What is Native Advertising and Why Is It important for Seattle Social Media?

What is Native Advertising and Why Is It important for Seattle Social Media?

Native advertising is a term that is extremely common in marketing, but if you don’t know what it is, it can be confusing. For Seattle social media marketers, native advertising is a must, because it allows you to market to users, in a way that blends with the content they are coming to see. This applies to Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and pretty much any other social media site, because Native Advertising is essential to marketing on any specific site. We will use Facebook as an example, because it’s the most popular social platform, but you can apply the following to any website, social media platform, or app. If you have a local Seattle social media manager, you can ask them for more information.


What is Native Advertising?

Native advertising is the process of presenting an advertisement as native content, or content that blends in with the content that people are coming onto the site to see. Native content is valuable, because it allows users to see your brand as a person, as informative, or as something valuable, rather than simply as an ad. This is complex, difficult, and often doesn’t seem like advertising, which is the point, because it boosts brand awareness and increases brand trust, which boosts sales when you do post an actual ad.

Examples of Native Ads

Native ads are those that look like something a person would post. They are interesting, informative, valuable, funny, or otherwise something that people want to see. Dove’s Sketch Beautiful Video is one example. It fits into Facebook’s videos, is sharable, moving, and entertaining. It’s also a very strong emotional advertisement for Dove, and raised brand awareness considerably. Other examples include Mountain Dew sharing photos and stories about the sports teams and skaters they support, who are usually doing the advertising for Mountain Dew themselves, by holding the bottles and cans. This sort of advertisement requires thought, planning, and an understanding of your brand and demographics because instead of just posting about your product, you have to post about the things that your demographic do, enjoy, and like.

Facebook Sponsored Stories – Facebook sponsored posts allow you to use content that your fans have already vetted and shown that they like as a native ad. When you have posted content that is performing well, you can boost the post, allowing more than the standard 3-5% who would otherwise see it, to considerably more people. This allows you to show the content to more people, which boosts your Edge Rank, so that future posts, and ads, are seen by more people. When the content stops performing, you can simply stop paying for promotion. Why would you pay for promotion? It’s the same concept as using a TV or radio ad, except instead of hoping people see, hear, or listen to it, you know when people engage, and it’s for pennies on the dollar compared to the cost of traditional ads.

Native advertising is extremely valuable, especially for small and medium sized businesses who need to be social, interactive, and personable to make sales. The best plan is to focus about 90% of your social media efforts on driving engagement, brand awareness, and interest, rather than sales, because you need that to make sales, and native ads will do it for you.

If you want to know more about native advertising on social media, contact Rory Martin, a local Seattle social media management company.


Is Your SEO Policy Helping Your Sales? – Seattle Search Engine Optimization

SEO is widely touted as one of the best forms of modern digital marketing, largely because you can have unlimited returns on your investment, as most SEO tactics are permanent. Unfortunately, if you hire the wrong company, don’t have the right plan, or approach your SEO the wrong way, you could also be wasting your hard earned money.

These tips from Seattle SEO experts will help you with evaluating and making sure that your SEO is doing you some good.

Tracking Visitors

google analytics

Tracking visitors is relatively easy and there are dozens of free programs which you can use to help. Google analytics is the most respected, because it’s tied in with their ad program. There are many others, all with varying degrees of accuracy, that you can use as well. By tracking visitors, you can see which pages are getting the most hits, how long people stay on each page, and where they go through your site. This allows you to see whether or not your SEO is working. For example, if you’re using descriptive content to sell items and you’re getting 20,000 hits on a page a month, but most are just reading it and leaving, then you’re going to want to rething your policy.

Tracking Sales

Whether or not the people visiting your website are buying anything is a huge question, and luckily, there are plenty of programs to track it. Even Google allows you to set up goals, which include getting customers to a checkout page. However, you do have to be careful, and make sure you’re using the ‘thank you for purchasing’ page after checkout, to make sure that you’re not counting abandoned shopping carts in your revenue.

Recognizing Where Traffic is Coming From

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to see where traffic is coming from as it used to be. However, you can still see surges in content based on hits on specific pages, so you can see which pages are getting hits based on your SEO. Using split testing can help you with checking pages to see which keywords perform better, and to see if the pages with SEO get more hits than those without it.

