Alexander Abramson April 2019

Your Business Matters AlexanderAbramson.com • (407) 649-7777 APRIL 2019

FROM THE DESK OF

Ed Alexander

It’s supposed to be April showers, but apparently all the showers happened in March when I went camping at White Springs. Luckily my campsite stayed dry, but all the bike trails were completely flooded. Despite being unable to ride around, the weekend was still peaceful. In other news, last month I posted a piece on strategic partnerships. I received a lot of positive feedback on the article, so I wanted to mention it here too. We’ve all heard the words “joint venture” and “strategic alliance” thrown around in reference to big public companies like Apple, Amazon, or American Airlines. However, the benefits of joint ventures and strategic alliances don’t need to be the exclusive purview of big business! Small businesses stand to gain immensely from tapping into the hidden potential of strategic alliances and joint ventures. By teaming up with other businesses, small businesses can increase their competitive advantage in the face of increasing pressure from big businesses. I strongly encourage you to look into the benefits joint ventures and strategic alliances could provide for your business. You can learn more about supplementing your organic growth through strategic partnerships at bit.ly/strategic-partners.

2 SIMPLE STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE WHY SIMPLICITY AND CTA ARE KING Every savvy small-business owner in 2019 knows that you need a website in order to stay relevant in the modern marketplace. But when you search the internet as a consumer, it’s clear that many of these business owners don’t actually understand why a website is important. If you look around at the digital storefronts of your competitors — and probably your own — you’ll mostly find placeholders as opposed to compelling avenues for customer engagement. Instead of making their company’s offerings, goals, and identity instantly clear, most pages muddy the waters with wordy self-justifications. Instead of being attractive and easy to use, they’re covered in garish promotions and confusing menus leading nowhere helpful. The worst thing you can do with your website is make it pointless. You can shell out some funds to a design firm to create a generic webpage, but without a clear understanding of how your site will create and drive leads and customer engagement, it won’t do much. Here are two steps you can take to improve your site and get an edge over the competition whether you edit the site in-house or outsource it to a web designer. In a 2012 study, Google discovered that users assess the aesthetics of a website in one- fiftieth of a second. Furthermore, overwhelming visual complexity leads users to perceive a site as unattractive. It’s tempting to cram as much information as possible onto your homepage. You want prospects to check out your social media, read your blog, see your latest promotion, and give your business a call. But in reality, when confronted with too many options, most PARE IT DOWN.

–Ed Alexander

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should make that action as easy as possible. The fact that you already trimmed everything down should make this even more straightforward. When there isn’t a ton of extraneous clutter, your call to action will pop that much more. In 2019, users won’t accept a hodgepodge, half-baked website, and you shouldn’t either. Rework your site with these principles in mind, and watch conversions boost like magic.

With that in mind, everything on the site should lead to that appointment. There should be a bold phone number on the header of every page, and you should have an automated appointment-setting form prominently featured. Make your direct call to action the beating heart of your site. It should be the most obvious thing on your homepage. The content should always guide the user toward action, and one click

customers will leave the site rather than sort through the overload.

The best way to improve your website is to assess each piece of information and determine whether it is needed. Do you need each of your offerings outlined in both a box and a header menu? Is that cluster of social media icons actually contributing anything? In order to make a website easy to use, you need to ruthlessly pare it down with usability in mind. Most design-ignorant entrepreneurs are notoriously afraid of white space; don’t be like them. By decluttering the page and inviting your consumers to pause and peruse, you’ll increase comfort, engagement, and conversions. KNOWWHAT YOUWANT USERS TO DO, AND TAILOR YOUR SITE PRECISELY TO THAT END GOAL. What do you want to accomplish with your website? When you ask yourself this question, be specific with your answer. For example, if you’re a dentist or medical clinic, your ultimate goal is for the user to schedule an appointment.

3 Hilarious Pranks Played by Businesses Companies That Participate in April Fools’ Day

April Fools’ Day might be the only appropriate time of year for you to prank your friends or coworkers with gags like dipping an onion in caramel and offering it as a candy apple or loosening the tops of the salt and pepper shakers. It’s also the one day of the year when big companies get to join in the mischief as well. Check out these company-wide April Fools’ jokes that left millions of people scratching their heads. NETFLIX’S PSA In 2015, everyone’s favorite online streaming company issued a PSA that warned binge-watchers all over the world of the social, physical, and psychological dangers of watching too much TV. In fact, if viewers watched more than two consecutive episodes of a show on April 1, they were greeted with a PSA from popular actors, like Michael Kelly from “House of Cards” or Taylor Schilling from“Orange Is the New Black.” Some stars even told Netflix users to “Turn off the TV and take a shower. You stink!” BURGER KING’S CHOCOLATE WHOPPER Just last year, Burger King fooled hungry customers by creating the Chocolate Whopper. The imaginary fast-food treat is made with chocolate

cake buns, a chocolate “beef” patty, raspberry syrup as the ketchup, rings of white chocolate as the onions, milk chocolate as the lettuce, vanilla frosting as mayo, and candied blood oranges as the tomatoes. This prank was quite a creative feat by Burger King staff, and merely watching the advertisement spiked glucose levels everywhere. EHARMONY’S ‘FUREVER LOVE’ DATING SERVICE FOR DOGS Perhaps the most wholesome prank that’s ever been peddled to the masses was the launching of eHarmony’s FURever Love: Canine Compatibility Companion Service. The dating website claimed that based on the algorithms they use for creating compatible human relationships, they built this service to “create robust profiles for dogs based on key dimensions of their personality.”The biographies they created for the pups’ profiles included canine mate preferences, like “Looking for a tug-o- war partner,”“Must love squirrels,” and “It’s been ruff finding a quality stud to go on walks with.” While these April Fools’ Day jokes were all made in jest, the pranks certainly kept audiences guessing long after April 1 had passed, and it’s not hard to see why.

