Category Archives: Affordable SEO

magnifying glass on search engine rankings in Google

Local Businesses: How to Rock Rankings in Google

How do local businesses get customers to (and through) the door? Driving online and foot traffic is (or should be) the bread-and-butter of every local business marketing strategy. There are many ways to achieve this goal, including (but not limited to) email lists, social media, and search engine optimization (SEO).

The last item isn’t as tangible as sending out regular emails to customers or posting to social media, but it’s one of the most important ways to drive customers to your business. SEO is the process of getting to the top of search engine results pages for relevant keywords and phrases. For some businesses, this can be phrases like, “school backpacks for preschoolers” or “backyard grills.”

For local brick-and-mortar businesses, the focus on SEO results needs to be far more specific. After all, a person searching for flooring in Wisconsin isn’t going to contact a business in Ohio. For businesses with a specific target area (around their business or business location), local SEO is one of the top ways to ensure that local businesses are showing up in online user’s searches.

Statistics from Google, the most popular internet search engine, prove this marketing tactic to be successful:

Those statistics are based off of real online behaviors. When a person is looking for a product or service, they are going online to research products and businesses that provide the specific product or business. This could be an intensive process or an impulsive search online. Some of the research is done through voice search or typed-in keywords, phrases, and questions.

If a local business wants to be found in these searches, the business name and information needs to show up in search results. This can be in the form of tips and information, business-specific information, or lists of local businesses that provide a product or service (i.e. “restaurants near me,” “djs near me,” etc.)  There are numerous ways business can show up in searches; this list is just the start of a business’ targeted local SEO efforts (for more technical local SEO, contact local SEO experts).

Claim a Google My Business listing.

Online visitors need businesses that provide products and services. They look for them online, either by typing in or asking questions. An article on Forbes estimated that an average of one billion voice searches occur every month.

In a Google searches, the businesses listed as answers in those searches are often pulled from Google My Business (GMB). GMB is an online directory of local businesses.

To be included in GMB, business can claim a free GMB listing. To verify the listing, businesses need to enter a code from a postcard that comes in the mail. Listings should be optimized and filled out completely for optimal results.

Add strategic content to your website.

High-quality, optimized content is a huge asset in local SEO. The content can answer questions or provide information relevant to searches about the product or service. Either way, the content must bring some value to the reader.

Years ago, this content would have to be 300 words and only text to be high in the rankings in Google. As search engines have evolved and the sheer amount of content has multiplied (exponentially), the stakes for content has skyrocketed.

Modern content needs to be optimized with keywords and topics relevant to online searches. This does NOT mean repeating keywords over and over, which is called “keyword stuffing” and is penalized by search engines. To be clear, the content not only needs to be optimized for search engines but also for the target audience. (Optimized content can be outsourced to professionals to get regular content that gets results.)

All content should contain images optimized for higher rankings in Google. These images should have relevant alt text and ideally would be a video that provides more value for the reader. While these images should be clear, they should not slow down page loading speed. Page loading speed is another Google ranking factor.

According to Google, when the time for a website page to load goes from one to three seconds, the chance of an online user leaving the website increases by 32%. That number almost triples, to 90%, when page loading speed goes from one to five seconds. The number increases to 106% when loading from one to six seconds. From one to 10 seconds, the chances of a bounce are a whopping 123%.

Claim directory and review site listings.

Research has shown that 88% factor online reviews into their purchasing decision (Source: Search Engine Land). For this reason, business listings on review sites and online directories are a common result on search engine results pages (generated after a search).

Businesses should compile a list of online review sites and web directories relevant to their industry and claim listings on those sites. Every listing should have consistent information—even down to the abbreviations. The suite should be “Ste.” on every site, the same for “Rd.” and “Ave.”   

These sites also play an integral part in building trust with potential customers. More than 70% of customers say positive reviews play a part in trusting a business. To earn those positive reviews, businesses should provide excellent customer service and make asking for reviews a standard part of the process. Every staff member should be trained to provide an excellent experience and ask satisfied customers for a positive review.

To make the process easy for the customer, businesses should look for opportunities to ask for reviews. This could include a link included in a follow-up email, a postcard included in a package, or an in-person ask from a salesman or technician.