Tracking Long term Conversion


Another consideration is that a lead you produce with a visit now might not turn into a sale for months to come. Programs like KissMetrics allow you to track long-term conversion, so you can see how many people you’re converting over time. This is especially important if you’re using blogs and informative content as part of your SEO strategy. One way to boost this conversion method is to use long tail keywords with specific products, mention your location and street, and be as exact as possible. People who are searching general keywords like “SEO” or “Shoes” are usually just in the research phase. You want specifics, like “SEO and Social Media Management in Seattle” or “Black crocodile ankle boots” if you want customers who are looking to buy. Of course, even then, you might not make immediate conversions.

SEO is extremely complicated and it doesn’t always work. While there is no magic solution, taking the steps to tailor an SEO policy or plan for your specific business and needs, putting up content to attract short term and long term leads, and bring in traffic to boost your sites authority, can all help. If you want to know more, contact Rory Martin to learn more about our local Seattle SEO services.

Things to Keep in Mind When Redesigning Your Website – Seattle Web Development

Building a website and standing out in the busy Internet traffic that makes up much of Seattle’s modern commerce can be tough, especially if you’re a small business. Redesigning it can be even more of a hassle, especially if you’re not entirely sure what you want, or why your first design didn’t work. The following considerations should help you out with what to keep in mind, what to ask your Seattle web development team about, and what to consider during the process.


Who’s Doing the Research?

Depending on your web development team, research and planning may be up to you, or up to them. You usually want them to handle it, because unlike you, they are professionals. Market research, keyword research, continuity mapping, demographics, brand image. You have to know everything, and hopefully before you plan your website.

Backend SEO

If you’re doing a redesign, then now is the perfect time to handle your backend SEO. Everything from your site structure to your URL’s affects your SEO. Talk with your web developer about items like website structure, and research to see what the normal route through your website is (pages people visit). You also want responsive or adaptive design.

If you decide you need a mobile site, then you have to make sure you have canonical URLs, which also have to be set up. Redirects and canonical URL’s are something that will help with your SEO, because it ensures that even if you have a mobile website and a normal website, search engines see visitors from both as on the same page. It also reduces the risk of being flagged for duplicate content. Speed, page load times, 508 and W3C compliance, and if you have an international website, EU Cookie Law, all have to be considered as well.


Too many websites are unnecessarily complicated, making it difficult for users to get around. If you’re trying to sell something, whether that be products or a pitch to visit your brick and mortar business, poor navigation can be detrimental to your pitch. If people can’t find what they need in 30 seconds or less, they will usually leave your site. You want to make navigation and menus as simple and as easy as possible to use.


Content is the backbone of the web, so it’s important to consider it when creating your website. Considerations include photo size, how much web content you want per page, whether or not you’re publishing a blog, and other types of media such as whitepapers, video, eBooks, and for-purchase content. All of these considerations are important to keep in mind when designing your website because the website usually has to be designed around them.


You wouldn’t create a recipe and make it for guests without ever once trying it, so try not to do it with your website. You want to hire a web developer that handles testing, or allows you to come up with a testing team for quality assurance. This is especially important if you’re promoting your website launch to your regular customers, so that you know everything works. You also want feedback before you launch, so you can make changes to perfect your site.

There are a lot of things to keep in mind before you redesign your website, but if you have a good developer, you should be able to get most or all of it from them. Contact Rory Martin to learn more, or to discuss your website needs.

Responsive Web Design vs. a Mobile App – Seattle Web Developers Discuss

Mobile is becoming more and more important as users switch from clunky laptops and desktop PC’s to their lightweight, mobile tablets and phones. While many homes still incorporate a PC, more than 27% of the population no longer owns a computer, and instead relies almost solely on their mobile device to access the web and all that comes with it. With some 54% of millennials admitting to using mobile to compare rates and shop when in physical stores, mobile access can make or break a sale.

But, you get it, you need mobile. We don’t have to convince you of that. What you do have to consider is whether you need a mobile app or a responsive web design. This decision is a bit more complicated, because it requires understanding your complex market and user database.

What’s the Difference between an App and Responsive Web Design?


