Your website will show up at the top of Google, Yahoo & Bing when you have the answers and information that people are searching for. You’ll need to post these things to your website or you can work with The Marketing Square. We’ve helped websites reach the top of Google since 2010.
The Marketing Square receives many questions from clients, friends, followers and here are the latest most interesting questions for Ask the Web Guy. Question: What is a good advertising ROI and what is advertising strategy?
Answer: This is a very complicated answer. A good advertising ROI is driven by a strong advertising strategy. Every advertising campaign begins with strategy and is decided with clients. Strategy combines goals, budget and tactics to reach the target. Tactics are the wild card and are determined by budget and goals.
Strategy determines what is done in an ad campaign. Strategy will decide how ROI (Return on Investment) is achieved. Strategy decides the target, what locations and types of activation are used to reach the audience to meet the goal.
Strategy will vary by Goal and if the Goal changes, so does the Strategy.
ROI: Return On Investment
It may take someone years to understand advertising ROI and advertising Strategy. Yes, it’s like a math problem. So we’ll use a math formula to demonstrate.
ROI is determined by an agreed upon goal (B) established by the client who needs B (Goal) to happen by using C (Tactics) based on A (Strategy), but driven by D (Budget).
A=Strategy. A is constant and carefully determined by knowing what and how a goal may be achieved.
B=Goal. B is singular and consistent because you can’t do it all…you have to choose one thing and do it wll. Your focus on a goal will more specifically determine ROI.
C= Tactics. There are so many options, but they’ll be reined in by D (Budget).
D=Budget. Costs will vary and is going to determine C (Tactics) and E (ROI).
E=ROI. Return On Investment is decided by D+C+B÷A=E
A (Strategy) drives the the B (Goal) and the C (Tactics) is decided by D (Budget).
Before a client commits a budget there will still need to be a strategy to reach the goal. Some tactics may not work or may cost too much or not be effective. Finding the Return on Investment in a program will vary by the expectations driven by the strategy.
Confused? Plan. Strategize. Learn and read about your audience, competition, tactics and do a lot of research before sitting down and demanding an ROI number that’s just floating around in your mind. There needs to be a reason for ROI.
Costs can be mitigated by the right strategy. The more specific and careful the strategy, the higher the ROI.
What Are the Top Search Engines in the World?
Question: What are the Top Search Engines in the World?
Answer: Here’s a list. There’s no such thing as search engines across all borders. While U.S. focuses on Google, and yes, many other countries use it, access is limited and therefore not always as widespread as in the U.S.
Websites Have to Answer Google Questions
I want to talk to you about something that everybody wants but everybody doesn’t know how to get which is how to get to the top of Google.
Do you know “What makes a website Google worthy?” What is it about your website that would make it be included in results when somebody does a search?
Well that’s one of the things that I’ve been able to determine. I know how to make a website turn up at the top of the search engines. And it takes a lot of work. There is not one simple trick. Websites have to answer Google questions and provide information that people ask on Google.
It’s Just Good Website Content
In fact there are no tricks. It’s just good website content and grueling hard work that needs to be done by professional writers. I only have advertising experts, journalists, SEO and SEM staff on my team.
All of them are taught to do certain things to your website to your content to your online information so that you will show up at the top of the search engines.
What is Quality Content?
Basically Google is looking for information that’s high quality. When you hear the term though high Quality content what is that?
Well think of what you might read in a newspaper. Do you trust that newspaper because it’s a news or a media source? Do you trust it because there’s a writer that you like? Or don’t you trust it really you’re really just reading it to find out what’s going on in the news?
Well, dependent on the quality of that information provided by that particular online publication it will or it won’t turn up on a certain page on Google.
Be the Best Content Source
If it’s the best source of content for a particular issue, let’s say politics. And you Google a politician. No matter who it is, you want that first story to be the best source of information so that you don’t have to go clicking through all the other pages.
Well it’s not a bad thing to be on the other pages. Because a lot of people are concerned only with being number one, two or three. But everybody doesn’t have the budget to be number one, two or three and it’s OK if you’re not at the top of the search engines.
You can be on page two, you can be on page three and you can still get quality leads. You’re still going to have people e-mail you, you’re still going to have people call you. And in fact for the first few months of any website being launched onto the Internet, it’s going to take time to go from, let’s say you start out at Page 65.
Get to Page One of Google
In the next couple months you do get up and you should be at Page One or you should be at Page Two and the only way you’re going to get there is by providing regular, continuous content so that when Google bots scan your website and look for new pictures and new video, new information, new social media that your business name is associated with having provided that through your website.
That’s a grueling process. The idea that you have to write something every day, or take pictures every few weeks, shoot a video by yourself and post it online.
Stop Shooting Videos at Your Desk
And for any of you please stop shooting those videos where you sit at your desk and put a camera up above you and you start ranting. Don’t do those videos.
Turn it over to a professional so that you’re image online comes across as very professional and clean, very smooth and not something where you’ve got your sleeves rolled up and you’re doing a home made video. Because that’s not quality content. Google doesn’t want those kinds of videos. They’ll still you can put them on YouTube you’re more than welcome to post them, but we don’t do that kind of video.
Professional Videos Provide Professional Image
The type of video that we provide is one where you’re given a script, you’re given a topic and you’re given training so that when you’re talking on the video you know what you’re saying and you’ve had time to practice and I’ve coached you through it. We have other people that can coach you through it.
So the next time you think that you’re going to have to go out and start posting to your website yourself, think about the fact that you could turn everything over to The Marketing Square. If you’re ready to get started please give me a call and we talk about your business. I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you again my name’s Rebekah Brown and I’m the CEO of The Marketing Square and a website and advertising agency that’s provided clients with proven website results since 2010. Thank you.
Mobilegeddon: Google Forces Website Owners to Upgrade
Google announced a mandate that all websites must be mobile-friendly in order to be included in mobile search results as of April 21, 2015. Mobile-Friendly=Website is instantly viewable and legible on mobile devices.
