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Good strategies for bad comments on social media

One of the reasons some companies avoid creating social media accounts is because they're unprepared, especially for dealing with negative feedback. This intuition that with social media you're bound to encounter the bad with the good is unfortunately accurate, but it shouldn't be a deal breaker for growing your community online.

Photography by MKHMarketing (CC BY 2.0)
People are more likely to continue to be your customers if they feel like they know your company, they can believe in your company, and they like you. No one (and no company) is perfect. Errors are bound to happen. The key to making these errors work in your favor it to show your company is responsive when things do go wrong. When handled appropriately, negative comments can become an asset to your web marketing campaign.

Here are some strategies for how to strategically handle criticism on social media:

Value all of your customers.

Being responsive is the key to showing you value and care about your customers. Your company wouldn't ignore a customer by walking away from him/her nor would your company not taking a customer's phone call or hang up on him/her. The start to showing customers you value them is to respond, even simply, to any and all feedback.

When it comes to hiding, deleting, and blocking comments, try to be selective and follow your company's social media posting policy. Make certain that your policy clearly explains what type of feedback is unacceptable so that there is no surprise when posts need to be deleted, blocked, or hidden.

Inappropriate posts that include irrelevant attacks can and should be banned but remember to politely defend yourself by selectively removing them.

Respond promptly.

Acknowledge and react quickly and publicly, but then make further communications to resolve the problem privately by direct messaging or by phone. Respond in your brand's voice and think about the appropriate solution. Try and provide as much additional custom information in your reply as is possible to fully satisfy the upset customers.

Provide a solution.

Make an apology, surprise, or delight. If a dissatisfied customer leaves a post, contact them quickly and use this communication as a chance to resolve their problem. Try to provide them a solution to their problem while showing empathy. By doing so, you can transform a negative experience into a positive one.

It's a conversation. Keep talking!

When it comes to dealing with negative comments, don’t follow a written script. Be original in your communications. This authenticity will make your responses sound more genuine to your customers. While it's definitely wise to have some guidelines in place, remember to use these guidelines only as ideas for how to respond and not hard-and-fast rules.

Improving web forms: 6 tips for getting results

Web forms help users perform all types of actions online: contact, sign-up, order, subscribe, register—the list goes on. What do all of these types of web forms have in common? They need to be filled out.

No matter what action you want your users to take, if your web forms aren't designed to get the job done you aren't going to see results. Here are eight strategies to follow to help you increase the amount of users filling out your web forms.

1. Use proper placement.

Place your form prominently on your website. If your form is important, don't place it in the footer of your website or on a separate page. Include it on every page in a location that users can't miss it. The more it stands out, the more likely users are to fill it out.

Vimeo makes their sign-up form one of the most important pieces of content on their website by placing it in the header.

2. Design to stand out.

Use good design principles to help your form attract attention. Make sure the form stands out from the rest of your content while still matching your website's overall aesthetic. Pay close attention to details and style each element of your form, such as the buttons and input fields. Use a straightforward layout that won't confuse users. Also, take mobile users into consideration, and make sure buttons and fields are large enough for smaller devices.

The SVN2FTP website uses a creative design for their log-in form. It matches the look and feel of the site while still using a unique design in order to stand out.

3. Ensure usability.

If your form isn't easy to use, you run the risk of users abandoning it before it's completed. Provide clear instructions and use appropriate field labels. Include additional information or assistance for any fields that might not be clear to users. Most importantly, make sure the form works! Test it out on a variety of devices to ensure that all users can successfully complete your form.

4. Include error validation.

Users should be appropriately notified of any errors or mistakes when filling out a web form.

Ambiguous error messages quickly cause user frustration, so it's important to provide clear and useful guidance in the event of an error. Enough information should be given to the user to make it obvious what the mistake is and how to proceed in order to complete the form.

For more information about form validation, check out our post Form Validation: A Quick Win for Website User Experience.

5. Keep it short.

One of the easiest ways to increase the amount of users filling out your forms is to make those web forms as short and simple as possible. The less time your web form takes to fill out, the more likely users are to complete the process.

