Creating and Launching your Small Business, start-up, or independent Consultancy Service can be daunting, from Website Design and Branding to your logo and business cards; it is a monumental task that can make or break your future success.
Many small businesses are a rebirth for the owner to be independent and share their knowledge and expertise from high tech consultancies to a master craftsman workshop; the basic business start-up branding needs are similar.
We share Tips to Creating to Launching a successful Small Business or independent Consultancy Website from Design to Branding and your logo – Thought Starters to Get you Going
In this article we will share secrets to:
- Laying the foundation for a great website by:
- SMART decision making that saves you time and money
- How to create a Marketing Plan using the Content Marketing Waterfall
- Ten Simple Steps To A Successful Website utilizing the Wooden Wish as an example
- Website Design Secrets to make your Website a Blockbuster Success
For this article, we will use Mark Stephens of The Wooden Wish as an example (please open the site and follow along) to help you on your journey to independence and success.
Mark is a master carpenter and wood artisan who has toiled in the construction industry whose love for nature and sustainable practices has led him on a journey to follow his dreams, to become independent, sharing his passion and expertise with others.
Plan for Success by Laying the Foundation
Before Mark rushed off to build his website or get his business cards printed, he and his wife Beverly, and the team at Content Branding Solutions spent some time together studying the target market and outlined a simple business plan that is “SMART”:
- Specific – Get targeted, be specific. Answer the simple question of HOW or WHERE?
- Measurable – Specific goals must be measurable.
- Actionable – Tie every goal to action. Be accountable.
- Realistic – Be realistic; how many New Year’s Eve resolutions make it to March? It is important to dream and set goals that will push our abilities but also are attainable.
- Timely – Set a deadline, a delivery date for your goals. You should do this process for all your projects. Marketing for your small business or independent consultancy should be no different.
Think about everything from color to your competition; do your research. Yes, Colors Do Matter in Marketing. You might have to give up that dull purple or bright pink for an appropriate color that helps your sales in your target market area.
To help you develop a Marketing Plan, we have included a downloadable to-do list that we call the Content Marketing Waterfall. Link to updated downloadable.
This diagram is a thought-starter outline so add and delete as necessary for your target Market and Industry Try to complete all the Marketing Goals
Remember that you are communicating your product and services in content that includes words, images, and actions. Therefore you will want to showcase the best you have in each area for all your marketing materials, including your website and leave-behinds.
If you don’t have a brick and mortar business, Your website is Your small Businesses Foundation the cornerstone from which you will build your empire. Your website is your storefront to the world. Pay a little upfront; make sure that the site is scalable, timeless, and showcases your product to its best ability. Don’t be trendy; that “in” color will be out next year.
A website is a low-rent necessity with little overhead. Don’t skimp on it; do produce thought leadership pieces and updates on product development. If you don’t have the time or know-how, hire a professional website designer. Time is money. You do what you do best, let others do what they do best, so you can stay focused on your skills and expertise.
Ten Simple Steps To A Successful Website
- Step 1: Establish your Unique Sales Proposition (USP)
- Step 2: Keep the design clean, simple and precise
- Step 3: Create headlines that hit home and tell your story
- Step 4: Grab attention with images that say what you do. Use the alt tags for ADA compliance to describe the pictures
- All graphics should be SEO’d with, Alt text, a title that means something, caption, and description Great SEO’d content to get you found
- Step 5: Talk up the benefits (but not too much)
- Step 6: Add social proof – References, client stories products, etc
- Step 7: Include contact information
- Step 8: Make calls-to-action loud and clear
- Step 9: Test every component
- Step 10: SEO all Content – words, images, etc. Create the funnel of conversions.
Open Mark’s website at The Wooden Wish if you have not already opened it and take a look at first impressions, and how the site follows all steps.
Website Design Secret – Image is Everything
Beginning with one line, “The Wooden Wish – Handmade Functional Wood Art,” the website slider images are designed to focus you on the welcome slide, Mastercraftsman, Mark Stephens sets the tone followed by recycled Urban Wood, Handmade Furniture, etc. The slider tells his companies story, mission, vision, and values and showcases its products encouraging you to action.
The original images were far from stunning, cluttered with bric-à-brac taking away the focus from the remarkable craftsmanship. With a little work and vision, the slider now showcases the masterpieces of “Functional Art, in Recycled Urban Wood.”
The slider also begins to introduce you to “Dry-fly” Mark; remember that people buy people. The site is device friendly and shareable – check it out on your phone.
Mark’s website, The Wooden Wish, establishes Step 1 to 10 from the get-go.
Scroll down, and you see how you are greeted with a simple one-liner that tells you what the Wooden Wish provides. Believe it or not, we have seen many sites that fail to tell you what it is they do!
The messaging and branding are clear and precise; it runs cleanly through the website from the colors to the calls-to-actions. As a guide, follow the KISS – Occam’s Razor philosophy (Keep it Simple Sweetie) for all your marketing materials, including your 24/7/365 marketing and sales director, your website.
With Mark and his wife Beverly, we developed all the content, including a sketch of the site concept, decided on a single page format with scalability for growth, selected the colors, content, and graphics as a team. This process is our roadmap we follow for all of our clients we work with; after all, it is your dream; we are the experts to help make it come true.
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Website Design Secret – Brand Positioning
Mark needed to be rebranded to represent his expertise and products in a more dynamic, meaningful way; Mark is far more than a carpenter; he is a wood artisan, master craftsman. After a lot of thought-provoking questions as a team, we came up with a focused plan that we all agreed was necessary to take his non-functioning site to a stunning, user-friendly website that weaves a story with pictures and keyword phrases, attracting clients.