There is a little menu button that you can click and pow! You see a list of all the website’s pages. It’s easily navigated on a mobile device vs. the old way where you had to enlarge and jiggle the page around to see a page and then go back and angle it just right.
NON-Mobile-friendly businesses have been scrambling to comply and want answers to questions. In order to get the exact answers, we suggest that you read from the Google Webmaster Blog HERE which provides very precise direction and answers to all your questions.
In short, the Google mobile-friendly mandate means that unless your website is mobile-friendly, which means it’s built for viewing on all devices, you have some changes to make. Now.
An unknown and yet unverified number of websites will no longer appear in mobile search results. Some online and news sources said that it would effect 40% to 50% of all Fortune 500 websites.
Small Business Window of Opportunity
Forbes said wisely that smaller businesses will benefit by the ability to quickly make the change and upgrade by acting immediately vs. the larger businesses that have so much decision
making and internal chaos slowing things down. In other words, act now and change fast so that you’ll be at the top of Google’s Good Little Websites List.
All website owners are affected by this demand to comply to change websites, so here are a few things to consider and to help understand why Google can and will make changes like this. But don’t think too hard or too long. You have to change and now is better than later. Never is not an option if you want traffic coming to your website from mobile devices.
What is the Mobile-Friendly Mandate?
Google mandated that websites must be mobile-friendly (meaning a website has to be built with the ability to show up clearly–without enlargement or finger-moving–on a mobile screen) if they want to be included in mobile phone, tablet and iPad search results.
Mobile=smart phones, tablets, iPads. Any device that you can walk around with easily as opposed to having to view on a desktop or a laptop computer.
What Does Mobile-Friendly Mean?
Test a website by CLICKING HERE and typing in your favorite website. Mobile-friendly means that the website was built so that it formats itself to the size of the mobile screen that you are using.
If a website is not mobile-friendly, it means that the page has to be enlarged by the use of two fingers or a mouse in order to enlarge it and to see it clearly. Mobile-friendly websites are those you can see instantly without having to enlarge the page to read it or use your fingers or mouse to expand a page manually.
Why Did Google Force the Mobile-Friendly Issue?
The short answer is that Google runs an online search business. Google has a commitment only to its users who are searching on Google. Google is not a friend of businesses. Google has capitalized on the one thing that everyone wants to do: Google something.
It has made every business its client. Not a bad business structure, unless you’re a small business struggling to find a marketing budget. No matter to Google. Google’s only jobs is to make every search the best experience possible for a Google user.
Businesses know that technology is fluid and that technology changes constantly. Google has lowered the boom to let you know just how much it means business: Change or be excluded.
There is no other answer. No, it’s not fair. But business is not fair and the best and biggest businesses will be taking notice and get a new understanding for the search engine process. Most are probably scrambling right now to find a company who knows how to upgrade, change or rebuild its website so that it’s mobile-compliant.
Google made this change because Google is a search engine and it found that most searches were done via smart phones, iPads, and tablet devices. This is forcing businesses to comply to make the search result process easy for Google users.
Google Users Will Not Be Happy–at First
No doubt, users will NOT be pleased when looking for their local pizza place, directions to many businesses and for websites that may not turn up in Google search results. The effect will be immediate. There will probably be a lot of money spent by companies to upgrade to mobile which means that the team that offers to upgrade to mobile-friendly had better know what they’re doing.
Most searches are local and directions are commonly searched for. If you can’t find the local business you’re looking for, you may have to go old school and use your fingers to expand the mobile screen to see its pages clearly.
Which Websites Are Affected by Mobilegeddon?
If your website was built in WordPress prior to 2013, it is highly likely that your website will require an upgrade and a partial rebuild. Mobile technology was just beginning in late
2012. By 2013, WordPress website themes were beginning to offer mobile-friendly options.
If your website was built in WordPress prior to 2012, your website will need a complete website rebuild and an upgrade will not be possible. The technology was not available yet for the thesis or theme at that time. You were ahead of the curve by building a website at the time, but mobile-friendly wasn’t an option.
There are so many technological reasons why you should be upgrading your website and mobile-friendliness is only one.
The other reasons your website should be updated include:
- Your content is very old
- Your pictures need updating
- Your videos need updating
- Your SEO (search engine optimization) has changed dramatically and needs changing
- Unless your webmaster or SEO/SEM team has been contracted for the past several years to upgrade and rewrite SEO, SEM and content, you’re in need of updates throughout your website
- You should get maintenance-level updates to plugins, security and WordPress versions annually
- Your website is like a car and needs updates and planned maintenance annually
Why Do I Have to Keep Updating My Website?
Technology changes every day. If you want to remain competitive, you’d better get moving and begin writing new copy, shooting new video, engaging in social media, writing articles, getting new pictures for your website. You should get maintenance for plugins, security and WordPress annually
The Marketing Square is Pushy
We always tell clients that Google is not a friend of business. That Google’s committed to the best USER experience, not the best business experience. A person who searches on Google is a user and Google wants users to be able to easily navigate without having to move a finger to enlarge the screen size. The user experience should be fast loading, smooth video play, pictures and images that appear, and most important: copy that is updated and relevant to your category.
How Hard Does the Mobile-Friendly Mandate Hit a NON-Mobile-Friendly Website?
Google’s Webmaster blog reports that desktop and laptop Google searches will not be affected, but that mobile phones and mobile devices on tablets and iPads will be affected. Would it be unreasonable to think that the desktop and laptop searches will be affected soon? Probably.
What this means for website owners is that if you want to be included in mobile device searches then you MUST upgrade your website to make it mobile-friendly. If you decide to ignore the update, which can be expensive, then your website will not show up in mobile searches. You’re missing out on the millions of mobile users.
How Dare Google!
How dare Google force website owners to do this! In a way yes, it is horribly unfair to a business that built its website before 2013 when very few if any websites were built in mobile-friendly platforms.
This is NOT fair to businesses that may be at the top of the search engines and who have built websites four or five years ago that they regularly post to. Not fair at all. But they’re likely to comply because there is not an alternative. Change or die.
