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Why You Should Build an Online Community

Posted Thu, August 6, 2015 by Julie Short

When business owners start out with blogging, email newsletters, and social media, it’s usually because they want to market their companies and products or services.

But by thinking a little bit bigger and incorporating things like online forums, hangouts, discussion groups, and active common threads into these activities, you could do something even more powerful: build an online community.

Building an online community takes more time and work than simple marketing does, of course, but there are a number of reasons any business owner or executive should consider making the effort…

First: There are the Business Benefits

A popular website can be a great thing for your business, but building an online community – one that’s a hub of new posts and ideas, is even more powerful. That’s because all of that content draws in colleagues and new potential customers, and catapults your website to the top of Google’s search engine rankings. Plus, being at the front of a popular and growing online community naturally positions you as an expert in your field.

Then: There is the Potential for New Partnerships and Relationships

Sometimes, the best part about founding an online community isn’t the new sales it brings, but the partnerships and collaborations it inspires. That’s because you could suddenly find yourself meeting others in your industry, or in related fields, who can share ideas with you on growing your company or providing better service. These ideas can help your business grow in dozens of different ways, even if they don’t lead to a direct and immediate improvement in sales.

Finally: You Might Start Something Very Big

Like your business itself, the online community that you build could begin to pick up some momentum and grow into something spectacular. Remember that every major industry forum or social media group you’ve ever come across, even the biggest ones, were begun by someone who saw a need or opportunity. Why couldn’t your online community – built around your original vision – be the next big thing?

Just like any community, your online community could grow, take on a life of its own, and turn into something that’s bigger than you ever imagined. And even if it doesn’t, you’ll get a lot of marketing benefits from posting new content, finding others who can contribute smart ideas to your website, and becoming a source of information and advice.

When you’re looking for help with web design and Internet marketing, turn to WebRevelation in Dallas, San Antonio or Houston. We have the skills and expertise you need to help your business grow!

Posted in : Online Marketing , FYI , Business Strategy | 
Tags : marketing strategy , online marketing , build community , build online community , relationship marketing

7 Simple Online Security Tips

Posted Thu, June 18, 2015 by Julie Short

Online security is a bigger topic than ever these days. Individuals and businesses alike are learning that they better go out of their way to protect things like passwords and financial records if they don’t want to fall prey to hackers. And at the same time, the consequences of theft and data breaches are more severe than ever.

What gets lost in all the concern about online security, however, is that the best pieces of advice tend to be the simplest. Most cyber crimes don’t happen because cyber criminals are using sophisticated technology or expertise, but instead because we tend to leave the front doors to our websites and financial accounts wide-open.

To help keep you better protected, here are seven simple online security tips you can start using immediately:

#1: Use Strong Passwords

One survey suggested that more than 10% % of Americans use “1234” as their ATM pin numbers, and that a similar number use passwords like “password.” Changing yours to a complicated mix of upper and lower case letters, with some numbers and special characters thrown in, makes it almost impossible for automated hacking tools to gain access to your accounts.

#2: Change Your Passwords Regularly

While we’re on the subject of passwords, be sure you change yours every 3 to 6 months. And, if you have to ask, it’s a good idea to have different passwords for all the major websites and services you use.

#3: Be Stingy With Sensitive Data

A password is only a password if some people don’t know it. It’s amazing how many offices we’ve seen where everyone has permission to log into the company server, or charge items to the owner’s credit card. Think carefully about who needs access to which pieces of information in your business, and then seal off any loose ends.

#4: Back Up Everything, and Back it Up Often

Whether you lose data because of a problem with technology or a lack of security, having extensive, validated, and up-to-date backups is extraordinarily important. Make sure you aren’t just keeping a copy of critical files, but that they are somewhere safe and password-protected.

#5: Take Advantage of Security Patches

When it comes to things like web hosting packages and financial software, it’s critical that you install patches and updates as they come out. Often, these contain the fixes to security breaches that have been discovered, to someone else’s misfortune. Software providers are constantly closing the door on hackers, so take the protection offered by ongoing updates.

#6: Keep the Right Company

This is good advice for life, of course, but especially applies to your online relationships. Don’t visit websites that you can’t trust (especially online casinos and other adult-themed destinations), and certainly don’t respond to messages, click on links, or download attachments from others you don’t know. This applies for social media, as well – just because someone looks friendly doesn’t mean they just want to be your friend.

#7: Keep a Close Eye on Websites and Accounts

Once a week or so, take a quick look through your business website and financial accounts. Often, the easiest way to tell you’ve been a victim of cyber crime is with a simple eye test. Discovering that something is wrong might not be pleasant, but it can keep the issue from getting worse (as it would if it were undiscovered).

