Archive for Marketing

How to not get Caught in Google’s Mobile Speed Trap

Google recently announced that beginning July 2018, the loading speed of your website on mobile will affect how Google will rank it.

Basically, if your website takes too long to load on a mobile device, Google will ignore it and bring up the website — which loads faster — that matches the searcher’s query.

The good thing is that you have till July to fix your website. So, you ask…

How fast should my website load?

How to not get caught in Google's Mobile Speed TrapHow’s instantly — 1 second — sound? People today don’t want to wait for anything — especially on a mobile device. Face it, we live in an instant gratification society and Google’s goal is to satisfy the searcher. Why? Because it’s the searcher that clicks on the ads that bring them income.

A page that takes five seconds to load is 90% more likely to suffer from bounce backs, compared to a page that loads in just one second. (WordStream)

A “bounce” happens when a visitor to your site clicks on a link to your site then leaves within seconds. It usually happens if the site takes too long to load. Google Analytics gives you a “bounce rate”. A bounce rate higher than 50% is bad. That means you’re losing more than 50% of the visitors to your site.

How can I make my website load faster and beat Google’s Mobile Speed Trap?

Well, first, use one of these free tools to test your load speed.

Now, you’re going to see a lot of technical jargon. Don’t even try to understand it.

Here are 3 of the main factors that may be causing your site to load slow:

  1. Too much code in the background. This is a major issue with those easy, drag-and-drop website builders. So all those fancy boxes will load nicely, it takes the browser some time to decipher all the code.
  2. Your picture files are too big. 
  3. Your site is hosted on a cheap, shared-hosting platform.

And these are just 3! Most all of the others are really too technical to get into.

However, no worries! That’s where the folks at Sonfisher Web Studios can help you out. If you used one of the website speed tests listed and got a bad result, contact Kerry and he’ll be happy to analyze your website and see what can be done so that Google won’t punish you for being too slow.

Don’t wait till July! Do this now!

This post originally appeared on the Sonfisher Web Studios Blog.

Why You Need to Keep Business and Personal Social Media Separate

In this climate of deeply divided political and cultural issues, it’s very easy to offend someone just by replying, retweeting even posting on the wrong account.

Now, if you happen to work in politics or a religious organization, this article isn’t for you. It’s expected to see those types of posts on your social media.

But, if you are trying to sell a product or service to the average consumer or to business people, you need to make sure you don’t alienate a potential customer by liking or commenting on a political or religious post.

Keep in mind that just about everything you do online is public.

So if someone Googles your name, more than likely they’ll find your personal accounts as well as professional/business accounts. If you post political or religious views on your personal accounts – that’s OK – it’s expected.

Here’s how the individual social media networks breakdown when it comes to personal vs. business:

FacebookFacebook – You need a personal account to create a business page. However, if someone lands on your business page from your website, unless they know you personally, they won’t know that you are the owner. If you’re a Realtor or consultant and use your name as a business, have a business page that’s obvious it’s for business only. Don’t use the same picture for your personal account and your business page! You need to easily tell them apart. Put a professional-looking picture rather than a casual one on the business page.

LinkedIn – This is the professional network so, unless you work in politics or a religious organization, keep politics and religion out of your posts. Period.

Twitter – Here you can have 2 separate accounts. The personal one should be in your name and the professional/business one with your company name. Use TweetDeck to mange both accounts on one tool. But be careful! Watch which account you’re posting to. (I have, more times than I’d care to admit, sent a personal post to the business account by accident. You can go and quickly delete it, but be aware that in the few seconds that it was out there, someone probably saw it.)

Pinterest – Similar to Twitter, you can have 2 separate accounts. If you set up an account on Pinterest.com, you’re setting up a personal account. To setup a business account, go to business.pinterest.com. If you want to convert a personal account into a business one, go to the business site and easily switch. However, make sure you delete any personal boards before converting to the business account. If you want, you can “share” boards between your business and personal accounts, but the boards appear on both accounts. It’s better to have business-related boards on your personal account than personal boards on your business account.Pinterest Business

Instagram – Owned by Facebook, it’s easy to accidentally mix business with personal. Instagram is only mobile and visuals – photos, graphics & short videos. Connect and share to FB at the same time. However, make sure that your personal Instagram account connects to your personal FB page and your business Instagram connects to your FB business page. AND watch which account you’re posting to! You can have more than one account registered in the mobile app, so make sure you have your picture on the personal one and your business logo on your business one to tell the difference. (If you don’t think your business needs a logo, then you need to watch my Branding class.)

