Design for Success.

The 3-Letter Formula for Defining Your Perfect Customer Avatar

The AB-Z method to defining customer avatars will clarify which audiences are most important.

What I would like to share with you here is my approach to making your marketing messages more targeted and impactful to your business.

But first, consider this:

As a business owner, what prompts you to buy a high-value service?

We’re not talking about things like bookkeeping, which are effectively necessary. Neither are we talking about $30/month software subscriptions.

At some point, you have (or will) spend thousands of dollars in order to do something important or impactful in your business.

Maybe it’s investing in a professional lead-generating website, or maybe it’s purchasing specialized equipment.

At some point you’ve spent a lot of money to achieve an important outcome.

What was it that convinced you to buy?

I wasn’t there so I can’t say for sure, but I’d be willing to venture a guess: You were their ideal customer, and their offer reached you through some sort of marketing vehicle.

What does this mean for your business?

If you’re in the business of offering a highly valuable service to your customers, then it’s quite likely that your customers will need to go through a similar experience in buying as you have.

You need to align your messaging with the people most likely to select your service.

This is not always easy, especially early in a company’s history. Even some of my most established clients still struggle with this, which is typically why they work with Clarity Business Design.

You’ve likely heard the expression, ‘define your customer avatar’. Though I typically refer to this as a ‘customer profile’, the avatar is supposed to be a representation of a hypothetical customer who typically purchases what you have to offer. Some go so far as to attach a fake name to a combination of psychographics and demographics – fancy words for who your customer is and why they choose you over everyone else.

Defining your customer profiles is crucial for long-term success. Even if you’ve done this at some point in your business, there’s likely more you can do to clarify your profiles.

Allow me to share with you…

How we define customer profiles at Clarity Business Design

In a process that I call the AB-Z Audience Exercise, we help our clients to define:

  • A – Ideal Audience
  • B – Secondary Audiences
  • Z – Audiences to Avoid

For each, we attempt to define the following:

  • Which service or product are they buying?
  • Where are they located?
  • What is their age range?
  • In percentages, how many are men and how many are women?
  • What roles do they hold at their company?
  • What industry do they work in?
  • What problem are they trying to solve?
  • What are they trying to avoid?

These answers may take various forms and there isn’t a perfect structure for the questions, however one thing that I must note is this:

Positive Definition (A+B Audiences) is important, but Negative Definition (Z-Audience) is critical.

It is easy to attempt to serve everyone, and by doing so reduce your impact. Focus comes from reducing the unnecessary and unpleasant. To that end, you are allowed to be blunt and hard-headed in your audience definitions. Niceties and political-correctness won’t serve your business if the goal is to thrive and provide quality service. You may reintroduce these on your marketing front, if you so choose – but for this exercise, please suspend them.

Let’s take a look at how to define each audience:

A-Audience: Your 100% Best Customer

If you’ve been in business for a couple years, when I say to “think of your best customer” then there will probably be someone who comes to mind right away.

My goal for my clients is to help them find more like that best customer, so we start by digging into why they are the best customer as we define the demographics I mentioned above. We explore questions like:

  • Are the services they purchase profitable to your company? (The answer should be ‘yes – the most profitable, in fact’)
  • Do they treat you and your staff well? (Great interactions are a must for the A-Audience)
  • How much of your attention do they require? (Time is money, this is related to the profitability question)
  • How long do they remain as a customer? (If possible, determine an Average Lifetime Value for this profile)
  • Would they recommend you to their network? (Obviously referrals are important for business growth, but this also speaks to your customer’s abundance mindset)

These sorts of questions should identify key factors of your A-Audience, and give you a clear picture of who is a no-brainer to onboard as a customer.

Pitfalls of the A-Audience

It is common for my clients to define the A-Audience too broadly.

To be clear, the A-Audience is exclusive! Do your best to define customers in the A-Audience as if they were a single person, with the limitations that involves.

Defining the A-Audience isn’t just about the customers.

You may take this exercise as an opportunity to narrow down your company’s services, hypothetically. Your A- and B-Audiences could be the same, yet the B-Audience would differ by purchasing a less profitable service or demanding more of your team’s time.

