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CONNECTION GROUP

Success in business starts with connections

Lansing and Charlotte, Michigan Small Business Marketing Solutions

small-business-marketing-solutions-lansing-michigan

Looking for small business marketing solutions? We receive calls everyday from small businesses looking for answers to their marketing needs. We also receive phone calls from other marketing companies trying to sell to us! I am amazed by the volume of calls (some robo calls, don’t get me started on those-ugh!) from marketing companies. Each call promises increased  Google rankings, website visitors, social media followers, decreased pounds   – wait, no, that is a call that could actually be helpful…

I met with a customer this week who received one of these calls. The call spurred a discussion about Google rankings and how we could help. We’ve also met with a couple of small businesses in Lansing and Charlotte, Michigan have monthly marketing package agreements with Town Square Media. Town Square Media have a large sales forcey, targeting small businesses in mid-Michigan and throughout the country who need help with web design and marketing. They build responsive websites and offer social media management. They also promise search engine optimization (SEO) and monthly edits to small business websites for a set monthly fee.

Marketing Packages for Small Business

Marketing packages are beneficial small business marketing solutions if they offer consistent, fresh, customized content, at a set affordable cost. We were surprised to hear Town Square Media customers were paying twice as much per month as we charge. Plus, their customers were getting a very  small percentage of the service we provide. Some of the small businesses who had WordPress responsive websites built were paying over $200 a month. They also told us that if they wanted to cancel they would lose their website. After over a year of paying for a website the didn’t even own their website!

Fortunately, we have been able to help these Lansing and Charlotte, Michigan businesses. They now own their website designs and have control of their internet marketing. Can we help your small business save money and get more ROI and higher brand recognition?

If you are a Town Square Media customer in Lansing or in the surrounding small towns please give us a call today. We believe in small businesses and we relish the opportunity to help you grow. For those of you who are paying monthly for a responsive e-commerce website or other small business website that you will never own – cut your losses.

Affordable Small Business Marketing Solutions

We will build a custom website for similar or less cost than you have paid and you will own it once paid in full. We will also train you on how to edit your responsive website. Have problems with edits? Call us, we’re here to help and we will walk you through updating your website. We’re here for you if you have major changes you prefer not to attempt. We will provide an accurate time-based estimate to get your website design developed quickly. You don’t have to take our word for it, our reviews speak for themselves.

For small businesses with professional websites who need answers about social media management, email marketing, SEO and getting reviews posted on Google, etc. please give us a call. Don’t sign on with a company you haven’t researched or with a company who doesn’t know you, or your local area.  We will meet with you over the phone or face to face. After the meeting, we can develop a custom plan. Plans can include fee based services, or we train you how to achieve similar results. Take back ownership of your brand, connect with us today!

Get Website Security In Place or Get Penalized by Google

website security for small business michigan

As of January, 2017 website security for member log in websites and all websites that accept and/or store credit card information must be secure (HTTPS). Google will begin to penalize e-commerce and member-based websites if they are not secure.

Main difference between HTTP and HTTPS

HTTP is the protocol that allows the web server to communicate with a web browser. HTTP web data is transferred as plain text. Credit card numbers, passwords and social security numbers can be mined by hackers. Alternatively, HTTPS is not text based. Instead, HTTPS uses SSL (secure socket layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security), data is encrypted and is impenetrable to the outside world. Another benefit of website security is faster page loads.

Website Security Increases Online Sales and Business Credibility

A 2014 survey by Global Sign indicated 85% of people who buy items online will only buy from websites they know are secure. Chrome and Firefox web browsers show a lock in the title bar on secure websites. The lock graphic assures the website is secure and the company is credible.


eventual-google-red-triangleGoogle will begin flagging non secure websites that gather log in and or financial data with a red triangle “Not secure” warning. By adding the red triangle to non-secure websites, Google will effectively shut your website traffic off.

