Is It Ever Better to Start Over with SEO?

As a rule of thumb, business owners turn to us for search engine optimization (SEO) for one of two reasons: either because they have a brand-new company they want to promote, or because they haven’t gotten the results they were looking for in the past. In other words, they are either starting over or building on past campaigns.

Recently, though, we have been encountering a new kind of question: does it ever make sense to begin your SEO campaigns from a blank slate? In other words, should you even consider moving domains and beginning your online marketing campaigns as if you were a brand-new business even if you aren’t?

This would typically be a bad idea, given that search history, authority, and other search indicators are all tied to domain age and previous search activity. However, there are a few situations where starting fresh might make sense. Let’s look at a few of them…

When You Have Changed Names or Industries

Sometimes you can have the same business without having the same business. If you are in a situation where your name and/or location are the same as they have always been but your product or service mix is quite different, then starting fresh can be a good idea. This is especially true if you are getting inquiries that aren’t related to what you currently sell or offer.

When you have a new business it’s usually smart to begin with a new website. It might be hard to start over, but that’s usually the sensible long-term choice.

When Your Business Has Accumulated a Poor Online Reputation

Surveys show that around 90% of all customers look at customer feedback before trying a new business for the first time. So, if a Google search for your company name yields hundreds or thousands of bad online reviews, then achieving a high search ranking isn’t going to help you. 

Of course, this brings us back to the first point. If your business model is broken then you might need to re-launch—with a new name and at different online and offline locations—before buyers will consider giving you another try.

When You Have Found Yourself in Hot Water with Google

This is the situation we hear about most frequently these days. Some business owners, in a rush to make it to the top of search listings, have hired firms that relied on cheap tricks and quick gimmicks. Those can work for a little while, but they can also cause you to be blacklisted by Google. When that happens search spiders treat your content as if it doesn’t exist. 

In most cases the damage isn’t permanent. A team like ours can usually go through your site, piece by piece, and repair things one step at a time. In some severe instances, however, it can actually be easier to restart on a new domain and begin again from the ground up (while being careful not to repeat the same mistakes).

The Good News about Starting Fresh

It’s worth reiterating again that starting from scratch with Google wouldn’t be a good idea for the vast majority of businesses out there. However, if you were to go that route we have some good news: it’s not as difficult to get results as you might think.

As Google’s algorithms have gotten better, and knowledge around SEO has improved, the time it takes to make an impact in the search rankings has decreased. In fact, in 2021 it’s possible to dominate a local or niche portion of the organic market within just a few months. Add in some focused ads and a strong social media effort and you could be drawing in new leads and sales very quickly.

That’s good news for entrepreneurs who are just beginning, of course, but it’s also a good reminder for established business owners who haven’t seen much traction from SEO in the past. Start following a different plan and you could see results much quicker than you think!

SEO and Online Marketing Are All about Strategy and Execution

To turn your website into a source of leads and revenue you need two things: the right approach and an actionable plan to keep your business on track. We can help with both.

12 Hidden Obstacles to Online Lead Generation

If you’re like most of the business owners who initially turn to us for help, you’re dealing with two obstacles. The first is that your website isn’t actually creating any sales opportunities for you. And the second is that you don’t have any idea why that might be.

This issue is far more common than you might think. Everyone wants a website that will help them win new customers and create revenue, but most business owners don’t actually know how to build a workable sales funnel. That’s our specialty, of course. 

What we often discover in working with new clients is that the first step to generating leads is actually removing the obstacles that get in the way. In other words, before you can do the right things, you have to stop doing the wrong ones.

In today’s post, we want to take you through a dozen of the most obvious and common errors we see when evaluating client sites. Here are some quick reasons your website might not be selling the way you want it to.

1. Your Website Has No Traffic

If no one is coming to your website and seeing your content, then you can’t be surprised that leads aren’t pouring in. While the relationship between web traffic and sales opportunities isn’t always as straightforward as business owners think, you do need one to get the other. 

If you don’t have sufficient interest in your website to generate traffic, it might be time to look at search engine optimization, internet advertising, email marketing, and other tactics that draw visitors in.

