Thursday, October 9, 2014

Responsive Web Design is Here to Stay… Is Your Website Ready?

There’s been a misconception about responsive web design; it’s not simply a fad wasting time and effort. Responsive web design – developing sites that are visually pleasing on both desktop and mobile devices simultaneously – has embedded itself into our digital lives. For marketers, ignoring this newfound necessity may result in higher bounce rates, limited online exposure, and fewer conversions. With more and more people turning to mobile searching and shopping, now is the best time to commit to a responsive mobile site.

Top Reasons Responsive Mobile Sites Are Now a Must

  • Browsing from phones and tablets outranks desktops. People surf the web at restaurants, grocery stores, and nearly anywhere else. Even inside the home, it’s often quicker to search on a mobile device than to boot up a desktop.

  • As social media platforms continue to solidify themselves as major sources of referral traffic, it is clear that websites need to appeal to these users. Because the majority of social media activity takes place on tablets and smartphones, it’s important to format websites in a way that enhances the mobile experience.

  • With a 60 – 100% conversion rate for many companies that switch over to responsive web design, it’s a no brainer. So many companies see immediate increases to conversion rates shortly after creating a responsive mobile site that it’s safe to say you’re losing money every day your company goes without one.

  • Internet users are either becoming accustomed to fast-loading sites or simply impatient. Regardless of which is true, having a fast, responsive website is important. When loading a desktop site on a mobile device, load times typically take much longer. However, with a designated mobile site, loading takes a fraction of the time.

Effective Lead Generation with Responsive Design

While full website design still has its place in desktop browsing, responsive mobile sites are a necessity in this digital landscape. Consumers are flocking to newer, faster smartphones and tablets in droves. This creates a unique advantage for businesses and provides an opportunity to create incredibly effective lead generation landing pages that drive traffic and enhance engagement.

If you’re looking for help creating a great responsive mobile site, contact us at Terrapin!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Photo opps are everywhere… just take them

Photography is easier than ever for small businesses today

Photography is easier than ever for small businesses today

Digital photography has transformed the way that businesses market their products and services.  What was once a costly process involving rolls of film and expensive cameras is now a relatively low-cost endeavor.  There’s no longer a cost for images and decent quality cameras are built right into the devices that we use everyday.

Here at Terrapin, we have digital cameras, smartphones and tablets that we use on a regular basis to document the people, places and things that define the business.  The quality on each device is very good with sizes large enough to be useful on blogs, social media, websites and more.  

What qualifies as a photo opp?

With access to so many portable, mobile devices, there’s no reason why you shouldn't be documenting the things that happens at your business.  But what should you be looking out for?  What qualifies as a “photo-opp” at your business?  Here are some examples from a few of our clients....

1.  Photograph products to demonstrate their use

If your business sells a physical item, you should invest the money to have professional photos taken of your products*.  But with that being said, there’s nothing that says you can’t take candid photos of the product in use so that your audience can get a better understanding of how it works.  These additional photos (or videos) can paint a fuller picture of the item and help guide visitors toward a buying decision.  

2.  Photograph the people associated with your business

As I had mentioned in a prior post about Facebook, consumers want to connect with businesses on a personal level. So given them what they want and post photos of the people who make the business run.  These can include employees, customers, vendors, etc.  The idea is that you want to present a public face for your company - one that your audience can identify with on a more personal level.  

3.  Photograph events that you’re attending

If you’re business is active in the community, endless photo opportunities await.  Sponsoring a local baseball team?  Take photos of your logo on the uniforms.  Exhibiting at a trade show?  Take photos of the booth and sales team in action.  Team building exercise at an off-site location?  Take photos that show teamwork in action.  Summer party for the entire office?  Take photos of attendees enjoying the day.

Today’s cell phones, tablets and cameras make it easier than ever to create great visual content for your business, so take your opportunities when they arise.  Once the moment has passed, you’ll never be able to get it back, so take photos and figure out how to use them later.  

*Professional photographers are an extremely important part of marketing.  When you need solid, high resolution images that involve a high degree of lighting proficiency, a pro photographer is the only answer.  We offer photography as a service here at Terrapin and know the value that it can provide when marketing a product or service.  

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Understanding Your Website's Bounce Rate

Google Analytics and Website Bounce Rate

Google Analytics and Bounce Rate

Here at Terrapin, we’re big fans of Google Analytics.  For the unfamiliar, Google Analytics is a tool that allows you to monitor your site’s perfomance by providing detailed statistics about traffic, conversions, devices and more.  

