What Can a Grocery Store Teach Us About Web Design and Internet Marketing? Part 1

For a newbie venturing into the online world a grocery store offers many lessons in web design, layout and structure. The parallels between your site and a grocery store are very similar and clear. Learn these lessons and you will have a huge head start and a solid mindset for building an online business.

PART 1 – LAYOUT

The most apparent thing you will notice in any grocery store is the layout. Below you will see a basic floor plan of any grocery store. Most grocery stores follow the same pattern and it is not by accident. Lets take a further look.

Grocery-layout

The layout of a grocery store has one purpose: “To guide you through the entire store so that you end up in the check out line”. There is no difference between the layout of a grocery store and the layout of your site. Websites have one purpose and that is to sell. Your website needs to have that same purpose too.

SLOW THEM DOWN WITH FRESH CONTENT

In almost all grocery stores you will start off in a produce section. This is for 2 reasons.

1. Because these items are the most perishable, they want you to stock up on them as soon as you arrive. This helps keep the items fresher.

2. Number 2 is even more important. THIS LAYOUT SLOWS YOU DOWN. You have to zig and zag. Once you think you have found a clear path another obstacle or customer will get in your way. The longer you are in a store, the more money you are likely to spend.

Why are understanding these two principles so important for your own online business?

Because you want to have the freshest content available to your audience. It does not necessarily have to be the best content available, but you want to keep it new and consistently put it out there. Also, good content slows down your visitors and keeps them on the page. Most visitors get click happy and just start clicking one link after another. Give them something to stop and think about. Give them relevant content that keeps them on the page.

Slow them down, get their attention and then hit them with a call to action. Tell them exactly what you want them to do. Tell them about a product or insert an image or use any means necessary to get them to do exactly what you want them to do. This would be similar to a sale sign or an employee of the produce department recommending a particular fruit because it is a new crop and in season.

STEERING THEM IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Aisle-layout A successful layout in a grocery store gets you to follow a particular sales path. You might not have even been aware of it in the past, but like the produce section there are all kids of items placed in your way. Not just to get your attention of a particular sale, but to guide you in a certain direction. Layouts get you commit to one direction without you even thinking about it. Look at the bottoms on aisles between 1 and 2 and also between 3 and 4. These little displays help steer you down the right aisles. The goal of these are to make sure you go through every aisle.

Your website needs to do the same exact thing. If your purpose is to make sales, everything you do needs to lead that customer to your online shopping cart. If your purpose is to make new contacts and generate leads, then everything you do on your site needs to drive that potential customer to a sign up form. Your website needs to be laid out in a way that the call to action that you want the customer to take is the most apparent part of your page

ONE WAY IN….ONE WAY OUT!

Grocery stores have one advantage huge advantage over your website. There is ONLY one way in and one way out. There are 1000′s of ways people can find your website. Search engines, Directories, Video Sites, Social Networking Sites, Direct URL, Forums, Blogs, Random Sites, and places you would never expect are all ways people can find your website. There are 1000′s of entryways into your website.

What about Exits? Obviously, the first exit is when they use the Back Button. No one wants that. That is just a waste of a visit. But what most of you don’t realize or track, are how many people are actually doing just that? Do you know how many people look at one page and then exit? If not, you should. And you should be testing and improving that everyday. Tragically, the other exits that exist on your site are ones that you create. Whether it is a link to a friends site, a site that my be beneficial, your Facebook, your MySpace, or your Twitter account they are all links to sites outside of your website.

Once they leave they are gone and you opened the door for them to leave! You didn’t utilize their visit. No sale was made, no information was captured. They already have accounts on those video pages and social network pages. Are you going to keep your fingers crossed and hope that everyone you send away from your site is going to be your friend on a social network site?

Remember, the purpose of your website is to make sales. The purpose is not to send them to your Facebook account. You want to use those sites to drive traffic to your website, not that other way around. So close those doors and drive the traffic to where you want them to go!

