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10 Quick Branding Tips to Live By


Is branding a complicated and overwhelming topic?

It certainly can be, as evidenced by the hundreds upon hundreds of books and seminars out there on the topic. Not only are there endless approaches to branding, but an army of consultants and experts eager to let you know they have an innovative way to set your company apart.

Once you get into the details, though, the best practices associated with branding are pretty easy to understand. You don’t have to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 firm to grasp the principles of building and growing a strong brand – you just have to follow a handful of common sense tips that will lead you in the right direction.

To help you get started in that direction, today we want to share 10 quick Branding tips every business owner or executive can live by…


#1 Don’t Treat Branding as an Afterthought

Some businesspeople tend to think of branding as something they’ll get to once their business is bigger, or their revenue is more stable. The thinking tends to go that a growing company doesn’t necessarily need much branding, given that there isn’t a lot of awareness in the market.

That point of view is a little bit backwards. Businesses without established identities are the ones that need strong branding the most. And, they’re the ones that should invest the most time and money into becoming identifiable to customers. So, avoid the temptation to treat branding as an afterthought, regardless of where your company is right now.


#2 Strive to Create a Unique Identity

In a rush to “create a good brand,” some entrepreneurs will take cues from their competitors. They may feel as if they can save time or money on a brand by borrowing from someone else, or even make it seem as if their business is similar to another more well-known company.

Again, the desire to take shortcuts is understandable, but it’s also shortsighted. The point of your branding efforts should be to set your business apart, and to build a unique identity for your company. The last thing you want is to look to be indistinguishable from others in your market or industry.


#3 Know the Two Parts of a Successful Brand


A lot of business people, and even experienced creative professionals, will tell you that branding is about the image you project to the world. That’s mostly true, but there is also another element to it: understanding what your buyers want and communicating with them in a way that reflects that knowledge.

In other words, your branding isn’t just about who you are, but also what types of people make up your target market. Where those two come together is the point at which your brand is created. It should reflect your values and unique selling propositions, but also their unique desires and buying motivations.


#4 Avoid the “Everything” Problem

No business organization can be everything to everyone. And yet, when it’s time to start planning a marketing campaign or building a brand, some entrepreneurs and executives are afraid to leave any customers out.

All the biggest brands – the well-known providers of quality autos, clothing, or grocery items – have been successful because they have carved out niche audiences (even if those niches are large ones). Follow their example and figure out what you have to offer, and who it's right for. Don’t try to be everything to everyone.


#5 Think Big When Imagining Your Branding

Somewhere along the line, branding got tied up with logos and other visuals. These are important parts of a brand, of course, but they don’t make up the totality of your public image.

Your visual identity, along with your website, company mottos or taglines, photos, and even customer service policies all make up your brand. So, if you’re looking to establish or re-establish yourself in the market, don’t settle for simply creating a new logo and adding it to your materials. Your brand is so much bigger than that.


#6 Be Consistent in Your Visuals and Messaging

If knowing your company, customers, and place in the market is important to envisioning your brand, and being consistent in the way you communicate is the key to reinforcing it.

Once you’ve taken our advice and lay the groundwork for a brand that can set your business apart and help you grow, then be sure you make it easy for customers to see all of that effort reflected in your ads, emails, blog posts, and print marketing. Stick to the colors, themes, and ideas you want associated with your company. Over time, they’ll sink into buyers’ minds and establish your company’s personality.


#7 Keep a Branding Guide for Your Company

One way to ensure you’re being consistent with your branding is to keep a style guide for your company. This would outline specific visuals and fonts that are to be used in your marketing, as well as preferences for all business communications (when and how to use industry jargon and capitalization, etc.).

Your branding guide doesn’t have to be complicated, and it can to remind you of the tone you want to convey to the public. Additionally, it can be very helpful to new employees, outside vendors, and others who may need to create internal or external marketing pieces on your behalf. Most of all, it helps you to stay consistent and on-message with your communications.


#8 Protect Your Image and Identity

Earlier, we advised you to do the work and brainstorming needed to create a brand that’s unique. There just aren’t any shortcuts to success. Some of your competitors may try to take them, though, and use or alter your branding in ways that are less than honest.

There are legal steps you can take to protect your brand, like using copyrights and trademarks for proprietary items. In a day-to-day sense, though, it means you should occasionally check to see that none of your competitors are trying to get away with using your content or visuals. Modern tools make it easy to crawl the web for duplicate material, and the practice of stealing from other businesses is more common than you might think.


#9 Grow and Evolve Your Brand Over Time

Your brand needs to be consistent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to stay locked into its current form forever. In fact, as your company grows and evolves, your branding should change right along with it.

You can manage this process by periodically reviewing your branding elements. Additionally, you can look over the style guide you put in place and ask yourself whether anything needs to be added or updated. Most of all, though, you should meet with a creative team once every few years and ensure that the branding you have in place to reflects your values, mission, and future plans.


#10 Remember Your Strongest Branding Ingredient

From the customer’s point of view, your brand is essentially comprised of how people feel about you. You can shape that with your visuals and communications, but in the end, a lot of impressions are going to be driven by the service and value you provide.

The strongest ingredient in your brand is the level of satisfaction customers, employees, and colleagues get from dealing with you. When your interactions with others are positive, it benefits your brand in numerous ways. If buyers are unimpressed or feel like they’ve been taken advantage of, no sleek logo or consistency in your website or emails can fix that.


