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Write-Engaging-ContentContent is king. Your marketing needs to include a fair portion of content, but the content isn’t for the search engines; it’s for your customers. The average customer knows when content is written for keyword use by search engines. You need to use those keywords but don’t let them drive your content.

The content that appears on your site needs to add real value and bring in not only the search engines but also your customers. Give them something new, something interesting and something they don’t know. Articles can draw in the search engines while also engaging your customers. Make sure they begin in an interesting way and don’t leave your customers hanging.

 

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local-business-marketingIf you’re a local business, which most small companies online today are, then you know that the holiday experience is massively different in –say– Arizona, than it is in Pennsylvania. Use holiday social media marketing to direct your campaigns at local customers. Attract attention to your advertising by adding a little local flavor. Feature images of local businesses,  local decorating or local people shopping. You’ll find that might get a little more notice than if you were showing snow-covered scenes to advertise a Phoenix furniture store.

As much as possible, localize your content to appeal to the audience who would buy from you if you’re a brick and mortar store. Play to the home audience and your sales will quite likely pick up dramatically.

 

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StumbleUponWhen it comes to advertising, StumbleUpon is one of the most cost effective ways that you can advertise.  For small to mid-sized businesses, the Paid Search Discovery at StumbleUpon maximizes exposure for nominal outlay.

The costs are far less than you might pay on any other type of advertising and according to users, StumbleUpon advertising is a lot more effective than many other social networking sites including Facebook. That’s the word from many who use it.

The best advertising methods on Stumble Upon include visually appealing content such as crisp photos or funny content that gains attention. Starting at about 10 cents per click, Stumble Upon is an awesome way to get discovered.

 

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social media holiday campaigns

Everyone knows, or expects, that your sales are going to rise during the holiday season. The average online or physical store sees a rise in sales of about 20-40 percent during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course a great deal of that depends on what you sell, but as a rule, regardless of your product, from software to eggnog, your sales should rise. That presupposes that your customers know who you are and what you have to offer. But do they?

What are your online marketing plans for the holidays? Do you have special plans for your website, your marketing and your social media this year? If you’re like most of us, you’re seeking the best way to improve your marketing and that includes your social media during this holiday season.

Whether you’re selling products or services, social media for the holidays is a great way to engage your customers. You can draw in more prospective buyers and generate more sales from holiday shoppers if you have a strong social media strategy and plan carefully what you’re doing with it.

Here are a few ways that you can boost your social media holiday campaigns and marketing to help drive those extra sales and business this holiday season.

You should already know where your customers are hanging out on social media this holiday season. Pinterest is showing them images of things that they are considering for holiday purchases. Facebook is letting them share and like those products. Twitter is helping them to make the decision.

According to all of the online data from a survey taken by Market Live more than half of all customers who are out there shopping this holiday season are going to be or have been influenced by something that they saw or read on social media. We will talk about the influence of customer reviews on products and services in another article.

The average customer looks for ideas, seeks out products, gets references or talks about how a product or service works with someone else on social media. The campaigns that various marketers or retailers send out on social media are seriously influencing customers. Their awareness of the brand is improved and customer sales are increased by properly using social media to promote and engage potential buyer.

What kind of campaigns are working on social media to bring about the improved sales? How can you create your own campaigns to improve brand awareness and increase sales this holiday season?

Planning

The key to creating a social media campaign that works is in careful planning and sometimes in reviewing what your competition is doing. Assess your efforts on social media last year. Ascertain how well they worked and which aspects of the campaign did not work. Determine which social media site worked best for you. Once you’ve determined all of those things you will have a better return on your social media efforts.

Incentives

Tis the season of giving, so giving a little back to your customers is going to net you a big return. You’ll get new customers and new sales by implementing some incentives into your social media holiday campaigns. These work very well on the major social media channels.  Some of the incentives that you may want to consider will include things like loyalty awards, percentage discounts and free shipping. Because so many people today are using social media, landing those incentive programs on social media boosts sales dramatically.

