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Innovation and Sustainability with Studio Blue Creative

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Consistently looking for ways to be innovative in your business in extremely important in today's online business environment of "bigger, faster, flashier." Supply Store Pro combines a user-friendly, easily adapted framework with your products and customer service to promote innovation and secure relevance for your industrial supply website and online store.  Innovation is a necessity for your business to stay competitive as you focus on growth and profitability.

Innovators in the industrial supply online markets appear to have the following qualities:

  • They are willing to allocate a larger portion if the revenue to finance innovation.
  • They explore a wide range of innovative operating models.
  • They are willing to consider alternative business models.
  • They are concentrating on more radical approaches to innovation.
  • They are innovating with a well-defined plan and strategy in place.
  • They are serious about innovation and have a formal, structured, ongoing vision for maintaining a culture of innovation in their business.

Why is innovation so crucial? 

First, it helps industrial supply businesses meet their customers need and address their challenges.  It keeps a mindset of productivity and sustainability at the forefront of both the business and the customer's minds.  

Second, it creates a competitive advantage for your industrial supply business.  By constantly upgrading and improving technologies, processes, and products, and working closely with both general and B2B customers, your business can stay ahead of the competition.

Let SSP get you started today with a fully-functional, fully-responsive, fully-compatible website that is on the cutting edge and will continue to promote innovation in your business.  View our demo sites and contact us today for more information!

Let SBC Make Your Site an Online Treat!

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Often, the techno-geek terminology used to describe what websites are and do sounds like something you'd only hear on The Big Bang Theory or in a programming class. When you hear the words "fully responsive website," however, what is being referred to is exactly what it sounds like: the website responds fully to all different interfaces and devices.  This means that it can be accessed from computers, tablets, and phones with equal performance and quality.  Why is that important? Look around. Everyone has his or her head bowed toward some kind of electronic device, and phones are used as much or more that the laptop or home computer. To be competitive, your site must work well with all web-enabled devices so that your customer base can quickly and easily access it and order from it.

Rather than having a system that requires designing multiple templates for different sized devices, Studio Blue Creative has one that is compatible with a variety of devices for better service and easier use. We offer multiple page designs that will adapt and work with all web-enabled devices regardless of size, type, or brand, providing you and your customers a streamlined online experience that meets everyone's needs.

Check out our web design portfolio for an idea of the services Studio Blue Creative has to offer, and contact us today to jumpstart the exponential growth that a fully responsive website can bring to your business.  

Boosting Your Web Presence is an Ongoing Necessity

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Making sure that your web presence is effective, relevant, and current is an ongoing task that requires consistency in order to maximize the work your site can do for you.  At Studio Blue Creative, we can create and maintain your business’s website so that it reflects the forward thinking that you put into your work and stays competitive in a global digital marketplace.  You may be saying to yourself, “That sounds complicated!” No worries – it is part of what we do at SBC to keep your site updated and working to its full potential to build your business’s customer base. 

Jeff Haden of Inc.com offers “5 tips for Boosting your Web Presence”:

“If you built your website a few years ago it's time for an update, if for no other reason than the fact that usage patterns have changed dramatically: The number of mobile Internet users is expected to surpass the number of desktop users in the next two to three years.

That means your website is unlikely to be as effective a marketing tool as it once was, especially if your site doesn't automatically resize and rearrange content for all possible devices. (Go ahead: Check out a few sites on your mobile phone. Find one that doesn't resize automatically. You'll bail in seconds.)

1. Make it mobile.

The shift to mobile makes it crucial for your website to be optimized for all types of devices, especially smartphones, and tablets. One approach is to create device-specific versions of your website, but a better approach is to use a new responsive design layout that works seamlessly on all platforms—both now and in the future.

2. Update your content—regularly.

Long gone are the days of static websites. Today's most effective websites frequently update content to give visitors a reason to come back.

And quality is just as important as quantity, so make sure your company information is up-to-date and communicate relevant details about your business through regular blog posts or updates. Frequent updates not only help better sell products and services but also play a key role in getting higher search results.

3. Integrate social media.

Social media is an essential tool for every business seeking to build a powerful web presence—from promoting your online brand to managing customer service issues.

Go beyond including social media buttons by adding your Twitter and Facebook feeds directly on your website so customers can stay up-to-date. Invite customers to engage by allowing them to like your products and services so they can become your biggest advocates.