If you’re not sure how you’ve setup your social media accounts, schedule a free 15-minute phone consult and send me the links to your accounts and I’ll review them with you.

You can also schedule a 1:1 coaching call if you need help straightening out your accounts.

To learn more about the individual social media networks, I’ve got FREE CLASSES on my YouTube Channel. Enjoy!

You can become social savvy!

 

Have you Saturated Your Market? How to Expand Your Reach

It happens. Sales go stagnant… not growing. You’re doing everything right… blogging… posting to social media… videos… monthly newsletters… basically everything you can do without spending extra cash… just sweat equity. You have no reach.

However, traffic to your site hasn’t grown… you haven’t gotten any new Facebook likes or Twitter followers in a while… and no one has downloaded your freebie offer in months.

What’s going on?

You’ve saturated your market. You are preaching to the choir and not getting any new eyes on your content. You have to expand your audience. How? By spending a little money.

Who are you trying to reach?

First, you must have your target market(s) clearly identified. You can’t do successful paid advertising without this! (Get a Free Workbook)

Which network will give you the best reach?Which Network(s)?

Second, you must figure out which network they frequent the most. (This post on How to Reach the Generations on Social Media will help.)

Age brackets aside, if you’re trying to reach the consumer (B2C), you should focus on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram even Snapchat. If you’re B2B (Business-to-Business) you should look at LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Yes, Facebook.

Everybody’s on Facebook.

What’s really neat, is you can pick EXACTLY who you want to reach:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income
  • Interests
  • And much more!

How much does it cost?

Well, you set your budget.

For instance, recently, for Greater Phoenix SCORE, we wanted to promote a class on “How to Start a Nonprofit Organization”. They had saturated the market and needed to expand their reach.

We found, on Facebook, people who were interested in charities, causes and nonprofits. We set a budget of $60 for the whole promotion. You’re charged based on how many people click on the ad. That’s called a Click-Thru Rate.

We figured that if a person with those interests saw the event post, if they themselves weren’t interested, they might know someone who was. And that’s exactly what happened. We saw in the comments area of the event, several people “tagging” a friend.

What’s tagging? Tagging is mentioning a friend in a post or comment. Usually they think the friend would be interested in the post. The friend is notified, thus expanding your exposure (reach).

Each network is different. Advertising is how the networks make money.

Furthermore, paid social media advertising works — especially if you’ve saturated your market and need to reach new eyes.

Yes, you need to budget advertising dollars. What’s more, you can test ads by spending just $25.

You need to ask yourself what you want to accomplish?

  • Selling a product
  • Attendance to an event
  • Drawing people to your website

Customer focus for better reachThen, think of an eye-catching, curiosity-piquing headline and sub-headline. Put sufficient information again, to pique curiosity and desire to get further information. Finally, link it to a landing page with the final product/offer.

The landing page should not have any other information other than the offer. No links to anything else but the call-to-action. You don’t want your interested party to get distracted with other links.

Try different offers and headlines and see which one works best. What’s nice about online advertising is everything is tracked so you know what your ROI (return on investment) is. If you spend $50 on an ad that generates $500 worth of sales, then your ROI is $450. That works.

What’s also nice is that all of the networks have very helpful sites explaining how their ads and tracking work. It’s how they make money so they want you to be successful.

There are no guarantees in online marketing, so make sure you’ve got the right budget and are ready to spend money to test your marketing abilities.

You can become social savvy!

What You Need to Know about Marketing Automation

You’ve got a fabulous WordPress website and you’re blogging regularly. You’re sharing your blog articles on your social networks and driving people to your website. You’ve got a terrific call-to-action (CTA) offer and are getting visitors to convert into leads. NOW WHAT? Are they being nurtured into sales? Probably not. Here’s where marketing automation (MA) comes in.

