E-Commerce

Strike Out Competitors and Become the Yankees of Business

April 12th, 2017
Strike out competitors

Photo by Keith Allison

Some might hear the name “New York Yankees” and think of the Bronx Bombers as a sports team, forgetting they’re a (successful) business. So, other than their history and success on the field, why are the Yankees seen as more than just another Major League Baseball Team? Excellent Branding!

Let’s look at a few traits that set the Yankees apart from their competitors:

History and Success

After changing their name from the New York Highlanders to the New York Yankees in 1913, history was made, even if it wasn’t known yet. The Yankees signed Babe Ruth in 1919, who was said to have ‘saved baseball’ after the sport struggled following the scandal over the “fixed” 1919 World Series. This is why they called the original Yankee Stadium “The House that Ruth Built”.

Over the brand’s 104-year legacy, The Yanks have accumulated 27 World Championships, 40 pennants, and 24 Hall-of-Fame inductees (each an all-time record).

Traditions and Professionalism

As we now know, the New York Yankees are a storied franchise, but the brand goes far beyond winning ballgames. The team perpetuates class and they maintain their beloved and storied franchise through tradition. Some famous Yankee traditions are:

Logos

  • The interlocked “NY” and “Bat in the Hat” have been staples for years, which tell the story of the Yankees from the days of past legends to the stars of today

Uniforms

While most teams change their uniforms to adapt to the times, the Yankees have not

  • Yankees wear Pinstripes for home games and Gray for away games
  • Yankees uniforms do not show last names on the back of their jerseys

No Beards

Members of the New York Yankees are not allowed to wear any facial hair (side burns and mustaches being the exceptions) as per their tradition. While this was enacted by past owner George Steinbrenner in 1973, it has become part of the Yankees legacy.

Pride

As said, the New York Yankees are unlike any other team in professional sports. George Steinbrenner compared his ownership of the team to owning the Mona Lisa. Many players would and do consider it an honor to put on the Pinstripes because they share a role in the winningest team in professional sports.

How can your business learn from this? You’ve been admiring passion and story-telling at its finest and you probably didn’t even realize it.

As we’ve mentioned, the Yankees are more than just a baseball team, which is why their story extends past the field. The Yankees have their own culture and customs, they carry the expectation that second place just isn’t good enough. Your business can take that very same approach with these steps.

What can Your Brand Do?

Set Yourself Apart

What do you want to be known for, beyond your craft? How can you be distinguished from your competition?

Establish a set of Brand Guidelines

What does your brand stand for? What are your values? Customers want to identify with your brand as more than a useful product or service. After all, a brand is more than a label; it’s an idea to associate with.

Set a standard

You’re not just another company, are you? It’s up to you to tell your customers why. Tell a story, be creative and stand out from the pack.

Have Pride in Your Business

Establish yourself as the best, set your standard and be the Yankees of your industry!

Interested in taking your Business to the Big Leagues? Team up with Active Web Group and let’s hit marketing out of the park with a FREE Digital Marketing Analysis! Click the button below or call us at 1-800-978-3417

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How to Boost Revenue with Content Marketing

April 4th, 2017

Content MarketingWhy Content Marketing?

With the digital world full of brands promoting themselves with sales and gimmicks, the masses are beginning to see past the smoke and gravitate towards voices that they trust. Consumers are sick of being ‘sold’ so they’re relying on their gut-reactions, forcing brands to earn their attention with excellent content. What exactly does that mean?

Content is material that serves either an entertaining and/or educational purpose in an effort to tell a brand’s story in a unique way.

Brands spend 25%-43% of their marketing budget on content – Business2Community

45% of marketers say blogging is their most important content strategy – Social Media Examiner

While many brands create and distribute content, having a pre-planned strategy with detailed execution and data analytics is key to maximizing their spend. Here’s what’s earning brands more revenue!

Building Your Strategy

Brand Identity

Your brand demonstrates how you want your business to be perceived, so your image must remain consistent across all channels. Content should reflect your brand, and while the individual message might vary, the tone, verbiage, and overall content imprint should remain consistent. A strong brand adds a personal touch to your business and will assist to establish a loyal following.

Demographics

For optimal results, maximize ad spend and overall efficiency by focusing your content to meet the needs of your intended audience. This means tone, verbiage, colors, and other communication methods should be in tune with your branding and demographics. Research and evaluate the proposed content prior to publication to gauge its effectiveness, as it is crucial to the bottom line.

Your target audience should identify with your brand, so it should meet their perception of your brand’s personality to stand out. If your brand were a person, your potential customers should want to be your brand’s friend!

