by seenBEST Web Design in Phoenix, Arizona
Posts Tagged ‘small business’
Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
Do you wish you had:
- more traffic coming to your website?
- better search engine ranking?
- a name recognized and trusted as an industry expert?
You can achieve all of these with a blog. Blogging is one of the easiest, least expensive, and most effective social network marketing tools for a small business. According to Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2011 report, 13% of all bloggers are entrepreneurs – small business owners – who blog to share expertise (76%), gain professional recognition (70%) and attract new clients (68%).
Why should you blog?
To increase traffic. You and your competition are in a constant battle to get to the top of search engine rankings, which is critical to get more traffic coming to your site. One of the best ways to attract search engines is to provide fresh, relevant, keyword-rich content about your business or industry on your website. To keep a steady flow of increased traffic coming to your website, you need to keep adding content. Blogging is the answer.
To earn high search engine rankings. The more consistent you are in adding content about relevant topics to your website, the more search engines will determine that your site is valuable and give you higher rankings. And once prospects begin to see valuable information on your website, they’ll comment on your blogs and add links to your blogs on their sites, both of which will boost your rankings even higher.
To establish an Internet presence. With limited time and money for marketing, small businesses need to take advantage of the low-cost opportunities available on the Internet to share expertise, build community, and establish relationships with a much larger audience. Your name can quickly be seen by hundreds or thousands of visitors who are looking for the information you provided in your post, and those visitors will tell their friends. They may even put a link to your blog on their Facebook, LinkedIn or other social networking site. In essence, they’re marketing for you.
To keep up with – or stay ahead of – your competition. Do you want to take the early lead or play catch up with your competitors? When you blog about your business and industry at least once or twice a week, the Internet audience will become familiar with your name, and when they’re ready to buy, they’ll come to the name they’ve learned to trust – yours.
Studies have shown that blogging can bring small businesses twice as many visitors as their competitors who don’t blog. And more visitors = more potential clients = more sales!
Blogging is one of the most cost effective marketing tools for a small business. But once you start blogging, you need to be consistent – at least once or twice a week. If you’re not sure you can make this commitment, but you want to realize the amazing benefits of blogging for small businesses, call seenBEST Web Design in Phoenix, AZ. The professionals at seenBEST can help you develop a plan. They can help you:
- Create a new website with a blog
- Add a blog to an existing website
- Perform advanced SEO research that will help guide your blogging efforts
- Provide blog training (to individuals and groups)
- Provide a seasoned blog writer to help you achieve industry credibility and attract new customers
- Build a solid social media marketing program for your business that ties into your blogging efforts
Start blogging today! Call us at (480) 256-9010 to schedule your free consultation, and meet with our internet marketing experts to discuss ways we can help your business achieve marketing success on the internet.
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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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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Online marketing has become an integral part of the small business marketing strategy. Two key pieces of the strategy are Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and both will drive targeted traffic to your website, one of the primary goals of online marketing. Customers should be able to find your company just as easily on Facebook as they can on Google. By leveraging the strengths of both, you can boost your search rankings while building trust with your target audience.
What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
SEM refers to using search engines to increase visibility and drive visitors to your website. By effectively combining search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC), you can boost your search engine rankings, resulting in more click-throughs and increased conversion rates.
What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?
SMM refers to using various social networking sites to increase traffic and visibility. The importance of marketing on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Twitter is that they provide a platform for advertisers, customers and colleagues to have more personalized interaction. In today’s market, having conversations and providing quality content is increasingly important to customers.
The Benefits of SEM
- Best source of targeted traffic to your website. A Pew Research Center study found that 58 percent of Americans search online for information about products or services they’re interested in buying. With SEM, you reach your target audience at the moment they’re ready to buy.
- Tools to determine what people are searching for. You can refine your keywords to improve your chances of people finding you by employing any of several great tools, such as Google AdWords Keyword Tool.
- Top ranking immediately with pay-per-click. It takes 3-18 months or sometimes longer to reach the top of the rankings with SEO. But PPC puts you at the top in the sponsored link section right away.
The Benefits of SMM
- Peer recommendations to increase connections. Over 46 million Americans are on social media sites every day, according to a 2011 Edison Research study, using recommendations to make buying decisions. Every time someone recommends you, you are visible to their other connections.
- Brand loyalty. Interacting on a personal level on social media sites is one of the most effective marketing strategies. The more interaction you can have with people, the more they will trust you…and ultimately buy from you.