Have you seen a Google warning to stay out or “harm may come to your computer” on a website? As web developers, we know that these sites have been hacked. Even though they may already be cleaned, we still respect the warning and stay away. Often, if a site is hacked once, it will be targeted again. Similarly, the red triangle will be a digital stop sign.

Will Your Company Website be Affected?

Eventually all HTTP pages will be labeled as non-secure. Even if your small business website doesn’t collect member or financial data you’ll need to have website security. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated and even small websites with low traffic are targets.

Google has not released the date in which they will be marking all non HTTPS compliant websites as insecure. They have set January, 2017 as the date they will begin rolling out the penalties to websites that gather personal or financial information. We will share critical dates in emails.

How do you know if your website is part of this first phase?

Organizations and small business websites that accept payments online and websites with membership portals, are required to have website security.

Types of Member-Based Websites:

Trade association websites, non-profit organization websites, website directories, web forums, all websites that ask for a log in. This includes small business websites that may not receive payments. For instance, if you have a website that sells yarn or fabric and all of your sales go to Paypal you wouldn’t need HTTP right away. That same website can be aa member-based website if it requires a member account for free access to pattern downloads. You will need HTTPS designation for your small business website.

E-Commerce Websites or Web Shops

An e-Commerce website is any website that offers products or services for purchase on the website. Selling products online such as photos, handmade art, hunting supplies, and any product available for purchase online falls under e-Commerce. In addition, services like our individual brand consultation and our monthly website maintenance are also. If a website maintenance customer chose to pay online through our website and not through snail mail or Paypal, our site would need website security.

As you can see, it doesn’t matter what items you offer. Your items for sale can be a products or services, as large as an RV or as small as a brand consultation. If customers log in to your site or if they can send payment through your website you need a secure website. If you do not have website security, call and  connect with us today. Don’t wait until your customers get scared away.

 

Business Card Design for Small Business

business card design for small business

As a graphic designer I have been known to break a few corporate rules. However, I choose to play by the rules when it comes to business card design. At least when it comes to the shape and size of business cards. As in most industries, there are standards to follow that help consumers and industry professionals.  Challenges, expense and frustration occur when products vary from  industry standards.  An innovative product may be deemed unusable. A company who chooses to break from the norm may be striving to create a new standard (Hello Apple iphone7 headphone). In other instances they may not have compiled the proper research. Or they are just going rogue!

Lately, when attending networking events the business cards I have garnered are in a variety of shapes and sizes. Creative business card design is a valuable investment for start ups as well as established corporations. But, it is important not to get too far away from the norm.  It is your logo and business card design that people see most. Business cards will be exchanged at networking events, one on one meetings, and cold calls. If your card looks unprofessional, then so do you.

What is the size of business cards?

The standard dimensions of a business card design is 2” x 3.5”. Traditionally the 3.5” is the longer, horizontal measurement. Over the years vertical business card designs have made a mark as well. The most widely accepted business card shape is a horizontal version. Industries such as banking, insurance, manufacturing, and education use traditional, clean designs. Comparatively, vertical business card designs, tend to be used by creative industries such as architects, interior or graphic designers, crafters or arts and craft products, etc.

Business card design styles

Business card designs that break away from the normal business card size stand out. But, having an outstanding design is different than having a design that stands out. The goal of a professional business card design is to be memorable, communicate clearly and be easy for the recipient hold onto it. When a vendor hands me a square business card that are all the rage right now I don’t know what to do with it. It doesn’t fit in my business card holder, it doesn’t fit in a pocket folder slit, it doesn’t fit in my phone case! Plus, with square business card design, nearly all are two sided – so now you’ve created more work for the recipient.

Don’t get me started on the small business card designs that resemble the size of keychain loyalty cards. Why would someone choose these to promote their business? Does the small business card save that much on paper cost? I will confess, I do not know the actual printing cost of business cards in this format. Why? The answer is because I would never recommend them to my customers. Consider using them as a small product insert but please don’t use them as a professional business card.

