Using Email Marketing To Become ‘Top Of Mind’ To Consumers

Email marketing can be an extremely effective way to ensure you remain top of mind with consumers and build your brand recognition. As technology continues to evolve and people are inundated with emails daily, there is no doubt that utilizing an effective email marketing strategy is an essential component to remain relevant and successful.

Email marketing is all about making sure your message stands out in someone’s inbox and encourages them to act. It can be incredibly useful for establishing relationships with your consumers and building an ongoing relationship that leads to sales. When done properly, email marketing has been proven to be a highly effective way to communicate with your customers.

First, when building an email marketing strategy, it’s important to define a goal for the campaign and how it will contribute to your overall goals. Once the goal has been set, you should develop an email list of potential and current customers who are interested in the topic and relevant products and services. Creating email list segments can be extremely effective and ensure you send relevant emails to the right people.

Secondly, when crafting emails, it’s essential to use visuals to ensure your messages stand out. Consumers respond positively to creative and visually stimulating content, so ensure to incorporate images and videos that draw attention. It would help if you also used personalization tactics such as using a recipient’s first name or the date in the email subject line. It’s also important to have an easily identifiable brand voice in the email that stands out.

Third, consider segmenting emails to better target audiences. Segmenting emails allows you to provide specific information that relates to their interest and ensures that you are sending content that will appeal to them. Additionally, create emails with CTAs (Call-To-Action) to drive sales or draw more attention to products and services. Finally, ensure your emails have an optimized mobile experience and utilize email automation that takes into account specific consumer triggers such as cart abandonment.

Overall, using an email marketing strategy is an essential part of becoming top of mind with your consumers. If done properly, emails can effectively increase brand recognition, build relationships with consumers, and help convert potential customers into paying customers. Ensure to utilize of effective tactics such as segmentation and personalization, utilize visuals and CTAs, and optimize for mobile. By taking the time to build a solid email marketing strategy, you will be able to become top of mind with consumers and create an ongoing, positive relationship that will help you achieve success.

If you’re ready to take your emakl marketing to the next level, contact us here!

Why Acknowledging Customer Feedback and Reviews Matters for Your Digital Marketing Plan

Why Acknowledging Customer Feedback and Reviews Matters for Your Digital Marketing Plan

Closing the Customer Feedback Loop

Digital avenues of access between businesses and their customers are plentiful these days, and no matter what your business sells, customer feedback and reviews matter now more than ever. 

Making the most of these interactions is an essential part of any savvy digital marketing strategy, as two-thirds of online consumers say they reference reviews when deciding whether or not to complete a purchase. That’s quite the spotlight at an incredibly important crossroads, so brands need to take steps to ensure their customer reviews and feedback shine.

Responding to outreaches creates a closed-loop customer feedback system. This varies from an open-loop system, which merely gathers data, by directly responding to customers who reach out. Closing the loop doesn’t just mean happier customers, it often means the difference between a one-time buyer and a long-term, loyal supporter.

Improve Customer Retention Rate

Whether on product reviews, social media comments, or email responses, there is no faster way to retain customers than by providing an exemplary interaction experience.

Responding to inquiries, comments, and even critiques in an honest manner builds trust between brands and customers. These impressions add up and affect a business’s bottom line, as even a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 29% increase in revenue.

Acknowledging feedback and reviews within twenty-four hours has been additionally linked to increased trust—and ultimately meaningful actions. Instant automated responses are a great tool to let customers know their outreach has been received, but ideally, they should be followed up by a representative shortly thereafter to fully close the loop and help guarantee retention.

Find Your Ace

If your business offers several similar products or services, it won’t take long for customer feedback and reviews to let you know which ones are a cut above the rest.

Identifying your ace—or most popular product—is an insight that digital marketing teams should keep a close eye on and be ready to act upon. This information can be documented and shared throughout the internal team so the product receives the proper resources production and marketing-wise to keep the momentum rolling. 

When you hit gold with a product, you’ll know it not just by sales, but by glowing reviews left by customers. Surveys sent a few days or week after a purchase is made are a great tool to gather this data, and help give a business direction with where their digital marketing strategy should focus.

Businesses can even go a step further and reach out to positive reviews leaving customers to see precisely what they enjoyed and then replicate the effect in other products or services.

Quick Tips 

Customers appreciate businesses that take the time to acknowledge their feedback and reviews, as it shows the business is willing to listen—and act—to better serve their needs. 