Ready to Build a Valuable and Enduring Brand for Your Business?

In a perfect world, building a strong brand would be as easy as combining the right visuals and advertising pieces together until you could have something that jumped off a computer screen. In reality, creating your brand takes research, discovery, creativity, and usually some back-and-fourth effort.

All of this gets a lot easier – and yields better results – when you have an experienced team of creative professionals who can help guide you through the various steps along the way. Then, you can get to the answers you need quickly, while carving out a unique space in the market and avoiding common branding pitfalls.

If you’re ready to build a strong identity for your company, and want to work with Arizona’s best, call the creative team at Kinetik IT. We’ll be happy to set up a free consultation for you and show you just how we can help!

Your Advanced Guide to Mobile App Development

Are you thinking of developing a mobile app for your business?

Perhaps you have a great idea for a tool that can be sold as a stand-alone solution. Or, you might be thinking (like so many other business owners and executives) that a mobile app could be a good companion for your website. Perhaps you want to encourage e-commerce transactions by letting buyers make purchases from you directly without having to log in to your website. You might even want several of these benefits.

Whatever the specific reason, mobile app development is more popular than ever before. But, while more businesses are building apps and more creative teams are providing them, it’s easy to make costly mistakes or overlook details that can make or break the finished product.

With that in mind, today we want to give you a step-by-step look at what’s needed to create and release something your customers can use on their phones and tablets. Let’s dig into our advanced guide to mobile app development…


The First Step Towards Creating a Mobile App is Coming Up With a Winning Concept

What will your app do? This is an important question, and one that speaks to both function and profitability. You should know what you want your app to accomplish for users or customers, but also how it can contribute to your company or bottom line.

Coming up with an idea for an app isn’t necessarily difficult, but refining it to the point that it’s workable, unique, and marketable can be a challenge. Believe it or not, this is an area where an experienced creative team can be a huge help. While you might think of mobile app development as revolving around design and programming, brainstorming and finding answers before work begins is just as important.


You’ll Have to Decide Which Features Are Going to Go Into Your Mobile App

Even after you have a sense of the purpose of your app, and how you will fit it into your business, you’ll have to develop a list of features. Again, this is an area where enthusiasm can come into direct conflict with reality. Budgets, timing, and available technology can all be real constraints when you’re trying to decide which features will make it into your mobile app development project.

Keep in mind that not everything on your mobile app wish list has to be incorporated right away. Some features can be added post-launch, or following testing and reviews by real-world users. This can be a good solution, particularly if you want to generate revenue from your app before devoting too much to its development.


Mobile App Design Helps You Find the Right Look and Feel

When you know what your mobile app development project is all about, and which features you'll need in the initial launch, your creative team can go about designing the interface. This is all about aesthetics and usability, so it should fit your existing branding and make the app feel like a pleasure (rather than a chore) to actually open and interact with.

This also tends to be a part of the process where owners and executives are most involved. Don’t be afraid to let your designers know how you want your mobile app to look and feel so they can draw layouts to meet your preferences. People will notice the look of your app, so the way you package the underlying features matters.


Next, a Programming Team Has to Code Your Mobile App Into a Workable Piece of Software

After you have a set of working layouts for the different screens and prompts on your mobile app, coders will get to work behind the scenes to add all the features and functions you specify. In some cases, this could mean pulling from existing software; in other situations, they may have to work from scratch.

This is often the longest part of the process, and the point where clients are least involved. What’s important is that your development team knows exactly what you want to accomplish and has the skills to deliver it. If so, they should be able to deliver a working version of your app on time and within the budget range quoted.


Testing Your Mobile App Is Critical for Its Stability and Usability

Many business people tend to think that after an app is and programmed it can be launched immediately. However, there are still a couple of steps that need to be taken before it’s ready to go out to the public.

The first is a round of rigorous testing that ensures your app is usable, stable, and adaptable. In other words, it should work exactly the way it’s supposed to, and for a variety of users who might have their own distinct hardware and software. For instance, it’s likely that some of your customers will have iPhones, while others prefer Galaxy or Android. Additionally, they might be using different versions of the underlying operating systems. Testing lets you ensure your app will load, display, and function correctly in each of these environments without crashing.


Every Mobile App Development Team Should Prioritize Security

The other part of testing you should pay particular attention to has to do with online security. You don’t want to roll out an otherwise perfect app and then find out it has flaws that can be exploited by hackers, or that can leave sensitive information exposed.

In this day and age, the security of your mobile web app is almost as important as its functionality. Users want to know their information is safe and protected, particularly if they will be sharing email addresses, financial data, or other sensitive information through your software.


The Rollout and Launch of Your Mobile App Are Important to Profitability

You could simply put your mobile app online and hope buyers will find it and download it, but that’s not a good strategy if you want to make the most of your investment. A better idea is to treat the launch of your mobile app like you would the rollout of a new website or marketing strategy. Don’t just promote it heavily, but plan ahead to ensure your most important customers and prospects will hear about it multiple times.

A successful mobile app launch might include website announcements, social media ads, email newsletter updates, and press releases. You might also want industry thought leaders to review your app, or to get reviews from actual users. All of these can help you ensure you get attention from your market quickly after it launches, so your app can gain those all-important early users, who will in turn help share it with others in their personal and professional lives.


