Archive for online marketing

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

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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.

Online Marketing Trends for 2018 that You Need to Know

Reading Time: 6 minutes

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…

 

Why Social Media is Important for Customer Service

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s unfortunate that many business owners are ignoring social media — especially Facebook and Twitter — and especially when it comes to customer service.

One of my clients is opening a “rage room” in Tempe this weekend. Someone wanted to book a party and had a question. The contact form on the website gave her an error message when she tried to send it. Where did she go? FACEBOOK.

She sent a message and I got the notification. I replied for her to call the owner with his number and reported the contact form error to the webmaster.

Depending on the type of business and your target market, your customer and potential customers will use social media to reach you when conventional methods (email, website, phone) fail.

The problem here is if you’re monitoring your social media, you’ll never know when you get a message from a potential client! Facebook also will give you a “badge” if 90% of your average response time is less than 15 minutes.

My client was messaged on Twitter by one of the anchors from the local TV station wanting info on the business and on Facebook from another.

Could you be missing out on some free publicity because you’re ignoring social media?

You can’t afford to!

Here are a few points to ponder:

  1. It’s your online image. What message does it send if you haven’t posted anything on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn for months, even years? Lazy? Clueless? Behind the times?
  2. It’s where your potential customers are hanging out. Check out this article on how to reach the different generations through social media.
  3. You may be missing big opportunities. You’re not increasing your reach or influence. You’re not driving new traffic to your website. Moreover, you’re losing valuable SEO (search engine optimization).

So what do you need to do for better customer service?

  1. Learn how each of the social networks work and figure out which ones your target market uses the most. Here are my free classes and the free Define Your Target Market Workbook.
  2. Set up your social media profiles properly. Take into consideration your branding.
  3. Check your analytics monthly. They’ll tell you if your website traffic is increasing, if people are converting (from a visitor to a lead or a customer/ downloading / buying), and which social networks are contributing to the conversions. Here’s my free analytics class.

No more excuses! Stop letting these customer service moments slip by!

  1. Download and set up the mobile apps for the social networks that your clientele frequents the most.
  2. Turn on notifications. Now, make sure that you do a “do not disturb” parameters or set the notifications to badges and not sounds so you don’t get woken up in the middle of the night.
  3. Respond in a timely manner. Have the links to Frequently Asked Questions handy so you can just copy and paste.

So, the phone might not be ringing as much lately, it’s because your customers are trying to reach you via social media. Get with the program and stop living in 20th century!

Start with the Free Social Media Marketing Master Class!

How to Use the Google Keyword Tool for SEO

Reading Time: 1 minute

In today’s digital marketing everything from websites to social media profile pages need to be optimized for SEOsearch engine optimization. Besides Google having over 80% of both desktop and mobile searches, each of the social networks has their own powerful internal search engines.

You need to figure out what YOUR TARGET MARKET is going to enter into the search box to find you. Those are keywords, phrases and questions.

That’s where the Google Keyword Tool comes in. It’s free to use, however, it’s part of Google Adwords so you need to set up an Adwords account to use it.

This video is a demonstration of how to use it to optimize for SEO:

The tool also helps when you’re thinking of what to blog about. Nothing like finding out exactly what your target market is searching for so that you can provide it.

Link to the Google Keyword Planner

 

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

Reading Time: 6 minutes

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.

Why You Need to Be On Pinterest for Exposure and SEO

Reading Time: 3 minutes

There are a lot of stressed-out people on Pinterest. How do I know that? I wrote a blog post for one of my clients, Simply Smashing Rage Room (opening in Tempe, BTW) titled, How To Increase the Serotonin In Your Brain. It included an infographic (a graphic with data) which I pinned on Pinterest as soon as I published the article.

Why You Need to Be On Pinterest for Exposure and SEOAs of this time, and it was published on June 23, we’ve had close to 1200 views of that page! Wow! And look where the majority of the people came from! Mind boggling!

I’m not going to go into detail of how you can use Pinterest for your business – whether B2B or B2C. You can view my How-To class here.

What you need to understand is…

You Cannot Ignore Pinterest!

How Pinterest Works

See, when someone pins a picture or video from your website, it takes the link with it. Thus, helping with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) because Google likes relevant back links.

Furthermore, when someone sees the pin and saves it (repins) it to one of their boards, it creates yet another back link to your site.

When someone clicks twice on the pin, it takes them to your website!

The more people pin and repin your pictures and videos, the more “Google Juice” or “Link Love” you’ll get. Make Google happy and it’ll reward you with first page listings when people search for what you have to offer.

If you’re B2B, you might be thinking that it’s not for you. Not true! Go in and search for “technology” or “social media marketing” or “business tips” and you’ll see lots of pins and boards come up with infographics and videos.

People use Pinterest to bookmark and categorize anything that interests them. It’s like a huge bulletin board. We love visuals. The more eye-catching and easy-to-read, the better.

You might be afraid of Pinterest because it’s distracting. Yes, it can be. If I’m there working for a client and I’ve allocated 15 minutes, I set a timer.

Moreover, keep business and personal separate. Setup a business account or convert a personal one on Business.Pinterest.com. If I’m following you for business, I don’t want to see pet tips or hot hairstyles.

When social media marketing is done properly it can be very effective. However, you need to understand the nuances of each of the social networks. Each one is different. The only one that covers all generations is Facebook. The others have specific user demographics.

Free Download: Define Your Target Market WorkbookYou need to clearly define your target market(s) before you can effectively promote your business online. Click here to download the free workbook!

This also proves why analytics are so important. You must measure and go over your insights and statistics at least once a month. Here’s a free analytics class!

How to Use Branding and Color for Your Online Image

Reading Time: 1 minute

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 Save Time with Free Social Media Tools

Reading Time: 1 minute

Social Media Marketing is time-consuming. There’s some upfront “sweat equity” that you have to put in on research, setting up, creating content and building a following. Once the following is built, then you can manage your social media in 30 minutes a day! Yes, it can be done. Here are the free social media marketing tools that I use to both keep myself sane and save a ton of time!

You should have watched all the network videos first.

Time-Saving Social Media Marketing Tools:

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

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

Reading Time: 1 minute

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

 

How to Develop Social Media Marketing Strategies for Your Business

Reading Time: 1 minute

With so many digital media choices out there, you must develop specific social media marketing strategies for your  business. Otherwise, you’re going to waste precious time, money and resources not getting the results you want. In this video, I show you how to do this and how to come up with strategies for each individual network. I recommend taking this class AFTER you’ve done the basic videos for each network.

How to Develop Social Media Marketing Strategies for Your Business


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

Use the free templates in this blog post.