At a glance, Analytics can give you a good picture of what’s happening with your site by answering questions like:  
  • How many people visited your site over the last month?
  • What keywords are people using to find your site?  
  • Which pages on your site are the most popular?  
  • Where in the world are visitors coming from?  

But digging a little deeper into the numbers can lead to more questions.  For instance, we get a lot of calls that go something like this:  “Why is the bounce rate on my site so high?  What does it mean and how can we fix it?”  

Not all website bounces are bad

Not all bounces are bad

Bounce rate is defined as “the number of visitors on your website who navigate away from your site after viewing only one page”.  A high bounce rate may indicate one of three things…

1.  Visitors to your site aren't interested in your product or service
This is a common occurrence.  There are a lot of people out there surfing for lots of different things, so to think that you’d be able to satisfy everyone’s need for a product or service is somewhat foolish.  Visitors will bounce regardless of what you do.

2.  Visitors find the info that they need immediately
Some visitors may only need to view one page on your site to find exactly what it is that they’re looking for.  They may be looking for a phone number or an address, hours of operation or an employee’s name.  Maybe your site is only one page, which makes the bounce rate of your site extremely high, but that’s by design.

3.  Visitors can’t find the info that they’re looking for
If visitors can’t find a piece of information or are confused by the site’s navigation or design, they’ll bounce.  It today’s world of endless results for any search, visitors can easily move on to the next result and hopefully find what they need.  

Healthy bounce rate for Analytics

What is a healthy bounce rate?

Engineers at Google have stated that a bounce rate of 40-60% would be normal for an average website.  It will most likely be a bit higher for a B2B company, a little lower for a B2C company that offers e-commerce.  

40-60% bounce rate sounds shocking, but if you think about the 3 criteria above, some of those bounces were able to find the information that they need and some visitors were just not interested at all.  

The real problems come if visitors who are interested in your product or service can’t find the information that they’re looking for.  If you feel as though this is the case and a primary cause for your high bounce rate, it’s important to review the site thoroughly and see if there are any tweaks or improvements that can be made to mitigate this issue.

Need help interpreting your Analytics data? Feel free to reach out to us here at Terrapin. We'd be happy to take a look!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Become a friend to your customers on Facebook

Become a friend to customers on Facebook

At it’s heart, Facebook is a way to connect with friends and family.  Log onto your own FB account and you’re bound to find selfies, baby photos, birthday reminders, links related to healthy living and exercise, check-ins at local bars and restaurants, etc. These are all things that are centered around our personal lives and are shared with the friends and family who matter most to us.  

So it’s no wonder that it’s difficult for small businesses to break into the FB game.  We aren’t family members.  We’re kinda friendly, but not enough to be FB friends.  So how can we change things and get people to start thinking of us differently?  It’s a tall task, but one that can be overcome with a good plan and some focused effort.  Here’s what we’d suggest...

Share interesting photos on Facebook

1.  Share interesting photos on Facebook In reviewing my own page, it’s clear that photos and visual content are a huge part of what makes Facebook tick.  Take a lesson and share interesting photos related to your business.

Every business is built on people, so make sure to include them in your postings.  It’s always interesting to see who makes the engine go, especially at a small company.  Get candid shots of what goes on behind the scenes and followers will begin to see you as human - not just a company.

Grow your Facebook following with a coupon or promotion

2.  Grow your follower list with a good deal

People love to feel as though they’re saving money.  Kim, a friend of mine on FB, will often ask for Kohl’s coupons when she’s ready to make a big purchase.  

Small businesses can learn from this, so sharpen your pencil and figure out a coupon or collection of seasonal promotions that draws them in and keeps them friendly. It doesn’t have to be a huge savings - just something that says you value their business and would enjoy their support in the future.  It may be just the nudge that they need to become a Facebook follower… and a customer for life.

Help followers discover new things on Facebook
3.  Help followers discover new things
Whenever I see friends at different locations like restaurants, concert venues and vacation spots, a part of me always says  “I’d like to check that out, too.”  Or if there’s an event coming up and Facebook tells me that friends are going, I’ll probably want to be a part of it as well..  The point here is that Facebook can very often be a way for users to find out about places to go and things to do.  

If you’re a small business with a strong local customer base, be sure to share area news and interesting events with your followers.  You’ll begin to paint yourself as the local expert and a resource for people who want to know more about what’s happening in the area.  As an added step, visit these locations and be sure to post photos. Two birds, one stone!

