Mobile Optimize your Website in 2017

Man with mobile phoneBranding online is never a “one and done” endeavor, at least not for businesses who want to stay relevant, and certainly not for those who want to grow. In 2017, digital trends are going to drive how businesses compete. One of the top trends they’ll need to embrace is optimizing their mobile presence.

Connecting with potential customers online has been par for the course in this new millennium. But with smartphones becoming progressively universal, any serious competitor needs to embrace them. Smartphones are fast becoming the primary way consumers research companies, buy products, and use services online.

Whether sitting in a store parking lot trying to decide what to buy, or even shopping online while taking a quick break at work, consumers always keep their smartphones on and readily available.

But smartphones are challenging for businesses to optimize: They have smaller screens than computer monitors, and the user experience must be quick, relevant, and effective.

Quick

Traditional online marketing, where the user is at a stationary computer, may include a site heavy with graphics, clickable options, or even video. If mobile users have slower downloading speeds, a site that takes too long to load may prompt the user to search elsewhere. When a site does load, if it takes too many clicks to get to the desired information, the user may opt to close the site. Video and audio can be attention-getting, but when they interfere with the customer’s need to make a quick, silent online search, the customer may move on.

Relevant

When a user wants to know the specials for the week, the hours of operation, or how to contact customer service, no one wins when the information is difficult to find. Mobile searches work best when the navigation makes relevant information clearly visible, and when little to no scrolling is required.

Effective

So, the user navigates quickly through the mobile site, and they find relevant information easily. But for an on-the-go customer, does the website invite the customer to act? Finding the right product is great, but mobile marketing is even more useful when customers can use technology to make purchases. Whether it’s Google Wallet, a link to PayPal, or a way to charge the cost directly on the cellphone bill, there must be an effective, obvious way for customers to take the next step. Phone numbers should be written optimally so the user can simply touch the number to activate their phone’s calling feature. A clickable “directions” link should open in the phone’s map application.

Reaching potential customers and clients through mobile devices is non-negotiable. Research the best tools and technological tricks of the trade to get your company mobile-ready.

 

 

 




Using Social Media as Internet Marketing

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Any serious Internet marketing strategy should include social media as critical to its success. While having a website is the bare minimum, it’s unlikely to get much traction without social media. Just like any other marketing technique, however, there are several choices of platforms and methodologies to consider.

First, you need to know who your audience is (or who your audiences are). Where do they prefer to hang out online? Each platform has a mixture of users, and your business may also have a mixture of audiences. But without this information, you may wind up focusing on the wrong platforms, missing out on others that would be better for your business.

Research whether or not your audience uses a platform to take action or just to find information. And decide if this aligns with your company’s goals. While many users may be on one platform, they may be just hanging out for entertainment purposes. You may have to spend more money to place ads or maintain a presence there than with another.

This article just touches on some of the major social media platforms for marketing, but it’s only a start. If your budget allows in-depth marketing trials and analyses, thoroughly investigate each one. If not, try a few that make the most sense. Just start somewhere.

Facebook

Facebook is a household name, and most major companies have a presence. Businesses can put up a simple page or launch full on campaigns. Surveys, polls, daily (or even hourly) postings, conversations with readers, and even Facebook apps are all examples of ways to enhance a Facebook presence. Even though there should be a link to your company’s website, some companies use Facebook as a makeshift website.

Twitter

Millions of readers use Twitter to find out about news as it happens. Having a Twitter account lets companies interact almost immediately with their customers and prospects. From writing witty content during major events to using hashtags for people to follow, Twitter is a major player in marketing businesses. Like Facebook, written content is the main way it connects with readers, though images and video are quickly gaining favor.

Instagram

Instagram’s platform uses primarily images/photos and videos to communicate messages to its users. This works really well with a company whose products are interesting, or those who have a message that is enhanced with the spoken word. It’s growing in popularity, and it is often shared to other platforms.

LinkedIn

What’s notable about LinkedIn is that many of its users don’t use Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn caters to businesses, so if your company is B2B, this is the platform for you. Like the others, it can be connected to other platforms, but don’t overlook its power as a marketing and networking tool. And LinkedIn is always testing new ways to build its brand and increase its value.

Blogs

The last platform we’ll cover here is blogs. Blogs are just websites that post new content on regular basis – sort of like an online newsletter or magazine. Businesses can teach readers about their field, give them tips, entertain them, or even converse with them in the comments section. Other bloggers share blog articles, search engines rank them just like any other website, and they are a great resource for keeping customers coming back for more. Regular websites tend to be more static and out-of-sight/mind.

