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Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

Search Engine Optimization

October 11th, 2016

Do you want new customers to find your website using search engines?

For website owners this question may trigger a primal response similar to what a drug addict feels when asked if they would like a fix. Yes! Give it to me now!!

It’s a very enticing concept—hire someone to apply special coding to a website and watch it start drawing in new customers. There is a large number of unscrupulous SEO solicitors looking to capitalize on this myth . . you may have seen their spam touting their “proprietary” methods to get your site placed at the top of Google.

This can create a dangerous scenario—a compulsive, sometimes panicked, desire to use the Web to grow a business, and a whole slew of information-age carpetbaggers looking to capitalize on the situation.

The best way to protect yourself from wasting money, and learn how to develop a SEO strategy that really works, is to take some time to understand SEO. It’s not hard to understand and it’s not a secret; Google for example freely shares the criteria they use to index and rank sites.

It’s also important to discard any notion that there is a quick-fix SEO solution out there waiting to be found. Many people’s understanding of “search engine optimization” has been built on a very appealing and popular misconception that we refer to as the “Field of Dreams” syndrome.

The Field of Dreams syndrome

The 1989 movie was about a novice farmer who becomes convinced by a mysterious voice that he is supposed to construct a baseball diamond in his corn field that is somehow the path to his personal enlightenment and success in life. The memorable mantra of the mysterious voice was, “If you build it, he will come.”

The real plot being played out today in business is remarkably similar with the mysterious voice being wishful thinking and misinformation. The appeal becomes overwhelming and rational thought is blurred . . . “If we just build a website optimized for search engines customers will come.” Part of the appeal of this fallacy is that it provides a clear simple solution to a pressing need that exists in a technical realm that many are intimidated by. The problem with this approach is that, just like the movie, it’s fiction.

5 Reasons eMarketing Campaigns Fail

July 22nd, 2016

Internet Marketing or eMarketing is a term we use to encompass any electronic publishing that has the goal of generating demand. This can be both direct (such as special offer, buy now) or indirect (such as helpful articles that appeal to your target audience). The typical distribution channels for eMarketing include traditional blogs (like this one) with RSS, Email marketing (through services such as VeticalResponse, Constant Contact and iContact), Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and other social media channels.

eMarketing can be compared to generating “foot traffic” in retail. For instance, many people venture into a retailing business because they’re passionate about a product or service. So they lease a storefront, flip the sign on the front door to read “Open”, and wait for the customers to rush in and buy their goods. What separates a successful retailer from a bankrupt retailer is the realization that rewards are derived from hard work, quality, attention to detail, and a dedication to match the market need as it evolves. Retailers can even spend a significant portion of their budget to advertise their product or service, but if they haven’t addressed these variables, they’ll never generate consistent demand. And yes, these same principles apply to eMarketing.

So why do so many eMarketing campaigns fail? Here are 5 reasons:

CONSISTENCY – The marketer fails to consistently develop content on a regular schedule; which in turn disengages the audience.  eMarketing is very easy to back-burner and before you know it the last time your bi-weekly marketing blast was published was four months ago.  Not only are you loosing the chance to simply ask for more sales, your display of inactivity on your blogs and social media sites will carry negative connotations to your audience. If the last time you published a blog post a site visitor will entertain such thoughts as, “Is this company still in business?” or “If it takes them that long to get to things what kind of customer service must they have?”

ATTENTION TO DETAIL – Although our society has significantly lowered its standards on grammar and spelling, both are still important to develop readable and discernible content. Many eMarketers, myself included, have a tendency to become lazy in regards to proofreading. It still matters. Even a 1% error rate in any published marketing piece can greatly reduce the credibility and effectiveness of the piece; no matter how great the design and content might be.

RELEVANCE – A marketer must evolve their passion to address a market need. People desire content that emotionally engages them and equates to their own interests. All material must be written from the perspective of your audience and it should be written in a way that captures and keeps their attention. Regardless of the subject matter, successful marketing communications should capture the emotions of an audience by making them laugh, cry, ponder, or get angry. Even nude para-sailing could become a relevant blogging topic if the subject matter is able to emotionally engage the reader and you’re able to relate to your business goal.