We repeat: technology is fluid. There are millions of people on mobile devices: tablets, smart phones, iPads. There is a generation that is growing up with smart phones only. There are several generations that rely solely on the use of a smart phone for all things Internet.
You Don’t Know Without Taking a Survey
Don’t trick yourself into thinking that your clientele doesn’t search for your business or service on a mobile device. You don’t know unless you’re taking a survey of all your clients past, present and future as to how they find or found you.
What the mobile-friendly mandate by Google has caused is a technological nightmare for business owners who may not have budget for the rebuild or upgrade. The Marketing Square is working with clients and can do upgrades to WordPress websites or rebuilds.
The best case scenario is that an older website is rebuilt with a new theme/thesis that is mobile-friendly. We can’t tell you when the next Google mandate is coming, only that there will be another Google website mandate to send businesses running to webmasters for help. We suggest to all those who have worked hard on their websites to choose web companies wisely.
It’s one thing to like the owner. It’s another thing to be certain that the website agency you hire is the best at what you need to accomplish online. At the end of the day every business wants to be at the top of the search engine and yes, it’s a race to stay on top. The question is whether you’re in or out? Because if you’re not sure, your competition is on its way up. Ready to get started?
The Marketing Square. Proven Web Results (call our clients!)
Websites Should Be Managed by Experts
If You Want the Best Results, Hire the Best Firm
Websites are not as easy to manage as some advertisers lead you to believe. Skilled programmers, not designers, should manage your website and SEO.
Websites are complex and should be managed by experts who know coding and who are building your website to perform at its peak. They have to know how to execute a yearlong SEO, SEM and search plan. If you want the best results, you have to hire the best firm.
Any Florida lawyer, doctor, realtor or financial services firm that has tried to build a website on WordPress, Wix.com, Weebly.com, GoDaddy.com or SquareSpace.com knows that websites are overwhelming and frustrating for the average person.
Many website builds can become a nightmarish experience for you if you decide to take it on internally or ask a “marketing team member” to build it. If your team member knows IT, they are NOT a website designer or programmer. These are very different skill sets.
You don’t ask your accountant to do your marketing. Don’t ask your computer systems manager to be responsible for your business and advertising plan. Your website is your most valuable and important marketing asset. Choose your website builder and SEO and SEM team carefully.
After Website Build, Begin SEO and SEM
When your website is built or rebuilt you have to advertise the website online which is complicated, takes research and a staff that knows how to battle your online competition. You
have to be patient and progress carefully. When it comes to websites, slow and steady wins the race.
Slow and Steady Wins the Website Race
If you’re looking for someone to get you more business overnight, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The Internet is not a magical magnet. If you build a website there is a myth that you’ll get traffic and clients calling overnight.
Nothing could be further from the truth. There are billions of websites seeking attention from search engines. What will you do to your website that makes it search-engine worthy? You personally, don’t know enough to code, format and position your website for success.
Your clients hire you for expert advice, do the same when you hire a website agency.
Website advertising takes time and builds slowly. It will take months, not days or weeks. Think of the days of television and newspaper ads where your ad needed to be targeted. The ad had multiple runs, and shared a message over and over in different cities, states through a planned media buy. Likewise, SEO and SEM plans have to be thorough, strategic to bring in clients.
Advertising Seldom Used by Website Agencies
A website that sells and shares your business online should be built by an SEO and SEM agency with an extensive history in advertising. If you want to attract the right clients, you have to hire the firm with the ability to build a strategy for reaching your target. If they’ve never sold or created a fully-integrated marketing plan they will not succeed.
Advertising is an art. It is philosophy, science, knowledge and supreme creativity combined. Websites involve computer science, coding. Content has to combine advertising, computer science with Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing research, planning and execution.
The Marketing Square has the advertising, computer science, SEO and SEM needed to succeed online and has built websites and provided online advertising (known as SEO and SEM) to attorneys, realtors, financial service companies and doctors for five years in Florida. It was in North Carolina and Michigan prior to this working on the latest technology and research to provide our clients new revenue.
Don’t Hire the First SEO Firm You Meet
If you’re afraid to trust an SEO and SEM website firm, it’s understandable. Most of our clients prior to joining us were ripped off by up to six figures and were paying up to $15,000 a
month for unknown and actually basic tactics which yielded little or no results. I talked with an attorney this week who was paying a well-known law website $7K a month for two years and received only or 2 clients per month. That’s horrible! For that amount of money, the clients should be streaming in. You can expect at least several clients per week with a truly able SEO and SEM law firm.
However, these law firm websites take advantage of attorneys who are looking for “trusted” resources. The websites built are so basic and dated in quality and technique that it’s astounding that they’re paid websites. But when you wander into an unknown world (websites) hoping for the best, you’ll often get some of the worst con artists there are. Particularly if you tell them you need results fast!
Close your wallet. Get away from the so-called “expert” or “trusted” legal websites. For what they charge, you can find an independent firm who will cater to your needs, create a unique and successful website and SEO/SEM plan. The usual law firm online portals do not use the latest technology, research or create customized looks. You get template looks with the typical Orlando Lake Eola skyline photos. Stock art. They ask for your latest photo and slap it anywhere on the site.
You pay for the most basic website that doesn’t receive regular updates, unique copy to describe your firm or your team or your services. For that, you’ll pay dearly. You may feel that safe and secure services are worth paying for. But you can pay someone who will be safe, secure and provide you results.
They use common descriptors for your services, skills, about, who you are etc. Well, now you look like every other website out there. If your goal was typical, you’ll get it from the law websites. Just peruse your competitors and see what they’ve got.
Review some of The Marketing Square legal websites. Note the many pages, videos, photos, custom created design and copy. One of a kind is what Google, Yahoo and Bing look for. One of a kind is what clients receive. You have to stand out to make an impact AND you have to continually add new, better different information to remain relevant to search.
Hire with your wallet closed. Don’t mention budget until results from clients are shared with you. What kind of revenue can you expect? ROI is pretty straightforward. You pay X to get Y after how much time?