Finally, though there are other platforms to consider, this is a good list to get started. As other social media platforms gain in popularity and influence, research their pros and cons. Give them a trial run when time and money permit. Most of all, good luck in the world of Internet marketing. It’s truly a web – easy to lose your way but not hard to find a connection.




Internet Marketing Tips for Online Businesses

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Internet marketing means telling the world you’re in business. It’s the equivalent of putting a huge sign on your brick and mortar store, placing ads in local newspapers, and activating rotating spotlights in the sky. Getting new customers is tough if they don’t even know your company exists.

The bare minimum of Internet marketing is having a web presence. Search engines list websites if the user types in just the right combination of terms. But your company’s site may nearly impossible to find otherwise.

If you want to increase your audience (which can translate into increased sales), you can use a variety of marketing techniques, but there’s so much you can do while still focusing on just the website.

Keep Your Website Relevant

When was the last time your online presence was updated? The content and the design should get tweaks from time to time. If it has flashy images or popups, make sure they’re comparable to other websites’ techniques. Change the copyright at the bottom to reflect the current year. Research your competition and keep up with the latest technology. The online world changes so quickly.

Mobile-ize

Websites users aren’t stuck at their desktops anymore. In fact, according to comScore, mobile has overtaken desktops in media and website use. Is your website optimized for mobile viewing? Do you know how it looks on a tablet or smartphone? Does your site load easily if the device isn’t connected to Wi-Fi? Are the icons easy for fingers to tap? Does it navigate intuitively? How does it look in different browsers and with different operating systems on mobile devices?

SEO Best Practices

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of making a website rank higher in search engines. When someone enters search terms into their favorite browser, the hope is that your site shows up on the first page. Sure, this can be a lofty goal when there are millions of websites out there, but that’s the whole point of SEO. Understand what your prospective customers are looking for, and hopefully your SEO expert can help your site rank higher for those terms. As with the rest of the Internet, SEO is constantly changing. Do your best to keep up.

Analyze Constantly

Do a baseline analysis of your company’s website using analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics). Then set some benchmarks and re-analyze the initial markers. Has website traffic changed? Are visitors coming back repeatedly? What pages are popular?

Analysis can also come in the form of surveys or other direct feedback methods. Numbers only tell so much of the story. Pay attention to reviews, ask your visitors what they think of your website, or even test things out using your employees as reviewers.

Improving your Internet marketing doesn’t have to be mind-boggling. While you can employ a variety of strategies, concentrating on your website alone is a sound way to make progress. Keep informed and keep up with the times.




Where to start with SEO

guy-on-pcIt’s no secret that marketing your business online is essential, so pretty much every company already has online real estate in place. But with the non-stop, seemingly overnight Internet changes, it’s no easy task deciding what strategies to implement – and when.

So where do you start? Should you research a dozen Internet marketing articles for the newest techniques? Look at what your competitors are doing? Stand frozen like a deer in headlights?

Before getting overwhelmed with the possibilities, the first step is to analyze what you’re already doing. If your company has a website and a blog in place, it’s time to stand back and take a super close look at how those things are working for you. Let’s cover a few of the most important data points to gather before you do anything drastic.

Is Anyone Visiting Your Site?

Using website analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics, Mint, and GoSquared), find out how many people are visiting your site. Daily and monthly visits are the most important to note. Internet marketing goals usually include increasing visitors, so you need to know where you are right now.

Who’s Visiting and Are They Coming Back?

Obviously, this is closely related to the first data point. Just because you have 1000 visitors each day doesn’t mean they’re relevant. If 900 of the visits are from the same person, your message isn’t getting out there. If you are getting a lot of new visitors, it may not mean very much if they take one look at your site and never come back. Your website’s goal is to get a variety of people who find enough value in your website to stop by and want to come back to learn even more.

How Was Their Visit?

New people who keep coming back is great, but what did they do there? Did they spend time on various pages (page views and pages per session), take one look at the site and click away (bounce rate), or stay a long time (average session duration)?

Where Did They Come From?

Finally, how did your company find your online property? Some may have found you directly by typing in your URL. Others may have clicked on a search engine suggestion (organic), clicked on a link in an article (referral), or even been led there by a social media post (social). Knowing your traffic’s source(s) can help you decide what highways you want to focus on for future campaigns.

This list isn’t exhaustive – you can definitely find out more about your website using other data points. But don’t get bogged down with this first step either. Once you’ve done some of this background work, start deciding what your website goals are. Armed with this information, researching strategies won’t seem so overwhelming.