2. Your Pages Load Too Slowly

Sometimes it can seem as if you have plenty of visits to your website when in reality no one is viewing your content. How can this happen? If your webpages take a long time (i.e. more than a few seconds) to load, then you might be losing visitors before you ever get the chance to sell.

Slow websites are usually a symptom of underpowered web hosting, coding errors, or issues with improperly formatted content. These kinds of problems are easily detectable with a website audit and should be easy to fix.

3. Your Website Layout Isn’t Mobile-Friendly

Did you know that more than half of all the visitors to most websites are using mobile-ready phones and tablets? If your layout isn’t configured to be compatible with these devices, then users might leave… Or they might not even get the chance to see your content in the first place.

There are plenty of ways to add mobile functionality to an existing business website. The technology is easy and inexpensive and can have a huge impact on your ability to generate sales opportunities online. Why wouldn’t you want half or more of your prospects to be able to see what your company has to offer?

4. Your Pages Have Technical Errors or Broken Links

There are a lot of things that can go wrong on a business website that aren’t apparent to the naked eye. You could have missing pieces of content, outdated plugins, or links that don’t actually go from one page or tool to another. This is especially prevalent on older websites, or those that have been created using DIY tools and templates.

An experienced web design team (using auditing software) can detect these kinds of issues and clean them up very quickly. If you never look for these kinds of problems, though, you might not realize they are preventing website visitors from turning into qualified leads.

5. Your Web Design Hurts Your Credibility

When someone arrives at your website for the first time, they have to make near-instant assumptions about the quality of your products and services. The initial impression they get from your designs and layouts can be all-important.

If you have a color scheme that doesn’t work, outdated low-res images to sell your products and services, or a generally disorganized feel to your content, then that’s going to tell a story that works against you. Remember, a lot of people who come to your website won’t know anything about you except for what they see right in front of them. Make sure it doesn’t convince them to take their time and money elsewhere.

6. There Are Obvious Typos on Your Pages

This can seem like a minor issue on your business website, especially if you spent a lot of money on design and development. What we want you to understand, though, is that no one will share their contact information with you if they don’t trust the credibility of your company. And few things destroy confidence in your professionalism faster than a whole bunch of obvious typos and grammatical errors.

It’s easy and inexpensive to have someone proofread the content on your website. That one investment of time and money can boost your lead generation results in a big way.

7. Your Content Doesn’t Set Your Business Apart

If your business seems like it blends in with all of your competitors, then why should anyone work with you? In other words, if you aren’t offering anything unique then there isn’t any reason to choose the products and services your company offers.

This shouldn’t be an issue in most marketing situations, but we frequently come across websites that have obviously been “inspired” by another more successful business. Being generic, blending in, or copying other business owners is no way to make a name for yourself, and it’s generally not going to help you attract new customers.

8. Potential Customers Don’t Trust You

Sometimes intentional customers won’t trust you even though your design and content are strong. It might be that they’ve been burned in the past or have seen your competitors overhyping their own products and services.

If you suspect that might be the case, then your best bet is to do whatever you can to make your business more trustworthy. That might include showing off verified reviews, pointing out that you are a member of the Better Business Bureau, or even highlighting a money-back guarantee. Any of these can help remove distrust and encourage conversion.

9. What You’re Asking Isn’t Realistic

Imagine for a moment you were trying to sell a mansion on your website. Would you put up some photos and a “buy now” button, or maybe include a downloadable brochure that invited visitors to an open house?

This is a ridiculous example, but it points to a bigger issue. What you ask for as a next-step working version of your website needs to be reasonable and realistic. If you ask visitors to give up too much, too soon, then you’re bound to be disappointed by the results.

10. There Isn’t an Obvious Conversion Option for Customers to Follow

In order for your website to generate leads, you’re going to have to ask visitors to take a step that goes beyond simply reading your content. You might want them to sign up for a webinar, download a buyer’s guide, schedule a phone call, or do something else. The specifics aren’t as important as the need to be clear in your invitation.

If website visitors can’t tell what they should do to let you know they are interested, then you can’t be surprised when they don’t ever follow up. And if they don’t follow-up, you aren’t creating any new sales.