The trust created and insights gained makes an active, customer-friendly response system to feedback an easy cornerstone around which brands can build their digital marketing strategy. 

Digital marketing strategy is what we do at The Artist Evolution. For more tips and tricks of the trade, check out our blog here for additional advice.

The Benefits of a Brand Explanation Video-4

The Benefits of a Brand Explanation Video

In today’s busy world, attention is its own form of currency, and sometimes a single medium just doesn’t catch the attention of drifting digital eyes. The average online attention span is just eight seconds, an incredibly short amount of time for a brand to make an effective impression. One solution that’s taken the business world by storm is brand explanation videos, as they are a varied, digestible form of content that effectively hooks an audience’s attention quickly and keeps it there with quality information. A well-made brand video can educate an audience, tell a unique story, and so much more—all in an aesthetically pleasing manner that retains the audience’s attention.

To fully understand the value of a brand explanation video, it’s helpful to start with the basics of why quality content matters in the first place.

Quality Content Creates a Real Connection

The best way to stand out from the herd online is not to imitate your competitors, but to find your unique angle and lean into authenticity. Audiences are inundated with information and the average American sees anywhere between 4,000-10,000 ads per day.

With so much exposure, most fail to make any kind of lasting impression, let alone a positive one. The mental associations brand explanation videos create stay in their audience’s minds long after the one to three-minute runtime and affect their overall perception of a brand’s value.

Quality content creates connections between business and their audience like nothing else, and brand explanation videos are a format that’s proven to make an impact.

Define Yourself And Shine

  • What is your brand’s story?

The modern consumer isn’t content with just knowing about the product they are purchasing, they want to know where it came from, who made it, and why it matters. This isn’t just empty curiosity either, as studies show consumers are 55%more likely to make a purchase and support brands with a story that they love.

In a brand explanation video, businesses can briefly cover their background story and convey company values to paint an honest portrayal of themselves to their audience.

  • What value does your business bring to customers?

Whether it’s a product or service, customers trade their valuable time and money to find something that fixes an issue or enhances their life.

Explaining exactly what your business does—and why this matters—is essential to establish early once you have their attention. By the end of a brand explanation video, customers will shift from being educated about a brand’s value to being primed for a specific action.

While 96% watch brand explanation videos simply to learn more, an equally impressive 88% cite they have been persuaded to make a purchase based on their effect.

  • How are you different from competitors?

Those who choose to create brand explanation videos take an active role in laying out the current status of their industry, which establishes them as an authority compared to those who do not.

Acknowledging the current industry pain points displays that a brand has practical experience with common struggles. Outlining effective solutions goes a step further in showing how your brand functions, and the core value they bring to the table.

Standing out from competitors doesn’t mean dragging others down, but letting your brand’s unique value shine bright and clear.

Ask Yourself Some Serious SEO Questions

Search Engine Optimization (SEO for short) has never been more important, but most businesses have only a basic awareness of what it is. There are over 8.5 billion searches on Google, and the results are organized based on several factors.

In essence, if you want to rank high when people search for terms relevant to your business, then you need unique, creative content that contains and supports the relevant keywords.

  • Have you identified brand keywords?

Brand videos with targeted meta keywords make for a powerful tool for any brand’s SEO  strategy. By owning the right keywords, a business’ search engine rankings and organic traffic increase, which leads to attention and subsequent sales.

When coupled with meta descriptions that target a brand’s top priority keywords, brand explanation videos can help a business’ SEO ranking soar and garner attention from interested individuals near and far.

  • What’s your brand SEO strategy?

If you don’t have a long-term SEO strategy in place yet, then one of the best places to start is with a brand explainer video.

One of the beautiful things about a brand explainer video is the flexibility of its use once made. Each page that uses the brand explanation video further increases SEO rankings while also furthering your public outreach.

The King of Digital Content – Brand Video👑

Over the past five years, video viewership has skyrocketed 249% and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. So how did video content get such an impressive crown?  It’s simple. The two most immediate reasons for video content success are audience recall and SEO impact.

Illustrating a brand’s services and products visually gives content additional dimensions beyond just photos or words. Video impressions simply have more mental staying power.

Audiences who are actively seeking out a product or service, but don’t know what brand is best, often determine their choice via who ranks highly on search engines. Even a quality brand won’t get the opportunity to convert customers if its page is buried beneath competitors on key common search terms. When taken together, these effects build an effective bridge between businesses and consumers.