4. Remove annoying features.

Lots of restaurants, for example, upload a PDF of their menu. That's easy for the restaurant but a pain for site visitors. The same is true of any content that requires an application launch, especially on mobile devices.

As the site owner your experience is irrelevant; all that matters is the customer experience. Get rid of anything - anything—that could potentially irritate your visitors... or worse, drive them away.

5. Keep it simple.

The goal of most websites is to get visitors to the content they seek as quickly as possible. A simple, intuitive design is the best way to accomplish that.

Fewer page elements—which can distract visitors—keeps the focus on your website's content and leads them to your desired outcome, whether it's a phone call, email inquiry, or sale.

An easily navigable layout ensures a high engagement rate and makes it easy for visitors to find what they're looking for. For example, photos of a web presence, so your site should feature high-quality images set on a simple backdrop. The photos, not the design, are what's most important.”

Studio Blue Creative works hard to stay ahead of the game and keep your website thriving through innovative frameworks, current content, and relevant information. View our website portfolio to get an idea of what we can do for you, and contact us today to get started!

Increase Your Tech Savvy to Better your Business

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While our experts at Studio Blue Creative can design, build, and maintain your business website for you, increasing your tech savvy is a necessary activity in our techno world, and there is no longer any valid excuse for not at least knowing the basics of computer use, word processing, and web searching.  In order not to be left behind or at the mercy of those who know more, it is essential that we all work to become more computer literate.

According to wikihow.com’s article “How to Become Tech Savvy,” the following is true:

“Technology is the fastest growing field right now and there's no sign of stopping anytime soon. Being a tech savvy is not an impossible task, but it definitely requires time and energy to master the basics. No matter what your reason is for wanting to become tech savvy (not a geek per se, but more informed), a self-assessment is always a good way to start. If you know the makeup of a computer inside out and you can read the specifications of a CPU, RAM, Hard Drive, SSD and understand them; if you are skilled at navigating your way through Windows operating systems, Mac OS X, Linux; or if you’ve done any programming such C/C++, C#, Java, Python, or like HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and MySql; then chances are you are not a beginner. Whether you are a beginner or not, becoming savvy with technology requires enthusiasm and a lot of dedication. The following steps are ways you can begin this exciting adventure:

Use Google.  Google is your friend. If you have a question about something or need to research a certain topic, search using Google.

Find info about Computers.  Find info about computers. Info can be in E-books, on websites, or even in books you can find at your local library. As it says in the last tip use Google to find them. Also, you might want to use Usenet to find some info about computers.

Be knowledgeable in many fields.For example, you may never need or want to pick up a digital camera

Become an expert.What is something technology-related that interests you and that you enjoy? Say it's blogging using Wordpress - research the topic and get to know how to use things first hand.

Learn how to treat computer viruses, spyware, and learn how to avoid malware. Some great Anti-Virus/Spyware programs are Avast, Malwarebytes, Spybot, AVG, and Spyhunter. There are many Anti-Virus/Spyware programs out there, and some are free.

Learn How to Program. Programming is one of the most important skills in technology: if no one could program, there would be no World Wide Web or even Windows! We wouldn't have video games, Mp3 players, or just about anything else electronic. Some programming languages are Python (Recommended for beginners), C, C++, C#, Java and PHP. You can learn some programming at websites all over the web.

Use a Unix or Linux The Unix family of operating systems are very common with some of the most tech-savvy people in the world.This family of operating systems is free, and you are free to view the source code used in them. In these families of operating systems, there are also better programming tools and better technical tools than what you can find on Windows.

Join an online community of other tech gurus and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Run scientific and technical conversations with your expert colleagues in work, school, etc.This way, you can get face-to-face knowledge and stay current with new technologies that others are using.

Becoming tech savvy won't happen overnight and you cannot stay savvy if you do not stay current - the world is a changing place, keep on top of breakthroughs and new products! Choose easy topics to learn about or start with something you already know about.”

Fortunately, Studio Blue Creative can handle all the techno-geek aspects of designing and updating your business website – all you need to do is navigate!  Check out our design portfolio and contact us to get started today!

