Why B2B Companies Should Care About Online Content Marketing

Posted by: Marilyn Trent @ 9:20 pm | Date: April 6, 2014 | Comments (0)
Filed under: All things business,Websites | Tags: , ,

Businesses buying from other businesses online increases daily.

B2B-SoMedia5According to Supplychainbrain.com, “In the United States, B2B e-commerce revenue more than doubles that of B2C – with $559bn annually in sales—and B2B players that fail to embrace online and mobile as leading channels risk losing market share in the short and medium term, and sustainable competitive advantage in the long-term.”

That’s just one of the many impressive facts that underline the importance of online marketing and brand management when it comes to helping B2B websites sell more and sell better. Say someone is looking for something you sell and comes to your website with just one thing in mind: to make a decision whether or not to buy from you. 90% of those people will look at your products and services and then, if they still want to know more, will move on to the ‘about us’ page to learn more about who you are and what your company is like.

Studies conducted by KoMarketing have found that online buyers look for:

  • Pricing information – 43%
  • Technical information – 38%
  • Case studies / white papers / blog posts – 38%
  • Shipping information – 37%
  • They don’t fully rely on blog posts but if they are there, they add credibility

This process doesn’t end with the initial search. A business looking at your business as a potential new vendor will explore your site while focused on one thing:

Is a relationship with you worth pursuing?

You, the vendor, must make the decision process as easy and seamless as possible. Recent research by KoMarketing Associates shows that the “Must Have” content for buyers is:

  • First and foremost, buyers want to know what products and services you have and how you can meet their needs and challenges.
  • It’s crucial to remove barriers between these buyers and the content that they are looking for.
  • Carefully considered content combined with a well-mapped user interface (UI) is the first step to success. Overlaid on that must be a carefully thought out user experience (UX) strategy – defining where on the page content is displayed and how the prospect will interact with it. A website with planned content, UI and UX will be easy to navigate and quickly communicate the information that the prospect is looking for.

Oh, and just a small tip:
Your prospects, like most of us, don’t want to be interrupted in the research process with pesky videos, pop-ups or audio that plays automatically. Don’t get me wrong, video can be one of the most compelling ways to engage a prospect. In fact more and more industrial marketers are using videos as a strategic tactic and  its one that all manufactures should embrace. Your prospective customer wants to control that interaction though, not have you force it on them.

Now all of this is a lot to think about and we haven’t even touched on the role that Social Media plays in content delivery. Manufacturers and other B2B’s are just now beginning to understand how engaging in two way conversations through LinkedIn or Facebook can grow brand awareness and customer engagement. But, lets save that for another day.

To sum it up, your content must be…

  • relevant and searchable; there are an average of 115 Billion global monthly searches on Google alone.
  • easy to grasp; once a prospect is on the website you only have about 8 seconds to get their attention.

Want help with your Content Marketing Strategy? Trent Design has been helping its manufacturing clients and B2B grow their businesses through the development of award-winning websites and Content Management Systems for over 10 years….

6 Reasons Why You Need A Responsive Website

Posted by: Brian Harwell @ 9:24 am | Date: December 13, 2013 | Comments Off
Filed under: All things business,Design,Websites
Responsive Website - Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

Views of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy website on different devices. Original PSD display mock by Lassi Vehviläinen

You may have seen or heard the term Responsive Website or Responsive Web Design (originally coined by Ethan Marcotte) floating around the internet lately. But what exactly is Responsive Web Design, and why do you need it? We’ll start by explaining some of the basic concepts behind Responsive Web Design, then delve into the 6 reasons why you need to consider it for your own website.

Responsive Design

Responsive Web Design (or RWD for short) came about in 2010 out of a need to address the number of mobile browsers accessing websites at a steadily increasing rate.

You’ve probably seen your fair share of mobile sites, usually a separate website you get redirected to when trying to visit a familiar website on your smartphone. They are typically subdomains, such as mobile.website.com or they have their own extension: website.mobi.

The main issue with mobile sites is that they were optimized strictly for smartphones – namely the iPhone. As you probably guessed, mobile browsers are no longer just for smartphones – tablets, MP3 players and other devices have their own browsers and ways to access the internet. Pulling up a mobile site optimized for smartphones on your tablet looks awkward (especially in landscape mode), likewise pulling up a website optimized for desktops on your smartphone is equally awkward to view, and pinching and zooming isn’t user friendly and frankly, annoying.

These issues are exactly what RWD is intended to address. RWD responds to the width of your device and formats the layout and content to provide the best viewing and user friendly experience possible.

Why You Need It

Future Proofing & Accessibility

The main purpose of RWD is future proofing your website and making it accessible and readable across all devices.

