April 21, 2015 will forever live in infamy in the online marketing world. This date, lovingly dubbed ‘mobilegeddon’ by those in the industry, corresponds with the day Google implemented their new algorithm that favors mobile friendly sites on mobile searches.
Think about how many times a day you Google something on your phone. This is a huge deal for websites.
Google informed webmasters that they were planning to favor mobile sites on mobile searches back in February and provided resources for developers to help them make their sites mobile-friendly. This created a two month long mad dash for web developers to get their sites mobile. Some succeeded, and some did not.
It’s been a few months since April 21, so a lot of people are asking what the real impact of mobilegeddon actually is. The results seem to live up to the hype. According to a recent study done by Adobe Systems, traffic to non-mobile websites from Google mobile searches fell 12 percent in two months.
Google is not messing around. When they said mobile-friendly sites will receive preferential treatment in mobile search results, they were serious. On top of that, Google recently announced that in the US, mobile searches now outnumber desktop searches.
If you’re reading this and your site is not mobile, it might be time to consider responsive design.
Responsive design is a technology that allows your full website to be desktop, tablet and mobile friendly. You can tell if a site is responsive by decreasing your window size. If the site adjusts to the size of the browser, then it’s responsive and vice versa.
Google’s mobilegeddon aside, there’s a more important reason to go mobile: it’s great for your site’s visitors. Responsive design allows mobile users to easily use your whole site, as opposed to having a separate mobile site that is a watered down version of your desktop site.
When users find your site to be easy to use on a mobile platform, they are more likely to stay on your site longer. This should lead to more leads and conversions.
The Internet is shifting toward a mobile platform. Google and customers alike are saying catch up or be left behind.
Need help making your site responsive? Check out our website and see how TKG can help.
Today, everyone and their mother is on social media. According to We Are Social, the number of social media users exceeded 2 billion in 2014, and that number is steadily increasing by the day. Naturally, there is a lot of selling power in social media. Brands are noticing this and are taking action.
While avoiding social media all together is not your best bet (unless you’re Apple), using it incorrectly could hurt your brand more than help it. Here are five mistakes you need to avoid to keep your brand’s social media endevours successful.
Not Having a Strategy So, your brand has a Twitter account—now what? If you’re posting random content whenever you feel like it, then you’re doing it wrong. Think about what your brand is trying to accomplish with Twitter and keep that in mind everytime you post.Consider making an editorial calendar to map out all of your posts for the coming month. Then, you can schedule your posts ahead of time—this will make your job easier and keep your social media consistent.
Posting Too Much Promotional Content When managing a brand’s social media, marketers tend to lose sight of what social media is all about—fun interaction. By simply putting out your brand’s main talking points and products, you’re not correctly utilizing social media.Finding a balance between engaging and promotional content is key. Try tweeting about a trending hashtag or replying to a tweet in a witty and humerous way. Humanizing your brand will encourage the most social media interaction.
Being Impersonal We’ve all heard the auto-responses-gone-wrong horror stories (cough, cough American Airlines), but the lesson to take away here is to always respond in a personal manner.Auto-responses that don’t entirely make sense are hurting your brand. When replying on social media, it is important to display human characteristics like humor or empathy.
Picking the Wrong Channels Before you create an Instagram account, for example, you need to ask yourself why your brand should be on Instagram. If the answer is because everyone else is doing it, you might want to do some reevaluating.If your brand does not rely on visuals, then Instagram might not be for you. Think about your brand in the context of the various social medias and choose the ones that make the most sense for your brand.
Not Doing Your Homework On July 4, 2014, American Apparel decided to post on Tumblr to commemorate the America’s independence. This seemingly harmless act turned into a PR nightmare of epic proportions.Whoever made the post mistook the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion for a firework (don’t ask me how). You can imagine the backlash that ensued. Before you post, make sure what your posting is appropriate and the image you plan to use is what you think it is.
What it all comes down to is keeping in mind that social media is meant to be fun. Promotional content is not fun for you or your followers. Keep them engaged and entertained. This will humanize your brand and make it more approachable. So, have a strategy, pick your channels appropriately, engage in interaction, do your homework and, most importantly, have fun!
