Thursday, January 29, 2015

When is it Time to Fire a Client?

So here I am again, sending the same invoice reminder for the second time this month, to the same client who has not contacted me.

Many of us have been in this predicament. As a small business, your clients payments are the lifeblood of your business. But what do you do with the ones who do not pay for months, or constantly pay late?

Here's my gauge:
  • Is their money (not there) actually helping you? 
  • Is the stress of not receiving payment, while still providing them with service not worth the fee?
  • Are you spending valuable time and resources chasing down this client for payment every month?

But how do I end it without denting my reputation? 

That's the question that makes us keep these clients. We are actually afraid to let them go for fear of losing income and a bad review somewhere.
These are tough questions, especially for small businesses with a small clientele. Large companies can make stringent guidelines for client payments. If the client does not follow those guidelines, well, the company is so large that losing one or two, who don't pay anyway, will not hurt them. It actually helps them by not having to waste time and resources chasing down those clients.

Below is a great snippet of an article from Inc.

INC. - Many articles that ask the question, "When is it time to fire a client?" list non-payment as a primary reason. As valuable as that client's money is to your business, if months have passed with no payment, that money is obviously not helping at all. Even if payment eventually comes in, the time and mental overhead you spend each month tracking payments, sending notices, and worrying that the client won't pay aren't worth it. In this case, the best thing you can do is put the late-paying client on notice that you'll be ending your working relationship at the end of its current term.

Unfortunately, ending a relationship with a client is one of the hardest parts of being an entrepreneur, even if that client's late payments have caused you unnecessary headaches. Many entrepreneurs feel loyal and grateful to their clients, or are concerned about their professional reputation. But you can still graciously bow out while still being firm, especially if you've mentioned the problem with late payments to the client previously. Try first discussing the problem politely with the client and, if it still doesn't get better, carefully plan the conversation before making the call.

If you can end things professionally and amicably with the client, that's ideal. Unfortunately, there will be cases where your client won't take it well despite your best efforts. As long as you've conducted yourself as professionally as possible, you shouldn't have any regrets. As time goes on, you'll likely have a few relationships with clients that don't work out, but the stress relief will be totally worth it.

So this is great advice. It's a tough decision to make, but one that has to be made. I constantly find myself feeling bad for these types of clients, and I always give them one more chance. But I am realizing that there is only so much you can do for someone. They eventually have to take responsibility and realize, that they are causing themselves to be removed as a client.


NoZzE Marketing : You Live and You Learn ...Small Business Problems

NoZzE Marketing : You Live and You Learn ...Small Business Problems: What a day,  Small Business Problems Starting out as a brand new business... I didn't realize how hard it would be to manage employees...

Monday, January 26, 2015

My First Material Design Website

SMR website Design LogoI have slowly been studying a new trending style, Material DesignIt is an attractive, simplistic design, with bold, but flat colors. You have all seen this style as Google has implemented it throughout their websites and apps.

So I received an email from a prospective client, who was interested in a website for his blog and social news media hub. After he filled out my build form, I thought he would be the perfect candidate for this new style design.

As I had been working on building a template previously, I decided that it would be the one that I would use.

It's a very simple design. All the important information is
Material Design by SMR Website Design
Material Design website by SMR Website Design
easily accessible in a very bold interface. But all the normal elements you would expect to see are there, and they are where you would normally find them. That is key in a website. What this does is not make the user have to think or search for all the normal features. They are where they should be, right in front of them.

Material Design is flat. There are no shadows behind images. The color palettes are based on different shades of the main color. This makes it look very uniform, but also accents different elements. The different shades compliment each other nicely and don't clutter up the screen. There are also only about 8 colors to each design, including the font color.

SMR Website Design
SMR Website Design
At SMR Website Design, we are always looking at the newest or latest trends in web design. We like fresh ideas and we try to link our client's tastes to a style that suits them.

So Contact Us today if you think you may be interested in a Material Design style website,or any other style.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Trending Website Design

    Lately there has been a trend in website design. For awhile, everyone wanted a landing page. But SEO managers soon realized, through bounce rates and other analytics, that visitors coming to their site were not going further. If you think about why, it actually is logical. Why should a viewer have to click through 4-5 pages to find what they are looking for? 
Too much redirection.