11. Your Lead or Purchase Link Doesn’t Work

It’s amazing how often we see this kind of issue pop up. It only makes sense, if you want to generate leads for your website, that you would have working apps or features in place that allow people to share email addresses, download white papers, sign up for appointments, etc. However, lots of marketers never test these tools to ensure that they are working properly.

You need to check and double-check every part of your conversion process. Be sure they all work, and that they’re functional with a variety of browsers and devices. If you don’t, you could be letting sales opportunities slip away without ever realizing it.

12. There Aren’t Any Follow Up Mechanisms in Place

Even when you do have a strong sales funnel in place and don’t have any obvious errors on your website, many prospects simply aren’t going to become leads the first time you ask them. They might want to talk with a spouse or supervisor, for example, before submitting an inquiry or scheduling an appointment.

If you don’t have any follow up mechanisms in place – such as a retargeting an ad campaign or automated email autoresponder series – those opportunities might be lost forever. Make it easy for potential customers to stay in touch, or give them second and third chances to say “yes” to the next step in your sales funnel.

Could Your Website Be Doing More For Your Business?

It used to be enough to have a professional business website that told prospects all about your business and your products. In today’s digital marketing world, though, you need a tool that helps you establish your brand, drawing qualified leads, and generate finished sales. You might even want your website to process orders, automate mundane tasks, and help with recruiting.

Can You Find the Most Valuable Links on Your Website?

We all know you need to have links to make your business website work the way it’s supposed to. But marketers often debate which links matter most, along with how they should be used.

Do you know which links in your business website are the most valuable? Let’s take a look at the biggest categories…

Inbound Links

Business owners and digital marketing experts love inbound links (those pointed at your website from other websites) because they help with search visibility. The higher profile another page has, the better an incoming link from that page. And, not only do inbound links impress Google, but if they are coming from the right sources, they can actually direct targeted traffic to your page. Add it all together and you have a way to generate new sales opportunities.

Outbound Links

Some marketers would say outbound links don’t have any value on your website. That’s not necessarily true. While you don’t necessarily need (or even want) to send visitors away from your website, there are times when it can help you to sell. For instance, if you are trying to highlight an independent site with verified third-party reviews, a link to positive media coverage about your business, or a study that backed up your claims, then a link might be helpful.

Embedded Internal Links

Internal contextual links take viewers from one part of your website to another. For instance, they may lead from one blog post to another that’s on a related topic, or to a piece of content (like a white paper) that goes deeper into a specific issue. These types of links are often underrated. On one hand, they can help make your site easier for search engines to read. And on the other, they help potential buyers to better understand your products and services before they come to a final decision.

Navigation Links

Navigational links often fall into the background of a website, and don’t get a lot of thought or attention. However, it’s crucial that they be visible, clear, and easy to understand. When they have all of those qualities, it’s easy for someone to make their way from one section of your website to another. When they don’t, you’ll find that lots of users will become frustrated and leave your pages without ever converting into leads or customers.

The Bottom Line on Link Value

So, let’s get back to the question at hand: which types of links are most valuable on your business website? The answer, of course, is “all of them.” It’s all about context. You should always be looking for inbound links to boost your visibility. Once customers arrive on your website, you will rely on internal linksboth embedded links and navigational promptsto move through your content and see what makes your business special. And, you may even use the occasional outbound link to direct them towards a specific resource or piece of social proof.

To focus too narrowly on a specific type of link misses the magic that comes with having the right mix. So, if you want the best in usability, search engine visibility, and conversion rate optimization, use these link types appropriately when you design your website and put content together. 

Looking to Navigate the Digital Marketing Maze?

The most common reason business owners fail to succeed in online marketing is they try to do everything alone. That spirit of self-reliance serves them well when they’re starting companies, but isn’t so great when trying to figure out the intricacies of web design, online security, search engine optimization, social media messaging, and content marketing.

