yet? Totally fine, you’ve still got options. There are plenty of DIY drag-and-drop website builders – Squarespace, WIX, Weebly, (and coming soon, Mailchimp!) – to help get you up and running. Your main goal here is to do whatever you can to get online. 80% of consumers are online shoppers which means they are researching products on the web before they buy them. You’ve gotta get in there – quickly!

If you’re going to go the DIY route, keep in mind that what you create doesn’t have to be/likely isn’t going to be your final website! As your business grows, you’ll find that you’ll need a website more specific to your business that can better respond to your customer’s needs. That’s when it’s time to start planning the custom website of your dreams! 

Last question – how do I determine my website ROI? The most common metric to evaluate ROI for an e-commerce website is an increase in sales . You can also rack the percentage of website visitors moved to leads, landing page conversion rates, percentage of leads moved to customers, or the number of new customers subscribed to your email list. Check out this article for more ideas on tracking your ROI.

If you’ve set a budget and would like to explore your options, let’s discuss! At Nicely Built, we offer solutions for business owners who are just starting out, those who are looking to migrate from one platform to another, and for those who are looking for custom, bespoke options.

Marketing Apps We Love

There are easily 7,000 marketing technology apps on the market today (seriously! Check out how many vendors attend the MarTech conference!) and all of them promise the same thing – easy solutions for your business marketing needs.

The truth is with so much martech out there, it can be super challenging discovering a solution that works best for both your biz and the workflow of your team.  And apps are NOT one size fits all, so what works for a brand that’s just starting out would likely be drastically different than what works for one that’s been trucking for awhile! Ask yourself the following questions when determining what solutions work best for your for you biz:

What are my overall marketing goals?
What problem(s) am I trying to solve?
What current technologies are in place to help me remedy this need?
What functionality should a tool have?
How do I want to use a tool?
What benefit do I want to receive from using this tool?

Be prepared to invest some time in discovering the tools you need to create your foundational marketing technology stack. We created a list of relatively easy-to-use apps we love to get you started!

Email Marketing

Mailchimp
We love Mailchimp! These hometown heroes created a platform that’s great email marketing and expanded to offer users more flexibility when it comes to sprucing up their marketing strategies. Mailchimp now offers the ability to create social media and Google targeting ads, design landing pages, send postcards, and offers CRM tools.

Klaviyo
Klaviyo offers similar solutions to Mailchimp, but focuses primarily on helping e-commerce merchants grow their businesses and make more money.  Klaviyo boasts enterprise-ready marketing solutions for small businesses in growth mode.

Content Creation

Anchor
Calling all podcaster wannabes! Anchor is a content creation solution for podcast hosts who want a simple way to create, distribute, host, and monetize their podcasts. Even better, Anchor is 100% free!

Canva
You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create eye-catching marketing collateral. Use Canva‘s drag-and-drop features to design, share and print business cards, logos, presentations and graphics for your social media.

Cut Story
If you’re currently recording several 15-second videos to upload one long message to your Instagram Stories, there’s an easier way to do it! All you have to do is import long videos to CutStory and let the app handle the rest. In a few short seconds there’ll be several 15-second video segments saved chronologically in your Camera Roll.

Social Media Management

Coschedule
We are big fans of CoSchedule! This app allows us to automate our social media scheduling as well as our email newsletter and blog post creation. You can use the ReQueue feature to automate the sharing of evergreen content  across marketing channels and replace your project management app by assigning tasks to team members directly in CoSchedule.

Grammarly
Write marketing emails and social media captions like a pro with Grammarly. The writing assistant offers online grammar checking, spell checking, and plagiarism detection.

Planoly
While we use CoSchedule for social media scheduling, the one drawback with the app is that unlike Planoly, there isn’t a visual planning option to schedule Instagram posts. If you don’t need a solution as robust as CS for your social media marketing, take a stab at planning and scheduling Instagram posts visually using Planoly.

Project Management

Asana
Manage all the moving parts of your marketing strategy using Asana. The platform allows teams to track, manage, and collaborate on projects.