Tease new products on Facebook

4.  Tease new products to build interest on Facebook

I have a friend named Vern.  We’ve been friends for a long time and have very similar tastes in music, so whenever we get together, our conversation goes like this… “Dude.  Have you ever heard of XYZ band?  They’re kinda like ABC, but with 123 on vocals and a heavier sound.”  Since Vern knows that we enjoy the same types of music, he’s betting that I’ll like XYZ band as well.  Once my interest is piqued, it’s more than likely that I’ll soon join him as a fan.  And until I actually listen to their music, I’ll have to trust Vern’s recommendation.  

In this example, you’re Vern.  You know that followers already like your existing product or service.  So one way to build interest in new offerings is to tease them on your FB page.  Post exclusive photos and talk about how this new product will be different and better.  Until the product or service is launched, followers will be hanging on your every word because you know exactly what they like.  

Start a dialogue on Facebook with followers

5.  Take a controversial stance on an issue to start a dialogue

During the last election, I got to know a lot about the people that I’m friends with.  They felt so strongly about the candidates and issues that they couldn’t help but share their opinions.  

Personally, I would avoid political issues because it can be somewhat polarizing.  A better approach would be to ask questions on topics related to your business.  By creating an open forum for followers, you can get input on your own product or service, trends in the industry and more.  Throw in a question or two about things unrelated to your industry just to keep things light.  

REMEMBER: People like to do business with other people

When considering your strategy for Facebook, it’s most important to realize that people like to do business with other people, not just a corporate machine.  As small businesses, we have the advantage of being able to bring a human element and personal touch to everything that we do, including Facebook. By following these 5 tips, you can start building a relationship with your followers and start utilizing the power of your Facebook friends.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Terrapin is Celebrating 15 Years in Business

Terrapin Art & Design Celebrating 15 Years in Business

On June 22nd, Terrapin celebrated 15 years in business

As we reach this milestone and focus on the next 15 years, we wanted to take a minute to thank you, our family, friends, customers and colleagues who have supported us every step of the way. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Delete your Facebook page

Delete Your Facebook

Delete your Facebook page.  There.  I’ve said it.  

I’ve been going around and around on this issue for quite a long time and for good reason.  
I’ve read posts from the top Facebook marketers and they all praise the new targeting tools that allow you to reach potential customers with pinpoint accuracy.  Their metrics show great success when you can filter your audience down to the most minute detail.  
I’m also following marketing experts who criticize Facebook for forcing businesses to pay to reach all of their followers.  We all work extremely hard to build the number of Likes, but in the end, Facebook only displays our posts to 16% of those people.  Inorder to reach the other 84%, you need to pay to use Facebook advertising and all of those fancy new targeting tools.  
So I guess in the end, Facebook has the potential of working if you’re willing to invest money into their advertising platform.  But as a small business, your marketing budget is probably small.  What we use to compensate for small marketing budgets is time, another valuable commodity that can help a business grow when used effectively.  With that being said, is Facebook an effective use of your time?  

Wasting time on Facebook or time well spent?

Wasting time or time well spent?

I get caught up in saying that Facebook time is time well spent, but upon closer inspection, I’m not so sure.  I’ve been deluding myself into thinking that it’s productive time because 1. I’m using social media and staying abreast of what’s new and 2. I’m posting content that relates to the work that we do here at Terrapin.  
But when I look back at the time I’ve spent, I can’t say that any of it has generated a new lead for the company or resulted in a sale.  I’ve been chasing “Likes”, hoping that as that number grows, the number of interested parties seeing our work will also get in touch.  That really hasn’t panned out.  And as I spend time trying to grow the number of Likes, I’m still not going to reach all of those people because I’ll only reach 16% of my fans organically.  Are you kidding me?!?
Alternative uses for Facebook time

Alternative uses for Facebook time

I’ve decided to refocus my time onto other marketing activities that I think will be a more direct route to increasing sales...
1.  Website content pages
The Terrapin site is our primary marketing tool, so it only makes sense to spend time here to keep it current.  As our company has grown, our service offering and portfolio has changed and grown, but our site hasn’t kept pace.  My goal is to comb through our extensive site, update the content and ensure that every page is optimized for search engines.  The bottomline is that our website needs to be doing everything possible to generate new leads.  
2.  Email marketing
Our email list has been growing slowly, but steadily over the last few years, so I think it’s time that we put more time into the message that we’re sending out.  We have a direct link to potential customer’s inboxes and have a great open rate, so it’s time to tweak our message to maximize effectiveness.  Generating new content for the website should also provide great topics to promote through email.
3.  Blogging
I enjoy writing, but with so many hats to wear as a small business owner, I rarely allow myself the time to do it.  I’m pledging to double my output and write multiple blog articles a month, each with a targeted focus that’s replete with keywords that search engines love.  
But blogging isn’t just about pushing out content… it will be important for me to read other blogs and create connections across the blogosphere.  Commenting and sharing related blogs for small business and marketing in Rhode Island and Massachusetts will help to get the Terrapin name out there and hopefully build our expertise as one Southern New England’s premiere marketing companies.  
Should you delete your Facebook?