Why Google Might Be Ignoring Your WordPress Website

It is often taken as a given that WordPress websites are going to be search engine-friendly. And to be fair, that’s usually the case. A lot of WordPress sites rank well in Google because the CMS is easy for search engine spiders to crawl and encourages content creation in a straightforward way.

However, that’s not the same as saying your WordPress business website will necessarily stand out in Google’s search listings. In fact, there are a number of reasons the search engine might ignore your WordPress site altogether, or at least bury you so deeply in the rankings that no one ever finds your website at all.

Today, we want to look at a few of the reasons this could happen to you…

Your Website Doesn’t Have Its Own Domain

Sure, you can save a few dollars by hosting your website in WordPress instead of its own domain. But by doing so you give away ownership of your pages and your content. You also signal to Google and the other search engines that you’re maintaining your website as a hobby rather than a serious concern. Add all those details together and it’s easy to see why your posts aren’t going to rank very highly.

Your Theme Doesn’t Work

The theme you choose for your WordPress website matters more than you might think. Although a lot of business owners tend to choose based on aesthetics, the fact of the matter is that some templates and layouts are more search-friendly than others. That’s particularly true when you consider that certain themes might rely on bloated code, outdated plug-ins, or graphical elements that slow your website down.

There Are Technical Problems with Your Site

This builds on the last point we made. There are certain technical, behind-the-scenes factors that affect the search visibility of your website. These include the time it takes for your pages to load, whether your layout and content are compatible with mobile devices, and whether you have any broken links or plug-ins on your pages. Each of these issues is problematic for users, which means Google will send its search users elsewherewhether you’re using WordPress or not.

You Aren’t Actually Posting or Optimizing Content

Simply installing WordPress doesn’t do anything magical. It might make the process of creating and posting content easier, but it won’t actually do it for you. It’s no secret that nearly all high-ranking websites feature regular blog posts and updates. You need to follow their example, and make sure you are using the right tools and advice to optimize everything you publish, if you expect search traffic to find its way to your pages.

Readers Don’t Like Your Content

Speaking of content, you need to be a source of high-quality articles and ideas if you’re going to attract search traffic. For one thing, engagement is now a major search signal, meaning Google will pay attention to the amount of time users are spending on your website. And for another thing, there isn’t really much point in attracting a high volume of search traffic if no one is hanging around to engage with your content. So, write for your target audience first and then search optimize your content only after you’re happy with the ideas you presented.

4 Ways to Get More from Your Marketing Budget

There will be a lot of enduring business lessons from 2020, but in the long run, one of the strongest takeaways will probably also be the simplest: be careful how you spend your money.

You could take our industry as an example. It’s relatively easy to get good online marketing results when the economy is healthy. Throw in a bit of uncertainty, though, and suddenly things that used to work automatically no longer generate returns.

That can put marketers in a tough spot. On the one hand, a few businesses can’t afford to waste money right now. But on the other hand, those same businesses can’t afford to stop marketing either, at least not if they want to continue generating sales.

From our point of view, the answer is to simply be smarter about your spending. To help you out, today we want to give you four ways you can start getting more from your company’s marketing budget…

1. Trace Leads and Sales Back to a Source

You can’t maximize your marketing budget if you don’t know what’s currently working. That’s why we always recommend tracing the source of any new lead or sale. Whether it’s through web analytics, phone questionnaires, or a combination of other tactics, you should do your best to determine how buyers are finding you. Then you can work on emphasizing those sales and marketing channels.

It may be the case that several marketing campaigns are working in concert to generate returns. However, it may also turn out that a big portion of your time and budget are being wasted.

2. Spend with Your Head, Not Your Heart

We frequently meet with business owners who engage in marketing campaigns that are based on their preferences rather than customer behavior. For example, many like posting messages on Facebook and Instagram, because they are personally familiar with these platforms, even though they aren’t generating real results.

After you’ve taken the time to figure out where new business opportunities are coming from, you need to pour your time, energy, and money into the ideas that are working… even if that means ignoring other options that are more fun or comfortable.

3. Adjust Your Budget in Increments

As a general rule of thumb, you never want to increase or decrease your marketing budgets rapidly. Doing so can lead to wasted money and missed opportunities.

