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Posts Tagged ‘content’

Four Things You Need to Know to Compete Successfully Online

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

A core part of your business marketing strategy should be online marketing. The more time you spend researching and testing before developing your online marketing plans, the more effectively you can focus your time and efforts to gain a strategic advantage over your competitors. Before you move forward with an online marketing campaign, you need to know the following:

 

1. What your competitors are doing online

One of the fundamental processes in developing an online marketing strategy is learning all you can about your competition and who they are. Spend time reviewing their websites, social media pages, blogs and videos to learn what they’re doing to promote their businesses, to increase visibility, to position themselves as leaders, and to keep visitors on their sites longer – a key to increased conversions. Test a variety of keywords to learn where each of your competitors is ranking. This process will advance your SEO strategy development. Ask yourself: Where do people find your competitors?

 

2. How your target audience is looking for your offerings online

Testing keywords helps you determine what your potential clients are searching for. More importantly, the right keywords attract the right audience – people who want what you offer. Create a list of all the words and strings of words you can think of that people would use to describe your offering, and test them all. You may be surprised to learn that the keywords you assumed would bring in the best visitors don’t work. Ask yourself: What attracts your target audience?

 

3. How to write compelling content to attract visitors

Writing for an online audience is not the same as writing print material. Web readers are looking for information to address a problem or to fulfill a need. Strong, clear headlines and titles attract web readers who scan search results for text that sparks their curiosity and makes them want to click through to read the content. Once they reach your page, write concisely and focus on one or two main ideas. Remember that web readers don’t want to read a sales pitch – they want useable information. Enrich your writing with keywords to attract search engines and improve your search ranking. Ask yourself: Who is looking for your information?

 

4. How to analyze online marketing results

Online marketing programs should be analyzed frequently – at least weekly. Google Analytics gives you a wide variety of stats to determine the effectiveness of your online marketing strategy: if your hit numbers are up or down, which blog posts are getting the most hits and comments, how long visitors are staying on your site, what your bounce rate is, and what your conversion rates are for each of your sites. You can even determine the ROI of your social media sites. The point is to be on top of your online performance constantly and make tweaks and changes to your sites to continuously improve online marketing results. Ask yourself: How do you measure your online marketing success?

 

Doing your due diligence in advance can measurably updgrade your web presence. But if you’re like most of today’s small business owners, you have limited experience working with web marketing strategies and technologies. To achieve the level of success you desire in the most cost effective and timely manner, contact the online marketing experts at seenBEST Web Design, Tempe. The professionals at seenBEST will work closely with you to make sure your online marketing program is achieving the results you want, when you want them.

 

 


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Why Is Quality Content So Important to Online Marketing?

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Quality content has become one of the most important elements of online marketing. Search engines are constantly revising their algorithms to improve search results and satisfy online consumers who want to find information and solutions. Sites with high quality, legitimate, credible content are among the top results. Sophisticated search engine algorithms penalize sites that provide a poor user experience with low quality content, awarding such sites low search rankings.

 

Internet savvy marketing professionals recognize the need for quality content in online marketing strategies. A Content Marketing Institute study found that “93% of marketing professionals create, or plan to create, content marketing as part of their overall programs in 2012.” Why?

  • Original, relevant content improves search engine rankings and increases conversion rates.
  • Informative, useful content generates targeted website traffic and provides new sales leads.
  • Great content pieces are shared by visitors and can spread quickly – virally – further improving search rankings.
  • Quality content builds trust and establishes a reputation of leadership, resulting in customer loyalty and referrals.

 

What constitutes “quality” content?

 

Consumers search the web for information to help them solve a problem or to learn something. They don’t want a sales pitch. That fact means companies must rethink their approach to online promotion. A highly effective emerging strategy for writing content pieces is to fashion them so they don’t overtly look or sound like they are selling. So how can you write such quality content?

