True Pursuit: Connecting to the Hearts of Men

In the spring of 2015, I was able to attend a men’s retreat up that was taking place at one of my favorite places on earth: a young life camp called Timber Wolf Lake.

The retreat’s location was one of the primary reasons I attended that spring. It also came by the reccomendation of one of my best friends, so I was prepared for a great weekend of refocusing on what’s really important.

The weekend was called True Pursuit, and it provides a 3 day getaway for guys to recconect with God and the message that he has for their lives.

I’ve stayed in touch with many of the guys from the weekend over the course of the last year, and earlier this year I was approached by Pete Emhoff, the director of True Pursuit, about the potential of helping them change the look and feel of their website.

 

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Pete provided me with some incredible photography which made the website come together quite nicely. The new website will provide a flexible framework for True Pursuit that will support their ongoing ministry in whatever facets they may explore.

It’s always fun to get to do something for an organization you love!

 

Micandy Gardens: a Fresh Site

In Fall 2013, our friends at Micandy Gardens needed a refresh for their website. They wanted their new site to highlight their products, but also wanted to show their commitment to their employees… or as they would call them: “family”.

We used a different banner on each page to highlight their amazing flowers. They also needed a way to have ever-changing availability forms and order forms available to their customers, so we set up a basic structure for that and made sure they new how to keep it updated.

It was fun to be a part of the “family” while we worked on this project!

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Aspects of a web presence, or what does my business look like online, or is it ok to use my high school pictures as my avatar?

Yearbook Photo

via Flickr User derektor

There are many components of a successful web presence, even though you can achieve massive success by choosing just one of the avenues. The best plan is to find a way to incorporate as many strategies as you can that make sense for your business.

Your Website.

Obviously, we at 5 espressos work with websites for our clients, so this is the first thing we will mention.

Your website is the cornerstone of a successful web presence. It is the place where you want to guide a customer through the transformation you want for them to take.

  • Do you want for visitors to research and buy your products?
  • Do you want your visitors to decide they need your services and contact you?
  • Do you want for visitors to receive some free gift for landing on the blog, in hopes that they will return with all of their friends?

In our latest blog post we discussed the starting points for a business that has decided to take their talents to the internet. You (hopefully!) decided on the reason your website exists.

You have a reason you’re online.

Your website exists to fulfill that reason, which is why it’s the starting point as we discuss what your online presence looks like.

If you have your website’s purpose well defined, and you have a reliable source of traffic, you could theoretically omit the rest of the items in this list and be just fine.

But you want to be more than fine, right?

Lets move on.

Your Website’s Blog

I might get a little flack for having another website related item, as I’ve already said that the website is the cornerstone of your online presence.

Even though your blog likely exists on your website, it’s quite different than your website.

I believe that the blog is the most important part of your website. It gives you a platform to share your opinions on current events, to educate your customers on all aspects of your business, or connect with your customers better by sharing some personal stories.

Also, timing matters for your blog

If a visitor to your website sees a recently updated blog post, there will be no mistake about whether or not your company is active. If the latest post is from 2014, a visitor might not be so sure.

Social Media

We’ve established that creating an active website is a good idea for your web presence, but how are customers going to find out about your company?

They are likely already spending time on social networks like facebook, instagram, twitter, etc.

So join them!

Making a dent as a business on social media can be difficult, because even though you’re in business, you don’t want to come across as selling yourself at every moment.

Think about what things your ideal customer might find valuable and create small-form content that will resonate with them. This is similar to the strategy you’ll use for creating a content calendar for your website blog, but you likely aren’t writing 300+ word posts on Facebook!

Every now and then, you can go for the sale, but your customer has no reason to stick around if you’re going for the sale on each and every interaction. What would you want to see if you were your customer?

Social Media gives you the opportunity to interact directly with your customers. They may comment on your content and open doors to further conversation with them.

I still haven’t mastered social media for business, but it’s certainly the next frontier for me and 5 espressos.

Customers are spending time on social media, how can you be seen there too?

Create and Maintain a Newsletter.

This is something I’ll be implementing by the end of the year.

Email is still a big place for communication, and when a customer opts into your newsletter they are inviting you into their inboxes.

This isn’t a responsibility to take lightly. You’ll want to follow the same guidelines you did for both your website blog and social media.

Give value.

Be Generous.

Find ways to connect the dots between their current location and whatever success may look like for their situation.

Stay tuned to hear more about the 5 espressos newsletter. I have a few ideas that I’m playing with, but I promise it will be worth it.

 

 

 

 

Starting Points for your Online Presence.

You’ve decided that it’s time to get serious about what you’re doing online. You have the opportunity to expand your business online. The internet can connect you directly to your perfect audience or customers, but there’s plenty others out there competing for the attention of those perfect customers.

Winston Churchill famously said during World War II “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” — This remains true for our online pursuits as well. You want to break through the noise and make connections with your customers, to do this you need a plan.

Map

So why do you need to take the web more seriously? What are you hoping to accomplish?

More Revenue?
More exposure?
More leads?
More likes on Twitbookstagram?
Your unique path to growing your online presence will depend on the specific thing you are hoping to do online. Finding more leads requires different actions than one who’s looking for more shares on facebook.

Now think about your customers. Where do they spend time online?
If you’re looking to target young mothers, you’re probably more apt to find them on pinterest than LinkedIn.
If you’re looking to target gamers, you may want to play around with Reddit.
Some demographics are large, and their populations will be spread throughout the entire internet, spending time in Facebook discussion groups, blog posts/comments/ forum posts or instagram.

Once you know who your customers are and where they spend their time online, you can begin creating opportunities to reach them.

While these opportunities actually look like may be a little different for everyone, there is a common denominator with every successful activity online.

You are offering something.

You could be selling auto parts to guys who want more control of whats under the hood.
You could be creating recipes for smoothies to contribute to healthier families.
You could be running a community of church youth ministers, looking to connect leaders for accountability and encouragement.

For every instance, there’s both a different offering as well as a different thing that a customer values. Though a manly car guy might find value in a recipe for a green smoothie, they are probably going to be drawn more to videos detailing a special technique to soup up their vehicle.

There’s no one way that works to gain momentum online.

You could hustle off-line and push people to certain parts of your website,
You could focus on creating content on your site that interest and help your customers through challenging situations.
You could focus on working with other businesses that work with your ideal customers and find ways to offer your service alongside that other business for access to their customer base.
You could focus entirely on increasing your presence in social media, engaging customers wherever they might be spending time online, and creating opportunities for customers to see your offering.

In order to succeed, you must find ways to be valuable to your ideal customers.

At 5 espressos, we offer web design and development services, as well as different forms of website management. There are a few different things i’m going to experiment with over these next couple months to see what works for this business. Some of these include:

  1. Spend more time in social media, starting and contributing to conversations.
  2. Create a few small resources and begin curating an email list.
  3. Creating a newsletter that is both easy to digest and helpful for my customers.
  4. Write content that’s actually useful for my ideal customers.

I’ll check in with what I’ve learned as I go. There’s a lot for me to learn too!

How do you plan to better reach your customers in the near future?

We’d love to hear all about it.

Saying Hello to Hello Homes

We deal with digital real estate; it was fun to work with physical real estate on this project: Hello Homes GR

We worked with Mike from Camper Creative to build a website to match the energy of the Hello Homes team.

It was our goal to provide the platform for the ongoing marketing efforts of Hello Homes. Users are sent to blog posts through activity on social media and interested visitors can begin their search of Grand Rapids area MLS listings right from Hello Homes.

Hello Homes GR Website Header Hello Homes GR Homepage Hello Homes GR Website Team