website design

Effectively Use Social Media With Your Website

Integrating Social Media With Your Website

With over 215 million active Twitter users, and 1.19 billion monthly active Facebook users, social media has become more and more prominent in a business’s marketing plan. This can be a lot more than just gaining followers though. Integrating social media with your website allows you to convert customer engagement into sales, while allowing your customers to freely promote your products and services for you.

So, how can you use social media with your website?

5 Ways Social Media Helps Your Business

Connect and Engage –  Utilizing social media as a way to interact with customers humanizes your brand. It puts a person behind the business name and shares your company culture. Not everything you post has to be completely serious. Apps such as Twitter, Vine, and Instagram have been used to personalize brands in a favorable fashion.

Monitor Brand Reputation – Consumers are very open in sharing good, and bad business experiences. By monitoring your social media, you are monitoring what customers are saying about you.

Social Advertising/Promotions –  Social media is free advertising! Users can post pictures of their new purchases, tag your company in a post, or share something exciting that they are anticipating. Promote your products on social media! Many large firms have sponsored “giveaways” for lucky followers that retweet or repost their promotions.

Drive Website Traffic – When you post a new image, new product, or just want to share something interesting, you can link directly to that page of your website. Using social media such as Twitter is a simple way to get your link out to thousands of engaged followers.

Increased Search Engine Optimization – The trend for social media marketing is to create more unique content, and to do this more often. Recent updates to search engine algorithms look for quality content, and promotes more recent postings higher up in search results. By religiously posting to social media, you are increasing your chances in higher search rankings, and increased traffic to your website.

Using Social Login

Have you ever been given the option to log in to a website using your Facebook account? It is a convenient, one-click login option that a majority of consumers prefer to use. By allowing customers to use social login, you don’t only engage them on a more personal level, but you benefit in several factors. Here is how you can utilize social login;

– Give customers a personalized website experience
– Collect customer data to use with future marketing efforts
– Product and information targeting to related demographics
– Increased sale conversion rates

With multiple benefits for both the customer, and the website owner, social login has become an important business tool when selling online.

Have any questions? Contact your Triumph Representative.

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How to make your website an asset?

Does your company have a website? It probably does, and if you are like most companies, you probably use your website much like a brochure – a way to simply display information about your products and services to anyone who might be interested. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, but what if you could transform this simple brochure website into a business tool? What if you could take your website to the next level and get more value from your online property? At Triumph, we believe in making any website an active tool that can be used by employees and customers alike. The more you transform your website into a tool, the more valuable it will be for your company. (You’ll also see more ROI, which is always nice.)

Add E-Commerce to Your Website This is what we call making money while you sleep. If you have anything to sell – whether it be products, services, education, reservations, or anything else of value – it is imperative that you offer those products and services on your website and allow visitors to make that purchase online, day or night. There is nothing better than coming in the next morning and finding orders waiting for you. This is especially true if you have products or services that are hard to find. Setting up an E-Commerce website and allowing visitors to pay over a secure network is easier than you think to create. You can also set up a “Pay Online” link on your site and easily take payments for open invoices or anything else you may need to collect funds for.

Offer Education or Information

This is one of the most profitable things you can do on the Internet because the cost to produce the information is minuscule compared to the revenues the information can bring in year after year.

We have worked with several companies that over the years have developed very hard-to-find information that would cost other companies a lot of time and effort to gather. Years ago, one client decided to break this information up into little pamphlets and sell them. Now, they develop those pamphlets into little PDF pamphlets and sell them online. This has turned out to be very profitable for them and has grown each year as they continue to gather information they have to gather anyway and then get paid again and again for their efforts.

Use your website to Attract New Employees or Students

We think that you should always be looking for new employees – or, if you are a school, new students. Over the last 20 years, many companies and schools have more than paid for their website with the savings they have realized in finding new employees and students faster and easier than the competition.

Take Reservations Online

Companies and organizations can save a lot of time by posting available times for appointments online and then allowing visitors to make reservations online. It is very easy to set up what we call “soft reservations” which would allow you to post a calendar and then allow visitors to request a particular time and date they would like to make an appointment. You can then contact them via email and confirm or change the appointment.

