The SEO Circle of Life

The SEO Circle of Life

The SEO Circle of Life

Once you have your website set up, along with the requisite analytics account to see where your traffic is coming from, you’re ready for the next phase – which is improving what traffic you’re getting.

Understanding search results are a little bit like an iceberg; there is a little bit you see above the surface, but you may not be aware of just how much is underneath, supporting it.

What Exactly Are We Talking About?

Just to clarify our terms, there are two general types of search results that bring people to your website.

Paid SEO (Search Engine Optimization)  is search that brings website visitors in through paid ads – the most commonly known are Google Ad Words. We have a partner that specializes in this that we utilize for clients who want to make the most of their marketing budget that they’ve earmarked for paid advertising, so I won’t spend too much time talking about that, since it’s something that’s often best outsourced to someone who spends lots of time staying on top of the latest Google guidelines and best practices for that arena.

Instead, I’ll focus on Organic SEO, which is, in my humble opinion, the best kind. It utilizes your website blog page, with optimized content for both your desired audience and the search engine databases. Search keywords are words and phrases that people are typing into an online search engine, and you want those keywords on your website – so that your company is the answer that pops up when those potential clients search for them.

I refer to optimized content as “The Circle of Life”; everything starts with your website.  Once you have blog posts on your site, you can distribute them through email campaigns and social media (“Click the link to read more!”), and then you draw readers back to your site. The longer potential customers stay on your site–engaging with a chat window, or reading blog posts that link to other blog posts or contain calls to action–the more likely they are going to be to reach out and do business.

Just like with visual design, the focus of content generation is the potential customer. Who are you writing to? What’s going to move the needle with them? What problems are they looking to solve, and how can you help? In addition to keywords, a content creator develops themes and a plan to address potential customer needs…and your net gets widened. You don’t have to set the world on fire; you can do as many as you like, but 2-4 posts a month is sufficient to get a good content library going.

Organic SEO content on your website in the form of optimized blog posts is like a long-term savings account. You may think that the little deposits (in the form of monthly blog posts) don’t add up or generate very many new prospect leads at first, but they will over time…and they’ll pay interest in the form of a broadened offering of content to potential customers.

As with most things of value in a business, there are no magic formulas, hacks or shortcuts. You have to put in the work, faithfully over time. A executed content plan is the best long-term solution to growing your business online. If you could use some help to formulate a game plan for your business, shoot us a message in our chat.

Creative Sales Ideas to Grow Your Business

Creative Sales Ideas to Grow Your Business

Creative Sales Ideas to Grow Your Business

Our focus is typically towards online marketing strategy, but there are other facets that can’t be ignored when looking at how to grow your business. How do you think strategically about your sales? First, you want to define who you’re targeting. Who is your target customer? Where are they? Try to empathize; put yourself in their world. Don’t stop at thinking in terms of, “A business owner with ___ sized company”, with a certain cap, this many employees, this industry, this region…those things are helpful and they’re a good place to start, but the next level of strategizing for sales is truly entering their world.

 

Empathize.

Think about their day to day experience. If it’s a large company, they’ll have several roles; they’ll be busy. They’ll be looking for a certain type of customer or company to partner with, and you want to flesh that out to understand if it’s a good fit for both of you. At Day Creative, we’re looking for owners of companies who are still doing everything from HR management to day to day operations. They’ve reached a growth point where it feels overwhelming to do their own advertising and they’re ready to branch out and partner with a company that can fit into the plan. They want more leads, they want more sales, they want to get better at closing on leads, and they’re open to partnering and outsourcing some of this, but they’re wondering how to find the right people. We’re perfectly poised to take the marketing burden off of them and be a good partner because we’ve done the groundwork and evaluated their needs, and grown our model to provide solutions. If they grow, we grow–we get in the door by providing value and stay involved by continuing to do so. 

 

Educate.