Need help with your social media strategy? We can help. Contact us to see how we can help grow your brand’s social media.
The 2015 NBA season was a fun ride for Cleveland fans. Although the Finals didn’t turn out the way we hoped, there is still plenty of room for hope looking forward to the 2015-2016 season.
While the 2015 NBA playoffs gave fans a chance to watch LeBron James and company play basketball at the highest level, another part of the Cavs’ organization had a chance to shine—the social media team.
Whether it was Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, the Cavs were all over social media during the playoffs. Fans saw the playoffs through an entirely new lens made possible by effective use of social media.
Believe it or not, your brand can learn from what the Cavaliers’ social media team did during the playoffs. I understand you’re probably not in a business as glamorous as professional basketball, but there are plenty of things to take away from the Cavs’ social media success to help your brand.
Use of Hashtags
#ALLinCLE. This was everywhere during the playoffs. It was seen on t-shirts, rally towels, billboards and in almost every Cavs social post. The hashtag received so much notoriety that when people used it during the NBA Finals, Twitter automatically added a Cavs logo to the end.
Keep in mind that your brand is probably not going to have the luxury of Twitter adding your logo to your hashtag, but creating a hashtag and promoting it correctly will still pay social media dividends.
Let’s say your company is hosting a walkathon to raise money for a special cause. You could come up with a creative hashtag to use in all of your posts about the event. You should also include the hashtag on the event’s marketing materials such as posters and ads. This will encourage people to use your hashtag when posting about the walkathon.
If enough people use your hashtag in your area, it will start to trend and attract more tweets and potentially local news coverage.
Give Your Followers Something Unique
On game days, the Cavs would post pictures and videos from inside Quicken Loans Arena hours before fans were even allowed in. Their followers were treated to an inside look at employees placing t-shirts and towels on seats or players getting some extra practice in before the game, for example.
These are things that TV cameras don’t normally show but are still interesting to fans. It’s exciting to open up Instagram and see Kyrie Irving drain three pointers during warmups or what players are wearing when they arrive to the arena.
Your customers always see the finished product, but they rarely see what goes on behind the scenes. Social media is a great way to show your followers the process of how your products are made or highlight employees who are responsible for providing the services customers are accustomed to.
Going back to the walkathon example—instead of just posting pictures of the walkathon while it’s happening, post pictures of the set up or the people or place the funds raised will benefit.
Take Advantage of When Your Followers Post About Your Brand
Whether it was newborn babies at the Cleveland Clinic dressed in Cavs gear, photos posted by players or famous fans at the game, the Cavs were all over reposting or retweeting others’ posts.
The Cavs obviously can’t retweet every fan that tweets about them because they’d have hundreds of retweets a day, but they pick and choose posts that have prominence to share.
Most of the time, celebrities won’t post about your brand, (if they do, retweet, repost, share, comment, do whatever you can to promote that post!) but sometimes your customers will post about your company.
For example, if someone posts about how much fun your hypothetical walkathon was, repost or retweet them and thank them for their participation. This will validate your brand to other followers because people value others’ opinions (hence Yelp, product ratings, etc.) and will make the original poster feel even better about your brand.
The Cavs might not have won the NBA Finals this season, but they certainly won the social media championship. So, next time you’re brainstorming a new social media strategy, keep the Cleveland Cavaliers in mind.
Craft and market a creative hashtag, give followers a unique perspective and take advantage of when others post about your brand, and your brand will have the recipe for social media success.
Need help with your social media strategy? Check out our website to see how TKG can help grow your business.
We seem to be programmed to instantly be skeptical of salesmen, almost involuntarily telling them “no” when approached with an idea. We’ve all done it. Think of walking into a retail store and being approached by an employee asking, “Can I help you find anything?” Chances are you replied, “No thanks, I’m just looking.” Why is that? We all know we could use some help finding whatever it is we’re looking for whether it’s a shirt size or a new marketing strategy. Sales are the driving force of any company. I’ve put together some key points to turn those skeptical leads into clients.
