Business

It is unnerving to hear, “My company gets business from referrals, not our website.  I don’t care about online branding or online marketing.”It’s a shame that some business owners and executives do not understand the effect online branding has on their company’s bottom line, especially when it comes to referrals and prospective clients.Online branding is about far more than your company’s website or your company’s social media presence.  Your online brand includes what your employees  and most of all, your company’s “experts” say online.  It also includes things that you cannot control, such as online reviews.While professional service companies are not as vulnerable as consumer product based companies to the inconsistency of online reviews, you still can’t discount the effects websites like Yelp have on recruiting and business development efforts.Today, most people turn to the web for research, regardless of

The lights are turned off and the door is locked.When I visit a site that hasn’t been updated in a year (or more), that’s what I assume.  Or I make leaps that are possibly even more damning, pegging the person as not caring, unprofessional, or someone who starts things and doesn’t finish them.  This is not the person you want to be, because it will win you few fans and even fewer return visitors to your web site.You are probably thinking to yourself, but I did everything right.  I got a professional company to design a great looking website and did some SEO work to help make sure I had the right focus and content.  But it just isn’t producing like I expected.The problem is a common one.  I call it the “build it and leave it” disorder.  You work

SEO is a lot more than sprinkling a few keywords throughout your text.  Google will certainly not appreciate it very much.  Not only will you fail to get your site ranked highly by it, but you also risk getting penalized.  You have to be ready to put in more effort and be more subtle when implementing keywords.  The type of writing done for a website is different than the formal writing required for academia.  It's a little bit more restrictive than creative writing but only in the sense that you have to write with keyword optimization in mind.Basically, keyword optimization is making sure your content contains enough examples of your keywords, which are words or phrases commonly used in search engines to find what your business offers.  For example, if you're selling real estate in the Quad Cities, your keywords

Remember when you had to find a phone book and flip through hundreds of pages in order to find a local business?  The use of Yellow Pages has declined drastically over the last five years.  People now make quick searches on one of the many popular online directories or social media outlets.  Since Internet search is the primary tool to finding businesses today, it’s crucial to make sure your business is listed on a relevant online directory like Google Places.“Mobile Googling alone will exceed over 27 billion search queries by 2016 globally.” (Source: http://ctt.ec/01747+)Google Places is a local business directory paired up with Google Search.  It gives a business a landing page where it can describe its services, additional contact information, highlight products through photos and video, and also allows customers to leave reviews.“75% of search engine users never scroll past

You can generate a good amount of sales by optimizing your business for local search.  It is a great way to target audiences in a specific location.  The blend of local search directories and social media sites can prove to be great tools when it comes to generating business through the local audience.If you run a local business that’s focused on generating customers locally, then you may think you don’t really need to pay much attention to social media tools.  Since your customers and prospects are using social media tools then it just stands to reason that if you can find ways to meet them where and when they choose to interact, you’ll get more chances to be their go-to company.Local search marketing has proven to be one of the most vital tools for promoting both small and large businesses. 

Social media engagement is basically any type of action people take once they are exposed to your content and the way they interact with it.  This means that engagement is not necessarily one consolidated metric but instead is based on a number of different actions such as clicks, likes, shares, comments, replies, etc.The size of your audience on social media doesn’t matter if no one is paying attention.  In fact, we’ll go so far as to say that how many followers you have doesn’t really matter.    Wouldn’t you rather have a small but real and relevant audience than a large one composed of random people not interested in engaging?  You want to be followed by people who are interested in your posts, involved in the community you’re trying to reach and share compelling content of their own.Impressions and engagement are

Marketing is about reaching consumers to invoke a change in their behavior, giving them a call to action (CTA).  The only way to truly make that shift in perception is to be where people are engaging and spending time.  Instagram is a social channel that let’s you snap photos (and now video too), add fun and creative filters and share them with your followers.  On Instagram, it’s crucial to show value to your customers and look pretty while you do it.  Never underestimate the fact that your most important asset (and downfall) on this social media network is visual content.Visual storytelling is an art form on Instagram, and to be able to craft a conversation over an extended period of time is a skill that needs to be harnessed.  In order to capture the attention of that audience you must

You probably know that Facebook is the number one social media platform, with 1.44 billion monthly active users.  Apart from the fact that we are using it for chatting with our friends or sharing the things we love such as photos, videos, or even document files.  Some people, especially small business owners, use it as their number one source of traffic and sales and get a following around the brand.Remember that you should have a website.  It will function as your sales transaction hub or storefront where people can buy your products or learn more about your services.  You can easily leverage the existing traffic on you site by putting Facebook and other social media icons that can be seen and clicked on.  These links will send them directly to your Facebook page and any other social media account pages

Pinterest is a visual social media site that allows people to collect and organize photos, articles, recipes and other forms of content according to specific areas of interest.  It’s best described as an online scrapbook.  Pinterest Board member Jeremy Levine characterizes it as “a place where people collect or talk about or think about things they want to do in real life.”You collect photos by “pinning” them to online Boards, which can be shared by repining them on other people’s Boards.  Your boards are where your Pins are, so name them in a creative and unique way.  Pinterest suggests you should set your boards up like you would a window display.  You want them to appeal to your target audience and also keep them coming back for more.  If your business involves different types of services or products, you could

What is Twitter all about?  It's a social network (with an app for smart phones and tablets), where users share their thoughts, news, information, pictures and jokes in 140 characters of text or less.  Twitter makes global communication cheap and measurable.  Profiles are (usually) public and anyone in the world can see what you write, unless you elect to make your profile private.  Users "follow" each other in order to keep tabs on and converse with specific people.  Think of Twitter as a means to occupy someone’s complete attention, whether it’s an audience of friends, colleagues or potential customers.Although communicating in 140-character messages may feel a bit foreign, Twitter offers unique ways to reach new people and engage with existing customers.  Twitter is an essential component of any content marketing strategy, which might seem surprising since we are pretty limited

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