Google Drive
You’ll need somewhere to store all the content you’re creating and Google Drive is just the place! Hold on to photos, stories, designs, drawings, recordings, videos, and more. Plus, the first 15 GB of storage are free with a Google account.

When it comes to creating your marketing technology stack, make sure you don’t end up choosing solutions that create more work for you! If you don’t have the time or skills (or desire, lol), hire someone to help you! If you’ve got questions about crafting a killer marketing strategy, give us a shout!

Must-Have Pages for Your E-Commerce Website

So you’ve got something to sell and you plan to use the almighty internet to make it happen. Excellent! Before you start building, take a look at the must-have website pages that ensure a happy shopping experience for your customers. 

Home

We know, we know. It’s a no-brainer, right? Your website’s homepage will be the first impression your customers receive of your company. A good homepage is a mixture of branded photos, featured products, and clear value propositions (what makes your brand unique).

About

People make purchases from brands they identify with. Let your customers know who you are and why you started by including an About Us page.

Shipping

Ohhh, shipping! Shopping online is all fun and games until you reach a shipping page that doesn’t have all the info you need. Shipping is quite a large determinant in whether customers abandon their carts as well, (60% of customers abandon their carts because shipping costs cause the total purchase to cost more than expected, for example). You’ll want to make sure your shipping page includes information about international shipping policies and any special holiday schedules.  

Returns

Returns happen. You want to be sure your customers have a clear path to return the items that didn’t suit their needs. It’s a good idea to link to the returns page in the footer of your website, and it should definitely be accessible from the cart page. Just like unclear shipping policies lead to cart abandonment, unclear return policies do the same. Good return pages lay out the return/exchange process in a way that is clear and easy-to-understand. Bonus points if your return page answers addresses common questions and concerns.

Help/Contact Us

Everybody needs somebody sometimes! Make it easy for your customers to reach you by including an easily accessible contact page on your website. Many sites combine FAQs along with their contact info to save time, but it isn’t completely necessary. The main thing to focus on is good customer service. As long as your contact page is informational and easy-to-find, you’re on the right road for customer satisfaction.

Store Locator / Where to Buy

If your products are sold in physical locations, some site users may visit in hopes of finding a location nearby to make a purchase from. Make it easy for those who prefer to shop in-person by including a store locator page on your website. Drill down even more by linking each location to a page that include store details.

Terms and Conditions / Privacy Policy

Put your customers’ minds at ease by including your terms and conditions and privacy policy on your website. Doing so will also ensure that you’ve covered the legal things!

The pages listed above are core-level needs, but depending on your brand’s personality and unique company needs, you can explore adding things like Wish Lists, a blog, a “work with us” page and more. If you want to chat about options, contact our team!

Jumpstart Your Instagram Stories Strategy

So you’ve been doing a pretty good job of posting content to your Instagram feed for your business, but are you using Instagram Stories? If using Instagram Stories seems like just one more thing to keep up with for your marketing strategy, we get it. But with a little bit of planning, we promise you’ll notice how the feature can be beneficial!

Some good news to start with for all you biz people – a third of the most-viewed Stories on Instagram were created by businesses! This means customers are definitely engaging with the brands they love using the Stories feature.

So, what are some of the ways you can use Instagram Stories to engage your audience? Begin with the end in mind. What are your goals? What should your customers take away from your Story, and what do you want them to do next? Once you have an understanding of your IG strategy goals, you can begin thinking about creating engaging content. We’ve got some tips and ideas below to help you get the juices flowing:

Plan your content ahead of time

It’s a good idea to think about content for Instagram Stories as you would scheduled TV programming. You can even create recurring “episodes” each week so that your audience has something to look forward to (think Ask Me Anything, showing off product features/reviews, a look behind the scenes/a day in the life, influencer takeovers, etc). Planning your content and how it will flow will create a more addictive and consistent experience for your viewers.

Get creative

Using Stickers, geotags and hashtags strategically can help you increase audience engagement. The feature also includes tools for drawing and face filters to keep the creativity flowing. Pull it all together to give your content some pizazz by combining text, pictures, videos, stickers, doodles, interactive polls, and more!

