Top 3 Website Upgrades

Do you need a facelift?  If your over 40 then you probably are thinking “yes”!  Although iUpgrade does not upgrade biological material (yet), we can give you a digital facelift.

Most likely your business website could use an upgrade.

There is a large number of important features your website needs in order to obtain or maintain it’s youthful exuberance.  To get started, here is a list of the top three most valuable website upgrades for your homepage that will give you the largest, quickest return and increase in customer response.  This list is part of a check list our website design upgrade methodology filters through when evaluating a business website;

1. When a potential customer arrives at your website, do they immediately understand the core purpose of your company without having to read one single word?

If a shopper has to dig for information about you or doesn’t understand at one glance what you offer and how it will benefit them, then they are happily scooting off to your competitors website.  Don’t let that happen!  Make sure the visuals on your homepage grab their attention quickly and intuitively communicate the solution you have for them that will meet the need that drove them to your website to begin with.  The average person will take up to three seconds to determine if you meet their need of if they need to find the solution somewhere else.

2. Is your brand memorable and appropriate?

Have you invested in developing a company logo that communicates the essence of your company?  If not, this is an important investment and necessary upgrade.  Your company logo will not only benefit your website but needs to be consistently displayed everywhere your company is mentioned, promoted and displayed on and off line.  Make sure to develop a logo that is high resolution, high quality and well thought out with intentional and thoughtful design elements that represent your company. Purchasing a logo template or trying to copy another company’s logo will not provide you with the best long term solution and will communicate that your business is not a high priority.

3. Action!

It is extremely important to have a well placed, strategic action button, image or icon on your homepage.  This needs to be configured to display in a way that is not distracting but available for your customers to act upon.  It also needs to be configured so that it displays in just the right location on all platforms and device settings and sizes.  Your action buttons can be programmed to appear in just the right place at just the right time to help invoke the precise action you desire from your customers – in a way that is not annoying to them but helpful.

These three areas of focus for your website facelift upgrade are critical.  If you haven’t already implemented them we can help you and it won’t even require surgery!

Get your website upgrade today >

 

Top 3 Website Upgrades 2017-09-21T21:04:14+00:00

Quarter of a Million Views

Santa Ana, CA

YouTube Video Success

Jerry’s Broken Drill and Tap Removal, an iUpgrade marketing services Client, just reached a quarter of a million views for their much appraised YouTube video featuring the right way to remove a broken tap. The video provides a detailed instructional tutorial on how to properly use a Metal Disintegration Machine (MDM) or Electric Discharge Machine (EDM).  You might think this sort of service is needed too seldom to have the need of a broken drill or tap service provider but the over 50 years that Jerry’s Broken Drill and Tap Removal have been in business would disagree with you.  They remove bolts and taps from a wide range of engines and machines.  Without this valuable service an expensive piece of equipment may be rendered useless but with this professional and save repair the equipment is restored and able to function again.  An example would be a BMW engine that has a difficult to reach and remove broken bolt.  Parts are often shipped to Jerry’s for repair and returned with a fast turn around.

If you have a broken bolt, tap or stud that needs to be removed, Jerry’s is the one to call for fast, professional results: 714-836-6824

iUpgrade provides instructional, content rich YouTube video services.  If your business has a unique, interesting, quality service or product we specialize in developing a video that clearly communicates what you have to offer.  Contact us for a free video consultation: 541-899-9908.

Quarter of a Million Views 2016-08-17T19:56:08+00:00

What Creates Brand Loyalty

Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty can run deep.  When a consumer decides that they are loyal to a brand, it is very difficult to sway them away to the competition.  Take Coke and Pepsi as an example.  For years these two companies have fought to maintain their market share with their respective customer loyalty.  These two companies have indeed made it into the hearts of American’s and people all over the world.  I know people who will pick their restaurants due in large part for the simple fact that the restaurant offers Pepsi over Coke.  Other people will note which store has the best deals on Coke and frequent that store over a competitor that offers a higher price for their favorite soft drink.  Why do people choose one brand over the other and stick to that decision even more then they stick to many other more important decisions in life?

My theory is that once a person chooses a product that has such high frequency as Coke and Pepsi, their decision gets mapped into their own identity.  Once the brand decision has been made, every time they see the brand thereafter, it re-affirms their previous decision and becomes linked to their own identity within the brand recognition event.  This makes it very difficult to switch brands because in essence the person would be changing a part of their own identity.

The Pepsi Challenge

An example of a brand campaign imbedding itself into personal choice, identity and loyalty is that of the famous Pepsi Challenge show-down between Pepsi and Coke.  Pepsi initiated the challenge in 1975, when it launched the Pepsi Challenge taste test.  The tests and subsequent commercials took place in malls and shopping centers where people were asked by a Pepsi representative to do a blind-taste test between two cola drinks — one Pepsi, the other Coke.