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Peanuts and Cracker Jacks The Best Opening Days in Baseball History

Baseball’s opening day has been an American holiday of sorts since the Cincinnati Red Stockings threw out the first major league pitch in 1869. To celebrate the start of the 150th season of professional baseball, here are three of the best opening days in baseball history.

A NEW BEGINNING

On April 15, 1947, an opening-day game changed the course of Major League Baseball. On this day, Jackie Robinson started for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African-American player to start for a major league baseball team. Robinson’s historic showing was lackluster, going 0-for-3 at the plate and making a solid showing on the infield at first base, but his mere presence in a Dodgers uniform had already broken history. Despite his nationally-recognized skills — Robinson was named MVP of the MLB farm team league in 1946 — the backlash that followed his rise to the pros, both from fans and teammates, was palpable. Still, as well-known sportscaster Howard Cosell said, “Suddenly, it was a new beginning.”

famous “Murderers’ Row.”With sluggers like Lou Gehrig, Earle Combs, Babe Ruth, Mark Koenig, Bob Meusel, and Tony Lazzeri, it’s no wonder this team went on to win its fifth championship that year.

THE HAMMER TIES BAMBINO

For decades, no one could match George Herman Ruth. The Great Bambino’s all-time home run record seemed like an impossible feat of strength — that is, until Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron came along. On opening day, April 4, 1974, Aaron smashed his 714th homer, tying Babe Ruth for the most home runs ever hit and extending the Atlanta Braves’ shutout lead over the Cincinnati Reds. A few weeks later, Aaron surpassed Ruth’s record, prompting a standing ovation from the crowd.

LOU, COMBS, AND BABE — OH MY!

Considered one of the best teams in baseball history, the 1927 New York Yankees started their historic run and 25th season by dismantling the Philadelphia Athletics with a score of 8-3. The slugfest was true to form for the 1927 Yankees, whose players would go on to make up baseball’s

Inspired by Food Network

Take a Break!

Opening Day

HAMBURGERS

Ingredients

• • 4 small leaves iceberg lettuce 4 1/4-inch thick yellow onion slices 1 teaspoon vegetable oil Salt and pepper, to taste Condiments of your choice desired doneness, about 1 more minute per side for medium-rare, 2 more per side for medium-well. 4. Let meat rest for a minimum of 3 minutes. 5. To assemble, place patty on bottom bun and top with • • •

1 pound ground chuck, 80 percent lean 4 soft, white hamburger buns, split 4 1/4-inch thick tomato slices

• •

12–16 pickle rounds

Directions

1. Lightly grease a small

nonstick skillet with oil. Heat over medium-high. 2. While heating, gently shape meat into four patties 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Be careful to handle the meat as little as possible to prevent tough burgers. Season liberally with salt and pepper. 3. Sear patties on each side, about 1 minute per side.

tomato, pickles, lettuce, and onion (in that order). Spread condiments on top half of bun and place on top of onion. Serve.

RAINCOAT SPRING SUNSHINE TAURUS

FLOWERS GARDEN GROW RAIN STORM

APRIL FOOLS ARIES BLOSSOM BUTTERFLY

Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until

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Inside This Issue

From the Desk of Ed Alexander PAGE 1 2 Simple Steps to Improve Your Website PAGE 1 3 Hilarious April Fools’ Pranks Played by Businesses PAGE 2 3 Great Opening Days in Baseball PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Opening Day Hamburgers PAGE 3 Take a Look at the Subscription-Service Market PAGE 4 In today’s economy, the demand for accessible and customized goods and services is steadily increasing, and companies are responding by bringing their business to the comfort of your home. With recurring payments, deliveries, and an ever-changing selection of products, pioneers like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Dollar Shave Club are redefining what a modern transaction looks like. From movies and pop culture memorabilia to contacts and glasses, there is a reasonably priced subscription service destined to cut out the middleman for most industries today, and the numbers show that the companies developing this market have no intention of slowing down. The subscription-service industry is booming all over the globe. According to a long-term survey conducted by McKinley and Company, the e-commerce market has grown by more than 100 percent per year in each of the

THE BOOMING SUBSCRIPTION-SERVICE BUSINESS Recurring Subscription Satisfaction for Businesses and Consumers

past five years, grossing $2.6 billion in 2016 alone. We’re all familiar with Netflix and Hulu,

but subscription-box services, like Blue Apron and Birchbox, have been growing in popularity in recent years. These companies provide subscribers with a new box of products — from groceries and cosmetics to potted plants — on a monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly basis.

Over half of all subscription

services are built based on the pillars of curation and customization. And while some

consumers buy subscriptions just for convenience, the majority sign up to be able to customize their products to their needs and preferences.

The impact is widespread, with 15 percent of online shoppers saying they’ve subscribed to an e-commerce service over the past year. The numbers are even higher for entertainment services; 46 percent of the survey’s respondents subscribed to a streaming platform like Netflix. The priority for most customers is the ability to customize.

Whether you want graphic tees, hair- loss products, or healthy meals, there’s a subscription service for you.

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