- The most popular online activity. With 1 in every 5 minutes of online time spent on social media sites, having a social media presence gives a substantial boost to your online audience and visibility.
SEM and SMM Complement Each Other
Consumers use search engines far more often than social media sites to find products and services they want to buy. Effective search engine marketing leverages SEO and PPC to get your name at the top of the search results. But how do you stay in the consumer’s mind for future purchases? Expand your presence in social media sites to keep your brand visible by (1) building the number of fans, friends, likes, recommendations, and links, and (2) creating quality content that goes viral.
Search engine marketing has been king for a long time, but social media marketing is quickly catching up in terms of raw effectiveness at driving leads. Leveraging both SEM and SMM covers all the bases as each one has its own benefits and advantages. Both strategies take time to develop, but the results can be phenomenal.
Get Seen Everywhere! Consult with our expert internet marketing team, we bring to the table proven strategies that will help your business maximize visibility everywhere on the internet. In this digital age, potential new customers are looking for you online. Let us give your business the competitive edge on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Email, and elsewhere. Call us at (602) 456-0150 for a free consultation.
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Monday, January 9th, 2012
Chart Your Business Course for 2012: Check the Economic Trends and
Select Your Next Internet Marketing Move
Good news on the economic horizon means opportunities for small businesses to ride a prosperous wave in 2012. Review these recent reports and then consider whether (and how) you should adjust your Internet marketing presence.
2012 Business Trends at a Glance: Curving Upward
Jobs – Up: Available jobs are increasing, especially in Arizona. Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at Arizona State University, reported Arizona moved from No. 49 among the states for job creation in 2010 all the way up to a top 10 growth state in 2011. Nationwide, the hiring outlook overall for 2012 remains cautiously optimistic, with small business hiring notably expected to increase, according to CareerBuilder 2012 Hiring Forecast. The ABC News 2012 US Economy Forecast cited CEO Brian Hamilton of financial information firm Sageworks, who said, “The jobs numbers are getting better,” and Kiplinger agrees that job creation is picking up.
Retail Sales – Up: Not only were holiday retails strong in 2011, according to USA Today, but overall retail sales rose 4.5% year-over-year in 2011, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs Retail Chain Store Sales Index (cited by CNN Money). For small businesses and especially those using refined Internet selling strategies, the news was very good. As Internet Retailer reported, the online holiday shopping season generated at least $35 billion in sales for web retailers according to comScore Inc. Many smaller niche web merchants also closed out the online Christmas shopping season with a nice boost to their fourth quarter sales by making constant updates to their marketing and merchandising plans. Internet businesses gained ground by concentrating on their best customers, using social media and offering highly targeted incentives.
Economists – Favorable: Arizona’s economic indicators have been improving, according to the University of Arizona – Arizona Economic Outlook 2012-13. The state’s personal income, wages, and employment are growing at increasingly faster rates. Spending is robust while unemployment, bankruptcies and residential foreclosures are happily declining. Nationally, the 2012 Goldman Sachs white paper, The Outlook for the US Economy, reports household debt burdens have continued to improve. Inflation is not expected to significantly increase. As USA Today reported, holiday retail sales strength, steady manufacturing performance steady and housing market resurgence all point to sustained corporate profitability in the coming year.
Business Metrics – Up: Kiplinger estimates the U.S. economy will grow about 2.3% in 2012, a bit faster than the 1.8% pace in 2011, and businesses appear willing to invest in new equipment to expand production after several years of slowed production. A Reuters report observed manufacturing grew at its fastest pace in six months in December, capping a late-year upswing, and a rise in new orders for manufactured goods suggested momentum going into 2012. Another report showed U.S. construction spending neared an 18-month high in November.
Consumers – Polling Optimistic: An Associated Press poll result suggests 62% of Americans are optimistic about the economy in coming year, while 78% are hopeful about the year their family will have in 2012. The public’s expectations for this year’s economy reached their highest point since last spring.
What Is Your Internet Marketing Agenda in 2012?
Being first to spot an oncoming tide is vital both to boaters and to business owners. Given these economic climate trends, now is the time for small business owners to re-evaluate and re-energize their online marketing campaign. Over the next four weeks, we’ll give you insights and tips for creating websites, SEO/SEM strategies, social media campaigns, and other tools to build your Internet marketing presence and success.
