Smart Team Pages Can Help Build Your Business

Smart Team Pages Can Help Build Your Business

As we track user analytics and behavioural flow on various client websites, inevitably one of the most visited pages is the team page.

That’s because with the rise of social media, promoting and doing business online has become much more personal and face-centric. We want to see the faces of the professionals we’re dealing with and who we’re buying from.

screen capture of Kelly + Kelly website team page

The Kelly + Kelly Lawyers team page features professional portraits, short bios and links to the social media accounts of the firm’s partners.

First Impressions

As the old adage goes, we have only one chance to make a good first impression. That’s why the first step in building an engaging team page is to invest in professional portraits of you and your staff.

Work with your photographer to ensure that your corporate head shots have a common look and feel: consistent background and lighting, similar colour scheme for clothing, and effective size. As employees come and go, ensure that these guidelines are consistently adhered to as new team members are added.

Your best bet is to hire an experienced professional photographer and explain your needs. She or he will provide samples of various business portrait options for you to choose from. Before you meet, browse other websites and share ideas that reflect your business brand and website template.

screen capture of team page from scott rosien black and locke team page

The corporate team section of the scrolling homepage for Scott Rosien Black and Locke Accountants features the firm’s partners, manager and staff accountants in business attire. Users can connect with each team member directly via the email icon.

Look and Feel

If you’re developing a new portal, it’s most likely based on a pre-designed website template that will be customized to reflect the look and feel of your company’s band identity. Alternately, you’ll work with a web developer to custom design a new website from scratch. Either way, you’ll want to ensure that the style of employee headshot you choose fits with the overall design of the website.

If your website is crisp and professional, make sure your team photos are as well. On the other hand, if your business calls for a more folksy approach to website design and content, take headshots that reflect a more casual approach.

The professional portraits your photographer provides will have to be properly sized to fit the layout of your website. Work with your graphic designer and/or web master to properly scale these images.

When team photos are uploaded to the website via your content management system, ensure that they are labeled and tagged with the proper metadata to increase your SEO (search engine optimization).

screen capture of lavallee health centre team page

The Lavallee Health Centre website features a growing team of personal health and wellness professionals. Clicking on a team portrait takes the user to a detailed profile page, complete with personal approach, call-out quote and professional credentials.

Making the Connection

To facilitate communications, an interactive team page should feature graphic hyperlinks for each team member, linking online users to individual email and social media accounts. The easier it is for users to connect with you online, the more inclined they will be to do so.

Above all, make sure that the face you put forward on your corporate team page is true and honest. When your customers meet you in person, they need to make the connection between your online presence and reality.

When properly developed, a great corporate team page goes a long way towards building engaged relationships with your client base. It’s all about putting your best face forward!

screen capture of valley window and door team page

The Valley Window and Door team page features the company’s management and sales staff, in casual attire and warm smiles. Scrolling over each portrait displays a short bio and email hyperlink.


Use Inbound Tools and Tactics to Market in the Year You’re Doing Business

Use Inbound Tools and Tactics to Market in the Year You’re Doing Business

Most small business owners aren’t marketing in the year in which they’re operating — words of wisdom from online marketing guru and venture capitalist, Gary Vaynerchuk.

Many entrepreneurs are still spending the bulk of their advertising dollars in traditional media such as print, radio and ad mail. But as he illustrates, if a carload of people are driving past your billboard, the driver has his eyes on the road, the rest are surfing their mobile devices. So your investment is lost on them!

The same goes for newspaper advertising. Browse through your local daily and you’ll notice that it’s mostly editorial. Gone are the days when ads balanced out the news. Papers are running half-page ads promoting their inbound marketing and SEO services. That’s because we’re accessing our news online and in real time. So why would we wait 24 hours for it to arrive on our doorstep? And why would we invest our advertising dollars in redundant media?

Change Is Hard

To be fair, the online marketing landscape is changing so quickly and radically that it’s hard for many small business owners to keep up.

Those I talk to feel like they’ve got one foot on the dock and the other in the boat. They know they’re not spending their advertising dollars as effectively as they could be, but at the same it’s easier to stick with what they know.

If they’ve been in business for at least a decade, print brochures and newspaper ads, radio spots and ad mail are still their go-to media. And the bulk of their annual marketing spends that are directed by commissioned media reps who push contracts across the desk — or coffee-shop table — to be signed without a spec of strategic planning.

The result is shotgun marketing. The bang can be big but short-lived. The reach can be wide and broadly targeted. But the disconnect with your consumer is real. So one must do this repeatedly to convince a consumer to connect. Traditional media makes it so much harder to convert a cold lead into an engaged consumer.

Change Is Good

Conversely, if your potential customer is browsing online to find a solution that fits their needs, effective targeting can mean they’re only a click or two away from landing on your website and providing you with their email address. Just like that a cold lead converts into a valuable prospect and you build your business.

Cost-wise, it’s hard to print anything – from business cards to billboard – without spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars. If you’re not aware of how much you can buy in online ads and social media with the same amount of money, you’d be smart to find out.

Change Is Constant

Take some advice from someone who started her career BEFORE computers and mobile devices – at work and at home. Never stop learning and exploring.

The internet offers a wealth of resources and tactics to tap into. With a bit of time and tech, you too can become an effective inbound marketer. If you’re part of a team, ask the youngest in your circle for advice – they’re consuming these online tools with their morning cappuccino.

Smart business owners will hire an inbound marketing professional to help navigate the options, develop strategy and roll out tactics that cost less and target better. User analytics will prove where your money is best spent.

So change has come – big-time. Start inbound marketing today!

Inbound Marketing: How Much Will It Cost Me?