Affordable Marketing Automation

I’m sure you’ve heard of HubSpot and Infusionsoft. They are some of the giants in MA. However, their price tag may make it difficult for the little guy to afford. Enter MailChimp. You can get Marketing Automation with the FREE MailChimp startup plan! It’s free up to 2000 contacts in your email list (which is perfect for startups) and 12,000 emails per month. Now, unless your business takes off like a rocket, you can probably stay on the free plan while you’re growing. (Plus, if it does take off, you won’t mind spending $10/month.)

So how does Marketing Automation Work?

This short video from WishPond explains how it works:


Basically, MA allows you to:

  1. Focus on what your customers want.
  2. Let the system do the hard and time-consuming work for you.
  3. Improve the customer experience.
  4. Lead potential customers through the buying cycle.
  5. Develop relationships with your potential customers.
  6. Send your potential customers targeted content.

For instance, if you have 3 distinct products — one for college students, the other is for millennials and the 3rd for GenXers. When someone clicks on that CTA, the landing page form should ask them for…

  1. Name
  2. Email
  3. Age bracket – with 3 choices

(No more than 5 questions. You can always segment them more later with subsequent emails.) Based on their answer, they should get …

  1. Welcome email with the offer download
  2. In a few days, they get an email with a video to watch or a link to a blog article that pertains to their age bracket.
  3. If they watch the video, or click to the blog, then they get another email with yet another article that walks them further to buying.

At the end of these blog posts, you ALWAYS want to have another CTA. You’re more likely to get the buyer to buy if you’re showing them things that interest them. The college student isn’t going to want to see the product for the GenXer and vice-a-versa. Of course, if they buy at any time, they go into yet another MA campaign catered to new customers. It just keeps going.

My favorite email marketing service is MailChimp. Instead of my having to do a video from scratch, showing how it works, I found this excellent one for you…

The video below from Media Leaders shows you how to setup Marketing Automation on MailChimp:

All this might be a bit overwhelming for you. I offer 1:1 digital marketing coaching to help get you on the right track. Click here for details.

(See, that’s a CTA!)

Online Marketing Trends for 2018 that You Need to Know

It’s that time of year again! As we say “goodbye” to 2017, we look forward to 2018. For small business owners the thought of planning online marketing may seem intimidating given all the…

  • Choices of media and social networks
  • Rules, do’s and don’ts
  • New technology

So here are a few of the Online Marketing trends and strategies that I think the average small business owner needs to embrace for 2018 or…

Get Left Behind in the Dust…

My top 13 Online Marketing Trends, Tips and Strategies:

  1. Video and Live Video: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and now LinkedIn have incorporated video. We know video sells. It’s eye-catching. People will watch a video before reading a blog post. What’s great is it’s so easy to create videos with smartphones and tablets – you really have no excuse for not taking advantage of this medium. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have the Live Video capability so you can broadcast live from anywhere where’s the Wi-Fi.
  2. SEO is not dead. Search Engine Optimization is still important if you want Google to know that you exist. Google is still the number one traffic-driver to websites. The good thing is, you don’t need to hire an outside firm if you can do a few things including Content Marketing, sharing on Social Media and benefiting from Organic Search Results. Watch this…

