Sparks October 2004 -

Sparks October 2004

In the News

Using your site to reach local markets
Sure, it’s the “World Wide Web,” but how often do people search for products and services available in their own backyard? In January, over 145,000 people searched for the phrase “auto repair” on and its affiliates. It’s safe to assume that almost everyone was looking for a local auto repair shop.

Search engines are increasingly bringing their attention to improving local search results, but you can help by making sure your city and state are spelled out on your home page. If your market is primarily local, include your city and state in the title bar of the home page. Create an e-newsletter with specials, coupons, or handy tips and promote it both online and in your retail environment. Make sure your site is listed in local portals (in Bloomington, that would be HoosierNet’s Community Links pages).

Offline marketing is still the largest driver to local Websites. Print advertising, word of mouth, business cards, press releases, and billboards are proven channels for reaching local markets. Make sure your Web address is prominently displayed. Explicitly tell people to go to your site, whether it be for more information, special coupons, or to see products in action.

Opportunity knocks: Few Fortune 100 companies optimizing their sites
A recent study by OneUpWeb found fewer than 10% of Fortune 100 companies optimize their sites for search engines. While some may think they have such brand recognition they don’t need to worry about search engine rankings, the study found otherwise.

As an example, AutoNation, which promotes itself as the country’s largest retailer of new and used cars “both on and off the web,” doesn’t appear in the first 30 Google results for the keywords “pre-owned vehicles,” “used cars,” or “used car.” As we say in our Web Smarts seminars, if your business can’t be found in search engines, you don’t exist! People are far more likely to patronize companies whose sites are easily accessible. These giant companies risk losing market share to smarter (and smaller) companies who optimize their sites to appear in the top results. Design speaking engagements
Cairril Mills, principal of Design, has been the featured speaker at a number of recent events. She spoke on the joys and challenges of small business ownership at the Business Development Course offered through SEED Corp. and the SBDC, on how to utilize a Website to connect with potential clients at Ned Shaw’s The Business of Art class, and on “Six Marketing Keys to Get People to Buy” at a recent Bloomington E-tail Club meeting. Please contact us if you would like to hear any of Cairril’s dynamic presentations on the power of branding, marketing, and design to help businesses grow.




This month’s winner: Aaron Stanton!
In addition to the pride of victory, Aaron wins a digital featuring this one-of-a-kind design. Have a favorite quote or saying? Send it in! If your quote is chosen, you’ll receive a T-shirt with a custom design! Check out your competition here.

Client Spotlight

Renwick, a new development by Wininger/Stolberg Homes (WSH), is an exciting residential concept for Bloomington. Planned as a Traditional Neighborhood Development, the site will include a wide mix of housing types to attract an eclectic blend of residents.

Renwick’s only marketing channel is its Website. The challenge? The first Renwick lots won’t be available until Summer 2005. We needed to create buzz about the project and make potential buyers willing to wait to purchase based on the strength of the Website alone.

We began with a clean, warm interface that communicates the sophistication and community-oriented brand of Renwick. We paid close attention to the wording of navigation options: “Explore Renwick” gives a sense of intrigue without locking the visitor into a specific housing type. “Parklands & Conservation” emphasizes the many “green” features of the site. “Renwick History” shares the fascinating history of the land.

The formal lines of the logo and tagline are softened by light rules and soft colors. Lovely architectural watercolors grace the site, helping visitors envision the charm of Renwick. We collaborated on the copy with Aaron Stolberg, WSH’s point person for Renwick, to give visitors a solid sense of the Renwick community without being tied to specifications and floor plans.

To encourage visitors to express interest, and to create a sense of urgency, we developed “Renwick Select.” This is simply a list of people who receive first choice of lots when they become available. We created the name “Renwick Select” to refer both to the idea that this is a select group of people and to the concept that they can select their own lot.

Aaron notes, “I’ve been getting tons of positive responses to the Website! Everyone seems to really love it, and likes how easy it is to navigate.” We received nearly 400 visits and over 40 Renwick Select forms within the first week and a half of launch and have plans to promote the site even more. As home construction begins, the site will evolve to include housing specifications as it continues to build the Renwick brand.

View the site created by Design