We can also set up “hard” reservations so that when an appointment is taken online, it is reserved and confirmed and even paid for online if applicable. 

Other Applications

We could go on and on, as over the last few years we have helped companies and organizations move data back and forth and stored that data in a secure area where the companies and organizations can get to it easily and modify it as required. There are too many other applications to mention here, but there are other ways to improve a business process and use digital media to improve your sales and efficiency.

Not to mention, a website that has been turned into an asset can also serve as a hub for your company’s social media efforts, which boosts your customer engagement even further.

Change the way you think of your website. Envision your website not just as a brochure, but as a multi-dimensional business tool. Use it to enhance communication between your employees, customers and potential customers.

Convert your website today and enjoy the benefits tomorrow.

Have any questions? Contact your Triumph Representative.

 

What to ask a client before you start their project?

We all know the importance of fact-finding before starting any web design project.
We can’t really get started on a project until we know exactly what’s needed, what the client wants, and who the site is aimed at. In fact, in most cases we can’t even create an effective proposal until we know those things.
There are plenty of pages-long web design questionnaires out there. Some have forty, fifty, or even a hundred questions on them.
The main problem with that, though, is that your clients or prospective clients are likely to rush through a questionnaire that long, leaving you with either inaccurate or incomplete answers.
A shorter questionnaire with more in-depth questions can uncover a lot more about what the client wants and needs, and they’re a lot less likely to skim over it if the questions presented take up less than a page.
Below are eleven questions you should ask your prospective clients before you get started on their project. They’re aimed at uncovering the root of what the project will entail without requiring you client to spend an entire workday answering questions.

1. Why do you want a website (or have your current site redesigned)?
It’s important to get an understanding of why your prospective new client wants a website. Some businesses have unrealistic goals, expecting a new website to magically fix a failing business or to triple their sales. Other clients might just want a website because they think everyone else in their industry has one (which may or may not be true).
If you know your client’s motivation for wanting a website, you can better guide them in what they should include in their site and how to best position it. This is a question a lot of designers fail to ask, and because of that they often can’t offer their clients the best solutions, because they have no idea what their client really wants.
Clients are notoriously bad about communicating what it is they really want. They might spend some time look at websites from their competition and then decide that’s what they need without having any idea why their competitors might have done something in particular. They also often overlook things that could make their website better than their competitor’s, because they’re looking at things in terms of features, rather than benefits. It’s your job as a designer/ developer to get them thinking about benefits to their visitors rather than bells and whistles.

2. What’s your business/organization all about?
It’s important to know what a business does before you start designing a website for them. But it’s also important to know a bit about their philosophy and how they want to come across. You want to know as much about what their business does and how they do it before you start thinking about designs.
This question might need some follow up to really get to the heart of what their business is about. Ask them about their philosophy, about what they want their customers to think about them, and what their long-term goals are. Even asking about things like charitable contributions or community involvement can shed light on the image a company wants to portray.

3. What sets your business apart from your competition?
Finding out how a business differs from others in their industry gives insight into what they feel is important. You don’t just want to know how they’re different when you ask this question. You want to know where they emphasize they’re different. This tells you what that company values, and what they think their customers value.
This is also a great source for finding out what kind of content they should have on their site. If they stress how long they’ve been in business compared to their competition, you’ll want to make sure that’s included prominently on their home page or in their header. It should also be reflected in the design itself. If a company stresses being more cutting-edge than their competition, they’ll likely want their website to reflect that.

4. What problems does your business solve?
This question is about getting your client to think in terms of benefits rather than just features. You want them to focus on what their business actually does, rather than just the features or services they provide. Clients and visitors care about what a company or website can do for them, not necessarily how they do it.
For example, when someone visits the website of an accountant, they’re not looking for an accountant. They’re looking for someone who can help them better manage their money. They’re looking for someone who can save them money on their taxes or other expenses.
The end result is what’s important to them, not how they get there. The same goes for online apps. People don’t care as much about features as they do what those features can do for them. You need to find out from your client what all those features mean for their visitors and customers.

