About Jessica Moreno

How to Get Free Press for Your Small Business

March 23rd, 2017

Free Press for Your Small BusinessRunning a small business can be difficult and while publicity might be the last thing you’re thinking about, it’s vital to your brand’s success. Even if your business does not have a substantial advertising budget, you can further your brand for free by incorporating the following PR strategies into your Marketing efforts. Oh, and best of all, each option is free:

Consider Local Outreach

Building a local following is ideal for a small business because it establishes a foundation for a loyal following. Start by finding local events or businesses to partner with, which can help with brand building, allowing for free press in the process. You can research ways to gain exposure for your brand by searching local news and directories; just remember to think outside the box.

Use HARO to Find Journalists

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a very popular tool used by PR Pros and Journalists alike. HARO helps journalists find sources for articles they’re writing, and PR Pros when they’re looking for exposure. Send a pitch to get featured in desired publications to be seen as an influencer in your industry.

Find Quality Niche Publications

Target the most quality impressions by researching the publications your demographics are most likely to read. Begin by focusing on a specific industry, and then locate the popular publications your demographics are reading.

Build Relationships with Appropriate Journalists

Getting featured isn’t guaranteed. Many times a proposed topic will provide an excellent springboard for your brand, but the required information source will disqualify you. Expect that there will be competition, as well. To maximize results from these media outlets, work to establish positive relationships with reporters for the following reasons:

  1. They will be more likely to feature your submission.
  2. They might be able to refer or point you to another source if they can’t use you for a particular story.
  3. The goal is to establish a relationship where you can help each other out – it’s a win-win!

Create and Promote a Blog

When positioned properly any business can benefit from writing a blog. Blogging provides a free platform that allows you to entertain and inform your audience, while promoting your expertise. This is a great way to stand out from your competition!
Promoting your blog is easier than promoting a product or service for several reasons:

  • It’s free entertainment, so potential customers won’t feel like they’re being sold.
  • It’s a way to offer information/news from a unique perspective.
  • A catchy blog topic can tie into buzz-worthy news for more impressions and clicks.

Example: Popular Social Media software companies like Hootsuite and Buffer blog about Social Media Marketing. They rarely mention their own products because they blog to entertain and inform. Regular readers see their brand with more authority and trust, thus increasing the likelihood of trying one of their products.

Guest Post for Relevant Blogs

Blog readers are typically very loyal, especially when it comes to popular niche blogs. Begin by researching the most popular and influential blogs in your industry, contact the blog owners and ask if they’re interested in contributors. By guest writing on reputable blogs, your word will be credible as readers already trust the platform, and you will receive free exposure in return!

Utilize Social Media Marketing

Regardless of industry, you have potential customers on social media – so it’s time to capitalize. Make a statement for your brand to break away from your competition. Creating organic content meant to be shared is a great way to promote brand awareness and drive more traffic to your website.

Social Media Marketing is meant to encapsulate the story of your brand. Rather than just promoting your services, you can tie in all other marketing efforts with Social Media. Whether you write a new blog article, guest post for a relevant blog, are featured in an appropriate publication, host/attend a local event, or anything else that’s newsworthy, use Social Media to tell your brand’s story!

Effective branding can be the difference between a company failing or succeeding, regardless of size. But as we have demonstrated above, Brand Marketing is a full-time, continuous job. Seeking guidance for your small business’ brand? Contact the experts at Active Web Group and experience the true power of professional branding at 1-800-978-3417!

Facebook Advertising Update

February 15th, 2017

Facebook Advertising UpdateSoon, brands will have another powerful social media tool to increase awareness, their customer base, as well as its loyalty. Facebook is gradually releasing Page Engagement Custom Audiences (PECA) – which will allow brands to more fully utilize post engagement to increase key performance indicators. When the PECA rollout is complete, brands will be able to target their audiences to the degree that they can direct their promotions to those who have proven interest in their content. This should assist brands to create more effective campaigns for increased conversions since their prospect base will be known to have interest in the brand’s goods and services.

An Engagement Custom Audience is a new segmentation group of users who have engaged with previous content on Facebook. When utilized, advertisers will be able to create an audience which consists only of users who have visited a brand’s page, engaged with previous organic or paid posts, or directly interacted with the brand..

How Brands Will Capitalize

This is BIG news, as this new segmentation feature will allow for brands to advertise more efficiently on Facebook. The ability to target users who have already engaged with previous posts (implying some interest in a brand) will give brands the chance to experiment with a wider array of content to fish for more engagements. Facebook’s version of Social Remarketing is creating more opportunities for brands!