Quick Tips 

It’s a busy world out there and capturing—and keeping—an audience’s attention is the name of the game. Here are some quick and easy tips to help get you there with your very own brand explanation video:

  • Be authentic and consistent with your messaging.
    • Before customers get to know your brand, you need a clear, refined vision of it to present.
  • Once you have the stage, make your time count!
    • Explain early who you are, what you do, and why your services work!
  • Set yourself up for long-term success with SEO optimization
    • Set time aside to determine your brand’s top-targeted keywords and phrases

Businesses that utilize video content have increased from 60% to 81% over the past five years, and this rate is only expected to climb in time for good reason. Don’t get left in the digital dust when it comes to video content.

Interested in crafting an effective brand explanation video but not sure where to begin? Then contact us today, and our team will walk you through all the steps.

Digital marketing strategy is what we do at The Artist Evolution. For more tips and tricks of the trade, check out our blog here for additional advice.

The Pros and Cons of Social Media Marketing

One of the most common complaints business owners make about social media marketing is that putting your business on the social media platform is that the platform is so…well…public. When you run a great marketing plan, you can go viral and gain followers as well as customers. If you mess up…everyone, including your competitors, will know about it. So, if you are a business owner or manager, how can you delve into social media without going viral for all the wrong reasons?

What Is Social Media?

Social media are apps that people use to share content and communicate with each other. Social media has been around since the early 2000s, and businesses are increasingly using it to market to their customers. Businesses use social media platforms as marketing tools because over 80% of people who are on social media have clicked on a link and gone online to shop. It is profitable for businesses to be on social media. 

However, if you are planning on using social media platforms, you need to know some of the advantages and some of the disadvantages of social media. 


  1. Social media allows businesses to spread awareness about their company, their merchandise, or their brand. It is estimated that 7 in 10 Americans use social media daily. 
  • Social media allows businesses more exposure to potential customers all over the world. In the past, small businesses stayed small because only a small number of people viewed the business each day. Through social media, the reach of your company expands. 
  • Social media allows you to constantly post on business-specific topics, such as new products or services, promotions or giveaways, product demonstrations, and product reviews. 
  • Social media allows businesses to interact with their customers all the time, no matter where they are located. It provides one on one interactions that print media just can’t give. 
  • Social media is relatively free, making it a great way for small businesses to get their information, goods, and services out. 

Sounds Amazing! But, There Are Some Cons as Well

Here are some disadvantages of using social media. 

  1. Businesses on social media run the risk of negative exposure, which can be costly in terms of reputation and sales. 
  • As your business grows, you will have to spend time and money on your social media feeds, especially if you use more than one. 
  • Maintaining a public persona is difficult to achieve because there is far more negativity on social media than there is positivity. Internet trolls are everywhere, and social media means you are taking a significant risk. 

Tips for Navigating Social Media

If you want to advertise your small business on social media, here are some tips you may want to think about. 

  • If jumping into tons of social media platforms gives you hives, think about starting with one. Choose a social media platform that best suits your business. Here is a small sample of which social media platforms might be right for you. 

TikTok and Instagram–aimed at younger audiences

  • Pinterest–food, design, or craft and hobby
    • Facebook–established brands or audiences 30-35 years old and older
    • Twitter–established brands, design, web, engineers, scientists, and print/politics. 
    • LinkedIn–business, sales, marketing, and networking companies
  •   Be as authentic as possible on your social media platforms.  
  • Give your audience a voice in what you put on social media. Maybe your audience loves new product demonstration videos. 

Some Famous Social Media Foibles 

  • In 2019, Chase Bank wrote a poem and posted it on Twitter to encourage their customers to save money. However, the public found the poem was teasing too much about its customers spending habits. After Elizabeth Warren retweeted a new poking fun at the original poem, the post went viral–which meant lots of bad publicity for Chase. 
  • For April Fool’s Day in 2018, IHOP, or the International House of Pancakes, tweeted that it was changing its name to the International House of Burgers, or IHOb. Because it was April Fool’s Day, customers were confused and thought IHOP was joking. Other people used the “rebranding” to poke fun at the company. Definitely not IHOP’s best day. 
  • In 2021, Burger King wanted to advertise that it had begun a campaign to fund scholarships for more women to attend culinary school. Their tweet “Women Belong in The Kitchen” happened to fall on International Women’s Day, meaning the tweet went viral, and the restaurant was buried in negativity. 
  • American Airlines wanted to send out Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts in 2020 in support of Pride Month. However, LGBTQ+ organizations quickly called the company out because the company donated to businesses that supported anti-LGQTQ+ agendas. 