    Website visitors want to access the information or subject they are looking for as quickly as possible. By going to a landing page, reading through that, then clicking a button to a homepage, and reading through that, a visitor will have to almost click and load three or four pages before finding what they want. If they are on an older or slow computer, this makes it seem like an eternity! Result: they leave without even viewing any other page n the website, and you lose a potential customer.

    Website designers have adapted to this and now are using Long Form homepages.

    A Long Form Homepage will have your basic heading with a navigation bar, and those buttons will lead to other pages. But where the Long Form comes in, is that all the information on the website is represented on the homepage. So for ex. there will be an About section, a Service section, a Contact section etc... on the homepage. Usually with a link to that respective page within the website. These sections are brief overviews.         There is also a page menu with all the sections of the homepage listed. These are linked to their sections, so when clicked, the page will automatically scroll down to that section.

    At SMR Website Design, we also will put a "back to top" link in every section, which will bring the viewer back to the top of the page, which is where the page menu usually is. This way the viewer doesn't even have to scroll, it's all just clicking.

    This makes navigating through a website for a viewer quicker and easier. It also results in a viewer seeing more of your companies products and services. Once the viewer finds what they are looking for, they can click a link to be taken to that page for more information, or there may be enough there for them to use, and they can fill out a contact for (placed on the homepage) without ever leaving the page.

"The quicker and easier a potential client can find what they are looking for, the more likely they are to use your service." - Frank, SMR Website Design

    Our latest website design for Nozze Marketing, incorporated a mini version of a long form homepage. The homepage consists of a fading message, then a little "About" section. There is a menu with links to their respective pages and then a contact form. But even though this is a smaller version of a long form, the viewer can still very quickly and easy locate what they are looking for, and get there with only a click.

"UI is one of the most important features in helping your viewers find what they are looking for." - Frank, SMR Website Design

    While before the long form, website owners wanted slideshows to promote different topics on their sites. That practice is quickly fading. Slideshow galleries, while still very popular, are trending down due to slowing down the loading of a page as well as having a viewer wait for the info they are looking for. 

    Instead, they are being used with taglines, a company motto, and even
testimonial quotes. This can have a positive effect on the overall design by basically being considered "in the background." Meaning the message is not unimportant, but certainly not the most important. They are also showing only one or two slides as to not have a great effect on the load time of a web page. Again, in our client's website, Nozze Marketing,You can see how this holds true. While reading about the company you can see the company's motto and a quote, fading in and out. While it's not overwhelming, it subtly gives the viewer a little more of what the company is.

    There is also another way that we here at SMR use the long form style. We also put what we feel, is the most important information for a viewer on the homepage. 

In one of our other client's sites, Next Level Speed, we wanted to send viewers to the sections we wanted them to visit first. We felt these sections would sell the product the best. We felt that this was the most important information for a viewer to see.

    In summary, website designs trend for a reason. It is clear that the long form, for now, will be used more and more. It provides the user with an easily navigate-able experience, letting them find the information they are looking for quickly and easily. While at the same time, it provides the owner with more of their services and products being seen. I believe eventually we will see material design work its way into this as they seem like they would be a perfect fit for each other.

Would you like your website designed using this long form style?
Contact Us or you can visit our website a SMR Website Design

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How to Use Twitter Ads to Your Advantage

The big debate is whether or not to use Twitter Ads, and also how to use them effectively.

So why use Twitter Ads:

Small businesses, such as mine, SMR Website Design, have very little money to spend on advertising. In most cases, as was mine, even $100 per month was unreachable.
Like Google AdWords, Twitter Ads makes their money on a pay per click basis. You can set a daily budget as well as a total amount to spend. This is advantageous to the start up, as we can control our budget. You can spend either $1.00 a day or $10.00 a day. 
But is spending that much to place your ad in a search on Twitter worth it?

