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Day 1: One Question Every Business Should Ask Customers

Day 1: One Question Every Business Should Ask Customers

How can we help you?

There. That’s it. It very simply gets to the heart of the matter. Businesses exist to serve the customer’s needs.

Before you try to meet someone’s needs, it helps to know what those needs are. Many businesses (and salespeople) mistakenly assume to know what the needs of their customers are. Maybe they do, but you know what they say about assuming- something about making an ass out of….well you know the rest, so why take the risk?

The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.

Thomas Berger

Ask and you shall receive! You never know what you might learn from asking questions. At a minimum, you’ll confirm what you thought you knew, but you might just uncover a need you never knew existed.

At Workshed, we like solving problems, and we really like solving problems for our customers.

So how can we help you?

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Custom WordPress Themes Are a Bad Idea

Custom WordPress Themes Are a Bad Idea

Custom WordPress Themes Are a Bad Idea…

WordPress Websites For Business by Workshed

Just because you can do something, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. There are many things in life we can make from scratch, but don’t simply because it’s not necessary or practical. For example, if I wanted to bake a loaf of bread, I could plant wheat, harvest it a few months later, thresh it, mill it, and mix it with the other ingredients I had to grow.  Or, I could just buy freshly milled flour and other quality ingredients from a reputable company and get 99% of the benefit for a fraction of the cost.  The same is true of building websites.  Sure, we could code every line of HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and php from scratch, but do we really need to?  At Workshed, we think not.

It’s been our experience that custom themes for WordPress are expensive…at best.  Most of the time they end up being problematic maintenance nightmares,  wasting time and money for the duration of their existence.  This is not to say that websites should be templates or even that customization isn’t worthwhile, just that it’s what and where you spend your time customizing that matters most.

We prefer to start with a premium framework like Genesis or Thesis and customize from there.  Doing this allows us to focus our customization time on things like SEO, content, images and graphics (we are not fans of stock photos), as well as layout and functionality.  All of the security, maintenance, and updating is expertly handled by the teams of developers at the theme framework companies; software engineers that focus exclusively on writing excellent code.  This delegation of the core functionality means we can focus on the stuff that leads to more sales; things like creating content that makes your phone ring with new orders.

A full custom, built from scratch website is fine too, just know it’ll come with a few idiosyncrasies…kind of like owning a vintage British sportscar.

Contact us if you want to discuss how we use websites, social media, and our business perspective to grow your business.

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Marketing and Business Goals: A Love Story

Marketing and Business Goals: A Love Story

I heart WorkshedIs your marketing working?  Is it bringing in the right customers and helping you achieve your business goals?

If not, why?

From what we’ve seen, many small business people are too busy running their businesses to spend time defining their goals.  They come to us and ask for a new a website and help with social media.  Then hope this new website and some facebook posts will magically bring in more customers and all will be well.

We think there’s more to it than that.

Yes, we can build a great looking website.  We can optimize it for search engines and help get your social media infrastructure in place.  But none of it will matter much if it isn’t helping you achieve your real business goals.

This is where Workshed is a little different.  We don’t just build websites for the sake of it.  A website and social media strategy is an outcome of knowing where you want to go.  Before we work with you, we get to know your business on a deep level.  Marketing is about communication and we can’t effectively communicate your message to the customer you want without knowing who you are, who they are and where you want to go.

How do we define the goals?

First we ask lots of questions.  We try not to take anything for granted.  We help our clients develop tangible, quantifiable goals.  Then we put it all down in writing along with a plan for achieving them.  Once we’re in agreement on the plan and the goals, we’re ready to start creating.

Measure, report, adjust.  Rinse and repeat.

With the infrastructure created  it’s time to execute.  Then we measure, report  and adjust.   We love data.  Digital marketing is awesome because you get incredible real time information.  This allows us to quickly assess the effectiveness of each component of our marketing and make necessary adjustments promptly.

By continually measuring, reporting and acting on the data you can hit your business goals.

Ready for your marketing to get together with your business goals?

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Email Marketing Made Easy

The Importance of Email Marketing (and how to do it well)

Owning a business and being a parent have a lot in common. Effectively communicating with your children and your clients is essential to maintaining good relationships in both areas. Unfortunately, regular meaningful conversation is often the first casualty when we get busy. An email newsletter is one way to communicate with clients and still get your work done. [Note: We do not recommend sending an email newsletter to your kids]
An email newsletter can be a great addition to your client communication and marketing strategy, provided you follow a few simple guidelines. (more…)

How To Add Google Plus To Your Marketing Plan

How To Add Google Plus To Your Marketing Plan

In our last post we shared how Google+ quietly (subversively) became an essential piece of the smart business’s marketing tool box.  Here we’ll give you 3 quick and easy ways to incorporate it into your social media plan and give you a few resources for learning more.

  1. Get Credit for what you write.  The first step toward incorporating Google+ into your marketing plan is to make sure you are getting credit for the content you publish.  To do this you have to create a Google+ profile.  Details on how and some additional convincing from Copyblogger here.

  2. Link your blog.  Some WordPress frameworks like Thesis integrate Google+ authorship into their theme, but if yours doesn’t, Automattic (the company behind WordPress) just released an update to their popular JetPack plugin that makes it easy.  If you are not using WordPress, try this from Google.

  3. Use it.  After you are all set up on Google+ you need to use it.  Interact with people in your Circles, post and comment, host a Hangout.  Heck you might even find that there is a whole lot more to Google+ than you realized.  Did you know you can have an online meeting and share your screen too?  More on that from Google here.

Google+ is important, ignore it at your peril.  There are lots of things that can be done to improve your search rankings, this is both easy and free.

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