None of these tips is sophisticated, but they all work. Start using them today, and you’ll greatly decrease the risks associated with hacking, identity theft, and other Internet crimes.

Is your web design and Internet marketing firm looking out for you the way they should be? If not, now is the perfect time to schedule a free consultation with the WebRevelation team.

Posted in : Websites , Online Profile Management , FYI | 
Tags : online security , security

Why Video is so Valuable in Online Marketing

Posted Thu, June 11, 2015 by Julie Short

One by one, marketers are starting to recognize just what kind of difference adding online video to their websites can make. In particular, landing pages, product pages, and even blogs can all be enhanced with good video clips that move viewers to action.

You’ve probably gotten the advice to add online video to your Internet marketing mix already. So what is it that makes video so powerful?

We’re glad you asked, because we want to share with you a few of video’s biggest benefits:

Video Creates a Stronger Connection to the Viewer

Sales and marketing are all about making an emotional connection, and that’s much easier with video than it is images or plain text on a website. Researchers have also pointed out that video tends to be more memorable to viewers. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that adding video to landing pages can boost response rates by as much as 100%.

Video Gives You More Time

The average website visitor will scan a page of text if they are interested in the topic, but will actually watch the video on the same subject. That’s because the added dimension of motion, detail, and even human facial cues causes us to subconsciously dial in. The net result is that you can get more of your customers time by showing them video than you would with a written marketing message.

Video Creates a Powerful Sense of Proof

Seeing is believing, and it’s a lot easier to make buyers “see” with video than it is with words or still photos. That’s especially true when you’re showing the faces of happy customers, or the details of a product and how it works. If you want to show off the finer points of your marketing message, and really demonstrate value, then online video is a great choice.

Online Video Is More Cost-Effective Than Ever

Even a decade ago, shooting a high-quality video might mean booking time with a studio, arranging props, and spending a small fortune on audio and editing. These days, virtually any business can afford to produce video clips that look expensive but aren’t. The lowered cost of producing online videos means the returns for using them have gotten much greater at the same time.

It’s no secret that customers tend to be more engaged with video than they do plain text or images. Until recently however, producing videos – even online – was too expensive for a lot of companies to consider. With prices coming down and production standards climbing, there’s no reason to miss out on the returns you could get from adding clips to your website. So what are you waiting for?

Attracting customers over the Internet starts with having the right online marketing team on your side. Contact WebRevelation in Dallas, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio today to schedule a free consultation and see exactly how we can help your business grow.

Posted in : Blogging , SEO/SMO/SMM , Website Content | 
Tags : video , video marketing , online video

Inbound Marketing Part 2: The Ingredients of an Inbound Marketing Campaign

Posted Thu, March 12, 2015 by Julie Short

In the first post in this series, we explained the concept behind inbound marketing and showed why it’s becoming so prevalent in the digital age. Today, we want to follow up on that idea and give you a quick overview of what an actual working campaign might look like.

If you want to attract new leads, and have them contact you when they’re ready to take the next step, there are a few things you have to have in place:

Several Pathways to Attract Visitors to Your Website

Before your website can generate leads, it has to have traffic. In most cases, an inbound marketing campaign will begin with search engine optimization, or perhaps pay-per-click ads. However, you can also leverage social media networks, a blog, referrals, and even email marketing to drive visitors to your website.

If possible, you’ll want to have several sources of new visitors. That will ensure you’re not only getting a mix of visitors, but also that you don’t become too dependent on any one particular source.

A Sales Funnel That Converts Visitors into Leads and Leads into Customers

Once you have visitors coming to your website, you need a way to turn them into leads. The specific process will probably depend a lot on your business, the industry, and customer preferences. However, it’s very common to offer premiums and extras in exchange for contact information. For example, you might give out an e-book, DVD set, or free consultation through your website to anyone who is willing to sign up for your newsletter or attend an event.

What matters here is that you give people who are coming to your website a very good reason to learn more and take the next step. Eventually, that “next step” will involve making a purchase or meeting with a member of your team.

A Way to Nurture Contacts and Encourage Them to Keep Moving Forward

One great thing about inbound marketing is that it allows customers to move the process along at their own pace. Unfortunately, not all of them are going to be ready to take action and meet with you or complete a purchase right away. For that reason, you need to have some sort of follow-up system in place, such as an email newsletter or autoresponder for “cold” leads. Eventually, these contacts may come around and decide to work with you.

