How is your budget doing? How about your leads?

This is an image of measuring your budget.

It is very important that you keep up with your budget on a regular basis and track what your Cost per lead or cost per sale is. Ultimately you should be keeping this up on a regular basis however at minimum you should do this quarterly.

The first step is to determine how much you have spent on marketing so far. Hopefully you have been tracking this independently if not I am sure your accounting department has. Hopefully either you or they are keeping track of where the money is going. Not only that it is going to marketing but where in marketing it is going.

The next thing to determine is how many total sales you have for the the quarter. Again you should be getting this information on a regular basis from your sales team so this should be something you know but if you do not then find out from your sales manager. This should be broken down by new sales and existing sales. This should also be broken down by the amount of sales and the amount of leads. In short, how many appointments the sales reps ran and how many appointments the sales reps closed.

Now here comes the math:
Marketing spend/amount of leads = Cost per lead
Marketing spend/amount of sales = Cost per sale

I suggest you go further as well. Hopefully you have been asking where leads are coming from, television ads, radio ads, web, and social are just some of the categories. You should be able to get this same information from your sales if in fact you did get it.

Here comes the math again:
Marketing spend for category/leads from category = Cost per lead for category
Marketing spend for category/sales from category = Cast per sale for category

When you set up your budget I showed you how to do this same thing for your budget. How are your actuals working towards these numbers? What category is trending higher than budgeted? What category is trending lower than budgeted? What should you be focusing on for the next quarter to fix the differences? This is how you know that you are on track with what you budgeted and expected and this is how you stay on top of your budget make it adaptable.

Marketing and Community volunteering. Do they go together?

This is a compilation of Community advocate words.

Let me give you the short answer, YES definitely volunteer!! This would not be a blog if I just left it at that though, as I need to make sure this article is SEO friendly. Many of us do things for others and being a good corporate citizen, we will take on community needs quite often. As a company, we take on about 10 of them in total. Even though we are a small business, we have a belief that the more we give the more we get. Our belief in this philosophy is so strong that our president requires us to be a part of something. We have youth coaches, board members, and volunteers all as part of our organization. Admittedly though, we have never really taken any credit for anything we do. We do it because we love it; we believe in the organization and their cause. That is where we are right and wrong at the same time.

We are right because morally it is the right thing to do. One of the organizations that we help take care of is our veterans, which we all should have a responsibility to. Some other organizations we are involved with are taking care of our children and of families that do not have the money for health insurance. Last but not least, we help churches with marketing for new members of a congregation and also internally with current congregates. We believe that God has put us in a position to help and that is why we HAVE to do it.

However, we are wrong as well. We are wrong to not take the credit for helping. We are wrong in not trying to advertise that we are helping a great organization. Ultimately, if you think about it, we are helping the organization and ourselves at the same time. By us saying that we are helping the organization we are telling more people about the organization and the mission they believe in.

This can be a double edged sword however. You want to check into the organization before you start supporting them. A few things we take a look at are location, financials, leadership and their overall goal. Remember that your name is going to be attached with this organization so you want to make sure that they are a reputable company that supports the mission they created. We have all heard of large organizations that have a reputation for extravagance. The amount of money you donate does not go directly to the mission. I personally have heard of admin fees reaching 80% or more. So, make sure you do your homework first and make sure that you not only want the mission, but the organization is one that you can offer your full support to as well.

So, YES you should take credit for your generosity. You are helping them as much, if not more, than you are helping yourself. Whatever you decide is right for you and your organization, your heart is in the right place. Charitable organizations depend on people like you to improve and enhance the mission they set into motion.

On page and Off Page SEO what is the difference?

This is decorative text of SEO, Search engine optimization.

The latest and most important thing about websites is SEO also known as Search Engine Optimization. However there are 2 different kinds, so what is the difference and why are both important?

First, lets cover On page SEO. Searchmetrics defines On-Page SEO as, “Onpage optimization (a.k.a on-page SEO) refers to all measures that can be taken directly within the website in order to improve its position in the search rankings.” This involves a few things:

Meta Description – This is the page description of a webpage that is keyworded to match. They should be no longer than 16 characters and must be relevant to the page they are describing.

Title Tags or Meta Tags – This refers to the description in the URL. These are not seen on the page but they are both seen and ranked on the search. These are also referred to as page titles. These should be no longer than 70 keywords and they must not repeat keywords.

Headings – We refer to these a lot as H tags. H1, H2, H3…. These are tags that are used for the creation of headings. They will most likely be the heading for the post you are creating.

Site map – As the name implies, it is a map of what is on your site and where exactly the content is. Google uses this to crawl your site and create the roadmap of your site.

