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Is Your Website up to the B2B Challenge? Let SBC Bring You up to Speed!

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B2B E-commerce and the marketing strategies it requires is what doing business online is all about these days. Studio Blue Creative (SBC) can help you get your E-business running and winning that race.

According to Jack Keough, contributing editor of Industrial Distribution magazine:

"Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of the B2B market. One executive of a large Internet company said recently there is a perceived weakness of companies in their e-commerce applications.

To give you just one example, hybris, an e-commerce software company, examined the websites of the 200 largest electrical distributors as listed by Electrical Wholesaling magazine. They found that 40 percent of the websites of these large distributors were inadequate. That same study also showed that buyers prefer to do business with distributors who have e-commerce capabilities than those who do not.

E-commerce has taken on a new importance with Amazon and Google now in the B2B market.

Let’s review what has happened with Amazon getting into the B2Bl marketplace: Amazonsupply.com started out with 14 product categories in April 2012. The company obviously has a viable strategy and an advantage due to its strong logistics, reputation, and ability to offer ease of use in ordering supplies. The reclusive Amazon plays its cards close to the vest. Few people know how well Amazonsupply.com is doing.

However, there is at least one indication:  Acquity Group, an e-commerce and digital marketing company, recently conducted a study of purchasing executives who have annual budgets of more than $100,000. The results showed that buyers are readily accepting Amazonsupply.com. In fact, a remarkable 45 percent of the buyers said they had purchased products from Amazonsupply.com in the past year and 25 percent have bought products from the site frequently.

The study showed that while price is a factor, customers will abandon supplier loyalty for improved convenience. The majority of buyers (71 percent) indicated they would purchase from the website that is more convenient and has the most efficient purchase process when price is equal. When asked which aspect was more important for a company purchase, 32 percent of buyers ranked factors such as customer service and convenience over price.

"B2B suppliers must be aware of the revenue threat from the third-party B2B e-commerce websites," said Robert Barr, Senior Vice President at Acquity Group in a press release.  "This is particularly important since many buyers do not visit suppliers' physical stores, but rely on catalogs and websites to research products. Unfortunately, many of suppliers' websites are outdated and lack capabilities to meet customer expectations."

Amazon.com has a user base of nearly 170 million. In addition, Amazon plans on expanding its distribution center network and will reportedly have up to 70 of these centers around the country in the next few years. Whether or not some of those centers will be earmarked specifically for industrial products is unknown.

The company offers free two-day shipping on orders of $50 or more and has more than 750,000 industrial, scientific, and business products with “more being added each day.”

Several months after Amazon made its move, Google, on a very low-key basis, started a beta site called Google Shopping for Suppliers from which electrical and electronic products have been sold.  The site is an extension of its successful Google Shopping site. Since its beta site made its debut in early February, the Google beta B2B site has since added to their product offerings. There seems little doubt that it will expand into other industrial product categories.

Google has not commented on its foray into B2B sales.

They may not be the only ones looking at B2B. Just a short time ago I was contacted by a large brick and mortar chain which also has an extensive on-line presence. I can’t reveal the name of this company, but it is thinking of entering the marketplace because of what it sees as a vacuum in e-commerce expertise from industrial distributors.

Another company, supplyden.com, which sells safety, janitorial, packaging, and other products, says it is now redesigned its website and is determined to go after the industrial side of the business. Again, they say it because sites do not offer the “ease and flexibility that many leading on-line retailers offer.”

Is your website up to the B2B challenge?  Let Studio Blue Creative help you get streamlined for competition in this rapidly-expanding market so that your business goals can be met and your customer base grown exponentially. View our website portfolio and contact us today to get started! 

Let Studio Blue Creative Treat You to a Website that is Scary Good!

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As a small business owner, creating an appealing website is just as important as maintaining the quality of the products and services you offer. This can seem like an intimidating, daunting, even scary task. Today's shoppers are very visual and like to view the image of the product before making a final decision on purchasing it. They expect all the bells and whistles that the net can offer. Businesses that showcase their goods and services on a viewable website are able to attract new customers and lure them into making a purchase. As a business owner, it's important to look into your options for professional website design and speak with a professional about the best way to attract your targeted audience. Studio Blue Creative is the best choice for a company that can maximize your business's SEO and help increase your online visibility, viability, and profitability.

Web design companies offer a wide variety of options and styles. There are three general options when it comes to a business web design. An information sharing website is generally based on a template and can portray up to six pages. Your company logo will be displayed, along with text about your company and product. A showcase website uses flash based web design services to add a little glitz to your web design and are aesthetically pleasing to the average shopper. These sites can be customized to meet any of your needs. Finally, an e-commerce website allows for your website customers to view products offered and make a purchase over the Internet. These types of websites also allow for inventory control.

If you are looking to create a new site or are seeking website redesign services, why not give Studio Blue Creative the chance to make your web design dreams a reality? Check out our web design portfolio, and contact us today to get started maximizing your businesses power!

