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Is Email Marketing Still Effective?

Posted Mon, November 28, 2016 by Julie Short

To hear some marketers talk about it, you would think that email had been around for half a century or more. In the age of social media, many talk about marketing through email newsletters as if they were passé and outdated. In fact, we regularly talk with business owners who think email no longer works, or at the very least, that it has stopped working the way it used to.

But is that idea accurate? Could it be that email marketing is still tremendously effective if you use it the right way? Based on our experiences working with clients, we certainly think so. To see how we reach that conclusion, though, we should step back a couple of steps and walk you through both sides of the issue…

Why Marketers Are Giving Up On Email

It’s easy to come to the conclusion that email doesn’t work the way it used to. In virtually every industry, subscribers are opening fewer messages, clicking on fewer links, and hitting the “unsubscribe” button more often. While it’s true that most adults carry around a smart phone or tablet that leaves them connected with their email almost continuously, it’s also true that they get far too many messages to read, and only scan through a handful of them.

When you look at things from that point of view, it’s easy to decide to give up on email and try more exciting channels like social media and video marketing. But, writing off email altogether overlooks a couple of important details.

The Power Of The Inbox

We suspect many marketers fail to appreciate the potential of email newsletters simply because they’ve been around for a relatively long time (in digital marketing terms). They aren’t exciting anymore, so business owners stop paying attention.

However, unlike some other forms of marketing, email is incredibly fast and inexpensive. Plus, it allows you to control your messaging in a very precise way, especially if you segment your lists and customize your content for readers. If you want to save money and get an instant response, it’s hard to beat email.

How To Make Email Marketing Work

Once you realize there is still a lot of potential in email, then the issue is not whether to use it, but how to use it. Here are a few of the best practices we use to achieve stellar results for our clients:

  • Use irresistible subject lines that draw our readers in
  • Include a short, informative article in every email newsletter
  • Divide your list of subscribers into specific groups and target your messages specifically to niche audiences
  • Make sure your email newsletters are mobile-friendly, with text and images that display cleanly on small screens
  • Wrap up every email with a simple call to action that invites subscribers to take the next step

Email is like any other tool you can use to reach out to customers – when you use it correctly, it’s going to be profitable and effective; when you don’t, it’s going to be a waste of time and money. If you aren’t getting the kinds of results you expected for your campaigns, now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your approach and see whether you could be doing more to get subscribers to open your emails and act upon them.

When you need a creative team that understands how to get real-world results, make WebRevelation your first call. And it only takes a moment to get in touch with our team and set up a free consultation, so don’t delay any longer!

Posted in : Email Marketing , Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : N/A


The Hidden Costs of Cheap and DIY Websites

Posted Mon, November 14, 2016 by Julie Short

There are a lot of places to get a “deal” on a small business website… so long as you’re looking for a low price and not necessarily a bigger value. No matter where you turn, there is another overseas company offering what they promise are custom websites, online templates that can supposedly be tailored to meet the needs of your company, and even free DIY websites offered by companies that advertise on TV.

In each case, though, you are very likely to get what you pay for. There’s a reason professional web designers charge professional fees, and a reason that these other services are willing to give you what they have for nothing, or next to it.

To understand why this is, let’s look at a few of the hidden costs associated with cheap and DIY websites…

Your Credibility Is On The Line

According to some studies, a first-time visitor to your website will browse for about 5 to 10 seconds before they decide whether to stay, or look for what they need elsewhere. That means first impressions are absolutely critical. Unfortunately, you’re not going to stand out in the crowd – at least not in a favorable way – by having a website that looks like it was thrown together a couple of hours.

Third Party Ads Ruin Your Website

Many free and low-cost web design services are really advertising platforms for the companies that host them. That might sound like a good deal until you stop and think about the message it sends to your potential customers when they arrive on your pages and find ads for an entirely different company (and possibly ads that aren’t even relevant to your industry). That destroys your credibility in a second, and virtually assures you won’t get the business.