When you scale up too fast, you often become less precise in your targeting. You reach for new demographics or audiences that don’t convert at a high rate. When you cut spending dramatically, you can unintentionally stop the flow of new leads and customers into your company. Neither approach is going to be efficient.

4. Spend a Little to Save a Lot

Many years of experience in this business have taught us that an expert eyeand a different perspectiveare crucial when you’re trying to make good marketing decisions. It helps to have someone who knows the ins and outs of web design or search engine optimization, for example, especially if they can help you evaluate the results you’re getting with a critical eye.

Business owners sometimes think they are saving money by doing everything on their own. In reality, they waste countless hours and dollars because they don’t have access to the expertise they need.

5 Things That Will Be More Valuable Than Cash to Marketers in 2021

As 2020 has officially come to a close, and as business owners start looking towards the new year, it’s understandable that many are keeping a closer-than-usual eye on their bottom line. The last 12 months have been completely unpredictable, and they have left even established companies in some industries scrambling around for cash.

There is no substitute for money in your business bank account, of course, but most of the entrepreneurs we know aren’t in dire straits. For them, our advice is to look at the bigger picture. We definitely think this is a good time to hold onto your money, but not if it stops you from winning customers or hurts you in the long run.

To help make sense of this advice, here are five things that will be worth more than cash to marketers in the coming year…

1. A Top Three Search Engine Position

When your company’s website is highly visible on Google, it allows you to reach an exponentially higher number of potential customers than your competitors. Then, you can continue generating leads and making sales even if you have to change your products, services, or pricing. Because organic search positioning builds over time, that’s an advantage that’s hard for anyone to take away.

2. A Sterling Online Reputation

Having a strong online reputationin terms of the right reviews and testimonialsis always important. When the economy is uncertain and money is tight, however, people are even more careful about the way they spend and whom they trust. For that reason, having lots of positive online feedback can give all of your sales and marketing efforts a huge boost.

3. A Strong Brand Identity

While brand identity and reputation are similar, they aren’t the same thing. When you have a brand that is well-known within your target market, it amplifies the effects of your ads, emails, and other outreach activities. If customers and prospects know what your business does, and they understand your unique selling proposition already, they will most likely to say “yes” to your offers.

4. An Email List Full of Buyers and Prospects

Email remains the most cost-effective sales and marketing tool around today. With a few clicks of a button you can reach out to hundreds or thousands of buyers at onceprovided you already have a list of subscribers to work with. Finding engaged subscribers who look forward to your messaging is a great way to generate consistent sales and make your business recession-proof.

5. The Right Marketing Advice and Strategy

Is it a little self-serving of us to say good online marketing advice is worth more than what you pay for? Maybe, but it also happens to be true. When you have a team of experienced professionals nudging you in the right direction, it’s easier to get results while avoiding common blunders. This is especially true at a time when many of your competitors are probably scrambling around trying to figure out their next steps.

How COVID-19 Changed Business Forever

It’s easy to say that COVID-19 has changed virtually every aspect of life in the past nine months. However, while some temporary measureslike social distancing, mask-wearing, and avoiding public gatheringswill probably fade away, some other changes will be permanent.

In our business, it’s easy to see how the pandemic emphasized the importance of having a strong website. Even though some entrepreneurs will be anxiously waiting for things to go back to “normal,” we think many of the shifts are irreversible. In other words, all the reasons your website was critically important to your company in 2020 will continue into the future. That’s because we were already moving towards a digital-first business landscape.

As a full-service agency, we deal with everything: print ads, branding, package design, and digital strategies. But this year has been all about online business. The internet has been critically important to marketers for years, of course, but current circumstances have shown what is possible and accelerated a trend that was already in motion.

What does this mean for you and your business going forward? Let’s look at a few things that are already becoming apparent…

Your Website is the Primary Point of Contact for Your Business

In many ways, your website is your most important piece of real estate, your best employee, and your biggest source of referrals all in one. That’s because it can be seen and interacted with by many times more visitors than you, your building, or all of your employees combined. That’s especially true if you’re using search engine optimization and social media to their fullest powers.