There are so many con artists and so-called website experts out there, proceed with any website and SEO firm with caution. Call their clients. Find out what kind of revenue you can expect for your field before you begin. Have they got case studies? Make them prove it to you. If they can’t, move on until you find a firm who can show revenue with like clients.
Medical, Legal, Financial, Guidelines
Have the website firms you’ve talked to worked within the website legal restrictions and rules established by governing bodies in your profession?
Do they know the American Medical Association guidelines? Can they answer the SEC and CFP, or FFIEC, regulations? Do they know what the Bar in your state says you can and cannot say online? Does the ABA have standards that you have to adhere to?
If you post a video or copy that client result claims or you post testimonials, you have to send this through the Bar in your state. There are many legal, medical and financial governing bodies that regulate what you can and cannot do online in advertising your website and other advertising outlets. The Marketing Squre knows the guidelines and rules of each industry and maintains courses and certifications to keep up to date with any changes that regulating your business.
Meanwhile, Ask Yourself These Questions:
- Are you frozen in place afraid to make the wrong move with your website?
- Are you overwhelmed by technology?
- Does the thought of writing website copy frustrate you?
- Are you sick of hearing the wonders of social media?
- Do you feel like you’re at a disadvantage not knowing what needs to be done to your website?
- Are you wondering whether who you hired is actually working on your website?
You Should Have Answers, Not Questions
You Need Business, Not Traffic
It’s understandable that you’re unsure of what to do with your website. But the firm you hire should be able to explain in layman’s terms what they will do to drive new business.
NOTE: I said drive new BUSINESS, not new traffic. You can have a lot of traffic, but no phone calls or e-mails. The Marketing Square knows how to advertise you online so that you get new clients calling and e-mailing you.
You may have very light traffic, but you should get hightly There are so many “experts” spouting their brand of web wisdom it’s hard to know who to listen to.
Start with a conversation. Call and ask questions. If an expert knows websites and how to get you to the top of the search engine, you’ll be able to ask them for their clients’ phone numbers so that you can call to vet the agency.
Don’t hire random strangers you find online or via your e-mail inbox which is no doubt filled with “website specials.” You’ll get exactly what you pay for
How Much Will It Cost?
Your business, your brand, is your livelihood. You’ve worked far too hard to turn its fate over to unknown entities. A good SEO/SEM firm is going to charge you several thousands per month to do your SEO/SEM for a 1-person firm. A 2-person firm, add to that and so on.
If you’re looking for the cheapest firm, you’ll be disappointed when you call us. We’re one of the best and our clients are earning many, many thousands monthly from our hard work. We don’t divulge client billings so you’ll have to ask them. So when you look for a return on your investment, start with calls to clients. We only take on clients we know will fit our process.
If you’re intent on controlling every word, video and picture that goes online, we probably won’t be a good fit for you. We take over your website and manage it 100%. If you don’t want to touch your website, then we’re a perfect fit. If you hate writing, posting, shooting video, taking pictures, we’re the firm for you.
If you’re somewhere in-between, it’s possible we can work with you. But just as you handle the care of your patients, or the litigation for your clients, the financial futures of your clients, we take over your website duties. You can’t do what we do and we can’t teach you. It’s too hard and it’s computer science with proprietary tactics.
Generating content and quality video, photos and online messages takes time and expertise. You do your job and we’ll do ours. But you need to turn the reins over to us after we’ve gotten started. Trust takes time, and we’re in no hurry. Website success is slow and steady. There’s never a rush to do it all in one day, week or month. It takes a good six months and then your business will change.
You’lll get clients within the first months, but steady clients take six months. If someone else can get you there cheaper and faster, we wish you the best. Just be certain that what they’re doing is legal and in accordance to Google guidelines. You don’t want your domain/website banned for tactics.
What is SEO/SEM?
In short, SEO and SEM is coding the content and formatting the elements on your website and online. It’s content generation: written copy, videos, photos, social media, articles, posts.
Website and online work is constant and complicated. You probably will never understand what we do no matter how many ways we explain it to you. It’s grueling computer time for the average person who is not able to sit and code, format, writed, edit video, post online and share in relevant locations.
Several hours a day is just the beginning of what we do, but within those hours of work, a wide range of activities must be completed, carefully and with strategy that is all about YOUR business.
About Our Team
The Marketing Square has a highly skilled, mature and experienced team. Our team is aged 50 and over (except video editor Daniel). This is intentional because our clients want a reliable team with a long successful record online.
Our writers are former reporters and editors who know learn your brand and who can expertly share your stories. We use research, language, advertising and website design to shape your online image and story. Every website is unique and created for client needs.
We explain that what we do is as complex as what you do for your legal, medical, real estate and financial clients. You’ll need to understand that we cannot succeed with your website without your full cooperation. We’re going to get to know your team, your firm, your practice so that we can share your story online. Then, we create a strategy for your business to reach your target.
How long will it take to get new clients?
- 30 days to build a new website from scratch
- 45 days to rebuild a website
- 5-6 months for continuous website clients
Websites should introduce everything a business wants its clients and prospects to know. Your first client meeting is online and you’re not present, your website is handling it. When someone Googles you or your business the command performance begins without you, your office, your team or your sales staff.
Is Your Website Ready for the First Client Meeting?
A client no longer comes to your office for the first “kick the tires meeting.” Your prospective clients have already visited your website.
The meeting may have been short and sweet or it may have been long and extensive. Regardless, the meeting happened and you weren’t personally there. You’ll know how it went because you should have gotten a phone call or an e-mail from the prospective clients.
If your prospect was pleased you spoke to them or they ordered something from you, or maybe both. You should be confident in how you presented yourself and certain the website sold you, your product, team and capabilities. Your website should advertise your business for you 24-7.
Your website success is measured in the phone calls, orders, e-mails and new business. If your website isn’t driving business, you’re missing out on revenue and your competition is thriving. Everyone is doing business online, what’s your excuse?
