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How To Improve Your Online Marketing Game In 5 Ways

The Internet is a treasure trove of possibilities for the budding business owner. If you have a new business and have a website to promote, there are certain rules of engagement to follow before you start your online marketing campaign. We talk about marketing to Internet users here because, let’s face it — it IS the day and age of technology. If you have a business and you don’t have an online presence, you might as well prepare to close shop anytime soon.

 

Here are 5 ways to improve your Internet marketing game and make sure your business stays above the fold.

 

  1. Identify your target market

 

Who are your customers? To whom will you offer your product or service? Who do you think will benefit from your brand? Make a draft of the personalities of your target market. You don’t need to conduct deep research or hire a company to do this. Being the developer of your own business, you already have some sense of who you are building products and services for. You can start from this knowledge.

Along the way, as your business progresses, you will find the other markets that will find benefits in what you are serving. For example, if you’re marketing apple cider vinegar, you’re not just marketing to chefs and foodies because ACV has been found to be good for skincare and for healing a wide range of diseases, as well.

 

  1. Set measurable and realistic goals

How do you define a successful business? There are different types of metrics that will objectively tell you if your business is all right or if it needs to reorganize. These include revenues, profits, expenses, and other key performance indicators for all your activities.

 

Now that you’ve added Internet marketing to the list, you should also pay attention to total unique site visits, bounce rate, audience retention rate, and more. These metrics will enable you to monitor performance, so you can create new strategies that will be targeted toward those that are not delivering high numbers.

 

3. Plan your budget

It’s okay to be thrifty but not at the expense of your business’s online performance. Before you decide to cut corners on your online marketing budget, first evaluate the things that are working and are not working. Go back to your metrics and point out weak points to see if these just need restructuring or need to be let go entirely.

 

  1. Be your brand

 

In short, be involved in your online marketing campaign. Make your social media accounts active not just by posting announcements regularly, but by actually engaging with your audience. Did somebody comment on your post? Talk to them online to keep the conversation going. When your target market sees that your digital presence is more than just someone who schedules posts, the more emphatic they will feel towards your brand. The more likely they are to keep patronizing you and to recommend you to their friends.

 

  1. Pay attention to your SEO

 

SEO is a tried and tested way of reaching your target market, even when they are not actively searching for you. When a person types a certain keyphrase into search engines, make sure that you appear among the top search results. A good SEO strategy will help you achieve this.

5 Non-Negotiables When It Comes To Designing A Powerful Logo

Whoever said that designing a logo is easy must not have a sense of design at all. In fact, graphic artists will tell you that it takes a lot of skill, creativity, and effort to make a powerful logo compared to building a full website. Because of the sheer size and conciseness of a logo, it requires careful thought and a deep understanding of imagery and purpose.

 

We live in a society where brand logos are just plastered everywhere. Even the little kids who can’t even string complete sentences already knows what McDonald’s, Pepsi and other brands are just by looking at their brandmarks. No words necessary. That said, how do you create a powerful logo and what are its basic elements? We got in touch with some design experts and here’s what they told us.

 

  1. Understand the brand

 

You can’t just paste images and colors together and say it’s your logo. While it is an image, a logo is also your brand’s identity. Before you design one, think about these three things: what does the brand remind you of and what image comes to mind? how does the brand make you feel? what images and colors are significant to the brand’s development into what it is now?

 

Remember that while you can compare with other existing logos and might want to derive inspiration from their success, your design should still reflect what your client wants and the company’s unique attributes. Logos also do not just come out of thin air. Each one has a history that’s filled with purpose and meaning. This is why it’s important that you talk to the client first before testing out different prototypes.

 

  1. Be unique

 

Imitation is the best form of flattery but you don’t want your logo to be overshadowed by another brand. You want a logo that stands out and that people can identify as only yours. With so many logos out there, creating an original look could be a challenge, but as a designer that should be your ultimate goal. Take note that designing a logo doesn’t have to be literal. Remember that the Mercedes logo is not a car and the Apple logo isn’t a computer.

 

Understand color

 

Color plays a huge role in your logo’s design. Bold and bright colors are sure to get people’s attention, but does it reflect your brand? Meanwhile, neutral and muted shades look elegant, but they run the risk of being overlooked. For starters, check out the psychology of colors and what emotion each shade represents. Reds can be bold, sexy, and energetic, while greens can pertain to growth, being organic, and instructional.