This will not only benefit brands, but users as well. The ability to advertise more efficiently means that ads will be more relevant, thereby increasing the overall user experience. This expanded capability will also give brands a better indication of ad performance, considering their ads will be seen by users who have historically responded. This is one of many ways that Facebook will be incorporating personalization tactics for their users.

Are your social media ads converting as they should be? Find out with a FREE confidential consultation with Active Web Group! We’re a full service digital marketing agency, providing social media strategy and execution for businesses of all sizes and industries! We also offer responsive web design, SEO, email marketing, PPC and other services to help your business succeed! For more information, or to arrange a confidential consultation, please reach us at (800) 978-3417.

The Importance of Responding Promptly on Social Media

January 16th, 2017

Responding on Social Media

Those who manage or are considering implementing a social media campaign need to consider the advantages to responding promptly on social media. It’s detrimental not to respond quickly and accurately to queries and requests, as social media has become a standard for branding. Any business that doesn’t excel at providing this simple customer service deliverable, will appear less desirable to potential customers. Over the last five years, social media has become a vital part of the customer service funnel, and you know the saying – the customer is always right. How will it look if you’re not responsive to your customers at their convenience? It’s important for your customers to know they can contact your brand, if and as needed. This can eliminate any hesitation to engage on social media, which can increase sales as well.

Poor Customer Service is Costing Brands an Estimated $41,000,000,000 Annually (New Voice Media)

Engagement with untapped consumer demographics is one of the main reasons brands establish and maintain social media presence. Therefore, keeping your customer waiting (and potentially ignoring them) is counterproductive. Providing the best possible customer service via social media outlets, should be seen as an opportunity to make a great impact on your customers.

FREE Social Media Consultation

Providing solid customer service promotes brand loyalty and increases overall retention – two vital elements to a successful business. Going the extra mile will also leave the impression that you care about your customers, which results in positive experiences and eventually, good word-of-mouth. This can be the best measure of brand marketing success!

Churn Rate Increases 15% for Customers When Brands Fail to Respond on Social Media (Gartner)

Social media is becoming the go-to place for customers to receive assistance, which means it can alleviate some of the reliance your business might have on call centers. Allocating your customer service to social media is not only showing your company is current; it’s also working efficiently, which can save money on overhead, and salaries.

To summarize, there is much to gain by responding promptly to consumers on social media, and much to lose by leaving these potential customers waiting. If increasing ROI is among your business goals, you might want to revamp the way your business handles customer service.

Are your social media accounts as engaging as they should be? Find out during a confidential discussion with Active Web Group! We are a full service digital marketing agency that provides social media strategy and account management for businesses of all sizes and industries. We also offer responsive web design, SEO, email marketing, PPC and other services to help your business succeed! You can reach us at (800) 978-3417.

What we can Learn from Samsung and the Explosive Note 7

November 1st, 2016

Highly anticipated by tech enthusiasts around the world, the consumer debut of the Samsung Note 7 was expected to make headlines- just not these headlines:

“Samsung recalls Galaxy Note 7 Worldwide Due to Exploding Battery Fears” – The Verge (9/2)

“Samsung Shares Plummet as Note 7 Debacle Deepens” – CNN Money (9/12)

“A Samsung Note Actually Exploded on an Airplane” – Vice (10/5)

While the issue of exploding batteries was certainly catastrophic in itself, Samsung made sure to make the best reactive decision they could – they recalled all (2.5 million) phones globally. With all things considered, a company’s response during a crisis is what defines them.

Anyone can make a mistake; it happens all the time – it’s almost inevitable. What separates companies who make these mistakes from their competitors is the way they handle it, and successful brand messaging demonstrated by Samsung’s immediate recall, is what keeps customers loyal.

What do we mean?

The average customer is less objective than you may think – many choose their desired brand for reasons other than the ideal “this product/service is more practical for me” approach. Brands (especially global brands like Samsung) have associated personalities that convey a certain feel, and their reactions in time of crisis speak volumes. For example, how would you feel if you realized you had been lied to? If a brand experiences conflict, does not make the issue public, and does not take immediate steps to remediate, what does that convey about their personality? It means their brand cannot be trusted, and people who favored that brand will likely switch their loyalties as well.

Samsung has recently branded itself with the concept of ‘innovation’ as seen on Younghee Lee’s (Samsung Marketing Executive) Adweek interview months prior to the incident. Samsung’s branding included a ‘bold attitude’, which was backed up when they recalled 2.5 million phones (losing a lot of money in the process). The speedy recall also demonstrated Samsung’s care and concern for their customers. Many brands advertise that they care, but few show it.