Build a website with an optimized structure.

An optimized website is an integral part of every business’ SEO toolbox. To get high rankings on Googles, businesses must structure their website for search engines. In addition, an optimized website must load quickly, contain relevant keywords, never have duplicate title tags or meta descriptions, and contain no broken links.

Astoundingly, almost three-quarters of all Americans have a smartphone. The growing amount of smartphones should be a key part of every company’s marketing strategy. According to Google, almost half of all mobile users are frustrated by websites that aren’t mobile-friendly. This trend is reflected by Google, which include mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.

20 Things You Can Learn from Our 20 Years of Marketing

20 Target Showing Anniversary of our Experienced Marketing CompanyCue drum roll.

We’re been around for 20 years. That’s right, we’ve provided 20 years of marketing services. In those 20 years, we’ve learned a thing or two (or three or 20 or…).  We could write a novel about how marketing (and online marketing) has evolved over the years, but everyone loves a list (it is one of the most popular content marketing ideas). We’ve found that one of the most important services we can provide is educating our clients…so here it goes: 20 concepts about search engine optimization, email marketing, social media and content marketing you can use in your online marketing efforts.

  1. Online marketing ALWAYS changes.
  2. Knowing your audience has, and always will be, the #1 rule of marketing. It’s also the key to success.
  3. Small businesses can achieve BIG results on an affordable budget. Don’t assume an online marketing company is too expensive.
  4. There’s no shame or blame in outsourcing your company’s marketing. Many a marketing effort has, and will, fail because of a manager or owner with good intentions.
  5. There are do’s and don’ts of outsourcing that every company manager or owner should understand if they want to get marketing results.
  6. The best inspiration for your marketing can be found with the people who interact with your customers.
  7. Search engine optimization is always evolving (it’s not dead, just evolving). This is one SEO myth that drives us crazy—among others.
  8. Not all search engine optimization technology is created equal.
  9. Design your website for your audience (see #2) and optimize your site for search engines and your customers.
  10. Integrate ALL your marketing tools for optimal results.
  11. ALWAYS remember you are marketing to humans. Don’t focus too much on search engines; you are writing for real people (if you need assistance, outsource—see #4).
  12. Content marketing is not advertising. Stop yelling at your customers! Instead, ask this question.
  13. Headlines matter…in the “old” days on mail pieces, and today in email and content marketing.
  14. Every content marketing plan needs to be accompanied by a solid promotion plan.
  15. You don’t have to be on every social media site (here’s how to target your efforts).
  16. Marketing doesn’t work without excellent customer service to back it up.
  17. Be smart with the ways you cut corners in your social marketing efforts—it can backfire.
  18. Don’t jump into social media without everything you need to achieve results—and don’t be intimidated by the list of social media must-haves. Small businesses can achieve results on a small budget (see #4).
  19. You have to commit to online marketing, and stick to it. This is just one of two R’s to use in online marketing.
  20. There is so much more to learn, and continue to learn, about online marketing (see #1). Follow marketing blogs and publications for information, or outsource to a company that keeps up with the latest information and trends.

How to Increase Local Sales with Digital Marketing

using digital marketing to close local salesJust because your company doesn’t sell products online, or have any interest in e-commerce, doesn’t mean that you don’t need digital marketing. Statistics don’t lie: 54% of Americans have substituted the Internet and local search for phone books (comScore), and a startling 95% of smartphone users have looked for local information (Source: The Mobile Movement Study, Google/Ipsos OTX MediaCT , Apr 2011). So how do you use digital marketing to your business’ advantage?