 

Make it easy and flexible

 

You want a logo that stands out, but you also don’t want a logo that will leave your viewers perplexed over what it means. The Amazon logo, for one, is a simple text of the company’s URL, with “amazon” in bold face, and a yellow arrow pointing from A to Z. There is a lot of meaning that can be derived from this highly effective yet very simple and straightforward logo; all of which point to the brand’s mission and vision.

 

The most iconic brand logos, such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Ray-Ban, aren’t fancy looking. In fact, it is this basic design that gives them a powerful personality. Expert designers will tell you that it’s a lot easier to be experimental than to be simple when it comes to making a logo, but it’s the latter that works and lasts a long time.

 

Do you need help designing your own company’s logo? Our team of designers are more than happy to help! Get in touch with us at (561) 506-0398.

5 Elements Of An Effective & Professional Website Design

A website does not succeed because of its content and design alone. It has to be a total package. This means having a construction that creates a positive user experience while being easy to understand. Sure, the latter is a subjective aspect of site creation. As the saying goes, “different strokes for different folks.” However, there remains non-negotiable ground rules that should be followed when deciding on how your website looks and how it makes you audience feel.

 

Here are tips to ensure that your website design game is on point.

 

Keep it clutter-free and simple

 

Most people give a website a quick once-over before deciding if they want to stay and keep reading, or click X and try something else. Studies also show that the average Internet reader picks up key words and sentences while browsing. Given this reading behavior, the first goal of a website designer to build a landing page that appeals to the reader’s emotions. You can worry about word count later.

 

In short, the less a person has to sift through on initial contact, the easier it will be for him or her to assess what’s in front. This makes it more likely for your reader to act according to what you want to happen. If you place a powerful image or a call to action in a compelling and easily digestible way, you have a better chance at succeeding, compared to filling it with lots of text and too many photos.

 

Acknowledge the power of visual hierarchy

 

It is the website designer’s job to make sure that images and text are presented in a clear manner. What is your goal? What do you want your reader to do next? Without necessarily being too literal about your intentions, you can subconsciously direct your audience with the types of colors, contrasts, fonts, and images you present. When you establish a clear hierarchy to the information you lay out, your readers will naturally “follow the breadcrumbs.”

 

Make your content easy to read and digest

 

Make it easy for your readers to recognize words, phrases, and sentences in your website. This means they are able to scan and digest all the information without exerting too much effort. How do you achieve a high readability rating?

 

Three things: pay attention to color contrast by making things easy on the eyes, make your fonts large enough to be easily read, and don’t go overboard with font variety. Note that while 12 point fonts are ideal for research papers at school, they’re not recommended online. In fact, studies show that your body text should be at least 16 point (depending on the typeface you’re using). Serif fonts are a popular choice for websites because they are clean and easy to read. You can experiment with fancy fonts, but always keep in mind that you owe it to your audience to make the experience simple and positive.

 

Invest in site navigability

 

Websites are not a place for the avant-garde. Sure, you can experiment with styles and make a design that breaks the mold — and that’s fine — but make sure that you back it up with a positive user experience. In short, readers should know where to click when they want to look for something. They should know how to get out of a page, or how to get to you About Us or Contact Us page when they want to get in touch.

For a solid navigation experience, here are some things you might want to apply.

– Clicking your logo leads to your main homepage

– Your menu should be at the top and listed according to the importance of each category

– If have a long-scrolling site, apply an anchor menu so readers don’t have to click all the way back up or scroll to the very bottom to see the menu

– Your most important content should be above the fold

 

Always remember that your reader should understand what your website is all about without having to click through different menu items and links. From the landing page alone, this should already be clear, even if it’s just photos and a few words. Another thing that’s important is that your website should be both desktop and mobile-friendly. Finally, never be tired of testing new ways to design your website. As long as you understand the foundations of a good design, you can go forth and get creative.

 

Do you need a place to start with your own web design process? We can help! Give our team a call at (561) 506-0398.