Building Relevance for your Industrial Supply Website

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Studio Blue Creative offers innovative and creative strategies for making your website relevant to both your present customer base and the new customers you will bring in by improving your Search Engine Optimization, or SEO

Search engines have a job to do: they refer users to the websites and content that are the most relevant to what the user is looking for.  SBC can design your website and manage it so that there is a focus on creating fresh content, improving performance, building confidence, and enhancing users' experiences. 

Studio Blue Creative can get these foci all into play on your website and ensure that your site is first-page relevant. Contact us today and get started maximizing your growth potential! 

Tapping Social Media's Well of Growth Potential

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Studio Blue Creative is aware of the incredible impact that social media marketing can have on your business cannot be exaggerated. People of all ages, cultures, races, religions, tastes, and consumer needs are united by the connections made on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Taking your marketing strategy to this profitable level will not only grow your business, but helps to build a devoted customer base. SBC strives to provide you with innovative and creative websites that are regularly updated and posted on the social media sites of your choice so that your business is connected to the freeway of consumers that make up the information superhighway.

In her article "The High-Level Business Impact of Social Media," Billie Nordmeyer of Demand Media discusses how smart business people use social media to improve communication and understanding between the business, its customers, and its stakeholders. She writes:

"A study conducted by the Altimeter Group indicated that companies use social media to accomplish various business objectives, such as increasing annual sales growth. Small businesses recognize the benefit of social media as a communication platform that facilitates two-way communication between a company and its stakeholders. This supports company processes and objectives including customer relationship management, market research, customer base expansion and customer retention, product marketing, cost control initiatives, public relations, sales and recruiting.

Customer Relationship Management
Tom Funk writes in “Social Media Playbook for Business: Reaching Your Online Community with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and More" that the principle advantage of a social media program is the opportunity to strengthen the relationship between a company and its customers. Through real-time online connections with existing and potential customers, a company conveys information regarding its brand. In turn, the company might benefit from positive word-of-mouth that is exponentially broadcast across a social network. Funk states that the greater the frequency and degree of engagement, the stronger the relationships become and the greater the impact of the relationships on sales, customer satisfaction and product reputation.

Customer Retention
Funk writes that 67 percent of Twitter users who become followers of a brand are more likely to buy the brand's products. This sales result is due in part to a company's use of social media to convey brand values, create positive word of mouth and enforce the connection between the company and its customers. These enhance a company's efforts to build customer loyalty.

Expansion of Customer Base
According to Funk, companies reach new customers through the conveyance of the corporate message on a social media channel, the broadcast of positive customer feedback regarding the corporate message and its products to some of the 100 million Twitter users and 500 million Facebook users, and the conversion of the feedback to product purchases. The broadcast of such third-party endorsements complement such traditional marketing efforts such as print and broadcast advertisements.

Market Research
Stephen Rappaport writes in "Listen First: Turning Social Media Conversations into Business Advantage" that social media is a reliable means to explore the culture, views and lifestyles that influence consumer behavior. The social media arena is a means to profile a target audience to develop marketing and advertising strategies. Social media conversations also alert companies to issues that may negatively affect current market opportunities.

Product Marketing
A product can be directly marketed to the consumer using social media. Such marketing amplifies messages that are conveyed by other product promotions, including website advertisements and press releases.

Achievement of Competitive Advantage
Funk states that 80 percent of Fortune 100 companies are active in one or more social media channels, such as Twitter. The ability to listen to a competitor's message enables a company to develop business strategies and tactics that directly counter that competitor's initiatives. This helps your company to gain a competitive advantage. For example, data transmitted by McDonald's regarding future franchise locations is a key criterion used by Burger King in the selection of its franchise locations. This gives Burger King a cost advantage in terms of saving market research expenses.

Cost Control Initiatives
A reliance on relatively low-cost social media channels to market products to millions of consumers supports a company's efforts to control costs of essential functions, including sales, marketing and customer service. For example, a company can maximize its return on marketing dollars by relying on social media to reach some customers rather than higher cost television advertisements.

Public Relations
Corporate news can be conveyed to an audience in real time using multiple social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. According to Funk, a legal or investor relations department relies on multiple social media channels to improve audience engagement, which is key to the success of efforts to control bad news that can "go viral" or be quickly disseminated to a large number of social media participants once the news emerges.

Sales
Funk states that sales can be increased by adding social media functions to corporate websites. For example, customer product ratings, "fan" and "email friend" options serve as ways to engage website users. This leads to user and company engagement that contribute to increased product sales.

Recruiting
In "Social Media for Business: 101 Ways to Grow Your Business Without Wasting Your Time," Susan Sweeney writes that the social media platform is a cost-effective way to directly reach potential employees in that four out of five online Americans participate in a form of social media each month. Such a program also is a means to determine if a recruiting program resonates with potential employees through the feedback the company acquires regarding such items as the positions advertised and the recruitment program itself."

Nordmeyer's sampling of advice and facts from business experts highlights social media marketing as a fabulous way to increase your SEO (search engine optimization) while growing your customer base and commercial impact. Contact us at Studio Blue Creative today and let us help you rocket your business into the growth and recognition trend you need to stay competitive!

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