Try to approach the A-Audience with this mindset: “If we could only offer one service, which would it be?”

B-Audience: Good, But Not Best

Not every good customer can be an A-Audience customer.

Many of my clients identify facets of their B-Audiences during the A-Audience questions we ask them. It takes a little guidance sometimes to distinguish the two, which is there I tend to spend time when working with my clients initially.

While at first I attempted to make the B-Audience singular, like the A-Audience, over time the method revealed that the B-Audience was a fluid concept, not particularly bound to specific demographics or services provided.

As such, I encourage you to use the B-Audience as a ‘scratch space’ for your A-Audience exercise. That is, save your ideas from the A-Audience brainstorming that don’t quite fit, and revisit them in defining B-Audiences.

Pitfalls of the B-Audiences

As with the A-Audience, it’s not just about the customers.

Remember to distinguish B-Audiences by the services they frequently buy. This is an area where profitability may be lower, but engagement with these audiences is beneficial in the longterm.

Z-Audience: The Negative

Put frankly, these are customers that you want to avoid or definitively push away from your business.

Unless you’re just starting out, you’ve almost certainly had a bad experience with a customer.

You know as well as I do that these are toxic to your business in the long term – do not allow more of these to happen if you can prevent it!

I feel that our culture today is far too focused on inclusivity and serving everyone. There are 7+ billion people on this Earth, there is somebody out there better suited to serve the people you don’t serve well. In fact, this approach holds an opportunity for you to find out who those other service providers are and refer your poor-fitting prospects out to them. This is an easy way to serve as a resource, and turns what probably would be a tense and frustrating customer relationship into a brief, valuable win-win for you, your customer, and your network.

Pitfalls of the Z-Audience

Are you afraid of offending someone?

These days, it’s easy to stress and worry about offending people and being ‘cancelled’. We don’t want this, but we also want to hold true to our beliefs.

The Z-Audience is designed to clarify your A-Audience in the extreme. Language is powerful, and I find that it’s equally important to know who you don’t want to attract when you’re crafting your marketing messages. Use the information from your Z-Audience to remove vague or open-ended language from your A-Audience messaging, and feel confidence in knowing that you are doing this not just for your benefit, but to avoid wasting the time and energy of your Z-Audience.

In Summary

The AB-Z Audience Exercise is just the beginning when it comes to clarifying your brand messaging, but it is a powerful foundation that I believe will benefit you greatly.

I encourage you to get your advisors together and attempt to run through the ABZ-Audience Exercise as a team. An open and candid conversation in the privacy of your effective boardroom is a step that will make it easier to find more of your greatest customers in your marketing efforts.

As the quote from Bruce Lee goes:

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”

Now go and give the AB-Z Audience Exercise a try!

Has this helped you?

Please consider sharing this article with a friend or colleague who may find it useful. Leaving a ‘like’ or a comment will also help us share this content with others who need it.

If you’ve found this approach useful, and would like to use your AB-Z Audience Exercise to develop a strong brand presence online and generate more business, then I’d love to speak with you. Schedule a consultation with Clarity Business Design so we can chat about what we may be able to do together.

5 Steps to Improve Website Traffic with Content Marketing

5 Steps to Improve Website Traffic with Content Marketing

How much time do you waste trying to reach people on every social media platform you use? It can be frustrating getting no website traffic from all the energy you are putting into generating social media content as your marketing strategy.

Are you using your content as effectively as possible? How should you adapt to changing social media environments?

The answer to these questions lies in your content distribution system, and here I’m going to demonstrate for you an example of how to use your content effectively.

Check out the video summary of this article!

Step 1:  Start with Your Website

Your website is the ideal hub for all content on your website. 

Unlike social media platforms where you can lose your audience and dilute your brand messaging, your website can provide you a blank canvas to display precisely what type of company image you wish to project and build a loyal following.

If you build your website in WordPress, you have a massive developer community at your disposal with an array of free, freemium, and premium softwares that will interface to build a marketing system tailored to your needs. More importantly though, you will have the freedom to use the exact language your customers need to hear, display your brand aesthetic, and drive people into the best way to connect with you.