The result advertised was that most consumers preferred the taste of Pepsi.  The Pepsi Challenge has been featured prominently in much of Pepsi’s TV advertising.  Coke later decided to play Pepsi at its own game, when in 2009 it ran a promotion reminiscent of the Pepsi Challenge, trying to persuade consumers that its Vault drink tastes better than its rival’s Mountain Dew.

The taste test became a conversation – one of which we probably all have had at one point or another – voicing our opinion of which Cola we prefer and sometimes with a debate ensuing to back up our personal choice.  The taste test challenge struck a cord with people as they followed the campaign, chose a side and drew a line.  Their identity intertwined with the product, an era and a marketing brand flavor of their choice.  This is a powerful example of brand loyalty at play.

Brand Neural Mapping (BNM)

This theory, called “Brand Neural Mapping”, may help explain why strong brand loyalty occurs.  This neural network mapping event happens when a person chooses a brand over the competition and links the choice to their own identity. This neurological theory could be a significant reason why social marketing is so effective.  As people are conversing and interacting with friends when they are introduced to a product by a trusted friend they immediately map the friend to the product association in their brains.  This neural network association is powerful.  Their personal preferences and feelings toward that friend could produce an immediate acceptance for the product before researching or trying the brand themselves.  Later, when the person interacts with the product they will often feel so accepting and associated with the product on a personal level that a purchase is highly likely. If, after the product or service is tested and then accepted, the rate of rejection or change to a competitor thereafter is very low.

By comparison, there are two well known traditional brand frequency theories that include Ebbinghaus and Smith respectively.

The first was derived from research conducted by Hermann Ebbinghause in the late 1800’s. His findings concluded with a summary of 20 brand exposures are required to produce an acceptance response from a customer.  This theory stipulates that it takes on average 20 times for a person to process a brand in order to invoke a purchase.

His 20 steps are as follows;
The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
The second time, they don’t notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.

His conclusion was that if you expose a person enough times to a brand they will eventually move to purchase if the proper opportunity presents itself.

The second theory, outlined by Herbert Krugman, concluded that it takes only three brand exposures for a person to determine their brand decision; curiosity, recognition and decision. This view differs from Ebbinghaus in that after the third exposure the consumer has made their decision and no matter how much frequency they receive thereafter the decision has already been made and will not change.

The BNM theory differs from both of these traditional brand frequency theories in that it gives weight to personalization when a person processes associations and lifestyle messaging.  Weight is given to the event when a friend or acquaintance is linked to a product and when a person identifies with a lifestyle message that is then linked to a brand.  When either of these occurs the frequency rate is multiplied, resulting in less frequency steps.  Applying the BNM model to social networking and taking Ebbinghaus’s model as an example, would look like this;

The first time people are engaged in a conversation in a social network with a friend and a product is discussed or seen in association, the frequency = 5-10 steps in 1 depending on emphasis of product in social scenario.
The second time, they engage with a different friend with the same product = 5 frequency
The third time, they see the product outside of social environment, they feel the product must have value and trust it would be good for them to obtain and start to budget for the amount needed.
The fourth time they are reminded about the product through online ads, print or otherwise they move to purchase.
After purchase they submit review information back to their social network, reinforcing acceptance and creating brand awareness for additional friends in their own network creating an exponential brand frequency effect.

In this respect the rate of brand acceptance is reduced to 4 frequency steps with an exponential growth factor for the 5th step.

Another application of the BNM model is when the product is linked to lifestyle messaging.  If the consumer associates positively to the lifestyle being communicated and linked to the product the same 4 step rate of acceptance is applied. These two scenarios often go hand in hand as friends and lifestyle are so intimately integrated.

The best use of applying the BNM model is when providing a quality product or service is a core company objective. In fact, a company with authentic care and integrity for their customers will seek out the core needs of their customers in relation to what they offer and alter their product and services to better serve the customer and community. Communicating the need met, the solution it offers and life improvement benefits in the brand marketing is a win win situation for the customer and the company. Using this BNM production to market method drives the company and brand to consistent improvements and customer growth.

What Creates Brand Loyalty 2017-09-21T21:04:15+00:00

Top 3 Business Owner Time Management Tools of All Time

Proven Business Goal Management Tool

Every business owner has the constant daily challenge of staying on task, completion and prioritizing.  Here are three practices that will improve these must have skills.

#1 Long Term Vision

This first step is critical as it impacts whether you will ever see your goals come to fruition. If you have clear long term vision all of your hard work will retain it’s value and you won’t get burned out.  If you do not have a clear vision and a clear exit strategy then every detail of what you are doing will suffer. You may ask, “exit strategy”?  Aren’t I in business for the long haul? Maybe, but regardless of how long you want to be at the helm of your business, every smart business owner has an exit strategy. Your exit strategy could be to apprentice your children into taking it over.  It may be to build it up and sell it for retirement.  It could be to structure it to place people over it. Whatever you choose as an exit strategy, the point is to choose one and plan ahead for it.  If you are aimlessly working endlessly with no clear goals in site you will find yourself becoming listless and with less growth then expected with no clear options available.