Mark is a master craftsman who has designed and built the most exquisite custom wooden furniture. Built-in cabinets with inlay marquetry, traditional urban wood rocking chairs, tables with turquoise, and semiprecious stone inlay, staircases, fireplace hearths, and stunning sculptural, functional art from fishing nets to pole boxes for over 35+ years in Colorado.”
“So What Makes Marks Website Design, Content, Graphics, and Calls To Action Special?”
Concise, Persuasive Clean Branded Content, Graphics Design, Branded Content, Content Branding, Graphics, SEO on Every Website Page,
Persuasive Calls-To-Action, And Scalability For Growth
Website Design Secret – The Key to Successful Website Content and Design is Listening
We listen to our clients to understand their passion, knowledge and develop empathy for their subject, cognitive, emotional, and compassionately to help create the mission, vision, and values and embracing our client’s goals as we develop the site and marketing materials.
Together we became a team, showcasing Mark’s passions and abilities as our primary goal.
A great website compared to a great meal; it is a balance of all the components working together to create a flavor profile that makes you keep coming back for more.
From Small business Website Design and Branding to Creating and Launching your Small Business Content Branding Can Help Launching Your Dreams
Website Design Secret – Good News Content
‘Bringing good news,’ Content that is so rich and engaging for customers, they will tell your story both on and offline through word-of-mouth. A notable example of this is the inspirational works of Dr. Wayne Dyer.
People by People. On Mark’s website, we introduce Mark as a person, a fisherman, and a family man, a craftsman with passion.
Website Design Secret – Colors Do Matter in Marketing
Why Hunter Green on Mark’s Website? Green is the Outdoor Color of Sales. Look at Cabela’s, the Sportsman Warehouse, and Frontgate; notice they all use a shade of green. Find out more read the full article Colors Do Matter in Marketing.
Website Design Secret – Branding Graphics Infographics
To brand Mark’s site, we utilize graphics and keywords that “Tell His, Your Story,” Showcasing Marks exceptional handmade furniture, and “Dry-fly” Mark’s unique fishing products. These images and hook lines immediately explain his craft and unique sales proposition. What will your hook lines be?
His logo is a development of a branding iron that labels all his work.
Website Design Secret – SEO Optimization and Website Design Integration
All of Mark’s images are labeled, and SEO’d with the name of his website, ADA – caption, description, and alt text, in addition, his portfolio and sales page, which is not shown yet is set up for slugs…
A slug is the part of a URL that identifies a particular page or image on a website in an easy to read form. It is the part of the URL that explains the page’s content. For this article, for example, the URL is https://wooden wish/slug, and the slug simply is ‘slug’.
Tips for great SEO: Make sure Your New Website Includes:
- The Content Spectrum: The right content that has integrated SEO to sell your product
- Great Design, with Form, Flow, and Function that is easy to navigate
- Branded Content and integrated graphics that flow through the website to help tell your story
- Content Branding that is persuasive, clear, and precise
- Graphics that are tailored to tell your firm’s story
- All graphics should be SEO’d with Alt text captions to meet ADA requirements. Imagine if you are blind, how will you know what the image is?
- SEO on every page of the website it’s not an extra, it essential in this competitive market to be found
- Persuasive Calls-to-Action CTA to hook your clients after all… your site is your 24/7/365 sales and marketing director make it work for you
- Training, make sure that you are trained in how to use your website and blog
- On-the-Go Media Results Tracking: Track your success with Google analytics
Our firm’s leaders have exceptional skills in marketing and design; we combine our skills to take the window to your world to the next level.
Clean white space to showcase your products
Do not use trendy annoying banner ads. Ad blockers are more popular than the Kardashians, and the new ADA laws for a website will probably ban those annoying migraine-inducing ads!
Use stunning images, remember that before your brain sees a word, it creates an image that is then translated into a word. That is why images are more powerful than words. Images with branded content can score touchdowns and sales with all generations.
So you are a professional consulting firm how do you do this? DLAA is an Example of website design excellence.
Timeless Website Design and Graphics by Content Branding Solutions
Do not use trendy design solutions, from colors to layout, as they will date your website quickly. Make sure your site is device friendly.
If You have Money to Throw Away, Follow the Trends!
If Not, be Timeless and Classy.
Content Branding Solutions uses a timeless design that will give your website longevity, don’t believe us? Take a look at the 2nd website we built; Real Magic Design, this is the website that got us started in this industry back in 2011.
Why are you waiting? Your future clients are looking for you! Stop procrastinating! The future is already here; it’s time to act by starting your journey.
Cheri and Peter Lucking co-CEO of Content Branding Solutions
Cheri and Peter bring decades of knowledge of sales, marketing, and integrated design. As award-winning Amazon bestselling authors, ghostwriter, and editors, we know how to help you market your product and help make your dreams of a Small Business or consultancy come true.
We are advocates for sustainable and resilient practices and media industry experts. We specialize in helping small to medium businesses share their voice from Immigration lawyers to thought leadership experts in sustainability and acoustics we design to showcase your firm’s exceptional abilities.
Let Us Create Content Together That Gives You a Competitive Edge on Your Journey – Starting Today.
Content Branding Solutions has successfully developed websites, with branded content, authored, ghostwritten, edited, illustrated, and published thought leadership content from sustainable and economic white papers to books on politically hot topics:
- Green at No Cost. Economic and Cost Control Strategies that Create No Cost Sustainability, an Amazon bestselling book on sustainable design and economics.
- DREAMers NIGHTMARE: THE U.S. WAR ON IMMIGRANT LATINX CHILDREN an Amazon bestselling book landing page website. The immigration issue will shock you, have you in tears, of anger and sorrow, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican.
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