The Heights were synonymous with crime in the 1990s, as the capital of the crack epidemic. But, as crime decreased, the Heights underwent a significant gentrification starting in the 2000s and continuing through the 2010s.
This has had an indelible mark on the make-up of the neighborhood. The white population increased while communities of color decreased. Rent crept higher as well by around 40% from 2000-2020. While this isn’t nearly as significant as other gentrifying neighborhoods in Manhattan, it is part of a trend across the city.
Like with all gentrifying neighborhoods, businesses in the Heights will have to choose how they wish to respond. They will need to get more from the marketing as commercial rent prices put a squeeze on profit margins.
In a gentrifying neighborhood, the first decision you need to make is deciding on your target. There will be those unique businesses that can appeal to both new and existing residents, but that will not be the norm. Depending on your business, it may force you to choose. Once you make that choice, Your website can help you reach that target more effectively.
When you ask users what they want, they will tell you. They want information fast. They care about finding information over 7 times more than the care about appearance.
Therefore, your design elements should focus on helping the user find pages on your site versus just creating visual impact. Otherwise, 60% of users leave a site if they can’t find what they need easily.
If a page takes over 3 seconds to load, mobile users bounce as the Pingdom chart below suggests.
SEMRush gauges page speed using a 1 second rule. I would argue they are closer. My personal experience suggests that the widow has continued to narrow.
The root cause of most speed issues is the content management system (CMS) that you choose for your website.
If your site is built on Wordpress or Wix, you are using a theme. Every theme carries a set of instructions (CSS), which tell the browser how to render the page. Every theme has customization options, drop-down menus, animations, and such.
When a page is rendered, the browser has to sort through all this code to see what your content requires. The unused features can stop the page from rendering, creating render-blocking resources or unused CSS.
A theme is user friendly. They are faster to build, easier to maintain, and simpler to update. You do not need to understand coding or even basic HTML or CSS commands to get great looking results. However, there is a big trade-off, and that is page speed.
According to Best Designs, original graphics are the most successful.
“Original graphics make up 40% of all successful visual content that accomplishes marketing goals, but 43% of marketers struggle with the consistent production of captivating visuals.”
Since we are communicating one message, the artwork that supports it must work very hard to support the message. This is where local market know-how can really help. Original photos and images of your business in Kipps Bay interacting with your neighborhood can add value.
It also helps with when your calls to action focus on local events in and around the Heights or at your business location.
Every email, no matter how trivial, should have a call to action. This is where all the hard work above pays off. If we omit one, we just wasted resources that could have been spent more cost effectively.
We cover email list building in great detail in our post on small business email marketing. Again, we will just hit the highlights here as it pertains to the Heights. Every neighborhood has summer fairs. While these were severely impacted by COVID, in our post COVID world they should roar back with a vengeance. It would be smart to see if you could piggy-back off one or more of them.
Incentives, deals, free trials, and samples are all great options when developing your calls to action. See if you can partner with your neighbors to create a shared promotion. This way one shopper in the Heights has two or more places to visit while out in the neighborhood.
In a gentrifying neighborhood, the first decision you need to make is deciding on your target. There will be those unique businesses that can appeal to both new and existing residents, but that will not be the norm. Depending on your business, it may force you to choose. Once you make that choice, Local digital marketing can help you reach that target more effectively.
To have a navigation that is easy to follow requires that you understand how your user is likely to search for information. It is very important to remember that your user may search for information very differently from you, especially if you are an expert in the field and they are not.
To keep the communication focused, each page should be designed to answer a given set of questions around a core theme. Since we know the core theme, we can link these pages to keywords or key phrases.
The key reasons why it is worth the effort to map pages to key words are:
This is a key step in any design and development process.
People can be difficult to predict. Even with the best planning, sometimes the flow isn’t quite right. User flow on Google Analytics can really help. You can see how users are browsing the site.
If you find users are acting differently versus how you intended. It’s important to take note and make changes. Web design is never “a set it and forget it” activity. Monthly monitoring and testing are recommended.
A high-quality user experience is important on all devices. This is just the cost of entry these days.
Most themes and common website builders are responsive, which means it adapts the code (html and ccs) to suit the device.
There are several ways to achieve a responsive design. The main tradeoff between the options is page speed.
We recommend custom sites because they are designed as mobile first. They use only the code that you need, so they are fast. Lastly, the lost revenue from bounces and poor conversions generally more than offset the cost.
All themes will require “fixing”. Without some way to weeding out that excess code, page speed load times will likely cause you to perform poorly on mobile.
Data show page speed is a key indicator bounce rate. If your page takes over three seconds to load, bounce rates balloon. Any bounce is a lost opportunity to influence your user.
There are plugins and other solutions. But, again, there is a trade-off between cost and performance.
Your website is the most important communication tool in digital marketing. Therefore, you want it to be its best.
Users value finding information quickly. Finding the information quickly is seven times more important than fancy features.
To help users find the information they want quickly requires a simple navigation that is clear and easy to follow.
A high-quality user experience is important on all devices. Therefore, you want a design that can meet these demands without sacrificing quality or speed. Both affect your website metrics.
This can be challenging to attempt this on your own, and there are numerous digital marketing companies that can help.
ProStraegix is a web design agency with offices in New York City. We also provide SEO and pay per click advertising support to our clients.
See more about Small Business Marketing in the Heights. If you are more interest in the borough, you can see our Small Business Marketing in Manhattan. If you want the full city, you can see our Small Business Marketing in NYC.