Seattle Social Media Marketing: How Do Incentive Campaigns Work?

Getting started with social media can be tricky, especially if you’re not entirely sure how a bunch of clicks or ‘likes’ can turn into a profit. That aside, it’s still one of the most popular forms of marketing, so you probably want to use it, or at least understand how it works. Social incentive campaigns can actually drive revenue, and in fact, are a long-standing favorite of Seattle social media marketing teams.

What is an Incentive Campaign

You probably already guessed that an incentive campaign offers the user a reward of some kind, and if so, you would be correct. Incentive programs are schemes that offer users a reward for a specific behavior, and in search, that is virtually invaluable because you can use it to influence a great deal of people, even if you are only targeting a local network.

So How Does it Work?

There are several ways to run an incentive program and not all of them are about direct revenue. So, for example, if you wanted to boost the likes on your Facebook page, you could create an incentive program and offer a 10% discount coupon to each person who shared the status and liked your page. The result is that anyone with access to your business, and interest in your business, might be interested in sharing the post and liking your page. You get new likes, and you get targeted likes from people in your area, interested in your products, meaning that you might be able to convert more of them into a sale with a 10% coupon.

Another form of incentive marketing is purely by inducing sales. So, if you want to boost sales you could offer a “Buy One Get One Half Off” coupon to everyone on your page. Your fans don’t have to ‘do’ anything but go in and make a purchase. And because you aren’t paying for an advertisement, just broadcasting it on social, you don’t necessarily have to invest in your coupon.

How it Benefits You

Even if you are not making a huge profit off of discounted items, you are still helping your business. By boosting sales you are creating hype, reminding people that they need your products, and hopefully getting them to leave a review on your page. The result is that you create customers from a fan-base that might not have previously bought anything. Of course, ideally, you want to make money off of every sale, even if it is discounted, so try not to go too crazy with the coupons.

There are hundreds of ways to use incentive marketing on social media, and it works on nearly every platform. However, you do have to plan carefully, market properly, and make sure that you have the right social fan-base to make something happen with your coupons. Want to know more about how incentive programs can help boost your sales and business? Contact us to talk about your business, and your localized Seattle social media marketing program.

Seattle SEO Talk: How Reviews Factor Into Your Local Search Rank

If you have a business and you sell locally but are not involved with social media, then you could be making a huge mistake. Recent studies show that not only do Facebook and Google pages show up in search results, but that your reviews actually greatly influence your local search ranking algorithm. The entire process works through Facebook and Google using their system of reviews with verified local businesses.

How Does Google Local Work

When you perform a search and you see a list of businesses come up next to a map, that is actually Google Local in action. You’ll probably also see stars next to each of those businesses, and that is Google’s reviews in action. One thing that you will definitely notice is that all of the options on the top are mostly either the most reviewed, or the options with the highest and best reviews.

Facebook is similar, but only shows up as a Facebook page, and does not usually show the reviews or the map in search.

Why It’s Important To You

As a business, you can create a Facebook or Google Local page, garner reviews, and pretty much skyrocket to the top of that search, although Google is easier fo this. Because many businesses do not yet have an active Google Plus page, you actually have an advantage if you get started now, because you have more time to get reviews, and to build a following on the page. Good reviews are actually proven to affect not only your local SEO, but also your click-through rate on those listings.

Getting Reviews

While you can’t guarantee a good review, even from a customer that you go out of your way to please, you can try to offer the best services possible and then ask for a review. Asking is the hard part, because you can’t usually just ask in person. Many short-term sale (such as product sales and restaurants) businesses have the most success with flyers and business cards, while long-term sales (such as automotive) have more success with mailable items that ask for a review after the sale is completed. In either case, be polite, make it as easy as possible. You can ask for Google or Facebook, but most customers will be annoyed if you ask for both. You can ask for reviews for both Google and Facebook, but it is against the terms of service to ask for reviews on Yelp, so try to avoid it, or do it in a way without a link.

Reviews can boost your click through rate, improve your ranking on local search listings, and make new customers more likely to buy from  you, so make sure you ask your customers for them. Just keep in mind that customers who aren’t 100% happy with your services are not obliged to offer a great review.

Want to know more about indirect marketing for you business? Contact Rory Martin today to discuss your options.

Seattle Web Designers Discuss: What Mobile Website Do You Need?

