Digital Menu – Before and After

I’ve been working with MELTZ Extreme Grilled Cheese for almost 3 years now. In that time, we’ve pushed the boundaries of Internet marketing, often spilling into marketing areas that have little or nothing to do with the core services we do offer: Web design, SEO, mobile friendliness, Video marketing, Social media, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that, if anything, local businesses need more than just Internet marketing – and I like a good challenge 🙂

In this case, the owner had come up with a printed menu system that they could print and change on-site and use magnets to swap out menu items as they were updated. Really, for a small restaurant, it’s been an innovative and versatile way to keep costs down and still communicate menu changes effectively and immediately with customers. Here’s a look at the original system:

Before

Original Menu Board at MELTZ Extreme

 

They could change a single item, description or price without having to reprint the whole board – or wait for a local printer to come back with the desired changes. Technology keeps moving forward and while this system worked fine, the owner wanted to try a digital menu system. You may have noticed digital signage systems popping up at KFC, Walmart, Super One, movie theaters, chain stores and franchises, etc. I have…

We looked at several solutions, some are exorbitantly expensive, some are cloud-based, and several come with monthly recurring fees. We finally settled on one we had more control over. We bought the hardware, it came with software that’s pretty easy to use. The price is affordable. There are no monthly fees, we can make changes on-site, and it freed us up to do some design changes to improve menu readability.

So, we now have a digital menu system on three 48″ TV’s to replace their printed menus. These TV’s can also display slides to promote specials, featured items and events, as well as videos (full screen or partial).

Here are a few pictures of the new system:

Digital Menu

Digital Signage

 

 

 

 

It’s sharp, crisp, vibrant and readable.

So…it’s new service we’re offering at Affordable Edge Marketing: Digital Signage.

We can help you get the equipment and program it to display whatever you’d like.

Digital signage is a great way to promote services, products, events and specials in a way that captures attention and engages your audience. Now even local business owners can benefit from this technology, at an affordable price.

Website Prices

Affordable & Professional Website Design in the Greater Spokane and Coeur d’Alene region

 

How can you create a professional website that is affordable, beautiful, and functional in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene or the Inland Northwest? How do you avoid a bad experience and find out in advance if a web company is reliable and trustworthy?

If you’ve had a bad experience with a web designer or Inbound marketing firm, I would like to apologize in the name of my industry. The good news is that, believe it or not, there are a few great companies and designers that create amazing work and provide professional customer service.

Website prices | Web Design Infographic - 46% of visitors say web design is the number one reason they leave a website

I decided to write this post to show my prospective clients the overall cost of building a website in the Spokane region and the Inland Northwest.  Since I’m a small company, I can afford to reduce my website prices to stay competitive, especially in this economy, however you’ll be amazed how much a website can cost around here.

If after reading this article you have any questions or would like to get a free quote for your business or organization please contact me by filling out my contact for: Let’s Get Started

I offer competitive, affordable website prices but most importantly I’m reliable and professional.


So, what is the cost of building a website?

The cost of creating your website depends on these three factors:

  1. Your website’s needs
  2. The experience that the company or designer has.
  3. The size of the web design firm

If you are a small business owner and need a website you should start small. Later, as your business grows you can expand and invest more in your site. For this reason be sure that your website has the appropriate structure to permit growth in the future otherwise when the time comes you’ll have to start from scratch and you’ll lose time and money.


Rule#1: Research before you commit!

It is very important that you do your research before committing to a web company or designer. Web design services should be transparent, open and clear to avoid unexpected charges. Please don’t sign on the dotted line with the first company you find; research and see what’s out there.

You’re looking for the best combination of price, quality and value. Remember there’s a difference between affordable and cheap. Your website is a valuable part of your business or organization. So invest your money wisely, don’t throw it away.


Rule #2: Website prices are not a one time fee, so plan ahead!