  • Deliver content that is well-crafted, customized, and professionally written. It should engage the visitor, keep them on the page longer, and represent you as an authority on the topic.
  • Focus on addressing one topic in a content piece. To gather the material for an article, for example, you might select a topic and make a list of questions and answers that address the topic thoroughly. Visitors who find the information they seek will be encouraged to stay longer on your site and to share your content, which will improve search engine rankings.
  • Review a list of questions Google uses in assessing “higher-quality” sites vs “lower-quality” sites. Fresh, quality content, frequently updated, helps your site rank high for the long-term.

 

Social content, blogs, videos, articles, press releases, posts, reports, surveys – all aim to provide content that your visitors will enjoy reading, watching or listening to, and sharing with their family, friends, and colleagues. Attracting more targeted visitors and earning their respect with quality content will build a strong network of linking and extended visit times, putting your site among the top search rankings and ultimately increasing sales!

 

Your online marketing program must include quality content writing and expert web design to be successful. Contact the professionals at seenBEST Internet Marketing in Phoenix, Arizona to create a winning web strategy…and you’ll soon begin reaping the benefits of quality content and online marketing!

 

 


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Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: It’s Not an Either/Or Debate

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

This article is part of a series of twenty articles. Click to read: The Top 20 Web Marketing Concepts Your Next Website Design Company Should Know

 
There is a time and place for both inbound marketing – search engine optimization (SEO), blogs, content publishing, subscriber emails, and social media – and outbound marketing – print and TV/radio advertising, telemarketing, trade shows, and cold calling.

 

The debate should not be about which one is better, because both have merit. But for small business owners who can’t afford a large marketing staff and don’t have a large advertising budget, the debate should focus on where to spend your limited time and advertising dollars to get the highest ROI (return on investment).

 

That said, the reality is that people are increasingly going to the Internet to learn about the products and services they want to buy and to find places to buy them. Last week I decided to buy a patio umbrella. I wanted to make sure it can withstand wind and rain, and would not fade in one summer. Did I want to wait to get a direct mail piece selling patio umbrellas? No. Did I want to wait for a radio, TV, magazine or newspaper ad to tell me where to find one? No. And even if I did see an ad, how much can they possibly tell me about patio umbrellas in a 30-second spot or a 4” ad? I don’t have time to wait for an ad or drive around to several stores until I find what I want. In a few minutes online I found several manufacturers’ and local stores’ websites, read consumer reviews, and learned all I needed to know about patio umbrellas, including prices. I chose a nearby store from the ones I found online, and when I went to the store to look at the umbrellas, I already knew they carried what I was looking for. All I needed to do was decide which color I liked best, buy it, and bring it home. I saved gas, time, and money using the Internet to do my leg work. That experience shows the power of inbound marketing.

 

Inbound (“digital”) marketing “pulls” people to your products or services. Inbound marketing strategies and techniques are designed to attract people at the moment they are online looking for information about something they want to buy. Companies must to provide useful information and tools, interact with potential customers, and develop relationships to meet the expectations of today’s online consumer.

 

Outbound (“traditional”) marketing “pushes” information about your products or services to the public. Promoting your business with outbound marketing keeps your name in the public view and creates a sense of urgency to buy what you sell.

 

What is the trend in marketing today? Industry sources estimate the ROI on email marketing at 4,300%, making it the most popular form of marketing by small businesses. Numerous studies and surveys indicate a movement toward inbound and away from outbound marketing. Consider:

    • 84% of Americans do Internet research before going to a store. (Google – Zero Moment of Truth)
    • 70% of consumers trust online consumer reviews, an increase of 15% in four years, more than any other source of brand information and messaging except referrals from friends and family. (Nielson)
    • 42% of total retail sales in 2009 (online and offline) were affected by the Web, with sales growing to 53% by 2014. (Forrester)
    • 87% of companies now employ Twitter as part of their social media marketing strategy, while 82% use Facebook.(eConsultancy.com)
    • 86% of TV viewers skip ads. (The Guardian)
    • 44% of junk mail is thrown away unopened. (About.com Environmental Issues)
    • 74% brand recall is experienced by consumers when the advertiser’s integrated strategy is carried across mobile, TV and online. (NYTimes/Google)

 

The bottom line: Your inbound marketing strategy is critical to the long-term growth of your business. Get your share of the $224.2 billion estimated online sales in 2012. Contact seenBEST Web Design to help you develop an online marketing strategy that gets results.

