Surveys show that millions of us have made resolutions to change the way we eat this year, usually in the hopes of improving our health. But, as you contemplate more leafy greens in your diet, perhaps you should give some thought to changing what you feed your business website at the same time – after all, Google and the other major search engines are looking for different criteria than they used to.
This has become apparent recently in the way that they handle content, preferring fresh, unique writing over stale, keyword-filled articles and posts. Where the change has been even more profound, though, has been with inbound links.
It used to be that links to your business website were like votes, and the more votes you had the more popular you were destined to be (and the better search engine positioning you enjoyed). As search engine optimization has become more competitive, however, inbound links are now more like calories, in that you need a certain number of them to fuel your Internet marketing campaigns, but they don’t all count equally – in fact, some of the “junk food” links that used to be popular can actually hurt your search rankings now.
The bottom line is that you only want high-quality links from trusted websites in your same industry or related topic area. That means a change of diet for a lot of established marketers, but one that will ultimately make you more efficient and profitable. Here are a couple of quick tips to help you get started:
Focus on the source, not the number. Under the new rules, it’s more important to have a handful of very high-quality links than it is to have lots of them from unreliable sources.
Take a longer-term approach. Of course, natural high-quality links don’t usually come hundreds at a time. That’s okay, because growing too many links too quickly has become a red flag for spamming tactics. So, focus on quality and be patient with your linking strategy.
If you feed your business website junk in 2013, don’t expect to get great results. Google and the other search engines want to see high-quality links, which are better for the health of your business website in the long run anyway.
Usually, when it comes to Internet marketing, there are two types of people: those who won’t notice or acknowledge a problem until sales are falling off a cliff, and their counterparts who tend to hit the panic button if traffic to their business website slows down for more than a couple of days.
Obviously, neither approach is ideal; you want to keep a close eye on your Internet marketing plan without overreacting to small shifts and fluctuations.
So, how do you balance that fine line? In most cases, it’s prudent to wait at least a couple of weeks, or longer, to see if a trend is actually developing. However, here are three warning signs you should always take seriously:
- A fast drop in search engine rankings. While there are lots of things that could cause a shift in search engine rankings, being dropped suddenly from Google’s first page, for example, could be cause for concern. At the very least, it means that you should re-examine your keyword strategy and see if you’ve been affected by a recent algorithm change.
- Historically low conversion ratios. This could be in the form of decreased online orders, fewer calls coming to your office, a lower percentage of clicks on your online ads, or any other of a number of symptoms. In each case, the problem is that potential customers aren’t responding to your message the way they used to, and it’s important to figure out why.
- The sudden appearance of new competitors. One or two new players in your industry might not be anything to worry about, but having many of them spring up at once could be a sign that you’re going to have to work harder to keep new business coming in, online or off.
Obviously, none of these necessarily means that your business is going to be impacted negatively in the immediate future. By recognizing them and dealing with things proactively, however, you can save yourself time and trouble later while staying ahead of current and future competitors.
By far and large, we like setting New Year’s resolutions a lot more than we like keeping them. In fact, most of us probably know (or worse, are) someone who made lots of big goals for 2013 but is already well behind pace on keeping up with them. Whether it’s going to the gym, eating a better diet, getting more rest, or spending more time with the family, old habits are hard to break. And what’s worse, keeping your New Year’s resolutions requires more patience and determination than we tend to think.
As you can probably guess, it’s the same way with beginning a successful Internet marketing plan.
Lots of business owners, managers, and executives came into January with high hopes for more online customers, bigger revenue, a larger social network following, and perhaps a better ranking on Google and the other search engines. Unfortunately, most are finding out that these are harder to achieve than they had imagined.
If you’ve found yourself in the same shoes, however, now is not the time to give up. Here are four tips for helping you to stay on track with your 2013 New Year’s Internet marketing resolutions:
Begin with a realistic time frame
One of the hardest parts about beginning a successful Internet marketing campaign is beginning with realistic expectations. Although you might be hoping for instant results, it’s better to start slowly and aim for improvement within 3 to 6 months, depending on how competitive your industry is.
Set measurable goals
Being “better” at Internet marketing might be your desire, but it’s easier to hit quantifiable targets. Look for a certain number of sales per day, new calls generated, or some other measurable form of progress.
Don’t try to do everything at once
Like the person who tries to begin a fitness plan by running 10 miles a day, doing too many things at once online is a prescription for burnout and wasted effort. Focus on the tactics that are likely to show solid, short-term results, and save the rest for later.
Hire the right Internet marketing partner
Having a great business web designer or Internet marketing consultant who knows the territory can help you cut a lot of time from your learning curve, and even save you money in the process.
