Get Ready for the Next Big Thing in Marketing: Conversion Marketing

Share this post!

This is your chance to be ahead of the curve in understanding a new marketing trend – a trend that is just beginning to make its first waves. I’ll tell you exactly what Conversion Marketing is, but first, let me give you a little background.

Internet marketing basically tracks with the way Google operates. As the automated processes of this gigantic software machine become more and more sophisticated, websites have gone through mutation after mutation, trying to keep up. Google’s purpose is to develop the programming that results in users receiving the most relevant, useful content in response to their search requests. As Google passed through each new phase, web developers scrambled to figure out the latest system being used and then, unfortunately, all too often tried to work out ways to scam the processes. For awhile, the best scammers arrived at the top of the search results and better-quality sites were shut out.

For a few years, we had a lot of websites that people could barely read. But because they were filled with the right keywords, Google offered them at the top of the search results. The problem was that they omitted persuasive sales copy. They might land at the top of the search results, but no one would ever buy anything after landing on that page.

That Was Followed by the Backlink Storm

Then there was the era of buying, trading or otherwise acquiring backlinks. This meant that another site (the more prestigious, the better) placed links on their site that led back to your website. This was supposed to mean that some other site owner found your content relevant and useful. What it ended up meaning, really, was that some sites began to sell backlinks to anyone. “Link farms” sprang up – these were groups of sites that all linked to each other. Well, this practice got so out of hand that finally, Google began penalizing sites with too many backlinks. Penalizing, in Google terms, means that if you would normally have shown up on page two of their search results, now you end up on page 355.

In general, Google is working hard to deliver the goods. Their refinements, while painful at times, have been moving in the right direction. Now, when you search for “Florist, Mobile, Alabama,” you actually get a list of florists in that city, rather than a lot of listings for brokers like FTD Florists who will send your order to a shop in Mobile and take their cut.

Taking a Cue from Google

What Google values now is content that readers find valuable. They advise you to “create a useful, information-rich site.” “Make pages primarily for users, not search engines.” “Think about what makes your site unique, valuable and engaging.”

So now we find ourselves in this this brave new world of content that is valuable and engaging for consumers. The next big wave that is predicted is the business of shaping that content to convert visitors to your site into purchasers, members, subscribers or supporters. In essence, you are activating them. Perhaps you’re a non-profit and you just want them to come carry signs at your next human rights demonstration. But a cosmetics company would want people to become buyers. On the way to becoming buyers, however, their visitors might first be newsletter subscribers or free sample recipients.

So a new type of marketing is now developing, Conversion Marketing. Have you ever started an online purchase and then abandoned the shopping cart because you changed your mind or found a better deal somewhere else? Any company with a shopping cart wants to make sure you make it all the way to “SUBMIT.” So an easy shopping experience, customer feedback after the sale and sharp customer service all contribute to the conversion of as many site visitors as possible into customers. Also, emails telling you your product has been shipped or asking about satisfaction with the sale enhance their ability to build that loyal relationship with you.

Have you ever visited a site and suddenly seen a chat window pop open or a figure appears and begins talking to you? These are some of the conversion marketing techniques being used.

The more a site can scrape up any personalized information to offer you by tracking your path through their site, the more likely you are to stay on the site and buy something. Have you ever noticed when you are thinking of buying something on Amazon, they will tell you what other people bought WITH the item you are considering? And Netflix offers you other movies that are similar to the one you just watched.

A site should also make it completely painless to sign up for newsletters, download free items, find a phone number to call, learn your location, your hours and so on. Once you read an article about restoring vintage cars, you should be offered free tutorial videos relevant to car restoration and oh, by the way, here’s where you can buy parts for your ’57 Chevy or ’67 Mustang.

As internet marketing grows into maturity, it’s a relief to see that marketing methods are being directed at the consumer where they always belonged, not at the automation that is Google’s vast indexing machine. With intelligent Conversion Marketing, people actually find products and services they are interested in. A company has a chance, finally, to build a real relationship with customers because they are talking to the right people and offering them the right products. Everyone benefits. Except the scammers, who have, fortunately, gone to the end of the line where they belong.

Using Facebook to Promote Your Business

Share this post!