Social Media & SEO: How The Likes Of Facebook & Twitter Affect Your Search Rankings

One reliable way to measure engagement and opinion about a website is to check what people are saying on social media. Search engines are able to pick up on market opinion posted on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and use the data gathered to determine what ranking it will award the site. Thus, if you want your website to get a page one appearance on searches, you should not take your social media presence for granted.

 

Will social links help boost your searching ranking? Many professional online marketers believe that this is so.

 

Google and Your Social Media Profile

 

While sharing pages or posts on social media do not heavily affect your site’s ranking in searches, they have a huge impact on the how the results turn out. In fact, when you search for something on Google, its Facebook or Twitter page often shows up on page one listings. If you search “Pepsi” for instance, the company’s official social media pages almost always appear at the top, depending on how many followers it has.

 

One good thing about social media profiles is that they create a personal connecition the market. That’s why researchers view its engagement and likes as a good gauge of its general personality. Isn’t it true that when you search for a certain company online, you include their official Facebook or Twitter pages as reliable sources of information? If a social media account turns up on search results, there is a big chance that people will click that first.

 

Social Media Platforms Can Be Searched, As Well

 

Search engines are not the only place where online users conduct keyword searches. This happens a lot on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, too. If you have an active Twitter account, it’s very possible that people will stumble upon your brand and services after searching for tweets for related keywords. Hashtags are also a great way for people to discover your site so use those wisely.

 

For now, Google is saying that social signals do not really drive rankings on search engines. However, it seems that the tide is changing and the roles of Facebook and Twitter (and others) on helping your website reach the first page are also evolving. Thus, marketers should not be too quick to dismiss its power to help sites boost traffic and turn a profit. After all, the tech is already there; the next step is just really to maximize its features and then start raking in the gains.

4 Things Your Business Should STOP Doing On Social Media

Just because your business has an online presence, that doesn’t automatically mean that customers will be pouring in instantly. By being on the Internet, where everything is basically free for all, you have a larger responsibility to regulate each word that is posted on your site. If you are publicly known as the business’s owner, you are also challenged to post only things that will bring positive energy towards your brand and refrain from any unbecoming online behavior. When you are online, your business’s reputation can go from 10 to zero in just minutes.

Professional online marketers say these are the 4 things that you should stop or never do on social media.

 

  1. Never lie

When you market your products or services, it’s a given that you will highlight your best features without going into the nitty gritty details. Because social media opens up the channel of communication between the customer and the copmany, it is important that you always tell the truth. By building a foundation of trust, you create loyal following and a community of brand evangelists.

 

  1. Offend or argue with your customers

Not everybody will be happy with your brand — and that’s okay. Take the criticism as a way for you to make improvements. If you find people getting unreasonable with their social media posts, the first instinct would be to fight back and get cocky. Don’t. Do not get lured into the trap and engage in word war with trolls and embarrass yourself online. If trolls are hounding you, the best way to respond is by taking it with good humor and then dropping the topic altogether.

 

The same also goes with posting complaints ABOUT your customers. Not every new client will be familiar with your brand and, again, that’s all right. Use it as an opportunity to engage with your market so they understand better. Don’t go on social media posting screenshots of your conversations or saying bad stuff about your client (or your competitiors, for that matter). That kind of behavior only reflects your brand’s character. Nobody wants to deal with a whiner and a snitch.

 

  1. Spam

Social media spamming is one of the worst things your business can do online. This annoying practice will not only turn off potential customers, it will also get your website blacklisted. Instead, continue to provide engaging updates and quality content that people will want to click and see.

 

  1. Being too confident

So you posted a video that went viral last month? Great! But that doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels and start relaxing. The point of a “virus” is that it is short-lived. Thus, your business will need to think of fresh ways to get your market’s attention if you want to continue thriving and surviving. Being too confident and not constantly updating and reaching out to your customers could be your brand’s downfall.

Social media engagement is a major part of a succesful marketing campaign. Thus, you must take care of how your business is perceived on the Internet, similar to how you protect your reputation in the brick-and-mortar world.

4 Online Marketing Strategies Your Brick-and-Mortar Shop Needs This 2018

While we already live in the day and age of the Internet, there still are plenty of brick-and-mortar businesses that hesitate to bring their brand online. Many think that venturing the Internet will dilute their business model or bring confusion to their clients. This is where they are wrong. Nowadays, if you have a physical store but have no online presence, you are missing a LOT on a huge opportunity to get your brand out to a much wider (even international) clientele.