You Can Keep Improving Your Mobile App With Updates and Compatibility Checks

Even after you launch your app and see it being used by customers, your work isn’t done. You should keep improving your mobile app over time. Some of your updates might be driven by necessity (changes to operating systems and so on), or to fix bugs that are discovered by customers. In other cases, customers may ask you for features you didn’t originally think of.

However you go about it, remember that the best apps usually improve and develop over time. You don’t have to spend a lot of time and money on your app to keep it fresh, but you shouldn’t simply think of it as a finished product immediately after launch, either. Maximize your long-term ROI, and keep users engaged, by continually looking for ways to make your software better. Don’t worry – your creative team can help you manage this process.


Ready to Bring Your Mobile App Idea to Life?

If you’re tired of wondering what your business could do with a mobile app, or letting your idea pass you by, then why not take the first step towards bringing the concept to reality? When you have a strong creative team on your side, developing and promoting a mobile app is a lot easier and more affordable than most people tend to think.

The experienced team at Kinetik IT can help you bring your mobile app concept into focus, and then turn your idea into something customers can start using right away. We have helped dozens of businesses across Phoenix make the most of the internet, and you’ll be amazed at what we can do for your company, too.

Contact us today to setup a free consultation and see how we can help!

A Business Owner’s Guide to Advanced Web Design

There are thousands upon thousands of articles all over the web telling you that, as a business owner, you need a spectacular website for your company or practice. What most of them don’t tell you, though, is what it takes to actually get a web presence that makes your business stand out online and attracting sales or revenue.

Maybe that’s because most web designers want you to contact them before they give up the goods, or might be because a lot of the firms vying for your web design business don’t have spectacular track records to show off. Whatever the reason might be, we find that a lot of new clients come to us with a clear idea of the results they are looking for, but few definite notions about how to achieve them.

To help you get your web design project started off on the right foot, we’re going to share our advanced guide to web design. In just eight questions, it will lead you to the answers you need to build the online marketing powerhouse you’ve been envisioning for your company…


Question #1: What Will Your Website Be For?

Surprising numbers of business owners want a website “because they need one.” That’s true, in the sense that even food trucks have to be online these days. However, it really only scratches at the surface when it comes to the reasons to build a new site in the first place.

The purpose of your website could be to generate online sales, to help you attract leads, or to simply promote your company to local buyers. You may just want to impress referrals, or to automate customer service tasks (like frequently asked questions). The purpose of your website might be to support email and social media campaigns. It could be all of these things.

Whatever you're setting out to do, make sure you and your creative team know what the goal is before you begin.


Question #2: What Do You Like or Dislike About Your Current Website?

If you have an existing website, ask yourself what you like about it. Also, figure out what definitely needs to be changed.

The answers could involve different creative elements, pieces of functionality, or even bottom-line results. Maybe you like the look of your website, but you feel like it isn't doing enough to further the sales potential of your business. Or, you may think you have good images, but your written content isn’t strong enough. Finding these preferences will help you zero in on what you need for your next website, and keep you from duplicating mistakes.

If you don’t already have a website, think in these terms about other sites you’ve seen in your industry. You can learn a lot from your own past mistakes, and the missteps of others.


Question #3: Who Will Design Your Next Website?

There are more web design companies, and online template-based services, than ever before. That’s great for convenience, but not necessarily for business owners who need to get a good deal on web design.

That’s because even though web design prices might be coming down, quality and customization standards are decreasing, too. Because you don’t want your website to simply exist, you can’t settle for pages that don’t do anything. In other words, if you want to generate leads and sales, you have to have streamlined coding, a unique look, and a marketing plan that brings customers to you online or to your physical location.

It’s unfortunate, but getting a great website sometimes means paying a little more in time and money. However, those investments will come back to you again and again if you make a good decision.


Question #4: Do You Have the Ingredients for a Great Website?

Having a strong web presence is about so much more than the right design. Aesthetics are important, but what goes beneath them matters a lot, too.

In particular, we are talking about the need for a domain name that’s easy to understand and remember. You could add to that fast and secure hosting that speeds your pages up and keeps customer data safe from hackers and thieves. Additionally, you can’t build a great website with sloppy content, old or blurry photos, and outdated logo images.

If you aren’t sure you have all the ingredients for a great website in place, either start gathering them or talk to your web design team about what you might need. Everything that comes later in the process is going to be easier when you begin with a solid foundation for your company’s web presence.


Question #5: How Do You Want Your Website to Look?

Most business owners have a certain look they want for their new website. You should think about the colors, fonts, and layouts you prefer.

These days, you can do almost anything online. That’s great from the standpoint of creativity, but it can also present an overwhelming number of choices. You’ll notice that most established and successful businesses have a somewhat standard look to their websites. Paragraphs are short, links are easy to find, and menus are presented in a certain way. This all helps make a site more usable for visitors. Even people who haven’t been on your pages before should understand how they work and be able to find the information they need quickly.

Think carefully about the aesthetics you want on your website, and consider ways you might be able to emphasize usability. That will make your web presence more valuable (both to you and your customers) in the long run.


Question #6: What Functionality do You Need on Your New Website?

We have noticed over the years that business owners tend to pay a lot of attention to the way their new websites should look, but not as much to what features and functions need to be integrated. That’s unfortunate, because websites can help you save a lot of time and money through automation, not to mention boost profits with e-commerce and targeted marketing.