Consider what information is absolutely necessary and eliminate any unneeded fields.

The sign-up form only requires three fields, making it quick and easy for users to get started.

6. Provide an incentive.

Another way to get users filling out your form is to offer an incentive.

For example, if you want more users to sign-up for your email newsletter, consider offering a free download, coupon, e-book, or other enticing benefit that they will receive once they have provided their email address.

Social incentives can be great motivators as well. Some companies have had luck by displaying the number of people who have previously ordered a product or signed up for a service as a way to promote user interest.

The newsletter sign-up form at Web Designer Depot provides incentive by promising useful resources. It also entices users to sign-up by displaying the number of subscribers underneath the form.

Having trouble getting results form your web forms? We can help you to evaluate your strategy and make improvements to get you on track. Contact TBH Creative and find out where to start.

How to choose the right website development firm

Choosing the best company to design your website can be tricky. How do you know you're picking the best partner for your website development project? Start by looking at three key website development variables to make the best decision:

Quality: Quality of design and quality of the programming behind the scenes are important things to consider. If you are in an industry where it's important to look cutting edge or use the latest in technology, quality of design and development are going to be your top priority.

Speed: How fast do you need the project finished? The shorter your time frame, the more costly your project is likely to be. If you can afford to let the developer pick the schedule that is most cost efficient, that's great. If not, be prepared to pay a higher price.

Cost: While the first two factors certainly influence this final consideration, there's no getting around the budget issue when it comes time to select a web development firm. If you want the highest quality and fastest development time, it's going to cost more money. If a tight budget is the determining factor for your project, you will need to make some decisions about the quality and speed.

In a perfect world you'd want the highest quality website in the shortest amount of time and for the least amount of money. The world isn't perfect though and you can rarely get all three of those things to line up that way. Once you layout your criteria for those variables you need to prioritize them. All three are critical components of the project and if you have put in some thought ahead of time, they will guide you to a solid finished result.

Once you've prioritized what you need from your website project, 

how do you pick the right web design company?

Five tips for selecting the right website development firm.

Note we didn't say the "best website development firm" because that means different things to different people. What's important is that you pick the right website design group for your project.

1. Prepare ahead of time: You'll want to interview web design companies to find out how they do their work and how they can help you. Spend some time looking at their websites and reviewing the project portfolio. When it comes time for the meeting, take a few steps to make it the most productive:
  • know your budget (If you are not sure how much to allocate for online marketing? Check out our article: How much will a good website cost?),
  • look at other sites both in your industry and outside of it to find some favorites and elements that you'd like to see on your site, and
  • outline your goals and priorities for the website. 
These facts won’t just help you have a more successful project, they’ll help you find the best developer to meet your needs.

Photo credit: RambergMediaImages, CC 2.0
2. Agency vs small business vs freelancer. All are qualified, which one is the best match for your needs? For those on a tight budget, a freelancer will likely be the best option. Sometimes freelancers are a little less experienced or have fewer resources on which to draw for a project but they are also more flexible, sometimes bring a fresh perspective and are almost always cheaper.

What about web design firms like TBH Creative? Small businesses are going to be more specialized in the work they do. They often bring a creative, carefully considered approach to a project because they have to be smart with their resources in order to be successful. A small design firm may not be as quick or flashy as an agency but their quality is definitely comparable.

At the top end of the budget spectrum you have an advertising or full marketing agency. They are often quirky, exciting, creative... and expensive. Many agencies will present themselves as having all services under the same roof - and some of them do - but be aware, some of them also partner with smaller design firms for the web portion of the project. Ultimately, if you need help with the big marketing picture and your website project is just one piece of a larger brand initiative, an agency is likely the right fit for you.

All levels of web design groups are viable choices - the question you have to ask is which is the best fit for your needs and your budget? (Remember those three key variables at the beginning? Now is when they help guide your research.)

3. Look at the big picture: What do you need for your website project? Is it a redesign? Brand-new site? Do you need applications developed? Do you need help with content? Don't just go after a design group that gives you the best design - make sure they have the resources to complete your full project and work well together.