In the US, if an adult is online at all, there’s a very good chance he or she is on Facebook. Seventy-one percent of these online adults include Facebook in their social media activity. Of course, some are far more active than others. More than 120 million people in the US are on Facebook every day and 179 million visit once a month or more. The number of people accessing Facebook via smartphone is growing fast, too. Now, more than 140 million people access Facebook at least once a month via their phones.

Pretty much every business should have a Facebook presence. It’s really not difficult but of course, to get anything out of it, you have to be smart about it and you have to be consistent.

The first thing you need to do is to create a Facebook Page for your business. This is formatted differently than your personal Profile page. Some of the functionality is different and there are some great services added to these pages that help you maximize the benefit of your time spent maintaining this Page.

If you have not done so yet, create a Facebook Page. Add a picture of the building your business is in, if applicable, to the banner across the top of the page. In the small profile image space, post an image of yourself or your staff.

It’s important to make your Page as complete as possible. So fill in the About page as fully as the questions apply to your business.

Some people create a banner for the top of the page that includes both images and their phone number. Don’t make it a flagrant advertisement. Remember that the purpose of Facebook is engagement and interaction. You’re going to invite people to enjoy your online presence, not hard sell them.

For many companies, what comes next is a lot harder than getting the page all set up. You’re going to need to engage people’s interest in order to attract their business. Facebook is all about building an awareness of your business. When you do this skillfully, you bring viewers into a relationship with your business that can result in them walking in the door or visiting your website to learn more about your products or make purchases.

If you’ve ever spent any time on Facebook, then you know that plenty of people are running ads. You can certainly do this but you can also build up a lot of recognition for your company by interacting with potential customers on Facebook.

You’ll need to get a lot of people to Like your Page. If you have a Profile, log in as yourself and then search within Facebook for your new business Page. On the left side of the page, there should be a feature near the top that shows who has Liked your Page. There will be a small link under it that says “Invite your friends to like this page.” Your Facebook friends will be available through this link. Go through all your friends and family and invite them all to Like your business Page. Then get a couple of family and close friends to do the same (preferably people with large friend lists) and you will have a good start.

Once you have a following, build greater awareness of your company, its products or services and your philosophy of business (quality, customer service, etc.) by posting regularly. Focus on creating engaging content that would be of interest to anyone who might become a client or customer. Post testimonials from current customers, images of new products, notifications on sales or special offers and helpful information to help people understand how your products can improve their lives. And don’t just talk about what you sell. You can get very popular by frequently adding information about your field. If you’re a car repair shop, post notices about a new speedway opening or recalls from major manufacturers. Remind people how and when to winterize their cars. If you have a hair salon, post images of celebrities with trendy new hairstyles or tips on how to keep one’s hair from being damaged by sun or winter cold.

Just think of that friend you have who always knows the latest news and fills you in. He doesn’t push the information on you, just offers it. And it’s always interesting. Model your comments after someone like this.

Managing a Facebook page and advertising is an extensive subject that we don’t have the room to cover here! There are many books written to help a businessperson get up to speed and Facebook itself has many tutorials. If you’re going to get started, just focus on spreading good news and generating a greater awareness of your products and services and that will be a good start.

Why Many Companies Neglect One of their Most Valuable Business Assets

Share this post!

There’s a very simple thing any business can do to increase their reach into the right audiences but they toss the assets that would enable them to do it into the garbage. In this day of electronic communication, it’s ludicrous that anyone would mismanage these assets but I still run into companies doing it.

What asset am I talking about? I’m talking about the identities of everyone you come in contact with as you do business.

I was recently consulting a company that provides an expensive but vital service. Because the service is pricey, many people may be interested but don’t financially qualify. So this company has people calling and emailing them all the time but many of these sales cycles don’t go through. After these transactions, all these leads were put in envelopes and stashed in boxes that were shoved in a corner. I spent some time convincing them that every time a person calls or emails, that identity must be carefully retained in a form that makes it easy to contact them in the future. A person who does not qualify now may qualify in a year or two. Or they may run into someone who does qualify and if you have been contacting them regularly – say with an emailed newsletter or helpful information – they will remember you and mention you to other people.