Should you delete your Facebook?

I know that a lot of small businesses across Rhode Island and Massachusetts are probably in the same boat as we are.  Facebook keeps us busy, but is it really time well spent?  For most businesses that we encounter, I do not think that FB makes sense.  But if you can answer “Yes” to any 3 of the following criteria, I think you can tap into the power of FB marketing:
1.  You are a B2C company
2.  You offer a tangible product that photographs well
3.  You have marketing budget to spend on FB advertising
4.  You have time to dedicate to generating content
5.  You have time to build Likes and interact with Fans of your page

Making the best use of Terrapin time

Full disclosure:  I am not going to delete the Terrapin FB page - we’re just going to balance the time that we spend on it as a marketing tool.  It won’t be our first priority in terms of time and money.  It’s merely another tool in the marketing bag that we can use to get our message out.  Our focus moving forward will be creating valuable content that we can promote through all of our marketing channels:  website, email marketing, blogging, LinkedIn AND Facebook.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The top 3 social media platforms for small businesses in Rhode Island and Massachusetts

Social media marketing can be a difficult thing for small businesses in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  Everyone is talking about it, but it can be hard to see through the hype and understand which options really are right for your small business.  After careful thought, these are what we here at Terrapin see as the top choices for small businesses in the area to consider.  

LinkedIn for small businesses in RI and MALinkedIn

Many consider LinkedIn to be Facebook for business people, and it's a good analogy.  You can expect to find business people here networking, trading ideas and learning about all facets of business.  We use LinkedIn here at Terrapin for a few different reasons...

1. Research new potentials, vendors and employees

LinkedIn provides insight into the skills, work experience and specialties of new people who may interface with your business.  Prepare for the initial contact with common interests by looking these people up in advance.

2.  Gain prominence as an expert in your industry

LinkedIn allows you to write recommendations and endorse connections for certain skills.  Input from other professionals like this can add a lot of credibility to your name and open up new opportunities from people researching you or your company.

3.  Learn new skills and follow trends

LinkedIn Groups allow you to meet other business professionals who share your interests, passions and goals.  Bounce ideas off of these people to get a new perspective on a challenge or opportunity, and arm yourself with more business building skills.

Google+ for small businesses in RI and MA


Google's social network doesn't get the same respect as Facebook or Twitter, but it's not something your should ignore for a couple of reasons...

1. Rise up in the Google search rankings

Evidence suggests that posts on Google+ get priority treatment in Google search.  With so many companies competing for search engine visibility, it makes sense to take advantage of everything that you can to raise your natural rankings and be seen.  

2. Uncover new ways to market your business

We've found Google+ to be a great source of information on the latest trends in marketing, namely content marketing, social media and, surprise!, search engine optimization.  It seems as though the thought leaders in marketing have all adopted Google+ and are happy to share ideas with other users there.  

3.  A playground for Google lovers

A fringe benefit for Google diehards is that Google+ is chock full of news surrounding all of the Google products and technology. First look at the latest Android powered phones and tablets? Check.  New developments in Google Glass? Check.  Great new apps in the Google Play store? It’s all here for Google lovers.

YouTube for small businesses in RI and MA


If videos aren't a part of your marketing strategy, you might consider making them one in the near future.  YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, allowing millions of users to bring information to life in video format.  We’d suggest these topics for compelling videos:
  • Product demonstrations and reviews
  • Guided tours of your facility
  • Introductions to key team members at your company
  • Video testimonials from satisfied customers
It's also important to note that YouTube is incredibly popular with the younger generation of internet users.  In a recent poll, 68% of users aged 14-34 reported that they frequently visit YouTube for its video content.  So if you’re trying to reach these younger users, or think this market will become an important base for your clientele in the near future, you need to consider YouTube today.

In Conclusion

We know that these 3 choices may not be the most popular selections for small businesses in RI and MA.  You may already be in engaged in Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, which is OK.  Obviously tour business needs to evaluate each of the options based on your particular industry or niche and an understanding of where your customers can currently be found.  

But with some focused effort, we feel these 3 social media tools will allow your company to participate in the social media revolution in a way that creates real growth in your organization in the form of networking, education, sales and marketing.  

Not sure where to start? Contact Terrapin Art & Design to learn more about our Social Media Mentoring and Consulting services. This could be just what your business needs to jumpstart a successful social media marketing campaign.