Talking to someone about what you need for your website might be confusing if don’t know an especially lot about web design. Especially with all of the choices and options available. Mobile website? Responsive design? What?

If you want to make your website mobile friendly (and you should since at least 40% of normal traffic is mobile based), then you have to choose one (or several) options. Unfortunately, that’s more than a little difficult if you don’t know the differences. So what are the different ways to go mobile? Keep reading to find out what Seattle web designers have to say on the matter.

A Mobile Website

A mobile website is a secondary website with a different URL (usually m.yourdomain.com) that automatically redirects when it detects that the visitor is not on a browser. This allows the website to automatically adjust to the mobile version. A couple of points to keep in mind are that the result is a completely different website, so you can control everything that mobile users see because you can create entirely different content for mobile. This is great if your main website is complex, or you want to narrow the mobile options down to the absolute basics. If you are familiar with SEO, you may guess that this is bad for SEO in that you have two entirely different websites, one of which is only available for mobile, and ranking does not carry through to the mobile version, however, they do rank extremely well for mobile search. Mobile websites are faster than responsive websites because

Mobile Responsive Design

Mobile Responsive design is completely different from a mobile website in that it uses the same URL, and is in fact, the same website. Responsive design detects the screen size of the user based on the dimensions of the browser and then re-adjusts to that screen size using a set of given parameters. Essentially, your responsive design looks different for each mobile device, because it has been designed separately for each device, and then told to adjust. This is better for users because they don’t have to worry about being redirected to another site, and better for SEO because you are only using one website. Sometimes responsive design is also more difficult for users to navigate because you are essentially just resizing everything for the device.

So which is the best option for you? Most people end up choosing between mobile and responsive design based on their budget, their customer needs, and customer volume. If you have to give customers the best experience possible then mobile web design is faster and more user friendly. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an affordable experience that allows you to easily change your website from one size to another, then responsive is the way to go.

Want to know more about different types of web design or discuss your options? Contact Rory Martin to talk with our professional Seattle web design team about your business on the web.

Beyond the Facebook Page: What Seattle Social Media Experts Are Saying

As a business owner you know that social media promotion is invaluable for driving traffic, increasing hype, and basically promoting your business on a low budget. Unfortunately, the majority of business owners are either sticking with Facebook only, or creating accounts on every social media account they can get their hands on. While both ways are common, neither of them really allow a business to best utilize the platform because having too many accounts spreads you too thin, and too few means that you don’t get enough exposure. So which social media accounts should you be on? Seattle social media experts suggest that it depends on your business.

Google +

Google + is probably the most important social media platform for local businesses right now, mainly because of their efforts to promote and grow small businesses through integration with Google Maps, Google Local, and location based searches. Signing up for a Google Local page allows you to put your business on the Google map, and then get reviews through your page, which actually show up in search. Google then ranks the highest reviewed businesses first in search, which is a huge credit for small local business with great quality services. Google Plus is also easy to use, allows up to ten managers per page, and allows you to integrate YouTube for videos and Google Hangouts for live streaming video. It’s also the best place for tech and food related businesses to be.

Pinterest

Pinterest is one of the most popular image websites out there, and with newer integrations like “Buy It” buttons, they are also becoming incredibly business friendly. While not right for every business, Pinterest allows for viral image promotion, which is great for a range of businesses including flower shops, crafts stores, restaurants, and more. While Pinterest won’t drive a huge amount of local sales, it can and will drive online interest, which is perfect if you have an online shop.

Instagram

Instagram is more of a mobile social app than a social platform, but it’s hard to ignore that it is one of the most popular social platforms on the planet. The site runs off of image sharing, and while it does not allow links, it can generate a great deal of interest in your products. Instagram is especially good for fashion and accessory related industries but also good for sports stores, gyms, and studios.

Twitter

Twitter was the highest revenue driving site from 2010 until 2012, and while that is no longer true, Twitter is still quite important. Twitter’s millions of active users mostly share and reshare short quotes and images, but what the site is really good for is instant communication with customers, increasing hype, and answering questions in short form. The best strategy is to get involved with local hashtags and share content that is relevant to your community, otherwise you’re just broadcasting to the world at large.