A Website That Doesn’t Work Is Always Expensive

Whether you’re getting an ad from a template or a bargain-basement provider, there’s a good chance it’s going to include lots of unnecessary code. That’s because the website was originally built for dozens of different uses, and not your business in particular. That can slow down your website, and cause problems when you add plug-ins, update your hosting software, or attract mobile visitors to your website. Then, your pages can freeze or crash, ensuring the visitor won’t be buying from you anytime soon.

The Web Is About Layouts And Functionality

The one consistent thing about templates and low-cost websites is that they always look good at first glance. That’s how business owners get suckered into paying for them. Interesting aesthetics are only one facet of web design, though. If you really want to bring in buyers and add to your bottom line, your website also has to have back-end functionality, in the form of tools, databases, and automated features. You aren’t going to get that on the cheap.

Online Marketing Is Half The Battle

Ultimately, the success or failure of your website is all about the number of customers you can attract, and the quality of the sales opportunities that are generated. A great custom website is going to be built with future online marketing campaigns in mind. A template or DIY website is like a stand-alone brochure that’s never going to be seen by actual customers.

There’s never a good time to take a chunk of cash out of your business. But, if you’re treating your business website as an investment that’s going to pay you back, then it makes sense to pay for quality. It’s one thing to try to save money on a line item expense for paper and pens, and another thing altogether to hurt your own marketing because you don’t have a professional web presence that appeals to customers.

To get a new website is affordable and effective, reach out to the WebRevelation team today to schedule a free consultation!

Posted in : Websites , Tips and Tricks , Online Marketing | 
Tags : N/A


Why Images Make Or Break Your Marketing

Posted Mon, October 17, 2016 by Julie Short

For many years, marketing has been moving farther and farther into the digital space. As that has happened, business owners and design teams have begun paying lots of attention to text, copy, and keywords. You need words to generate search engine traffic, not to mention conversions, so other elements of creative campaigns were pushed to the back seat.

With the rise of social media and the reemergence of print marketing, however, companies are discovering something they should’ve remembered all along – that images can make or break a campaign. That’s true online or off, and that applies to virtually every business and industry.

Let’s look at why pictures are such an important part of what you do to connect with buyers…

Your Brain On Pictures

Psychologists and medical researchers estimate that the human brain can process images up to 60,000 times faster than text. That’s a pretty amazing statistic, and reason enough to use sharper images within your marketing content. People notice them faster, to the point that they literally jump off the page and catch our eyes.

At the same time, numerous studies have shown that images tend to be more memorable, and to activate emotional parts of our minds. In case you forgot your lessons from marketing 101, buying decisions are almost always emotional. It’s only after the fact that we justify them with facts and  reasons.

Choosing The Right Images For The Job

Of course, simply having more images in your marketing isn’t going to do much for you. You have to choose the right pictures for the job.

While any pictures are going to be processed by the mind faster than text, human faces, vivid colors, and shots of animals tend to be the most compelling. You probably noticed that these are also the kinds of images you tend to see being liked, shared, and commented on throughout social media sites. That’s because they’re the easiest for us to notice, and they make the strongest impression.

Giving Yourself A Picture Perfect Advantage

The best way to use the power of images to your advantage is to generate your own. Hire a photographer to take some custom shots of your team and products, or set the right lighting and snap a few with your iPhone.

If that’s not possible, then make a concerted effort to choose stock photos that represent the idea or mood you’re trying to convey with each post or idea you put forward. Modify them if necessary and add your own branding. Just because you didn’t take a picture doesn’t mean you can’t make it unique and tie it back to your messaging in a way that feels compelling to fans and customers.

Are you looking closely enough at the images you are using in your marketing campaigns? If you’ve been throwing stock photos online without giving much thought to their power or relevance, now is the perfect time to look a bit closer at the possibilities in front of you. Once you see what you can do with the right pictures, you’ll never view the visuals in your marketing the same way again!

For the best in web design, print media, and creative services, contact WebRevelation and let us get to work for you!

Posted in : Online Marketing , Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : N/A


What Google’s SSL Preference Means For You

Posted Thu, October 6, 2016 by Julie Short

A few weeks ago, a spokesperson for Google made waves by confirming an idea web designers and SEO experts had begun to suspect: that the world’s most popular search engine will be using SSL connections as a search signal. In other words, websites with SSL will now be more visible to searchers than sites without them.