No matter what website platform you have, though, these days it’s easy and critical to install Google Analytics to measure where your readers are coming from, how they’re accessing your content, and which content they seem to enjoy most. This is a FREE tool that far too many company websites lack – get it started before you publish content!

A note about Traffic Retargeting/Remarketing:

While this is an advanced technique, if you implement tracking codes for Google Ads and the Facebook Pixel, over time you will have the ability to send paid advertisements to the people who visit your content for education and entertainment. Work with your website developer to put this in place today, and you can thank me later when the successful results from a future ad campaign roll in faster because you took this step.

(If your current website or lack thereof is holding your back, you can do as I did and start by using LinkedIn Publishing as your blogging platform. If you need an awesome website to serve as your marketing hub, schedule a consultation with me so I can learn about your needs and help you get that started.)

Step 1.5: Setup your YouTube channel with the same email account you use for Google Analytics

You’ll need this in a later step. Make sure that your channel has an appropriate company brand so people who see your video there and then visit your website experience consistency in your aesthetic and messaging.

Step 2: Make Your Site Content Evergreen

Deciding what information to share in your content can be challenging. How do you decide what to share?

Start with what your customers ask you.

Think about the questions you get from your clients or customers, and consider the advice that you typically give out to them when they ask. If a couple of your clients have already asked you the same question, chances are that your answer will be valuable to someone who hasn’t yet decided to ask you.

If your content won’t matter in a month or even a year, restructure it.

Content is either topical or evergreen. Topical content is best suited for semi-temporary streams of media such as Facebook, where new content is constantly pushing your own content farther down by the minute.

Evergreen content will be informative or entertaining to your audience (i.e. valuable) when it is structured in a way that is irrespective of the date it is seen.

It is possible to take topical content, extract the lessons and takeaways from that content, and turn it into an evergreen resource – you’ll want to work with a copywriter to do this if you find it challenging on your own.

Once your website has a few amazing evergreen articles, your natural website traffic over time should improve as the world searches for the answers you’ve provided – without needing to publish new articles on the same topic.

Step 3: Combine Video with Long-Form Web Articles

How you go about producing your content is ultimately up to you, but here is my recommendation:

  • Film a video using the best camera you have…
    • A newer Samsung phone, Google Pixel phone, or iPhone should do the trick
    • Find good natural lighting
    • Remember that you are speaking to one person on the other side of that screen to be more personable
  • Refer to your video when it is finished and write out your article using a similar content structure
  • Publish the article on your website’s blog and get the article link
  • Upload your video to YouTube
    • Ask yourself, ‘what benefit will someone gain from watching this video’ and use the answer to help you name the video
    • Use relevant keywords in a summary paragraph in the video description
    • At the top of your video description, add your article link. (e.g. “Check out our article for more information: [LINK]”)
    • Publish the video
  • Edit the article on your website and embed your YouTube video somewhere in the content

Why is YouTube Important?

  • YouTube is owned by Google, the world’s #1 search engine
  • It is the world’s #2 search engine
  • More than just a video site, YouTube is a social media platform (so once your content is up, try not to edit it too much)

Step 4: Publish Pieces of Micro-content to Drive Website Traffic

Great Job! At this point you have created video & article content to educate or entertain the people who you want as customers.

As soon as you publish it is time to drive as much traffic as possible to your content so Google will identify it as rank-worthy to generate more traffic.

You have created what is called ‘macro-content’ – longer content that goes in-depth about its topic.

We need to break it into pieces called ‘micro-content’ – bite-sized chunks that will still inform and entertain, but will only sample the information and grab attention so people visit your website or your YouTube channel to engage further.

Remember to link back to your website (or to your YouTube video which also links to your website) as often as possible.

Screenshot of a Facebook post promoting this newly published article to drive website traffic.
Here is an example of a Facebook post promoting this very article.

It’s worth noting here that people consume content differently – some prefer to watch and listen to a video, while others prefer to read. Directing them to your website where they can do both is ideal for reaching more people more effectively.