Size matters

In closing, I will share that it is common practice to scan business cards into a customer relationship management (CRM) system. All of those tiny business cards get stuck in the scanner. Additionally, square, two sided business cards must be scanned twice. In one sense you have achieved the goal in standing out to me by choosing an odd shaped business card design. Increased scanning and input time has been created for me. This doesn’t leave me with a good impression of you and your company. Isn’t leaving a good impression the first goal of networking?

We’re happy to take a look at your business card and offer feedback. Fair warning- it will be honest feedback! Email or give us a call today.

Stay connected!

Capability Statement Design for Women Owned Businesses

capability statement design for women owned businesses

Congratulations, now that your company has received certification as a women-owned business your work has just begun! Let’s start with your capability sheet design. In Michigan, we have regional business summits, MiDiCo meetings, and other meet-the-buyer events. When you attend networking events, conferences, etc. in your state or region you need a professional leave behind in the form of a capability statement. Capability statements are print pieces that essentially offer your company information at a glance. Your capability sheet should also be uploaded to your website for download. Similar to a product cut sheet or a sales sheet, capabilities sheets are what companies use in the procurement of corporate and government bids.

A successful Capability Statement Design Includes:

  • your company name
  • company logo
  • third party certifier (such as WBENC)
  • core competencies (brief company statement and services)
  • contact information (you would be surprised how often this is missed!)
  • differentiators – how do you stand up to the competition
  • images;  professional logos; professional or stock photos
  • past performance
  • company data:  DUNS number, CAGE, socio-economic status if you are a WBE, WOSB, Minority Owned Business, certified through WBENC, NAICS codes, PSC numbers, Federal Supply Codes
  • Key personnel: ownership, management information, or key account representatives, etc.

Do you need a professional corporate capability statement - free consultation

Optional Content for Capability Statement Sheets:

  • customer testimonials
  • partial customer list
  • credentials, licenses
  • logos and mentions of professional affiliations /memberships
  • case studies
  • Do you need help writing the copy for your Capability Statement Design?

You may know your business yet not know how to write or now how to identify which content will stand out to prospects. Consider frequently asked questions and reviews from your customers. Ask yourself:

  • What makes your company unique?
  • Why would you be the best candidate for a project?
  • What sets you apart from your competition?
  • Why do your customers continue to hire you?

capability statement sampleAs a full service branding firm we print, write, and design capabilities sheets. Our web specialist posts keyword optimized sell sheets and capability statement information to our website and our customer’s websites. Take a look at our capability statement design sample. We have included design and brand marketing service listings, print and design awards, women owned business certification, corporate logo, WBENC logo, customer case study results, etc.

Industry Specific Capability Statement Content

If your industry requires licensure be sure to include the licenses you hold. Include affiliations, reports and ratings with third parties.

  • Better Business Bureau rating
  • ISO rating
  • Angie’s List award
  • etc.

Especially relevant, do you hold a professional designation within your industry such as a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP)? These credentials establish credibility and set you apart from your competition.

Capability sheet samples include one and two sided solutions. We try to keep our capability statement design one sided and customize it to each service. For instance, if we are responding to a bid for brand development services we will include specific branding experience. For magazine or publication design we include our experience highlighting publication design and production.

Do you need help putting together your capability statement design? We can set up a 10-15 minute complimentary phone consultation. Also, we will ask the right questions to get the most important content about your business on paper clearly and professionally.

Leave behinds and downloadable pdf capabilities sheets are critical. Consequently, don’t miss opportunities because your prospects didn’t remember you or don’t have enough information to hire you. Give us a call or shoot us a note today.

The Hall Charlotte Michigan Website Design

Charlotte Michigan Website design for The Hall

Connection Group recently worked on a Charlotte Michigan website design for  the newly established, The Hall. Charlotte Michigan based, The Hall, is an entertainment and group rental space located in downtown Charlotte, Michigan. The Hall proprietor, Jon Hall, recently purchased the historic building located at 127 S. Cochran Ave., Charlotte, Michigan.