Listen, don’t pitch – Listening to what a customer needs is key. Knowing their needs and desired outcomes is the starting point for a promising business relationship. Put yourself in their situation to try to see the issue from their perspective. Make conversation, not pitches. This way they feel understood, not sold.
Ask the tough questions- This part isn’t fun for anyone. It’s like enjoying a meal at a restaurant and then getting the check. Take your time getting to this point, only when you feel that you’ve gained the trust of the client can you ask the questions of budget, timing, or what results they find realistic. Offering different options for each of these keeps them comfortable.
When in doubt, take a break- Sometimes the conversation can become a little heated, the negotiations can get tense. When it comes to this point it is better to suggest taking a five minute break to breath and gather your thoughts. There is nothing wrong with being upfront and honest. If you feel that being frank about the situation isn’t the best idea simply excuse yourself to the restroom. Even just a minute or two can help you and your clients keep a cool head.
Be persistent- Some clients need more to win them over than others. This is where it can become difficult to find the line between reminding them how you can help them and being too pushy. Some clients may take long amounts of time to respond to emails, call, etc. Don’t give up, leave them reminders that you’re there and what you have to offer.
Know what you have to offer – Never bad mouth the competition, but always know what you have to offer and how it will benefit them more greatly. Ask them what’s most important to them whether it’s price, customer service, quality, etc. and let them know how you can deliver.
At the end of the day you can’t win them all, but we’d sure love to try. Remember it’s not making a sale, it’s creating a solution. I hope this article provides you with some helpful tips and will help you get skeptical leads to say “yes.” Having trouble generating leads? We can help. Curious how? Feel free to contact us and ask any questions you may have.
My excitement over Microsoft’s new browser, Edge, is rapidly disappearing as more and more details emerge.
Originally billed as a replacement for Internet Explorer, Microsoft introduced some potential (and since removed) confusion when it announced that the browsing experience in Windows 10 would default to the new rendering engine and ‘auto-roll’ over to the IE engine when it detected legacy code. So basically, one browser with two hearts. Fortunately, the masses have convinced Microsoft to make a stand alone browser on the new engine, and leave IE alone to die in piece. Or have they?
I believe the driving factor behind a new browser is simply marketing. You see the IE team really has made drastic improvements to the browser over the last few versions. The problem is, no one cares. IE’s image is tainted with the horrific days of IE 6,7 and 8, and no amount of work to make 9,10 and 11 ‘modern’ has been able to shed that negative reputation. So what is the answer to win back market share from competitors? A new browser.
Rather than going back to the drawing board and evaluating “today’s web,” Microsoft has taken the heart of IE, the Trident rendering engine, and rebranded it as “EdgeHTML.” Don’t get me wrong, there are improvements to the new browser, but I’d bet those improvements could have been packaged as IE 12.
Microsoft’s marketing for this new browser, Edge, is gimmicky and reminds me of “Web Slices” and “Accelerators” from IE8. Don’t know what “Web Slices” and “Accelerators” are? That’s because they weren’t useful, and no one adopted them. From microsoft.com:
Accelerators. Accelerators give people easy access to the online services they care about most from any page they visit. Meanwhile, developers gain an easy way to extend the reach of their online services. Accelerators also allow users to browse faster by eliminating most of the clicks required to access desired content and services. Web Slices. With Web Slices, people can see the information they want to see most often without going away from the page they are on, and developers can mark parts of Web pages as Web Slices and enable users to easily monitor the information they most frequently browse to, all while they move about the Web. Web Slices appear in the Favorites bar, where people can identify updated sites when in bold. From there, they can see a rich Web Slice visualization of their content with easy access back to the source Web page.
The touted features front and center on Microsoft’s new web browser, Edge, are “Inking” and “Cortana.” Inking is the ability to take notes over the content of a webpage, but seriously, how often have you needed to do this? Then there’s Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, that on my Windows phone, I LOVE. MS has a hit with Cortana, so in historic fashion, that hit is being crammed into every nook and cranny, whether it fits or not.