5. Who are your prospective customers or visitors?
A website designed to appeal to 30-something professionals is going to be different than one aimed at young newlyweds or retirees. It’s important that you have a good grasp on who your client’s customers are. It affects not only the look and feel of the site, but may also affect usability and accessibility issues.

6. What do you want visitors to do on your site?
Different websites have different goals. Some sites are there to encourage visitors to purchase something. Others are there to provide information. Still others are there to get someone to request more information or sign up for a free trial.
Before you can create an effective website, you need to know what your client wants visitors to do on their site. The site architecture for an informational site is very different than the architecture for a site that wants people to buy something.
While you may have a good idea of what your client wants their visitors to do, it’s still a good idea to clarify things with them before you start on their project.

7. What is your budget?
The reason behind this question is two-fold. First, you want to know how much money they’ve put aside for their website. Some businesses have no idea how much a website generally costs, so you may need to guide them by giving them some examples. Don’t automatically discredit someone who doesn’t yet have a budget in mind, as long as they’re willing to talk frankly about money with you prior to receiving a proposal.
That’s the other reason behind the money question. If a client isn’t willing to talk honestly about money, what makes you think they’ll be upfront about other things throughout the design process?
You want a client who can communicate effectively with you. One who can’t discuss money is likely to have issues discussing other things, which can lead to frustration for both of you.

8. By what date do you need the site completed?
A lot of people aren’t very realistic about how much time a website takes to complete. Usually, it’s because they don’t understand how much work a website takes to design and code.
They look at a site and think in only the most basic terms of what it does, thinking it can’t be that difficult if they only had the right tools. A lot of non-designers have the misconception that the software does all the work, and the designer does little more than push a few buttons.
By finding out what your client expects in terms of schedule up front, you can avoid confusion later. If you’re lucky, your client will have reasonable expectations when it comes to time. If not, then it’s easier to get them to adjust their expectations at the beginning than it is when you’ve already started working on their site.

9. What are your long-term plans for your site?
A lot of clients might come to you and say they just want a simple website with a few pages about their products and some photos. They don’t have a big budget and they want something done relatively quickly. And they tell you they’ll just have you make updates to the site, rather than doing it themselves.
What they don’t tell you is that they want to set up a full e-commerce site next year when they release some new products. They don’t tell you they want a social network for their clients, or a bunch of employee blogs for outreach and marketing purposes. And, unfortunately, their entire site will have to be rebuilt from scratch when they decide to go ahead with any of their plans.
If you know what they want to do in the future with their site, you can make allowances in the design and coding now. If you know they’re going to want to do all these things in the next year or two, you can be sure to use a CMS that can expand to accommodate their future plans. It saves them time and money in the future, and makes them happier with you, since you were looking out for their interests.

10. Who will be responsible for updating your site?
This is another important question to ask up front, as it can play a large part in determining what CMS you use. You also want to ask how tech-savvy the person responsible for updates is, and possibly meet with them before you start designing, to get a real feel for what they’re comfortable with.
The client may say they want you to do updates, and if that’s the case you’ll want to include a maintenance agreement in your contract. Make sure your client knows your policy about how many hours you include in your maintenance plan each month and whether you’re willing to carry over unused time. If you don’t specify, your client may expect that (we have rollover minutes on cell phone plans to thank for that).

11. What do you NOT want on your website?
People can often nail down what they don’t like much easier than what they do. Ask someone what their favorite food is and it might take them awhile to think about it, or they might give you a bunch of answers, unable to decide. But ask them what food they hate most, and they can usually tell you without having to consider it.
To get a clearer picture of what your client wants on their site, get to the root of what they don’t want. This is especially helpful when you have a client who uses the infamous “I’ll know what I want when I see it” line, as you can at least rule out what they don’t want. Sometimes this question ends up revealing what they really do want, too, as they’ll often make comparisons between what they don’t like and a better alternative.

Have other questions you find helpful in the fact-finding phase of a project? Or maybe some questions that really aren’t helpful? Share them in the comments!