Step 5: Go Where Your Customers Are

“Which social media platform should I use?”

The short answer is: “The platform that your best customers use most.”

If you’re a new business, you have an idea of who your dream client would be. If you have some time in business behind you, some digging can help you figure out whether your audience prefers Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or even email marketing as their primary source of educational or entertaining social content.

This is where you test your detective skills to figure out which platform could net you the best return and engagement…

and then you’ll post your micro-content everywhere, starting with the one your audience uses most.

No time to post content? Stick with the main one where you expect your best customers to be most engaged.

Some additional tips:

  • Post in groups where people already know you, such as local networking groups or chamber of commerce discussion boards
  • Post your content on your business Facebook page (be sure to include a link to your article!), and then share the page’s post on your personal profile.
  • DO NOT simply post content on your personal profiles. Always post to business profiles first.
  • Share it to your email list if you have one.
  • Send it out to your customers who have been asking questions related to the content.
  • Send it out to your pending business prospects.
  • Share it as much as possible within a 24-hour period to drive initial interest.

In Summary

Producing content on a regular basis is challenging work, and it can take some time to truly pay off. Using this method, you will be able to increase your efficiency to send a little less time producing content and start leveraging your website to measure and convert traffic into your fans – and eventually into customers.

Most Company Websites Have This Problem… And Yours Might Have It, Too

There are many technical issues that I look at when I’m examining a website through my professional perspective.

I may notice that a line of text is incorrectly formatted for mobile screens, or that the previous developer made a quirky layout choice that didn’t quite have the desired outcome.

I’ll notice that a site loads slowly, has some potential SEO warnings, and I’ll ask the owner if they actually have Google Analytics installed – and too many do not.

However, if I had to identify a single consistent problem that I see with websites it would be this:

The #1 problem that company websites have is that they are built for the owners instead of the users.

Yes, you have a website for your company. Yes, it’s got your logo and brand styling.

But if it does not align with the needs and desires of your customer, your website is missing out on its potential.


How does this problem occur?

Some simple explanations for this are:

  • You built your own website or enlisted the help of a tech-savvy friend
  • You hired an inexpensive website production mill and told them how to build your website

It is easy to leverage the wrong knowledge when building your own website, and even easier when you are merely dictating your vision to someone who just knows the web technologies better than you.

What companies find when they hire a website designer who actually knows their craft is…


Your website is both about you, and NOT about you!

To better understand why this problem is so prevalent, let’s look at what web designers and marketing gurus have been telling people about website ownership for years:

“You must have a website to stay relevant!”

This isn’t inherently wrong – quite the opposite, in fact. 

However, if a website is not tailored to the needs of the customer, then the only people really benefiting from that website are the people who build and manage websites for their profession.

I describe this idea as Marketing Mirror Theory.

What is Marketing Mirror Theory?

Marketing materials (in this case your website) should be like a mirror – indicative of the personal preference of its owner, but functionally reflecting the viewer.

If you think about a fancy, gilded mirror, you are actually imagining the frame – your mind may summon the idea of intricate, flowery details around the border of the mirror. You can think of the design of your website in almost the same way – it has a certain aesthetic style and appeal, however the primary purpose of your website is not explicitly focused on your preference and instead serves as a vehicle to carry the message that your customers are looking for.

And just like the core function of a mirror is to reflect its user, your website’s main function should be to provide a solution to your customer’s needs and to create an illusion where they are seeing themselves as bettered by the solution.

After all…

  • A mirror is an illusion – a detailed but reversed replication of real life appearance
  • A mirror shows its user what they cannot yet see on their own (like their own face or the back of their head)
  • A mirror allows its user to feel their expectations validated (like when they are trying on a new outfit and it looks great)

How to use Marketing Mirror Theory to fix the #1 Company Website Problem

Now that we’ve identified how most company websites make a serious mistake in their design, and now that we’ve covered the concept of Marketing Mirror Theory, it’s time to take your company website and apply a Marketing Mirror Audit. Take notes on a sheet of paper or text document on your computer as you proceed.