  1. Get your primary audience’s attention. There are a number of ways to accomplish the goal, but the first step in the process is to follow the first rule of marketing: know your audience. Who do you sell to? Who is looking for your product? Once you have that key piece of information, invest your marketing budget and efforts into digital marketing tools that work (and marketing experts recommend): search engine optimization, content marketing and social media marketing. Contact a company that specializes in local search engine optimization (SEO) and can use their technology to get you in the top search engine rankings on Google, Yahoo and Bing in surrounding areas. They can create information that your audience wants and use their knowledge of conversion rates to turn them into customers. In addition, they can find social media platforms where your audience is at and create content for your website that they want to click on. The result: a multi-channel digital marketing strategy designed to get your audience’s attention, build trust and convert them to customers (and is far more affordable than you would think!).
  2. Create great headlines. All great website and content marketing headlines have a commonality: they speak to your audience. Whether that is through an attention-grabbing headline (e.g. 5 things you’re doing wrong) or a title that speaks to their pain point or entertains them. Common examples of good headlines include:
    • Questions (How can I fix this?)
    • List (5 Ways to fix your problem)
    • Shocking (5 Horrible Mistakes You’re Making Fixing Your Problem)
    • What’s not a good headline? A title that tricks the user and doesn’t deliver. Don’t produce a headline to get their attention, or uses all the key words that your audience is looking for, and doesn’t deliver any value. Remember, the best way to sell to a customer is to build their trust. Misleading them has the opposite effect.
  1. Use different media and visuals. Don’t use a one-size-fits-all mentality when planning and selecting visuals for your digital marketing efforts. Create videos and graphics for every different preference, or purchase them. Use them on your social media channels, on your website and in your content marketing channels for maximum impact.
  2. Craft a strong call-to-action (CTA). The definition of a CTA is not always about a purchase. A call-to-action can be a graphic, asking your audience to contact you with questions (remember you want to build trust) or inviting their input (about a product, a funny picture, anything). Whether writing a draft for new page on your website or writing a post for your blog, don’t forget to include a CTA.
  3. Keep testing. A website is not a static animal to be published and left for 5-10 years. Rather, evolve your website, social media, content marketing and digital sales tactics to fit your customers’ needs (remember they come first) and improve their buying experience. That’s what so great about online marketing: it changes and morphs with the world (think about the impact of mobile devices on digital marketing). Your job, as a B2C or B2B company—remember it’s all about marketing to humans!—is to grow with it.

If you don’t have the time, or resources internally, to take on these digital marketing channels, outsource. We’ve said it before: there’s not shame or blame in outsourcing. Rather, it allows you to focus your efforts on what you’re good at (like running your company) and puts your digital marketing efforts into the experts’ hands. Experts who have the expertise and knowledge of evolving digital marketing trends and can convert them into local sales. It’s a partnership with great results, and a great return on your investment.

5 More Online Marketing Mistakes You’re Making (Part 3)

digital marketingWhat’s worse than trying and failing? Not trying at all. We’re continually amazed at business owners and managers who view online marketing as an unknown abyss never to be crossed or even attempted. Or worse, they take a stab at these digital marketing tools, give up and make a snap judgment that “it’s just not worth it.” We understand the hesitation. To be sure, digital marketing is a marathon that takes time and effort—far more than it appears on the surface. You just write a few sentences, add them to your blog and post them to Facebook and Twitter right? Or you take a few photos and upload them on Instagram and Pinterest?

If you’re reading this, chances are you know that’s not true, and how easy it is to slip into common online marketing mistakes. We’ve written about some of these mistakes in two separate past blog posts and how you can learn from them (Part I & Part II)—mistakes that everyone makes, from the smallest shops to the largest brands:

  1. Not focusing on your local customers online. The world-wide web is a big, big world. It’s easy to feel lost among all the sites, and for your customers to feel that way as well. Who can they turn to when they have a problem? How can they find a local business they can trust? That’s where search engine optimization can give you that local connection, even among the billions of websites online. Search engine optimization is an affordable digital marketing technology that can propel your website to the top of local search engine results, if you contact a digital manufacturing firm with proven results. What does that mean? It means when local customers search for your services and products on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, they find your website, and all your great content, at the top of the listings.
  2. Abandoning your social media sites. Social media has many advantages: a free connection to your customers (and potential customers), unsolicited testimonials, ability to provide excellent customer service, and a chance to sell your business and products. That’s why it’s a head scratcher when a business jumps on social media and then abandons ship. Or worse, when someone from the business starts a social media profile, adds a few posts on an inconsistent basis and then abandons it. If you decide on a social media site that fits your business, go ‘all in’—either allocate time to post regular and relevant posts, or hire a firm that can.
  3. Using the ‘if we build it, they will come’ philosophy. Don’t just set up a Facebook or Pinterest page without spreading the word about your social media presence. Use these tips to make sure the world knows your company is social (and responsive to their feedback!), and that you’re ready to start giving out information and insider tips on your new page or profile.
  4. Not following through on content marketing. Don’t let down your potential customers by giving them this content marketing trap: finding an article with a title that makes them think they’ve found the latest and greatest information they’re looking for, only to find that the article is full of outdated information and that the blog hasn’t been touched for years. It doesn’t reflect well on your company or build trust with your potential customers. If you find you can’t keep up with posting content on a regular basis, contact experts that can.
  5. Not integrating your marketing efforts. Don’t treat your print, media, content marketing and social media marketing like it’s a stand-alone feature. One hand should know what the other is doing for optimal marketing results. Create a promotion plan, and use a consistent voice. Your customers associate everything they see and hear about your company with your brand; it’s up to you to make sure all the dots connect. If you don’t have time to connect the dots, outsource. There’s no shame or blame in putting your marketing efforts in the expert’s hands. At the end of the day, you’ll find that working with an online marketing firm can make the marathon easier—and help you avoid all those common online marketing mistakes.

Search Engine Optimization 101

SEO If you’ve heard a lot about search engine optimization (SEO) but don’t know how to break through the industry talk, don’t feel alone. As a SEO provider who gets clients up to speed on SEO, we get it. SEO providers (like us) are so deep in search engine optimization technology sometimes what comes out of our mouth sounds like “blah, blah, blah” to anyone not acquainted with SEO (which let’s be honest, is most of us). So how do you make sense of all of the SEO blah-talk? Start by breaking down the “blah, blah” into clear SEO terms:

What is a search engine?

Search engines are sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo that people use to find information and businesses. A May 2011 Pew Internet survey found that 92% of online adults use search engines to find information on the Web, including 59% on an average day. The most popular search engine is Google, which processes more than a trillion searches each year worldwide.

When a user puts in keywords to find information, the search engine generates a list of websites. Studies have repeatedly shown that the websites listed near the top get the most clicks, with 75% of users never scrolling past the first page of search results.

What is search engine optimization?

Search engine optimization is just what it says—creating an optimal website for search engines. There are three different ways to optimize your website:

  • By creating regular and fresh user-friendly content users want to read.
  • By using search engine optimization tactics on your website such as writing accurate headlines and excellent content on each page.
  • By hiring a search engine optimization firm to optimize your website and use specialized SEO technology to target your local customers and get to the top of their search engine list.

What are organic search results?

The page generated with the information you are looking for is a search engine results page (SERP). At the top are sponsored listings with paid ads. Below the ads, otherwise known as sponsored listings, are the organic search results. This is the list of websites the search engine has pulled from the web. Organic search results are your goal, as “79% of search engine users say they always or frequently click on the natural search results. In contrast, 80% of search engine users say they occasionally/rarely/never click on the sponsored search results.”

Getting listed in the organic search results is not easy with hundreds of ranking factors used by search engines to generate the results. What’s even more challenging is to show up in the top organic search results in your local area, the bread and butter for most businesses.

What does SEO do?

Paid search engine optimization technology is one of the most effective online marketing tools for businesses. One of our clients, a local print company, was positioned at the top of search engines just a week after utilizing our SEO technology. Their results were localized, with their company showing up in cities and towns search results within 30 miles of their location including a major metropolitan area. Our work yielded long-term results; their printing firm has remained at the top of the major search engines—Google, Yahoo and Bing—since launch. Better search engine results have meant more digital exposure for their business, and stronger opportunity for online conversions.

ABC Flooring, one of our clients in southeastern Wisconsin, saw their website traffic double in just four months because of search engine optimization. In 30 days, their unique visits increased 122% and hit an impressive increase of 200%. Website traffic is just a number unless you can convert those visits to customer interest. ABC Flooring receives form submissions every week from potential customers, with 60% of those visits stemming from their search engine optimization package.

Any other SEO questions?