QUALITY AESTHETICS – No matter the content, people will make a strong initial judgement of your credibility based on the quality of graphic design for your marketing communication whether it be a blog, HTML email or Facebook page. By maintaining professionally designed electronic collateral, marketers  will enhance their credibility and improve the viral component of their distribution – because who really wants to refer a terrible looking Web site to a friend or professional acquaintance?

MARKETING DISTRIBUTION – Going back to the retailer example, one cannot simply flip the sign on the front door to read “Open” and expect customers to pour in. Generating an audience of prospects will take effort; the content must be distributed out to a targeted group of readers in order to generate interest.  Utilizing technologies such as Social Media, RSS (Really Simple Syndication), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and viral components such as a “Send This to a Friend” link are all viable methods to help build and maintain an audience. Marketers should also encourage their immediate sphere of contacts (family, friends, neighbors, work contacts, etc.) to read their content and spread it along.

Do you need help with putting together a more successful digital marketing strategy?  We’d love to learn more about your needs and provide you some feedback on how we might be able to assist. Contact us anytime.

Do you know who controls your business’ domain?

June 11th, 2016

Where is your company’s domain registered and when does it expire? If you’re like many executives and managers you have no idea. How do I know? I talk to them all the time.

Here’s a typical scenario: ten years ago your company launched a web site…no one in-house knew where to start so the person who claimed to know how to program their VCR was given the task of registering a domain for the company. This person registered the domain but used their name, address, and hotmail account. What’s more this individual may no longer even be employed by the company, probably could care less, and hopefully is not disgruntled with their former employer.

What would be the consequences to your business if your Website was suddenly gone and all your company email accounts ceased working or now featured a spam site (or worse)? Does this sound crazy? While this scenarios might be on the extreme, you are guaranteed some degree of misery and loss if you let your registration lapse.

If you are not immediately and unquestionably certain where your domain is registered, and more importantly to whom your domain is legally registered, stop everything right now and get it fixed!

Here’s how:

  • Access the Whois public database and enter your domain name. Assuming your domain does not have a private registration, look through the list of information and find the following:
  • Registrant Name: If this is not your name or the company’s name you’re at risk.
  • Admin Name: Do you know this person? Do you trust this person with your entire business? Your domain needs to be registered under a name of a corporate officer, owners or executives—not an employee. All it takes is one disgruntled employee to reek havoc on your business.
  • If you need help registering, renewing, or transferring a domain name please visit https://virsafe.com or call one of our domain registration experts at 480.624.2500.

More information on domain registration:

An Easy Way to Import Weebly to WordPress

September 1st, 2015

Are you looking to move your Weebly blog to WordPress?  There seems to be a lot of outdated and/or over complicated solutions out there.  There are also some plugins available for purchase that claim to automate the process which in our tests, did not work.

There is actually a much easier (and free) method to import your Weebly blog posts to WordPress that we found:

  1. Login to your Weebly site and go to Settings -> Blog. Change posts to page to 25 (or the highest option), and turn blog sidebar on. Click Save.
  2. In Weebly go to Build and ensure your front page layout has a sidebar with archives.
  3. In your web browser, find your Weebly blog’s RSS feed, which should be www.yoursite.com/1/feed
  4. Right click and “view page source” (Method can vary by browser, if you don’t see an option when you right click, google: “How to view source code with (name of your browser) .”
  5. Command A, or Control A to select all, right-click copy, then paste to a text only editor (not Word). Dreamweaver works great, but if you don’t have that here are some free options.
  6. In your text editor remove the fist line of code, something like <?”xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ ?>, so your first line should be <rss . . .
  7. Save that file as weebly.xml
  8. In WordPress, go to Tools, Import, RSS, browse and select that xml file and viola . . . your Weebly posts are now in WordPress.  You should notice too that your images are showing up in WordPress, however these images are being displayed by an absolute URL and are still hosted on your Weebly site. You’ll need to manually save all those images to your WordPress media library and add them to your posts to retain them.

The above was done using WordPress 4.3 so newer versions may have altered the process. Also, I did not test this process on a Weebly blog with more than 25 posts so it may be this important method is limited to 25. If you’ve tried it with more than 25 posts please let us know.

Good luck!

 

 

 

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