My limited tests with Cortana in Windows 10 have left me frustrated and annoyed. I can only imagine the experience will be similar with Cortana in Edge. Get me to Google and let me find what I need- that’s it – I don’t need her (Cortana) stepping in to undo years of conditioned habbit.
Still not convinced that Edge is merely IE12 in a different skin? I’ll leave you with this comic pointing out the announcement of the new Edge logo, and the side by side comparison.
Recently I have been putting quite a bit of effort into rolling out Google Tag Manager for many of our client sites. It has been a rewarding process and I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way.
First, what is Google Tag Manager?
One of the foundational building blocks of a website is the tag. It is a way that functionality can be added to the site in a fairly simple manner. The functionality can range from tracking activity and usage to adding features like chat to a site. Each one of these tags is generally pretty simple and easy to understand, but as the number and complexity of the tags increases the challenge of keeping track of them and making sure they are on the correct pages also grows. This is where Google Tag Manager comes in. It allows us to place a single tag called a container on the site and then add and remove tags to that container based on a variety of rules.
Once the container is in place tags can be added to the site without needing to touch the templates or source code, which greatly reduces the risk that something can go wrong when adding a tag. It also makes it much more simple to change or update a tag when needs change.
There is another benefit that I really appreciate: the ability to test tags before they are rolled out. This allows a set of tags to be tested on the site before they are rolled out to all users. This has been especially helpful when trying to troubleshoot complex tags.
This is just scratching the surface of what can be done with Tag Manager, but hopefully it is enough to give a glimpse into why I’m so excited about using it. If managing tags is something that you could use help with, get in touch with us, we would love to help you out.
One of the biggest concerns I hear when it comes to content is “But we don’t know what to put out there.”
I get it. When you’re involved in the day to day tasks of running your business, it’s tough to think of creating content.
Fortunately, it’s likely you already have good things going on that you can re-purpose, re-use or recycle to make great content. OR, alternatively, you can add something simple to your daily routine that turns into regular content.
But first, allow me to give you a little inspiration.
You might have heard of a little TV hit called Glee, a weekly show about misfit high school students finding their place in the world through music. Maybe you’re a “Gleek” or maybe you think the show is the silliest thing this side of Fonzie jumping the shark, but there’s no denying that this show set a new precedent in cross-channel content marketing.
In fact, ratings aside (which were great the first few seasons), this show set records with singles, albums and even live tours. For instance:
The first ever single released by the cast, “Don’t Stop Believin’” received platinum status with over one million sold
The cast overtook Elvis Presley as the fastest act ever to have 20 top 40 hits in just 57 weeks (Elvis was 88)
By 2011, just two years after the show aired, they had over 36 million digital single sales worldwide
By 2011, they had 11 million album sales worldwide
The show has several reality spinoffs, DVD and Blu-Ray releases, an iPad app and karaoke games for Wii
In 2011, a live tour kicked off…and of course, it wasn’t just a live tour. A concert film based on the tour was released shortly after the tour ended
The show has hundreds of thousands of fans worldwide who now create content about the show, often uploading tributes, songs and other manifestations of their fandom to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter
And how’s this for power? The casts’ cover of Rihanna’s “Take a Bow” actually increased sales of Rihanna’s original single by 189%
Glee also inspired the mega-hits of Nashville and Empire, country and hip-hop nighttime soap operas, respectively. These shows also release albums and merchandise based on the music written and performed for the show. Nashville, now in its third season, has released TEN albums, the first of which reached number one on US charts.
Now, I’m not saying you need to release an album for your business (though that could be fun!).
What I am saying is that it’s likely that you’re already doing things for your business that could easily translate to content you can use to market yourself (and maybe even generate more revenue). Glee didn’t create “extra” music to give to the masses…they already had it within the premise of the show; they just figured out new ways to distribute it.
Here are a few ideas to create content from the regular things you do for your business:
Do you release a newsletter? Each news item could be re-used as a mini blog post, told as a quick 60 second update to an iPhone video recorder, or recorded as part of a podcast series.
Do you often answer the same questions for customers over and over? Create an infographic with great visual answers, start a helpful podcast that discusses and educates people on your industry, or start a “Pro Tips” section on your website.