Documenting Your Strategy

While it might seem redundant, it’s important to record your strategy for the same reason you would document your business plan – so it’s in writing and clear to everyone involved. This will also keep everyone on the same page to promote branding and cross-channel continuity, as well as a cohesive messaging strategy. Documenting your plan makes it easier for your team to reference your strategy as well.

Not convinced yet? Here’s a nugget to consider:

Did you know that 70% of B2B Marketers planned to increase their Content Marketing in the past year? – Content Marketing Institute

Implementing the Strategy

Putting your strategy into action is often easier said than done. Beyond almost anything else, success requires persistence and attention to detail. Remember, details must be transparent and relevant assumptions are unacceptable. Every metric should strategically tie in with your branding or demographics appeal. While this phase is important, it’s how you’re able to adapt and improve your strategy that will define your long-term success.

More food for thought:

The top three B2B goals of Content Marketing are Lead Generation (85%), Sales (84%), and Lead Nurturing (78%) – Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

Testing and Analyzing Data

Managing the data you collect is just as important as mapping and executing your strategy. Think of your content strategy as if it were a science experiment. You have statistics and other demographic-based information which leads to a:

Hypothesis: Form an educated prediction based on the given data on hand

Preparation: Draft content in an effort to prove your hypothesis (based on the data provided)

Test: Execute your drafted strategy

Results: Compare the results to your hypothesis and deduct a productive conclusion

For the purpose of Content Marketing, you can use this basic scientific method to determine how your content is meeting or exceeding expectations. Once it complies, take it to the next level by exploring more detailed metrics which will provide more insight as to why your content is or isn’t resonating with your target audience. Useful tools such as Google Analytics show historical data so you can harvest metrics that support your hypothesis and deliver measurable results!

In short, use the data at hand to make the most educated conclusions. Go with what works.

Timing

Constantly base the timing portion of your results on trial and error and don’t ignore the metrics. You should be looking for promising results over an extended period of time to reach a conclusion that will lead to a profitable outcome.

Engagement

If using certain verbiage, design strategy, or any other measurable element in your content that outperforms others of its kind, it might be worth looking into. Maybe condensed copy performs better, or using humor – the point is to never ignore your data. Pay attention to what your audience is telling you and adapt to it. The longer you adapt your content message to reach your target audience, the stronger and more personalized your brand and content strategy will become.

A profitable Content Marketing strategy can be a huge difference maker for your business. Could you business benefit from an increase in customers and revenue? Contact the experts at Active Web Group for a complimentary analysis to see how your business can maximize profits.

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Does Ivanka Trump Need to Rebrand?

March 8th, 2017

Photo Credit: Michael Vadon

Due to political boycotting, clothing retailers, starting with Nordstrom have begun to drop Ivanka Trump’s clothing brand. Consumers are associating Ms. Trump’s clothing line with her father’s controversial policies. As a result, her business has taken a major hit.

Putting politics aside, Ms. Trump needs to review her business strategy and assess the direction she intends to bring her brand. Besides political backlash, there are other considerations as to why her brand is being dropped by retailers, such as the fact that Ms. Trump’s clothing brand is nearly a decade old. Ivanka Trump has to treat this matter like as any other PR Crisis. With the bottom line in mind and as with any other brand, Ms. Trump needs to consider how the public perceives her and how it might impact her brand and business.

With more retailers including Belk, Neiman-Marcus, TJ Maxx and Marshalls rejecting her brand, Ms. Trump should consider rebranding to limit unnecessary attention. From a Public Relations perspective, damage control must begin with refocused, and effective brand messaging.

The best course of action would be for Ms. Trump to distance her brand from politics, and focus solely on her business. She might consider flying her brand under the radar by reintroducing her line under a name other than “Trump”. While many believe she has already attempted to distance herself from her father’s politics with her infamous dress post, the name “Trump” is believed to already hold too much baggage, and stunt the growth of future damage control initiatives.

Below are the results of a SWOT Analysis, a popular planning method AWG’s Public Relations Professionals use to assess their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. For a reactive campaign such as this, it’s clear to AWG that the Opportunities section suggestion should be Ms. Trump’s primary course of action. When considering the shape of Ms. Trump’s brand, the analysis reflects as shown:

Strengths

Weaknesses

Quality products are well-targeted

Current identity crisis

Opportunities

Threats

Weaknesses can be turned into strengths

Current damage can increase if not attended to

To address and repair the initial damage, AWG would recommend a proactive approach, involving her new brand with charitable and environmental causes, to specifically avoid the stigma associated with her father’s politics. The goal is for Ivanka Trump’s brand is to address her audience and represent opposition to the stigma that has created the initial boycotting of her brand.

Beyond charitable donations, Ms. Trump’s new brand might benefit largely by building partnerships with non-profit organizations specifically those focused on building environmental and cultural awareness. Creating a system of positive press will force consumers to focus on one thing – the clothing, which is the primary objective.