Personal Brainstorm Session

After being reminded of the incredible importance of have a clear long term vision for your business – now it’s time for some fun.  Kick back, get comfortable, cuddle up to a nice cup of Jo and dream.  Dream about how your business would look 10 years down the road if everything goes well.  Dream about elements that really spark your passion.  If you were able to mold and shape it into dreams what would it look like?

Sketch out a personal brainstorm.  Take a large notebook and draw images, words, ideas, concepts, thoughts.  Don’t worry about structure or what it looks like.  Begin to see patterns and make associations with these thoughts.  Add some details and make some relational network connections.  A big, long term picture will begin to take form before your eyes as you highlight important elements and label areas. Be sure to mix in the elements that you are truly passionate about. What accomplishments through your business would really make you satisfied? Write those down on your brainstorm sheet.

When this personal brainstorm dream session is all done you should have a much clearer idea of where you want the ship to be steered toward. There will be technical elements and details that aren’t filled in but that’s OK.  As long as the long term picture is clear, the fuzzy details will be worked out by your team.

Now you have something to work with.

#2 Goal to Grain Roadmap

After your Personal Brainstorm Dream Session is complete you need to prioritize and start to map out a technique for obtaining these high and lofty dreams of yours. First, write down three income segments; your Cash Cow, your Nice to Increase and your Investment Department. Let’s break this down;

Cash Cow – this is where your company currently makes most of it’s income.  This is critical for keeping your business running.  You can’t neglect this segment for the sake of running after your dreams.  This segment should not be neglected but improve.  Your companies Cash Cow may be a product or service that frankly bores you because you provide or perform this so much. But this segment, if conducted well, can become the financier for your long term goals.  You can leverage the income that flows in from this business segment to fuel your dreams.  Improve this segment and over time this will be the result.

Nice to Increase – this segment consists of products or services that you don’t get much business from but has potential.  You haven’t focused primary attention on this segment before but you have a hunch this could open up a second cash cow for you.  This is worth pursuing.  It could become profitable.  It’s always wise to have more then one cash cow segment in any business.  If one cash cow dies due to a market shift then you have a backup and you won’t go out of business.  In addition, this becomes more income to fuel your long term goals.

Investment Department – this is where Visions Become Reality!  As you leverage your profit from your cash cow segments you will be able to invest in your long term goals.  Every new shift in your product or service offering typically takes an initial investment of time and money to launch.  This is what this department is for.  Planning out phases for this launch plan is wise. Even if you don’t have the funds available right now, if you plan phases and next steps when the funds become available they won’t get wasted but will be invested.

The Goal to Grain Roadmap
This road map starts with the end goal.  It then moves back progressively in time until it reaches your current day.   For example, set the end date to ten years from today.  Write down the key elements of your business goals and objectives.  Then move back to only five years from today.  What elements would need to be in place at that point in time in order to achieve the ten year goals?  Write those down.  Move it back 2 years.  What goals would have to be accomplished in three years from now in order to obtain the five year goals?  Write those down.  Progressively as you get closer to your current time more details need to be filled in. Once you have this road map outlined you will be enabled to start putting the pieces closest to you together.  This is when you need to start building your team, delegating sections, seeking out vendors to fill in the blanks and find good advice on how best to accomplish your next steps.

The Goal to Grain Roadmap is how we approach all of our Clients and all of the services we offer.  If you would like help putting one together for your company contact us.

#3 Strategic Scheduling

Now we get into the details of how to accomplish the goals you have mapped out.  Every business owner struggles with balancing their schedule. Now that you have a clear target it will become easier to schedule your time.  Consider your typical work week. Plan that the majority of your time will go to running your business and keeping your Cash Cows happy. This should become about 80% of your time instead of 100%.  Now 10% should include working on increasing your secondary cash cow.  The final 10% of your time needs to allocated to your new Investment Department.  This can equate into your own labor time, R&D time, meeting time with consultants and so on. Decide on your weekly calendar what time block you are going to use for this important investment on obtaining your goals. If you work a 50 hour work week for example, then block out 5 hours during the slowest part of your week for this slot.  Make sure everyone knows your are unavailable for regular business during that time.  Each week, write out the next step that needs to be accomplished for your new Investment Department.  That can look like a meeting, time researching online, working on a business or marketing plan or actually building the new product or service.

This will shift your fogging thoughts and dreams into sizable obtainable pieces.  You will have a new comfort knowing that your business is not suffering because you are trying to take on too much. Your regular business will improve because it has a new purpose that it plays into.  And, best of all, each week you will be working toward your dreams. A fresh, energetic passion will remind you why you are an Entrepreneur!

These techniques are proven.  They really do work and we would love to help you – call us to get started!  We specialize in goal identification, long term strategy and creating realistic paths to get there.

Top 3 Business Owner Time Management Tools of All Time 2017-09-21T21:04:17+00:00