Awhile back, I used to take my car to a little out-of-the-way garage. The guys who worked there were like my uncles. Completely reliable, excellent mechanics. One day I noticed their records of their past sales. They were credit card slips spilling out of boxes in the back room. I’ve also seen this kind of record keeping in more sophisticated businesses – vital information on customers and the results of their service kept stored in boxes in the garage.

The identities of the people who have purchased from you or indicated that they were interested in your products or services are invaluable assets. They should be collected and maintained in some kind of useable form – database, spreadsheet – even sorted into file folders is better than nothing. You’d eventually have to get them into a form that enables them to be emailed, phoned or mailed to but at least that is a start at preserving them.

Once you have collected and preserved these assets, you should next work out ways to communicate with them regularly. If you’re just starting out, you don’t have to get fancy. And you don’t have to use every outreach effort to push your product hard. The primary thing is to keep yourself alive in their minds.

Do you sell patio furniture? Look for the most delicious grilling recipes you can find and send them along to your former or potential customers one month. Next month, send them tips on how to keep gnats and mosquitoes away while they are enjoying the backyard. Now, if you’re sending a postcard or an email, you can tuck a special offer or a discount in the margins. This business could really pour the coals on in the spring, sending out splashy advertising on all their new shipments or special pre-summer sales events. Because they have been helpful and interesting all year round, their former or potential customers are more likely to have a favorable impression of the company and will be more likely to give that pre-summer sales event some thought.

You can operate in a similar manner in the online and social media worlds. Give people a good reason to be interested in you and then collect those identities. On Facebook, this means getting people to “like” your page. On your website, it means offering something valuable that just requires providing an email address to receive. You don’t even have to think about whether or not you should contact them later – just do it! You must also be sure to give them an easy way to unsubscribe or opt out of your messages so you can keep your list clean.

 

So why do people ignore this valuable asset? Simply because they didn’t know that these identities could be turned into future sales. Some companies rely on word of mouth or referrals from other businesses but they are losing all the potential of these people who have already expressed an interest or who purchased from them in the past. You don’t have to put a lot of money into each name but keep the relationship alive by being helpful and interesting.

 

Above all, just be sure you are collecting and preserving the identities of everyone who contacts you with an interest in your product or service, along with at least one method of reaching them. If it takes you a little while to work out what to do with them, you will have collected a resource pool of identities to work with when you’re ready.

 

And of course, if you need to know what to do with them, we certainly know how to help you with that. Call us any time for our expert advice.

The Google-Mandated Migration to HTTPS: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

Share this post!

Most people know that Google is the biggest search engine in the world. More people use Google to locate the data they want than any other browser – by far! What this means, then, is that businesses are dependent on the way Google offers search results. When Google shifts the way their programming selects and offers results – called their algorithm – businesses had better pay attention and keep up with those changes. They risk falling in the search results if they don’t. 

To give you a little background before I explain what HTTPS is, in the past four years or so, Google has made a number of significant changes. Sometimes they explain what has changed and sometimes they don’t.

You may or may not know that you can use a service called Google Analytics to watch how many people visit your site, how many pages they visit, which pages perform better than others and similar data. When Google makes these shifts, you can very quickly see if your site is performing better or worse.

Here’s an example of how Google’s modifications can change a company’s result. In August 2013, a site I’ve been working with saw its results decline severely. We all studied the changes and made some changes and the site began to climb slowly. In May of this year, Google made another change and the company saw the number of visitors to the site jump up considerably, back to the prior year’s level.

Now, Google is encouraging all site owners to switch to a different website technology – HTTPS. As motivation for this change, sites that use this more secure system will rank higher in the search results that Google offers up.

HTTP refers to the language used for building websites. It’s this language that enables you to place live links on your web pages that carry you instantly to a new page. When you add the S to HTTP, this refers to Secure Socket Layer, an encryption process. When you send information across the internet on an HTTPS site, your data is encrypted and is unavailable to whoever might be snagging information from this traffic. If you have an HTTP site, the data is freely available to anyone who can trap these bits of data.

Shopping and banking sites are normally HTTPS. You might be browsing on HTTP pages and then when you go to buy something, that new page is HTTPS.

To see this in action, go to Amazon.com. Find a book you might like to buy. The address at the top of the browser window will start with “www.amazon.com.” Add the book to your shopping cart and then move on to checkout. Now the web address starts with HTTPS.