In addition to positive press, Ms. Trump might find an opportunity in selling domestic-made goods, which will not only silence critics, but will generate applause, and build value for her brand. This is another way to communicate that she is listening, also that she will do whatever it takes to please her current and potential customers. By distancing herself and her brand from her father’s politics, then and only then will Ivanka Trump find her own voice, and, most important- her brand’s new followers.

By accentuating the positive aspects of the brand (the focus on charities and environmental causes) and away from her name’s negative connotations, Ms. Trump would rebuild and refocus her brand. Branding is largely about capitalizing on opportunity – and this is Ivanka Trump’s chance to shine, stand out, and silence her critics.

Ivanka Trump’s brand dilemma underscores the fact that not all publicity is good publicity; effective PR is about communicating strategically and effectively. Is your brand communicating the right way to the right audience? Contact the experts at Active Web Group and experience the true power of professional branding at 1-800-978-3417!

3 Sources to Boost Your Persona Research

October 18th, 2016

shutterstock_228129856The most effective marketing campaigns require extensive preparation before moving into specific strategies. Effective initiatives and campaigns are developed from an understanding of your goals and objectives. Funneling these goals and objectives into detailed marketing personas has become a popular and efficient way of understanding target audiences and assisting marketers to channel their efforts directly to their stated demographic. Realizing these personas will chart your enterprise’s course for success.

Social Media Research

One benefit of social media data is that it users have basically laid out their interests and views, which allows for easy market segmentation. To take this up one more level, social analytics tools like Facebook Insights and Audiense can supply ample information to be used to create the ultimate marketing personas. This data can easily provide insight into how your customers think, and what drives them to take action. Social media monitoring tools can also help find potential customers based on what they’re looking for, which in turn supplies more data for your ever-growing marketing persona.

Customer Surveys

Encouraging customer feedback from is one of the best ways to learn from them. Customer surveys are especially unique because they give direct responses. Consider a survey with 7-10 open-ended questions posted on popular sites like Survey Monkey can give actionable information that you don’t have to interpret. Few (if any) methods are more informative than direct responses, as these provide straight forward answers based on customer experience. No further analysis is required until all the data has been gathered.

Website Analytics

Knowing what your customers are looking for is crucial when analyzing them from a marketing perspective. Using tools like Google Analytics can provide insight as to where (your) site visitors are coming from, what keywords they used to find you, and how much time they’ve spent on your site. In addition, these analytics tools can also shed light on where these visitors are clicking, providing indirect feedback as to what is or isn’t resonating with your audience and what is driving the digital customer experience.

For over a decade, Active Web Group has provided our comprehensive Digital Agency skillset to promote businesses of every size and in almost every industry. Utilizing performance models such as customized performance personas, we assist our clients to achieve their business goals and objectives. We also provide social media strategy, account management, programming, email marketing services, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and web design services. For questions or to learn more, please contact us at (800) 978-3417.

SEO for Ecommerce Category Pages

August 14th, 2014

Running an optimized, search engine friendly Ecommerce site offers many opportunities to get things right, or, if you're not careful, to make huge mistakes. In this post we'll be taking a look at things you should be trying to do and things you should avoid.

How to Track Site Performance Post Hummingbird

October 29th, 2013

Google has unveiled yet another animal in their zoo of updates, the Hummingbird. This miniscule bird which we associate with bright, sunny days has had SEOs scrambling to meet the learning curve that it delivered to the masses.

Much like the mobile phones that have soared into our lives, Hummingbird has made searching Google on the go more intuitive. Let’s face it; up until recently the only people who could find anything of use on Google were the guys in the basement who knew the clipped alien language of asterisks, colons, and dashes that Google understood. And even then sifting through the results was time consuming. The new algorithm has allowed us to change our search queries from 

jaguar speed -car or pandas -site:wikipedia.org

to

What’s a jaguar’s speed?

Which makes life so much easier, right?

But, Google giveth and Google taketh away

Shortly after the Hummingbird landed Google announced that all searches initiated on google.com had been switched to secure connections, which translates 90% of our keywords to that utterly despised term, (not provided). Our benevolent ruler of the internet has turned into a Lord of War.

Just like what happened with link building, the traditional approach to tracking SEO results has now officially evolved bringing with it a new quality standard for websites. This shift could be foreseen with the Penguin and Panda updates that Google had released to try and fix the Caffeine update originally released in 2010; the internet giant went to war with low quality websites that strove to exploit popular search terms. Now with Google’s new ability to understand the keywords in a query, SEOs and site owners need to become more customer centric than ever because, honestly, it hasn’t been about keywords for years (check out Does Keyword Density Still Apply for more info).

