5 Search Engine Optimization Tips: Get the Most Out of Your Strategy

 

Want to get your business listed on the first page of Google? Despite what some people may tell you, there is no “trick” to this.  It simply involves some work on your part.

First, write down a list of keywords (search terms) that you believe people would use to find your business. Then, ask yourself one simple question, “Is my business the best on the internet for this keyword?”

If the answer is yes, follow these simple steps:

  1. Write good content. This may seem obvious, but so many people overlook this vital step. Of all the SEO “tricks,” you should spend the most time focusing on content because that is ultimately what you have the most control over. Make sure your content is written for the user. Write your content about the keywords/phrases that people are searching for related to your business. Creating quality content naturally creates people that will link to you. And you want links.
  2. Do not try to fool Google (or other search engines). In the past, many people have tried to “keyword stuff” their content by duplicating words and content for the sake of a better Google ranking for that word or phrase. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Google is smart. Very smart. It will eventually blacklist sites that have pages that are duplicating content from other websites and keyword stuffing.
  3. Each page of your site should focus on one keyword. Use that in your content, the page title, and the URL.
  4. Not on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook?  Well, you need to be. Your social relevance is a key factor in search engine ranking. After you have these accounts set up, be sure to add the icons to your website and give people the ability to share your information.
  5. Blog. The simple act of blogging gives your potential clients the ability to connect with you, get their questions answered, and consider you an authority – which in turn results in higher search engine ranking. What are the questions that potential clients ask you? Write a blog to answer these questions!

 

 

Why Isn’t my Website Drawing in Business? 10 Key Elements of a Great Company Website – Part 2

 

Your company’s website can serve as a valuable resource for converting visitors into leads. If you haven’t experienced much success with your brand’s site, it may be time to reevaluate.

If you missed our last blog post, click here. You’ll want to begin by learning the first 5 key elements of a great company website.


Now, let’s continue with our list:

  • Balance of Visuals and Text

As we mentioned before, it’s beneficial to include both written word and visual components within your website content. The trick is to find a good balance of the two. Your goal is to be informative and entertaining at the same time.

  • Flow

The flow of your website is crucial in two ways. First, each page should flow well together. Order matters.  Moreover, when a viewer switches from page to page, there should be a sense of consistency amongst the design elements. Sizes, shapes, and placement should be complementary to the overall theme.

Secondly, it’s important to take on the mindset of your target audience. How will these people browse throughout your website? There are many pathways they could choose to take. Consider these paths and find ways to cater to this flow. That could mean placing a link to another page here or a CTA there.

  • CTAs, Landing Pages, and Forms

These three items work together and could make or break your website. Calls-to-action are simple and direct messages that tell your audience what the next step should be. The CTA may encourage your audience to proceed to that next step by offering something of value. This thing might be a free download or even a coupon. It will help if you make the CTA look like a clickable button. Also consider the colors and size of this button. CTAs should stand out while still complementing the theme of your site.

Once users click on a CTA, they should be taken to a landing page. This landing page will usually contain a headline, a reminder of the CTA/offer, at least one image, and a form.

Forms are used to capture the information of potential consumers so that you can better market to them in the future. Without an effective form, CTAs and landing pages are basically pointless. Remember to only put as many fields in the form as you think you’ll really need. The fewer fields a form has, the more likely people are to complete it.

  • Blogging

This is the best way to earn the trust of potential clients while establishing credibility for your brand. A blog allows you to consistently share valuable, in-depth information without asking for anything in return.

Today’s consumers are tired of being harassed by the typical salespeople trying to make a quick buck.  Show them that you’re genuinely interested in providing solutions to their needs.

  • Social Sharing

Word of mouth is the cheapest and most effective method of marketing.  How can something that’s free have such a significant impact on your business? That’s easy. Consumers trust other consumers. People are more likely to use a product or service when it has been recommended by someone they know.

If you read last Friday’s blog post, you know that recommendations seen on Facebook have resulted in purchases by 33 percent of online consumers in the U.S. alone. (BlogHer) Make online sharing easy for your audience by placing prominent social sharing icons within your website and blog.

When done properly, company websites can be a valuable asset to your business. Without these 10 essential elements, your site may become a missed opportunity for sales growth.

Why Isn’t my Website Drawing in Business? 10 Key Elements of a Great Company Website – Part 1

 

With our newly redesigned website up and functioning, we realized that many of you out there might be struggling with your own websites.