Mobile browsing is expected to outpace desktop-based access within three to five years. Two of the three dominant video game consoles have web browsers (and one of them is quite excellent). We’re designing for mice and keyboards, for T9 keypads, for handheld game controllers, for touch interfaces. In short, we’re faced with a greater number of devices, input modes, and browsers than ever before. – Ethan Marcotte, May 25, 2010

Say, for instance, you just finished a brand new responsive website and within a year, a new device comes into the market which becomes insanely popular overnight, and you have a high number of visitors to your website from that device. Luckily, your new responsive website has been built for situations just like this and it displays perfectly fine – no need to rebuild or add a separate website just to handle this new device.

If for some reason you do need to have an optimized layout for the new device, all you’d have to do is contact your web developer and they can write a new media query to add to the stylesheet, and tada! your site now has an optimized layout for that device.

The best thing about RWD is that it’s scalable, so that no matter what comes out on the market, you can always add a new media query to optimize your site for it. That way, visitors to your website from any device can have an enjoyable and frustration-free experience.

Content Delivery & Easier Maintenance

Another benefit to having a responsive website is the same content is being delivered to visitors across all devices. Mobile sites typically have different content than the main website – focusing on only a couple of topics and requiring you to “view the full site” if you want access to the rest of the content.

Not only is this inconvenient for visitors, but it’s also inconvenient for you (the site owner/editor) since you have to edit two separate websites to keep content up-to-date. With RWD, you edit one website and your visitors access one website with the same content formatted for the optimal experience on their device.

A Single URL

As mentioned above, RWD allows you to have a single URL – which means no redirects (faster loading times if the site is optimized for mobile) and only one URL to remember. Any way you can make it easier for visitors to access your site and get to content quickly, the better – and you’ll see a higher visitor return rate because of it.

Larger Audience

Finally, by having a responsive website, you open the doors to a larger number of potential visitors – increased traffic could mean more sales, followers, and marketing opportunities.

To recap, here are the 6 main reasons why you need a responsive website:

  1. RWD is scalable so your website will be future-proof
  2. Your website will be accessible, readable and user friendly across all devices
  3. Visitors will have access to the same content across all devices
  4. A single website you have to maintain/update
  5. A single website URL to remember with no redirects
  6. Your website will be available to a larger number of potential visitors

If you need a responsive website, the talented designers and web developers at Trent now specialize in RWD, and would be more than happy to talk to you. You can also read about our latest RWD venture with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s new website.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments about RWD and/or what we can do for you, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Embracing Your Failures Can Lead To Success (Part 1)

Posted by: Marilyn Trent @ 2:07 pm | Date: June 19, 2013 | Comments Off
Filed under: All things business

Failure-FortuneEntrepreneurs are a rugged bunch but fear of failure still keeps many of us up at night. After 23 years of my own trials and triumphs as an entrepreneur I have come to the conclusion that failing, and learning to fail well, is a crucial part of succeeding in the long term.

I arrive at the same lesson for myself and my employees—the power of failure lies in that old adage “We learn from our mistakes.”  Not only do we need to learn from our mistakes, we need to embrace them. We need to add them up and say, “there are x amount of mistakes that were made last year, what did we learn from them and how did we capitalize on them?” That is success in my new way of thinking. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed 999 times. I have successfully discovered 999 ways how to NOT make a light bulb.”

And that, my friend, is the attitude I look for in my employees and those that I choose to work with. Does this mean that the people I hire or work with are not highly competent? No, it means that they understand that in the creative business we need to take risks, think big and think different. All of that is only possible if you’re willing to take a few hits. Does this mean that our clients suffer? No, it means that our internal creative process at Trent Design has a lot of flexibility and openness during the ideation phase. Being able to experiment and push boundaries allows the design team to arrive at the best possible communication solution for each project.

 