You can learn the pain points of your target customer, but you also have to know how to speak their language. Find out where they are, who they are..and what will sound awesome to them. What’s in it for them, if they work with you? Not “Here’s how awesome we are and all the awesome things we offer”, but “Here’s how working with our awesomeness makes your life easier, better, etc.” There’s a two-way education taking place; you learn about their process in enough depth to provide deep solutions, and you educate them about you.

 

Explore.

Once you have an idea of who you’re targeting and what’s going to move the needle with them, you ask, “Where are they?” and what’s the best use of your time? It may not be worth it for you to drive around town and find people one business at a time to cold call…the thought is, “Are there strategic places where you can get in front of a whole bunch of new prospects, potential partners, all at once?”

There are professional associations–like home builders associations, financial planner associations, etc.–show up to events. Provide lunch, give a talk, set up at one of their trade shows…find the ways you get in front of them. Sometimes associations have committees; you may be able to contribute to the success of these associations which would tell a prospective customer that you understand their industry. (You need to actually understand the industry in order to do this, obviously. See “Educate”, above.) Having conversations about their world, their concerns, is key in demonstrating value. 

At Day Creative we prefer to frame ourselves as “trusted advisors”. When you work business to business, as we do, you look at the relationships any business owner has, and trusts as potential sources. His banker, his insurance agent, his attorney, his HR company…could you build relationships with those ancillary connections to find clients that have problems you can solve? Build trusted relationships across a spectrum of “Gatekeepers”. Business coaches, incubators, lenders…how do you get in with them? Anything that serves the function of qualifying leads for you will work. Whatever keeps you from relying on going door to door–those sort of interactions have their place, but you need to focus energy and attention on what gets you qualified leads that can benefit from your service. By the time it gets to you there’s someone who is actively looking for what your business does.

 

Extend.

An unexpected source of sales for us has been…other companies in our industry. It’s worked well for us, as a media/marketing company, to extend offers to other companies, either to support their efforts when they need extra help or take on contract work if there’s overload. If your industry is similar, consider abandoning the cutthroat mentality and look to other businesses and say, “Hey, if you need someone to step in, either behind the scenes or as an option when you can’t help someone, keep us in mind.” Doesn’t work in every industry, but it’s likely that there’s more openness to that model than you realize. You can also find companies in your industry that may be lacking where you’re strong; maybe they provide service or maintenance, and you provide sales, or actual strategy. Do they install a product you service? Maybe you specialize in someone that’s of less priority to a competitor and you can help each other out by partnering and increasing each other’s sales.

However you do it, developing strategy for your sales is key to continued success.

So You Have a New Website… Now What? 4 Steps for Traffic Success

So You Have a New Website… Now What? 4 Steps for Traffic Success

So You Have a New Website… Now What? 4 Steps for Traffic Success

Investing in a new website or an overhaul of your old website is a significant undertaking. Once you’ve taken the plunge and gotten through all the decisions about appearance and content, you might think the shift is over, but the truth is, getting your new website constructed is just the first step in utilizing it to its greatest capacity.

Many people think that once you have a new site the leads just start rolling in. But you have to remember that just like in the physical world, you have to let people know your address in the digital realm, too, if you want visitors. They won’t just magically show up.

 

Step 1: Get Ready to Analyze

 

Google Analytics accounts are free to set up, and a little bit of research will help you understand how they can explain your site’s traffic to you once it starts. If your site was built by an agency like DayCreative, it’s likely they offer that service along with your design. An analytics account helps you see where your traffic comes from, and will assist with tracking new add ons as you develop them. Information from Google Analytics will help you develop your marketing strategy and drive future decisions once you begin to get a good amount of data – like how did they get to your website (search, social media, other website), what pages did they look at, what city do they live in, etc. Knowing that data can be very valuable in how you grow your business. 