Maybe you’ve checked the analytics and realized that your site isn’t drawing in business. Even worse, maybe you see that the site is drawing in visitors but not converting them into leads. This means that people are visiting your site and then leaving almost as quickly as they came. Take this as a hint that it’s time for a change.

For that reason, we’d like to present 10 key elements of any great company website:

  • SEO

This is what’s going to help search engines draw traffic to your site. Your website’s content should be relevant, have value, and include keywords that your target audience is most likely to search. This will involve a bit of research on your part, but the outcome will be well worth your time. Alt tags, title tags, and meta descriptions also play a large role in proper SEO.

Helpful hint: Blogging and participating in social media will work to increase your search engine ranking as well.

  • Design

The design of your website will serve as a first impression. Make sure the look of the site is appealing to your target audience. Your brand may be one in hundreds of thousands of online search results, so remember that the audience has other options.  If your company’s website doesn’t interest them, they’ll move along to the next search result. Displaying an attractive design is your first hope in convincing viewers to stay on your site.

  • Navigation and Functionality

If users choose to remain on your site, they’ll begin browsing. Don’t be too confident. This doesn’t mean they’ve made a commitment to your brand yet. You still have a lot of work to go.

If the information on your website is too difficult to find or if the layout doesn’t make sense, those visitors will leave. Keep the navigation options simple and visible. Primary navigation links should typically be kept at the top of your site. It’s also important that your site functions properly. No one wants to click on a link only to receive a “Page Not Found” error.

  • Clear, Valuable Content

Consumers don’t want a sales pitch. They also don’t like having to dig through a lot of fluff. Give them valuable content that solves their problems and is easy to digest.

Furthermore, write content for your audience, not for yourself. People visit your site to find out how you can help them, not to hear you go on and on about the company’s accomplishments.

Always remember to keep content fresh. People will appreciate this and so will search engines!  Having outdated and irrelevant information on your website can be a major drawback.

  • Captivating Graphics or Images

Most people are visual learners; they would rather look at images and graphics than read a large block of text. For this reason, you’ll want to incorporate visual elements into your site. (Some concepts are better communicated visually anyway).

Is there a lot of data that needs to be represented on your site? Instead of typing it all, consider developing an infographic. When numbers and figures are displayed visually, they become much more interesting and easy to understand. Infogr.am is a site where you can actually create these infographics for free.

The list doesn’t end here! On Friday, December 20, we’ll cover the other half of these essential website elements. You won’t want to miss it! The last 5 elements go more in depth and will help tie your entire site together.

11 Statistics that Prove Facebook Marketing is Worth your Time

 

 

It seems that most businesses here, in the U.S., use Facebook as a means of marketing. That’s true, but why is this? Check out these 11 powerful statistics to see what all the fuss is about!

  1. From 2009 to 2012, there was a 75 percent increase in the number of businesses that believe Facebook is critical/important to their business. (State of Inbound Marketing, HubSpot, March 2012)
  2. In the United States, Facebook is used as a marketing method by at least 82 percent of advertising agencies and 92 percent of businesses. (Statista)
  3. 77 percent of business-to-consumer companies and 43% of business-to-business companies have acquired customers through Facebook. (State of Inbound Marketing, HubSpot, March 2012)
  4. In the U.S., 80 percent of social media users would rather connect with brands through Facebook than any other media. (State of Inbound Marketing, HubSpot, March 2012)
  5. In an increasingly mobile age, it’s important to note that Facebook is the number one social media app for smartphone users. (Business Insider)
  6. Social media’s lead-to-close rate is 100 percent higher than that of outbound marketing means. (State of Inbound Marketing, HubSpot, March 2012)
  7. In the U.S., 67 percent of consumers trust the advice and information they receive on Facebook. (BlogHer)
  8. Over half (51 pecent) of users are more likely to make purchases from brands they “Like” on Facebook. (HubSpot)
  9. After becoming a fan of a brand on Facebook, 56 percent of consumers are more likely to recommend that brand to someone else.
  10. Recommendations seen on Facebook have resulted in purchases by 33 percent of online consumers in the U.S. (BlogHer)
  11. It is believed by 68 percent of marketers that Facebook ads are effective in acquiring both fans and actual customers. (Social Media Today)

New Innovations Website Prompts Online Treasure Hunt!

 

We’ve spent weeks crafting our ideal Innovations Branding House website. With all final touches complete, the new site is ready to go live, and we’d like you to help us celebrate. Embedded within the site is a sort of online treasure hunt. Simply find the secret link, and you could receive a $100 cash prize!

