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7 Good Rules for Mobile Marketing

Posted Thu, November 5, 2015 by Julie Short

Marketing has been around since the invention of money, and probably for a while before that. But, while some principles and ideas stay constant from one eon and era to the next, there are times when technology can be game-changing and new rules need to be written.

That’s been true throughout history, as things like billboards, television ads, and even web banners all revolutionized the advertising and marketing industry. It’s even truer today, with the proliferation of mobile marketing.

What we’re getting at here is that you have to understand what works, and what doesn’t, with respect to mobile marketing if you’re going to get results and avoid angering customers. To that end, here are seven good rules to follow:

#1: Respect Privacy – mobile phones and tablets are very personal things. That makes an intrusion of privacy (usually in the form of an unwanted tag or push notification) seem all the more threatening. Be very sensitive with what you share, and know that buyers will back away quickly if they feel like their privacy is being threatened.

#2: Don’t Discriminate Between Platforms – there’s a good chance that sizable portions of your customer base use at least two different mobile platforms (iPhone and Android), and possibly several more. Knowing that, make your marketing easily accessible across all major devices.

#3: Think on Your Feet – mobile marketing lets you reach out to customers quickly, even more quickly than you could with email. That means that if you aren’t contacting them with timely offers, you can bet one of your competitors will be.

#4: React Instead of Predicting – although it’s good to put mobile campaigns into action quickly, you shouldn’t make long-term plans or predictions about the future. After all, buyers can surprise you, and the key to high-ROI mobile marketing over time is to study trends and react to them, not to make your own predictions.

#5: Be Direct, But Not Pushy – your customers know that you’re after their business, and may even appreciate the occasional targeted offer or discount. However, if you bother them too often, you can bet the relationship and subscription will be ended very quickly.

#6: Aim for Simple and Realistic – the best mobile marketing campaigns are structured around quick, impulsive actions. Ask buyers to do something that’s simple, straightforward, and realistic. Shoot for more than that and response rates will suffer.

#7: Save the Relationship, Not the Sale – believe it or not, your first priority should be to make a sale; it should be to preserve and enhance the relationship you have with the customer. You can always ask them to buy again later, but only if they are still willing to look at messages from your company.
Make no mistake: mobile marketing is a whole different animal. Have you been following the rules, and getting the results you are hoping for?

Posted in : Mobile Apps , Mobile Websites , Online Marketing , Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : mobile , marketing , tips

Web Design Has Come a Long Way… Has Your Website?

Posted Thu, October 15, 2015 by Julie Short

We are currently closing in on three decades of history for the Internet, and boy have things changed over the years.

Not only were the first websites incredibly simple, but many of them would be considered positively garish by today’s standards. Huge fonts, flashing banners, and endless animations were once considered standard online. On the one hand, it’s funny to think about… but on the other hand, we are just glad that part of web design history is over.

But, while web design has grown in leaps and bounds over the years, we do still find companies sticking to old tactics and outdated ideas on the Internet. In the same way that no executive should be wearing a bell bottom suit in 2015, neither should your website be displaying any of these old-school defects:

Complicated layouts and pages – once upon time, websites were a novelty (and they took a long time to load). That meant users would spend a while looking at them in trying to understand what they were all about. Now, however, you have a few seconds, at most, to get to the point. Make sure your website is easy to understand at first glance.

One-dimensional design – there aren’t just more websites than ever, there are more devices to access them with. Surveys show that the majority of web surfers are using phones and tablets, so put a responsive web design in place that makes it easy for them to find and use your content.

Slow-loading websites – when dial-up connections went away, so did our patience for websites that load slowly. Get a web presence that is properly coded, and invest in quality hosting, so that visitors won’t get bored while they are waiting for your pages to load.

Long blocks of text – surfing the web isn’t just a leisure activity anymore, which is why nobody wants to read a huge block of uninterrupted text. Break new ideas into separate pages, and get into the habit of using subheadings, bulleted list, and other separators to make it easier to scan.

Stale content – you aren’t just trying to get people to notice your shiny new website, you’re competing for attention. Visitors to your website like to see current, up-to-date thoughts. For that matter, so does Google. Make sure you edit and refresh your content – including photos – on a regular basis.

Missing links – social media isn’t just the fastest-growing area of the web, it’s practically a way of life for many people. If users can’t find links to your Facebook, Twitter, and Google + accounts, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for customer engagement.

Complicated forms and calls to action – in the old days, a customer might call a phone number to place an order, or be willing to fill out page after page of information (like shoppers used to do on the backs of catalogs). Now, if someone is interested in what you have to offer, you have to make it easy for them to follow up and respond. Even an e-commerce site doesn’t need endless forms, so streamline your user experience to make it simple for first-time visitors to do business with you or find out more.