 

 


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Website Design on Purpose

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

A website is today’s key marketing collateral piece. It’s your online brochure, providing your company profile and the benefits of your offerings. It offers useful information for your target audience and is an interactive communication vehicle between your visitors, the people they forward your link to, and you.

 

Your website creates people’s first impression of your business. Website visitors judge your business in less than 10 seconds. A professionally designed website uses the latest technology and tools to attract your target audience, get their attention quickly, keep them on your site longer and address their needs. This is how you achieve your main purpose for the site. So, what is the purpose of your website?

 

Every website should be designed with a purpose in mind.

For most small businesses, there are two primary purposes for a website:

  1. To make sales.
  2. To generate leads.

 

Consider also the many possible secondary purposes:

  1. Provide information.
  2. Promote offerings.
  3. Create brand awareness.
  4. Position yourself as an expert.
  5. Increase subscriptions.
  6. Receive applications.
  7. Reduce printing and direct mail expenses.
  8. Build trust.

 

To create a successful website, you must know the primary purpose of the website. All aspects of website design – layout, functionality, content, graphics, links, buttons, navigation, security, SEO, SEM – must contribute to the primary purpose. Incorporating content to achieve your secondary purposes will ultimately lead you to either increasing sales or generating leads. As you evaluate every aspect of your website, ask yourself: Does this contribute to making sales or generating leads? If it doesn’t, no matter how much you like it, you need to let it go. An irrelevant element only distracts your audience.

 

Create an effective user experience on your website.

The next step – ask yourself: What actions do you want your visitor to take when he views your site? What does your visitor want to achieve on your site? Designing your website based on the answers to these questions will create a much more positive and effective experience for the visitor or “user.” “Everything the user experiences should be the result of a conscious decision on your part,” explains Jesse James Garrett in his book, The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web. “The practice of creating engaging, efficient user experiences is called user-centered design. The concept of user-centered design is very simple: Every step of the way, take the user into account as you develop your product.”

 

A professional design team knows how to achieve your goals.

You should select a design team that has the ability to understand your needs and then reflect those needs in the design and functionality of the new site. A professional web design team will ask you a number of questions to learn and understand:

  • Your business
  • Your industry
  • Your target audience
  • Your business objectives
  • Your online marketing goals
  • Your reason for having a website

 

The team at seenBEST Web Design in Phoenix, Arizona, will meet with you face-to-face to learn about your company and your goals. Our comprehensive web design services are performed by highly experienced web professionals who know the right questions to ask. We will develop a user-centered design process to target and attract potential customers to your website…and take your web marketing results to unparalleled levels of success. Call today, (602) 456-0150 to schedule a free consultation.

 


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Web Design 2011, Build It and They Won’t Come

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Too many businesses make the mistake of thinking, “All I need to do is build a fabulous website that looks amazing and throngs of people will flock to it.” Not true. The question is: How are people going to find it? Investing in creating the best website on the Internet will not make it be seen if you don’t also invest the same or greater amount in creating visibility for the website.

 

Visibility and design work hand in hand. Great design without targeted visibility is wasted because qualified visitors won’t find it to see it, and high levels of traffic with poor site design is wasted because no one will stay on the site long enough to take the action you want. Before you can design an effective website, you must determine:

  1. How to drive targeted traffic to your website to get the most visibility, and
  2. How to design an attractive website that appeals to the target audience and does the job it is intended to do.

 

Who Is “They” and How Will “They” Find You?

 

“They” is your target audience, the people who are looking for what you offer. To design a website that attracts and appeals to your target audience, you need to develop a target audience profile with information such as:

  • Is your target audience consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B)?
  • What would a person visiting your website be looking for?
  • Are the people in your target audience computer savvy or are they computer novices?