Now, let’s cover Off-page SEO. This is a technique that is used to improve the position of a website in the search engine results page (SERPs). This includes many items but most importantly are:

Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Linkedin and Pinterest are just to name a few. Social media allows you to create stories while linking and creating a web of links that go back to your site.

Listing Services – Sites like Yelp, Yahoo, Google and Facebook all have to be tied and linked back to your site. More importantly are the smaller spaces like Hotfrog and Citynet. The key to this is that everything must be EXACTLY the sames right down to the dot in certain places, otherwise it hurts you.

Blogging – Writing a weekly, monthly or even quarterly blog with links back to that section of your website will increase your backlinks.

Podcasting – Again, this helps create backlinks to section of your website. It also shows you as an authority of the market you are in.

This list could go on for many pages but you get the point. The more backlinks and associations that you can get to your website, the more it helps get you ranked. Ultimately you can think of On page SEO as your website and how it is created and maintained and Off site SEO as everything else you should be doing across the web. Both are very important for your website and where you show up. Off site SEO also creates a relationship with your company prior to them getting to your website and On page SEO carries that through to the ultimate step which is conversion.

Millennials are a different type of Marketing

This is a clip art of Millennials and marketing.

I find research for millennials and what they want very fascinating. See, I love the psychology of marketing and what makes people want to do things and work with companies. First, let’s define what a millennial is, it is said that a millennial is born between 1982 and 2004 although some demographers just say early 1980’s to mid 1990’s or early 2000’s. There are approximately 76 million of them in the United States alone and according to a recent article, 81% of us want to work with a company that are community advocates and boast about it. As a matter of fact, millennials will go through pain to support a company that does. I heard a story once that a gentleman bought a new pair of shoes every 6 weeks even though they were uncomfortable just because the company donated a pair of shoes for every pair he bought. Now that is loyalty!

Multitasking is the new normal for millennials. They have this innate ability to switch between cell phones, tablets, desktop and laptops all within a minute and understand everything on all the screens. What is my friend doing today, how is the latest celebrity spending the day or whatever the latest trend is in the life of a millennial, this is the relaxation that they look forward to. The social life of a millennial is the most important thing in their life and that is all done through technology. The next generation is not getting any better either, as a matter of fact it is getting worse. I think any parent of teenagers today will agree that the worst thing in the world for their teen is having their phone taken away or taking away technology in general. Their life is over if you do that. Telling them to walk down to a friends house and see if they can hang out, is something they think is from the caveman days.

So, how do you get these generations to act? It is relatively simple yet difficult at the same time.

1. They are very click minded individuals and very social. So, you must go where they are, which is Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, podcasts and many other social sites that are out there. These generations do very little reading, unfortunately, so you must make your writing concise and to the point. The best way to get the attention of this generation is video, however they need to be powerful and very concise. Their attention span is only a minute or so.
2. Show that you are community advocates and you support organizations like homelessness, veterans, or women’s rights. As human beings, we all want to help and many of us do. It is not done because we want publicity or even recognition. It is done because it is the right thing to do and we want to help. Why not do both though? You can support organizations that you believe in and also get publicity for your company. So go for it!
3. You must get personal with this generation. They want to be acknowledged as individuals and not part of the crowd. Everything you do must individualize the experience for them. Tell a story and do not command them to do anything.

Here is the great thing about millennials, they are the most loyal group that you will ever have the pleasure to work with. The old quote, “People do business with people they like and trust” are not just words for millennials. It is required and they WILL tell all of their friends!

Who cares about Voice search? You should!

This is a Google Home device.

We keep hearing about voice search and how important it is going to be, therefore, we want to take the time to explain what it is. Voice search is asking an intelligent device a question and getting an answer.

The four most popular devices that use voice search are:
Alexa – Made by Amazon, some say that it was the first “Voice Assistant” available. It also utilizes the Bing network for answers.
Siri – Mostly used on Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad. It was utilized by Bing originally, however it switched to Google services towards the end of 2017.
Cortana – Microsoft made this available on many laptops and tablets. It answers via the Bing network.
Google Home – Created by Google to compete against other “Voice Assistant” platforms. It uses the Google search engine.

You are probably thinking, “Who cares? I don’t have one!” However, this couldn’t be more wrong if you are a business owner. “40% of adults now use voice search once per day,” according to Location World. Furthermore, “50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020,” according to comscore. The no screen revolution is coming and you need to be ready!

How do you get ready? Well, it all comes down to SEO!

First of all, the way you think about keywords must change. Most voice searches involve more than five words that are spoken. People do not talk in Keywords. When was the last time you said “Restaurant near me” to anybody? You may have even typed it into a web browser this way. When we speak to voice search we say something like “Hey Alexa, Who has the best fish fry in Milwaukee?”. Your site needs to reflect these words to be ranked. So having keywords is great but you also need to keyword how you speak. Put yourself in the shoes of the potential client, the way that you would ask questions would most likely be the way they do. Of course, this means that your keyword research is going to require a lot more work.