  1. Know your audience – imagine for yourself a customer who is most profitable to you, easiest to serve, and most aligned with the core services your company provides. Create a mental image of that person; who do they look like? What do they want? Which of their issues does your company address? Find a photo of one of your best customers or find a stock photo that represents these ideas before moving on, and keep it for reference during your audit – we will call this your Customer Avatar.
  2. Pull up your website’s homepage. What I want you to do at this point is look for a strong Call to Action (or CTA) on the page – does a visitor receive immediate guidance or inspiration to engage with the website further? Note that this will take the form of writing in the interface, directional icons, or subtle animations that suggest to the visitor that there is more to see. This will typically not have anything to do with your images. Write down the strongest CTA on the page, or take note if there is none.
  3. Now that we’ve looked for CTAs, put your homepage and your Customer Avatar side-by-side for a moment and ask: “What elements in this website would encourage the person in this photograph to purchase?” You may consider items like the photos on the homepage, the logos, the layout, the colors, or the word selections. Write down the elements that might encourage your Customer Avatar to choose to do business with your company.
  4. Analyze the content of the homepage and determine the solutions or benefits that are explicitly laid out in the copy. Take note of those solutions/benefits, and take strong note if there are none. This should not take into consideration implied benefits in photography.
  5. Take the elements of the Audit at this point and write a “Why They Would” paragraph. Condense the results from steps (2-4) into this paragraph to create a positive summary.

Having fun yet? That was the easy part.

Next you are going to look at the page in a thoroughly critical light. Be brutally honest and approach these steps as if your were critiquing your competitor’s website (in fact, you may take the following steps on a competitors site to get you in the mood… your choice).

  1. Looking at your website’s homepage, scroll through (especially on a mobile device) and take note of how many sections you have to scroll through between CTAs. If your homepage only has one CTA, or CTAs are few and far between, write “low CTA saturation.”
  2. Look at the photos you are using to portray your goods or services. If you spot any of the following, write “boring photos”, “blurry/pixelated photos”, or “generic stock photos” as they apply. I want you to be absolutely ruthless with this one – great photography elevates good website design, while poor photo selection tanks it.
  3. Compare your Customer Avatar with your homepage again and ask yourself: “What elements of this website might offend, distract, or deter the perfect customer?” Write down at least one answer to this question.
  4. While again comparing against your Customer Avatar, ask yourself: “Why might the perfect customer choose to leave this site and disengage?” Look for a lack of interesting content, poor social proofs, or anything else that could cause your customer to think ‘eh, maybe I’ll come back another time.’ Write down at least one guess here, because it is almost certainly happening already.
  5. Take the further elements of your site’s Audit and write a “Why They Would Not” paragraph. Condense the results from steps (1-4) to create a negative summary.


How do you feel about your Audit results?

If you just poured a ton of time and money into your website and this process gives you a sinking feeling in your stomach… I truly feel sorry for you, because this is a result of choosing the wrong people to hire for your website.


If your “Why They Would” paragraph is longer than the “Why They Would Not” paragraph, there’s a good chance your team did something right and only a few adjustments are necessary.


However, if a thorough and honest assessment has provided a short “Why They Would” and a lengthy “Why They Would Not”… You should consider hiring a marketing professional to oversee your website development team – or hiring a different one altogether.

Every Brand Needs Good Website Design – Period.

I say it frequently: A website is the core to a good marketing strategy.

But why is a website the core to a good marketing strategy?

It’s really quite simple, and can be summed up in the word ‘control.’ In order for a marketing strategy to be effective, it must establish control over an audience or an industry. Sinister? Not exactly.

If you have any experience in networking your business in a local community, you’ve heard this justification for spending time in networking circles:

“The reason you network consistently in our group is to become top of mind when our members need your services (or goods)”

I served as the captain for a leads group for two years that repeated this message. It’s not inherently wrong; in fact, that’s the point of any marketing strategy. But read that statement again and you’ll realize that it’s about control – specifically, control over the correlation in your network’s mind between your industry and your brand.

How does control factor into website design and marketing strategies?