 

Once you know who your target audience is, you can design a website and start marketing online and offline to drive people to your site. The fastest way to get people to your site is with pay-per-click advertising. You can also:

  • Improve your search ranking by using SEO to optimize your website and providing relevant content.
  • Build your social networking presence.
  • Submit your site to all the major search engines.
  • Put your web address on everything – business cards, letterhead, brochures, signs, fliers.
  • Tell everyone you know about your website and ask them to visit.
  • Issue press releases and announcements.

 

Build It So They Will Come and Take the Action You Desire

 

The average first-time visitor to a website spends just 40 seconds on the website. The longer a visitor stays on your site, the more likely they will take the action you desire. Usability is the key. To keep your visitors longer, consider the visual appeal (layout, graphics, colors, balance, fonts), functionality (navigation, call to action, email subscription, social media links), and relevant content (high quality writing, interesting, informative, no errors). In 2007, the Nielsen Norman Group found that designing a website for usability averaged an 83% ROI, a substantial return for online marketing efforts.

 

Without a design that incorporates these ideas, your website will confuse the visitors and fail to produce results. In the book, 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People, author Susan Weinschenk suggests that, “The shorter the distance to the goal, the more motivated people are to reach it. People are even more motivated when the end is in sight.” Make it easy for the visitor to find you and to know what you want them to do, and you’ll see your business grow.

 

A good internet marketing firm can do all this and more. The team of experts at seenBest Web Design in Phoenix, AZ, knows the latest trends in the Internet industry and has a solid background in user-centered design, programming, SEO, search engine marketing, social media marketing, testing, web analytics, content writing, and all of the tools necessary to design a website that will generate sales leads. Give us a call today at (602) 456-0150 to schedule your strategic internet marketing review and let us demonstrate ways we can help your business succeed in the digital age.

 

 


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Email Marketing: Keeping Clients Informed

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

This article is part of a series of twenty articles. Click to read: The Top 20 Web Marketing Concepts Your Next Website Design Company Should Know

 
Email marketing is one of the easiest, most inexpensive ways to keep the name of your business in front of your clients on a frequent, consistent basis, and has become an exceptionally popular form of advertising. If you aren’t taking advantage of the benefits of email marketing, consider these statistics:

 

  • A study by the Direct Marketing Association estimated that email marketing would generate an ROI of $42.08 for every dollar spent on it in 2010, outperforming all the other direct marketing channels studied.
  • Nearly 90% of consumers use email (2010 Digital Marketing Fact Book).
  • In 2011, 88% of business-to-consumer firms and 71% of business-to-business firms are using email marketing (Forrester Research).
  • U.S. online retail sales (excluding auto, travel, and prescription drugs) are forecast to reach $248.7 billion by 2014 (Forrester Research).

 

So – what is email marketing?

 

Email marketing is sending electronic mail to a list of customers and prospects to deliver your marketing messages and help you stay in contact with people on your list. Companies send regularly scheduled emails to build customer loyalty and trust, increase sales, and strengthen brand recognition.

 

However, a successful email marketing campaign today is not just about selling your products or services. It is important to understand: consumers don’t want to be sold. According to the Custom Content Council, 73% of consumers prefer to get helpful articles rather than ads from companies. And 61% are more likely to buy from those companies. By sending relevant, informative email communications on a regular basis, you can build a strong relationship with your readers. This relationship will set you apart from the competition, companies that send messages that are often viewed as SPAM in the eyes of the recipients.

 

What are some of the benefits of email marketing?

 

  1. Save money and time – Email is an inexpensive and fast way to reach large numbers of people.
  2. Build your company’s reputation as an expert – If you are too busy to generate your own content, a professional online marketing firm can generate and publish industry specific content for your business.
  3. Grow your prospect list – There are multiple ways to expand your list of email contacts, from website embedded subscription forms, to social media, giveaways, events, and more.
  4. Keep your company visible – Put your name in front of people often so they’ll remember you when they or their friends need you.
  5. Track results easily – Numerous web analytics are available to learn how effective each email was and how to improve future email performance.
  6. All marketing campaigns increase in effectiveness – Combine email with social media, website, newspaper ads, bulk mail, and radio … and multiply the results.
  7. Communicate with people who want your email – Use opt-in lists and advanced email marketing tools to ensure the highest open rates and avoid being blacklisted.