So shopping carts and confidential reports to government or law enforcement agencies (for example) use this more secure foundation for their sites. Google wants ALL sites to shift over to this system.

When preparing your site for this change, your content and design remain exactly the same. Some of the settings of your site will change and you’ll need the the service of a company that offers this security protocol. The good news is that we can handle this for you. All you need to do is tell us that you’re ready for this shift.

Remember, this change should make your site rise in the Google rankings and that is valuable. A better position in Google search result enables you to put more dollars in your pocket. And your customers who know about the increased security offered by HTTPS know you are offering them a more secure browsing experience. In these days of hacked websites, that’s valuable.

By making this change now, you will have an advantage that millions of other sites do not yet have. Call us any time and we’ll let you know exactly what will be involved in updating your site to HTTPS.

Getting Business From Your Blog

Share this post!

If you’ve got a blog, you should be getting something from it. It could be traffic to your website, or people walking in your store or business or phone calls asking about your products or services. Hopefully you’re contributing to your blog, adding regular content to it – at least once a week. So how do you convert people from readers to something more useful?

There’s a number of things you should be doing.

1. Write in a casual, friendly voice. Nearly all blogs are written in a personal voice, not a corporate one. Use conversational tone and a simple vocabulary. Even a little slang is fine, and humor is great if it’s appropriate to the subject. Really, it should sound like you would if you were chatting with a customer.

2. Don’t be complex. If your subject is really complicated, try tackling just one aspect of it. A blog post is not something most people really concentrate on so don’t make your readers work too hard. If you take one point and explain it thoroughly, you’re likely to be appreciated more than if you tried to explain everything about your products or services in one blog post.

3. Be useful. Help your customers. Give them tips, helpful advice or useful information. But don’t always expect to make money from the help. Just provide useful information. A company that makes healthy makeup wrote a blog post explaining the problem with some of the ingredients that other companies used and mentioned that they didn’t use any of those ingredients. There was no sales pitch for the products. They started getting calls from readers, asking for more information about their ingredients.

4. Keep things brief. Make your sentences short and to the point. Use simple sentence structure. Remember your English lessons from school!

5. Don’t wander! Stay on the point. When you are done writing your post, let it sit for a little while and then take a look at it and make sure you stuck closely to the point you intended to make. Trim out anything that’s unneeded.

6. Don’t emphasize sales in your blog posts. Blogs are not sales brochures. It is better to be informative about some aspect of your products, services or even your industry and let people make up their own minds. For example, if you sell fine wood flooring, don’t be afraid to discuss carpets or other home decor items or color schemes to create different moods. Your customers will see you as helpful and are more likely to tune back in to your blog at another time.

It’s okay to “curate” information from other sources. By this is meant to sift through other information from your industry and select out the best information you would like your customers to have. Just make it your own, give it your spin and personal interpretation.

Now, that being said – it would be natural to mention your products or services from time to time. Just remember that this isn’t the place to pitch them hard.

And in line with our own advice, we can provide you with great blogs on a regular basis! (See how that works?) Call us for more information.

If you have a small business and a smallish website, can you ever compete with bigger brands?

Share this post!

You might think that a small business could never compete with a big store or a big chain store’s internet presence. Let’s suppose you have a hardware store with a local clientele that has been buying from you for many years. Can your website compete with those belonging to big national chains? According to Matt Cutts, it can.

We’ve talked about Mr. Cutts before. He is the “Face of Google.” He appears in an apparently endless stream of informal videos on behalf of Google, answering questions, explaining changes and updating the public on the way Google operates. Truly, Google is such a complex machine that a little explaining is required for most of us.

In a video posted on April 23rd of this year, he addresses this question about small websites. He claims that a small site can indeed compete with larger sites. Large companies often develop multiple levels of approvals for any sales or marketing campaigns so they are notorious for becoming slower, lumbering dinosaurs when compared to small companies where the CEO or owner is in direct contact with the people running marketing or the website.

The key to competing is to have quality, relevant content. In some instances, the company that can activate the most relevant, quality content the fastest can win web visitors, interest, sales and steady customers.