Make Smart Investments

Smart Blogs shared a few things that might be helpful to those who are trying to find the best social media holiday campaigns for the investment of their time and money. The insights that they shared came from OfferPop‘s, the author of the Holiday Social Marketing Trends infographic. Their advice is “Holiday marketing efforts should include an investment in the power of social media to increase commerce and strengthen brand reach.”

Choose the Right Tactics

Once you’ve got all of the information that you need about where your social media has been in the past, how well it functioned, where your competitors are and what’s necessary to improve your sales, you’re ready to create a new social media holiday campaigns that tout your strengths and can help you to build your brand and improve your sales.

Don’t forget to add a dose of holiday welcome and cheer to your social media marketing holiday campaigns and don’t forget to use a little “holiday hurry.” Create a sense of urgency that will play out with increased sales by reminding your customers that once the holidays are gone, so is your offer.

Contact us if you need help creating solid social media strategy or need ideas for great marketing this season. We can help you make create a flurry of new business.

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email-marketingWhile naysayers may tell you that email marketing is no longer a viable option claiming that only 2% of people open emails, the fact is that email marketing is still a viable option with unique benefits. If you want to build a good relationship with your customers and create a dynamic relationship that sees them coming back for more, nothing beats a weekly or bi-weekly email that lets them know what you’ve been doing.

It’s simple and easy to send out one or two emails every week that ask questions, offer ideas and provide tips on current products. This demonstrates that you still care about the customer after the sale is made. If you’re not already doing it, offer some kind of a free and valuable enticement in order to get email addresses. Then keep a nominal amount of emails flowing to the customer.

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BMGcreative HOSTS ROUND TABLE AND GOOGLE PARTNERS WEBCAST ON SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – BMGcreative will recognize small business owners with an all day free round table discussion, consultation and Google Partners Connect webcast from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Small Business Saturday, November 29, at their offices located at 5601 Powerline Road, Suite 205, Fort Lauderdale.

Small Business Saturday was designed by American Express to encourage consumers during the holiday season to support local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods. Now in its fifth year, Small Business Saturday falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and encourages consumers to support small businesses during one of the heaviest shopping periods of the year. According to a Senate Resolution, Shopping at independent, locally-owned businesses puts 52 cents of every dollar spent back into the local community.

Ranked one of South Florida’s top 25 web design and marketing companies and top 20 advertising agencies by South Florida Business Journal, BMGcreative recognizes the importance of small businesses. They will provide free consulting on business, marketing, social media, search engine marketing and strategy before and after the Google Partners Connect webcast.

“Because we understand running a small business is hard work, we will be available to answer your questions on any topic, to hear your concerns and help you develop your ideas,” said Grif Blackstone, president of BMGcreative, “Let’s talk over coffee and get things brewing for your business.”

Topics discussed during the Google Partners Connect event will include “Building Your Business with Google,” presented by Allan Thygesan, vice president of Global Small Business Sale for Google, and “Advertising Your Business Online,” presented by Fred Vallaeys, AdWords Evangelist.

As marketing professionals, BMGcreative provides web design, digital marketing, social media management, company branding and logo development as well as creation of collateral materials and printing services. Discover more about BMGcreative at BMGcreative.com or call 954-229-2256.

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budget-managementTrying to manage your own PPC account without adequate knowledge or time is quite similar to a puppy trying to chase his own tail. By the time the puppy thinks he is close to getting his teeth around that tail, he bumps into the wall and falls over. Similarly, you can tweak ads and perform keyword research until you think your PPC campaign is almost perfect only to find that you have missed the smallest detail that will decrease the effectiveness of your entire campaign.

Just as the puppy eventually learns that he cannot catch his own tail, you may eventually come to realize that you cannot manage your own PPC campaign effectively without the help of professionals or the correct knowledge. There are some good reasons to outsource the development, management and optimization of your campaign.