One of the most frequent questions we get about web design is ‘what’s the difference?’. In simple terms, a responsive web design allows your website to automatically resize based on the browser and screen size of the visitor. It can be accessed via any browser, so long as the user has Internet. A mobile app must be downloaded from the app store.

Pros and Cons of a Mobile App

A mobile app is a great way to engage with consumers and tell them that they are important enough to you that you made them an app. If used properly, you can offer a webshop, sales, discounts, consumer rewards programs like points, notifications, and much more through an app.  Apps are fast, capable of more functionality than websites, and can incorporate smartphone features (like GPS to offer real time directions to your store). They’re also popular, in 2014, consumers spent 27% of their time with mobile brands using apps. If you’re trying to boost your search ranking, another consideration is that app pages do not show up in search. While versatile, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive to deploy, they have one major flaw. The consumer has to be committed enough to your business that they are willing to download an app to clog up their probably already full mobile phone with your app. Unless you are one of their favorite stores or restaurants, you probably won’t be able to earn this kind of commitment.

Pros of Responsive Web Design

Responsive design is easy to integrate into almost any website, boosts your search engine optimization, and allows any casual visitor to quickly come along and check out your website. This makes responsive web design convenient, relatively easy to deploy, and easy for anyone to use. While it’s not going to push as many sales as an app, it does allow new customers to research your products, check your website from their mobile device, and get in and out quickly without being annoyed by a desktop layout website. Responsive design is not a cure-all, and it will require maintenance, but it’s a much more versatile solution than a mobile app.

Which Is Right For You?

For most small businesses with no strong consumer base, the answer is definitely responsive web design. However, for almost everyone else, the answer is both. Responsive web design allows casual visitors to easily check out your website and your products, price or quality compare, and then go back to whatever they were doing. An app requires a lot more commitment, which most new customers just aren’t willing to make. Of course, your long-term customers who shop with you regularly are almost sure to appreciate an app, especially if you use it to offer updates, sales, notifications of deals, and even special user discounts. Responsive web design is pretty much a must-have for everyone, so even if you have an app, you should consider responsive design. If you can’t afford both, focus on the web design first, and budget for the app later.

Want more local Seattle web design tips? Follow our blog. Or, contact Rory Martin for a quote on responsive design for your business.

What’s Involved in Backend Optimization? Seattle SEO Help

If you’re hiring a Seattle SEO company to help you with your search engine optimization, then you’ll probably come across a few new terms. If your SEO company is any good, then one of those terms should be backend optimization. While it is important that your SEO service offer this type of optimization, it’s also important that you understand what is included, so that you can decide if you want to pay for it or do it yourself, and so you can understand what it is you’re paying for. We’ll go over the basics here, but services may vary slightly from company to company, so be sure to ask your company for an exact list of services provided if you aren’t sure.

What is Backend Optimization?


Backend optimization involves the back end of your website including site structure, html, meta data, site tags, and your server. By optimizing your website speed descriptions, pages, and architecture for search, you not only conform to best practices for coming up in search, but also ensure that search engines are able to find you and as many of your pages as possible.

Site Hierarchy

Site hierarchy or architecture is important for your SEO because if it’s not organized, search bots won’t be able to find all of your pages, and therefore your pages will not come up in search. Best practice involves creating a quality sitemap, ensuring that all of your pages are linked into a category or menu, and making it easy to find pages from natural links within the site. This ensures that search bots like Google’s bots can follow your pages and track natural links to new pages, and add them to search results.

Meta Data

Meta data is easy to abuse, so it is important that you approach it with care. By optimizing your site keywords, descriptions, photo descriptions, and information, you can help your website come up in searches for relevant content. Of course, over-use of meta tags and data is usually flagged as spam by large search engines like Google, so you don’t want to go overboard.


Your site speed, URL history, the quality and location of the server you are on, and various elements of your pages, such as how many links you have per page and how many ads you have on the page all affect your on-site SEO. It is important that you optimize this so that you come up in search. For example, Google prefers to rank websites which load in 3 seconds or less, as most mobile users will click the back button if the site isn’t loaded in that time. In addition, having too many ads on the first screen of your page (known as the fold) can count against you and make your site look spammy. Other issues, like bottlenecks in your server, php issues, and even too many incoming or outgoing links can affect your website’s SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).