Let’s go back to our hardware store. Let’s look at the owner of that store who has a person right in the hardware store office who maintains the website, creates online flyers and specials and adds content that the customers might find interesting. And now let’s imagine a media event that relates to the hardware store – like a major celebrity gets interviewed on a large cable network and says that next week, he is going to go work on a couple of Habitat for Humanity houses. (This is an organization that builds or renovates homes for charitable purposes. People who live in substandard housing or can’t afford a home can receive an affordable home courtesy of Habitat for Humanity.)

In a small, nimble company, the CEO and website engineer can have a promotional campaign worked up in an hour and posted in a couple of hours. They can announce a donation of building supplies to the celebrity’s project or offer to match donations from their customers. The nimble store might also get some media coverage by calling a local television station and getting them out to interview the CEO and shoot some footage of customers donating to the charity.

It might take the large store a week to plan and launch an online campaign.

In that intervening time, if the local public looks online for information about the celebrity’s project, they are likely to find the small store’s information.

Mr. Cutts recommends focusing on a specific aspect of your business that might give you an edge in your corner of the business. Just do a very good job of providing superior content that relates to the products or services you provide.

This is, of course, a service that Visual Edge Design can provide for you. You should be thinking of updating your site with relevant information about your field on an ongoing basis, answering questions your potential customers might have and providing tips that help people understand the best way to utilize your products or services. Your site will be rewarded for having valuable, timely, relevant content. Now, the way that Google figures out that your content is valuable, timely and relevant – we’ll have to take that up at another time, in another blog post.

Google, Its Algorithms and You

Share this post!

First, I better remind you (or explain to you) what an algorithm is because that has everything to do with the power Google has in our world.

An algorithm is defined as a procedure or formula for solving a problem. That’s the mathematical definition. When you’re talking about computers and the internet, an algorithm refers to a procedure that solves a recurrent problem. For example, like when you and 5,000 other people search for “truck tires” on Tuesday. Google and other search engines have built incredibly complex programs that search all the world’s accessible websites and select the most relevant (they hope) results and offer them to you. That automatic, machine-driven program is referred to as an algorithm.

Algorithms are constantly changing. Companies have been competing for more than a decade to offer the most valuable, relevant search results. While long ago, Yahoo!, Excite and AltaVista were popular search engines, they lost to Google. Let’s see how badly they lost.

This pie chart from Neil Patel at Quicksprout.com gives us instant insight into the dominating position Google holds in the business of providing search results. It shows how many of today’s searches are carried out by our top search engines.

patel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.quicksprout.com/2014/04/11/why-social-is-the-new-seo/

Google obviously rules, followed by Bing, Yahoo, AOL and Ask.com. You’ll see that Alta Vista and Excite don’t even show up on this chart. They lost. Google won.

Some Businesses Live and Die by Google’s Updates

You can easily see from this chart that if a business doesn’t provide Google with the clues they need to select that company’s website for search results, their website may disappear right off the map. So there is an entire industry dedicated to tracking what Google has done, what it plans to do next, and how companies can maintain their search engine result standings. If a company’s site shows up on the first page of search results, that’s where they want it to stay.

So every time Google makes a major or even a minor change to their algorithm, there’s a lot of scrambling while people figure it out. Sometimes, Google has one of their tech staff (usually Matt Cutts) explain the change but sometimes, there’s nothing. A company that used to be in the first ten search results now appears on page ten. Effectively, they are dead in the water. There are companies that lost millions of dollars when Google changed their algorithm and suddenly their websites were nowhere to be found in the search results. To be fair, Google provides extensive training and informational videos and articles telling companies the right way to build their sites. I happen to know that one of these companies that got hit so hard built their site the fast and dirty way, not by building a quality site that served the customer.

The Hummingbird Update

Last August, there was yet another change to Google’s algorithm. And this time, there was no accompanying explanation. But plenty of people have analyzed the changes in results to determine what was modified.

Google is moving in the direction of more intuitive, intelligent relationships with its users. A year or so ago, Google began to be able to work off synonyms, not slavishly following the keywords in your search terms. For example, you could ask for “Birkenstock sandals” and Google now offers pages that sell other types of healthy, ergonomic shoes.