 

There are several important ingredients that must be present in order for an email marketing campaign to achieve the desired results. Great content is only one of those ingredients, successful email marketers know that other processes must be followed closely. To create powerful results, email marketing campaigns must:

 

  • Provide fresh and relevant content.
  • Utilize regularly updated sources of email contacts.
  • Brand the email message properly at time of distribution.
  • Use a compelling subject line to cut through the clutter.
  • Maintain proper controls over the system of email distribution.
  • Empower email marketing with social media and sharing tools to help spread the message further.

 

Our team of online marketing experts at seenBest Web Design in Phoenix, Arizona, help your business maximize email marketing results. We help build email lists from client databases and other sources and then import those lists into the proper email marketing software, based on marketing objectives. We then help brand the email message to match your business cards, websites, and other marketing collateral. We provide content writing services that will create fresh, regular content to use in email marketing campaigns and help inform and energize your client base. From start to finish, we help your company create and manage a regular newsletter email campaign, including template design and content selection. We help embed newsletter/email sign-up forms on websites and utilize other sources, such as social networks, to expand your list and maximize the distribution of your message.

 

We have been helping businesses achieve their marketing goals throughout the Phoenix, Arizona, metro area since 1995. Contact us today for a free expert consultation and find out how we can help your business increase sales and maximize ROI through the use of email marketing. Call (602) 456-0150.

 


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SEO May Be the Best Investment for Your Small Business

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

For most businesses with a website, the foremost source of traffic to their website is user searches. Over 70% of users click only on the top 10 results from a search, and ignore the search results that fall further down on the page or beyond the first page. How do companies get the number one spot? Or one of the top 10? Or at least one in the top half of the first page? Answer: by recognizing the power of optimizing their websites for search engines. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., use complex algorithms to determine the order in which companies will appear in the search results. These algorithms include hundreds of ranking factors that determine the position a company website will appear when a user search is made.

 

SEO – search engine optimization – is one of the most important marketing tools a small business can invest in. SEO can produce an extraordinary return on investment (ROI) by increasing a website’s online visibility, thereby attracting visitors who convert into customers. Company listings displaying in the top half of page one search results capture 99% of consumers, which could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue per year. Most business owners miss out on the vast majority of internet traffic, and sales, that would otherwise be theirs if their website was optimized for search. Small business owners must not underestimate the value of SEO and its impact on the bottom line.

 

Online marketing success requires setting goals and developing a strategic plan to achieve those goals. Some of the elements of search engine marketing – SEM – strategy include:

  • creating an attractive website with rich, constantly updated content
  • developing a carefully researched and employed keyword list to use in headlines and copy
  • properly designing video, photos, graphics and other website features
  • having all of website code reviewed and optimized by an SEO expert
  • developing a strategy to acquire high quality inbound links to the website
  • using metrics to track traffic and rankings

 

A well executed SEM campaign assures your advertisement and website link appear immediately at the top section of page one in the search engines. How sure can you be that SEM will work? How long will the process take? As with other forms of marketing – newspaper, yellow pages, TV, radio, direct mail – there are no guarantees. However, unlike other forms of marketing, SEM allows the small business owner to track rankings, traffic and sales to see quantifiable results.

 

Let’s go on a short journey into cyberspace and review an example of what this might look like.

  • Let’s pretend you are a hair stylist.
  • You cater to the Phoenix, Arizona market.
  • Your business name is “Swank Salon.”
  • A Google search for “Swank Salon” lists you at Page 1, Rank 1.
  • Fantastic!