Seattle SEO – Five Outdated SEO Techniques to Stop Right Now

SEO has always been one of the biggest and easiest ways to get traffic with Google and it seems as though almost everyone has tried it at one point or another, some with more success than others. While Google’s SEO algorithm is constantly changing, and in fact, updates every 6-12 months, if not more frequently, many of the people we talk to are still using very outdated SEO techniques, some of which are extremely bad for modern SEO. Most of the time this is because they simply did not have the time to keep up with the changes, or decided that the changes wouldn’t affect them. If you’re using SEO and you’re ranking is suffering, or you’re new to SE0, check out these five major issues that could be hurting instead of helping your ranking.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is one of the most popular ways to drive backlinks, but unfortunately, most bloggers don’t write quality posts to send out to blogs. If you’re in the habit of sending out blogs to a variety of unrelated websites then you’re probably hurting your ranking. You can still guest blog, just keep the posts to a minimum, make sure that the websites are relevant to your site, and use links as sparingly as po

Optimized Anchor Links

Do you out your keywords and use those as links to your webpage for guest blogging or other articles? If you do, you want to stop it as soon as possible. Google is now listing optimized anchor links as a spam technique, which means that you can hurt your site’s rankings. Instead, try leaving an open URL, or linking to the name of the site.

Linking Out From Press Releases

While many websites and businesses have been using press releases as a back link source for some time, you could actually be penalized or throwing up a press release with no news and just a link. Press releases are for journalists looking for news stories, so make sure that you keep them that way. In fact, many press release sites are actually limiting links, allowing only no-follow links, and scanning for quality to make sure that you’re actually putting up news.

Keyword Heavy Content

Putting up a keyword dense blog in 2012 would  most likely have skyrocketed it to the top of Google for at least a week, while readers groaned and wondered if you were getting $5 every time you repeated “Green converse shoes”. As of 2014, it’s more likely to make sure that no one ever sees your blog ever again. There are plenty of ways to use keywords properly and none of them involve using the same keyword at more than 1% density, which is a maximum and not a recommendation.

Exchanging Links

Exchanging links is probably one of the worst things you can do for your SEO, simply because Google’s algorithms can see the return links. Because return links rarely happen naturally, this is an instant red flag to Google that you are trying to influence your SEO ranking. Because many of the sites that go around asking for reciprocal links are mostly focusing on building links, it could also hurt your site because you are linking to a low quality site.

Seattle Web Design Talk – Free Websites vs. Custom Designs

If you’re a business owner considering putting up a website for your business then chances are you’ve already done a fair amount of research into what it’s going to take. You might already realize that you have multiple options for both free and paid websites, and you may have already decided which CRM you want, if you want an open source one. That aside, you might not know whether or not you want to pay for a website or just use a theme. As a business owner, there are several things that greatly impact your decision, and you should consider them carefully before you go out and hire a Seattle web designer that you don’t really need.

Are You Going to Profit From Your Website?

First things first, the driving source behind any industry is money and no matter what your business is, it should be all about profit. Unless, of course, you’re running a non-profit. If you are not making anything off of the website, then it is a poor business decision to spend money on it. Consider what the website will be doing, try doing a little bit of keyword research, and consider the online market for your business. If the estimated ROI looks like it will at least cover the costs of a professional web designer then a professional custom website is the way to go. If you’re looking at $30 a month in revenue from it, you might want to stick with a low-cost theme until you figure out how to boost your revenue. While a custom site is more likely to engender trust in the user, you can’t justify spending money on something that isn’t ever going to make money

Do You Need Custom Web Design?

Another big thing to consider is whether or not you actually need a custom design for your website. The vast majority of websites are one or two page information pages that ask the customer to contact them without really providing any other information, or requiring any custom services. In this case, it would be a waste of your money to pay for a custom page. You don’t need it. On the other hand, if you want your website to have a custom menu that allows users to sort through dishes available at your restaurant, check pricing, and check ingredients, then you might want a pro designer. Essentially, if you want a basic website with no real features then web design is not necessary, but otherwise, a web designer gives you a great deal of flexibility, and allows you to offer real, unique value to your site.

There are a number of reasons that custom web design is more popular for businesses than templates, starting with uniqueness, Google search impact, and ensuring that the customer doesn’t immediately associate the site with another business they know who uses the theme. Having unique graphics and a unique web page tailored to meet your needs is invaluable, if you are going to be profiting from the site.