This mirrors Google’s recent decision to incorporate mobile compatibility into search results, a move that put small businesses and their marketing teams into a minor sort of meltdown. If you’re at a company that’s still recovering from “Mobilegeddon,” not to mention Penguin and Panda, what should you make of this revelation?

To get to the bottom of the issue, there are a few questions that need to be answered…

What Is SSL?

SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layers,” which specifies a certain type of connection between your hosting server and the visitor’s computer. SSL connections are encrypted, making them virtually impossible for hackers to view from the outside.

You’ve probably used SSL connections a dozen times already today. You often find them attached to banks, online merchants, and other websites that have the ability to conduct transactions. Often, SSL connections are indicated through an “https” designation, a different color on your Internet browser, or a small icon indicating that the connection is secure.

Why Does Google Want Your Site To Have SSL?

It’s important to remember that Google engineers don’t necessarily want anything in particular, except for searchers and users to be happy. In this case, it’s easier for searchers to be happy when they know they are getting safer connections to trusted websites, and that there is little chance for online thieves to snoop in on their transactions.

Additionally, SSL is a feature that’s usually offered with premium web hosting. So, a site with SSL capability is also likely to have a faster connection speed, more uptime, and a smaller chance of being infected with spam or viruses.

Should You Upgrade?

At first glance, upgrading to SSL capability might seem like a big burden for a small business that doesn’t conduct transactions online. However, when you look a little bit closer, you’ll find that improving your hosting package to allow for SSL isn’t likely to cost you more than a couple of dollars per day.

For that fee, you could get a search engine positioning advantage over your closest rivals and competitors. And, you’ll get all the benefits associated with premium hosting (like faster page loading times, a more reliable website, and better backup and features benefits) that are ultimately good for your business anyway.

When you look closely, Google’s preference for SSL-enabled websites isn’t all that big of a deal for most smaller companies. In fact, it’s probably just the encouragement they need to take a commonsense step in the right direction and upgrade their hosting plans to keep up with the times.

To find out more about this trend – or see what your business can do to improve its search engine rankings overall – get in touch with the WebRevelation team today and see how we can help!

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : google , ssl


5 Steps to Search-Optimized Blog Posts

Posted Mon, September 5, 2016 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


4 Ways to Brand Yourself Online

Posted Fri, August 5, 2016 by Julie Short

The Business Dictionary defines branding as “the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme.” 

Your company’s online presence has got to be an effective extension of the branding you’ve already created.

Here are 4 tips to improve your branding online. 

Decide on a handle and stick with it. 
People shouldn’t have to go on a scavenger hunt to find your Facebook page because you named it differently than your website. For example, if your business is called Okie-Built New Homes and your website references this exact name, all of your profiles won’t be able to match this phrasing. The name is too long for it to be your handle on some social media platforms. Your brand name is usually set in stone, so you’ll have to choose the next closest thing and make sure your brand’s full name is still located on the page. Your Twitter name might have to be @okiehomes, if that’s not already taken, then your name and about us section should contain your company’s full name so your profile easily appears when searched for. 

Be active as much as possible online. 
The more daily content you produce, the more visible your company will be digitally. This could be blogs, quick blurbs about things going on internally or directing people pertinent news going on in your field. This will help you spread your brand further and establish it as an authority in your field. One of the biggest components of branding is getting inside people’s minds. The more exposure you give your brand in front of web users, it increases the likelihood your brand will stick with them. 

Match the design and marketing strategy with the content.
The overall look and feel of your design should match the content you’re putting out there. If you’re a home builder, it would be strange to feature pictures of puppies on in your marketing material. Choose a color palette and stick to it. Colors, moods and images are easily remembered. 

Be deliberate and consistent with your phrasing. 
Make sure your content is designed around your core audience’s perceptions of your field. If you’re blogging for older professionals, newspaper-style blogs might fit for that audience. If you’re writing for people under middle age, try writing more informal, concise messages. Taglines aren’t mandatory for every business, but if you decide to introduce a tagline, don’t change it every other month. Your tagline should reinforce the message you want others to know about your company. 

Posted in : Online Profile Management | 
Tags : branding , marketing strategy


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