 

As the owner, you might be overjoyed that you rank well for that search term, but does a high ranking on your name profit you? Probably not! Searches on your company’s name will rank your company high in search engines. But searching on your business name only works when the user already knows it. Usually, new customers will not know the name of your business. They may only be searching for a company that can help them fulfill a need and will instead search for a keyword or phrase that describes what they are looking for in their own words. If your goal is to increase traffic to your site and attract new clients, you need more than high ranking on your name – you need to rank well for the right keywords.

 

Are you using the right keywords in your content for your local market and target audience? Let’s Google “hair salon phoenix” to find Swank Salon. Are you attracting the largest number of local visitors possible to your site with these keywords? At this point, comprehensive research is needed to determine the search terms your business should be ranking well for based on the amount of search engine traffic tied to those terms. This research draws upon specific information collected from the business owner about the top competition, target client, and the industry.

 

As we conduct deep research for Swank Salon in SEO for the hair stylist industry, we learn:

  • 2.8 million people search for “haircut salons” every month
  • 2.3 million people search for “haircuts” every month
  • 1.8 million people search for “hair salon” every month
  • Fewer than 100 people search for “swank salon” every month

 

From this research, the company that can gain the most business from online shoppers is optimized to rank well for “haircut salons.” Only a proper SEO review can ensure that your website is using the correct terms to rank well. If Swank Salon relied on the keywords “beauty salon haircut” for SEO or the keywords “swank salon”, they would get fewer than 300 searches per month. The salon would lose out on the 2.8 million other consumers interested in their services who are searching on “haircut salons.”

 

So how does Swank Salon rank in “haircut salons phoenix”? Doing a Google search places them near the top of the list. But they are not the top. The sites at the very top are pulling in 70% more traffic from these 2.8 million consumers. Swank could use an SEM and SEO campaign to get the number one spot. Is search engine optimization all you need to bring in business? Not quite…

 

What happens when you click on the link to the Swank Salon website? Ugh! The poorly designed website will cause most of those 2.8 million visitors to back out of the page and find a salon with an attractive website that is easy to use. For a small business to achieve a high return on their SEO efforts, visitors must both (a) see the site listed near the top of search results and (b) like what they see so they stay on the site long enough to make a purchase. For example, take Cloud 9 Spa, a competitor to Swank Salon. While Cloud 9 Spa has a superior website design that appeals to their target client, their ranking is horrible. By appearing on page 2 for most relevant searches, they are getting very little of the total traffic available. Their website may be superior, but they suffer from low visibility. They could benefit from increased SEO and SEM that would place them above Swan Salon. Their superior website design would then capture thousands of dollars in increased revenue as a result.

 

SEO is one of the most successful marketing tools today. To take advantage of the tremendous online opportunity to grow your small business, you have to invest either money or time. As a small business owner, do you have time to become an SEO expert? SEO success takes a lot of work and time to achieve, even with the most sophisticated SEO techniques and skills. You may be able to learn the basics, but your business will grow much faster and you’ll see a greater ROI much sooner by using an online marketing firm experienced in web design, SEO, and content writing. You will also save a lot of money, by investing your marketing budget into the proper areas immediately via the expert strategy and guidance your SEO team provides.

 

In addition to expert search engine optimization, you should find a firm that will do more than promise to drive traffic to your website. As demonstrated in the example above, money spent to drive traffic to a poorly designed website will most likely result in lost sales. The professional team at seenBest Web Design in Phoenix, Arizona, provide you with comprehensive online marketing services at affordable rates. We provide you a complete team of experts in the fields of online marketing, content writing, web design, SEO, SEM, programming, and social media. We will design the best website for your business. Then we will drive traffic to your website, and get your website ranked above all of your competitors.

 

Can you afford to let your competitors capture the bulk of the sales from your target market? Give us a call and let us design the best website for your company, and then put expert online marketing strategies in place to get your website seen first, before the competition. We offer a free one hour consultation and will sit down with you to learn about your business and provide a custom plan tailored for your needs, call (602) 456-0150 to learn more.

 

 


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