  1. Twitter Follow MeTwitter is not dead. Sorry, naysayers, Twitter is still alive and a viable medium for marketing, SEO and exposure. We have President Trump to thank for the increase in users, tweeting and opinion-sharing that’s so prevalent on the never-ending news ticker. Take advantage of regularly trending Hashtags and spin your marketing message around them. Use a free tool like TweetDeck to schedule promo posts so you don’t miss opportunities for exposure.
  2. Email / Marketing Automation. Once it’s setup, it just runs by itself! And what’s more, services like MailChimp offer automation for FREE if you have under 2000 people on your email list. You can segment your list by asking 2 or 3 pertinent questions on the sign-up page. Offer visitors to your website a freebie to entice them to join your list. Having the right Call-to-Action on your site is critical to marketing success.
  3. Customer Experience Marketing. Always think of the customer’s buying journey – even if they’re not ready to buy! You need to put yourself in their shoes. That’s why getting to know your target market(s) is so important.
  4. Instagram Stories. Owned by Facebook, Instagram is the fastest growing social media network going from 600 million to 800 million active users in 2017. Over 300 million daily active users take advantage of Instagram Stories doubling in the last year. The idea is that you can combine several pictures and videos to simply tell a story.
  5. How to Develop Social Media Marketing Strategies for Your BusinessStrategy over Tactics. So many small business owners jump in and start posting with absolutely no clear strategy whatsoever. That is such a waste of time, energy and efforts. You must think it out and plan it out. Do one month at a time.
  6. Influencer Marketing. This is basically finding folks with a lot of followers whose opinion matters to your target market. Then make friends with them. Get them to notice you and hopefully they’ll share your fabulous content with their thousands of followers.
  7. Make it Visual. Videos, stories, pictures, graphics, infographics. No one pays any attention to a tweet or Facebook post with just text and links. Their eye is going to the movement in the video or the interesting picture. Remember, you’re not just competing against your direct competitors for your target’s attention. You’re also competing with the family, friends and other businesses and causes they follow. You need to stand out and going visual is the answer. Use a free tool like Canva.com to create eye-catching pictures.
  8. Voice Search. More and more people are asking Alexa or Google to help them find things, shop, answer questions, etc. Where do they come up with the answers? The search engine finds content on websites that most closely matches the question. Which is why you need to blog and be aware of the varied use of keywords in your writing. Mastering the Google Keyword Tool is also beneficial.
  9. Become a follower magnetHaving a Social Media Base. Building a loyal following takes time. These people follow you or like your page because of what you post. They could be loyal customers or are just interested in your business. They won’t follow you if you’re not posting anything. If starting from scratch, it takes about 90 minutes a day for the first 30 days to build a following. If you’re new to social media, my FREE Master Class will help get you started.
  10. Transparency. Fake News is a hot topic. People are wary of “click-bait” headlines that entice one to click on it only to find the article talks about something else or is trying to sell you something. Honesty is still the best policy. Don’t make up a story just to get attention. The truth always comes back to bite you in ways you never imagined. If you have a disgruntled customer who leaves a bad review, do your best to rectify the issue and respond publicly.
  11. Paid Targeting. I always tell my clients to try social media marketing along with proper SEO and blogging without spending money for 3-6 months first. Track your analytics, metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) each month to see what’s working and not working. In the event that business slows, you might have saturated your market. It’s time for paid advertising. Based on your analytics and target market audience, placing key paid ads in the right networks will help you expand your reach and be noticed by more people. Yes, you have to have a budget, but then again, you do have to spend money to make money. Put some paid advertising dollars in to your marketing budget for 2018.

You must be feeling overwhelmed right now.

Where do you start?

Here are two choices:

Live SCORE Workshop on 1/11, 1-4pm, $25 at Greater Phoenix SCORE Central Phoenix…

Online class on Strategy and Planning, Free…

Got questions? Contact me…

 

How Social Media Helped Save Lives During Hurricane Harvey

25 years ago this past week I was living through Hurricane Andrew in Miami. 13 years ago this Labor Day weekend I was enduring the 2nd of 2 hurricanes, Jeanne (Frances came 2 weeks earlier) in Palm Bay, FL.

After Andrew, though by the grace of God my home and belongings were spared, I spent 2 weeks with no electricity. I depended on the radio and the newspaper for news. After Frances and Jeanne, I was only out of power for 3 days each. Probably because I lived near the hospital. Nevertheless, I lost all my refrigerated food twice and the whole area was depressed. That’s why I moved to Phoenix, AZ.

Watching Hurricane Harvey hit Southeast Texas this week was heart-wrenching. After each of the hurricanes that I lived through (6 in total), there was a strong sense of community and people helping people — strangers in need. However, a form of communication that was not around 13 years ago is social media.