Did we answer all your questions? Or do you want to see how paid SEO technology works? Schedule a demo or contact us. Though search engine optimization produces local results, we’ve achieved results for businesses from Wisconsin to California. We can do the same for you, and in clear SEO terms you can understand—and benefit from.

Unlocking the Local Potential (&Results) of Local SEO

seo image_croppedOur Twitter bio says, “We’re a group of problem solvers with a goal: increase our clients’ website traffic through #socialmediamarketing, #contentmarketing, #websitedesign and #SEO.” We take our social media profiles as personally as we take our clients’ goals (which are VERY personally), so we’re not lying when we say we achieve your online marketing goals.

Recently we were contacted by Laser Tech Systems, a local company, who wanted to get on the digital map. They had utilized traditional marketing methods, and were looking for online marketing solutions. After a full analysis of their business, products and industry, we recommended two online marketing tools to get them found in local search engine results, generate website traffic and keep them at the top of search engines in local towns and cities. We got them at the top of search engines just a week later. Most importantly, their results were localized, with their company showing up in cities and towns search results within 30 miles of their location including a major metropolitan area. Our work yielded long-term results; their printing firm has remained at the top of the major search engines—Google, Yahoo and Bing—since launch. Better search engine results have meant more digital exposure for their business, and stronger opportunity for online conversions.

So how can you get the same results?

  1. Choose a firm that can prove they can get your business found on major search engines. Make them prove it with reports and testimonials, not just promises. No optimization firm can see into the future, but we can prove the value of our product based on the success of other clients who have used our optimization services.
  2. Ask the hard questions. Ask potential firms if they are resellers, or if all the work is done in-house. Don’t overpay a reseller who outsources your optimization work to another firm. Another question: is your SEO localized? Users want local results when searching for products. Being at the top of the results for Tampa, FL customers when your store is based out of Madison, WI is not going to bring customers to your door.
  3. Trust the professionals. This seems counterintuitive after the last two points. Once you are confident in your firm selection, trust their professional writers. Give them the information specific to your business—other marketing materials and what your company excels at—so they can produce content for your website that have the same voice as your other marketing efforts.
  4. Contact KD Interactive. We check the boxes on all the above criteria, and can meet your online marketing goals. Your goals are our goals, and we deliver results—-just as we did for Laser Tech Systems, and continue to do.

5 (More) Online Marketing Mistakes You’re Making

company execMistakes breed inspiration, and inspiration breeds blog posts that help us all improve. We’re building on our last post 5 Online Marketing Mistakes You’re Making with five more common mistakes that we see business owners and marketers make every day marketing on the web and social media. Are you making these common online marketing mistakes?

  1. Not remembering the #1 rule of marketing. Though it’s the rule of successful marketing, many business owners and marketers forget that we’re reaching out to people—real, breathing people. That’s why it’s so important to use another guideline when producing marketing pieces: the two R’s of Social Media Marketing. What do your customers want? Who are you talking to?
  2. Ignoring hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. Hashtags are a valuable way to reach “outside the box”—and, no, we’re not talking about thinking creatively. Adding hashtags to your tweets and Instagram posts exposes your tweets and posts to another audience—to users who are following the hashtag or looking for information on that topic. If you’re tweet or post is useful, this is a sure-fire way to gain followers.
  3. Thinking your social media sites will grow on their own. If you want to gain followers, fans—whatever the social media user base is referred to on your social media site—you need to tell people. Use these ways to spread the word about your site, and don’t forget to give people a reason to want to follow your site.
  4. Making “knee jerk” decisions. This happens to business owners in so many different ways: by responding to an angry customer without thinking (find out how to respond professionally here), selecting an SEO firm without doing research, by tweeting or posting without thinking about the ramifications of what you’re saying. Proper social media posts, choosing the SEO firm that gets results, even responding to customers via your website or social media, takes careful thought (and sometimes training). If you don’t have time, don’t risk it. Look into outsourcing, training or to other business owners for information.
  5. By responding to your customers once a week. It’s not enough! The average American’s time online is growing, giving them more opportunities to reach out to your company with questions through your website and social media. Ignoring their questions, or waiting too long, is a definite way to lose your customers’ interest, and their business. Respond to inquiries (read how to set up an efficient customer service system here) within a few hours of the question, even if it’s just with a “Thank you for your question. Can you please give us more information so we can answer your question completely?”