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

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It’s one thing to try out an idea, jump on the latest bandwagon or take a risk only to look back and think, “Wow! What a mistake!” Those are often “good mistakes” – the kind you learn from and can use as a springboard for your next endeavor. But it’s another entirely to make one of those “stupid mistakes” that are so pernicious and so avoidable that all you can do at the end of the day is slap yourself on the forehead and wonder why you did it.

These are the kind of mistakes that you can correct almost immediately, if only you realized you were making them. So here’s a not-by-a-long-shot definitive list of those mistakes so that you can begin turning them into opportunities instead of headaches.

Mistake 1: No Follow Up

How many times have you met with a prospect, talked shop, and sent off a proposal only to hear the proverbial chirping cricket in the background? This happens a lot. Heck, I know I’ve done it to more than one poor soul who has offered me their services only to find me very scarce about five minutes after their proposal hit my email inbox.

This can happen for a bunch of reasons. Maybe the budget was too high or the timeframe too long. Maybe your prospect wasn’t quite ready to do business yet. Maybe she was just price shopping or idea shopping. Maybe his brother was getting married that month and your proposal was the last thing on his mind.

Whatever the reason, if you fail to follow up you simply fail.  You’ll never know why your prospect didn’t bite, so you’ll never know how you can improve your approach with your next prospect. Even if you find out that a prospect has hired someone else, you should still follow up to find out why. This is not meant to be a challenge or a confrontation. Consider it reconnaissance. Thank your prospect for the opportunity and ask why he chose another company. Information will only help you grow.

Set a schedule for following up with prospects so it becomes second nature and you never have to wonder whether you should/shouldn’t, did/forgot. Decide that X days after a meeting, you’ll call. And X days after a proposal, you’ll email. And X days after that you’ll check in. And after X weeks or months, you’ll send another email or make another phone call just to be sure you’re not leaving any loose ends.

Make it simple and finite. You can’t chase people down forever but if you have a process for following up you know you’ll never miss an opportunity simply because you neglected to call back. Most people don’t make decisions quickly so you’ll need to be patient and persistent.

Finally, always ask a prospect – especially if he doesn’t become a customer – if you can keep in touch for the long haul. That might mean checking in every six months or so, or keeping her on your email newsletter list. You just never know when needs and circumstances will change.

Mistake 2: Not Having A Process – Or Having Too Much Process

This is a double-edged mistake. It’s all about finding the Goldilocks zone of marketing. If you don’t have a process, you’ll be doing things randomly, haphazardly and most likely ineffectively. If you have too much process, you might find yourself perpetuating unnecessary inefficiencies just for the sake of sticking to the process.

This is true whether you’re managing a social media campaign, email campaign or direct mail campaign. It’s true for everything from SEO to proposal writing. You need a basic process in place but you need to be flexible enough to change it up when it’s not working.

Let’s use email campaigns as an example. Without a process, you won’t have any idea what you’re sending emails about, who you’re sending them to or what the content should be. You could make it up as you go along but that won’t help you plan, track what you’re doing and make adjustments to improve.

No process means you’ll be sending out emails whenever, about whatever, to whomever… and what kind of marketing is that!?

A good process might include a weekly schedule for sending emails, an email template with four specific content areas to fill, and a three-month plan of message topics and calls to action.

Too much process means you’re so hung up on filling those four content areas that you neglect the actual content and cram in whatever you can just to fill the spaces. Or it may mean continuing down the weekly email path even though you noticed your unsubscribe rate jump as soon as you went above monthly.

Too much or too little process can set you up for unnecessary failure. Start with a basic plan and give yourself the freedom to change as you start to see trends and patterns and as you discover new, more effective ways to do things.

Mistake 3: Ignoring Analytics

Quick: how many unique visitors did you have to your website yesterday? What percentage of your Facebook audience is female? What’s the open rate on your last email campaign?

If you can’t answer those questions quickly then you’re probably not measuring the results of your marketing efforts. If you’re not measuring results, how do you know if what you’re doing is working? If you don’t know what’s working, how do you know what to do next and where to put your efforts and budget?

A lot of people are scared of analytics. As far as I can tell, the only people totally comfortable with numbers are accountants and engineers. But analytics don’t have to be big and scary. They can be as simple as looking at your Facebook Insights to see how many people your posts reached. Better than last week? Worse? The rise or fall of a simple line on a graph can tell you that you’re doing great or you need to adjust your efforts.