If your website seems like a relic from the past, know that nostalgia probably isn’t going to help your sales. Call or email us today to see how we can bring your business into the 21st century (and improve your bottom line at the same time).

Posted in : Tips and Tricks , Websites | 
Tags : website , website tips

How to Profit From a Healthy Blog

Posted Thu, October 1, 2015 by Julie Short

In the third post of our blog marketing series, we want to show you what happens when you continually add fresh content to your blog, make sure it’s search-optimized, and start to develop a following.

Many marketers tend to (mistakenly) assume that attracting lots of traffic will automatically increase their revenue. It’s a good start, but bringing visitors to your website alone won’t do much to grow sales. If you truly want to profit from a healthy blog, you have to know how to monetize the interest you’re getting.

Today, we’re going to give you a handful of proven tips for doing exactly that:

End Each Post With an Offer – the easiest way to generate revenue from your blog is to simply ask visitors to take the next step while they’re already reading your content. That could be downloading a white paper, scheduling a free consultation, or even making a purchase. What matters is that your offer is compelling, and that it lines up well with the content you are providing in your blog.

Use Your Blog to Grow Social and Email Lists – alternatively, you could ask readers to sign up for a newsletter or follow you on social media sites. This might not generate the quick profits that a more straightforward call-to-action would, but it’s an easier conversion (meaning that first-time visitors are more likely to do it), and could make sense if you have a longer, more complex sales cycle.

Advertise on Your Own Blog – while some marketers like to add outside advertising to their blogs, that isn’t likely to generate much money for you unless you have a very popular blog in a very targeted niche. Instead, we recommend that you add your own advertising messages to your blog’s sidebar, with the intention of getting visitors to click through to product pages, discount codes, and other offers.

Package Your Content Into Something Valuable – over time, you’ll likely develop lots of great content for your blog, and on topics that are all closely related to one another. If you find that your posts start to be popular, and generate lots of comments, you may consider turning that content into something bigger (like an e-book, or a video) that can either be sold or used for future lead generation efforts.

Position Yourself as an Expert – the biggest benefit to successful blogging is also the least obvious. The more insightful content you add to your website, the more you position yourself as the expert in your field and industry. Over time, this can lead to more leads, more referral opportunities, and even higher fees and revenues. Don’t discount the value of being a recognized authority based on an informative blog.

Remember, your blog is only useful if it helps your company to grow. By bringing in visitors from search engines and social media campaigns, you’re on the way to improving your bottom line. Then, it’s just a matter of using one or two of these techniques to monetize your blog in a way that makes a difference.

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , Online Marketing , Blogging | 
Tags : blog , content , blogging tips

5 Steps to Search-Optimized Blog Posts

Posted Thu, September 17, 2015 by Julie Short

Web designers and Internet marketing experts like to remind you (as we often do) that having fresh content on your website – usually in the form of search-optimized blog posts – is the best way to attract attention from Google and its millions of users.

But what often goes unexplained is exactly how you make your posts visible to search engines. Today, we want to give you the basics of SEO for blog posts, in five steps:

#1: Know Which Keywords You’re Targeting – just as every blog post should have a single topic, it should also have one or two search phrases that it’s built and constructed around. Ideally, these will be used once in the title, once in a subheading (if it feels natural) and once or twice throughout the main content.

#2: Begin With the Right Title – your blog title should contain the search phrase you’re targeting, of course, but also something that’s catchy, descriptive, and inviting. In other words, make sure your title has a search visibility element, but do your best to appeal to actual readers and grab their attention. Make them feel like they just have to take a look before clicking somewhere else.

#3: Use Search-Friendly Subheadings – subheadings on a page give you two important benefits. First, they break up long blocks of text that would otherwise seem boring and/or overwhelming. Plus, they give you another chance to highlight important search phrases in a way that’s meaningful to Google’s spiders.

#4: Include 1-3 Internal Links – the same kind of thinking applies to internal links (hyperlinks from within your blog content to other pages on your website). These have important SEO value, especially if you use linking terms that apply to the content on the destination page. At the same time, they stop your blog post from being a “dead-end,” and give readers a chance to learn more while staying on your website.

#5: Mind the Details – lots of marketers choose to focus on search engine optimization details. These won’t necessarily make or break your campaigns, but adding alt image tags, descriptive and search-friendly descriptions, and search-optimized filenames can all give you that “extra push” needed to help climb up Google’s search rankings.

One quick word of caution: as effective as each of these five steps is in making your blog post more visible to search engines, you definitely don’t want to go overboard with any of these tactics. Google and the other engines want quality content that’s easy to crawl, not pages with so many keywords that they are hard for actual readers to understand.