Four Things to Ask A Seattle SEO Company if You’re Looking for Small Business SEO

As a Seattle business owner, you probably hear about SEO all the time. In fact, you’ve probably heard that it’s incredibly important for your business to have localized SEO on your web pages if you want to come up in search. But, if you’re looking for a Seattle SEO company to optimize your pages, then hopefully you’ve heard a few other things as well. For example, that the quality of your SEO is actually more important than having optimization in the first place, because poorly optimized pages can hurt your traffic. While there are dozens of companies that offer SEO in the Seattle area, not all of them are created equal. With that in mind, here are four important things to ask before you hire a Seattle company that specializes in SEO.

How Do You Keep Up to Date with Google Algorithm Changes

Google is not the only search engine that you have to optimize for, but it is an important one. Because Google frequently updates their algorithm in order to provide less spammy results, it is important to hire a company that stays up to date with the changes. For example, if you hire an SEO company that is still using tactics from 2013 like guest blogging, then you’re not going to catapult to the top of search, but instead, you might have your site blacklisted until you make changes. Ask the company how they stay on top of algorithm changes before you hire them.

Is a Site Analysis Included With Your Services?

Any good SEO company can and should offer you an overall analysis of your site along with recommendations for improvement when they get started. For example, while you might go into SEO thinking that you need keyword optimization on your pages, the truth is that you might need a great deal more back end work to fix internal linking, coding, and internal navigation for search engines. An analysis allows you to get services that you need, rather than that you think you want.

How Do You Measure Results?

If you ask an SEO company how they measure results and their response is in traffic or impressions, then you might not be talking to the right people. The best way to monitor ‘results’ for you as a business is in generated leads and generated ROI. ROI or Return on Investment is your direct income from what you spend, and it’s the most important thing to keep track of in any type of internet advertising campaign.

How Do You Create SEO Strategies For Your Clients?

One of the worst types of SEO company is the one that tries to fit every small business into the same SEO strategy that they wrote up and try to use on everyone. If you want real success with your SEO strategy, then you need something tailored to your business, written around your strengths and weaknesses, and specifically targeting your market areas.
Want to know more about SEO for small business? Get in touch with us today to find out what we can do for you.

Seattle Social Media Management in Small Business: What You Need to Know

Social media managers are becoming increasingly necessary for businesses who want to profit from Seattle’s busy social industry, but while big business corporations are already jumping on the bandwagon (and have already been profiting from social for years), the majority of small and medium sized businesses typically are not. In fact, many think that they do not have the budget, the time, or the need for a professional social team or manager. If you’re one of these smaller business owners, here are a few reasons you might be wrong.

Benefits of Social Media Management for Small Business

If you’re running a small or medium size business in the Seattle area, then a local Seattle social media management team or manager can do wonders for your revenue. Any good social media strategy can and will improve sales, increase hype, and help with your customer satisfaction. With the right training, you might be able to do all of that yourself, if you have the time for training and for the social media itself, but the thrush is that it is a lot of work, and it is easy to steer your pages in the wrong direction if you are not familiar with the market.

What a social media manager really brings to the table includes the following, and more:

Proven Results – You won’t waste time or money pursuing things that don’t work. Professionals know what and what doesn’t make money.

Consistency – Inconsistent social branding is one of the most common problems on small business social media, but when you bring in a professional manager, you can make sure that yours stays consistent so that you convert and keep more leads.

Save Time – Managing a good social media campaign can take hours per day, especially if you are not familiar with local social trends like hashtags, popular groups, or marketing trends. Professional social media managers are aware of, and stay on top of, all of these issues, so that you can save time, and still get the best results.

Outsourcing

While it might be beneficial for your company to bring in an in-house  social media manager, the truth is that unless your social media is turning over at least twice what they are making per year, it’s not really worth it for you. Instead, consider what some of the top companies in the U.S. are doing, which is outsourcing. If you need a single social media strategy but don’t have the budget for a full-time employee, then an outsourced team has several advantages, starting with affordability. You get every advantage of a social media team, while paying less than you would with hiring a single person. You also get to work with a company that has guaranteed professionalism, and a history of working with other clients.

Creating a Plan

The most important part of hiring any social media manager, in or out of Seattle, is to sit down and create an outline of what you want to achieve with your social media. While you could just go to a social marketer and tell them to increase your traffic and sales, you are much better off sitting down, discussing expectations, and discussing what you can achieve within your budget. This is a great time to discuss other items that tie into planning, such as expected ROI, an expected timeline, and any other specific details that you, or the marketer, think are relevant to your situation.

Hiring a Seattle social media manager can and will make you money, even if you aren’t quite a Fortune 500 company.