Effective online marketing takes time and effort, so don’t cut corners. Do your research and keep up with SEO and social media marketing trends, or hire experts who can. You’ll find the rewards from a well-thought out online presence to be worth the time and funds, plus you’ll save the embarassment of common online marketing mistakes.

5 Mistakes You’re Making in Your Online Marketing

company execThey may be unintentional, or the result of bad advice. Whatever the cause, business owners with good intentions trying to harness these new web trends and technologies repeatedly make the same online marketing mistakes—and don’t achieve online marketing results because of it. Are you making the most common online marketing mistakes? You don’t have to walk around with a label on your back, or shout it to the world, but you should be aware of the most common online marketing mistakes:

  1. Thinking that a functional and beautiful website is enough. “There,” you think, “I’ve invested in this website. Customers come and find me!” Unfortunately that’s not how it works. Customers have a lot of online options, and studies have shown that they make more than 60% of their purchasing decision online. Another stat: more than 90% begin their internet search with a search engine. So how do you get your new website found? Contact a reputable company that can achieve results with optimization, updated content and social media marketing. These three concepts get your website found by local customers—and keep you there.
  2. Putting the same posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram. Social media sites are not “one size fits all.” Each site has its own audience and set of rules. Your manual or automated cross post is going to be obviously out of place and not achieve the results you set out to achieve. If you want a presence on all social media sites, outsource your social media marketing to the experts.
  3. Not making regular social media posts. Neglecting your social media pages, or posting sporadic bursts of  posts and tweets, is an unintentional way to get lost among the thousands of social media pages who update regularly.
  4. Not backing up your marketing with excellent customer service—including online customer service. If you are online, if you have a Facebook page or Twitter profile, customers expect you to respond within hours, if not minutes. Whether it’s an email through your website, or a post from one of your customers, use these steps to build a system to respond, both professionally and promptly.
  5. Selling too much. We can hear you, “but that’s why I’m online! That’s why I invest my time and money.” Today’s customers don’t want to be barraged by advertisements and sales pitches. You’ll find that your engagement numbers—those responding, liking, favoriting and asking questions—quickly decrease. Don’t get us wrong: it’s okay to offer discounts (in fact customers follow your company for that reason), but your job is to be helpful and offer your customers assistance so they can find what they need. If you don’t know how, outsource your online marketing efforts to a company that can.

Knowing and not knowing the rules and latest trends in social media can mean the difference between social media success and failure. So why would you trust just anyone to manage your social media pages? Don’t trust your efforts to any intern or the youngest employee in your company. Trust your company’s image, and social media success, to social media experts who can maintain a stellar social media presence—and achieve the goals you set out to achieve when you started your Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram profile.

Business Marketing New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

seo image_croppedDon’t be one of the 92% of people studies say fail to keep their New Year’s resolution. You’re a business owner, you don’t have any room for failure this New Year—only room to grow your business. To accomplish that BIG New Year’s resolution, don’t feel you have to make a novel of New Year’s resolutions for your business. Instead, stick to this list of five manageable New Year’s resolution that you can keep throughout the New Year:

