Can’t Beat ’em? Join ’em! Design Your Own ECommerce Website

$1.4 Trillion in ECommerce by When?

Ecommerce web design tips for Reading, PA and beyond. From PMI, serving Philadelphia, Lancaster, Allentown, York, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.E-commerce is projected to become a 1.4 trillion dollar industry by 2015, according to Daily Deal Media, with $144 billion of it going to websites that sell electronics. More and more shopkeepers are becoming frustrated to learn their brick-and-mortar stores are turning into showrooms for customers, who then run off and order the product from an e-retailer.

Let’s say you’re that frustrated store owner. What would you do? Instead of grumbling and watching your profits go down, why not jump into the ecommerce game yourself? Here are some web design tips to create a niche electronics site, which, by the way, can be applied to most any online shopping niche market.

Go for Repeat Sales and Hard-to-Find Items

You’re not going to turn into the next Newegg.com overnight. So instead of focusing on a broad range of electronics for your e-commerce store, try focusing on a specific category that you have extensive knowledge about. Do you have a knack for computer monitors, or are you more of an accessories kind of person? Determine the market that you’re most familiar with and use that as the basis for your product selection, your niche focus. Shopify recommends that you take the time to pick a market that generates repeat sales, such as consumable items, and go for products that are difficult, if not impossible, to find at your standard brick-and-mortar store.

Set Yourself Apart

Once you’ve determined your niche, get as much information on your products as possible. You don’t want only cut-and-dried technical descriptions. You also want to give your site a personality that sets it apart from the online megastores like Amazon or Newegg. Let the customers know exactly what type of solutions they get from a particular piece of equipment. This is where your specialized electronics knowledge comes in, as you can provide extensive information in the product details section of a listing. Not only does this increase confidence in your consumer, it also helps to answer basic questions to avoid a phone call or email from the customer.

Responsive Social Networking

After you’ve set up your e-commerce store, associate a few social network profiles with it. This is standard marketing operating procedure. Don’t set it and forget it, however. Engage with your customers to find out what they’re most looking forward to in the electronics world, what they think about your company, and to quickly address any issues that customers may bring up over social media channels. If you’re lucky enough to have one of your social media marketing efforst go viral you’ll want to be sure that your servers can handle it, as the traffic spike can cause some issues with lower-grade servers, according to  WebHostingBlueBook.com.

Accessible Design

There’s nothing more frustrating than searching for a great product and then not being able to navigate your way through a poorly designed site. Aim for simplicity when it comes to ecommerce design. Unlike a spy novel, mystery is not a plus when it comes to completing an ecommerce transaction, so make your shopping cart and check out processes simple and intuitive.

Another important design factor (especially in the electronics niche) is to make sure that you create a truly mobile-friendly website. Your tech-savvy customers are likely to use a smartphone to comparison shop or make a purchase, so you want to avoid any issues with a mobile site that would prevent them from doing so.

ECommerce Web Design Assistance is Just a Phone Call Away

Do you need help in designing an intuitive, compelling, and mobile-friendly ecommerce website to build your online business? If so then please Contact Us today.

We’d like to thank Albert Lester for contributing statistics for this post. Al teaches economics and business at his local high school. He blogs about business, finance, teaching and the economy in his spare time.

Mobile Website Design: See the Difference for Yourself

You know your business needs and deserves a mobile-optimized website, right? Given the ever-increasing pace of website traffic from smartphones and other mobile devices, it’s only a matter of time before your non-mobile site will share all too many characteristics with the dinosaurs of ages past: outdated, cumbersome, and extinct!

Test Your Website for Mobile Viewing

To prove the point, we invite you to test your patience with any website that is not yet optimized for mobile (perhaps your own?). Here’s what you’ll encounter:

  • Text that is too small to read, even when you turn the phone sideways, especially for 40-somethings
  • Menu buttons or links that are difficult, if not impossible, to use unless you first expand them
  • Frustration over not being able to navigate and view the site with one hand

 

Look in the Mirror

Now ask yourself: if you were your customer, would you put up with this if the next competitor offered a mobile-friendly experience? Is your mobile website design sending the right message to your potential customers? Can you afford that?

 

Here’s Proof

Here’s proof of the difference a properly designed mobile website can make. Take a look at the before and after mobile views of the website below.
live demo of the mobile experience
We designed both the original website and the mobile version. The “before” view shows the “desktop” website essentially as it would appear on a mobile device, with everything crammed onto that little smartphone screen. Although it looks nice at first glance, when you try to use it the frustration begins.
Compare this to the mobile website design on the right:
  • The navigation buttons are clear and large enough to be accessed easily with one hand
  • The text is pleasantly large
  • The calls-to-action practically jump off the page: Call Us, Find Us, and Buy Tickets (found further down the page)
  • Some of the content has been rearranged to make it more intuitive for mobile users

 

Take it for a Test Drive

To take the mobile version for a test drive, simply click on the smart phone on the right (from a desktop or laptop device). It contains a live demo of the mobile experience and allows you to navigate the entire site. Next, click the non-optimized version on the smart phone on the left. Compare them page by page if you like. Now ask yourself which one is likely to hold your interest as a mobile viewer.