Need help making this year into your best one ever? Schedule a free consultation with Bjorn Productions today!
The most critical area of design is the header of the Google+ Business page as it is the identity of your business. As with any good web design, your visitor must be able to quickly recognize your brand without thought and reach the one-to-one relationship with the viewer. In its current design, the header of Google+ Business pages has 6 unique areas to graphically illustrate the company brand.
Business Profile Photo
The first graphic area is the profile, which is where the logo of your company is placed. When uploading this graphic, note that the image is in the shape of a square. Always use the most clean and simple logo design, as the business profile photo will be reduced in size, and you want a clear representation of your brand. Use graphics with a high resolution, if not your most important branding element will look grainy, pixelated, and unprofessional.
- Home page profile image: The home page profile image is your Business profile photo reduced to a 200px by 200px image when displayed on the home page of the Google+ Business page. Note that multiple home page profile images can be uploaded, and as the viewer clicks on the home page profile image, the images will rotate though your uploaded profile images.
- Avatar Image: The profile photo is also your avatar image, which is the graphic displayed on the left side of each post that is made. The avatar graphic is your business profile photo reduced to 48px by 48px image.
In its current design schema, there are 5 images displayed at the top of the Google+ Business page known as scrapbook photos. When uploading this graphic, note that the images are also in the shape of a square, and will be reduced to 125px by 125px images. Upload large images with high resolution, the scrapbook images are “clickable” and will redirect the visitor to a scrapbook photo page that cycle through the 5 images that you upload. Be sure to write a caption under each scrapbook photo.
Just like any other design, a Google+ Business page design should immediately meet the visitor’s needs and expectations of your goods or services.
There are an infinite number of ways to create a clever design though the 5 scrapbook photos. Currently, one of the more common designs utilized on Google+ business pages is to utilize the five images to create a landscape photo or graphic to illustrate the company brand. It is our recommendation to illustrate areas of service and functionality through each of the 5 scrapbook photos.
Some suggestions on what could be used…
- Service or Goods Photos: Images, and illustrations which sell your goods or services.
- QR Codes: Utilizing a QR code for the image, or embed a QR code into the image for a telephone number, website address, phone numbers, or SMS.
- Coupons: Coupons for your goods or services.
We encourage you to visit Bjorn Productions’ Google+ page and become a follower!
Please contact us if you are interested in Bjorn Productions developing a branded and functional Google+ business page for your business.
Everyone understands the value of having a professional website… it has now become equally important to have a professional mobile website. Currently 79% of top advertisers do not have a mobile optimized site. Smart phones are always on, always with us, and always connected. It is predicted that web enabled phones and portable tablets will surpass desktop internet usage by as soon as 2013. While mobile websites will not replace your main website, they will offer another way to market your business, increasing the ability to reach your customer base of tech savvy clients.
Mobile Website Design
Just like a standard website design, mobile website designs must provide a user experience that will convert web browsers into customers. Due to the limited screen space and code compatibility, careful consideration must be taken into the design of a mobile website.
- Heading:The heading of your mobile web design should contain a logo for branding and a click-to-call phone number, your customer is viewing your mobile website after all….
- Navigation: Navigation is the key to a successful mobile website design. Mobile website navigation is kept simple by displaying primary links without the need to scroll or look too deep for content.
- Graphics: Good mobile website designs utilize a limited use of graphics to ensure that the site loads quickly without lag. A minimalist, but effective mobile website design will have a logo in the heading and one image that associates the web viewer to the product or service that you are offering.
- Font size: It is critical that the text of your mobile website is easy to read, small text will drive your viewer away.
Mobile Website Search Engine Optimization
Along with mobile websites, comes mobile website search engine optimization. Currently Googlebot-Mobile is specifically indexing pages that serve mobile web content. While mobile search engine optimization is currently in its early stages, it will continue to grow.
Mobile Website Click through Campaigns
Currently, there is a very limited amount of advertisers using mobile pay per click campaigns. Right now is the right time to begin a mobile pay per click campaign, especially if you have a niche market. The fact is that mobile devices have a smaller viewing area, and being in the top positions will have a great pay out.
Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about Mobile Websites, or if you are ready for Bjorn Productions to bring your company’s internet presence to the next level then please consider us to be your Mobile Website Designer!
Coupons are a reliable method of driving inbound sales. Regular use of coupons can produce a steady stream of new customers as well as driving repeat customers to purchase your products or services within a specific time-line. Here are eight effective methods to creating effective coupons:
Build your Brand
Add your logo and a specific message to build your brand recognition. Your message needs to clearly meet your target audience, and all the elements of your coupon need to build a perception of your business.