Backend SEO handles all of these features, and many more. It’s called backend, because usually, the work is done on the technical side of your page, rather than on visible content and photos. While you won’t notice it as much as you will notice optimizing your text for keywords, it can be considerably more valuable to your site.

Want to learn more about backend SEO? Contact Rory Martin to find out what we can do for you.

Is A Seattle Social Media Management Company a Good Investment For You?

If you’re thinking about hiring a social media manager or management company, there are more than a few things to consider. While social media marketing can be hugely beneficial to most businesses, especially in Seattle, where millennials and a variety of tech companies make new tech even more popular, a social media management company might not be right for you. We’ll cover the options, alternatives, and different types of management, so you can decide if hiring a Seattle social media management company is right for you.

social platforms

What Are Your Options for Social Media Management

There are three main options for social media management in the Seattle area. The first is managing your social media account yourself, or having a friend or family member do it for you. This can be cost effective, but time consuming, and might not be as professional as you might like. The second option is hiring a professional social media management company to take the workload for you. This allows you to take care of professional social media management without investing in a full time employee. A full time in-house social media manager is the most expensive, but allows you to get in-depth social media management and marketing from a single person, who is only doing one thing.

When Is the Social Media Management Company the Best Option?

Although it does depend on the size of your business, a social media management company is probably one of your best options. Unless you have a very large business, you probably don’t have the budget or the workload for a full time manager, you probably also don’t have the time to manage a social media marketing program yourself, and most people don’t have the expertise to do so successfully. In either of these cases, a social media management company is your best option. Companies are also great for bringing in for short term work, such as campaigns for a product release.

Are Social Media Managers Worth the Money?

Depending on your budget, your social media manager, and your products, a social media manager may or may not be the best fit for your business. For this reason, it is always a good idea to evaluate your products, consider whether or not they will sell via social media, and then ask questions. Most local Seattle social media management companies can help you with creating a plan designed to sell your products and generate ROI, but sometimes, you also aim for long-term ROI, where you create a return on investment over time, by building a loyal customer base first. A good social media manager will discuss your goals with you beforehand, and tell you whether or not they are achievable.
If you’re curious about whether a social media management company is right for your business, consider contacting Rory Martin to ask about our products and services, or check out our whitepapers to see how we’ve helped local Seattle businesses make money.

Planning Your Small Business Website For Your Budget – Seattle Web Development Tips

In an ideal world, everyone could get the exact website they wanted, and even a small business website could have custom coding, a unique content management system, built in functions and features including a webshop, contact, or menus, but the truth is, not everyone can afford it. Most Seattle small businesses have a tight budget, which means choosing your features and functions wisely, cutting corners where necessary, and planning for the best results. This does require planning, and a careful discussion with the Seattle web developer you choose, but it does mean that you can get a fully functional website within, or close to, your budget.

Cool quote posted by my friend Erin Shafkind


Seattle Web DesignDecide What You Need

Sitting down to discuss your website needs, wants, and options, and then narrowing them down can help you with keeping costs to a minimum. An easy example is deciding if you need menus, a webshop, or etc., and then discussing the pros and cons of each. If you have a webshop, you won’t necessarily make sales off of it, so it might be a better fit to add to your website later. Planning your features and deciding which you need now and which you can add on later can save you money, but it’s also important to ensure that you’re only getting the features you absolutely need.

Consider Existing Designs

If you want to save money, then considering a pre-built website theme with custom design and custom layout could be the way to go. In fact, this is the best option for many small businesses, because it can cut hundreds of hours of developer work off of your bill. While a custom design will still give your website the best chance of standing out, it’s not 100% necessary, especially if you’re aiming at a small local audience of people who live in the Seattle, or your suburb, area. For example, if you choose to go with a Joomla website, you can save a lot of time developing a custom backend to your site, and still get a completely unique design.

Plan For the Longest Launch Time Possible

One consideration is that if you need rushed work, you will usually be charged for it. Ask your developer what a reasonable time to launch is, and then go with that rather than trying to get your website up by a specific time. This also ensures that developers have the time they need to do everything correctly, so that your website is as functional as possible.