Those of you who think social media is silly, this will change your minds.

One of the news videos highlighted #HarveySOS on Twitter. Using this hashtag, people in need of rescue posted their addresses and needs. Rescuers could then go find them in boats, helicopters or trucks to get them to safety and shelter.

How Social Media Helped Save Lives During Hurricane HarveyWhen Harvey moved northeast toward Port Arthur, #PortArthur was trending on Twitter. Here’s what was there:Twitter screenshot of #PortArthur Hurricane HarveyTwitter Screenshot Port Arthur Rescue tweets Hurricane Harvey

Notice how many retweets under each tweet. That’s the icon with the 2 arrows. Thousands of people retweeted these cries for help to their followers. Dozens responded — that’s the first icon with the bubble. Hundreds “liked” or saved them.

Wow. Think about the impact social media has made.

Now, we can watch as companies, organizations and charities use social media to raise funds, get donated items and help rebuild Texas.

It’s true that…

News no longer breaks, it tweets.

I hope this has convinced you to take Twitter seriously. Thank God for Twitter and social media.

How to Deal with Technology When it Doesn’t Work Right

Technology: love it or hate it, you have to live with it. Sometimes I have the desire to go live on a cruise ship — off the grid. But, alas, I have a business to run and clients to serve.

However, it does get a little difficult when your business email stops working or your website domain name (URL/web address) all of a sudden points to the wrong site. That happened to me last week.

I host my website with Siteground (ad). I moved it from GoDaddy on the advice of a friend of mine who’s a website specialist after my site was hacked twice in 2014. My domain name (the .com web address) was still registered with GoDaddy and pointing to the site hosted (residing) on Siteground.

Everything was running smoothly until I started getting notifications from Sucuri (ad), my security company (also signed up for that after the hacks) that my DNS address had changed for my azsocialmediawiz.com domain. I thought it odd, but didn’t think too much as I was busy doing work for clients. (The DNS address is like telling the post office where your house is located.)

Where’d my site go?

I wanted to copy a blog post of mine to repost it on the SCORE blog and my site wouldn’t come up. What was coming up was my old giselleaguiar.com domain and subdirectory which I had set up when I first started my business. Yikes! What’s going on! Since it was a domain issue, I logged into my GoDaddy account and looked around to see what could be wrong. Not finding anything out of the ordinary, I called tech support.

How to Deal with Technology When it Doesn't Work RightThey said it was a Siteground issue. So over I go to Siteground and started a support chat. There were a few issues and they cleared it up and my site was back up.

Then every time I wanted to send an email from my business email, I’d get an error message that iMail can’t connect to the server. That happens every so often and it usually clears up on its own.

Now, my email was left at GoDaddy and everything was working fine till Siteground made some changes to the “MX”. I won’t go into detail, but it has to do with which mail server your domain name is pointing to. So after the tech support person at GoDaddy told me to go to Siteground, I decided to move my email over to Siteground — have everything in one place.

Now that you’re confused, let me interject something here.

The reason you want to have a business email address with your domain name is that it looks more professional. Having a Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL address is OK, but to look more legit for branding purposes and to give yourself credibility, it helps to have and address like “yournane@yourcomapany.com”.

With that said, I was getting anxious that anyone who’s been trying to reach me via email was not getting through. I emailed my clients and some business contacts to use my Gmail address (it’s a backup – which is why you always want a backup email). I switched my site’s contact form to go to Gmail as well as my email on Facebook and LinkedIn.

So after spending hours with the Sitegound tech support, it seems my Mac’s iMail program doesn’t like their servers or firewall and we couldn’t get the mail setup. Tried to go back to GoDaddy, but that wouldn’t work. I ended up having Siteground set up a forwarding to my Gmail account. So now my business email forwards to Gmail. I don’t have time to deal with it. That will do for now.