The Moral of the Story

While a crisis like this is unfortunate, it does not always mean financial ruin through loss of consumer confidence, if handled properly. Sticking to your branding through good times and bad helps communicate your true colors to your stated demographic, and true fans will respect it. While Samsung’s batteries might have failed them, their public relations division stepped up bigtime!

Why Good Web Development is Needed for SEO

October 28th, 2016

yin-yang-logosIt is generally known that solid web design cannot just be “pretty” but also needs to be capable of doing some serious SEO lifting. Less known, but just as important, is a site’s web development. Why? That is the way the site is actually ‘wired’ to function. Search engines use bots and spiders (spiders/bots are programs that visit sites and read their content to create entries for a search engine index) to scan a site’s back end coding, which is implemented by web developers. The major search engines scanners favor sites with pages that are clean. Any script, animation or sloppy coding that makes it hard for the bots to scan a site or page easily, will cause them to just skip it and move on to the next one. Pages and sites that are not scanned are not indexed, that is entered into the pool of websites that may be in contention to be accessed by internet users. Therefore, these bypassed sites will not rank well in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Web Development Evolves Constantly

Web Development is constantly evolving because SEO is. However, one problem is that some web developers are not familiar with current SEO best practices. For several years now, for example, Google has encouraged an enhanced user experience (UX). More details on what exactly that may entail below. Here are some additional pitfalls to avoid as well as current sound web development practices:

SEO Follows Web Design

Simply put, web design must follow current SEO best practices or the result will be a beautiful design that no one can find. When creating a new site, every detail of the user experience must be thought out and planned for, such as:

  • Ease of use- in as few keystrokes as possible, enable site users to navigate a site with ease and to find what they are looking for.
  • For Ecommerce sites, the checkout experience should be convenient and optimal as possible to encourage both conversions and repeat business.
  • Web content, for lead generation as well as product descriptions on Ecommerce sites, should be succinct, informative, and transition users to the next steps towards their goal.
  • Calls to Action (CTA) benefit both users and business owners. Placed after users have received sufficient data to make a purchase decision, or to seek more information by making personal contact, a CTA will exhort them to do so and link users directly to contact forms or phone numbers.

Clean URLs

Make it easy for the spiders to crawl your site. Avoid dynamically generated URLs in favor of those that include a keyword.

Redirects are Important

For an optimal user experience, and to facilitate crawling, use the 301 redirect. Avoid the meta refresh redirect, and only resort to javascript if there is no alternative.

Splash Pages Are So 2007

With apologies to Nike, “Just Don’t Do It.” These can create duplicate content, prevent indexing, and have outlived their value. Instead, a homepage that is well designed, easy to navigate and features prominent CTAs that ask for site visitors business, will serve these visitors and online business owners’ requirements far more effectively.

How to Render SEO-Friendly Major Site Elements

Flash intros and javascript graphic elements have had their day. Search engines do not execute either. What does work is a mastery of the correct HTML coding and CSS to create those wow factor graphics that also enable all-important search engine indexing.

Search engines are coming around to the K.I.S.S. principle. And we all know what that means. By keeping coding simple and clean, web developers will sacrifice none of a site’s artistry and reap the optimization benefits every online enterprise requires.

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ABOUT CONDUCTOR

The Conductor Searchlight platform generates customer intent insights that lead to compelling content, increased traffic, and higher organic marketing ROI. Conductor enables marketers to understand their prospective customers’ intent by revealing the trends and topics they are searching for at every phase of purchase process. Customizable dashboards and workflows guide marketers through the content creation process, empowering them to continuously measure, refine, and demonstrate the effectiveness of their SEO and content marketing efforts. Conductor’s forward-thinking customers include global brands like Citibank and FedEx, emerging leaders like Birchbox and Munchkin.

Conductor was ranked #38 by Inc. Magazine in its Fastest Growing Private Companies list, and has been recognized by Crain’s Best Places to Work in America for six years running.

ABOUT ACTIVE WEB GROUP

Since 2003 Active Web Group has provided thousands of firms nationwide with the digital agency services required for their online businesses to gain market share and remain competitive. Our specialties include, Email Services, Web Design, Web Development, Responsive Web Development, eCommerce Website Development, Pay-Per-Click, Affiliate Marketing, Remarketing, Programming, Social Media and Search Engine Optimization and Marketing services.