White Space is the Most Valuable Space
Coupons that have too much text or too many images are often compared to being in a room where everybody is shouting. Ads need to have clean copy utilizing the least amount of text to communicate the offer. Rather than using lengthy sentences we always advise our clients to use bullet points.
Always make sure to use text fonts that are clear and easy to read. Never use more than two different font types in your coupon. Use larger and bolder fonts sparingly and only for items that you are trying to emphasize to your clients.
What’s Your Hook?
The attraction to every coupon is its title. The hook is your offer that grabs your customer’s attention. Your hook needs to be the most prominent real estate of your coupon as it will actively engage your customer to read more.
Put an expiration date on your coupons. Expiration dates set a time-line for the customer and a sense of urgency of when to purchase your product or service. A time sensitive coupon will drive sales within the time frame that you need.
Use Color if you can
While it is more costly to print coupons with color, it is a proven fact that colors dramatically increase coupon readership. Use contrasting colors for your coupon and refer to a color wheel to easily understand complimentary colors.
When given the opportunity or if your budget allows always use a thicker card stock for your coupon. A thicker card stock is deemed by the viewer as a coupon with a higher value and will receive longer table time (life expectancy).
Many companies have peaks and valleys in their business, seasonal coupons are a great way to drive repeat customers throughout the year.
If you need some help on building an effective coupon, please contact us!
The best way to quantify the development of your website marketing strategy is to understand the source of your website traffic. Website traffic can come from a number of different sources. Once you have determined where the traffic is coming from take steps to improve your website marketing strategies.
Direct traffic is when a visitor types in your website address to find your website i.e. www.yourwebsite.com. Direct website traffic is the best indicator of your company’s brick and mortar marketing techniques. If you are receiving a good amount of direct traffic to your website, you are running an effective marketing campaign. If you are not receiving a high amount of direct website traffic make sure that your website address is on the following:
- Business cards
- Company vehicles
- Promotional materials
- Yellow Page advertisement
- Radio advertisement
- Television advertisement
Referring site traffic relates to visitors that are visiting another website and have clicked on a link to your website. When it comes to search engine optimization, backlinks to your website are the best means of improving your organic search engine ranking. Take time each week to increase the number of backlinks to your website, it will increase your referring site statistics and improve your organic search position. If you need to build the number of referring site links consider the following:
- Industry related sites
- Trades that you network with
- Social Media sites
Search engine traffic relates to visitors that have typed in key words within a search engine to find your website. Visitors will be presented with an organic list of search engine results as well as a listing of paid search engine results.
- Organic Searches: If you have a high amount of website traffic from organic search results it means that your website has great search engine optimization.
- Cost per click campaigns: If you have a high amount of traffic from a cost per click campaign you have achieved the website traffic that you are looking for, but will need to monitor the effectiveness of your cost per click campaign. We recommend monitoring bounce rates and setting analytics that measure goal conversions.
If you need help analyzing your website traffic, or are interested in learning more about search engine optimization for your website, please contact us.
Online video advertising can take your internet marketing strategy to a whole new level. Currently there are a number of websites where you can easily upload high quality video and share them with the click of a button. Website videos that are produced and implemented properly will provide an immediate and lasting impression for your web visitor.
You are Reaching a Different Internet Audience:
When it comes to marketing it is always the goal to seek out new niches, website video viewers are a promising target. Video sharing sites not only deliver content, but also have a social aspect as well. Social media is much like word of mouth advertising, if the information is useful then your video will be shared throughout your viewers social network. Submit your site to numerous video sharing sites and create an environment that allows your company to interact with your customer.
Building Your Company Brand
When producing your video always build your company brand. As with all advertising, website videos are a means of building the perception of your company. Carefully think about your customer and how you want to be perceived by them. Make a list of what you want your customer to experience from the video; incorporate a wardrobe, environment and personality that will represent what you are trying to achieve. Be sure to place your company logo and telephone number in all of your video productions.
Become an Expert in your Field
Educate your audience on your product or service and it will keep them coming back. Website videos are an excellent way to provide how-to’s and useful tips to your audience. Think of common questions or problems your customers have and turn it into an informational website video. Give your web viewer information to make informed decisions when buying your service or product. Be sure to use video titles that will entice viewership.
Incorporate your Website Design to Enhance Embedded Web Video
When embedding video on your own website, incorporate information to enhance your video. A good video will entice the web viewer to learn more about your product or service. Add information and graphics into the web page that explains the content of the video in greater detail. Provide a list of links to guide the web viewer to search additional areas of your site.
If you would like to learn more about how to market your business through the use of video, please contact us.