Three Things That Ensure Traffic:
Websites should have a wide range of content: Video, pictures, copy, social media, clear headlines, smooth functioning speedy page loads. All of this is large budget as the No. 1 marketing piece for a business today. The amount invested in the website will directly correlate to the amount a business can expect to generate. If you’ve got a $350 budget you’re going to receive $350 in clients, new business.
Start with a strong foundation so that even if there are few pages, those pages strategically share your story and engage your visitors.
If you think that someone will give you a free advertising campaign and present your business with all the bells and whistles for free, you’re wrong. Sure you can get a free website. But it will not advertise your business nor will it drive traffic. A website build should cost several thousand dollars and then have a minimum of $1,000 monthly to generate traffic for your business.
Show & Sizzle
When TV advertising was king, :30 TV spots cost a lot to produce and ad agencies worked hard to create messages and images reflective of your business to connect with your target to sell you, your brand and your message. Why would websites be any different? If you’re not paying for a website agency to manage your website you’re not going to get business from the site. Traffic-driving activities are handled by trained, skilled computer scientists who know how to make search engines pick your website out of the billions of choices available to Googlers. The key to online success is your content: how it’s written, what’s said and how often it appears.
Websites should be created by advertising agencies with expertise in how to present your message, product, brand or service. If you’re still doing it yourself, you’re directly responsible for your results. How’s that going for you?
Turn your website and its advertising over to the experts. You turn to doctors to care for your health. You pay plumbers to fix your sink. You hire electricians to do what you don’t know how. Just because you can use a computer and write an e-mail doesn’t mean you know how to build a website and make it successfully drive traffic.
Your measure of website success should be in phone calls, orders and your bottom line.
How Many Clients Have You Lost?
You’ll never know how many clients you didn’t get because your first meeting online went poorly. There were no doughnuts and coffee, PowerPoints, introductions or presentations. It was quiet, intense and may have only been a few minutes long. But it happened online and you weren’t even there.
Your prospective client went to your website. They looked around, clicked here, looked there and if the website got your attention, they’re calling you or buying from you now. If they didn’t like what was there, you’re to blame. It’s your website and you are 100% accountable for what’s on your website.
A client no longer comes to your office for the first meeting. You can try, but you can’t stop people from Googling you.
Gone are the days of the big first meeting. You know the one where you introduce your team. You show them your best presentation. They ask questions. You give them answers. You present a spread of food and you’ve planned and prepared and gone through your presentation again and again.
First Introductions Today Are Done Via Google
Your first introduction today is more likely to occur online than in person. If someone gives you a referral you know the first thing that you do is Google that business. You look at their website to gather your information and first impressions.
First Impressions Happen Once
Whatever you put on your website had better be good. It better introduce you. Tell your story. And you’d better be found on the search engines.
It should be easy to navigate. Move quickly and fluidly from page to page. Have no broken links, slow loading pictures or video because those issues and problems online imply that you will provide the same kind of services.
Did Your Website Sell You or Sink You?
When your website tells your story, explains you and your team, your services clearly and with an interesting angle, the prospective client can be impressed. Your website should keep clients intrigued and clicking. Your website needs new content, relevant stories about what’s new in your industry. A good website will sell you.
But if your website has a broken link, a typo, a video that can’t be seen in all devices and browsers or a picture that won’t show up it says that you didn’t pay attention and that you didn’t follow through on the little details. Details matter.
You have to care enough to check a website post, videos and pictures. And that lack of attention to detail speaks volumes about you, your product and services.
Relevant Content and Visuals to Share Your Image
Your website should share advice and insights, your business expertise. It should provide a “why buy:” the reason clients should work with you, buy your product or your service. It’s the first image that most people will get about you.
Your image is everything and it should be shared on your website so that your first meeting is successful and sells your prospect on doing business with you.
Find out what The Marketing Square suggests you do with your website with a consultation online or in-person.
I think video may be more terrifying to people–myself included–than public speaking. But only at first and only if you don’t practice. The first time anyone performs on video is usually a little uncomfortable. But with practice, video can be made great.
The key to success: practice your performance in standing about a foot from the mirror. You’ll hear your voice, learn that inflection changes your message and that if you speak slowly that your message has more impact.
CEOs Work Hard at Making Great Videos
I work with amazing litigators, brilliant doctors and financial gurus, who may not like the idea of being in a video, but if that’s what it takes to get new business, they’re ready to go. They quickly compose themselves and ask what they should talk about. We decide a set, wardrobe and topics and plan for the shoot. It’s that easy.
I could talk about video and why it’s so nerve-wracking, but there’s no need to belabor the issue. Most people don’t like video because it’s forever online. You can take down a YouTube video, try to keep it from being embedded, downloaded or shared, but there’s always a way around everything locked down online. Someone could copy it and watch it again.
There’s a way around all this pent up anxiety: Practice because on the other hand, your video is good, really good and it’s speaking to your target audience in the way that they like to be spoken to, then you can score big online.
A compelling video will drive calls and clicks to your business.
Preparation and Practice in Front of a Mirror
I always outline and research video topics and direction for clients. The content has to be strategic and speak to the needs and interests of the target audience. I ask clients to practicein front of a mirror. To think about what they should say, how they should say it and then, practice again and again until there’s a comfort level.
This is not a fun process the first time around. It’s very uncomfortable. So this tactic I’m suggesting next makes it even more uncomfortable: record yourself on video and audio and listen to how you sound and look at what you do when you’re being shot on video.
This Was Really Uncomfortable
I had to shoot a video segment for ESPN Fight Night that ran on-air during ESPN boxing. I was interviewed and had one minute to explain who I thought was the best fighter of all time. I was asked because I was The Detroit News boxing columnist.
I chose Joe Louis because of what he stood for at the time of his reign in the ring. Joe Louis was fighting for America when he lost in the 12th round to Nazi Germany’s Max Schmeling in June 1936. But in June 1938, Joe Louis won for Americans when he stopped Max Schmeling with a TKO in the first round. It was a personal triumph for Louis and a nation’s victory over Hitler. While I respect many fighters for their skill, no fighter can say that America admired them, the way America respected Joe Louis.