PPC Costs – What Should You Expect?

When determining your PPC budget, you need to consider what you will pay a professional agency to manage your campaign as well as what you will end up paying to the search engines. The total cost of any campaign depends on the following factors:

1. Structure and focus of your campaign. The more your advertisements, keywords and outbound links coordinate, the more the search engines will trust your site. Google will assign your site a quality score based on how well your chosen keywords seem to correspond to the ads you are featuring and the other websites to which you lead your visitors. If Google decides these elements do not match up, then your quality score will lower and your campaign will become more expensive.

2. Long term performance for your campaign. Your click through rate (CTR) can raise or lower your cost per click. If the majority of searchers do not click on your ad, then Google knows that your ads are not convincing or appealing for one reason or another. This makes your site less valuable to Google, and your costs can go up.

3. Your goals and intentions. What do you want to achieve with this campaign? The better position you crave for your site, the more you may end up paying for that position.

4. What your competitors are willing to pay. The PPC market fluctuates depending on the highest bids offered. If you target highly-competitive keywords, there will be other people willing to pay a lot of money for the top spots in the search engines. Their bid will drive up your cost. Those willing to pay more than you will receive a better position and will likely receive more clicks. You pay to play in this market.

You also have to consider your maximum PPC budget, your expected return of investment and other factors. Determining realistic expected PPC costs is a matter of tweaking all of these elements to find the most affordable approach without sacrificing results.

Should You Outsource?

If your PPC budget allows for the assistance of professionals and you do not have an in-house marketing team to make this their priority, it does make sense to outsource this work. BMG can help you establish a winning campaign with reasonable PPC cost while ensuring your campaign is properly managed over the long term.

Why continue chasing your own tail and waiting for that knock up against the wall? If you don’t have the time to monitor changes within the online marketing field, analyze your PPC accounts and run test campaigns for new angles, you need someone who does have the time.

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Blog-Content-Writing-Solocube-Creative

Your business website needs content, so you sit down and spend an afternoon or two writing. It may seem like content writing is that simple, but the process is actually far more complicated. If you are like many business owners, you are more likely to spend an afternoon staring at a blank computer screen than writing high-quality content that impresses your readers and hits the mark with the search engines simultaneously.

Before you even start writing content, you need to determine the following:

1. Your Objective: What do you want this content to do for your business? What do you want readers to do after visiting your website? Specifically, what do you want those readers to do after reading each individual page of your site?

2. Your Audience: Who is your ideal customer? Who can benefit from your business? Who is most likely to read your website and take the action identified in your objective?

3. Your Voice: Is your business voice casual and approachable? Or are you more prestigious, professional or distinguished? What words best describe your brand?

All of these things make a difference when it comes to content writing for your business. Your voice will influence your choice of words and viewpoint, among other things. Your objective will determine how much content and what type of content you present. Your audience will dictate how interactive your site is, the language you use, and what questions you answer for your site visitors.

If you know who you are talking to and what problems your business can solve for them, writing for your business website becomes much easier. Writing content is not about typing out random information to fill up your website. It is about identifying the specific information your target market needs to know before they will take the action you want them to take. You must then present that valuable information in an attractive manner.

In addition to providing high-value content that drives your human visitors to action, you need to ensure your website content is optimized for the search engines so that members of your target market can actually find your site. The best way to do this is to allow the professionals at BMGcreative to create content that reaches your target market and the search engines simultaneously.

You can’t master the art of writing content for your business in an afternoon. You definitely can’t keep up with the trends of SEO in one afternoon. What you can do in one afternoon is find a professional who already has the knowledge and experience needed to write professional content for your business website.

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Online-Forms-that-EngageTo your website visitors, online forms are like optional extra credit in school. If they are already passing a class, most people don’t want to spend time completing extra work. That extra credit only becomes attractive when they need the points to pass the class. Your visitors won’t look at your forms with interest unless it promises to help them achieve something of value to them. If they can find the information they need through your blog or the products they need through your store, they have little incentive to spend time filling out an optional form.