From my experience, setting a low budget, while promoting the twitter card your using in the ad yourself, is
where you get the most bang for your buck.
So what does that mean?
What I do is I set my daily budget for around, $2-$3 per day. This will only get you maybe 4 clicks depending on the rates. Since the Twitter community is a vast place, your ad impressions will be a tremendous number. Impressions are how many times your ad shows up in a search.
But I believe that is not where the strength of Twitter Ads is.
To supplement your low daily budget, you need to promote your twitter cards yourself. This is extremely easy to do.

What this does is target your potential clients directly within their searches or conversations.
For ex. I want to sell a website. I check out #website designer,#website developer, etc... I post tweets using my Twitter Ads card in these conversations, and that's where the most interaction takes place.

People in those streams are either talking about, looking for, or selling websites themselves. That's where the ad does well. And that's where I pick up the most buzz.
When an interested party sees the ad and engages, Twitter gets paid, you get a lead, and the world for that moment is a happy place.

The key here, is that for a little amount of money, you can get your ad in the exact place you want it.

But what about other social media sites?

Here's another advantage of using Twitter Ads.

You can copy and paste the link of the Twitter Card you are using into any other social media, like Google+ or Facebook. A viewer there can click the link, see the card, and engage. And again, Twitter gets paid, you get your lead, and business is good. This expands the reach of your ad throughout every form of social media you are involved in!

The last thing, which is I think the first thing that will make a person decide to engage in an ad or not, is artwork!
That's right. Whenever your scrolling through a feed, do you notice all the words and posts first, or that nicely designed image that says buy something sometime here? You can't miss the yellow card that says $100 off! You probably read the card before this paragraph! 

These cards are designed to catch a person's attention, and bring them in. If you searched for a website designer, and were on a budget,  a yellow sign that said $100 Off would immediately pull you in. 
And Twitter Ads bases their advertisements on a visual card, a small phrase, and a call to action button. Simple and effective.

I do preach a lot about twitter ads, but it has been a successful tool for me and my small business.

So I hope this helps your decision of whether or not to try Twitter Ads. 

Not only do I build and design websites, but I can also design Twitter Cards for you, like the ones above. They are extremely cheap. 
If you need any help, you can Contact Me, send an email to:, or visit my website SMR Website Design. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Holiday Twitter Ads Results

So after about a month of using Twitter Ads, and following advice from Jane Stecyk, the Marketing Manager at Twitter, I have a whole new view of the role social media is playing in business.

Before using Twitter to promote my business, I used Google Adwords. Adwords worked well, was easy to track through Analytics, and did get me a couple of clients. But if you aren't careful, it could cost you  more than you make.

When I first started with Twitter Ads, I noticed the setup and billing was
basically the same. I think the biggest thing is the reach. With Twitter ads showing up in all the related keyword searches, the impressions for 1 month were almost triple that of Adwords, and the engagements were double. That is a huge difference, especially considering that I spent half as much as I did on Adwords.

One of my favorite things though, and I feel what really drove my sales, was that I could at anytime compose a Tweet using my Twitter Cards. This way, the ad showed up in searches, but I could also place it in conversations, as well as on other social media sites just by copying and pasting the link. I was able to really target my intended audience, and get my promos out there.

So in my business, Website Design, like all businesses, it's extremely competitive. It's harder to make a sale, especially during the holidays.

In my two months of using Adwords, I've only signed 1 client and maybe lost two that were interested.

With Twitter Ads, which I've only used for 1 month, (December), I've signed 5 clients and lost only 1! That's 2/3's more clients, in half the time, spending half the money. That's a successful ad campaign for anyone if you ask me.

I have actually paused my campaigns as I am in the process of building 5 websites, and need to focus on them. But once I finish them, I will  turn them on again. I think since the holidays are over, people will be getting back to business, and I am expecting even better results.

So back to my original statement of having a whole new view of the role social media plays in business, it's clear to see with my results.

Testimonials are always the second most visited page on my website. They play a huge part in whether a client contacts you or not. The same is how people are using social media. If their friend or follower recommends someone, they will be more inclined to contact them, or even use that person's services.

"The battle is half won when you get recommended!" 

If you do need any help with your website, whether it be a redesign, or building one from scratch, you can contact me here, SMR Website Design, or check out our website for all the info you need.

Have A Happy New Year!