Great story, right? Not the way I told it on air. I blinked through the whole video because they shot the segment in a very small room and the lights were absolutely blinding. Bert Sugar from Ring Magazine shot his segment right after. His segment was fine because he wore his trademark fedora which blocked the lights.
I’d sat ringside for hundreds of fights with sunglasses and eye shades knowing the lights were going to be bright. I didn’t expect the lights to be uncovered but they had never shot these segments before and the small room ruined it for me. One time. I was prepared with shaded glasses next time but didn’t need them.
I shot more Boxing Minutes on ESPN and continued to get writing opportunities after it. I had to use eye drops and asked the videographers to use blinds on the lights. But I practiced and practiced and memorized what I was going to say. I wrote scripts. I timed them and I stood in the mirror rehearsing. I worked with different reporters who had no problem pointing out my faults and laughing when I messed up. But I got through it.
That’s what it takes to go online with a video. You need to be prepared and you need to practice. I can write and outline and research a great piece, but at the end of the day, practice makes perfect.
The Sale is in the Video Sizzle
What on earth will you say in your video debut? You shouldn’t take heed of music video success and try to do a spoof or dancing video. No one wants to hire the dancing attorney or the silly realtor or goofy financial whiz. If you have a strategy and you know your target audience, you won’t have any problem determining topics. You should have content forever. You’re the face behind the business so what do you tell you customers and prospects? Be the expert.
The prospect and client want to know what you know. Prove that you’re the best source, the right product, but please don’t sell or beg for calls. Yuck. Be original and tell your story. Tell them what got you to where you were and why your product or service will work or perform. Most important: make it convincing in your performance.
Don’t Be a Buffoon: Choose Your Background and Set Carefully
If you want the most viewed video on YouTube, I hate to break it to you but you’ll have to shoot a music video. The No. 1 YouTube video of all time is Psy in “Gangham Style” with two billion, 260 million views. All other most viewed YouTube videos according to Wikipedia are music videos. The Gangham Style video is reported to have driven $13.4 million in revenue for South Korea, also according to Wikipedia.
Or you can do a “Charlie Bit My Finger–Again!” viral video. This video is the only non-music video in the top 10, and features a little boy letting his baby brother bite his finger, twice. It’s No. 8 with 812 million views. The best viral videos aren’t staged. They’re impromptu videos shot on camera capturing something incredibly funny or interesting.
The most expensive videos are run during the Super Bowl where airtime is $4.5 million for 30 seconds.
A business owner should be shooting video where they work, where their product is located. If you work online build or pick a set that reflects your level of quality. You are who you say you are online and your appearance speaks volumes. Don’t go crazy trying to build the perfect office. Shoot where you work.
Fun and Games are Over: How Much Does a Video Cost?
How Much is it Costing You Not to Have Video?
The fun and games are over now. Business owners want to know how much video costs to script, direct, shoot, edit, produce and post. And the answer is: what is it costing you NOT to have videos produced? Your competitors are online with video and you should be online with video as well. Stop fighting it and start doing it.
At the end of the day, no one outside of YouTube viral video sensations have the ability to shoot their own video, let alone edit and produce it and post it, code it and share it online.
Work with someone you trust to share your business story so that they can script your video, direct, shoot, edit, post and share. The cost to you will be in time that you take to practice and work to develop targeted content. Happy shooting!
Is My Website SEO Working?
A common question from business owners is how to know if website SEO is working. Generally it’s a question from business owners still wondering whether they should rebuild a dated website instead of relying on sales teams or in-person relationships to get new clients.
Let’s clarify a common misconception first: “Generating New Business Online” means your website is driving people to call you to purchase your services or products.
You don’t have to sell actual products online to get business from a website. In fact, your services may be sold and introduced by your website, your videos and pictures and content. Your website holds the first client meeting.
Your website is the first place people go IF they are considering doing business with you. They need to see who you are, watch to your videos, get an idea of what level of work you will provide them.
So when the phrase comes up “generating new business online” it refers to where your website comes up in a search online so that they read about your business and decide to call you.
If SEO is Working You’ll Get New Business
You’ll know your website SEO is working because you’re getting new business. Your phone should be ringing. You should be getting e-mail from prospective clients. You should be selling more product online.
There’s no mystery to it.
When the SEO works, you’re found online in Google, Yahoo and Bing searches.
That’s it. You shouldn’t be reading data or asking to see traffic reports. You’ll know the SEO is working because you’re getting new business. Period. Don’t let anyone tell you that “you’re getting great traffic.” “You’ll get there.” Although this is true for the first six months of a program.
All you want to know is when the SEO work is going work, right?
When Should SEO Begin “Working” on a Website”
If it’s a new website, brand new, just built, it will take at least 9 months to get regular business from your website. If it’s a rebuilt website or you’re in a non-competitive
category, maybe six months.
Lawyers, that’s not you. You’re in one of the most competitive categories online. You’re also going to pay at least $100 an hour. At 9 months, you should be getting new calls, e-mails and online sales pretty regularly. Unless you’re paying too little for SEO.
If you actually paid that e-mail SPAMMER who gave you a list with 30 “SEO activities” for a low introductory price of $250 and you fell for it. You are throwing money away.
WHY would you respond to a stranger, in another country who you believe will “do your SEO.” Please, stop reading those e-mails and wise up. SPAM the Junk Mail.
Investment in SEO = Website Revenue
Don’t expect miracles for pennies or for hundreds. You’ll be paying thousands to make thousands. SEO is a lot of work, grueling non-stop work. You’ll definitely be paying for it at the very least $100 dollars an hour for at least 30 hours a month from a quality firm.
But let’s say you’re a lawyer paying thousands for SEO every month. It’s month six and you’re starting to get more calls. Nine months you’ll have much more business and after 12 months you’ll get regular traffic and new business regularly.
But you have to maintain the SEO and the tactics have to change regularly.