Lessons learned with all this technology fun:

  1. Always have a backup business email. Since you need to set up a Google account for Google My Business, you might as well have a Gmail account. It’s accessible from anywhere and easy to setup on Outlook or iMail.
  2. Have everything in one provider. Some of my web friends would disagree, but after this incident going back and forth between 2 service providers was a pain. I’d move my domain name to Siteground, but I just renewed it for another year on GoDaddy. I don’t want to go through the hassle of changing it.
  3. If you don’t know what you’re doing with the technology, don’t be afraid to say so and get help from trusted sources. Watch out because there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there who just what to take your money. If it sounds too good to be true it is.
  4. Back everything up. I lost files when a hard drive died and lost some emails when I switched providers.
  5. Block off time regularly to check on your technology. Make sure your website’s being backed up and it’s secure. I know a few folks that specialize in just making sure your website stays secure and running properly. It’s called a “peace of mind” service. Comment below if you’d like their names.
  6. Security is important. I use Sucuri (ad) and if it wasn’t for their warning messages of the DNS changes, I would not have known that there were issues.
  7. Don’t yell at the tech support people. Stuff happens. Their job is to fix problems and make you happy. I have to say, even after all my frustrations, both Siteground and GoDaddy’s tech support people were gracious. And they worked Saturdays and Sundays, 24 hours a day.
  8. Have a plan for when stuff happens. Living in Phoenix we don’t get many natural disasters, but I’ve lived through 6 hurricanes in my lifetime. It’s happened that major technology companies have been hacked or have lost power and they’re down for hours. Be prepared to work around it. Know where your website or ecommerce hosting provider is located. Also know what their tech support hours are and have their support phone numbers in your cell phones. And be prepared to spend some time on with tech support.

If a technology company doesn’t have 24/7 tech support don’t use them.

As entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, we’re working odd hours as well as weekends. When something crucial is down, we need it fixed right away.

I’ve had my business email address for over 6 years. It’s everywhere — directories, business cards, flyers, social media profiles — everywhere! Having it down was crazy! It wasn’t till a client called me that he tried to email me and it bounced that I knew I had to drop everything and deal with it.

We can plan to retire off the grid, but in the meantime, learn to live with technology — it’s all around us and like it or not, we need it to function.

How to Use Branding and Color for Your Online Image

Branding in today’s digital age is way more than just having a nice logo, a catchy tag line and a pretty website. Whether you’re just starting out or your business needs a new look, this is the place to start.

In this video, I show all aspects of online branding covering:

  • websites
  • social media graphics – updated!
  • psychology of color
  • reputation management
  • online image

 

 
Click here to download a PDF of the slides with notes.

Related Video: Website Planning 101 by SonFisher Web Studios

How to Measure Your Social Media Marketing with Analytics

Social media marketing analytics and insights are your friend! They play a crucial role in your marketing success. Basically, they tell you what’s working and not working. Each of the social media networks has their own analytics or insights. Moreover, they give you data — information about your followers or fans to help you market to them more effectively. Here are all the analytics classes.

Note: These are advanced classes! You should go through the individual network classes first!

First an overview of the information available to you and then below are some of the individual networks and where to find their analytics and insights. Some networks offer better analytics than others.

Analytics 104: An Overview


Class notes: https://azsocialmediawiz.com/wp-content/uploads/Analytics104.pdf 

Facebook Insights:

Facebook Insights tell you the demographics of your fans, where they’re located, what posts got the most engagement, even the best time to post.

Pinterest Analytics:

Pinterest Analytics tell you a lot about your followers and which of your pins got noticed and saved. It also gives you info on what else your followers like as well as data from anything pinned from your website.

Twitter Analytics:

Similar to Pinterest, Twitter tells you a lot about your followers: where their located, what else interests them and which of your tweets got the most engagement.

WordPress JetPack Site Stats:

WordPress JetPack site stats tell you how many people visited your website or blog, where they came from and which posts or pages were most popular.

Video: How to Get on the 1st Page of Google: SEO Basics

Everyone wants to come up on the first page of Google! The problem is that Google keeps changing the rules. Here the the SEO basics that you need to know.

How to Get on the 1st Page of Google: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Basics:

Class notes: https://azsocialmediawiz.com/wp-content/uploads/SearchEngineOptimizationSEOBasics.pdf