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5 Spring Cleaning Tips For Your Company’s Digital Marketing

April 16th, 2014 by Mardy Sitzer

A minusGetting found on the Internet is good business. I’ve yet to speak to a business owner who doesn’t rate this aspect of marketing key to growing their business.

There are a few free tools on the Internet to get a picture of your digital footprint and gain some insight about where to start some of your website and digital marketing – you might be surprised to find how much you have to clean up.

By expanding your digital footprint and making sure the information out there is accurate, translates into getting found more easily and hopefully – if your website is doing its job – attracting leads and new business.

You’ll also want to use a tool or two to check under the hood of your website to improve performance and it’s ability to help you get found.

The following are websites that can help you evaluate the basics:

  1. You can use a free or premium service at Yext to run a report to see where and how your company shows up in different directories and search engines. This is important, as you will sometimes find you are not listed at all and it might make sense to submit a listing, or the information is incorrect or outdated and you should get that taken care sooner rather than later.
  2. Check to see if your website is up to code and using Facebook’s Open Graph, Google+ Authorship, LinkedIn and Twitter’s Summary card data. You can also get an idea of how your company shows up when someone shares it when using Social Media share buttons. This is important as you begin or continue to encourage visitors and clients to share on their social sites and this is a growing area known as ‘social signals’ that impacts your search rankings. A helpful report can be gotten for free at Knowem.  You might need a coder or a web pro to help you get the code installed properly if it isn’t already.
  3. Give your website a marketing test using Hubspot’s free Marketing Grader. Test results will give you a lot of valuable information about your website and how well it is set up for lead capture and conversion as well as a birds eye view of your overall site’s SEO and performance.
  4. Keywords and keyword phrases are the breadcrumbs in your content that establish what your website is about. You would be surprised what a poor job most companies do when it comes to writing copy for their websites. Find out how search engines see what your site is ‘about’ with the free Reaction Engine - you might find it is time to rethink your page titles and website copy.
  5. There are good inbound links and there are bad inbound links. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the practice of obtaining inbound links to your website, but at the heart of the matter is, if you have a link from a reputable site that is relevant to your business, that is a good thing. Inbound links from less than reputable sites, sites that have no relation to your field or industry can be problematic and you should request the link be removed or disavow the link from your website (again you might need a coder for this). Find out about your inbound links with this free tool from OpenSite Explorer.

These free sites can provide you with a ton of valuable feedback about your website and help you to set priorities to get your website to peak performance. After all the report cards are in, you will have a solid task list to improve your online presence and your website.

If you don’t have the time, or if you find this information overwhelming, give us a call to perform a website assessment that covers these issues and more, such as site speed, code compliance and a competitive analysis. We can also take it a step further and correct any issues and implement website improvements to help you to get your web presence in a position to rank higher and blow away your competition. That’s the buzz.

The Rapid Changes on the Internet Affects Marketing

April 10th, 2014 by Mardy Sitzer

marketing-speedSometimes I start to write a blog post about a recent change on a social platform and before I can get to spell check, something else changes. Then another change is announced on another platform and I wonder which one might be more important or meaningful to you.

All the while Google is making changes and adjustments affecting search results.

It can be exhausting.

I can only imagine how overwhelming but have faith as there are certain basic truths.

If you have been true to your brand and have been producing content that is genuinely helpful and interesting to your target audience then chances are you’ve built a solid foundation that won’t get disrupted by these changes. If you’ve been chasing bells and whistles, trying to ‘game the system’ then you might experience some problems.

If your business solely relies on getting found online, then yes, you are at the mercy of these changes, but if you are growing your business through referrals and solid customer service and an outstanding product or service, then these changes should not exceed the irritating mark on the pain meter.

I am not advocating putting your head in the sand when it comes to Social Media or Internet Marketing, and certainly not suggesting that you ignore your website. What I am suggesting is that you put your efforts into building your company on old fashion, tried and true systems of referrals and positive word of mouth. You expand your business through marketing and online marketing is as important of a piece of the marketing pie as any.

The following is my recommendation for the Top 10 marketing priorities for the rest of this year.