As with most services, people tend to gravitate to one social media network or another. With over 1 million local businesses in their directory, MerchantCircle is the largest social network of local business owners in the United States. This online business directory helps to connect businesses and consumers.
It is important while building your website’s search engine marketing that you integrate online social media networks as they provide a niche market of website customers. In this article, I will demonstrate different ways you can achieve the best results for your MerchantCircle account.
Blogging on Merchant Circle
If you do not currently blog, are not familiar with blogging software or do not have the technical expertise to set up a blog, MerchantCircle offers an easy to use blogging software for your business. Make sure that when you write your blog that you are writing unique, useful and original content.
If you currently have a blog, we recommend that you also integrate the blog into your MerchantCircle blog. MerchantCircle is an excellent online social media tool that you can utilize to drive traffic to your website. When you have posted a blog on your website, also post an excerpt of your blog article on your MerchantCircle blog account. This excerpt should not include the entire content of your blog article, but gives your reader a teaser of the article while also giving value to the MerchantCircle visitor. At the bottom of your MerchantCircle blog article post make sure you create a ‘Learn More’ link which links your website blog post to the blog article on your website. This will help to increase traffic to your site and will increase the number of backlinks to your website thereby improving your website’s search engine rankings.
As you begin to gain popularity within MerchantCircle through your blog articles, you will also begin to gain a following of MerchantCircle members. Members will ask for you to connect with them on MerchantCircle. As your base of customers grows, you can start to begin your second tier of marketing campaign, which is through another one of MerchantCircle’s free service. . . . newsletters. Newsletters allow you to send out an email blast to your followers letting them know of new company information such as a blog article that you have recently written, company events, or possibly new coupon or product/service you are offering.
Looking for a way to entice customers to utilize your products or services? Why not offer potential customers an incentive? MerchantCircle also offers (for free) a coupon service whereby you can create coupons to include a special offer, use enticing graphics, include expiration dates, and much more!
MerchantCircle also offers a local city coupon feed via Twitter. Coupons that you feed will now automatically be fed to a city-specific Twitter page – making it easy for customers in your area to track real-time deals. It takes a couple of minutes to build a coupon and will be well worth your time.
Customer testimonials can be accomplished a couple of different ways within MerchantCircle. A quick and simple star rating which is anonymous, or they also offer an area where a customer can type in a personal testimonial.
One down side to many online social media sites is that customers can be abusive in their posting, and to remove a negative posting can be quite a timely process. MerchantCircle is very business friendly when it comes to receiving an abusive post as you have the ability to remove this immediately.
Search Engine Ranking
Having your business listed on MerchantCircle increases your search engine ranking and visibility on the internet.
For further information on how to set up your MerchantCircle account, or to learn more about how you can further utilize the benefits within MerchantCircle, please contact us.
One of the many steps that need to be taken to market a company website presence on the internet is to build the number of online customer testimonials. Website customer testimonials help to overcome the skepticism. Establishing credibility on the internet is an important step towards converting website visitors into website customers.
Become Familiar with Posting Online Customer Testimonials
The easiest way to learn about online customer testimonials is to post a customer testimonial yourself. Think of companies that you have recently used that deserve a thumbs-up. Go to several websites to become familiar with the steps it takes to make an online customer testimonial post. Write down the steps you took to post the customer testimonial, these can be very useful to send your customer when asking them to post a testimonial for your company.
Give Your Customer Testimonials Direction
While it is easy to ask your client for a testimonial, an effective customer testimonial has to relate to your clients needs. Think about your target market, and what your clients needs are, write down some bullet points. Send your customer an email with directions on how to post an online testimonial and ask your customer to provide a targeted review in their experience of your product or service.
Build Online Testimonials on Numerous Sites
Build a broad base of customer testimonials on numerous websites such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Online Yellow Pages. Diversity is the key, as it will gain your website greater marketing exposure. An added benefit is that numerous online rating sites will draw reviews from each other.
Keep Online Testimonials Current
While it is important that you have numerous testimonials, it is very important that the testimonials are current. Make a company goal to achieve a minimum of one customer testimonial each month. Testimonials that are built up overtime demonstrate a longstanding commitment to customer service or product quality.
Be Responsive if You Receive a Poor Online Customer Testimonial
Nobody likes to hear that one of their customers is unhappy with their product or service. View a complaint as another opportunity to demonstrate exemplary customer service and make your customer happy. If you find that a customer has written a complaint on your company react to the complaint promptly in a non-confrontational manner. If you receive an unwarranted complaint, most online customer testimonial sites have a process to flag the complaint as inappropriate, and have a process for its removal.
To learn more about how you can incorporate online testimonials, please contact us.