 

Build Your Web Presence With These Localized Seattle Marketing Tips

Whether you’re a startup, or a tried and true business growing your roots and expanding to the web, getting out there can be tough. The process of building a website, establishing a web presence, and building followers across social sites can not only be intimidating, it can be near impossible if you don’t know what you’re doing. In fact, you can waste hours of your valuable time pursuing outdated and irrelevant strategies that are often still quoted as the ‘best thing’, on various websites. While your specific strategies should vary depending on your business type and budget, here are a few quick tips to get you started developing your web presence in Seattle.

Get a Website

A website is the best way to establish yourself as a professional online. Even if you don’t know what to do with a website, you should have one. Websites inspire trust, allow consumers to learn more about you on the web, and might even allow you to make sales directly from the internet depending on your business module. While you can use a free theme or a professional custom CMS design, your site should load in 3 seconds or less, offer users easy access to everything on the site, and be mobile friendly.

Utilize SEO

Once you have a website, it’s important to utilize localized SEO so that you come up in search to people in the Seattle area. You can choose to pay for a Seattle SEO campaign, or do it yourself. The process involves optimizing your website for search engines with sitemaps, create a healthy link structure inside of the site, and then research the keywords, and search terms for your site. Make sure you familiarize yourself with current SEO standards, as they change frequently, before attempting to do this on your own. Keep in mind that if you want your generated traffic to stick around, the content has to be awesome for readers as well as search

Pick Three Social Platforms and Stick to Them

If you’re doing social media on your own, then it is a mistake to try to tackle too many platforms at once. Instead, try outlining the three social platforms that offer the most value to your business, establishing a presence on them, and sticking to them. You should be posting at minimum twice daily on any social platform you use.

Create a Strategy

A marketing strategy is an essential part of business success, and this is also true with the web. Unfortunately, you don’t and cannot outline exactly how you will reach your goals because social media is constantly changing. Instead, outline goals, assign amounts of time per day to get there, and then strategize how to get there.

Hire Professionals

Finally, many business owners should stick with what they do best, running their business, and leave the web marketing to the professionals. If you have a budget for marketing, then web marketing can and will produce a return on investment for you if it is being handled by professionals.

 

Putting Together Your Seattle Search Engine Marketing Team

If you’re getting ready to set up a Seattle search engine marketing team, then you have a lot to consider. Not only do you have to settle on a type of team, but also on foundational skills, attitude, and budget. While the process is complex, you can use these quick tips to help make up your mind.

Team Type

The first decision you  have to make about your marketing team is whether you want them to be in-house or outsourced. In-House marketing teams are best for companies with a large budget for paying a team of one or more people full time, plus benefits. Hiring an outsourced company is the cheaper option, because it allows you to get the marketing you need without paying the full-time rates. For the majority of businesses, this is the way to. On the other hand, if you can generate enough revenue with search engine marketing to pay for a full-time team, then by all means go that route.

DNA Traits

The best way to choose team members or a company offering Seattle search engine marketing is to look at their DNA traits and yours. DNA traits are the root company traits by which you operate (such as Creativity, Honesty, Intelligence, etc.). The best advice is to make a list of your own traits, and then look for companies or team members with at least three of those traits, so that your company traits reflect in your marketing and online presence. Nelly Yusupova of Webgrrrls International suggests that this is the most important factor to consider when you’re hiring a new team member for your company.

Skills

Second, you don’t want to hire just anyone to establish your web presence. Look for companies based in Seattle, with a local knowledge of Seattle’s marketing and SEO trends, someone with the SEO, linkbuilding, internal optimization, and web development skills you need to create your online presence, and someone who is established enough in marketing to make things happen. After all, if you want to spend money, you want to see results.

Budget

Any good Seattle marketing team should be able to work out a budget with you based on the potential ROI and returns that they feel they can make for you. If you consult with a team and they can’t directly estimate a budget after asking you questions, then you probably don’t want to hire the team, because they aren’t sure they can get you ROI. You can talk with a couple of different companies first, and if you don’t already know the max you can spend, ask them about working out a quick estimated budget before you proceed with the hire. Of course, this doesn’t quite apply the same to bringing in in-house teams, which are a little more complex, as you’ll have to pay them regardless of your budget.

Want to know more about what search engine marketing can make for you? Contact us today to schedule a meeting, or talk about your search marketing needs.

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