There is a lot more that goes into inbound marketing, of course, but you can’t design or implement a successful lead generation campaign without these ingredients. Are you ready to put them to work on your website?

Think inbound marketing could work for your business, or want to ask questions? Contact WebRevelation today and let us show you why so many companies turn to us when they need to see bottom-line improvements in sales and marketing.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM , Email Marketing , Business Strategy | 
Tags : inbound marketing , online marketing

Are You Playing Hide and Seek With Your Customers?

Posted Thu, February 19, 2015 by Julie Short

As the web has gotten bigger and bigger, the need for targeted, focused, and (sometimes) geographic-specific communities has increased.

There is an almost infinite amount of information online, but the majority isn’t always relevant. That’s especially true when it comes to the search for local businesses and vendors – you don’t want to find everyone, just the matches that make sense for your need and area.

For customers, the easy answer is to turn to websites like Yelp, YP (formerly yellow pages), and Foursquare, which sort profiles by interest and geography. For marketers, however, things get a little tougher. Businesses desperately need to be represented on these websites, but don’t always have the time and expertise to properly upload a profile, much less keep it current.

So how do you bridge that gap and keep your business visible without spending all your time entering information and looking for reviews? We might just have the perfect answer for you…

Introducing Your Business Listing Management Solution

At WebRevelation, we’ve been encouraging our clients to find and use every business listing outlet they can, knowing that maintaining the effort was a big challenge for business owners and managers.

In an effort to alleviate that challenge, we’ve partnered with Yext, a service that allows us to upload, update, and maintain your current local listing with dozens of powerful, high-profile listing publishers, nationally and internationally. Whether you have one location or dozens, it’s the perfect way to make your business easy to find while saving you lots of time and money.

It’s hard to overstate what kind of marketing effect the right exposure can have on a business that relies on local companies. Even if you were able to maintain a handful of profiles on your own, there’s no guarantee that the sites you choose would match up to the ones your next great customer wants to use. By making sure your business is easy to find in all the major apps and directories, you’re ensuring that your company will be hard for anyone who’s interested to miss.

Get Started With Business Listing Management Today

There are thousands and thousands of buyers out there waiting to find you, and lots of business that’s ready to be won. Now we are making it easier and more affordable than ever for you to ensure your business information stays current, correct, and visible. You could play hide and seek with your customers, but why not have them coming to you instead?

Contact WebRevelation today to learn more about our partnership with Yext and what it means for your business listings and online reviews.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM , Online Profile Management , Business Strategy | 
Tags : business listings , online profile

5 Online Tools You Can Use to Manage Your Company More Effectively

Posted Wed, August 21, 2013 by Julie Short

It isn't uncommon, when we meet with new business web design and marketing clients, to find that they have dozens more software tools and applications than they really need… but at the same time are missing out on some of the "essentials." In other words, they have a lot of things that won't really help them run their company, but have missed out on some of the most convenient and powerful tools out there.

To help you get more from your business, and your schedule, here are five that we can recommend you check out and incorporate into your company right away:

1. Trello. This amazingly simple piece of software makes project management a snap. By helping you sort tasks and milestones, complete with icons, next-step reminders, and other simple features, it gives you a straightforward way to move through large, complex projects, even when lots of different people are involved.

2. HootSuite. We mentioned this piece of software in a recent post about social media marketing, because it can be a wonderful timesaver for almost any business. Not only does it bring all of your social profiles together in one place (so that you don't have to log into them individually multiple times a day), but it lets you schedule tweets and other social updates ahead of time. If you feel like you don't have enough time to keep up with your social accounts and connections, HootSuite could be the answer.

3. Dropbox. This application lets users share large files with one another, and then update them on an ongoing basis. That means you can transmit pieces of data that are far too large for email, without uploading them to a public part of your website, and then collaborate with other team members, vendors, or customers at remote locations.

4. Skype and/or GoToMeeting. We've lumped these two together for the simple reason that traveling to face-to-face meetings isn't always a viable option these days, for financial and scheduling reasons. But, by using either piece of software (or both in conjunction), you can communicate with others and show off intricate presentations in real time, and all for a small fraction of what you'd pay for a single airline ticket.

5. Evernote. Although Evernote has a few distinct functions, we love it because it's document management at its best. Save important emails, paperwork, etc., and then tag it by date, folder, and even keywords. The result is that you'll never find yourself looking for an important file or piece of paper again, because they've all been stored and backed up in one convenient place.

Need more great tips on running a successful business in the digital age? Visit our blog for future updates, or get in touch with a member of the WebRevelation team today to see we can do for you.

Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : online tools

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