Make Sure Website is Amazing
Now, if you have an old website that didn’t get updated or changed and you’re paying for SEO, that’s a problem. Your website should always be updated, and rebuilt in WordPress to be sure your website is search engine-friendly. Then, you start the SEO.
Paying for SEO on an old website is like throwing good money away. You’re paying for your website to turn up in search. If people get there and don’t like it, your website is old, dated and boring, then you’re wasting your money. An SEO company should be telling you these things.
You Have to Wait for SEO to Work
If you’ve been paying for SEO for a year and not getting any results it’s time to make a change. But if it’s only been four months, six months, eight months wait it out. SEO takes a long time to kick in. You can’t pay anyone for a rapid rise to the top. And if you have been paying a firm for a year, getting a few calls and way too many traffic reports, there’s a real problem and you need to have someone review the SEO, review the website and review your capabilities.
It could be that one of the three elements is NOT working well and you’ll need to make some changes:
1. SEO firm SEO is/isn’t working on your website
2. Website is strong/weak
3. Business is struggling/performing
It’s always a good idea to have your work, your website and your marketing reviewed by an outside firm. The Marketing Square provides this for prospective clients and can give a marketing recommendation, schedule and estimate. To find out more call or e-mail.
The Marketing Square is a Winter Park, Florida, website and ad agency that provides new website builds but specializes in working with clients to rebuild and refresh existing websites. Most clients have been in business from 15-35+ years and are located in Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, New York and Florida.
10 Tips for Planning an Event
If you’re launching or planning an event you should have answers to these questions:
1. What other events are being held on that date?
2. If it’s outdoors, will weather ruin it?
3. If it’s indoors, will weather affect it?
4. Would you want to go to your event? (in the rain, snow, heat?)
5. Why have an event–who cares and why should anyone attend?
6. Do you have all the Must Haves? (food, entertainment, celebrity, cause, fun)
7. Is there another way to reach your marketing goals?
8. Will an event achieve your goals?
9. Is there an existing event that you could partner with vs. starting a brand new venture?
10. Take your event cause out of the equation and ask: Is your event be memorable, enjoyable and worth attending?
Why Should Anyone Attend Your Event?
Start planning with your “why buy.” Why should anyone buy into attending your event? Great ideas are everywhere and they’re subjective. You always think of your guest or attendee first and constantly ask yourself what they would like and what’s easiest for them? Why should they come to your event? Events can be boring and dull if there isn’t enough food, entertainment and excitement. Events can leave lasting impressions on your capability as a business.
4 Things That Can Ruin Any Event
Event planning is one thing, production and execution is another. If you’ve ever planned an event, you have to be ready for the chaos. You don’t know what may happen and events can be ruined by any one of four things. If you’re planning an event for the first time or for the 20th, or 50th time, you need to consider:
There are costs, venues, food, transportation, parking, catering, timing and a huge list of things costs with every event. Your marketing strategy should ensure that money spent returns on the investment. At the end of the day, events are only valuable if they’re strategic and reach the goals established in the marketing plan for the business, brand or organization.
If you’re throwing a party, have fun. If you’re planning an event, get ready for paying attention to every single detail and troubleshooting for what you can’t control: weather, food, entertainment and problems.
When to Hold Events
Event success starts with timing. When you decide to hold a new event, skip holidays and avoid competition for attendance. December is a highly competitive month to attend an event, let alone start a new one. Holiday parties start at Thanksgiving and go through New Year’s.
Weather Affects All Events
Weather can kill an event and ruin your success. If it rains, no matter where or when you hold an event, it affects attendance. Women don’t enjoy getting high heels, hair, beautiful clothing drenched. This is not sexist: it’s true. If it’s raining, no matter what, your event can be ruined.
Men don’t want to have to wear a tuxedo or formal business attire in the blazing hot sun. Women don’t want to walk or stand in the grass, stones or gravel, dirt or any water, snow or ice if wearing heels of any kind.
If it snows to the point of a blizzard, your event will be ruined. Even your best friends can only drive so far in a foot of snow.
Weather can kill an event in Central Florida in October. Weather will prevent many February events in New York, Wisconsin, Maine, Minnesota and other snowed-in states.
Extreme hot weather can be fantastic for a pool party, golf event, or street party. But if it’s an outdoor fashion show, awards ceremony, business celebration and seating is untented, good luck. No one wants to burn up or get drenched or freeze for fashion, fun or fundraising.
Plan carefully. If it’s freezing cold your event could be a homerun if it’s a wine tasting party at a Wisconsin ski lodge. But if there’s an ice storm and no one can drive what’s your backup plan? Can you arrange a snow date with the venue?
The only way to ensure that an event will go off without weather affecting or ruining it is to hold it during a season and in a venue that’s weather-proof. Rain, heat, snow, cold can make people want to stay home unless there’s a huge reason for them to attend.
What reason would bring event attendees out in any weather? The answer varies by audience.
Better Event Times, Days
If you want people to make time for an event you hold, pick a time that isn’t full of other events so that it can get a lot of attention and attendance. Think always of your target, then decide the event time, date, place.
- Non-holiday days, weekends, seasons
- Best weather season for your city
- Happy Hours
When you’re planning to entertain existing clients, a holiday party is great if they don’t have any other parties that they have to attend on that date.
If you’re planning an event for the general public, trying to raise money or bring awareness for a product, business or service, skip the holiday season. You’ll be competing for time, funds and attendance.
Look at the number of events you are invited to during October, November and December and think about adding your new, unknown event to this list:
- Office holiday parties
- Sports events
- Awards Ceremonies
- New Year’s
Adding another event to the busiest event season of the year is not the key to an annual event’s or even an one-time event success. You can do it, but you’ll have to increase your advertising and awareness, event splash, food, beverage and entertainment budgets. Hope for perfect weather and provide incredible swag in the gift bags.
Why Isn’t My Website Showing Up in Search?
The answer to this frustrating website owner question can only be provided by a website and SEO/SEM expert who can review your website and online activities. There is never one simple answer particularly for older websites and for new websites.