Your website is the one place that anyone can access where you may communicate 100% who your brand is for, what it stands for, what it looks like, and why people should do business with you. Nowhere else do you have this type of control:

  • Your storefront is likely shaped how the designers wanted it or your city dictated, not as you designed. Furthermore, access to your location is limited to the people who live nearby or travel to your location.
  • Your social media has your name, your imagery, and your content, but all of that is encapsulated in Facebook’s brand, or Instagram’s brand, or LinkedIn’s brand. Worse than that, if at any time, for any obscure reason they disagree or dislike what you post, they can take down your content or page at any time. The point is that they own their platform and control access to your content.
  • Your printed brand materials are not accessible from anywhere, no matter how widely distributed they may be. This is why newspapers now publish their articles online.

Imagine being unable to unleash your brand’s unique and creative approach to its industry, being unable to say what you want, when you want, as much as you want. Take a moment, really think about that. Now go get a website.

For your marketing strategy to succeed, you need to own your web presence.

Here’s how:

  1. Register your domain! This should absolutely be the first thing you do when starting a brand. I like for this, but GoDaddy works if you absolutely must (personally I find all of the other products they’ll try to upsell on you subpar). For more on choosing domains, check out SEO specialist, Moz. Do this for yourself and NEVER let someone register a domain on your behalf – it is your most important piece of intellectual property online.
  2. Hire a website designer. Can you design a website yourself? Eh… sure. If you say so. As a professional who has designed websites for a number of years, I’ve seen many people struggle to design the website they want with DIY solutions such as SquareSpace (or the afore mentioned subpar services from GoDaddy). Save your valuable time and hire a pro. Your designer will become a key member of your marketing team, even if the only other member is you.

Now that you have your website, you can connect everything to it.

Business cards. Social media pages. Articles. Vehicle wraps. Direct mail flyers. Radio and TV. The list goes into infinity of what you can connect to your website, in both the real and virtual worlds. This fundamental concept is why your first steps in a marketing plan should include website design.


Relying Entirely on Social Media will Fail You

On March 13th of 2019, Facebook pretty much went down. This issue affected WhatsApp, a widely popular messaging platform, and Instagram, one of the most impactful social media for marketing your business.

As a result, many businesses who rely on Facebook’s family of apps to communicate with prospects found themselves hindered and at the mercy of Facebook’s team of engineers.

This system-wide failure is bad enough, but imagine what it’s like when massive companies like Facebook and Twitter censor your content because they disagree with it – which happens more and more each year.

So what is the answer?

Escaping Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are fantastic tools for SEO and marketing efforts, but when the infrastructure is swept from beneath your business what do you have left?

  1. Email marketing
  2. Phone contact lists
  3. Website

Ultimately, if your business relies heavily on social media to gain new business then there is a chance you are leaving opportunities on the table to build a more secure marketing platform.

Email Marketing

One of the oldest digital marketing methods, email marketing is still running strong. Email lists are easy to start building – all you have to do is set up an account at MailChimp or any other email marketing service and start adding your existing customers to a list.

Now you have a foundation for your email campaigns where you can send out news and promotions to the people who are already looking to hear from you, and when you embed a sign-up form on your website or link to the form in your social media platforms, you can develop an entirely unique experience for your customers which will survive a Facebook outage or censorship.

Phone Contact Lists

Using the phone is still one of the most effective ways to communicate quickly with prospects, rendering it one of your most powerful sales tools. When developing your email marketing list, you can usually include a field for visitors to enter their phone numbers as part of the opt-in form.

Alternatively, you may choose to build forms on your website that bypass email entirely and go straight to gathering phone numbers.


Last on this list, but by far not least, is your website.

Your website is the best representation of your brand on the Web. You don’t have to compete with the aesthetics and rules of social media platforms when translating your brand design, and you have the ability to completely control the content and site functions. With good hosting, and assuming you’re not trying to reach China, your website is pretty much available 24/7 to bring new global prospects into your brand.

All of this is not to say that social media is a good or bad thing for your business. Social media has a place as a ‘top of funnel’ source for website traffic. Social media also allows you to broadcast your content directly into your prospects’ lives at a price that no other medium can compete with.