One great way we recently read about is creating a frequently ask questions page with the answers. Brainstorm with your team the top 20 questions the team gets asked and create a page for the questions. Say the top one you get asked is, “What is the best process for creating a great website?” then use it and keyword it. This way, when someone asks Alexa “Hey Alexa, what is the best process for creating a website?” your information will come up and say, “According to www._____.com the best process is…..”

Many experts have different ways of dealing with voice search as it is still so new. We are all figuring it out, however, rest assured it is here now and it is here to stay. There is no fighting it, you must embrace it, and not only embrace it but get ahead of it.

Website redesign! How do you do it right?

These are lines of code on a computer screen.

As marketers we run across people all the time that need a website redesign. Either it is not mobile, it isn’t optimized or it just looks old. Everytime we talk about redesigning the website, they have a large fear instantly. “What will happen to what I have?” “What will happen with the SEO I have already done?” “How do I do it without losing my competitive edge?” Well, we are here to tell you that those are fears you don’t need to have. If done right, all of these fears are not needed. So how do you do it right?

  1. Keep the old site live—When redesigning the site you do not immediately take down the old site. You will need it for content that needs to be rewritten, for pictures that you may still want and for traffic to your location during the rebuild.
  2. Run reports prior to website redesign—You need to know where you are coming from to know where you are going. Run an analytics report. Run listing reports. Run a website grader report. Hold on to that information so when you launch your new, modern site you know how far you have come and where you need to go.
  3. Run a Screaming Frog report—Recently, while doing research for this blog, we ran across a program called Screaming Frog. What a difference it is making for us. We know exactly what is happening on every page of our site, including link data. We highly recommend you run one on your site prior to redesigning.
  4. 301 redirects—You must redirect all of your old URLs to new ones. This should be the first thing you do with a new site. When the new site is live you will want to go through your list of old URLs from you crawl report. This way you know that everything 301 redirects properly.
  5. Content is king—When you have content that performs well currently, you will want to minimize changes. You will have a lot of opportunity in the future to do tweaks to the site so for now, minimize the amount of changes to content and work on tweaks after your site is indexed and ranking.
  6. Backlinks—Make sure you look at sites in your analytics report that currently send traffic to your site. Once you have the list, please reach out to webmasters and ask them to update their backlinks as quickly as possible.
  7. Internal links—Your crawl date should help you ensure that your internal links are properly set up. If you have pages that have had thousands of internal links, you need to make sure they are correct or it will have major impacts on your indexing and ranking.
  8. Sitemap—Make sure you update your sitemap across the web. Sitemaps are still and will most likely always be an important factor for ranking. By not having the proper sitemap indexing, the web will not see changes when crawling your site and therefore your rankings will be affected.
  9. Rankings—Do not expect to be ranked higher instantaneously. Fluctuations will be commonplace, however, make sure you have a comparable baseline. Keep in mind that, especially with bigger sites, it may take some time for pages to be recrawled. If you do discover issues, fix, adjust and reindex ASAP.
  10. Organic—There is no way to know at all times what is tracking and when, so make sure you are consistently looking at the analytics to compare the keywords for organic traffic. Adjust as needed and reindex.
  11. Google Search Console—Google Search Console is a free tool that gives you great information. Everything from tracking your 301s and 404s to search analytics all in one place. If you are having issues then Google Search Console will provide you with great insight to your page you can create actionable data from.

If you pay attention and you follow the items above, you will make your relaunch as successful and more successful than your site before redesign. However, keep using these tools. The tools and information are not just for redesign. These tools and steps will also give you great information for you to act on and fix. Remember, no matter how much you work on all of this, it won’t mean anything if you have an unattractive, bulky and non friendly page. So in conjunction with these steps, you need to make sure you follow the other rules like the 3 click rule, proper branding rules, and make your site look like the way you want to represent your business. Your site is a direct reflection of you and your company, so if it is unattractive, it shows your business as unattractive to the user. If it is hard to navigate, it shows your company as hard to navigate. If your branding is not correct, it shows as indecisive and confusing.

It all starts with you and what you want people to know about you! Happy redesign!

How does the new Facebook update affect the Small Business owner?

First, let’s talk about why we are asking this question. Mark Zuckerberg sent out a Facebook post saying “One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.” Further down the post he states, “Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful interactions.”

After research and reading the blog on the subject, it comes down to this! News feed is limited in size, therefore, Facebook will be showing more posts from friends, family members and updates that spark some kind of conversation. What does this mean for business pages? It means that you will NOT be seen in the news feed unless you spark conversation. The fact of the matter is posts that generate conversation will show higher.