REVOLVE Detroit: A Quick Turnaround for Local Retail

Posted by: Scott McCabe @ 10:23 am | Date: October 23, 2012 | Comments Off
Filed under: All things business,Detroit
As part of the pilot run of its new REVOLVE retail stimulus program, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation has been working with community organizations and building owners in Detroit’s West Village. It’s only been a few months since the program began but there are already new things popping up in West Village.
A few weeks ago I posted about how Trent Design had toured some vacant retail over in the West Village. The whole thing was an open house for potential REVOLVE applicants and we were there as part of our current contract with the DEGC. The event proved to be an interesting one and the spaces we saw were filled with potential. Now, less than a month and half later, they’re filled with customers.
Coffee and Donuts and PRAMU have taken up temporary residence on the ground floor of the Park Shelton building and are already offering their distinctive wares to delighted shoppers. PRAMU (The Pataphysical Research and Metachanic Union Local 313) sells Detroit themed apparel, antique furniture and pretty much anything that happens to strike their fancy. Coffee and Donuts is bit more straightforward but no less unique. They’ve taken a relatively simple concept (offering coffee and donuts) and turned it into a celebration of the city. The menu features several things produced in the city, including coffee roasted right here in Detroit. The store’s artisan donuts are baked by the owner, classically trained pastry chef and proud Detroiter Angela Foster. Four more additions to the Agnes St. retail scene will be announced this weekend.
Check out some before and after pictures of the old Harlequin Café below.

A few weeks ago I posted that Trent Design had toured some vacant retail spaces over in the West Village. It was during an open house being held by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation for potential applicants to its new REVOLVE program. Trent Design was hired to create the name, logo, branding strategy and website for this dynamic new program. The tour event proved to be an interesting one and we all agreed that the spaces we saw were filled with potential. Now, less than a month and half later, they’re filled with customers.

REVOLVE and its partnerships are the biggest reason behind these new developments. It’s the DEGC’s new retail stimulus program and was launched recently in Detroit’s West Village. REVOLVE focuses on working with community organizations and building owners in the target area in order to help them find the right retail fit for their neighborhood. REVOLVE also assists in streamlining the application process for interested entrepreneurs so that once their application is approved they can move into as quickly as possible. REVOLVE and its partners showed off its potential by getting things rolling in the West Village and we are seeing the results in just a few short months.

Coffee and Donuts and PRAMU have taken up temporary residence on the ground floor of the Park Shelton building and are already offering their distinctive wares to delighted shoppers in the West Village. PRAMU (The Pataphysical Research and Metachanic Union Local 313) sells Detroit themed apparel, antique furniture and pretty much anything that happens to strike their fancy. Coffee and Donuts is bit more straightforward but no less unique. They’ve taken a relatively simple concept (offering coffee and donuts) and turned it into a celebration of the city. The menu features several things produced in the city, including coffee roasted right here in Detroit. The store’s artisan donuts are baked by the owner, classically trained pastry chef and proud Detroiter Angela Foster.

REVOLVE and its partners are far from done in the West Village: Four new full-time tenants have been secured for the remaining retail spots in the area and will be announced in grand fashion this weekend at the annual The Villages Fall Festival.

Before and After photos of the old Harlequin Café

Midtown Makeover

Posted by: Scott McCabe @ 2:29 pm | Date: August 14, 2012 | Comments Off
Filed under: All things business,Design,Detroit,Websites

Have you been to Midtown Detroit recently? If not then you’re in for a surprise. Ongoing efforts to reinvigorate the neighborhood have brought in a steady stream of new businesses and residents. It has become a hotspot for new small business ventures and enjoys a building occupancy rate of over 95%. Add some of Detroit’s greatest cultural institutions and the result is a vibrant urban ecosystem, one that hosts an enjoyably eclectic mix of retail, restaurants and entertainment venues.

One of the key players in Midtown’s current economic revival is the aptly named Midtown Detroit, Inc. MDI is the result of a merger between the University Cultural Center Association (UCCA) and New Center Council. Like its predecessors it is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community development organization. Given its new identity and larger pool of resources MDI needed a new, more contemporary website and wanted Trent Design to create it for them. Given its positive role in the community we were more than happy to help.

Original UCCA Midtown site: Somebody over there clearly likes russet

Original UCCA Midtown site: Somebody over there clearly likes russet

The new MDI website was redesigned from the ground up; we restructured the existing information architecture, transferred the site to a more powerful CMS, added new features and gave the front end an updated aesthetic that more accurately reflects the open yet urban feel of the Midtown area.

The new site is designed to be a convenient online resource for anyone interested in Midtown Detroit, especially tourists and young professionals. The homepage layout is clean and inviting. It sports a large image slider that showcases compelling visuals of what Midtown has to offer. It also has a news feed that lets visitors see at a glance how the area is moving forward. The website’s calendar of events, property listings, news and interactive local area directory are all searchable and easily accessed from the homepage. Other sections of the site provide information on available development resources, ongoing community programs and several of the more prominent institutions and annual events in Midtown.

The new MDI site: Less russet, more usability

The new MDI site: Less russet, more usability

Being able to put our skills to work for an organization that does so much good for the community was definitely a feel good experience for us at Trent Design. Have to admit though, all the positive feedback they’ve gotten about their new, fully featured website feels pretty nice too.

Check out MDI’s new site here.