Below you can find some of the main costs of building a website. These prices can vary from company to company but they can give you an overall idea of some of the costs of creating a site in the Inland Northwest area:

1. Domain Name: a domain name is a unique name that identifies your website in the Internet.  The cost can vary between $9.00 to $15.00 USD a year depending where you buy it. I must say that in my experience I’ve seen many unsatisfied clients that had paid up to $160.00 USD for a standard domain name. So please be careful, unscrupulous people can take advantage of you.

2. Hosting: Web hosting is where your website is stored. A secure server is necessary to have a healthy website. Depending on your needs you can spend yearly anywhere from $60.00 USD for shared hosting to $500.00 USD for a dedicated server. $100.00 to $150.00 USD per year is the most common fee for a standard small business website.

3. Design and development: A small business website (8 to 16 Web pages) can cost in Spokane, Washington anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 USD. The websites usually include: custom graphics, customized template, stock photos, contact forms, and search box. For enhanced functionalities like eCommerce, website prices can climb higher. If you’re just getting started, those things can come later.

4. SEO: If you have a website and it doesn’t generate any traffic you have wasted your time and money. It is important to invest in SEO or search engine optimization to ensure that customers will find you so you can make more profits. SEO packages from Spokane to Coeur d’Alene vary between $500.00 and $6,000.00 USD. Properly done, SEO takes time and sustained efforts. So SEO packages often last at least 3 months and up to a year or longer.

5. Website Maintenance: Once your website is up and running you must take care of it and maintain it. If your website was done with WordPress or Joomla you might be able to do some updates yourself; however unless you are a web developer you need to consider that technology always changes and this impacts your website directly. New browsers, updating technology and new developing languages demand that you stay on top of the game to make sure that your website performs properly. A small business can spend yearly around $500.00 to $3,000 USD in web maintenance, but if you find a good company it is totally worth it. You need to concentrate on running your business not learning HTML, PHP and CSS.


Conclusion

In conclusion, website prices can vary greatly depending upon the site’s needs and the design firm, advertising agency, or freelancer creating the Web design. The most important thing is that you find someone that is honest and reliable. Paying for good service is totally worth it!

Please don’t forget that if you have any questions or would like to get a free quote for your business or organization you can contact me by filling out my Let’s Get Started form.

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update & You

Mobile-friendly updateGoogle’s latest algorithm change, their “mobile-friendly update,” will drop like a bomb on April 21st, expanding the use of “mobile-friendliness” as a ranking signal. This update includes App Indexing, which will highlight useful content from apps, for signed-in users searching on mobile devices.

What Does This Mean for You as a Local Business Owner/Manager?

Well, there is a lot of speculation and piles of theories out there. Bottom-line, investing in a website that caters to both desktop and mobile users is essential. Mobile usage is continuing to grow and evolve and as such, businesses also have to adapt and grow with users if they want to remain in the search results.

Three Things You Need to Know

1. Local Pack Results Will Not be Impacted

Right now, Local Pack Listings will not be affected by the update. If your Google My Business listing is showing up in the local pack results, and you’re site ISN’T mobile friendly – don’t sweat it just yet, your current rankings shouldn’t be impacted for now. Odds are very good that it won’t take long for this to catch up, so our advice is that you be proactive about it if you’re in this situation.

2. Organic Results Will Be Affected

If your site IS NOT mobile-friendly and you currently rank in mobile-organic results (generally up to 10 results/page), you may not rank as well after the update. This update is intended to provide a better mobile experience for searches and give searchers what they want. Ultimately results that provide a positive user-experience AND is mobile-friendly will receive rankings.

3. This Update Targets ONLY Mobile Results

Worried about your desktop rankings? Don’t. This new index is specifically directed to mobile search results and not desktop.

What Now?

With this mobile-friendly update, Google is targeting sites that provide mobile users with an awful experience. If your current site is adaptive or if you have a separate mobile site, you can still provide a positive mobile experience without going responsive.

Start by finding out how your site favors, by using the Google Mobile-Friendly Test or searching for your company’s website on your mobile device, the results will return a “mobile-friendly” message.  Take a look at your analytics data to gain a better understanding of your current mobile search visibility and user behavior. From here you should be able to determine the direction you need to take to provide a user-friendly, positive experience on all devices.