Connection Group owner, Connie Sweet consulted with Hall at the venue to discuss web and integrative marketing. The historic building features exposed brick walls, original tin ceilings that tower over the wide open space. Hall plans to book personal events such as weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, showers, etc. In addition,

The Hall rental venue Charlotte Michigan logo designThe Hall is well suited for corporate business groups. Business retreats, meetings, business expos, award dinners, board meetings and more will find the space welcoming. A select group of local caterers have been chosen to serve The Hall attendees. Guests may also hire their own caterer.

Jon Hall owner of The Hall Charlotte, Michigan

Jon Hall proprietor of The Hall

In addition to being Charlotte Michigan’s solely designated event space for parties and meetings, Jon is also encouraging instructors to use the space for classes. From cardio drumming to yoga to wine and paint classes, The Hall will conform to fit each guest’s needs.

Another type of venue downtown Charlotte, Michigan was missing prior to The Hall was a dance and entertainment space. Individuals and groups can rent the hall and make use of the special lighting and sound board. From dance parties to fundraisers, The Hall is ready to rent one time, multiple nights or in regular intervals .

Charlotte Michigan Website Design for The Hall

Connection Group is proud to be a part of the The Hall launch. Jon Hall hired Connection Group to design and develop a responsive website for The Hall.  A chance meeting at a downtown networking event spurred the partnership. The Hall and Connection Group are both Charlotte Chamber of Commerce members. An advocate and strong supporter of local businesses, Hall chose Connection Group for The Hall Charlotte Michigan website design.

If you have an event coming up in the mid-Michigan area, why not check out The Hall? Visit the website for more information on venue rental and availability.

Hall also has space next to The Hall that is available for lease. A prime downtown Charlotte location, the space is well suited for retail or service businesses. Give Jon Hall a call today (517) 712-0772 for specifics on the retail space available in downtown Charlotte, Michigan.

Looking for a new responsive website to be designed and developed for your business? Connection Group provides marketing and design solutions for customers across the United States and Canada for a plethora of industries – we offer consultations and design services all over, not just Charlotte, Michigan website design services!

Please check back for future blog posts featuring customer projects  and be sure to visit The Hall in Charlotte, Michigan. Supporting local entrepreneurs who are keeping it real and saving the original character of our small town historical buildings need our support, recognition, and patronage.

Stay connected! #charlotterising

10 More Event Marketing Elements for Successful Event

event marketing elements

In the previous blog we touched on the first 10 event marketing elements needed for successful event marketing. For a successful campaign you can’t stop at just the first 10.  Following are 10 more event marketing elements every event marketer or event planner should include in all personal and corporate event planning.

internet-event-advertising-social-media-advertising11. Social Media Graphics / Banners

Create a variety of social media event graphics that include the event logo, main sponsor logos, plus date and location of event for large to medium size graphics. If you will have a keynote speaker or celebrity performer use their photo, logo or other visuals to highlight them. Create cover photos, banners, memes, videos if available, for all social media platforms. Post them for download to your website and encourage attendees to post on their profiles.

12. Social Media Posts / Hashtag

Have a handful of social media posts scheduled for the different planning stages. Save the date posts, exhibitors posts, sponsor posts, reminders, new information such as added speakers, vendors, etc. Include visuals as much as you can. Also think of a unique event hashtag for your event and encourage people to use it before, during and after the event. If you have an annual event include he year in your tag:  #EventBranding2016

13. Order Promotional Products

If gift items, give aways or other event tchotchkes are needed determine what you will be giving away or selling and order them well in advance!

14.  Advertising

If you budget allows purchase print or online advertising. Many options to choose from including trade magazines, local newspapers, e-news and social media advertising and Google adwords.

15. Blogs / Articles

If you maintain a blog on your even website post new information regularly, interview speakers, etc. Send more press releases and build interest from media to create articles about your event.

fundraising event poster / flyer16. Event Signage

Exterior banners, interior directional signage from the parking lot to each breakout session, the expo floor, etc. Include event logo, directional arrows, room names or numbers, etc.