  1. Install a CRM or if you already have a CRM system, visit the data collected and run reports to learn more about your market segments. This exercise will help guide you in what and where to put your marketing dollars.
  2. Track incoming leads. Where did they come from, who referred them, what did they search for online. Review at least monthly to evaluate if you are missing the mark or hitting a home run, and again, determine where you need to up your game.
  3. Clean up your website. Yes, Google and the other search engines are changing all of the time and your site at the very least should have up to date features and coding – is it mobile ready? Does it load fast? Do you have a way to capture leads? When is the last time you added fresh content?
  4. Revisit your keywords and research what is trending in your field of expertise and what is of interest or concern to your target audience to give you fresh ideas for new pages on your site, blog posts and other content.
  5. Up your efforts on marketing your blog to grow your subscribers. If you need some ideas on what that entails, this post from ProBlogger has some great suggestions.
  6. Set up your Google+ profile and company page and goodness gracious; get your authorship tied back to your blog.
  7. Revisit your LinkedIn company page – there have been and are changes to the company page so it is time for a refresh. Also, you might want to think about spending some time growing subscribers to your LinkedIn company page.
  8. Visit the traffic and referrals to your site from all your other social profiles such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. and learn which sites are driving traffic and of that traffic, who is converting? This will help you focus in on what is working and what either needs to be set aside or where you need to up your game. But visit all of your social profiles to evaluate if they need a refresh to make sure your branding and messaging is consistent and that your artwork still works with all the changes each of these sites have implemented.
  9. Start or reignite a Touch Campaign. This goes back to your CRM system but what you want to pay attention to is how to engage those who are regular buyers, sometime buyers and those you are at risk of losing. Developing a touch system of regular emails that are relevant to your segment profiles and client rank is going to help you grow your business from your existing base.
  10. Start or reignite your Trigger Campaign – meaning “if this then that” messaging. Are you letting opportunity slip away by not having a responsive selling system as part of your marketing mix?

While I could keep going with the things to put on your marketing to-do list, my goal is to help you get focused on your marketing and grow your business. Don’t be shy, let us know what is working for your company.

Is A Separate Mobile Website Necessary?

March 25th, 2014 by Mardy Sitzer

Responsive Web DesignFirst let’s explain why your website should perform well on mobile phones.

Just look around you and observe what almost everyone has in their hand and their face buried in – yup, mobile phones and tablets. Now, ask yourself if you want to ignore this growing trend of Internet users.

I didn’t think so.

You should also be aware that search engines look at your site for mobile access and penalize your site if it isn’t mobile friendly.

Combine these factors with the trend of people accessing the Internet from their television sets. Those screens can get pretty large. Have you ever wondered how your website looks on a 42” flat screen television?

I realize that there can be some confusion about what a mobile friendly site is and what the difference is between solutions, so I would like to first explain what the options are, then cover the pros and cons of a separate mobile site versus a responsive design site to help you make the best choice. Read more…

Your WordPress Website Got Hacked

March 14th, 2014 by Mardy Sitzer

wordpress site hackedA lot of things get hacked. Computers, email accounts, social media accounts, smart phones, and yes, websites. A good rule of thumb is that the more popular something becomes, the more it attracts evildoers. While no company likes to admit to it, the news catches on and reports about larger sites getting hacked, typically to swipe user personal and financial information. What you don’t read about in the news are the reports of hackers targeting millions of smaller websites.

Smaller sites tend to be easy pickings as there is no IT department monitoring and updating these sites. There is also a good chance that a less than attentive or skilled web developer built the site without proper protocols, and site owners often don’t practice regular maintenance programs. While user data is not typically the golden nugget for hackers of smaller sites, they are still prime targets and get hacked for:

  • Hijacking user sessions
  • Defacing the Web sites
  • Inserting hostile content
  • Conducting phishing and malware attacks

I don’t like waking up in the morning with the idea that there are evil people out there, but I have locks on my doors, alarm systems and other safety systems, as I am also a realist. Read more…

The 2014 Social Media Marketing Trends – And How To Prepare

February 4th, 2014 by Mardy Sitzer

marketing-stretchJanuary always delivers tons of articles predicting the year’s trends. One article I particularly liked was 9 Ways Social Media Marketing Will Change in 2014  recently posted on Mashable. Each prediction was offered by a topic expert. The pain point for SMBs is what to do about it. If you don’t have an in-house team, or they are already stretched too thin, you’ll need to flex your marketing muscles with some out-of-the-box solutions.

The following are the predictions and some suggestions: Read more…

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