The Internet exists as a solid channel to market and advertise just about anything. Retailers, even small businesses, are taking advantage of this venue mostly because it is free. Right some, some 70 percent of enterprises have embraced the online world. If your business does not employ any form of Internet marketing at all, it’s high time you do — or you risk being totally ignored.

What does it take to be a successful business owner nowadays? While the traditional buyers are still making a major impact on commerce, it’s the millennial generation’s attention that you need if you want your business to continue to flourish for many years to come. This young generation of consumers have massive buying capacity — and with social media, have the power to make or break your brand by simply sharing it to their other online friends. If you are not including millenial consumer habits to your marketing strategy, you might as well place an end date to your business.

So, what do you do and where do you start? The first step is always the most challenging and that is acknowledging that you need to set up your presence online. Once you’re past this hurdle, take note of these four tips.

 

  1. Invest in a good design for your website.

Your website’s design and usability is a reflection of your business in the “real” world. Pay attention to how your site will come out on a desktop and on mobile. If users have a hard time accessing your site, if it takes a long time to load, appears cluttered, and have a difficult time identifying where to click, it’s not likely they will recommend your brand to others.

Load times and placement matter to how viewers will respond to your brand. Remember that they haven’t spoken to you yet or have seen your actual store. Your website is the first time they are engaging with you so make sure it’s a positive experience. A website that’s easy to navigate and provides updated and detailed information is similar to a front desk officer that greets customers as they enter the store.

 

  1. Determine your niche and build a community.

Create a following for your website. You can do this by regularly producing quality content, highlighting your products and services with evolving and fresh strategies, and connecting with people who talk about your brand online with public replies.

For example, you have a business that offers laundry services. You can invite more people to engage with you by posting articles on new washing machine technology, environmentally-friendly ways to make detergent, and similar themes. By building an active online network, you are a step higher than the competition because you have already built a channel for future marketing efforts.

 

  1. Maximize the power of Google

Think like your customer so you can figure out the best way to address their needs. If your business is new, research the likely ways your potential clients will try to search for businesses like yours. This is where Google Adwords and keyword optimization come in. Better yet, you can invest in paid advertising and Google will determine how best to present your ad and where.

 

  1. Take advantage of email.

Collect email addresses of would-be customers and offer some kind of incentive program from signing up to your website. When you collect mail, you can then create a list that can be use to share new information, announce promotions and deals, or inform the public of special in-store packages. Chances are, they will click toward your website or go visit your actual store to avail of the deals.

The road to success is clear — and that’s a path that’s anchored on the Internet. If you want your business to survive in this increasingly competitive world, you have to utilized all available channels to promote your brand.

3 Reasons Why Long-Tail Keywords Matter To Your SEO Strategy

Keywords are the basic building blocks of every SEO campaign. They are actually the key elements from where a marketing decision is based. Thus, it is of utmost important to select the right words and build the correct mix of these words to gain relevancy and boost search volume.

If you are a new business that’s just trying to understand how SEO can help your brand grow, the most important advice would be to steer clear of those keywords with already high search volumes. Your website will just get drowned by the crowd and will take a very long time before you see them gaining any attention.

However, if you focus on the middle-range keywords, or those that are frequently searched but are not as saturated, you have a much better chance of getting noticed. These are the types of keywords that are composed of 3 or more words in a phrase. So-called “long tail keywords,” they offer a more targeted search and have fewer competitors to elbow through to reach Google’s page one.

Here are 3 reasons why long tail keywords should be part of your SEO campaign.

1. Long tail keywords have a higher conversion rate.

People who use long tail keywords are typically those who are looking for something specific. They are using long phrases because their one-word or two-word searches are not generating the answers they are seeking. For example, if you just type “accounting software” you will get a wide range of URLs that offer software on different types of accounting tools. However, if you type in “business accounting software,” the more likely it is that you will get results that are all related to “business accounting.” Your website has a bigger chance of a conversion this way.