When you have a strong website in place it enhances your credibility. It’s easier for people to trust you, and to understand the unique advantages of your products or services. In order to gain these benefits, though, your website has to actually be impressive. It also helps if you can use interactive toolslike online chat and real-time social media feedsto engage visitors from the first moment they arrive.

It’s Not Just about Looks Anymore

Although we are in the “business web design” industry, we recognize that term has become something of a misnomer. That’s because the design (or aesthetics) of a website are no longer the primary or only consideration. What you can do with your pages is just as important as the way they look.

We’ve already mentioned the big benefits that come with using online chat to engage with visitors directly in real-time. What we have also seen this year is that ecommerce plugins, online scheduling tools, and video training modulesto name just a fewcan all make a website more valuable. These kinds of features boost revenue, save money, and make it more convenient for customers to do business with you.

COVID-19 Will Pass but Digital Business is Here to Stay

Speaking of decreased costs and increased revenue, it’s important to remember that bottom-line considerations have been driving business website upgrades for many years. There are a lot of business owners out there who only made changes to their websites out of necessity in 2020. Now that they’ve seen the benefits, though, they won’t be going back.

There aren’t many silver linings to the struggles we have seen in 2020. However, it’s never a bad thing when entrepreneurs and executives can discover lasting ways to find customers or save money. That’s why it’s a safe bet that the “new normal” of relying on business websites is going to be with us even as the pandemic stops being an ongoing concern.

7 New Year’s Resolutions for the Struggling Online Marketer

Do you feel like you aren’t getting the right kinds of results from your online marketing campaigns? Struggling to even get started with search engine optimization, social media, and digital ads? Or, do you feel like you’re always trying to catch up to competitors who get leads and sales from the web while you struggle?

If any of these situations resonate with you, then know you aren’t alone. We talk to dozens of business owners and executives every year who are going through the same things. With a brand-new year right around the corner, this is your chance to set your company on a different and more profitable path.

To help you make that change, here are seven New Year’s resolutions for any struggling online marketer to follow…

1. Review Your Business Website Regularly

Your business website isn’t one of those things you should launch and then forget about. Go through your pages, like a customer would, every month or two to look for problems or spot places where your content could be updated. This could stop your site from getting stale and prevent you from missing big problems (like broken links or missing plugins) that hurt your credibility.

2. Post Something New Every Week

Most business owners and marketing professionals struggle with content creation for the simple reason  like it never becomes a habit. You don’t have to write a long article, design a white paper, or dive into a video series every week. What you could do, though, is adding a few hundred words to your blog, updating your company’s Facebook page, and taking a snap for Instagram. Do that regularly (maybe on a Saturday morning) and you’ll develop habits that will build over time.

3. Get Familiar with Important Web Metrics

It’s almost impossible to make progress with your online marketing plan when you aren’t sure what’s going on with your website. Basic online statistics will tell you how many visitors are coming to your pages, how long they’re staying, and what they are doing when they interact with your site. Once you have a grip on those details you can develop smarter strategies and make better investments.

4. Try Something New Every Quarter

Most business owners (and more than a few web designers) fall into the habit of only working with the tools or techniques they are used to. For example, they might only post to Facebook because that’s what they pay attention to in their personal lives. It’s fine to start with what’s comfortable, but make sure you’re always trying something new to expand your boundaries. Before long you might come across a new source of leads or sales that you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.

5. Build a Brand without Overselling

Your messaging is important. You want to stay on-topic with your blog articles, emails, and social media posts. But, you have to do that without always being in hard-sell mode. Finding the right balance can be tricky. Here is a good rule of thumb to follow: when in doubt, write or speak as if you were explaining something about your business to a colleague. That will stop you from getting too personal, but also keep you from being overbearing with your marketing.

6. Put Your Focus on Consistency

You might have noticed that many of the resolutions we recommend have to do with keeping your efforts and campaigns moving over time. That’s intentional. Success in online marketing doesn’t usually come from an all-at-once effort. Instead, it’s the cumulative effect you get from hundreds of posts, updates, and interactions. Just keep at it and you will make progress.