Remember, you can tackle your social media marketing plans one social media platform at a time. Once you become proficient with one platform, you can move on to another one. Remember, if you begin small, you have time to expand. Your expertise can grow as your business grows.

For more information on social media marketing contact us here.

Google Broad Core Update

Google Broad Core Update: What Website Owners Should Know

Broad Core Update: What Website Owners Should Know

You may have heard of Google broad core updates and if you’re like a lot of website owners this can cause some anxiety and have you questioning whether your site’s SEO may be negatively impacted or it will stand the test of the oh-so-intimidating broad core update. 

So what is a broad core update? These are Google broad core updates rolled out every few months with the specific purpose to improve search results and make search results more relevant for Google users. Essentially, they are updates designed to increase the overall applicability of search results to ensure they’re useful to searchers.

The primary focus of broad code updates is a site’s content, not necessarily the overall quality of your site. Here’s what website owners should know. 

It’s All About the Goods

Google claims that its algorithm reviews website’s for content relevancy… so it’s all about the goods. When thinking about broad core updates, you’ll want to be hypervigilant when it comes to your content. Here are some questions you should ask yourself if you want to give your content a boost. 

Content Quality 

  • Is your content original & comprehensive? 

Google bots are looking for quality content that stands out. That means if your content isn’t original and matches that of competing websites, it won’t stand out. Basically, you want to be an expert with your own ideas presented in unique and compelling ways. 

  • Does your content go beyond the obvious? 

Assuming you’re in a competitive market, there will be several sites with information similar to yours. How does yours stand out? The algorithm rewards content that goes beyond the standard and goes deeper into the topics at hand. Again, it’s best when done creatively via various media, i.e. your company blog, social media, videos, and graphics. 

  • Is your content factual? 

The Google algorithm has methods of fact-checking and can determine whether the information is obviously false or unreliable. For more reasons than SEO, you need to ensure the information you put out into the world is factual, reliable, and helpful to your website visitors. 

  • Are you using headings and subheadings to summarize information coherently?

Are you creating content that is easy to read? The goal is to make your content easy to find and readable. That means using headings and subheadings to splice up your content into searchable nuggets of valuable information. 

Be an Authority 

  • Is your content presented in a way that is authoritative and trustworthy?

Presentation matters. It’s a huge green flag when your site and information are referenced by others. This tells Google that you’re an authority. So if you want to be at the top of search results, and stay there, then work on *how* you’re delivering information along with *what* you’re trying to say. 

  • Will visitors find indicators that your site is an authority and should be trusted? 

What we mean by indicators are things that would trigger a typical visitor, or Google bot, into believing your site is reputable. Whether that be industry affiliations, articles referencing your company, valid backlinks to your site, etc. This all contributes to whether Google categorizes your site as reliable. 

  • Are you giving expert advice? 

At the end of the day, you can’t fake being an expert. To really portray authority and knowledge you need expertise. Use the experts on your team to get the best content possible and interview external experts if you need to, but ensure what you’re putting out is top-shelf. 

Bringing it Home

  • Is your message being delivered as professionally as possible… or is there room to improve?

You can have a great team, great ideas, and expertise but if you are delivering information in a sloppy manner, that’s not going to be good for your brand’s reputation or your SEO. Utilize your organization’s copyeditor/communication department to clean up the great content you’ve collected. If you have to go outside your organization, it’s worth the investment. The goal is to be an expert and to deliver your knowledge with the same aptitude. 

  • Is content mass-produced?

We’ve touched on this, but your content should be unique to your site. The Google algorithm ranks content lower when it finds it is “mass-produced.” Even if you’re using similar ideas as other sites, take the time to recreate the content so that it’s unique to your page.  

  • Is it easy to understand? 

Again, it’s important for your text to be readable. Always, always check your content to make sure you’re communicating as clearly and concisely as possible. You want to have good information but you don’t want your texts to be too long and convoluted. 