Now, Google is moving even further in this direction by trying to interpret what you are asking. If you search, “How many calories do eggs have?” and then moments later ask, “How much cholesterol do they have?”, Google will know you are still talking about eggs. Consider that Google is patiently trying to have a conversation with you. Voice searches (similar to Siri on the iPhone) are not far off. Google not only listens to your literal words, it also interprets your meaning and works from that.

 

This is the Hummingbird update. There are also features that make the search engine work better on mobile devices. There are more than 200 different factors Google looks at to determine what pages to offer you when you search for “Good restaurants in Tampa.”

So now, unless you’re a web development geek, you know more than most people around you about Hummingbird.

So What Does this Mean For You?

Basically, it means that your website should be fast and efficient. It should be provide excellent, complete information for a customer who might be looking for your product. Your products or services should be explained in detail and frequently asked questions should be answered in full on your site. Your images should be original whenever possible. All these factors would make your site appealing to a customer and Google is trying to stand in for that customer and provide him with your site when that’s really just what he is looking for.

We can help you analyze what your site might need to make it up to today’s standards. If it has been a couple of years since you did a major update, it’s a very rare website that would not need to be updated. Call us to find out how we can help.

An Excellent New Year’s Resolution for 2014: Engaging, Informative, Concise Quality Content.

Share this post!

If you’ve got a website you rely on, that one sentence comes close to telling you everything you need to know about succeeding in 2014. Close… but not quite everything. So I will explain a little more.

Of Course, It Starts with Google’s Functionality

If you’ve been reading these blogs, you know that Google has adjusted the way their search engine works many times in the last few years. Some changes were more significant than others and resulted in websites that had previously been successful suddenly disappearing from sight.

Online marketing experts have scrambled to keep up with the changes. Since some changes were unannounced and unexplained by Google. Some modifications had to be laboriously deduced from the way search results changed.

The upshot of all these changes and what they mean for 2014? Be informative. Provide useful relevant content. And no stuffing the content with the keywords you think people are looking for. Google has eliminated the service that used to help you do keyword research anyway. So I’m afraid you just have to focus on adding relevant, useful content to your site.

Why Concise?

These days, your content CAN be more concise and still work for you. Google (and other search engines, too) used to assign more value to long articles. Not so much any more. You don’t need to write any more words that are necessary when you offer that informative content.

There are new ways of testing how far down a page your readers are getting before they jump off your page. Those long pages we were all writing for our web pages? Most of them, people only get half way down them anyway. So the days of writing long content for Google have been replaced by writing more concise content for readers. Remember, just like always, you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention before they click out of that window. So get to the point fast, eliminate wordiness, and stop as soon as you have provided that useful information.

For Social Media, “Engaging” is Key

If you have any idea of working in the realm of social media, you need to think in terms of engaging your readers. If you simply post information YOU want people to have, you are not likely to engage many people. But let’s assume for the moment that you sell paint for indoor and outdoor uses. The more you engage people in your topic, the more you will win. So what about ideas like these:

  • Search for and post pictures of the wackiest home painting jobs you’ve ever seen.
  • Ask readers to submit their unusual color combinations, no matter whose paint is used.
  • Run articles on famous artists who used house paint in their creations.
  • Post a few pictures of rooms with paint jobs designed by professional decorators and ask people to vote on the color combination they like best. Give a few gallons of paint away as a reward for voting (choose winners at random).
  • Offer tips on cleaning up paint spills, keeping a paint job looking good, or making painting a room fast and easy.
  • The more you offer content that people will forward or respond to, the more you have engaged them. Social media is not about direct selling. It’s about getting the community spreading the word.

Following guidelines like these or choosing Visual Edge Design to take on these tasks for you, you can see a growth in the number of people interested in you and your product and not have to worry about the future of Google updates. You’ll do just fine in the future as well as the present.

Morgan Fagerman

Business Blogs Rule!!! Do You Have a Business Blog Yet?

Share this post!

Business Blogs Rule!!! Do You Have a Business Blog Yet?

So we’ve told you before that the website for your business should have a blog. We’ve mentioned that a couple of times now. Are you still not convinced? Maybe you need a little more convincing?

Would it help if you heard some of the wins from corporations that are using blogs?