2. Fewer competitors

The keyword “benefits of long tail keywords” will have less competition than the broader search phrase “keywords.” While broad keywords have a higher search volume, but they don’t really deliver exactly what the searcher needs. If you are a small business owner, you will have a hard time trying to outrank the larger companies that offer the same products as you. For people to find you online, you have to focus on what your business specializes in.

For example, if you are selling socks, banking on just the keyword “socks” or “socks for sale” will not likely push your site to page 1. However, if you use “rainbow colored wooly socks” or “animal print socks for kids,” you have a better chance of ranking properly.

3. You connect better with your market.

Since long tail keywords have a more natural and conversational tone to them, you tend to develop a more welcoming relationship with your audience. A huge part of a good SEO strategy is delivering well-written content that speaks to your reader like a friend. If you always focus on building high quality and useful articles, you eventually create a loyal following and, with that, traction in search engines. In addition, writing articles based on long tail keywords also helps your content focus the way a broad or general keyword cannot.

In short, the goal of long tail keywords is to answer a specific query to increase your site’s conversion rate. By going the more natural, conversational-sounding route, you connect with your reader better. When this emotional attachment is established, you can expect that a sale will come after.

Social Media & SEO: How The Likes Of Facebook & Twitter Affect Your Search Rankings

You might think that you have a spectacularly designed website, but if nobody’s reading it, then all the effort will be for naught. You may have a lot of comments and shares on your posts, but do you really know how your page is performing in quantifiable terms? How can you sell your site to potential advertisers if you don’t have the numbers to back you up? One reliable way to measure engagement is by looking at your social media presence.

Many online marketing experts believe that links to your website that are shared via the likes of Twitter, Facebook or Instagram have a major impact on your site’s search rankings. Because people are more actively engaged on social media, there’s a higher chance that posts will lead to clicks into your actual site.

 

How Search Engines See Social Media Profiles

The number of likes and shares your social media post gets doesn’t really have a signficant impact on your website’s search engine rankings. However, your profile can influence how your search results look like. In fact, when you type a search for a company’s name on Google, its Twitter, Facebook or Instagram page almost always pop up on the first page.

Social media pages are obviously a lot more personal and subjective compared to websites — and that’s where it gets extra points. One can better get a sense of a brand’s following based on how people respond to it on SocMed. Isn’t it that when you want to find out more about a company, one of the first things you look at is either its Facebook or Twitter profile?

There’s no argument that a solid social media presence matters to Google searches, and more particularly to people who are actively searching for you. You don’t have to be present in all social media channels. One or two will suffice, as long as you keep it active by posting new content every now and then, engage with your readers, and more. By creating a venue where the market can interact with your brand directly, you make the experience personal and fun. When the interaction is positive, the more likely that this will turn into clicks toward your official website.

 

Using Social Media As A Search Engine

Facebook’s and Twitter’s search functions, for one, allow you to search for brands and even items posted within the network. For example, it’s very much possible for potential customers to stumble upon your company’s new Facebook page after typing in related keyword searches. Brands that also attach beautiful photos and promos on their posts can make their pages more visible via carefully thought out hashtags or through sponsored posts and boosts.

 

The content that accompanies every About Us page and every photo matters. This is where your SEO skills come into play, similar to how you make websites work.

Overall, the Internet is really all about making a connection with your target market, engaging with your audience, showing your identity and sharing your thoughts and ideas. Inherently, even outside social media, it is a social channel that thrives on participation and anchors on trust and emotion. The more positive the experience readers have with your brand, whether with your actual website or your social media accounts, the higher the likelihood that you will get first page results.

5 Reasons Why Your Website Isn’t Bringing New Customers In

Creating a website is one thing, but getting people to click, read and stay is an entirely new ball game. So many websites have come and gone, not because they were poorly made, but because nobody was visiting. The popular idea that you’d automatically get customers the moment you get a website out is pure myth. What makes some websites succeed and what causes others to fail? Here are five of the most common reasons you’re not bringing new customers in.

 

  1. You don’t know your audience.

You don’t make a website to make your board of directors happy, or to make yourself happy. The main objective of a site is to entice would-be customers to come and stay. Thus, you should make THEM happy. Successful websites are so because they first researched what their audiences want and never stops looking for ways to understand changing market appetites. For your site to get attention and to remain relevant for months and years after, you have to know what people want.