Compare and Contrast 

When compared to competing sites, does yours seem to be serving the interests of searchers, or does it have an aura of self-interest? Think about some sites you view as authorities (both inside and outside your industry). What is it that gives you the impression that it’s trustworthy? You want to take this insight and recreate the concepts you gather to re-invent your site if needed. 

Nothing but the EAT 

Google also enrolls search quality raters. While these folks don’t determine SEO rankings directly, they give Google advice on if it seems their algorithm is working as it should. 

It’s good to understand how raters are trained because then you’ll know what they look for and how you can mold your content with that knowledge. 

Raters are trained to search for whether content lives up to Google’s E-A-T standard. E-A-T is short for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. To learn more, check out this article

Quick Tips 

  • Broad-core updates happen every few months. If you’ve made improvements to your site since the last update, don’t expect to see those changes reflected in your SEO ranking until the next update is released. 
  • Having said that, Google regularly updated algorithms between updates which means you may still notice some positive change before the next broad core update if you get ahead of needed improvements now. 
  • Finally, don’t attach expectations to your site improvements. SEO is impacted by many things and just because you’ve completed some much-needed improvements *doesn’t mean you should expect to jump to the top of search rankings, necessarily. However Google claims that they are constantly searching for relevant content, so focusing on your content is the recipe for success. 

Get more marketing advice by browsing our collection of tips and resources, here.

Dos and Don’ts to Remember When Creating a New Website

Whether you’re creating an all new website for your burgeoning business or launching a new website to revamp an established brand, it always feels like a daunting task. It’s virtually a blank slate and you need to decide how you would like to fill it, and with what. 

That’s why we want to take some time to break it down for you, to ease your anxieties and help you through the process. First off, you don’t have to do it alone. There are many professional web builders who can help you along the way, whether you choose to go with a freelance designer or an actual agency is up to you and your budget. But bottomline: don’t stress, it’s not going to be as overwhelming as it seems. 

Even if you are having the website designed for you, there are some things you should be prioritizing, and looking for, to ensure your site’s success. That’s what we’re talking about in this article: 4 of the primary goals you need to incorporate in your website creation process and the dos and don’ts associated with each. So, here are the dos and don’ts to remember when creating a new website. 

  1. User Experience & Design 

First and foremost your website needs to look good, have a decent page load time and be easy to navigate. Do not skimp on your user experience and overall design. The ultimate goal of your site is to get users to visit and stay a bit. If it’s frustrating for users to find what they’re looking for or if your page loads slowly… or even if it’s harsh to look at, visitors will drop your website like a hot potato… and probably won’t be back. Here are some dos and don’ts to consider when designing your webpage for functionality and style. 

Do- Be creative and use quality visuals

Your website gives visitors a quick look inside your brand. For the same reason you would plan out an appropriate outfit before going to a job interview, you want to think about the impression your page makes on those viewing it. You want your website to look and feel good. This means using high-caliber visuals, designing for balance using excellent-quality, eye-catching photography/graphics/art. If you incorporate videos on your webpage, the same rules apply. Don’t skimp on quality. One on-point, well-made video can take your brand farther than 100 subpar alternatives. 

Don’t- Overstimulate and distract visitors

While it’s important to be creative, it’s as important to not be distracting. A tastefully placed image or graphic is good, but too many images and graphics will make your site look overwhelming, not to mention is sure to slow down your load times. Shoot for creating a balance between visually interesting and sleek. Remember: even if your site is promoting graphics and artwork, it’s still possible to show too much! 

Do- Plan your site’s navigation

How visitors are able to travel through your website might be the single most important facet to website creation. Basically, it can’t be hard. You have to, must, use established user experience practices and common sense to create an easy flow to your site’s navigation. One rule to remember, don’t overload your navigation bar. Keep is simple while including the most important/most visited pages. Another thing that’s integral to site navigation is including a search bar feature. That way if something isn’t easily found, visitors still have that safety net and will possibly stay on your site, instead getting discouraged and immediately exiting. 

If you’re looking for some help along the way, try the tool Milanote

Don’t- Be sloppy

Don’t be sloppy sounds simple enough. But, there are many different facets that can interfere with a clean website design. Here are a few.

First, using hard to read fonts. You need to get your message across, don’t let a simple thing like font choice get in the way of a good message. There are many fonts that aren’t so easy to read on a screen so make sure you’re using a good option that is complementary to your overall design. To learn more on fonts ideal for web design, click here

Other things that help with your overall design: avoiding big walls of text, distracting colors, linking to other pages on your site that open in new tabs, forcing horizontal scrolling, using hijack scrolling, showing too many stock/generic images and too many pop-ups. To name a few. 