 

Step 2: Tell Them You’re There

 

Once you’ve got Analytics in place, you also want to set up a Google Search Console account–another free service with Google, that tells Google’s web crawlers that this new website exists, so that they can index it to show up in Google searches. You submit a site map of your website, select geographic areas and demographics to target, and you can also set up reports to be emailed to you and choose the frequency. (Daily, weekly monthly.) It also suggests keywords to use, so that people searching for your services or products can find you; these can be incorporated into your blog posts (if you have them), social media, etc.

 

Step 3: Be Available (With a Chat Bot)

 

Another thing we highly recommend is employing a chat bot for customer interaction when you do get traffic on your website. You’ve probably interacted with a chat bot, yourself; a window pops up when you land on a site, asking, “How can we help?” and you type in your question, receiving a quick response. No filling out information in a contact form, no being taken to a third party site; the immediacy of a chat bot is the height of quick customer response. We’ve seen 4 to 5 times the increase in lead engagement for our clients with chat bot use, and that’s not something you want to ignore if client/customer engagement is an important part of your business. Once you’ve gotten the traffic on your site, you have to think about how to garner their interaction. Contact forms are good, having your info available is great, but a chat bot takes the ease of contact to the next level. It’s low effort for the customer, and it doesn’t have to be difficult for you, either; DayCreative uses Drift which utilizes a phone app and administrators can get notifications and respond through their phones. (Other services are available that have a number of use capabilities like Facebook Messenger and Intercom.)

 

Step 4: Create Compelling Content

 

Lastly…how do you get traffic to the website? There are a number of ways, but they all involve the creation of content that follows a strategy. Whether it’s as small as Tweets and Instagram posts, or as vibrant as regular blog posts, ebooks, or white papers, you need to have a content strategy and a production calendar that is consistent and compelling to your customer base. This is where search ‘keywords’ come in handy (what users type in google search to have your site appear); the organic traffic you can get from good content is significant, and social media engagement may be hard to develop initially, but it’s a sound long term investment. 

If it seems overwhelming, you can always engage an agency like DayCreative for either guidance or managed services each month. We’ve done this for years, but we also believe in making the process understandable and trackable so that you can see the return on your investment.

To sum it all up, getting a website is an important step in building your digital strategy…but it’s only the beginning. You have to put thought and effort into garnering traffic and cultivating leads.

 

Strategic Thinking for Finding A Client Base

Strategic Thinking for Finding A Client Base

Best Practices for Finding a Client Base

Every business is built on relationships. No matter how much money you bring in, or the number of customers you have, it all boils down to the relationships you have with your customers. If customers like you, know you, and trust you, that will go much farther than any marketing investment you could make. But to do that, you first have to get out there and meet people. So how do you do that? Here are some methods we have found effective:

Know Your Customer

This seems like a “no duh” statement, but it is the cornerstone of your business plan. Pin pointing your target customers is the first step for any new business, but you also need to consider where they are as well, as this will allow you to wisely use your marketing budget to focus on a specific region, rather than blindly casting a wide net.

Consider Where There Are Large Groups of Potential Clients

Remember, networking and relationships are going to be the best way to grow your client base. Some options here would be to join a professional trade association or joining some subscription lists that provide you with access to a pool of potential customers. Trade associations are a great option, as they not only put your name in the same arena as established and trusted businesses, but will allow you to build relationships with fellow business owners in your field and learn from them.

Joining a Business District Association

This is something that we here at DayCreative have found to be very beneficial to growing our business and getting our name out there. Anywhere you have a business district, it’s likely that they’ll have a district association of businesses as well. By joining one, you’ll be able to attend monthly meetings and meet both prospective customers and fellow allies in your business arena, as well as make good use of their databases.

Joining the Chamber of Commerce

This is a cost-effective way to entering into basic networking. Most commerce meetings are focused around networking and letting business owners and hopeful start-ups engage with one another and form relationships. You’ll also be able to attend various luncheons and ribbon cuttings, allowing you face-time with people you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to.