Inbound Marketing: How Much Will It Cost Me?

It’s never easy to talk about money — but in business it’s always top of mind. So when I put a call out for questions, it was the first one that came in: “How much does inbound marketing cost?”

Quick answer: “Much less than traditional media.”

I just checked in with a peer who’d hosted a booth at a regional trade show. Their spot wasn’t the greatest. Geographically they were pushing the limits of connecting to their target market. And it cost $2000. My first thought was she could have bought a lot of social media with that kind of money!

Shift Your Budget

Add up your marketing budget for last year. If you’ve been investing in print, TV or radio, I guarantee you’ll reach a more targeted market with less money by switching to inbound marketing. And if you’ve been using snail mail to deliver your print promotions, then your savings increase exponentially.

By shifting your spend towards an inbound strategy, you’ll leverage the best of social media: free platforms and low-cost engagement tools to reach an ever-expanding, organically grown network of family, friends and business connections. That’s why it’s also called viral marketing.

Time Versus Money

Social media works best when you share content that provides solutions to the problems your customers are looking to fix. It’s about the soft sell — building community by sharing online resources that engage and inform your buyers.

If you’re comfortable creating and uploading your own content (text, images and video), with a bit of training you’ll save money by doing much of the work yourself. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do so, then we can help by setting up a monthly media calendar and sharing quality content on your behalf.

Geared to Your Business

To get started you need the basics: a bit of a plan, a good website and an active presence on the social media platforms where your buyers hang out.

Once we draft your marketing plan you’ll want to update it annually. Your biggest investment will be your website, so think of it as a long-term spend that will serve you well for several years. Then set a fixed monthly budget (time and/or money) to cover social media posts and branded emails to keep your business top-of-mind.

Remember, we’re shifting your spend to get more bang for your buck – from traditional offline marketing to measurable inbound marketing tactics.

By doing it right, inbound marketing is sure to pay off!

Top Three Inbound Marketing Tactics

Top Three Inbound Marketing Tactics

In a recent session with a potential client, we talked about the various tools and tactics of effective inbound marketing. We covered a lot of ground in an hour, so on her way out the door this small business owner turned to me and asked: “If I can focus on only three tactics, what should they be?”

The answer is easy: Plan, Portal, Post.

Start With a Basic Plan

Every business needs an inbound marketing plan even if it’s only one page to start with. Focus on the coming year with an eye to the next two to four. Choose your marketing team, and engage them in a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). Reflect on your goals, target markets, products and services, and the challenges you face building your brand.

Add a 12-month media calendar, and a block budget to track spending. Track your analytics, then update your marketing plan annually to record what works and what you need to change and improve to reap the benefits of a solid inbound marketing strategy.

marketing plan iconSee PAGE 3 to read more about developing your inbound marketing plan >

Invest in a Responsive Website

About 50% of small businesses do not have a website, but it’s the smart entrepreneur who understands the need for an engaging online portal. While the upfront costs can be considerable, think of it as a long-term investment. If you build on a dynamic content management system, your code base should last at least five years.

With the ever-increasing use of mobile devices your portal must be responsive – which means the content reflows to adapt to various screen sizes from desktop through to mobile phone.

Once you launch your portal, remember that websites are organic entities – they must be fed to remain relevant and to increase your chances of rising to the top of various search engines. Make sure your web master optimizes your metadata – better yet, learn how to do the same as you add new content.

website iconSee PAGE 10 to read more about developing an effective website >

Share on Social Media

Social media is a powerful brand builder. Statistics show its users are more likely to buy from the businesses they follow than from those they don’t. Determine which social media platforms are most popular with your buyers based on their interests and relationships, and become an active player on that online hub.

Start with one social media network, scan for problems you can solve, then post meaningful advice. The first step is to earn trust – never overtly oversell. Share original content by linking back to your website whenever you can, but also promote access to relevant online resources that you find useful and engaging.

social media iconSee PAGE 15 for helpful tips on optimizing your social media >

So there you have it: effective inbound marketing in three easy steps. Depending on where you are in your small business brand building, roll these tactics out concurrently or focus on one at a time.

The Best Time to Start a Blog Was 20 Years Ago

The Best Time to Start a Blog Was 20 Years Ago

The second best time is today. And today is the day for me! But why now and what took so long?

To Engage

My mom always said I loved to talk. But starting up a cold conversation can be a daunting task. In May 2015, I joined the local chapter of BNI, and since then the frequency of business-based conversation in my day has multiplied exponentially. And I’m loving it!

Because, as a creative thinker who embraces the concept of collaborative models, I’ve learned that rich conversation is at the heart of building healthy community. If we can feel safe sharing within a framework that accepts differing points of view and skill sets, we’ll deepen the connection between service provider and client.

To Teach

To quote inbound marketing guru Marcus Sheridan, “Content marketing is a culture — we can all be teachers.”

Hosting a blog means I can purposefully create content that’s relevant to my target audience: small business owners and service providers. It means I can extend the reach of our conversations and help others by sharing ever more broadly.

To Validate

As a small business owner myself, this blog is also a personal challenge. It means I’m going to woman-up and literally put my money where my mouth is.

I aim to prove that by strengthening my online voice, I will in turn build awareness for Design House and expand our client base. And as I have for the past thirty plus years, I will leverage what I learn for the benefit of others — business, non-profit and municipal partners alike.

To Inspire

As always, I continue to encourage my peers to do the same: to embrace a sharing strategy that makes our whole greater than the sum of our parts.

Inbound marketing, content marketing, social marketing or emarketing — whatever we want to call it. We all need to jump into the proverbial sandbox and learn how to play with others by embracing the tools and tactics of online communications.

I’m in!