Do you have a dynamic and engaging individual in your company who loves working for you? Give this individual freedom and creative space to create short videos, take photos and post to your Social channels for you, about you!
Does your company have a rich history, complete with old photos or videos left sitting in a box or lonely hard drive? Scan photos and release them regularly to your Facebook page or Instagram account with the hashtag #tbt to give customers a glimpse of all the great things that make you, YOU. It’s especially fun if you work in a technical field and you can show how far you’ve come!
Does your company have a process you do every day? Document this process every day or week with a photo, then show the collage one month, six months or a year later!
Do you have a customer or two that just LOVES what you do? Invite this individual to create content for you, either by showing off how your product or service works, or giving a testimonial.
Do you have a series of pdfs or articles about a certain subject in your industry? Combine and edit this information as a free digital whitepaper that prospects can download in exchange for an email address.
Do you have a core group of very loyal customers who buy your product regularly? Consider creating a membership club where these customers get “insider access” to special prices, exclusive products, and of course, short videos, articles or podcast episodes that talk about how you created something special for them.
Do you have a salesperson or leader within your company who is especially knowledgeable about your products, trends in the industry, or common problems? Record a weekly podcast where this individual discusses a topic for 15-20 minutes. Upload to Soundcloud, Stitcher or iTunes at the same time every week and invite customers and prospects to listen and share.
Does your company work with the same vendors time and time again? Profile your vendors on video or on your blog, ask them to explain why they love your working relationship, and post to your respective Social channels.
I’m sure there are many more regular things that you’re already doing in your business that can be converted to content. Don’t overthink! When it comes to content, there’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Nashville has now released two albums of songs by a particular cast member…after those songs already appeared on another album.
It just goes to show you, sometimes content is just about showcasing something you’ve already done in a new and interesting way. So what are YOU already doing?
If you have one in place, great. If you are still asking yourself what a social media plan is, that’s okay too. You’re in the right place.
Chances are, if your business has a social media presence, you’ve had to deal with some strange comments, unsatisfied customers or even downright nasty reviews. And the more successful your business is, the more likely you are to experience these encounters. Social media mistakes will inevitably happen, but you can avoid them harming your business by following the steps below:
Have a Plan: Always have a plan that outlines what to do in the event of a crisis. Are you suddenly getting bad reviews because of a defective product? Has one of your employees delivered less-than-exceptional customer service? Make sure you have a plan on how to deal with comments, @ mentions, reviews or if your business page goes viral in a bad way.
Bring in the Experts: Do you have someone dedicated to watching your accounts? You should. Not only will you have an extra set of eyes monitoring your social media presence, but a trained PR person will be able to react to just about any situation that comes up. You should have someone dedicated to at least several hours a week — maybe more depending on the size of your business and the size of your social media following — to managing posts and interacting with the users on your pages.
WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS
Act Quickly: Do not let complaints or issues on social media sit without response. At a minimum, respond within 24 hours – but within a few hours is ideal. In today’s fast-paced world, the people reading your business page and watching your social media accounts are watching around the clock. They expect answers to questions as soon as they ask. Can you keep up? Because you’re expected to. If you let a negative comment or review sit for long enough, it will turn into an even bigger problem. Do what you can to nip it in the bud early and move the conversation offline.
Start a (Public) Conversation: Your customers and potential customers will be watching you to see how you react to the issue and they will judge your company’s morals and standards based on your reaction. The good thing about social media is that if you handle these types of issues promptly and professionally, lots of people will see it. The bad thing about social media is, well, if you handle it poorly, lots of people will see it.
Don’t Delete: Never delete comments, tweets or reviews. When you delete comments or try to “cover up” what your customers or potential customers are saying, you will start to lose your reputation and the trust that people have placed in you or your products. Instead, use the opportunity to be real with your audience while reacting and responding appropriately.
With that Being Said…There are some fires that you shouldn’t even bother putting out. Offensive language and all-out attacks must be handled on a case-by-case basis. If you are dealing with someone online who you just cannot get through to, ask them to contact your business or organization so that you can handle the matter privately. If someone is attacking others or using foul language or refusing to work with you towards a solution, it’s okay to pull the plug and walk away.