7. Stop Trying to Do It All on Your Own

Want to know a secret? Even in a web design and digital marketing agency like ours, it’s impossible for one or two people to do everything. There is just too much to look after between content creation, online reputation management, hosting plans, and dozens of other details. You can get help with all of these thingsand a lot more—by working with a team like ours. It will probably cost less than you think and could make a huge difference in your company’s profitability.

Want to Make 2021 Your Best Year Yet?

There is no easier or better way to make your business more profitable than by improving your digital marketing strategy. And, there has never been a better time to get started with web design, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and internet advertising.

3 Workable Social Media Strategies for Your Small Business

There are a lot of things for small business owners to love about social media marketing. It’s largely free, can help you reach a huge audience of potential clients and customers, and can actually be lots of fun if you’re doing it correctly.

Social media marketing has its downsides, though: for one thing, social media can be a huge waste of time when you’re busy with other tasks. Plus, there are so many social platforms to stay on top of… with new ones showing up all the time. 

With all of that in mind, it’s easy to understand why some business owners feel too overwhelmed to even attempt to put a social media marketing strategy together. In today’s post, we want to remind you that getting social media marketing right doesn’t have to be in all-or-nothing proposition. In fact, we have three workable strategies you might consider in order to give your growing company an extra boost.

Strategy 1: Do a One-Time Setup so Customers Can Find You

The first step towards finding success with social media marketing is just having a presence on the right platforms. Your prospects and customers should be able to find your company (not just your personal profile) on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, at a minimum. You should also have a presence on the major review sites for your area or industry.

The point is to ensure that people who are interested in working with you can find you on their favorite social channels. That makes it easier for them to learn about your business, contact you, or leave a review. It also reduces the possibility that they’ll contact a competitor whom they mistake for your business. Why give some other business owner a sale or review that was meant for you?

Strategy 2: Schedule Weekly Posts and Boost Your Content

Thinking a little bit bigger? You should still set up your social profiles, complete with business descriptions, contact information, and custom photos, logos, and usernames. You could go further by scheduling intermittent content updates. You might even consider charging a few dollars for each post that you put online.

The goal of this strategy isn’t to dominate your industry or area on social media, but to make sure that you stay on the top of your customers’ minds. If they hear from you once every week or two, they’ll be reminded of all the great things that you can do for them. Based on how informative or entertaining your content is, they might even share some of your posts with their own friends and contacts.

Strategy 3: Own the Social Space with Consistency and Creativity

The third strategy is even bigger. It involves regular (or even perhaps daily) posting of content, complete with boosts, hashtags, and messaging strategies. The key here is that you aren’t just posting a lot of content, but you are being creative and building a brand. It ensures that fans and followers will engage with your posts, helping you to gain a bigger viewership over time.

The difficulty with this strategy, of course, is that takes time, money, and attention. That’s why most small business owners don’t start here. In truth, many never even get to this point. If you are managing your social strategy well, you might start with the first strategy, move onto the second and eventually even the third. Once that happens, you are dominating the social space, and it can make a significant impact on your sales from one quarter to the next.

Are Your Search and Social Strategies Generating Results?

Lots of creative firms like to focus on the technical details of things like search engine optimization and social media marketing. We are familiar with these tools too, but we prefer actionable plans and real results. After all, if you aren’t getting new business from your content, then what’s the point?

5 Low-Cost Ways to Start Planning for a Healthier Economy in 2021

Ecommerce retailers are hard at work trying to make the most of what is certain to be a busy and unique holiday shopping season. But what if your business isn’t dependent on seasonal transactions? Or, what if your company is in a holding pattern due to current economic conditions? How can you prepare for the coming recovery and turnaround?

Believe it or not, this can be a great time for business owners and executives who aren’t currently bringing in as much revenue as they might like. We know that for the short term it is painful, but we’ve also been working with some of our clients to prepare for brighter times ahead. 

Contrary to what a lot of businesspeople think, finding success online isn’t just about spending all of your time and money on internet marketing. Instead, it’s largely a matter of planting small seeds (through consistent effort) and watching them grow over time. It’s the men and women who can think aheadespecially when times are tough—who come out on top.