Attending a Trade Show

Lastly, if you’re a business owner that has been established for a while, or are in a market that has a more national scale, it’s not a bad idea to look into purchasing a booth at a trade show. While this is more of a financial investment than the other options above, the scale is much wider and you have a much more focused group of potential customers coming to you, rather than going to them.

Summing It Up

Again, this is not the end-all, be-all list of options, but they are different strategies that we have found to be very helpful when you’re starting out with a limited budget. Getting face-time with potential clients and established business owners takes time and you may not see results right away, but the payoff is well worth it, as you will build a reputation for yourself and your business that will be seen and recognized by others.

Strategic Thinking for Finding A Client Base

Marketing on a Tight Budget

How should I best spend my marketing budget?

A question that’s on most business owners’ minds when they first launch their business is “how do I best spend my money? What do I invest in?” Because when you’re just starting out, you don’t have a lot of money for marketing and you have so many other expenses.

We wanted to share our insights on this topic and provide you with our suggestions on how to best spend your marketing budget (we use $1,000 as an example here).

STEP 1

Logo/Business Cards (Est. Cost: $250).  Even if it’s a simple and cheap logo you get online, you need a logo so that you can start marketing your new business. While we would never recommend this for the long term, if you only have $1,000 to spend, you have to go cheap. Just make sure it is different from your competitors and you get the final files in both vector and raster formats (.pdf and .jpg). From there, pick up some business cards to give to your customer leads. Depending on your industry and sales plan, 1,000 cards should last between 6 months to a year.

STEP 2

Website/Domain (Est. Cost: $400).  Once your logo is created, you’ll want to build on that by creating an online presence. Securing a domain not only is the first step towards getting a website up and running, but it also allows you to send emails from a business account, rather than your personal Gmail account, making your business seem more professional. By getting a WordPress or SquareSpace account, you can set up a website that will allow you to present your business to online customers for a small monthly or annual fee without any up front costs. But of course, you have to do the heavy lifting of providing images and copy for the web pages yourself (unless you can find a local writer and photographer who is willing to do it for you for cheap. Just do your homework).

STEP 3

Set up a Facebook page (Est Cost: $0).  This one is easy, as it requires no money! By regularly posting on your account with links pointing back to your website, you can boost your web traffic. In thinking about what to post on your page, try to think of what your customers are looking for and distill your company’s solutions to their needs in quick sound bites. How can you be valuable?

STEP 4

Run Facebook or Google ads (Est Cost: $350).  With the remainder of your budget, we recommend some small investments in online marketing. Boosting posts on Facebook and/or setting up a GoogleAds campaign is very cost effective and can be one of the easiest ways to get some increased visibility for your brand in its early stages. If possible, invest as much of your $1,000 in Boosted Facebook posts. It’s going to be the best bang for your buck (assuming that your target customers are on Facebook). If you’re not sure where to start with boosted posts or Google ads, a simple Google search on the topic can yield a lot of information to get you up to speed.

Final Thoughts

Of course, every business and industry is different, so this approach might not make sense for your business. But, by far, the best thing you can do is know your customer, know your customer, know your customer. The better you can enter their world, the better you can find new customers like them and speak their language….which gives you the best chance to earn their business.

If you have found this blog post helpful, we have assembled a more thorough eBook with even more tips and ideas, which you can download here.

A Look Ahead at December

A Look Ahead at December

Website Functionality Content Series

Next month, we’ll be discussing what makes a website successful.  Our new e-Book, which will be released on Dec. 1, is on website functionality and covers steps you can take to improve both your website and the experience that visitors will have on it.  Each week after that, we’ll be diving into the details of what exactly website functionality means and practical tips you can use for your website.  Here’s a sneak peek:

  • December 5th: Converting Leads into Clients
  • December 12th: Intro to Google Analytics
  • December 19th: SEO and Website Functionality
  • December 26th: Best Practices for Website Functionality

If you’re already on our mailing list, you’ll automatically receive your copy of the e-book when it’s released, as well as get notifications when each of the blogs go live.  If not, click the link below to get signed up!

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