AFTER THE FACT
Apologize and Move On: If you truly made a mistake, own up to it. We are no longer dealing with the days of putting out a press release to cover up a mistake. Our social media world does not allow it. Admit you made a mistake, apologize for what you did, and tell your customers what you are doing to fix it and what you will do in the future to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Coming clean and moving on will make your brand stronger and your customers will trust you more in the long run.
At the end of the day, your business needs to understand the power of social media and how professionally-run social media pages can make a world of difference. If you have a solid plan on how to handle negative remarks, comments or reviews, your business will benefit greatly from it in case of an emergency.
Businesses are focused on using their websites as a source of new customers. In fact, nearly 50% of B2B buyers indicate that the most likely way they find sales information is to go directly to a supplier website. As a result, companies are investing in site optimization to ensure they have user-focused content designed specifically to convert visitors into inbound sales leads.
Powerful content may include benefits of what you offer, case studies of your products and services, customer testimonials and lots of answers to the key question of ‘Why you?’
So, how well is your site performing in lead generation? Assume that a potential customer has explored the entirety of your website content. You have them excited about starting a sales dialogue with you. How do you translate that excitement into action? Below are several simple guidelines to maximize your inbound lead opportunities on your website.
Effective lead capturing requires a proactive mindset – Provide focused attention on the conversion goal right on your home page. Don’t force your visitors to initiate contact.
Provide more than your ‘Contact Us’ page – Many websites don’t have effective paths for customer prospects to start the dialogue. By default, it’s often the ‘Contact Us’ page. In many instances, the ‘Contact Us’ page is largely reactive and inadequate as a customer acquisition path. To increase more inbound leads, consider adding more navigation links to your ‘Contact Us’ page as well as strategically place ‘call-to-action’ options on sales-focused content pages.
Give visitors a reason to contact you –If the only inbound leads you are getting from your website are from the ‘Contact Us’ page, you might want to consider offering more call-to-action paths. Examples of lead generation call-to-actions include scheduling a sales demo, joining a webinar, getting a quote and signing up for a special offer.
Don’t rely solely on form submissions – Adding call-to-action (CTA) options such as call tracking or live chat can be very effective in generating incremental leads. In fact, many consider it a competitive advantage for visitors to have multiple contact options to consider when converting interest into lead generation.
Respond promptly – Once customer interest has been sparked, it’s up to you to respond and satisfy the initial itch. If you don’t, then a competitor eventually will.
Your inbound website leads are like gold, and there are simple measures to consider assuring you’re maximizing lead engagement on your website. First of all, make sure you’re utilizing every possible CTA option in maximizing lead generation opportunities on your website. Secondly, make sure you’re enabling your sales team to capitalize on the inbound leads you’re generating. Be proactive with your website so it delivers the results you’re looking for. Maximize your lead opportunities!
One of the appealing aspects of online marketing, particularly paid channels, is the wealth of data that is available. The promise of all of this data is the ability to know exactly what is and is not working. At first glance, this should be pretty straightforward: do the additional sales exceed to cost of the advertising. But for anyone that has managed an online marketing campaign there is a lot more going on and in the immense tables of numbers is the promise of improved results.
Take a sporting event as an example: the number that matters is the final score. It measures success or failure and is very easy to understand. But it leaves out the details that are essential to a coach or manager to help the team improve for the next game. It doesn’t credit which players or strategies performed well and which ones did not.
The same is true of online advertising: the return on investment is the number that matters. But understanding how to improve this comes down to understanding all of the elements that lead up to that and knowing which adjustments can emphasize strengths. It takes ongoing commitment to understand what works, try new things and get to a point of having a team that consistently wins.
This is where a solid paid search partner like TKG comes in: of course we do all the research, scouting and planning to make your campaign a success. But we also excel at evaluating your performance and figuring out where to make adjustments to continue to improve your returns.
Does our PPC expertise sound like something that you could benefit from? Learn more at TKG.com or get in touch.