Consumers and Keywords

Site owners track keywords because they seem like a sound metric to build a strategy off of—the numbers are easy to read and the concept of a smaller number being better is easier to understand than other statistics. The problem is that websites are often built from the keywords up with little regard to whether the site’s structure and copy are understandable to a human; the aim is to make the site easy for Googlebot to digest. What site owners may not realize is that Google has given us the means to perform optimization in unobtrusive ways that will, in fact, improve user experience. Over the past two years Google has provided us with Webmaster Tools, Schema Markup (otherwise known as Rich Snippets), and multiple improved Analytics interfaces, each offering a new avenue to identify or provide the message consumers were getting from your site. In each application rollout Google made it clear that these tools were to be used to improve the quality of websites.

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Google’s latest updates have restated their message clearer than ever: it is imperative that websites provide a good user experience

Information overload is prevalent in today’s society. A good user experience translates to the ability to easily access desired information in one to three clicks, maximum. This means that site structure, positioning of items, and phrasing of content titles all have to make sense to the average user. But how do you tell if the existing elements are working or not working without keyword data?

Track Site Performance with Landing Pages

Focusing on keyword traffic has never been very telling about whether a site’s performance; all it will tell you is that keyword X brought in Y visits. What will show a site’s success are the landing page stats. These are the first glimpse a user has of the site and their use will show whether visitors are finding the content useful, delving deeper into the site, or finding the page unhelpful. The pages can then be altered to deliver the message that a site owner must convey to reach their target audience.

Ask any UX Designer—Landing Pages have many components

Any page on a website is made of a number of components. From the designer’s perspective we see headers, navs, and hi-impacts; from the site owner’s perspective we see Calls to Action (CTAs), revenue to gain, and brand messaging; and from the SEO’s we see form positioning, sentence structure, and ease of page access. An SEO’s job is to merge both the site owner’s and the designer’s view to get the biggest bang for the buck; keywords are now just another ingredient in the mix rather than the only.

Remember, the entire purpose of a website is to get information, products, and services out into the world and generate a return on the site owner’s initial investment. Keywords have never been a good measure of a website’s success because even though a site may be ranking high for keywords, they be the wrong keywords. If your site has been affected by Google’s recent updates, contact Active Web Group and one of our Internet Marketing Specialists will answer your questions and assess your site.

Contact AWG for SEO Services

Insecure Feeling: Google’s Two-Step Authentication Process

August 24th, 2012

It’s like that joke that nobody gets but no one speaks up and says, “What’s so funny?” Well if you've ever been hacked, you get it. The need for tighter online security measures, that is. While your personal computer may not have been exposed, chances are that your personal information on a third-party database has. To further complicate the issue, when a major retailer’s security has been breached and its database hacked, the infringement may not be announced for some time.

Active Web Group Provides E-Commerce Strategies That Work

September 15th, 2011

All the leading websites for E-Commerce have one thing in common: customers that come back to them time and again. The fundamental key to a successful E-Commerce website is to develop an online marketing strategy that encourages a customer to return to your site to make further purchases.

Should I Sell Products On My Website?

September 6th, 2011

selling products onlineI always relate Internet Marketing to selling something. You may be an attorney, who is trying to sell your services, or perhaps you are a manufacturer who is thinking about selling your products direct to the consumer or in limited bulk discount pricing.

In many situations, I will most likely say the answer will be yes. You most likely will be selling something on your website. A very good way to start to play around with the idea is to go to Google.com and type in “Keyword Tool”. Click on the first link (it’s always the first one, go figure) and you can use that to get rough search volume estimates of a keyword you are thinking of selling, so that this way you can figure out the theoretical marketing potential will have to play.

If I go to this same keyword tool and type in Running Sneakers, and check off EXACT, under Local Monthly Searches it shows 1,600 (This is the relevant column for U.S. visits). Under that row, you will see other recommendations, such as Best Running Sneakers with a search volume of 590. Now you can start to figure out if you were on the main page of Google with an effective Search Engine Optimization strategy, that amount of traffic you may be exposed to.

Typically we recommend not more than two or three keywords per page to target, so depending on the amount of products involved, you can get a very good idea of your potential.

This is typically the first step that I do, every single time I speak to a new client. I see if they are effectively selling products with website or E-Commerce Design, do they have strong call to action messages, and most important, are they getting targeted traffic to the appropriate pages and are their conversion rates at a decent level. All in all, there are many factors to consider, but I will almost always say that you should definitely be selling your products or services on your site as long as you are doing it well, getting targeted traffic, and converting that traffic into revenue for your business.

For more information on Website Development and Marketing, call us at 1-800-978-3417 or Contact Active Web Group and let us help you!

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