Here are just a few reasons why your website isn’t showing up in search results:
- No new website content
- Competitors do more SEO/SEM than you
- Competitors are using AdWords to appear on top
- Competitor domain is older than yours
- Poorly written or plagiarized content
- Dated website
- Non-responsive or non-mobile-friendly website*
- Website not optimized
- Website is dated and getting passed over by Google
- Website load time slow
- Website errors cause numerous user issues
WordPress 4.1.1 and Responsive Versions
*As of late fall 2014, many website owners, The Marketing Square included, was notified by Google to upgrade WordPress websites to become mobile-compliant. This means that your website, while viewable on all search engines and devices, is not optimized for viewing on mobile devices.
Not sure? Go to your phone and pull up your website in any Google, Yahoo or Bing search. If your website doesn’t say” mobile friendly” in the search results, it’s not responsive (mobile-compliant).
You may be one of the lucky few who can simply update to the latest WordPress version. Or you may be one who is having to rebuild the website in a brand new theme that offers the best new technology over which your website should be viewed.
WordPress Upgrade Google-Driven
Blame Google for this upgrade. Google is responsible for providing billions of the best search results to billions of demanding people. Google has responded to the online demands and leads us kicking and screaming to acquiese to its latest technological functionality. It’s all for the good of the search results.
Now, some clients have the good fortune of knowing who their target audience is and how they’re using their websites. For example, if you know from Google Analytics that your audience is reading your website on an older desktop computer vs. a mobile device and your traffic is not suffering, you may be able to hold on a little bit longer. But eventually, you’ll have to upgrade through a WordPress rebuild too.
The upgrade and updating to a mobile-compliant WordPress theme is just like the forced television upgrade to HD. When Mark Cuban decided that HD was the way to go, the TV industry listened. Thus, you went from ginormous big fat heavy TVs to the now one or two-inch screen. Sucks for you because those old TVs were built to last. They’re dinosaurs, but they didn’t cost what the new smart TVs cost.
Mobile Nation, Mobile World
If you know that your audience is purely mobile, or predominantly using smart phones, tablets and iPads to buy from you, listen to you, reach you, you had better hurry up. You’ll be skipped over by Google who will always put the most responsible search results up top on Page One of Google, or at the top of the search engine results. It’s what Google does: provide the best results for the best user experience.
As of June 2014, Apple had sold 500 million iPhones. As of January 2015, Apple reported selling another 75 million iPhones with the release of the iPhone 6. Maybe Google is responding to the fact that people are searching by phone more than ever? Looks like an opportunity that many businesses will be able to capitalize on through a website upgrade.
No matter why, the WordPress upgrade eventually has to be done. If you built your website prior to 2012, it’s highly likely that your WordPress website theme doesn’t even offer a responsive or mobile version. You’re like many, many millions of other WordPress website owners who thought the build would be a one time only thing.
Wrong. And it’s hard to predict what will come next. While many people say that SEO is dead, that websites are dead, that mobile is the way to go, this simply is a prediction.
Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Versions of WordPress Websites
Should you build an app? If you’re a small business, probably not unless your billings can warrant the need and if your clients need an app to work better with your product and services.
Mobile apps are very problematic because of the cost of building a customized app, and because they need continous updates to remain in sync with the many operating systems they run on.
Apps are not yet universal in appeal to all audiences which is why websites will remain the key marketing property of any business. Sure, websites have to evolve, but they won’t disappear–for a while.
Limits to Apps
Mobile apps are used by mobile devices and they have their limits. They should do 1-5 things really well. But apps can’t do everything. Many apps fail at even the very base ideas for what they promise.
How many times have you downloaded an app that was nothing like it promised? You delete it and search for another, but you know that you’re a bit jaded knowing the time that it takes to download an app and then remove it. Meanwhile, your lunch break ends or your train arrives to its destination or you forget what you were downloading the app for in the first place.
Apps are great and add some fantastic function and capabilities. However, the constant need to update the app with every operating system upgrade for a business owner of an app, can become expensive. Hire your app team carefully.
WordPress Mobile-Compliant Upgrade
For now, consider the marketing investment in mobile-compliant WordPress websites as your alternative to an app. You can see your website across all devices and you may gain some new clients because of it. They’ll have a simpler view and a simpler menu than the non-mobile-friendly WordPress version.
Never ever try to say what a client, prospect or user will not do. Individualism is never more important than today online. No one should be saying outloud…”well my clients don’t do that or use mobile devices.” That’s an archaeic way of thinking and it’s selfish.
You’ll never fully know the narcissistic useage habits of Americans. You can’t. You can hire researchers and everyone interviewed will give different answers. Use is subjective and it’s getting harder and harder to measure or create standards. People can literally disconnect from media and download all their news, music, movies, content etc. and they do it because they don’t want
Back to WordPress updates…
The upgrade is actually a rebuild. A complete rebuild into a brand new theme. If you’re a tried and true, successful business, you do NOT want to change your corporate identity in the upgrade. Your brand is your brand IF it is thriving. HOWEVER, if your business is struggling, the upgrade is the best time to makeover the website and tighten up the brand with new visuals.
You only shake it up if you are not getting enough business right now. If you are an old brand and you are not bringing in business online, change is imperative. An old brand does need new looks if what is there is not working.
This can be as simple as changing colors, while maintaining fonts. You don’t have to and should never scrap it all and start over. Tweak the looks.
So when you’re asking why your website isn’t showing up in search you now have some answers. This is only one or two aspects of what your website may be lacking. There may be very serious issues behind the dashboard. Don’t try to tune up your website alone, please.
If you do delve into your dashboard and see the little WordPress warning: WordPress version 4.1.1 is now available. Update by clicking here:
A Word of Caution
Do NOT update. You are not a webmaster and can crash your website. You may have old plugins destined to fail with the upgrade because the plugins (that provide various website functions such as pop-out video, photo galleries, sliders, calendars, etc.) have not been updated or will not work with the newest version of WordPress.