Need Help?

If your mobile website experience currently projects an image that is frighteningly similar to the dinosaur, then contact us today to discuss a mobile web design upgrade. It costs less than you think, and your customers will thank you!

8 Copywriting Tips for Web Design & Online Marketing Success

Copywriting tips for effective website design and content marketing. From PMI, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Allentown, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, York, Pennsylvania and beyond.Writing persuasive copy for online viewing differs greatly from writing for magazine articles and for most other printed copy. Great web design and content marketing involves much more than creating attractive graphics. Your website copy is the key to attracting viewers, to engaging them, and to converting viewers into prospects and customers. Here are some tips for writing great online copy to satisfy all three goals.

Keep It Pithy

When writing website and other online content it’s extremely important to keep the information flowing quickly. Don’t terrorize your readers with long paragraphs and confusing text. Online viewers tend to be impatient because other options are just a quick Google search away. Therefore, find ways to communicate your message in as few words as possible.  Keep your paragraphs short and use subtitles generously in your copy to aid readers who want to skim your information before reading certain paragraphs more closely.

Copywriting to Sell

Write sales copy with a WIFM (what’s in it for me – the customer, that is) mentality. Decide how and why a customer may benefit from your product or service, and then work those reasons into your copy. Sure, there are times when being subtle is the right strategy, but often it is better to be quick and direct with your message, keeping in mind the impatience factor noted above. After quickly getting to the WIFM message, provide the details lower down in the copy or in a linked sub-page for those who want to learn more. That approach satisfies the need for speed whlie also providing helpful details that may be required to complete the sale or to encourage the viewer to take the next step.

Create a Clear Call to Action

Sample call to action for PMI's web design needs assessment for customers in Reading, PA and beyondAs a marketer I find it surprising that so many web pages lack a clear call to action. A call to action may be as simple as a text link that connects to an order form, or as elaborate as a detailed graphic (such as the one to the right) that links to a sub-page or infographic presenting your offer in greater detail.

Studies have shown that clearly stating the obvious is often the best approach when it comes to creating an effective call to action. For example, buttons and other clickable images frequently gain more clicks when accompanied by the words “click here” or by an arrow or image of a mouse pointer hovering over the button as if it were about to click the image. Remember, people are frequently in a hurry, so connect the dots for them.

Make it Easy to Find and Easy to Follow Through

Think about what you want your viewers to do, the benefits they will receive by doing it, and then make it incredibly easy for them to find your call to action, combining a clear message with attractive graphics. Where possible place your call to action “above the fold”, meaning on the upper portion of your web page where it can be seen without scrolling on a laptop device.

Match Your Message to Your Audience

How well do you know your target audience or your best type of customer? How well does your copywriting appeal to their emotions and needs? For example, if you sell beauty products or apparel, would customers want to use your products primarily to appear more youthful or to look more professional? Is your message and imagery in line with their needs and the benefits of your products?

A strong and well-placed testimonial can be used to add a persuasive boost to your copy. Demonstrate how the product or service has helped others, perhaps starting with an eye-catching opening statement in bold text, followed by a short paragraph and perhaps a link to additional testimonials.

Headlines and Bulleted Lists

Breaking up copy with bold headlines and subtitles as described above keeps things moving and helps keep the reader engagad. In a similar way, bulleted lists can be used to help readers quickly understand your key points.

Copywriting Checklist

In summary, here is a quick list of 8 things to keep in mind when writing your online copy:

  • Keep it pithy – connect the dots for the reader
  • Create clear calls to action
  • Place key calls to action above the fold
  • Write with a WIFM mindset
  • Use short paragraphs and frequent titles/subtitles
  • Use bulleted lists where applicable
  • Match your message to your audience
  • Use powerful testimonials

We’re Here for You

Please contact us if you need assistance in writing persuasive, search engine optimized copy for your website, online ads, or other marketing materials.

Web Design for the Touring Industry

We are pleased to announce web design and online marketing services catering to the unique needs of the touring industry.

Web design for the touring industry is now available from PMI in Reading, Pennsylvania. Our touring industry web designs address the unique needs of the touring industry, including online ticketing in real time for accurate availability.Touring industry websites may include an online ticketing function, and are keyword optimized to achieve maximum search engine traffic for touring company operators.