Combine Extra Services

Some Seattle web development companies have services for promoting your website, integrating your digital marketing or social media, and so on. These might seem like added expenses, but chances are, if you’re launching on the web,, you need them. Consider comparing costs with hiring someone separately to see how much you will save, and then plan those costs into your budget. After all, your website won’t make a return on profit if you aren’t marketing it properly.

Hiring a Seattle web development team to build your website can be challenging, but don’t go into it without asking questions. Ask for quotes, get information, and make sure you know everything before you make the hire to ensure that you know what you’re getting into. You can start by requesting more information from us here.

7 Steps to a Great Seattle Website

Deciding to launch a website, or to redesign your existing one, can be a big step, especially if you have to start from the ground up. While costs vary, you have to budget a few thousand dollars for a good Seattle web developer, so it’s important that you know what you want, and how to get there. Working with your designer, ensuring that they know what they are doing, and ensuring that they know what you want are all crucial elements of getting a site you will love. The following 7 steps will help you with getting there.

all service

1. Discovery, Research, and Strategy

The first step of building any website is planning and research. One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make is putting building their website quickly ahead of any sort of brand research or targeting. Unfortunately, this is very much the wrong way to go. Take the time to do brand analysis, market targeting, and strategy based on that analysis, or choose a web developer who will do it for you. Communication strategy, primary audiences, and perception goals can all drastically change how your website should look.

2. Solid Architecture

You might not know what site architecture is, and that’s okay, your Seattle web designer will. What you need is to plan in solid site architecture, including backend, and great copywriting. This means search optimized, clear calls to action, and enough user oriented design that readers are guided clearly down the page to wherever you want them to go.

3. Design

Your actual web design is incredibly important because it affects your brand image and perception. A busy, flashy website might seem tempting, but studies show that simplicity and clean website design is much more effective. You’ll also have to consider your target audience in the design. For example, if you sell hearing aids or glasses, you’ll want large, clear text that’s easy to read for those with sight problems. The size and number of images, site design, menus, colors, and impression are also important. Generally, if you can go on the page and not find what you’re looking for in three seconds, it’s probably too busy.

4. Development

Whether you’re going with an existing content management system or want a custom one, you need great web development. Your development team should be able to build an interface that allows you to achieve anything you want (such as flash, interactive menus, etc.), but also that resizes based on phones and browsers, displays properly on different browsers, and allows you full functionality.

5. Stage 2 of Development and Design

You’re probably going to want a few adjustments to the initial design and development, so that should be considered as part of the process. Make sure you plan in going over the website and making changes, but make sure that you outline what you want, and why you want it as clearly as possible, so that your developer knows what to do.

6. Launch

Your website launch is important, and if you plan it correctly, you should already have a fair amount of hype for your site before it goes live. Some Seattle web developers will help you with marketing your site before it goes live, but make sure that you’ve budgeted for the extra cost if so.

7. Maintenance

If you want updates, new features, new designs, or just to ensure continued functionality, you will need the occasional update. While you don’t have to keep your web developer on the payroll, you should ensure that they’re willing to do updates from time to time, or even schedule regular maintenance to ensure that everything is going as it should be.

Hiring a Seattle web developer is a big step, but you do want to make sure that they offer help through every step, including planning, brand analysis, strategy, and maintenance after launch.

5 Search Principles for Your Seattle SEO Strategy

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is one of the most popular and most recognized forms of internet marketing other than PCP, but many businesses fail to utilize it correctly. While SEO requires a lot of expertise to fully master, you can get by with the basics, so long as you utilize them correctly. If you’re just getting started with your SEO campaign, you should consider hiring a Seattle SEO company to help you with the strategy and planning, but the following five principles will get you started.


Everyone knows that keywords are important for SEO, and that couldn’t be more true, especially if you’re trying to do localized Seattle targeting. Long tail keywords, mentioning your city, neighborhood, and even street can all help you come up in specific searches for local businesses, which is highly beneficial for small and medium businesses. The most important thing to do is research your keywords, make sure you integrate them without being spammy, and use them as naturally as possible.