What does this mean for you as a small business owner or marketer? It is more important now than ever to get people to talk to you. You have to make the posts more attractive, give them a “wow” or a reason to comment on your post. Without creating the “wow” or the conversation then you WILL see your traffic decline.

Can you guess what the number one type of post to get comments is? Ok, here are some choices, A. pictures, B. video, C. reviews, D. text. If you answered B then you are correct and congratulations, as you have been paying attention to our previous blogs and videos. Video is once again being pointed out as a huge growth possibility in 2018. Now, can you do a good video on your phone? Well sure you can, however, as we have said before, remember that what you show on video is a representation of your company. Therefore, if you want to represent your company in that way, then feel free.

So, the long and short answer—think about what you are posting. Is it relevant to not only you but to your audience? Will it create a conversation? Always think “Will I want to see this?”

To Be Found Or Not To Be Found, That Is The Question

This is a woman searching something on Google on her laptop.

When you go into your phone and you type in air conditioning repair you get a list of people nearby that do that, right? Imagine if you are the business owner and somebody is 20 feet from your location and they type in air conditioning repair but your name doesn’t come up? That would probably upset you, correct? Well that is because you are not listed correctly with the major search engines. The last I checked there are over 700 online directories that you can be listed on. Do all of them make sense to you? NO.

There are many directories that are specific to industries that do not make sense for everybody. If you are a doctors office then it makes sense to be listed on WebMD however if you do AC repair then it does not. How do you know which ones you should be listed on? How much time does it take to go into each one individually and make sure everything is exact. That is where a Marketing company comes in with listing expertise.

Listings are very important to SEO for a website. There are a lot of decisions that have to be made with listing and no matter how little you think they are it is very important that you make decisions prior to starting the project. Decisions like Spelling Avenue or using Ave with or without a period? What phone number do you want to use? What email? What are your hours? If you are a restaurant do you want the menu? What pictures do you want to use? What keywords do you want to use? These all seem like basic things but they are very important because ALL of your listings need to be EXACT across all platforms!

Furthermore if you take this project on yourself you have to go in and fix these on a very regular basis. There are crawlers that will go in and change the information within 6 days of fixing it. At first it is one or maybe 2 sites. After 30 days over half of the sites you fixed are changed. That is why it is much more cost effective to work with a Listing Power user service like we are. We constantly fix listings and once they are fixed the crawlers can not change them. There is a fee of course, however how much would it cost you to have to go in and fix them all the time?

What I hear all the time is that I will hire an employee to do this and make sure I stay up to date. Let’s figure this out mathematically. You pay an employee $10 per hour to go in and fix your listings and keep them up to date. Each listing service will take about 30 minutes to fix. That means you are paying that employee $360 every time they have to go through all 72 sites. Now only about half of them get changes monthly. So you will have to pay an employee $180 every month to keep them fixed. These numbers do not include taxes, insurance and all the extra payments you need to make for every employee you have. For a listing professional to come in and have them constantly fixed it will cost you between $100 – $150 per month. So the math is easy right?

You are found online, now what?

When creating a website there’s many things to think about. You want it to represent you and your company. You want it to represent your core beliefs and how you want the public to perceive those beliefs.

 

We come across one issue all the time. We offer free web reports and listing reports as part of our service. The web report is graded on many levels with 100 be the highest score that your website can get. 90 if you do not have a SSL certificate. We constantly run across sites that are 85-90 without SSL certificate. Pretty good right? Wrong! See the issue is that they are not getting conversions off of the site. The site is Mobile, It is Keyworded, it is maintained, updated, easy to navigate and linked to analytics. It ticks all of the boxes for a good site except one.

 

Can you guess what it is?

This one thing it is missing is more important than anything else.

This one thing they are missing is the largest representation of the company that can be.

This one thing is what makes people want to click to learn more.

Do you give up on what it is yet?

 

ATTRACTION! Yes I said attraction! You can have the best site in the world. It can get people to come to your site by the hundreds or even thousands. However if it does not look good than people will not want to know more about your company, product or service? Why do people want to click the contact form if they do not like what they see online? 81% of consumers research you online before they make a decision so in this case you are found but you do not look good as a company.

 

Imagine a website likes this scenario. You are looking to buy a car. You run across 2 ads for the exact same car and the exact same price and mileage. One is an ad that is just words and the other has pictures and a video. Which ad will you request information from? The same goes for your website. You can have the best wording in the world and you could have a literary genius write it but if people can’t see it then they can’t relate to it. I read this statistic recently “90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual which the brain will process 60,000 times faster than text information. That is an amazing number. I also read another statistic that having a video on your homepage will increase your conversions by 80%. We are in a visual world so your website needs to be as well!