 

 

  1. Your site isn’t usable.

User experience is crucial to your website’s success. It could be something as simple as a site that takes ages to load, which discourages people from staying. Remember that the Internet audience has a very short attention span and can easily click X and go somewhere else if they feel their needs aren’t attended to immediately. Amazon, for instance, improved its user experience by ensuring that its pages take only 0.1 second to load. This move boosted its earnings by 1%, leading it to profit of almost $44 billion in 2016 alone.

 

  1. It isn’t aesthetically pleasing.

Aside from speed and content, your website should be easy on the eyes. You want to provide a positive experience for your audience the moment the see your first page. This is where design comes in. And it’s not just about beauty and face-value. People have to know where things are. There are plenty of websites that look like so much work has been put into them — and that’s all right. However, if people don’t know how to contact you or where to click to find out more about your services, then all the effort will be useless.

 

  1. They don’t have a reason to come back.

Trust is a big word when it comes to creating a successful website. The audience has to like you and see you as a reliable source of information. This is why a powerful About Us page matters. Don’t just paste in boilerplate text. Make it relatable by including photos of the team or connecting your audience to your active social media accounts where they can instantly engage with you. In short, don’t just be a website that lists products and services. Be a “friend.”

 

Another reason people will want to come back to your site is fresh content. You have to go with the times and be in the know of trends in your industry. Your content is not set in stone and will have to evolve from time to time. Keep a blog on your site so your readers can check back periodically for the latest news and updates on your products, promos and other related issues. Video blogs also work, as well as viral posts.

 

  1. You don’t focus.

The last thing you want people to think about your site is that it’s a cluttered mess. Before designing your site, ask yourself first: What do I want to achieve? What product do I want to highlight? How do I want to connect to the public? While it’s important that your website changes its content from time to time, you have to focus on a branding strategy every time.

Sure, it’s tempting to just lay out all your products and services — but that can get very confusing for your customer, not to mention annoying. Decide which of your services get the attention first and just place the others on the background (but still easily accessible). You’ll be surprised at the number of visits and returns you get if you focus.

How A Press Release Helps Your SEO Strategy

Getting to page one of search results requires a consistent and dedicated effort on your part. Just because your website achieved front page status now doesn’t mean this won’t change later in the day. There will always be a competitor who is ready to bump you off and push you to the back.

 

Whether you’re working on your website alone or have a team backing you up, your SEO strategy will benefit from creative efforts. For this part, we’re discuss the role of a press release in your campaign.

 

What Is A Press Release?

 

Traditionally in PR, a press release is used as a way to share information, such as a new product or service, an event or a statement. In online terms, it can be strongly linked to your SEO strategy, as well. You can use it to incorporate keywords that would help people find or discover your website. You can also hyperlink to certain pages on your site. Plus, as is the classic nature of a press release, it will be distributed to dozens of quality websites, thus prompting Google to bump you to page one results.

 

PR and Your SEO Strategy

 

Because of its traditional format, most online marketers and website owners don’t recognize the power of a well-optimized press release in bringing a new market in. Making one doesn’t really require knowledge of rocket science. When you understand basic SEO rules, you can craft press releases yourself — no need to outsource. So, how do you do it?

 

  1. Decide on the news that you want to announce. Do you have a new product? Are you launching a new service? Did you win any awards recently or secured a key account? Identify what exactly you want to promote and that’s where your press released will be based on.

 

  1. Follow the template. The format for an online press release is the same as the traditional one. There are plenty of resources around the Internet that give you access to templates, so this part should be easy.

 

  1. Put important keywords in.

 

  1. Accompany your press release with an image to boost visual appeal. Or you can just attach your company’s logo. If you’re feeling experimental, you can add a video or more hyperlinks in.

 

  1. Put your important contact information in and start distributing it to quality press release sites and news outlets online. If you know any journalists or people with an already wide Internet network, you can ask them to post your PRs, as well.

 

Google probably won’t admit it, but many businesses have achieved positive results by posting SEO-optimized press releases online. When a potential customer types in keywords to search, a well-distributed PR, combined with your usual Internet marketing tactics, will result in a front page posting. Do understand that this is not going to happen overnight. But with the vastness of the Internet, you can’t leave any stone unturned. Press releases are an easy and free way to boost your SEO.