If history is any guide, a stronger economy is right around the corner. Let’s look at what you can do for little or no expense today to prepare for a healthier market in 2021 and beyond…

1. Tighten Up Your SEO Efforts

A lot of marketers will tell you that they’ve “always meant” to take search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing seriously, but never really had the time. Well, if 2020 has given us anything, it’s a bit of extra space on our schedules. If you aren’t being overwhelmed in other parts of your business, this might be your chance to finally catch up.

This is a great occasion to examine your search strategy. Are you targeting the right terms, keywords, and buyer personas? Is the content you are producing engaging to customers? Have you been getting lots of search traffic, or are you constantly falling behind your competitors?

It doesn’t take a lot of hours to generate an editorial calendar, post some new material to your blog, or have your website audited. Any of these activities can help set you up for bigger success next year. 

2. Develop an Organic Social Media Following

As with search engine optimization, social media marketing is one of those disciplines where business owners and executives are constantly looking for shortcuts and quick fixes. Everyone wants to have tens of thousands of qualified buyers following them on Facebook and Twitter, but you can’t buy that kind of engagement or get it by tweeting the occasional picture of your dog. 

Social media marketing takes a bit of effort and activity, but that’s why this is the perfect time to start taking it seriously. Optimize your profiles, update your contact information, and get familiar with tools that let you schedule your content in advance. Do all of that now, and you’ll have an easier time keeping up with your social activity in just a few minutes a day.

Building an organic social user following is like running a marathon, it takes time. If you get started now while things are slow, you’ll build the kind of following that pays off when the economy is turning around.

3. Follow a Smarter Email Marketing Strategy

You can use email to spread news to your subscribers, generate instant purchases, and stay on the top of buyers’ minds… all while bypassing your competitors. Or, you can annoy the people on your list and waste everyone’s time without generating any revenue.

Most marketers fail at using email lists effectively for a number of reasons. They stop attracting fresh subscriptions, fail to format their emails correctly for easy loading and mobile compatibility, don’t send relevant info, and mismanage their sending schedules. Even if you’ve made these mistakes in the past, you don’t have to keep repeating them now.

Take advantage of the lull in your business to start segmenting your email lists and develop a schedule that you’ll be able to stick to for the next year. Think about how you can grow your subscriber list and turn it into a source of new leads and sales. It might take a bit of work and planning, but this is an activity that will pay off in a big way later.

4. Improve Your Online Reputation

Improving your online reputation is the business equivalent of getting more sleep. It might not seem crucial until you realize it affects everything else you do throughout the course of a month or year.

When potential buyers hear about your business, they will almost invariably look you up online before setting an appointment or making a purchase. You want them to find positive reviews, powerful testimonials, and stories of the good experiences other customers have had with your company. What you don’t want them to see are complaints, unaddressed issues, or even fake pieces of feedback posted by your competitors.

To establish a strong online reputation, and be able to monitor it, is one of the fastest and most affordable ways to boost your marketing campaigns. This is the perfect time to start looking at what’s been posted about your business on the internet.

5. Get to Know Your Web Analytics

Ultimately, web analytics will tell you almost everything you need to know about the current state of your business and where it’s headed in the future. With the right perspective, you can see where new customers are coming from, what they like, and why they choose to do business with you instead of a competitor.

Of course, if you’ve never installed web analytics on your site, then you are in the dark when it comes to these insights. Even though there are plenty of free options out there, we regularly meet with business owners and executives who have no idea what their numbers look like, or which direction they are headed in. We don’t want you to make the same mistake.

It won’t cost you anything to get good analytics data for your website, and it only takes a little bit of time to start generating custom reports that can give you a lot of important details. Don’t let your business stop growing simply because you haven’t seen the numbers being generated by user visits.

Want to Put Your Business in Position to Fly Next Year?

For a lot of business owners and executives, 2020 has been a difficult year. However, these tough times have given them an opportunity to regroup and be more profitable in the future. If you want to be one of the entrepreneurs who comes out stronger for the experience of the last few months, this is your chance to start planning and preparing.