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How to Dazzle Your Webinar Audience

Posted on May 30, 2013 by James Trumbly

Do you host webinars for your business? Ever found yourself wondering why your attendance is low or whether you could do
a better job with your presentations? Webinars are a great way to get your message out to the right audience, promote interaction with customers, create buzz about your business or product, and increase sales. With just a little finesse, you can make your online events work even harder for your business.

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Alert! Austin’s New Area Code

Posted on May 22, 2013 by James Trumbly

New toll-ways, skyscrapers, and starting June 1st 2013, Austin will be the third metropolitan area in Texas to have mandatory 10 digit dialing and more than one area code. It’s no secret, Austin is competing for the country’s fastest growing cities and as a result, we are expected to be fresh out of 512 numbers before the end of the year!

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Why Your Facebook Fans Hit the Unlike Button—And What to Do About It

Posted on May 14, 2013 by James Trumbly

You put a lot of effort into building your Facebook page, so it can be discouraging when people “unlike” you. Strange as it may seem, people take their Facebook pages super seriously. So seriously, in fact, that unliking is often viewed as the ultimate way to show disapproval, even more than negative comments or reviews. What’s the main reason people unlike a brand? Simple, you annoy them.

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Easy Steps to a Killer WordPress Website

Posted on May 01, 2013 by James Trumbly

Think WordPress is just for blogs? Think again! WordPress is a great option for small businesses looking for an easy, professional way to create great designs for their website content. Let’s take a quick look at four easy WordPress design techniques for creating a killer site.

1.     Choose a Theme
The sky is the limit when it comes to WordPress themes, but keep a couple of points in mind:

  • Choose a theme that meets your needs—The theme should reflect the personality of your company. It should also include any essential elements you need to present the type of content you have. Spend some time researching available theme options before you just pick one that strikes your fancy.
  • Consider your willingness to dabble in the code—If you are familiar with coding and enjoy tweaking things, you can choose a theme you love even if it has a few elements you’re not really happy with. If you’re the type of person who gets nervous just looking at a block of code, stick with a theme that meets your needs as is.

2.     Customize Your Theme
Do a quick Google search and you’ll come up with thousands of widgets and plug-ins for your WordPress site. They’re the best way to customize your theme, incorporating special capabilities such as social media buttons and other common website elements. Just about any WordPress web design goal can be accomplished with the right plug-in or widget, so take some time to familiarize yourself with what’s out there and how to make it work for you.

3.     Include Well-Chosen Images
We’ve all seen those mind-numbing, generic stock photos of people shaking hands or sitting at a computer in an office. Don’t be boring with your images. Choose something that directly supports the message you’re trying to communicate. If you can’t find something already out there, design your own graphic or snap some photos yourself.

4.     Consider a Blog
If your business lends itself to a blog, WordPress offers a great platform for including one on your website. WordPress web design makes blogging easy. Regular updates are the key to a great blog, so don’t commit to one if you’re only going to post every six months.

Like any new platform, WordPress web design takes some experimentation and research to learn. However, it’s also one of the easiest ways to quickly design and format content for a small website. Need more help creating a killer WordPress website? HMG Creative can help you make the most of the latest plug-ins, widgets, and themes to create the website of your dreams.


Marketing Fail: Three Big Business Web Design Disasters

Posted on Apr 29, 2013 by James Trumbly

The world of web design can seem pretty intimidating at times. After all, the success of your business rises and falls on whether your website successfully engages your site visitors and conveniences them to take the next step. We know you’re kickin’ it with awesome web page design, but just in case you need some inspiration, take a look at these big business web design disasters and take some notes on what NOT to do:


Plenty of “deal-of-the-day” websites require you to register before you can see the actual deals, but Zulily’s home page gives you next to no information about what the site does. Here are the biggest design problems:

  • You can find a bit of information about how the site works, but it’s buried at the bottom of the page under a banner that looks like advertising, making the viewer ignore everything below it.
  • Links to “How Zulily Works,” “Brands We Love,” and “FAQ” appear in tiny type that doesn’t stand out from surrounding content.
  • No secondary call to action if the visitor isn’t ready to register.

Bottom Line:  It’s too hard for non-registered users to learn about the site.

Carol House Furniture

Carol House makes visitors jump through multiple hoops in order to view their website—a surefire way to send customers scrambling for the back button. For starters:

  • Gray type on white background = hard to read.
  • After reaching the home page, you have to click an additional button to see any actual content.
  • The home page has a long list of obsolete requirements you must meet before you can see their content (high speed internet, Flash player, disable pop-up blocker). Really? Who has to remind people they need high speed internet these days?

After clicking the Enter button, a new page opens where all browser controls have been disabled, a cheesy Flash video plays, music automatically starts, and the talking heads at the top of the page point out interesting links we might want to click (wait, I thought we were here to look at furniture…).

We also see lots of wasted space on either side with no clear call to action anywhere on the page.

Bottom Line: After making your visitors enter an alternate universe in order to see your site, don’t handcuff them in a desperate attempt to make them stick around.

Pure Ecommerce

I’ll keep this one short and sweet (which is opposite of Pure Ecommerce’s site).

We have to read through lengthy blocks of copy just to find out what the company offers. Once we click on the call to action, we’re directed to more copy. Not exactly a one-click, ready-to-go experience as promised.

Bottom Line: Too much copy and weak call to actions.

So, what’s the point?

Big business web design disasters keep us all humble.  If they can experience huge marketing fails, so can we.  Keep testing, keep tweaking, and keep converting!  Would you consider your online web presence a “disaster”?   If so, we’d love to chat with you… after all we’re only a phone call away.


Hitting the Sweet Spot with Your Next Social Media Contest

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 by James Trumbly

Everybody loves a good contest, right? For the customer, the contest is all about the prize; for your business, it’s all about the new contacts you make and future marketing opportunities. Let’s take a look at five steps to hitting the sweet spot for both parties.

Determine Your Goal
When the contest is over, what will you have to show for it? Potential goals might include growing your fan or follower base, increasing click-throughs to your website, boosting conversion rates, creating awareness of a new product, getting customer testimonials, and encouraging likes and shares on your Facebook page. Social media makes it possible to accomplish goals far beyond the contact-gathering efforts of the business-card-in-a-fishbowl, so think outside the box (bowl).Start with something new and check .

Create a Plan
Best Instagram photos, video testimonials, creative pictures of a product in use, and content creation for your website all make great social media contest ideas. If you’re looking to grow your contact list, a simple click-and-share contest may help you accomplish your goal. Make sure your idea will actually help you reach the goal you determined in Step One.

Make the Prize Desirable
The quality of the prize should be relative to the amount of effort participants had to exert. A musician I know is currently running a Facebook contest in which participants send in recordings of themselves and compete for a chance to win a CD recording session. That’s a great incentive designed to reach out to serious musicians. If he wanted to merely increase the number of likes on his Facebook page, he could run a contest with one of his own CDs as the prize. Smaller effort, smaller incentive.

Spread the Word
Social media creates the opportunity for your contest to go viral if you package it right. Offer the right prize and the right level of engagement, and people will want to share the chance to win with their friends. You can also include an option to share your link as part of the entry process. Promote the contest on as many social channels as possible, targeting your existing fans first.

Announce the Winner
Don’t forget to showcase the winner at the end of the contest. It’s not only a feather in the winner’s cap, but also another chance for you to interact with all those new contacts.

Social media contests should be easy to enter and easy to share. In order for your contest to go viral, you need a solid plan, a desirable incentive, and a plan for getting the word out. Oh, and if you’re giving away an iPad, be sure and send me an invite.