Need help? We’re only a click or a call away…

November 2013 | Most Popular Social Networking Sites

So, the other day I was discussing social media sites and their popularity with a colleague. Of course, MySpace came up. Neither of us could believe it was still relevant. But as it turns out, I found this article on eBizMBA:

Here are the 7 Most Popular Social Networking Sites as derived from our eBizMBA Rank which is a constantly updated average of each website’s Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast. “*#*” Denotes an estimate for sites with limited Compete or Quantcast data.

1 | Facebook 2 – eBizMBA Rank | 800,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 2 – Compete Rank | 2 – Quantcast Rank | 2 – Alexa Rank.

2 | Twitter 13 – eBizMBA Rank | 250,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 24 – Compete Rank | 5 – Quantcast Rank | 9 – Alexa Rank.

3 | LinkedIn 27 – eBizMBA Rank | 200,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 44 – Compete Rank | 23 – Quantcast Rank | 14 – Alexa Rank.

4 | Pinterest 31 – eBizMBA Rank | 120,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 42 – Compete Rank | 16 – Quantcast Rank | 36 – Alexa Rank.

5 | MySpace 84 – eBizMBA Rank | 70,500,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 51 – Compete Rank | 62 – Quantcast Rank | 138 – Alexa Rank.

6 | Google Plus+ 95 – eBizMBA Rank | 65,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | *NA* – Compete Rank | *NA* – Quantcast Rank | *NA* – Alexa Rank.

7 | Instagram 132 – eBizMBA Rank | 50,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors | 51 – Compete Rank | 307 – Quantcast Rank | 39 – Alexa Rank.

MySpace…who knew?

Small Business Marketing: Brilliant Branding Builds Business

cattle branding imageBranding is more than product recognition or a simple logo. It is the overall intellectual and emotional impression people have when they think of your company and its product. It is a strong and consistent message about the value of your business.

A memorable and trustworthy brand reinforces customer loyalty. It helps them remember that your business provides the perfect solution to their problems. Therefore, to succeed in branding you must understand your customersĂ­ needs and issues.

Brand building is an ongoing business strategy that has an easy-to-measure cost in time, money, and effort. Its value, on the other hand, is harder to establish because it involves measuring emotional associations that may not immediately translate into revenue.

Branding is an essential element of success, however, and it should be reinforced during times when business is booming and when sales are slower. You want customers and potential customers to maintain a positive association with your company and its services.

You control the messages you send out through marketing, advertising, customer service, and your Internet presence. Branding is a combination of everything your company uses to present itself. Here are a few key elements to analyze and enhance in your branding strategy:

1. Professionally designed marketing materials (logo, stationery, ads, and the like):

These tell customers your company is strong, confident, and credible. Your marketing materials should reinforce your company’s image and positioning over and over and over.

2. Consistency in advertising:

Develop a tagline to succinctly describe your company – and use it! Develop a campaign that can provide different messages, but it recognizable as your brand.

3. Excellent customer service – always!

Make sure your entire staff positively represents your business image.

4. A strong and professional website:

It must be easy for viewers to navigate and understand. It should let visitors know what your company does and why they should care. Provide compelling, easy-to-understand, and interesting content. Make it easy for visitors to make purchases.

5. Differentiate your brand:

Make sure your customers and potential customers understand why you are different from the competition. You want to establish a superior benefit with you target audience that encourages long-term loyalty.

Branding is not what you say about your company and products; it’s about your customers’ perception of your company and products. To strengthen your brand, make sure you can answer the following questions: What do you do that is different from anyone else? Why do you matter to your customers? If you can’t answer these questions, you don’t have an effective brand.

ACTION ITEM:

Take a good look at your company and product/service strengths. Determine your primary strengths and benefits and then make sure your branding strategy (marketing materials, advertising, sales, customer services, logo, etc.) reinforces this. Simple, eh?

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