When you know what you want your website to actually do for your business, it gets easier to create a profitable platform that can help with every aspect of your bottom line. Also, you can translate those wishes to your creative team, who can plan ahead and give you more accurate quotes and timelines.

In many ways, the biggest difference between websites that simply exist and those that actually help the companies they were built for has to do with programming and functionality. So, think carefully about what it is you want your site to actually add to your business so those features can be the focus instead of an afterthought.


Question #7: How Will You Promote Your Website?

No website, no matter how beautiful or functional, has much value if customers aren’t regularly finding it and visiting its pages. That’s why web design and internet marketing now go hand-in-hand; one doesn’t have much purpose without the other.

When it comes to actually promoting your new website and drawing in customers, there are a handful of tactics you will almost certainly want to pay attention to. These include search engine optimization, social media marketing, email promotion, and pay-per- click advertising. It’s crucial that you not only plan to make these a big part of your approach from the beginning, but also choose a creative partner who can help you to develop profitable and sustainable campaigns.

It’s difficult for most business owners to plan and follow through with online marketing on their own, so choose a team with a history of success in this area to help you.


Question #8: How Will Your Website Be Maintained?

Even the best website is going to need updates, additional plugins, and fresh content from time to time. Additionally, regular website audits are important for locating technical issues like out-of-date links or slow page performance.

Expect to maintain your website periodically in the same way you would a car or truck. It’s a lot easier to make small updates and additions here and there than it is to replace your website altogether sooner than you would otherwise have to – or worse yet, ignore your site and fail to win the leads and sales you were expecting.

Work with your creative team to develop a reasonable schedule that allows you to maintain your site over time, thereby preserving its useful life, accelerating your online marketing results, and giving you a much better return on your investment.


The Real Question: Do You Want a Website, or Sales and Marketing Results?

Getting a website is easy – there are literally thousands of companies out there who can offer to build you one. However, if you want a real web presence, complete with ongoing sales and marketing results, you need to work with an experienced team who will take the time to understand your business and the challenges you are facing.

Why set yourself up for frustration by selecting a partner that doesn’t have a track record of success? At Kinetik IT, we have earned our reputation as Arizona’s top web design and online marketing team. We’ve helped dozens of companies like yours to establish themselves online and turn their websites into bottom-line results that hold up year after year.

Contact us today to set up a free consultation and see what our team of experts can do for your business!

The Advanced Guide to SEO for Internet Marketing

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), and internet marketing as a whole, we often discover that new clients come to us with a handful of experiences, ideas, and impressions. Some of them are useful, while others might be outdated or outright incorrect.

That’s understandable – it’s hard enough for us to keep up with SEO and online marketing from within the industry. For someone trying to make the most of their campaigns while also having to keep their attention on a full-time job or dozens of responsibilities, it can be overwhelming.

Luckily, you don’t have to keep up with every technical detail or algorithm change to make the most of search engine optimization. To help you understand why, and focus on what’s actually important, we present to you our advanced guide to SEO and internet marketing. Let’s look at what you need to know, step-by-step, beginning with the basics…


Know Your Market and Your Strengths

The solid base of any strong SEO and online marketing campaign isn’t a set of technical tools or complicated ideas; it’s a thorough understanding of your strengths as a business and the needs of your most important customers.

Simple as it might seem, everything that comes later in the search engine optimization and online marketing process flows from these two pieces of information. So, it’s imperative that you begin with a little bit of research or brainstorming if that’s what it takes to arrive at the right conclusions. Otherwise, you could rush into an SEO campaign that isn’t ever going to produce the results are hoping for.


Build a Solid Website

Believe it or not, a website can be “flimsy” from a coding perspective. When that happens, your pages are virtually invisible to Google’s search engine spiders.

A sturdy website is fast, lives on a reliable hosting server, and doesn’t have any extraneous HTML code or outdated plugins. A flimsy website, on the other hand, is created from a bloated template and has images, links, and other elements that haven’t been optimized for search.

You can’t expect to stand out in search rankings if you’re working with a website that is never going to seem credible to customers or search platforms, so start with the right foundation.


Get an SEO Audit From an Experienced Web Design Team

Even on a well-built website, small errors can indicate to Google that pages aren’t being maintained carefully enough. Issues like broken links, duplicated content, or a lack of mobile compatibility can all harm your search visibility.

An experienced web design team can audit your site, looking for problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye. In addition to scouring your HTML for hidden technical issues, we can evaluate your pages and content the way a search engine would, finding lots of areas for immediate improvement and growth.


Begin SEO With Intensive Keyword Research

Ultimately, success in search engine optimization means achieving a high ranking on Google and drawing dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of good prospects to your pages every week. None of that is going to work, though, if you don’t know what your best customers are actually searching for when they go online.

That’s why every strong search engine optimization campaign has to begin with intensive keyword research. It helps to not only identify the perfect terms and phrases for you and your creative team to target, but also the level of competition and buying intent that come with each one. Beginning SEO work without good keyword research is like taking a road trip without a map or directions. It’s just not an efficient way to reach your bottom line destination.


Optimize Your Website for Search Visibility

Once you know what buyers are looking for on Google and the other search engines, you can begin to optimize your site for those terms and phrases. That means ensuring they show up in the right areas, particularly page titles, main headings, internal links, and meta descriptions.