How about the fact that there are 17,000 blogs by IBM employees? There have been 15 MILLION downloads of employee-generated videos or podcasts since their involvement in employee blogging started.

Microsoft was famous for allowing employees to create their own individual blogs early in the evolution of blogging. Now, they not only permit it, they feature an index to employee blogs at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/featureblogs.aspx. The blog subjects run the gamut from business management software deployment to geothermal energy storage devices. There’s blogs on the National Football League and Outlook, the Microsoft based email service. You’ll note that not all blogs feature Microsoft products or services. Some also get into the charitable programs Microsoft employees are involved in – a PR plus for the company as well as the individuals.

An early analysis of the Microsoft employee blogging activity notes that allowing – even encouraging – employees to maintain their own blogs enables key people from within the company to communicate directly with customers without a PR or marketing spin. It also puts a human face to a very large corporation and in fact, it provides a way to document the development of product ideas.

Forbes Magazine’s Model of Blogging

A few years ago, Forbes Magazine was just a business news magazine. Well-known and successful, sure, but not known for their blogs. Now, they are.

They have almost one thousand authors and hundreds of thousands of blog posts from these authors. Their online audience doubled in one year, from 15 million unique viewers to 30 million. That is very powerful growth.

But You’re Not Microsoft or Forbes, Right?

Blogging still provides value for small companies. Of course, as we have said before, your blog strengthens your website when it comes to those all-important Google search results. This is the easiest place to get new content added to your site on a regular basis.

But still, even for a small company, it enables you to put a helpful public face out there for all your potential customers to find. You can explain your products and services and help people understand why they need them.

The way blogs are written is very different from the way books, websites or news articles are written. It’s a natural voice that makes the information from a company, corporation or news source very accessible to the average man or woman on the street. I would bet you that’s part of the reason that blogs have brought such strength to these major corporations. Otherwise, all you’d ever get out of companies like Microsoft and IBM is the typical press release or marketing brochure.

We provide a constant stream of blog posts for many of the companies we support with websites and other content. And we can do the same for you. Ask us for more information!

Carlos Bernot

What!! Your Website Isn’t Mobile-Friendly Yet?

Share this post!

If you have invested in a fully up-to-date mobile-friendly website, you can safely skip this blog post. Unless you’re just curious to find out how right you really were. In that case, just keep reading.

But if you haven’t made that jump yet, here’s something you ought to know.

More people are using their smartphones or other mobile devices to look for products or services like yours. About half of them are ONLY using their smartphones. To compete, you need to adapt your existing site to the new technology of mobile websites.

Google Helps Us Out with Some Survey Data

Here’s some statistics that Google is making available.

  1. 48% of folks who are out on the road and searching for products or services start by pulling up a search engine like Google or Bing. They are not going straight to a specific website. For example, they go to Google and type in “buy lumber in Tampa” rather than going to www.homedepot.com. That’s significant because it means you have a chance to compete in your market. You just have to be easy to find.

  2. If you have anything to do with the beauty market, here’s a statistic for you. 46% of people shopping for beauty products or services do not have a definite brand in mind when they set out to shop. Again, this is good for the same reason. You have a chance to grab that traffic if your site places well in Google (and other search engine) results.

  3. More than half of those consumers who are on the road want to buy whatever they are looking for within the hour. Whether it’s a meal, new tires, patio furniture, dog food, a facial or athletic shoes, they left the house with the intention to buy and they want it now.

The bad thing is that nearly every consumer that’s using mobile is still finding sites that are obsolete. According to Google, 96% of consumers answered a survey saying that they were still finding sites that were clearly not set up for mobile.

Given the growing popularity of mobile, an investment in an updated website is a necessity.

The Point is…

I don’t want to drown you in statistics, so I’ll just say this. In further surveys, consumers definitely described themselves as warm toward mobile sites and the businesses that went to the trouble to update their sites and very cool toward businesses that didn’t make the effort.

Well, just one more statistic: “48% said that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphones, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business.”

If you’ve got a website, it now needs to be updated to be mobile-friendly. This doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg; in fact, it’s probably less than you think.

It’s easy to find out – just call us. Whether we built your website or not, we can convert it so it will be fast to load, easy to navigate, and friendly for that mobile user looking for your business.

Kevin Dublin