17. Reminder and Confirmation Emails

Drip email campaigns should be utilized for all events. Save the dates, announcements, register, have you registered? did you forget to register? , thank you for registering, etc. Confirm registrations and schedule an email before the event with specifics for each attendee and if invoice reminders are needed. Share details of the event – location, map, time, location and times for scheduled workshops or break out sessions

18. Event Program

Include a welcome, agenda, sponsor information, advertisements, break out sessions, FAQs, area information, map of location, map of expo floor and exhibit hall, times, titles and locations of each break out session, etc.

19. Thank you Plus a Survey for Event Attendees / Exhibitors, etc.

At the end or after the event follow up with a thank you for 6attending with a survey that asks pertinent questions about specific elements of the event you want to know about, Where can you improve? What worked? What could be added?… etc,

20. Create Next Year’s Planning Calendar

If you are wooing sponsors for the next event… the best time to do so is during the current event… event marketing never really ends.

Need Help Design Your Event Marketing Elements?

Connection Group has been developing and designing all of the above marketing items. We have delivered event marketing elements needed for successful events for over 20 years. Connect with us today. Let’s discuss how we can work together to make your next event, large, or small, successful. Good luck with your event!

How Websites Are Like Hairstyles [or…]

… understanding the importance of updating websites

I often joke that outdated websites are like hairstyles, one glimpse and you know from which decade they came.

Connection Group started offering website design for businesses and organizations in 1998.  Sadly, some of the cutting-edge companies and organizations who jumped into the internet then are still working with the same, but now very outdated, website! Others who didn’t understand the importance of updating websites have long since closed their doors. Take a look at these outdated websites from a web design and developers eye.  We’re going to poke fun at ourselves… so as not to offend anyone…(truthfully the first screencap doesn’t follow the ‘crew cut type’ that it is linked to … we never had a crew cut type website… we’re designers with many fonts… we must rebel…)

The Crew Cut of Pixie – All buttoned up and Proper

outdated website design from 2001This website follows all the corporate rules. The company name is in the upper left corner, as text in helvetica, arial or times. The navigation is straight across the top with no drop downs, colors are pristine, and web fonts are clean and clear. There is no guessing where the content you are seeking is, just keep reading through the pages of copy and, if you stay awake long enough, you will get the answers you seek. There are no photos or graphics to add interest or break up the mountains of copy. Because ‘no truly serious business person wants artwork to distract them from their task.’ Internal staff can not touch these site, updates that are required must go through the code nerds in IT only.

The Spiked Out Punk – Loud, creative and difficult

screen cap of Connection Group Adobe Flash websiteOnce the cool-kid website that was all flash and no content. Once launched graphics thrust toward you accompanied by swooshing sounds or music as each bursting circle or star thrashed to the next. The creative animation software that was Flash and made these site designs so popular in the millennium was considered difficult to deal with from the beginning. Mobile developers have further ostracized the use of Flash websites and now refuse to support them. Calling one up on your mobile device just brings conflict and remorse. Those that survived are underground, hidden from all attempts of search engine results.

The Mullet – Business in the front and party in the back

Connection Group Lansing website design old home pageWe’ve all seen this one. The website with all the right elements on the home page but once you get in deeper all you see is code or you have to jump through multiple pages to get a short answer on the question you had way back on the home page. Appearances are everything with these websites. The owners believe nobody really buys on the web, a website is just to help appear credible.

The 80’s hairband – All fluff and no substance

Connection Group home pages 2009You’ve seen them, laden with dark colors, embossed buttons, every graphic and photo has multiple drop shadows and effects. Moving gifs are dancing erratically across the screen screaming for attention. The site navigation is strung out here and there with no sense of purpose or reasoning. Mobile responsive website? Not even close.