With the help of a good web design team you can easily find the right spots for each keyword or search term, and be sure they feature prominently without being overused. This part of the search engine optimization process is both art and science, and it needs to be handled correctly if you want buyers to find you.


Create an Online Conversion Plan

You should always remember that success in search engine optimization isn’t just about achieving a high ranking on Google, but turning that visibility into new revenue in the form of leads, sales, phone calls, or walk-in visits. It doesn’t do your business any good to just have more people visit your site and leave.

That’s why, as part of your SEO campaign, you need to develop an online conversion plan. You have to have a sense of who will be coming to your website, what you want them to find, and why they will be compelled to take the next step. If any of those answers are missing, you’ll struggle to make an impact on your bottom line the matter how optimized your site is.


Generate Search Friendly Content Regularly

Making your website highly visible to search engine spiders is a good thing, but if you truly want to claim a top spot on Google, you’ll have to become a regular producer of fresh content. That’s partly because each new article or blog post you add to your site counts as another page to Google, and partly because searchers love content that has recently been posted.

Our most successful clients use editorial calendars to keep their content marketing plans on track. The more you can write and fill the web, the easier it’s going to be to bring in customers through Google.


Promote Your Website Away From Google

While this this guide is aimed at business owners who want to make the most of Google and search engine optimization, there are other places to promote your company on the internet. You can draw in as many customers (or more) using Facebook, Twitter, PPC ads, email, and other means.

Many business owners prefer to focus all of their fire on Google because the payoff is so large. However, the beauty of diversifying your campaigns is twofold. On the one hand, it keeps you from being completely dependent on search engines for traffic. And on the other, it gives you more ways to stay in touch with the prospects who initially find you through the search listings, making it more likely they’ll do business with you down the road.


Check Your Web Analytics and Refine Your Approach

Search trends change over time, new competitors come out of nowhere, and Google makes adjustments to its algorithms. For all of these reasons, you should be reviewing your web analytics on a regular basis to understand where your traffic is coming from, how users are interacting with your website, and what sort of improvements you can make going forward.

If you stay committed to producing content and refining your approach, you’ll get more and more visitors over time while turning a greater percentage of them into leads or buyers each month. In other words, your SEO campaigns will just keep getting more efficient and profitable. That should be the goal you’re working towards on a continual basis.


Are You Making the Most of SEO and Internet Marketing?

If you have been making halfhearted attempts at search engine optimization, or ignored it all together, now is the time to start being more visible on Google. Or, if you’ve invested time or money into SEO in the past but haven’t gotten results, this is your chance to make a fresh start.

The Kinetik IT team in Phoenix has the skills, tools, and experience to give you the website you need and help you stand out on Google. No matter where you’re starting from, we can create a workable and affordable plan that will help you bring in new customers month after month.

To get our creative team working for you, contact us today and schedule a complementary website review. We’ll take a look through your pages and, in just a few days, let you know exactly what it will take to take your company to the next level.

Why wait to start getting more leads and sales? Contact us now so we can put our experience to work for you!

12 Surprising Stats About Web Design… and What They Mean for Your Business

“Numbers don’t lie.” 

We’ve all heard various versions of this saying at a different point in our lives. And it’s true – statistics can help us to recognize long-term trends, uncover hidden truths, and better understand the challenges and issues that are most relevant in our businesses.

This is particularly true in the web design and online marketing industry, where a few revealing stats can change the way business owners and executives think about their companies and campaigns. Of course, it can be difficult to keep up with all the different numbers and studies floating around out there. So today, we want to share a dozen figures that we consider to be particularly surprising and/or poignant. 

We aren’t just going to give you ratios and percentages, either; we’re going to give you some quick insights into what they mean for your company. Let’s dive into 12 surprising stats about web design, along with what they mean for your business…

#1 55% of Visitors Will Spend Less Than 15 Seconds on Your Website (HubSpot)

You already knew you only have a small window to impress someone who arrives at your website for the first time. What you might not have realized is just how small the margin for error is. 

In truth, what’s most surprising about this figure is that it’s as high as it is to begin with. Searchers and customers just don’t have the attention spans we used to, especially with your closest competitors just a click away online. Your site needs to quickly convey credibility and value while explaining exactly what you do. Otherwise, visitors will take their attention elsewhere.

#2 More Than One-Third of Website Visitors Will Leave an Ugly Page (Adobe)

It’s no secret that humans prefer attractive things to unattractive ones. However, what’s surprising is how quickly they’ll abandon a web page – even if it might have useful information – simply based on aesthetics.

Really, there are couple of factors at play here. The first is that web searchers may often feel as if they can find what they’re looking for elsewhere, without the trouble of digging through an ugly page. Additionally, an unattractive layout signals to them that the business isn’t credible or trustworthy.

#3 64% of Your Customers Want to Find Contact Information on Your Home Page (KO Marketing)

It’s easy to forget in the digital age, but some of your customers really aren’t looking for all of their answers to be given to them online. Instead, they might want to find a resource that will lead them in the right direction and then ask a specific question through email, or over the phone.

The interesting inverse to this statistic is that large numbers of would-be customers will actually leave your website if they don’t find the contact information they need. Make it easy for buyers to work with you by providing them with phone numbers, contact forms, or online chats.

#4 15% of Google’s Daily Searches are Unique (Google)

It’s no secret that business owners are constantly jostling with each other to gain the top search engine positions on Google for popular phrases. What a lot of marketers forget, though, is that the long tail of search is very long indeed. In fact, more than one out of every 10 Google searches, on average, is for a completely original string.