  • Establishing a complete online presence for your business. For many business owners, this means setting up a functional, aesthetically pleasing website and that’s it—which is an incomplete online presence, to say the least. With millions flocking to social media, your business is missing a golden opportunity to connect with your customers, and potential customers. Creating a complete online presence not only means creating a website that can be found, but also reaching out and drawing in customers through landing pages and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
  • Getting found on major search engines. Search engine optimization, SEO, is not dead. To the contrary, SEO is a valuable tool for any business looking to get found in local search results. How do you get started? Find a digital marketing company that not only promises SEO results, but achieves them—and can show you through reports. By utilizing SEO technology, customers can find your website through major search engines, connect with you through social media (which also comes up in search engine results) and contact you through your online form, email or by coming into your retail location.
  • Staying found on major search engines. Just establishing a website is a strategy that also gets your business left behind, at least in the eyes of major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. A website devoid of new content—video, articles and resources for web visitors—is a website that does not stay in the search rankings for long. Add new content to your business website and social media sites that fits the two R’s to stay on search pages—or find a digital marketing firm that can produce the content that keeps you at the top of the search engines.
  • Maintaining a social media site all year long. Finding out the best social media site for your business is step one.  Every business has a social media niche—a social media site that fits their brand based on the demographics of users. Step two is to maintain the quality content that is posted to the site. Regular updates are key to growing your social media followers, and connecting with your customers and potential customers. If you can’t maintain a social media site, outsource to social media experts who can maintain your social media site with quality posts based on the latest information.
  • Jumping into video marketing. Statistics don’t lie. A social media posting with video is 12 times more likely to be shared than a post with just text. In addition, website pages that include video are ranked higher on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing than text-only pages. Videos are your chance to show case your products and connect with your customers, giving you an edge over your competitors and a 24-7 chance to tell your story.

Don’t procrastinate fulfilling your marketing resolutions—and don’t just trust anyone with your online marketing results. Choose a company with experience who has achieved results. Contact them today, and make your New Year a happier year with online marketing results.

Why Marketing Doesn’t Work Without Customer Service (and what to do about it!)

company execIt’s our job to help companies grow their business. That’s our core objective and we take it very personally—your goals are our goals.  However, the longer we do this, the more we realize that online marketing—giving our companies a solid online presence, functional and impressive website, and top rankings on all the major search engines—does no good if the company doesn’t have customer service to back it up.

The most common client objective is to grow their business.  We deliver with higher search rankings, a solid social media presence and quality content on their website (to see why read our content marketing post). Our partnership with them and online marketing efforts produce customer leads through comments, online forms, emails and calls.

But what good are those leads if no one follows up? Most company owners do not set out to build a company with poor customer service, but customer inquiries often fall through the cracks. The result: a company providing poor customer service. So how can your company improve your customer service?

  • Don’t make email inquiries your last priority. We live in a digital world, with smart phones, tablets and computers becoming more common—and being used more and more to make purchasing decisions.
  • Set a standard operating procedure for handling customer inquiries. Don’t just handle customer inquiries without a strategy. Set a plan in place for handling phone calls, email inquiries and social media messages—and stick to it.
  • Make sure everyone answering the phones and emails are trained on SOPs and how to respond. A poorly trained employee is a liability when answering the phones. Don’t just throw your employees into the fire. Train and educate them. Inform them of SOPs and make sure they know proper protocols for answering the phones, handling customer questions and dealing with angry customers.
  • Designate someone responsible for answering and following through on each inquiry. This doesn’t mean you triple one employee’s workload. Choose an employee to answer phones, another to answer emails and a third to check your social media sites for messages. Be flexible. An employee completely overwhelmed by emails or phone calls is not in a good position to deliver exceptional customer service. Though you’ve designated employees, let them know to jump in if the phone is ringing off the hook or the inbox is full.
  • Offer customer service online, but don’t feel like you need to answer customer questions 24/7. Today’s consumers expect businesses to answer them within an hour, thanks to the instantaneous of the internet. However, you don’t need to provide that service all day and night. Put your business hours on your online form, and make it clear that inquiries are answered during that time.
  • Remember, every customer counts. It only takes one person’s bad experience to ruin a business’ reputation, and news travels fast on social media. One wrong response, or dropped inquiry can spread across the internet like wildfire. Though it may be tempting to just let that inquiry go because of a complex answer or a large workload, answer each inquiry as soon and completely as possible.

Study after study has proven that testimonials, and in our modern day, online reviews (like on Facebook), play a role in customers’ decision whether to purchase a company’s service or product. If you are not delivering good customer service, unfavorable reviews pile up on your social media sites and word spreads about your subpar customer service. The result: you can’t reach your goals no matter how much marketing tools you employ. We can create the marketing tools on your behalf, but you need to back it up with exceptional customer service. The good news: by using our customer service tips, you can achieve your goals and customers’ goals—two targets that should be in sync, or at least overlap.