Ombre Hair – Trendy and Independent

connection graphics responsive website design.psdThese website designs are trendy and work hard to stand out from the crowd. With splashy artwork, handwritten fonts, scrolling themes, and social linking they’re ready to take on the world. Every mommy-blogger or small business can create a free Weebly or WordPress website, make their own changes and updates, post blogs and photos and be individually unique. But wait… didn’t I just see that same site theme used for the local art gallery website or was it the online fabric or yarn shop website or the Lansing, Michigan cannabis caretaker dispensary website? There’s no shock value or envy of cutting edge creativity, everyone’s doing it. The straight off the shelf free website themes are everywhere and they are all beginning to look the same. Plus the novelty wares off all too quickly. Once trendy small business websites are off on their own away from the original stylist, roots start to show up as broken links that take you nowhere and the last posted blog from two years ago starts with “Sorry it’s been so long… I’ve been so busy I don’t have time to update my own website… ”

Buzzcut with Shaved Design – You’ve been hacked

These websites may have started out fine with a few fancy plug-ins with extra features or added interests were included. It looked and sent the desired message so there was not need to change it or look at it again. The only problem is hackers love to attack websites that do not get updated regularly. These are the sites that you land on that automatically come up with a Google caution that says, “Go back – we have detected malware that may harm your computer… proceed at your own risk. Even you are not adding new photos or text or regular blogs, website maintenance and updates are important for security reasons as well as the benefit of increased SEO.

What decade or style do you find your company website in?

 Technology and websites are ever changing and it can be hard to keep up. Now that you understand the importance of updating websites, you need a completely new website design or just need help updating your website, connect with us today. New website designs and website updating is 15% off through June 15. Hurry and get on our schedule today.

If you are interested in seeing throwback from websites-gone-by, visit archive.org. This website has chronicled website crawls since the year 1990s.

Which is Better, a Company Trifold Brochure or Sales Sheet?

Company trifold brochure 15$ discount on graphic design Connection Group

Your company website is live, you have business cards in hand, and now your’e ready for some leave behind print marketing materials. Small businesses often start with a standard, every-company-has-to-have-one-trifold, and others use company sales sheets. Whether you are a start-up company or second stage business, when choosing between a company trifold brochure and a sales sheet, first consider how you plan to use your print materials.

Company Tri-Fold-Brochure

Three panel brochures are standard letter size (8.5” x 11”) sheets that are folded twice, horizontally.  The paper is usually creased in equal thirds, resulting in three panels on each side of the sheet totaling six panels for the entire piece. Designed to fit into a standard #10 envelope, trifold brochures are also known as #10 brochures for this reason. Brochures can be a combination of any amount of colors. Trifold brochures can be simple black ink with text only or full color, effects, die cuts and short folds. A trifold brochure template can open horizontally, custom brochures can be designed to also open vertically. You can choose a z-fold brochure or roll fold brochure, depending on the order in which you want the viewer to read each panel.

A custom company trifold brochure or brochure template, is often a gateway introductory tool. Brochures can be many different sizes and shapes, with multiple folds, single or multi-page. Multi-page brochures are, in essence, marketing booklets designed to wow the audience and support the corporate brand. Brochures with sleeves and die cuts can be used as folders that hold inserts. The shape chosen is dependent on how the print marketing piece will be distributed, along with amount of information to be communicated, and the style in which the company brand, product brand and services brands will be presented.

When a company trifold brochure is most beneficial:

  • point of sale (check out)
    retail store
    bank
    pharmacy
    restaurant carry out menu
  • direct mail – fits easily into standard #10 envelopes
  • general company information
  • display in brochure racks
    coffee shops, travel bureaus / Welcome centers, chamber of commerces,
  • event promotion
  • other….

Sales Sheets

Sales sheets are standard letter size (8.5” x 11”) sheets that are not folded. They can be one sided or two sided, full color, one, two, or three color. One sale sheet could cover everything or multiple sheets may be needed to highlight individual products or services, pricing, etc. Sales sheets may also be designed for specific target markets. For instance if your company sells products or services to manufacturing firms and also to end users, your sales literature will need to be adapted to each audience.