This just goes to show that buyers are getting very specific when it comes to finding what they want on the internet. They aren’t willing to dig through page after page of results, so the content on your site should make it easy for them to differentiate you from your competitors.

#5 Websites With 50-100 Pages of Content Get 48% More Traffic

This statistic is indirectly related to the last one we shared. As searches get more and more specific, Google and the other search engines have to rely increasingly on long-tail matching and contextual relationships between pages and content blocks. That means “bigger” websites with lots of relevant and unique ideas are going to attract more traffic.

Every blog post, product page, and other item you add to your website counts as a unique page in Google’s eyes. Put a lot of them together and you don’t just increase your search position, but also make your site more valuable to real-life visitors.

#6 78% of Users Say Social Media Affects Their Purchasing Decisions (Forbes)

Although some online marketing gurus claim that social media is replacing search engines, we think it’s closer to the truth to say they are supplementing them. That is, people tend to look for information on Google, but turn to sites like Facebook and LinkedIn for referrals and recommendations.

That means marketers can no longer afford to simply concentrate on optimizing their sites for keywords. A good long-term strategy has to include a strong social media presence, as well.

#7 72% of Buyers are Influenced by Personal Content (Marketing Charts)

Who you think buyers tend to trust more, companies that want to sell them something, or other customers (like themselves) who leave third-party reviews? It’s not hard to understand why verifiable testimonials and feedback are such an important part of building a durable online reputation.

You should do everything you can to encourage fans and customers to say good things about you on social media and throughout the web. Other customers who haven’t bought from you yet are highly influenced by personal feedback, particularly if they know it comes from someone outside your company.

#8 Content Marketing Boosts Lead Generation by Over 300% While Cutting Costs by Half (HubSpot)

Content marketing can take a lot of forms, from blogging and online videos to infographics, press releases, and more. What each of these channels does, though, is bring buyers in your direction through inbound lead generation. That’s both cheaper and more effective than traditional advertising has been for a long time.

If you don’t already have inbound sales funnels in place, now is the time to get busy creating them. It takes time, effort, and resources to get your content marketing plan up-and-running, but the long-term payoff is worth it.

#9 There are Currently 235+ Million Mobile Users in the US (Statista)

Some business owners are living in denial about mobile internet usage, but once again the numbers don’t lie. People accessing the web through phones and tablets became the majority a few years ago, and they now represent an overwhelming one.

Granted, some of your mobile customers also use traditional desktop and laptop computers, but they are increasingly preferring smaller screens. If your website isn’t built for them, it’s going to cost you money.

#10 8 Out of Every 10 Visitors Will Leave a Website if it Doesn’t Load Properly on Their Device (Adobe)

This builds on the last point, and it shouldn’t be surprising. If a customer arrives at your website and finds they can’t access your content because it hasn’t been optimized for mobile devices, they’re going to take their money elsewhere.

What’s slightly shocking is that roughly 20% of visitors will hang around on a non-mobile friendly website. We are willing to bet that if this survey is duplicated in another year or two, that percentage will have shrunk to almost nothing.

#11 One Second is Worth a 25% Improvement in Mobile Engagement (Soasta)

Website loading speed is becoming a bigger factor in all areas of engagement, but the numbers are particularly striking when it comes to mobile users. The difference between having your pages come up in three seconds, for instance, to four can mean losing a quarter of your visitors.

Having your website load quickly is a function of programming, optimized content, and premium web hosting. If all of these factors aren’t working in your favor, you’re missing out on opportunities because your pages are too slow.

#12 Having a Responsive Website Can Boost Email Newsletter Open Rates by 300% (Mailchimp)

Even email – an ancient technology by online marketing standards – is being affected by mobile compatibility. That’s because users eventually have to click through to your website if they want to view your products, make a purchase, or otherwise interact with your company.

Once again, it’s worth pointing out that most of your customers and prospects are going to be opening emails and visiting your pages through a phone or tablet. Being ready for that traffic is a key to boosting response rates on email, not to mention pay-per-click advertising, social media, etc.

What Does it All Mean? 

While we love the dozen statistics we pulled out for this article, the truth is we could have easily included a dozen more. And, you can bet that even more data on web design and internet marketing is being produced right now.

You don’t need more numbers to see the writing on the wall, though. As we move into 2018 and beyond, it’s clear that having a functional website with lots of content is crucial to the success of your company. You need a strong social media presence, and customers leaving good reviews for your products and services online. It’s critical that your site be mobile-friendly, and set up for fast loading and delivery.

If you aren’t ready for these trends, or your website isn’t set up to take advantage, now is the perfect time to schedule a consultation with a member of our team. Call or email us today to see how we can help!

‘Bad Rabbit’ Ransomware Epidemic Starting To Infect Computers

Reports have started to surface that a new strain of ransomware is spreading through Russia and Europe. This ransomware is called Bad Rabbit, and first surface up in Russia and the Ukraine, however is starting to spread through Turkey and Germany, but it’s not fully known how far this virus has spread.

Some targets that have been attacked and infected by Bad Rabbit so far include Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Kiev’s public transportation system, along with the Russian news groups and Interfax.

Bad Rabbit appears to be attacking news and media outlets, along with corporate networks – a method similar to the ExPetr attack. Yet, it cannot be confirmed if the ExPetr and Bad Rabbit attacks are related.