The solution is not to give up on forms altogether but to create engaging online forms that have value to your visitors. You start by being upfront about what they will receive in exchange for the information asked for in the form.

For instance, you may tell visitors that they can obtain more in-depth information not featured on your blog or website content if they sign up for your newsletter or that they can get discounts on future purchases by signing up for occasional email messages. Think about what benefit a visitor may gain from a specific form, and make sure they understand that benefit. Then place the form in a convenient location on your website and follow these additional tips:

1. Only ask for the information you really need.
The more information a visitor must provide, the less likely they are to fill out an online form. Forms with a lot of fields look complicated and require a larger investment of time. Simplerforms are faster to fill out, so your visitors are more likely to consider the time investment worth the payoff they receive at the end.

2. Use terms that everyone can understand.
If your website is dedicated to a specific industry, don’t use industry lingo. You want to ensure that everyone inclined to fill out your form will understand what information you are requesting. When something is unclear, visitors will abandon the form before it is complete.

3. Design your forms to limit frustration over errors.
Have you ever gotten to the end of a long form only to be presented with a message that there were errors on the page? Going back to fix the error can double the time it takes to complete the form. This is often caused by not using dashes or other small mistakes. If you simplify your forms by accepting data in whatever manner your visitors want to enter it, you can eliminate this frustration and ensure your visitors stick around long enough to fully complete the process.

4. Customize your online forms to your user.
Use your analytics to determine what country most of your visitors come from, and then put that country at the top of your location dropdown list. Small things like that can simplify the form process so that more of your visitors make it to the end of the form.

Notice that these tips are aimed at making your online forms fast and easy to complete. The promise of something valuable on the other end will get many to start the form, but these tips are what will ensure they finish the form.

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Behind the Scenes
Web design and development is an art and a science. The art comes into play of course on the areas of the site that you can see and that are part of the overall look and feel of the site.

While search engine algorithms have changed dramatically over the years and can see and interpret a great deal, they are still limited in the way in which they crawl over the site and the data that it contains.

Your website doesn’t look the same to the search engine as it does to you. While the mantra lately is that it must be a good experience for the user and that the only thing that counts is the user experience, believe us when we tell you that isn’t the case at all. Web design and development requires a level of skill in algorithms and in proper coding methodology in order to ensure that the search engines can see what they need to see to allow your site to be crawled by search engines fully.

One perfect example in point is this– a website that was one of the top wiki websites online was having a lot of trouble ranking in Google. A well rounded site designer, who also did SEO, reviewed the site and used a spider simulator on it. He and found that the code was incorrectly executed and that the search engines could not read the header information on any of the pages, although they displayed correctly to the user. In this case the user experience was a good one, but the website could not get their pages well crawled or showing in search because of a code error.

The website design that you use must be well structured and reasonably well coded without errors. It’s an invisible portion of the site that has to be right in order to ensure that what the human visitor sees is pleasing to the eye and directs them to the places that are important. That same website design however, must also send the search engines to the right areas. The code, the alt tags, the descriptions must all be in order so that the search engines can see what is most important about the site. Both elements are a necessity for the site to be crawled and ranked for the website owner.

Another unseen element of website design are the alt tags. Using images without alt text can be a problem for the search engines too, in that they cannot read what the picture is. This means that the great photo or diagram that you have on your page is invisible in search.

Many websites have real problems with being seen. The content isn’t really indexed and the writing isn’t really designed for the search engines to peruse. A good example is a whole front page done in flash. It looks lovely in many cases, but it’s not readable or usable by the search engines. This means that your lovely site and all of your beautiful sales content isn’t going to be visible to the search engines or able to rank well.

A great coding job, careful attention to details, the right alt text and the right image labeling can make your site far more visible in search, yet it is not part of the visible content of the site. When it comes to website design and development, what you don’t see is often far more important than that which you do see.

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