1. If you don’t have a website, now is the time to get one. Truly, if you don’t have a viable website, then you are almost certainly missing tremendous business opportunities. If your website has not been redesigned in over three years, it might as well be an old phone book: outdated and not terribly practical. Rather than rush into new marketing channels, it makes sense to build a website that helps establish your brand and reputation while it produces leads and sales. With more online customers out there, you can’t afford to ignore them.
2. If you do have a website but don’t show up near the top of the search results page, now is the time to invest in strategic Internet marketing. More than just techie buzz words, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) help propel you to the all-important top spots in relevant searches for your products and services. What strategies will make the biggest impact on lead generation for your business? Pay per click advertising via search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) can be the most effective forms of marketing activities for your business in 2012.
Staying on top of the latest trends is not an easy task. While you focus on the day to day operations of your business, hiring the right SEO and internet marketing company can save you time, money, and increase the bottom line. Google is making more changes to their system in 2012. New website analytics are coming as well. Hiring experts to help update your website design and SEO will keep your business in front of potential customers under the current Google system and continuing as Google evolves.
At the same time, consumer Internet use patterns and preferences are favoring social media as well. Webmarketing’s report also showed 55% of companies closed deals from social media leads, and social media is expected to see the biggest increase in investment moving into 2012 as it impacts all facets of marketing strategy.
3. If you don’t have an ongoing relationship with your clients, now is the time to establish social media and email campaigns. Social media helps develop interlocking communities, building relationships with site owners, publishers, and bloggers, which in turn bring new link opportunities for SEO. The landscape is diverse, with many areas to focus on including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. A competent internet marketing firm with the experience to help tie all of these social networks together with your overall SEO and SEM plan will position your business for future success.
Experts agree that tapping into social media empowers small businesses with limited budgets (or low cost items) to market to a receptive audience and even create brand recognition and trust. Michael Brito of Social Business News suggests focusing “on building trust with the community first, then figuring out how to monetize (or get a lead).” A company with the right social media strategy can reach and out to customers like never before.
4. If you have some Internet marketing pieces but not all, it may be time to compliment what you’re doing with video marketing, PR campaigns, blogging and quality content. Which of these Internet features make sense for your business? Hiring the right internet marketing firm that has a solid understanding of what’s out there and how it can best help your business is key. The companies with the best internet marketing strategies, using the most cost effective marketing techniques that are custom to their business model will outpace the field by generating and converting more leads than the competition.
Wow! But Can I Do Any of These Great Things?
To learn how to ski or surf, your best bet is to get an expert skier or surfer to teach you. The expert sets you up with the right equipment, shows you the right moves and why, and stays with you as you learn. You may not need the expert forever, but the coaching prepares you to move forward on your own when you’re ready. And so it is with Internet marketing and website design. The experts at seenBEST Web Design in Phoenix, Arizona, will help you create a successful online marketing campaign using the latest technologies in web design, search engine optimization, social media marketing, video marketing, and internet marketing. Call today (480) 256-9010 for a free consultation and catch the wave to prosperity in 2012!
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Thursday, November 17th, 2011
I have come to appreciate the strategic advantage that Google has over the competition with Google+. Let’s face it, Google+ can do some very cool things that no other social network can do simply because it is, well… Google.
One of the most useful strategy decisions from a brand perspective that Google has implemented in Google+ is the ability to integrate the +1 experience throughout the entire web in a way that really gives the largest return on investment to a business engaged in online marketing.
Most people know what you can do with Facebook when it comes to your brand. You can create a branded Facebook business page, and you can place a Facebook like button on your website.
Now consider what you can do with Google+. With Google+ you can also create a branded business page, and you can also place a +1 button on your website. However, there is a list of things you can also do with Google+ that Facebook can never do because Facebook is not, well… Google. Such as:
- Associate the like button with website search results, as all website search results do have a +1 button.
- Associate the like button with Adwords pay-per-click ads, as all PPC ads do have a +1 button.
Why does this matter? With the recent releases and updates to Google+, Google has linked all of your +1 data together to make the +1 experience a seamless integration across the entirety of the internet. With Facebook, you often had one set of likes on your business Facebook page and a completely different set of likes on your website Facebook button. The two weren’t necessarily connected and promotion to generate likes was wasteful. You had to drive money to your website for one set of likes and more money to Facebook pages for another set of likes.
