Listening Skills

Listening Skills are important in web design | Get You Started eMarketing

Writing things down helps to retain the information.

As a website designer I listen to my clients tell me what they want and I ask lots of questions. It’s the art of understanding what they really, truly want their new improved website to do through listening skills.

What they do not say is just as important as what they do say. I take notes, ask for clarification and then see if I can find out exactly what they envision.

What happens sometimes is that customers get scared because they were told a website would cost them $5,000 and they don’t have it. So, when I see them it’s amazing how they want to tell me how “simple” they want the site to be – but that is not really the case at all. I usually find out they want to add video blog posts, email address capture areas, landing pages for promotions, etc. I  just simply write all this down and they see it live on paper – always an “eye opener” when it is there taking up space on paper.

I am keen to use my listening skills in order to find these answers right from the start and let them know that it is so much better if they tell me all the information right from the start. Building a website using WordPress themes makes it very important to understand how much media you are going to involve. Sidebars and widgets and other areas that might be foreign to you are important for me to know.

The worst scenario is when you really have a large site in mind and you don’t convey that information. It’s best to have a good, strong theme that can handle all your needs right from the start. It’s ok to start slowly with a few pages, learn the WordPress backend and then add more things later – but it is very important to be true to your web person and map it out with purpose.

Keep in mind we (as web designers) are not looking at your project in order to make it more complicated and charge you more money – it has to do with starting off correctly. A good web designer uses the listening skills, takes into account the budget and can make anything happen.

Anything.

You must feel comfortable they understand your vision. Not everyone that steps into my office works with me. Sometimes things are not a good fit and that’s ok. I understand that and hope you do as well. Be upfront and discuss your thoughts with your web designer. Meet with a few people. Maybe use someone for a particular talent and another person for something else. You are in control of your project! Make sure you pick a web designer that has acquired some listening skills along the way and gives you what you want.

I wrote this post in particular because I thought I was listening to my customer and it was pointed out by another person in their office the reason behind making a certain page on the website very different from the others. A different type of client is interested in that one page. It made me stop and think. How did I miss that? I was on target to finish the site and thought all was in order. When a client says, “wait a minute – over here is not quite right” I really had to slow down and listen.

Once I figured out how to make it work for my client, all was good. Perhaps it was finally looking at the pages in preview mode and realizing that the standard widget areas did not make sense on one particular page. We made a custom area for that one page. I will be sharpening my listening skills for sure!

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Your Business Network is all about Connections

Millennial working on a laptop in a cafe by Get You Started eMarketing

“Just in! New sweaters in all fall colors – just arrived!” – a young millennial tech savvy gal posts for your company as she sips her chai.

I always hated the term “old boy network” as it felt a bit dated and tired, yet it still did exist pretty strongly until the millennials came around with their technological know-how and new ideas. They embraced technology and slowly made an impact into big businesses with their online strategies and new, fresh ways of marketing and communications.

Hanging around with the upper echelons of company men no longer mattered. What matters is the middle managers that embraced these new ideas, pitched it to their bosses who in turn sold it to their Directors and then things started happening. Companies that embraced this new way of management and marketing in our connected world thrived, while others who ran back to their golf buddies at the Country Club and thought everything was ridiculous – well, they are no longer in business.

Kudos to those middle managers that were into taking new risks and thinking outside the lines at a time when it really, really mattered. Business has gone through such a shift in the last 4 years. If you haven’t taken a risk and sprouted a Pinterest account, or updated your LinkedIn profile you are a bit farther behind than many businesses. But there are still businesses that have not ventured too much into the online world of social media marketing and updated WordPress websites. I call these business owners the “let’s wait and see” types. I take a mental picture of their current situation and make a plan to revisit them in a year or two. Most likely they are gone. Closed. Kaput.

It’s “the economy”. Hey! It’s your inability to see ahead versus behind you. Making decisions for your business based on what has worked in the past no longer applies. There are new opportunities that come and go. Either you jump on board and give things a try, or you sit back and breakeven or worse, go under.

But this blog post is about connections. Working with other people – customers, other business owners, leaders in the community, “tipping point” communication zealots. These are the people that are active in your community and making things happen. They are on social media. They “get it”. They will talk about your business so let’s give them something awesome to say all the time.

Have a promotion? New stock has arrived? A sale? Special Open House? Construction nearby that might delay your customers?  The business owner that stays on top of their communications with customers and others – they are the ones who will succeed. Why? They are remembered. They are there. Telling you – asking you – making you think about them in different ways.

The expert communicators have some kind of presence on these popular networks:

Business Network Communications Tools by Get You Started eMarketing | Jan RossiFacebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest  |  LinkedIn  |  Forums  |  Their own websites  |  Google Plus Local  |  Google Maps  |  Local & National Directories

And some of these communications areas are connected to each other. If you don’t know how to navigate through these areas it’s time you did. Now. Don’t wait. There is a small learning curve, like most things, but by starting now you will be farther along and be pleasantly surprised when customers start telling you “hey! I like that post!” or “sadness, it only comes in red?” or “your flax seed, blueberry pancakes are the bomb I will see you again for breakfast next Sunday!”.

Endorsements from real people telling others that you rock! Now that kind of a communications network is the one to embrace.

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Hey, check out my stuff and give me feedback.

Recently I was asked to give someone feedback on their website page promoting their “Optimizing Facebook” options. As I looked at what they were offering I was very surprised to see he was charging $1,000 a month for Small businesses and $2,500 for large businesses to manage their Facebook account, add “2,000 likes a week”, run pay-per-click campaigns and basically he promised them the world.

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Dont’ get stuck with a bad Facebook Page Manager

I gave him some feedback, noticing that his website was not responsive (I hope he had a mobile version) so pulling in his website pages into Facebook was not happening. Went over to Facebook and it appears he is very very excited about his 97,000 likes on Facebook. Really? Wow! That’s incredible, but really quite unrealistic. You see, most of these likes are “fakes”. Fake accounts from foreign countries. I clicked on the likes and noticed that the majority of his likes are coming from Algeria.

Algeria, really?

Also, when looking at people who “liked” his posts they all had odd last names, like not from USA. so who are your customers really? Are you really conversing with real customers or is your page one big “fakey” fake set-up to lure US customers into thinking that people are following your every post and trust your business expertise?

The whole thing was so staged. It was ridiculous.

Bottom line – know who you are working with and check people out before you decide to work with someone who is eager to bind  you into a 12 month contract at $12,000 a year to manage a simple Facebook page.

This same person offered to assist me in some way and I can’t tell you how far away I want to distance myself from this kind of malarkey. Sometimes I feel as if I am swimming with sharks! If you want an honest, smart/hard working social media person – just contact or call me, 970-672-7906 and we will get you started without the smoke and mirrors. – Jan

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