I’ll tell you this much: if you don’t have Google Analytics (or some analytics) on your website, you should be slapping yourself in the forehead right now. Bad enough to ignore your analytics, but to not have them at all? That’s just crazy. If you’re new to analytics and numbers scare you, start small. Look at how many visitors you had on any given day. See how long they spent on your site. Check out the keywords they used to get to your site. Books have been written about analytics, for good reason. You can dig deep and analyze yourself cross-eyed. But in between marathon analytics sessions, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be checking your analytics for five minutes every day to track a couple of high level details and see how your marketing plans are going.

Mistake 4: Waiting For The Phone To Ring

Marketing can be exhausting! All that planning, engaging, creating, analyzing… isn’t it awesome when you can finish up your email newsletter, shoot off that Facebook post, then sit back and wait for the prospects to start pouring in?

…what? They’re not calling? They’re not breaking down your door after that last brilliant comment you made on Twitter that was retweeted forty times? You mean… you’re not done?

I want to be that person too – the one who can charge whatever hourly rate I’m in the mood to charge just because it’s Tuesday afternoon, the one who’s in such high demand that I have to kindly pat the beggars on the head and turn them away. But for me, and I imagine most (all) of you, we have to work just to get work.

It doesn’t matter how brilliant you are, how great your last blog post was or how clever you are on Twitter with your tens of thousands of followers… you still have to work if you want work. That means you can’t simply “market” and then wait. You’ve got to constantly be reaching out to customers, new and old. You’ve got to be creating opportunities for yourself through networking, conversations and testing the waters with potential prospects.

If you have an existing customer who you haven’t spoken to in several months, shame on you. Pick up the phone right now and say hello. It doesn’t matter if you need their work or if they need your services. You need to stay connected with people and be present.

Within the past week I won two new jobs with existing clients simply because I called at the right time. If I had sat back and waited for them to absorb my amazing marketing vibes I would never have gotten those jobs.  Do they get my email newsletters? Are they following me on Facebook? Sure. But were they thinking about me for one split second? Heck no, they’re busy.

Build your authority, your brand and your credibility through marketing. But don’t assume that just because you’re marketing that people are going to come to you. Never assume that business will just come to you. Sometimes you’ve got to go and get it.

Mistake 5: Thinking Your Audience Is “Everyone”

Who is your ideal customer? If you said anyone or everyone then you’ve got about a 100% chance of failure. It’s not humanly possible to appeal to everyone. Just ask anyone with two friends or more than one kid.

You may not have defined it yet, but you have an audience. There is a specific demographic of people that wants/needs/can afford your products or services. The sooner and the better you can define that audience, the better chance of success you’ll have.

I cannot stress enough that there’s no way to market to “everyone”. People have different interests, different wants, vastly different abilities to pay for what they want. You’ve got to figure out who you’re targeting so you can build a plan around hitting that bull’s-eye.

So sit down right now and think about who your ideal customer is. I literally want you to get a picture of someone in your head – gender, age, income level, hobbies, pet peeves, family status, profession, sense of humor. That person needs to become your BIF – your Best Invisible Friend. I want you to know that person inside and out so that you know exactly how to market to him (or her), what tone to take when you write, what colors to use on your site, how creative you can get with your social marketing.

Your BIF will help you craft your marketing strategies around a particular need, fear, desire or interest. Your BIF will help you avoid running amok and trying arbitrary marketing ideas and tactics. Your BIF will slap you across the face if you ever think about adding one stupid pin to Pinterest or clap when you post a video blog.

I’m even going to let you have more than one BIF. But never forget who they are because the minute you do, and you start trying to have a universal appeal, your business is going to fall flat on its face.  Trust me, I know how hard this can be. If you had asked me 13 years ago who my ideal customer was, I would have told you, “Anyone who pays me.” That may pay the bills for a while but it will never help you succeed in the long run.

I haven’t said anything that’s especially difficult to correct. Mostly it’s just about recognizing the mistakes and then fixing them before they can cost you any more business. Mistakes happen. How you address them means the difference between growing your business or trudging along just getting by.

Studio Blue Creative can help you avoid these and other mistakes by creating the kind of website that is perfect for your business, by helping you with the content, and by marketing your site with the most effective online tools to maximize relevance and SEO. Check out our website portfolio and contact us today!

 

 

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