Unique Web Design Challenges

Touring companies face some unique challenges. Their customers are often new to the area, have little time to spare, and frequently use search engines to find, research, and book tours. Our touring websites are designed to include an interface to Zerve that provides instant online ticketing and reservations in real time, so customers can instantly book their tours without the need for time-consuming phone calls or a trip to the touring company to purchase their tickets.

Touring websites designed by PMI feature compelling graphics designed to impress customers and to entice them to spend additional time on the website, time that often leads to ticket purchases. Website pages typically include one or more calls to action to book a tour immediately to ensure availability.

A Hilton Head Island Touring Company Website Design Example

We recently completed a touring website for Sonny C Charters, a dolphin and nature touring company based in Hilton Head Island, SC.  According to company president Sonny Compher, PMI exceeded his expectations:

“My website was 10 years old and in need of an upgrade. PMI was recommended to me by Zerve, the company providing my online ticketing service. I emailed Al at PMI and immediately heard from him. Al worked closely with me on every detail, and we went live within two weeks. He also promoted my site using a press release and through search engine optimization. My website is now at the top or close to the top on every search for my type of activity. Some searches have my site completely dominating the first page. He returned every phone call and email promptly, and I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Here are some screen shots from Sonny C. Charters’ new website:

Touring Industry Website Design – Home Page

Websites for the touring industry by Power Marketing International, Reading, PA, featuring online ticketing, stunning graphic design, and clear calls to action.

Zerve Online Ticketing Interface

Real time online ticket purchase interface for touring websites. Contact Power Marketing International in Reading, PA for details.

Customer Comments Page

Web design for touring companies: Customer Comments page. Note pleasing graphics and clear call to action to buy tickets online. For more information please contact Power Marketing International.

If you know someone in the touring industry who could benefit from a website redesign featuring online ticketing and first-rate search engine rankings, then please contact us. We’d be happy to help, and grateful for the referral.

If you’d like to take a closer look at Sonny’s dolphin touring website, go to www.hiltonheadtours.com. While you’re there, consider giving him some feedback on his website. Come to think of it, we’d also like to get your feedback on this post! And by the way, if you’re ever near Hilton Head Island, look up Sonny C. Charters for possibly the best dolphin tour on the east coast!

WordPress for D-I-Y Web Design Success

WordPress web design for Reading, PA, Berks County, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Allentown, LancasterYou have a great idea.

It is the next great widget for consumers or the next much-needed service for businesses.

If you are the typical entrepreneur, you know the importance of building a persuasive website to communicate your new venture to the market.  Your initial target audience will most likely not be the general public.  It will be the innovators, the people who are first to buy-in to an idea.  These individuals will be more focused on identifying your mission, business objectives, differentiators, niche, solutions, and execution strategy than will be those who are in the critical mass of the public who will follow later.

From Business Plan to Website

Your initial website audience will be, essentially, a reflection of your business plan.

Web design can be a daunting process for the uninitiated. By some reports, WordPress is now used to create approximately 20% of all new websites. Many entrepreneurs choose WordPress because of how intuitive the software can be for non-technical entrepreneurs.  The WordPress content management system (CMS) is also popular due to how quickly it can be installed.  Within a relatively short time, you can begin uploading content into your new WordPress website.

Plugins for Power and Versatility

There are thousands of plugins (mini-programs) that perform specific tasks that can be installed in WordPress to add power and versatility to your website.  There are plugins that enable you to require user access in order to view the website.  This is ideal for a website in development stage, enabling you to complete what will become your live website without the public being able to view it.

Another feature of WordPress is the customizable menu structure.  You can create a new page and add that page to your custom menu quickly. WordPress enables you to easily rearrange your menus and submenus as you contemplate the order of priority in the message you convey to the reader.

Key Points for Key Pages

Using the features discussed above, consider creating pages to help you in your business planning process.  Type notes on each page as you brainstorm.  Create a page for each:

  • Target market
  • Product or service
  • Geographic market
  • Call to action
  • Customer benefit
  • Niche differentiator
  • Marketing message
  • Operational function

After you have completed the initial process, go back through the pages again and add detail.  For example, if you have identified women aged 30-40 as a target market, you can include research about their buying habits and preferences.  The built-in word processing functions of WordPress make it easy to generate formatted and grammar-corrected final copy.

One of the advantages to this approach is that, after you have copied the text to a word processing document for use as a business plan, you have solid content to apply to your website.  Simply remove the proprietary information you don’t want the public to see, add graphics and photos, remove the user access restriction, and you have a content-rich website that is ready to address the questions of the innovators within your initial market.

For Even Better Web Design Results

Need even better results? Budget for a professional web designer and SEO expert to create or enhance your new website with great graphics, persuasive copy, and keyword-rich text to attract search engine traffic, and to help convert visitors to new leads and new customers.

Need help with your web design process? Contact us today for a free initial consultation for qualified customers.