If your marketing strategy relies solely on social media, however, then you had better hope and pray that the internet deities of Facebook, Twitter, and Google continue to smile upon your enterprise…

For when they don’t, your marketing strategies will die.

Your Business Already Has An “App”

“Do you do app design?”

Every so often someone will ask me this question, once they know that I design websites. The technical answer is ‘no’, however from a certain perspective that’s not entirely accurate. I’ve been designing responsive, mobile-ready websites since 2014, and after receiving this question a handful of times I finally have an answer:

iOS, Android, and Windows phones allow any website to function as an ‘app’.

This isn’t exactly new information – informed users of each platform have known this for years. Most businesses though, especially smaller local businesses, overlook this aspect of website design. By adding a shortcut to your website on their mobile device home screen, a potential client has an opportunity to put your website alongside their favorite apps for easy access.

Try it: How to Add Websites to the Home Screen on Any Smartphone or Tablet (Source:

Your business website is already an app, but is it any good?

Take a moment to pull up your business website on your phone and ask yourself:

  1. How quickly does it load?
  2. Can I easily read it?
  3. What action would I take as a potential customer?

These questions should quickly define the function of your website as an ‘app’ on a mobile device. Now that we’ve noted some potential problems, let’s look at a few actions you can take to improve your mobile website.

1) Make Your Business Website Responsive

Your website needs to resize and reorganize its content for screens of all sizes. This is called Responsive Design, and is the new standard for website design. The best websites are designed first for mobile, then for the full-sized screens, which means resizing text, reducing empty or ‘white’ space, and stacking content so your user can scroll through. If your website scales the entire design down to fit a smaller width, instead of reorganizing the content, you need a web designer immediately – Google is marking you down for this.

2) Reduce Your Website’s Load Time

A slow website is a dead website. Cut down on fancy animations or use standardized animation tools and never use custom-coded animations. Reduce image sizes in Photoshop. Use free tools to gain insight into how your website runs and where it can be improved (try GTmetrix). Pass the technical items on to your web developers, and if you don’t have one then find one! Don’t waste your time trying to figure it out yourself. Get on Upwork or find a local professional.

3) Define Your Website’s Primary CTA (Call To Action)

Decide what you need your visitors to do on your website to grow your business – and then tell them how to do that near the top of the page. Repeat the CTA throughout the length of the page so your visitor is presented with a buying option or action item with each new snippet of information about your business. A website without a CTA is essentially a glorified business card.

Bonus Tip: Remember that your business website isn’t about you – it’s about what you have to offer the visitor.

Your product or service should be crafted to make somebody’s life easier; show them how it does this, show them who trusts you, and show them how to buy on the first page. Save your bios and company culture write-ups for the pages which they might eventually visit – if they actually care. A website’s landing page can be short and concise, or it can be lengthier than 3 typical pages as long as the information in that space is critical to the buyers’ decision. Most importantly, though, let your website’s design make your customer look like the hero in this story because of your product or service.

Whether your website is awesome or terrible, it serves as a basic app for your business.

Make sure that it’s the former so your business can grow in its online presence. If this is overwhelming to you, then Clarity Business Design has you covered with mobile-first design and development solutions.

Why Marketing or Advertising “Doesn’t Work”

As a representative for my business, I frequent several networking groups in my community. Usually these groups consist of independent business owners, sales reps for small and medium-sized businesses, and multi-level marketing affiliates of various industries. These are the types of people and businesses that my company works well with, people with growing businesses and some establishment with their customer base. Many are relying on word-of-mouth marketing and referrals, which is why they or their employees are attending these events.

When I tell people what I do, which is website and brand design, most people ask me how I got into the industry and whether or not websites, social media, and SEO are really necessary. These are good conversational questions that I enjoy answering, however from time to time I’ll get a response something along the lines of:

“Marketing doesn’t work.”

This seemingly abrasive and generally assumptive statement, while not the most pleasant thing to hear while speaking about one’s line of work, brings up an excellent point; It echoes a sentiment that some may be too polite to voice, especially in a manner which interrupts a professional’s statement, but still turn over in their minds as they listen to marketing professionals talk about their services.

“Why pay someone to tell me how to market my business?”