Drive traffic to your website

Drive traffic to your website by adding links to your stories and taking advantage of apps that allow your audience to shop your products like this one from Shopify. If you’ve noticed the “Swipe Up” link feature only occurs on certain accounts, it’s because they’ve either got more than 10K followers or have verified accounts. But never fear because as with most things on the internet, there are hacks to get around that!

Test content ideas before posting them on your Instagram Feed

You can use Stories as a testing ground for the posts on your feed. If a story is received well (you get positive comments and you don’t have a high amount of drop offs), you can consider posting it on your feed. The “throwaway” format (Stories only last for 24-hours) makes it easy to show the less stylized content that you may not post to your feed.

If you’re looking for some super specific ideas to engage your Instagram audience, this article is chock full of them! If you’re thinking that your entire marketing strategy needs an overhaul, we’d love to help! Contact our team.

Build a Bigger, Stronger Email List Faster

If you happened to read our “How to Build a Website Launch Campaign” blog post, you know that we’re practitioners of the A.B.G.E philosophy – that’s right, Always Be Getting Emails! The number of Instagram followers you have unfortunately doesn’t mean much in the way of real-life sales because you’ll never reach all of them, let alone consistently.

Email marketing is one of the best ways to reach your audience on a regular basis and a great way to build your relationship with them. But first thing’s first, you need an email list!

Tips to build an email list from scratch

So you’ve never sent a marketing email in your life, and you don’t even have any customers to market to? We’ve got you! Check out the tips below to get started:

Blog much? Add a personalized call-to-action to sign up for your newsletter at the end of your blog posts. The CTA should be relevant to the folks visiting your website and make them want to sign up to learn more about your services, blog post topic, etc.

Capture visitors coming to your site with a pop-up email subscription box. If your pop-up CTA is enticing, creative or offers a ‘carrot’ (i.e. a sign-up in exchange for a discount or downloadable PDF), you’ll see a lot more traction than with general “Sign up for our newsletter” messaging.

Get clever with your pop-up by creating a quiz or survey. We don’t know about you guys, but we love a good quiz! Create a quiz that requires an email address submission to receive the results. Make sure the quiz is relevant to your business or industry and that visitors to your website would be inclined to take.

Life is better with humor. Take the opportunity to create funny a “no thanks” option in your CTA. Think about it – doesn’t it feel sort of weird clicking the “No, I Don’t Want Free Info About Making More Money” button beneath the more prominent “Sign Me Up!” one?

Use your social media accounts to pitch your new email newsletter. You can create a branded sign-up form using a platform like MailChimp and link to the form in your social media posts.

Tips to continue building your list

If you’ve already got an email list and you’re looking to keep building, keep reading!

Fan of networking? Host an event to market your business and put out a sign-up sheet for emails or bowl for business cards. If you use a ticketing site like Eventbrite or Splash to collect RSVPs, add a disclaimer on the landing page letting attendees know that by signing up, they are agreeing to receive email marketing messaging from your business.

Use the power of word of mouth marketing and ask your subscribers to forward or share your emails. You can easily accomplish this by including social media share buttons and “email a friend” buttons in your campaigns.

Create a lead generation offer (i.e. a free e-book or webinar hosted on a landing page), downloadable tool or resource, or “bonus” content that people can access by submitting their email address.

Start a club or a meetup relevant to your industry and and invite people to join by providing an email address during sign up.

Create an exclusive offer for email subscribers and encourage them to share it with their circle.

Leverage partnerships and collaborations by working with a partner to co-market an offer or a giveaway.

One of the most important things you can do to keep building your email list is to provide engaging content. It’s a little easier said than done, we know. So take a peek at this video of our leader, Natasha, discussing Email Marketing for all Phases of the Business Journey at The Southern C’s 2019 Summit.  

P.S. Did you know that we can help with advanced email marketing strategy? We’ll work with you to design and implement a custom strategy including, but not limited to, branded email templates and automation sequences to help you promote your business, your products/services, and more.

We currently offer advanced strategy and custom template designs for Mailchimp and Klaviyo. Want to know more? Let’s chat!