4. Go beyond the launch: You're probably pretty focused on getting your new website created. You might even have a launch target in mind and that feels like the finish line. However, when you're looking for the best web development company you need to think about what happens after launch. How will your site be updated? Are there plans to use web analytics to review and continually improve your site? A good web design company should be your partner both during and after the initial project. The best web design company for you is one that outlines next steps and helps you take them.

5. The value of experience: No matter which type of website development partner you choose, you want to choose one that has experience. Experience in your industry is nice but experience working on a variety of projects is key.
  • Have they worked on a web project with similar features as yours?
  • Have they worked on projects with the same level of complexity?
  • If you are already tied to a developer or content writer, what type of experience does the web design group have working with others? 

More articles on making the best decision when looking for a website developer:

We'd like to think that TBH Creative is the best website development firm for your project. We have over 10 years of experience and have built a strong reputation for building creative, results-driven websites. Many of our initial projects have turned into long term clients because we help them stay on top of trends, monitor website performance and plan for the future. Learn more about our guiding principles.

TBH Creative is an Indianapolis-based website development group. Our dedicated team specializes in strategic planning, inspired website design and strong applications. If you go through the thought exercises outlined above and find the answer is TBH Creative - we'd love to talk to you and learn more about your project.

7 Tips for website homepages that capture attention

Once you've attracted visitors to your website, how do you get them to stay? The best place to start is with the first thing visitors will see - the homepage. A well-designed homepage will capture the attention of your website's audience and keep them returning to your website as well as link them into the important information you company wants to share. Below are some tips to help you create a successful, engaging homepage.

1. Implement an appropriate design

It's important to make a good first impression on those visiting your site, and the look and feel of your website is your first chance at doing so. Therefore, ensure that your design is closely aligned with your marketing strategy and is appropriate for your target audience. An attractive, professional design will better engage viewers in your content.

2. Simplify your design

A simple design can hold attention better than a cluttered design. There should be a clear focal point on your homepage, whether that's a product, service, or message. This ensures that users are focusing on the most important content without being distracted by less important information.

The Birchbox website features it's subscription services on its homepage in a clean, straightforward format.

3. Streamline your content

Your homepage should allow your visitors to quickly determine what your business can do for them. Therefore, streamlining your content is just as important as simplifying your design. Make sure the text you include on your homepage is clear and straight to the point. A homepage is generally not the best place for long paragraphs of text, as that could overwhelm visitors. Use short, attention-grabbing headlines that will quickly stand out and entice visitors to find out more about your business. Read more about writing better content.

4. Use strong visuals

Images and graphics generally capture attention more easily than text, so using impactful visuals on your homepage is a must. Consider strong visuals such as a hero graphic or a video at the top of your homepage in order to generate interest in your content. Use images and graphics that help support your overall message.

Take a look at the Pack website. It uses a video for the background to capture attention and emphasize its message.

5. Provide dynamic content

Increase engagement on your homepage by including sections such as news, updates, blog posts, or other dynamic content. These frequently updated sections also encourage visitors to return to your website for new content.

6. Add social interaction

One of the best ways to capture attention is to make your website more interactive. Social media is a quick and easy way to get visitors interacting with your content and sharing it with others. Consider implementing a Twitter or Facebook feed on your homepage, as well as page sharing capabilities. Find out more in our post about social media websites your busines should be using.

7. Include a call-to-action

Once you've engaged your visitors with your homepage, it's important to make it clear where they should go next. At least one call-to-action link should be included on your homepage in order to guide visitors to your most important content. Display call-to-action links using strong design elements, such as large buttons, so that they appropriately stand out.

The call-to-action on the Mailbox App website is the most prominent element on the page, encourages users to download the app.

Is your website's homepage not engaging enough? Get in touch with TBH Creative and we can help! We can analyze your homepage and pinpoint what improvements will get your homepage attracting more visitors in no time. Find out more about our web design services or contact us to get started.

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