Want more details? We thought you might.

Unfortunately, we can’t give away too much information.  It would only spoil the surprise. Imagine the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when you finally uncover the secret!

This special link could literally be hiding anywhere within the site – on any of the web pages and under any of the images, graphics, or clickable text. Basically, if you see something to click, you might as well give it a try!

The contest begins on Tuesday, December 10, at 12:00 PM CST and ends on Thursday, December 12, at 12:00 PM CST. Once the contest ends, we’ll draw one name at random to receive $100 cash!

You have exactly 48 hours to find the secret link. We have total faith in you.

Let the search begin!

5 Marketing Books that Are Worth Reading

 

If you’re looking to expand your marketing library, we would definitely recommend picking up the following books, and here is why:

 

Traditional marketing typically relies on pushing out standardized messages that interrupt consumers’ busy lives and cause irritation. For that reason, Godin describes these methods as interruption marketing. Consumers are quickly finding ways to avoid such marketing tactics.

Godin uses this book to introduce the idea of permission marketing, in which consumers must voluntarily accept a company’s efforts to market to them.

This method actually benefits both parties involved. Consumers aren’t continuously being bombarded with messages that may not even be relevant to them. Likewise, firms are able to reach out to a qualified set of prospects that are genuinely interested in the content at hand. Permission marketing can save time and frustration for both sides.

Marketing_Books_Worth_Reading_Innovations_Branding_House

Success in business relies heavily on how consumers perceive your brand – as a whole and also in relation to other companies. This book offers helpful advice on how to properly position your brand within the mind of your target audience. Ries and Trout also offer insights on how to become a household name while gaining a larger market share.

Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool that should not be underestimated. Consumers usually trust other consumers more than they’ll trust you. It’s just that simple.

Of course, you’re going to say great things about your company, but when those positive reviews come from a fellow consumer, it means more. Read this book to learn more about the ins and outs of buzz marketing and what it can mean for your business.

 

Many people are starting to see that inbound is the future of marketing. It’s about creating valuable content that centers on the wants and needs of your target audience. The New Rules of Marketing and PR focuses on this change and how to use inbound marketing to your advantage.

 

This comically titled book supports the inbound marketing practice of creating buyer personas to effectively market your brand. Inbound marketing involves reaching your audience on their terms. In order to do that, you’ve got to know more about them.

Where do they go for information? What are their challenges? What are their needs? Answering these and other questions will allow you to better predict consumer behavior and create a persona-based approach that actually works.

 

 

Which Method is Better: Selling-Based vs. Education-Based Marketing?

“This is Bobby Watts with Watts Discount Furniture, and I’m here to make you an offer you can’t refu…” *Click!*

What happens when this TV commercial or radio advertisement comes on the air? Do you sit through the entire message or tune out and switch off?

You’ve seen and heard the same sales pitch a million times before. Bobby wants to offer a once-in-a-lifetime deal made especially for you. …But if this man actually knew you, he’d see that all you really want is valuable information and helpful advice.

Odds are, your customers feel the same way. Spare them the canned sales pitch in favor of genuine and practical guidance.

If your company still decides to go with a selling-based marketing approach, here are the realities you can expect to encounter:

  • People have witnessed this sales process several times before, so they’ll do just about anything to avoid you. This results in a low ROI and a loss of valuable marketing dollars.
  • Prospects instinctively put up a defensive barrier when approached by the “salesman” type. They assume you’ll find a way to trick them into buying things they don’t need. You’ll put forth more effort trying to break through this barrier than if you had gone with an education-based approach from the beginning.
  • When consumers believe you’re only interested in them to make a quick buck, they automatically lose trust in your company and the information it provides. These negative feelings are, then, associated with your brand in the future.


Education-based marketing
, on the other hand, produces the following results:

  • People like your brand because you give them what they actually want, assistance without any agenda.
  • You create a positive experience for potential customers, relieving any fears they may have had.
  • Consumers will trust what you have to say without fear that you’re only trying to turn a profit.
  • You set yourself up as an authority on the matter. From then on, you become a trusted source for advice.
  • Likewise, you establish brand credibility and earn customer loyalty.
  • Rather than chasing down prospects, these people start coming to you.
  • You create a pool of potential leads by identifying only the qualified prospects.
  • You save time and money by marketing to and attracting the right people.
  • It becomes easier to monitor and measure your marketing efforts.

Tell us your story! Have you adopted the education-based marketing approach? What sort of results have you experienced?