When I encounter a statement like “marketing doesn’t work,” I usually detect something deeper – a past experience, perhaps, or the experience of a colleague or relative where an advertising budget yielded little to no additional profits. A situation where someone got burned.

Let’s break down what marketing really is.



  1. the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.

Like most things, success in marketing can be attributed to two fundamental building blocks: time, most importantly, and money. A small business starts with more time than money available for their marketing, and if they are successful the balance shifts to eventually favor money instead of time. These results can take months, even years to change, though, and therein lies the problem for a small business which has an 80% chance of failing within the first two years: marketing needs time, and small businesses don’t have it.

So what is a small company to do when both time and money are in short supply? Here are some ideas:

Define Your Brand

Your brand is more than just your mark (the name and/or logo). Your brand is who your business is. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What values does my business espouse?
  • How does my business speak to its customers? What is the tone, the language used to create a connection with the customer?
  • What problem is my business solving for the people it services? Business to Consumer (B2C) companies clearly deal with people directly, but owners of Business to Business (B2B) companies must remember that what they offer affects the people at the center of the businesses they are selling to. Business always comes down to people.
  • Why should customers buy from my business instead of my competition?
  • Who, exactly, is the ideal client for my business? Create a profile of your best customer, in as much detail as you can imagine.

The answers to these questions should give you some initial guidance into your marketing strategy, although this is simply the tip of the iceberg.

Assemble Your Brand Look

With your brand defined, you can assemble your Brand Style Guide. This should include:

  • Your brand name (and any variations)
  • All acceptable variations of your logo (black & white, full-color, vertical layout, horizontal layout, etc.)
  • The colors your business will use for the logo, the website, business cards, and all other visual media representing the brand
  • The font/typeface choices the business will use for print and digital media

The Brand Style Guide will give you a basic template for your creative team to work with to create a consistent message to your customers. This is important because…

Consistency Breeds Trust

Think about the brands you buy from every day: Starbucks, for example. When you visit a Starbucks, no matter where you find one you can expect a similar experience each time. You find consistency in the taste, the atmosphere, the menu options, and the service. Whether you consciously realize it or not, if you’re a frequent customer of Starbucks, when you see their iconic green and their logo cross your Facebook feed, or when you drive by one of their signs, your mind connects that brand identity with the perceived quality of their services. This is true for other massive brands, such as Nike and Apple, however it is equally true for local businesses you interact with and buy from regularly. This is the type of connection your business must make with your customers in order to survive.

“But What About Advertising?”

I like to think of advertising and marketing as a bridge between potential customers and your business. What kind of bridge are you building with your ideal customers? Is your brand strong and consistent, clearly projecting with its logo and voice a quality product to create a safe and stable, steel and concrete ‘bridge’ to the new relationship? Or is a cheap design and incoherent stream of thoughts, riddled with grammatical errors, creating a shaky and questionable rope bridge with missing planks?

Without a clear and trustworthy brand as a destination, advertising is time & money down the drain.

You can spend hundreds, or thousands of dollars in your local paper, Pay-per-Click digital marketing (PPC), or membership in your local business organizations, but if you don’t look like you can do the job, someone who doesn’t know you will chose someone who does – and those advertising dollars and effort will go to waste.

Good News: Marketing CAN Work For You!

To the business owner who has lost confidence in marketing professionals and advertising techniques, I say this: Your efforts are only as good as the quality they project.

If you have a quality product or service, you can clearly communicate its values, and your ideal customer has been thoroughly identified, then you stand a much better chance of making any of your marketing efforts successful – whether you spend money on them or not! What matters most is setting your brand up for success at the very beginning, allowing you to leverage every dollar, every moment, every breath you spend to spread the word about your company.

Find that clarity today, and watch your business succeed.


  • Set aside an hour today to answer the questions listed above, and reflect on the answers every morning this week.
  • Write out your value statement in a post on your business Facebook. Share that post with your personal Facebook to your social network. Include an image to improve your exposure!
  • Get coffee with a graphic designer, copywriter, or brand strategist this week to inspire your vision for your business voice and brand style.