Google+ however has made your online advertising spend a cumulative endeavor. With the right code on your website and the right social extension settings in your adwords campaign, the +1 data is completely shared throughout all of your online properties. If someone gives your website button a +1, the +1 data increments on your branded Google+ page as well. The same for your PPC ad, when linked to your Google+ page, those +1 clicks are also stored and updated.
This all adds up to maximization of your internet marketing spend. If you are spending money to promote your business with PPC ads, and spending money to promote your website through other means, the +1 counter throughout all pages are incremented to reflect the total social value of your brand across the internet. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Google+ targeted ads come out as well, which will only further increase the +1 value of your online portfolio. It’s nice to know that Google has taken such care to plan out the +1 integration in such a way that maximizes the return on your internet marketing investment.
If you’re not making the most of Google+ for your small business, contact seenBEST Web Design today. We can help you create branded Google+ pages, establish a +1 button on your website or design a website for you with a Google+ button integrated, link your website to your branded Google+ page, and even help you link your PPC ads to the +1 data so you can achieve maximum results with your internet marketing budget. Give us a call today to setup a free consultation (480) 256-9010.
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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:
- To make sales.
- To generate leads.
Consider also the many possible secondary purposes:
- Provide information.
- Promote offerings.
- Create brand awareness.
- Position yourself as an expert.
- Increase subscriptions.
- Receive applications.
- Reduce printing and direct mail expenses.
- 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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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
The Internet marketing industry has existed since only 1994, and sales have grown from $300 million in the U.S. in 1996 to an astounding $200+ billion in 2010. Online marketing is thriving, and businesses that have invested in successful Internet marketing campaigns are reaping the rewards today.
Internet marketing stands as an essential business development tool for today’s successful companies, as traditional “old school” marketing has seen a substantial decline. Internet marketing makes information about your business available anytime consumers or clients are looking for it. But traditional marketing – print and media ads, telemarketing, and direct mail – relies on pushing out a message and hoping someone will want what the company is offering at the time they see the ad. Joseph Jaffe, consultant and author of Life After the 30-Second Spot, suggests, “Consumers are starting to outgrow us. They know what to buy and where to buy it, and they don’t need us to tell them anymore.” Accepting and addressing this major change in consumer behavior is the key to why Internet marketing works.
Internet marketing is successful because:
- It is more cost effective than traditional marketing methods. Internet marketing campaigns are inexpensive compared to the thousands of dollars spent on traditional ads.
- You can target specific audiences. A personalized message encourages people to take the action you desire. The Internet provides endless opportunities to tweak and tailor your message for every type of buyer wherever they may be. And your message is there when they’re looking for it – when they are ready to buy.
- Your return on investment is much higher. A well-orchestrated Internet marketing campaign can deliver substantial increases in profits, with a much lower cost per lead than traditional marketing. Even a small budget campaign can produce an impressive ROI and the viral nature of Internet marketing keeps your campaign moving and expanding, providing a steady stream of leads.
- There are many ways to measure results. Traffic to your site, conversions, number of sales or subscribers, inbound links, brand image…these are just a few of the numerous web metrics and analytics you can track to determine the success of your campaign. Having this information at your fingertips allows you to make changes on a regular basis, even daily if necessary, to improve results.
For local businesses, Internet marketing can be especially successful. The Pew Research Center ‘s Internet & American Life Project’s Spring Tracking Survey 2011 found that 78% of American adults who use the Internet look for information about a service or product they are thinking of buying. Small companies can compete head to head with larger businesses, and companies in smaller towns can compete with companies in major cities. The cost effectiveness of internet marketing makes it possible for you to compete on a small budget and go up against much larger competitors. An attractive and effective new website for your business can make your small business appear more attractive to a potential customer than larger competitors, especially if you are providing local services. Online marketing using SEO and SEM targeted to you area also helps to create a level playing field. Finally, there are several affordable internet marketing tools that can be employed for client retention and content distribution, including social media branding and email marketing.
One necessary ingredient in a successful Internet marketing campaign is patience. To see the results of your efforts, it takes time and requires constant monitoring and analyzing of web analytics and metrics. Using an Internet marketing expert to help you develop and maintain your campaign is the best way to achieve your goals. The professional Internet marketing team at seenBest Web Design in Phoenix, Arizona are experts in all aspects of Internet marketing and will work with you to design an effective campaign. Are you ready to build leads, increase sales, and maximize profits for your business? Call seenBest Web Design today at (602) 456-0150 and put their Internet marketing experience to work for you!
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