Quality Content

Several search engines including Google and Yahoo now value quality, informative content as part of their search algorithm. They judge this by how well your content answers questions, as well as how long people stay on the page, whether or not they backspace and visit another page, and so on. Essentially, it is in your best interest to provide quality content that keeps visitors on your page for as long as possible.

Meta Data

Some meta data has been overused and used for spam, so you do want to be careful with it. However, meta descriptions and meta headers have value not only in that Google sees them, but also in that searchers see them. When you have a header that is too long for search, visitors see a cut off snippet of it in search. When you don’t have a meta description, they see the opening lines of your content. Creating an informative summary of your content, and a short, catchy title will help with boosting clicks. You also want both to summarize what your content is about, and use keywords for Google.


Backlinks are another SEO technique that has been spammed and must, therefore, be approached with caution, but it’s still one of the most valuable tactics you can utilize for long-term results. Search engines use backlinks, or links from one site to another, as votes to see how important the website is. Therefore, the more of them you have, the better your site will rank in search. However, links have to add value, be natural, and hopefully come from websites that have their own influence and ranking.

Image Tags

Image tags affect your search ranking by allowing images to come up in search, telling Google that you have relevant images in your post, and allowing users to find you based on image searches. This can be especially valuable if you have products, because you can tag them with appropriate short and long-term keywords, write a description that tells searchers what it is, and get traffic based on users looking for inspiration on the product you are selling.

There are over 200 different SEO principles and considerations, and you have to consider them all if you want to rank a larger business in the long-term. A Seattle SEO company can help with ensuring that you are on the right track by performing an audit, helping with your SEO strategy, and helping with implementation if you need it. To learn more, contact Rory Martin for details.

Using Social Media to Reach Millennials – Seattle Social Media Tips

Millennials may be regarded as the ‘future’ of the Seattle market, but research and statistics show that they already make up a great deal in terms of purchase power and influence. Nationwide, millennials have some $200 billion in purchasing power, which is nothing to ignore. More importantly, while they’re difficult to reach through traditional marketing venues like ads, generation Y is extremely active on social media, and open to brands who want to engage. If you’re a Seattle business, here’s what local Seattle social media experts have to say about connecting with millennials via your pages.

rm feature

Be Authentic

Studies by the Boston Consulting Group show that most millennials value authenticity over any pitch or marketing gimmick. Unlike generation X, millennials want to see brands who consistently stick to the same ethics, and preferably who’s morals and behaviors mirror their own beliefs. While not always possible, being authentic is essential

Solve Problems

It’s not enough to share your products or even just funny articles and photos on your social media, you also have to solve problems. Whether that’s campaigning for social justice, helping with problems that millennials face, offering tips and advice, or a combination of all three is up to you. Millennials respond to social media that offers real value, interact more, drive up engagement, and then remember you more when they need something. This shows most often when you engage with and help consumers solve problems with your own products or services, and then watch as they turn into customers.

Don’t Share Content to Be Viral

No content is born viral. Sharing things with catchy titles but poor content is no longer enough to guarantee views, money, or sales. Instead, make sure that everything you share is relevant, interesting, or useful. If it’s not one of those things, it shouldn’t matter how shareable it is.

Customer Support

A study interviewing over 1,000 millennials showed that one of the things they value most about a business is availability and quality customer support. This means that not only do you have to be highly responsive (as in, the faster your reply to messages, the better), you also have to be polite, professional, and informative. Even if consumers aren’t exactly helpful or polite, you should always be as professional as possible when replying to them. You’ll also want to set aside at least two or three times during the day to respond to social media questions, or download apps for your social pages and try replying as quickly as possible during your day. Because many social media patrons are researching businesses they are planning to visit, this can benefit you even if you’re a brick and mortar Seattle business.

Personalize and Customize

One on one is the new trend, for both marketing and customer support. Personalizing your responses, making sure that every customer asking something receives individual attention, and giving everyone a good experience is extremely important, especially in today’s age where peer reviews mean more than expert ones. Taking the time to offer a personal experience means that customers will feel more important, even if that personal experience is just you replying to them on their comments on your Google + page.

If you don’t have time to handle the time consuming task of using social media to market to millennials, a Seattle social media company like Rory Martin can take care of the details for you, so you just have to worry about your real life customers.

© Copyright © 2012 Rory Martin Inc.