5 Tips To Consider When Setting Up a Dental Marketing Plan

Dental marketing can be a challenge at first for those who are trying to incorporate the most modern marketing techniques into a practice, especially when most dentists do not have any marketing backgrounds.

Here are 5 tips to consider when incorporating and investing money into a dental marketing plan:

1. Do NOT do what everyone else is doing.

In my consulting meetings with dentists, I ask the team to write down 3 things that you do differently than every other practice, and it turns out that everybody is writing down the same things.

You need to be different and address areas of the market where nobody else is investing, so keep that in mind when spending on marketing.

2. Generic website and SEO companies may not always be the solution.

Many SEO and website design companies are charging and arm and a leg to get dental offices to invest in their services. And then they just use a standard template, with similar pictures as other offices, utilizing the same SEO standards as every other practice in your area.

Everyone can not be #1 on Google for the same search term, so you have to be realistic in your expectations to get traffic from the SEO companies.

3. Just because you rank #1 in certain SEO terms, it doesn’t mean that people are searching for that.

For instance, if your SEO company says that you rank #1 for the term “Seattle Dental Office,” and you check with the search results and find that less than 100 people per month are searching for that term, it might not be a good term to rank for.

The key is to rank high for terms that people are actually searching for, so make sure you check to see a print out list of which are the highest searched terms for the service that you provide.

4. Social media marketing can work, but can be costly if done improperly.

Facebook ads are great, but you need to set limits for your spending and make sure you see the return on investment.

5. Direct mail is NOT dead, despite what the SEO companies tell you.

Yes, most people are online right now, but make sure you get multiple opinions on a dental marketing plan before you dive in and invest.

You should also consider not putting all your eggs into 1 basket – if you invest in online dental marketing, also make sure you spend some money on direct mail pieces.

Things like postcards, hand-written envelopes, and special “out-of-the-ordinary” packaging works best and has a great response and return on investment!

Why Getting New Leads Is The Most Important Part Of Marketing

What area of your business are you putting all of your focus on? If you said “getting more new customers”, then you are half-way there. A better answer would be “getting more new leads to put into my marketing process”. There’s a strong difference between the two, but we’re going to focus on getting prospects and leads into the marketing process.

The hardest part about marketing is that it’s tough to get a lead. To get about at least 100 offline leads per month, you would have to run a full page ad in a magazine or run a display ad for a long time. Accompany this by the fact that you’re probably not a master copywriter, and you could have a problem on your hands.

If you have the money, I would say invest about $10,000 to hire a master copywriter to write your ads and direct mail pieces. These copywriters are skilled in the area of understanding your niche, what it is that your prospects are looking for- and then creating a pitch that seems like the ultimate solution to their problem.

But if you don’t want to hire a copywriter, you can do it yourself. The first place to start is with a swipe file. A “swipe file” is simply a collection of winning ads and sales letters that you can look over whenever you need copywriting ideas. If I were you, I would start here and hand write all of the sales letters in your swipe file.

This will give you a good indication of what the copywriter was thinking, and their impressions will more than likely be your impressions, and you can use this frame of mind when developing your ads and sales letters.

Once you’ve written your first ad and direct mail sales letter, it’s time to put them into action. Run it in your newspaper, yellow pages, internet, or even a magazine to see how well the marketing piece is doing for you. Don’t promote yourself or your services – stay focused on the main issue that your prospects are facing in their lives right now.

Once you’ve discovered what it is that your prospects are desperate for, culminate your efforts into leading them to a phone number to call or a website where they can enter their contact details.

You want to run your ad all over the place (especially if it’s working) so that you can get a large pool of prospects and customers. You should be excited about this, because a large pool of prospects are the group of people who will spend money with you when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision.

You see a constant stream of new prospects will keep your business alive and thriving – and I’m sure this is what you’re looking for. Nothing happens until you get a lead – so remember that. If you want to see your business thrive and is alive and kicking, generate a lead first, and then follow up on them for more information.

Good luck with making your lead generation efforts work for you.