A Sales Sheet By Any-other-name….

The term sales sheet is often interchanged with: sell sheets, brag sheets, capability sheets (capability statement sheets), product cut sheet, flyers, inserts, specification sheets (spec sheet), data sheets, and one sheets (often used for Professional Speakers, authors and other creative talent such as models and actors.) There are some differences in the content in each of these items but the purpose typically serves the same end – to promote.

When a sales sheet is most beneficial:

  • leave behind after a sales presentation
  • part of sales kits for use by sales staff or independent sales representatives
  • company manufacturers or offers multiple products or services
  • after sale literature for customer reference

Each marketing item that is designed for printing can also be included in digital format for posting to your website. All print items can be shared electronically in emails, posted to social media, and as downloads from a specified page on your website.

Do you need help with the design or writing of your company trifold brochure, sales sheet or booklet? Are you in need of a promotional kit with sales sheets? Connect with us today. We’ll plan a face to face meeting to discuss your ideas or schedule a phone consultation to clarify goals and outline marketing solutions.

Automated Marketing Let’s You Market In Your Sleep

Internet Marketing Strategy Connection Group

The previous blog post covering automated marketing barely skimmed the service about the features and benefits of marketing automation for small business. I’m continuing here to be sure that  I communicate clearly that there is a lot of leg work that has to happen for automated marketing to get rolling.

Automated Marketing Services Upfront Planning:

  • create targeted landing pages (for each product or service)
  • develop detailed customer profiles
  • identify marketing automation database segmentation
  • determine what events / actions to track
  • create tracking methods to identify who participated in a campaign  (attended a webinar, opened an email, responded to social media post, or clicked on a Google ad)
  • view reports, determine common visitor traits or failed closings
  • design messages that are graphically appealing
  • write compelling copy
  • tailor drip email campaigns to generate attention
  • and more…

Create more leads and close more sales.

Because we are a design and marketing firm we have received sales calls from automated marketing services firms for years. We’ve tried out demos, reviewed benefits and features and inquired on pricing for each automated marketing company. Some companies were incredibly expensive and truly were designed for large corporations like GM who receive tens of thousands of hits per day. The ROI just wasn’t there for most small businesses.

Can automated marketing benefit small businesses?

The challenge we found with all of the marketing automation companies is that they all claimed marketing automation was easy. The only way marketing automation is easy is if you are a marketing firm who is already using digital marketing services like email, CRMs, visitor tracking, analytics, etc. and attempting to build comprehensive results from the different platforms. It’s a lot of work! Converting to marketing automation services is like a ride in the park after juggling all of those pieces and trying to make sense of them.  Realistically though most small business are not doing many of those pieces on their own, so jumping into an automated marketing solution is a huge undertaking.

If you are a small manufacturing firm in mid-Michigan, a craft brewery in Lansing or a commercial builder in Grand Ledge, Michigan you’re too busy running your business to be working on all of the pieces needed to create successful automated marketing campaigns. You either need a full time website designer and marketing communication manager in-house or you need to outsource it to a marketing company like ours. We have found that the small businesses, associations, and community organizations in Grand Rapids and Lansing who we have met with who attempt automated marketing on their own seldom implement it to it’s fullest potential. There are far too many steps required to get it up and running.

  • customer persones
  • segmentation identified
  • campaigns are built
  • website enhanced for automation
  • communication and call to action copy developed
  • graphic design elements created
  • review of reports
  • sales department actions

Once all of the above are complete, you can monitor campaigns, traffic, and reports and your website marketing will truly be automated and leads will be forwarded to your sales team.

Do you think your company is ready for marketing automation services? Give us a call, we can talk about your goals and whether marketing automation is a good fit for you at this stage in your business. Connection Group can provide assistance setting up your automated marketing campaigns and turn it over to you or we can set it up, manage and provide input on the data and reports. We can help you rest easy and keep your business on track.