The way in which Bad Rabbit infects a computer, the virus first requires the potential victim to download and run a fake Adobe Flash Player installer file, that way infecting themselves. The fake Adobe Flash Player installer file is prompted to the user when they visit a compromised website, most of these websites that have been compromised with the Bad Rabbit virus are Russian news agencies.

The hackers that created the Bad Rabbit ransomware must have been fans of the television show Game of Thrones, as throughout the malware there are references to Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons and Grey Worm.

Computers that have been infected with the Bad Rabbit ransomware are then directed to a .onion Tor web domain where the user is then asked to submit a .05 Bitcoin payment which is roughly $280, this will then release all of their encrypted files and data. On the .onion Tor web domain that the user is directed to, there is a countdown timer shown before the requested ransom amount goes up.

At this point, it is not certain if the Bad Rabbit malware will decrypt all of the users encrypted files once the ransom has been received, although researchers have performed tests and believe that Bad Rabbit is unlike the WannaCry malware that will wipe all of the users data and files.

It is always recommended that anyone infected with a ransomware malware to not pay the ransom, as there are zero guarantees that once you have paid the ransom that your data and files will be decrypted and released back to you.

One way to be proactive and prevent yourself falling victim to the Bad Rabbit ransomware attack is to create a c:\windows\infpub.dat file and remove all of the write permissions. This will disallow the Bad Rabbit malware from encrypting your files if ever attacked.

The Bad Rabbit malware is bares similar resemblance to the WannaCry and Petya attacks that spread around the world earlier this year.

At this time not all anti-virus and anti-malware tools are able to detect the Bad Rabbit malware, allowing it to go undetected and continue to infect users’ computers. With this level of severity, it’s important to take proactive measures and do not download files from any untrusted sources on the internet. 

The 7 Keys to a Successful Soft Rebranding Campaign

Even the most successful companies, with strong brands, can benefit from giving their logos and imaging a makeover now and then. An updated aesthetic or style guide can help buyers see the business in a new light, or give it a fresher appeal.

However, making changes to a successful brand can be a tricky proposition. When no one knows a company, and there is no substantial brand presence, this isn’t a concern. You can simply start from scratch. When there are already well-known and recognized elements in place, though, a more subtle approach is called for. In those situations it’s important for marketers to maintain pieces of the brand that help sales and communication while still getting the benefits of a rebranding effort.

The result is what we call a soft rebrand – it’s a more gentle shaping or update of a company’s image. Done right, it can help keep the business relevant and maintain a good balance between continuity and innovation. When it’s not handled quite right, it can confuse buyers or take away their previously positive impressions.

Given the unique way in which these concerns have to be juggled, and with our long history of helping companies in Arizona and beyond to build their brands, we wanted to share some insights you can use to make this process easier. Here are our seven keys to a successful soft rebranding effort…


#1 Know Where You’re Going

Sometimes, business owners and executives decide to undertake a rebranding effort simply because “it’s time.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing; recognizing that your branding has become a little bit tired is a first step towards giving your company the fresh approach it needs. At the same time, branding is only effective when you have a new target or vision in mind.

Ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish with your new branding campaign, beyond simply gain more sales or market share. Ask yourself how you’d like customers to think about your company, and the ways in which that impression differs from what they thought before. Think about how your new brand could align with other plans you have in place for your company.

In other words, don’t simply decide to create a new brand because it seems like the thing to do in the moment. Consider the way it might impact your overall business, and where you hope to end up once you’re finished.

#2 Balance Both Sides of the Branding Equation

A lot of businesspeople think of branding as being about what sort of image they want to project into the world. That’s certainly a big part of it, but there is also another piece the equation: the segment of the market you need to appeal to.

Just as you have a certain style or personality you want customers to associate with your products or services, you also have a certain subset of buyers (identified by their location, budget, preferences, etc.) who are a good fit for what you have to offer.

The combination of imaging and messaging that creates an overlap – the branding that lets you meet your marketing goals while also grabbing the attention of your target market – is what you need to find if you’re going to build the perfect brand.


#3 Keep What Works

The hardest part about a soft rebranding effort is figuring out what you can keep from your current branding and which elements have to go. This doesn’t have to be an “either/or” proposition. For example, you might want to keep your current logo largely intact, but with a more modern look.

Choices also have to be made with regards to colors, fonts, and visuals. There is a lot of merit to keeping the successful parts of your brand in place, or at least holding on to close versions of what you already have. This is key for maintaining continuity with customers, whom may have come to expect a certain look or style for your business.

If you aren’t sure what’s working with your brand now, don’t be afraid to ask customers, or to get a professional opinion. The worst thing you can do at this stage is get rid of branding that’s helping you to separate yourself from the competition.


#4 Don’t Be Afraid of Change

As important as it is to keep parts of your existing brand that are getting the job done, you also have to be open to making changes and improvements. After all, what’s the point of a soft rebranding campaign if no one can tell the difference between your new brand and your old one?

Sometimes, we work with clients who are very open to the results of a new branding campaign, but will fight every idea or inspiration that runs contrary to tradition. In other words, they want to feel like they’re launching a fresh brand, but cling to the marketing and visuals that have always worked for them in the past.