In other words, go too far and your content is likely to disappear from Google altogether, so follow these tips but don’t try to force the issue.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM , Online Marketing , Business Strategy , Blogging | 
Tags : SEO for blogs , blogging , SEO

Blogging for Home Builders

Posted Thu, September 10, 2015 by Julie Short

To be successful, every business needs to have the mindset to do whatever it takes to connect with your consumer online. In the case of home builders, you’ve got to have an impressive site to showcase your art. An accompanying mobile or a responsive site will help land customers that check out your company on a mobile device. Once you’ve got an attractive site, it’s important to focus on other ways to draw people into your brand.

Blogging is an important component of any brand’s online presence. With fresh, relevant content on your site, essentially, Google will see you as more authoritative and that will increase your online reach potential. Beyond the Google math and more importantly, blogging is a personal, immediate way to communicate with potential home buyers online. Your consumer can get information and news without any added pressure to purchase.

Here are some topic ideas to get you started:

Behind the Scenes:
Potential home buyers are interested in your company and how you do your work. Update them on upcoming developments, the building process and the design process. Are you involved in a lot of green building with high energy efficiency standards? Do you know specifics on how much manpower and material goes into a specific home? This is a good opportunity to go into detail on topics that you wouldn’t have time for otherwise.

Showcase Finished Products:
Taking the time to feature a location you’ve just finished is both an easy topic (you already have all that data at your fingertips), but also a great way to bring attention in.

Special Events:
Do you have a new community you’re opening? What about a sale or event at a model home? This is a great way to get the news out – and if you’re the only one talking about new homes in that community, you’re sure to get noticed.

Local Events:
What’s going on around your communities? You have an ear to the ground in the places home buyers are looking, so share what attracts you to the area and post news! It creates a real sense of community for your readers already moved in and others following you as well.

Homeowner Tips:
What if there’s no news to share? As a builder, you have an internal database of information first time homebuyers need. Whether it's a brief explanation of mortgage terminology or, suggestions on preparing a home for winter, your insider information is perfect for the slow times.

We hope these ideas help jumpstart your blog. Home buying is one of the largest financial decisions a person can make. The more information you put out, the better chance you have to earn the buyers trust and secure the sale.

Posted in : Tips and Tricks , SEO/SMO/SMM , Online Marketing , Business Strategy , Blogging | 
Tags : Blogging Tips , Blogging for Home Builders

How to Make the Most of Your Business Blog

Posted Thu, September 3, 2015 by Julie Short

In a recent post, we reminded readers and clients that blogging isn’t dead… if anything, it’s more important than ever to your search engine optimization and Internet marketing efforts.

However, a lot of businesses aren’t using their blogs as effectively as they could be. Part of the reason might be because blogging isn’t a cutting-edge topic anymore, the way social media and mobile marketing is. That’s true, but it doesn’t take away from the importance of a healthy blog.

The other reason probably has to do with the fact that a lot of companies simply don’t know how to make the most of their blogs. That’s understandable, but it’s not enough reason to give up. Today, we are going to give you some easy tips that can help you get the biggest marketing impact from your company’s blog…

Post Regularly – having a blog won’t do anything for you if you don’t regularly post new content. At a minimum, you should be adding new articles once or twice a week; even more often is preferable. That signals to readers – and search engines – that you are an ongoing and current source of new ideas.

Sell Ideas, Not Products – speaking of ideas, the focus of your blog should be on advice, insights, and concepts. Once you have someone’s attention, you can get them interested in what you have to offer. Begin your posts with a marketing pitch, however, and you’ll quickly lose the attention of readers.

Share More Than Text – most of your blog posts will probably be written, of course, but don’t forget that you can use images, video, and even audio or custom graphics to explain or accompany an idea. Visual content is great because it’s easy to understand, not to mention share over social networks.

Promote Your Blog Via Social Media – social media and blogging go hand-in-hand. When you add a new post to your website, make sure you’re promoting it via Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. That helps drive traffic to your blog and provide value to those who are following you on social channels.

Invite Feedback – posting to your blog isn’t just about spreading your thoughts, it’s also about getting feedback from readers. So, make sure to enable comments and invite visitors to submit their own thoughts. If you get lots of lively discussion moving back and forth, you’ll have the basis for plenty of future topics.

Learn From Your Best Posts and Ideas – like most things in life, 80% of your blog comments and traffic will come from 20% of your posts. So, if you hit on a winning idea or concept, feel free to revisit it, update the thought, or generate a related post. The spin-off article you come up with might be even more popular.

Your blog can be a source of new information, a hub of social activity, and the centerpiece of your search engine optimization plan. Are you getting the right kinds of results from your posts? If not, it’s time to put these tips to work on your website.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM , Business Strategy , Blogging | 
Tags : blogging , effective blogging , blogging tips

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