There is always a sense of balance and compromise that have to be at play here. The best answer is to hire a great creative team and then let them bring you lots of ideas. Be open to considering some fresh thoughts, even if they take you a little bit outside your comfort zone.


#5 Go Beyond Simple Visuals

Logos are important to businesses and organizations for a lot of reasons. They create an instant visual identity and can tell a story about a company’s focus, history, or personality better than hundreds of words could.

However, your brand is so much bigger than a logo or visual. As part of your soft rebranding campaign, you should create a stylesheet that covers colors, fonts, and messaging guidelines to be used in the future. That way, every communication you send out – whether it’s a billboard, email newsletter, or blog post – can be consistent with your brand and goals.

Branding stylesheets don’t have to be complicated, but they are important. This is an area where a good creative team can help with the heavy lifting and point you in the right direction.


#6 Bring Your Team On Board

You shouldn’t be building your brand on your own, and you certainly can’t grow one without a little bit of assistance, both internally and externally.

We highly recommend you retain a great creative team to help you with your soft rebranding campaign. You could say that we’re biased, of course, but having a team of professionals on your side is going to stop you from making obvious mistakes, giving yourself headaches over copyright issues, etc. At the same time, you’ll want your internal staff to be aware of the changes to your brand (so they can follow through with your vision), and possibly be involved in the brainstorming effort.

The more people you have on your side who know branding, along with your business and customers, the easier it’s going to be to get the right results.


#7 Get Your New Brand Out Into the World

Once you have finished all the creative and messaging elements of your soft rebranding campaign, it’s time to share your new look and vision with the world.

Some companies will make a big deal of their new branding, while others will take advantage of the fact that they’ve used the soft approach and integrate the updates quietly. Either can work, provided that you know what you’re trying to accomplish and have the right plans and resources in place.

What really matters here is that you roll out your new brand comprehensively. You’ll want to use your fresh visuals and style guide in all communications going forward, and find places where you can replace your old branding immediately. It’s best to have a written strategy in place that will help you to make this transition as seamless as possible. Otherwise, you could find yourself accidentally promoting a couple of brand ideas at once, diluting the effect of both.


Is It Time for Your Soft Rebranding Campaign?

Soft rebranding campaigns work because they let you keep the best parts of your public image while still getting the boost of energy, enthusiasm, and attention that comes with establishing a new brand. Just be sure you follow the tips we’ve laid out in this guide so you can get your new brand and identity off to a flying start with customers and colleagues.

Need help turning your strengths into an enduring brand, or putting together a marketing plan that works in the real world? Contact the Kinetik IT team today and let us put our expertise to work for you!

4 Ways to Get More Value From a Website Redesign

Do you need a new website for your business? Does your existing web presence look dated, or is it no longer helping you to support your bigger business goals?

Often, the decision to have your website redesigned is an easy one. However, choosing a company to work with, and figuring out what your new site should look like, is not always so simple. The last thing you want to do is waste your time and money on a fresh website that won’t bring you any closer to the new sales you are looking for. Unfortunately, it’s easy to feel like you’re spinning your wheels on the Internet when you don’t have the right focus or plan to work from.

To help you get moving in the right direction, today we want to share for easy ways you can get bigger bottom-line value from a redesign of your business website…

#1 Analyze Your Existing Website Thoroughly

Often, business owners come to us because the websites they have just “aren’t working.” However, they can’t always put a finger on what’s wrong, or why it’s happening. That’s why we like to begin every business website redesign project afresh. That means we examine the existing site – in terms of its layout, coding, content and even analytics – to better understand the situation. We advise you not to skip this step. Until you know how your current website is performing, it’s difficult to make the right decisions to move ahead.

#2 Get the Right Website for Your Business

It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting a website that’s just like a competitor’s, or is very similar to something you’ve seen in another business or industry. However, even though other websites can give you a good starting point for inspiration, it’s important that you have the right web presence for your business. That means putting your unique selling strengths front-and-center, and paying attention to the opportunities or restraints that factor into your long-term business planning. What’s “good” for one company might not be ideal for another. Different businesses need different buildings and retail spaces; web design works in the same way.

#3 Emphasize Appearance and Horsepower

For a website to have real value to a business, it needs to stand out in a couple of important ways. First, it has to be appealing from an artistic standpoint. If your website doesn’t look great, or at least well-organized, then you aren’t going to seem credible and professional to customers. The second aspect has to do with functionality. You can use plug-ins and programming to add all kinds of features to your website. You don’t want to overdo things, but neither should you overlook the importance of your websites horsepower. It doesn’t matter how great the layout is if your pages don’t allow your business to run more smoothly.

#4 Have a Strong Online Marketing Plan in Place

Unless you already have a very strong online following, buyers aren’t going to find your website if you don’t promote it. From the moment your pages go live, you should have a plan in place that incorporates things like search engine optimization, social media marketing, email newsletters,

pay- per-click ads, and more. Putting them all together in a profitable and cohesive way is the key to increasing online sales and walk-in traffic. That’s central to the success of your website and your company as a whole, so make online marketing a focus from the start.

Remember, getting a new website doesn’t always mean getting a better website. There are a lot of companies out there who will be happy to design fresh pages for you, but aren’t all that concerned about whether you see positive ROI from your investment.

Avoid the most common mistakes by keeping these four pieces of advice in mind. Or, for expert web design and online marketing assistance that’s tailored to your company and challenges, contact our creative team today to set up a free consultation and website review.