Do- Encourage visitors to scroll

You want a website that keeps visitors wanting more. You can achieve this with clever design tactics that encourage users to keep scrolling. Treat it like you’re teasing a story, so pretend you’re creating a commercial that’s meant to get people to tune-in to a new show. What is the main event? Want to learn more? Keep users scrolling down to keep them on your page for longer and to create an overall compelling website that engages your audience. 

Don’t- Forget about mobile

It’s hard to imagine anyone actually forgetting about mobile users, given they account for the majority of website visitors, but it’s so important that it’s worth a brief mention. Although you will, most likely, be designing your site on a larger screen, your website site has to be mobile-friendly. Meaning it has to convert to mobile-friendly usability when viewed from those kind of devices. If you don’t know how to achieve this yourself, there are countless web designers that will be happy to assist. 

Do- Have calls to action

Having a call to action is perfect for sites pushing a promotion or trying to understand their audience better. For example, the classic “submit your email address for 20% off” or a link to your “new winter collection.” Users expect calls to action and many are visiting your site for promotions so will be happy for the ease of access. Just don’t overload your visitors. Keep it to just a couple of the most relevant actions you’re looking for at any given time. 

Don’t- Be too salesy 

That being said, don’t insult your web viewers. Don’t push the sale too hard. Have the attitude “I have a great product, service, concept and once viewers understand what I’m selling, they can make informative decisions on their own.” Your website is a persuasive selling tool but just as you don’t want to be pushy with customers in-person, you don’t want to be pushy virtually either. Simply focus on communicating why you’re the best option and make it easy for users to contact you. 

Do- Think about the design details

Think about the details. A good website isn’t going to be designed in a day and you want to give yourself, and your team, the time to get it right. Consider the details that will set your website apart. Create the appropriate white space needed for a good flow, think about a color scheme that is aligned with your brand and doesn’t sacrifice visual appeal/readability. Now’s the time to think about these things, so give yourself room to get it right. 

Don’t- Fall for trendy gimmicks 

Don’t buy-into trends without considering the consequences. For example, using gifs and loud colors might seem like good attention-getters, but those are also sure to distract and have a big impact on your oh-so-important page load times. This isn’t to say that all trends are bad. Just think about what you’re doing before you do it, and don’t sacrifice other design edicts for the sake of a gimmick. 

Do- Test it out 

You’ll want to test out your design, and don’t get too attached if your first, or first few attempts aren’t working. Google Analytics is your friend and if the data shows pitfalls in your website’s design, trust the data. This is how you’ll know if people are staying on your site and where/when they choose to exit, giving you an important look into the brain of your users. Be sure to test what works, stay adaptable, track the data and pivot when necessary. 

  1. Branding

Another factor to consider when creating your website is how it should be aligned with the brand you’re promoting. 

This means making sure you incorporate your brand’s style guide when creating your website. If you don’t have a style guide for your brand, this is the ideal time to create one. That way, your messaging is consistent across all platforms. I.e. incorporating the appropriate pantones for your brand’s signature colors, using the correct logos/fonts and avoiding words and phrases that don’t represent the brand. Of course, some things might have to be adjusted. For example, if your style guide has fonts that don’t convert well to web. Here are a few dos and don’ts to remember. 

Do- Be consistent with your brand’s personality 

Your website is a pitch of sorts, and you want to highlight your brand’s personality. Design and copy choices should be made with personality in mind. If you’re promoting an outdoors brand then there should be that rugged, outdoorsy feel throughout your site. If it’s a luxury brand you’re promoting then you’ll want to pay close attention to creating a sophisticated feel with your design choices. Bottomline: the site’s personality and your brand’s personality need to be in harmony. 

Don’t- Neglect your brand’s best attributes 

Don’t neglect your brand’s best attributes. What we mean by this is to use design choices to best promote what your brand actually is/does. If you’re promoting your photography business, for example, you’ll of course want to have more original imagery on your site (without overdoing it and creating a problem with load times). If you’re promoting a new piece of equipment then you’ll want to be sure to have a video or infographic on how it works. What is your audience looking for and how can you deliver that information most efficiently? 

Do- Include your brand’s story 

Including a brand story is a great way to get its message out there as a stalwart model that curious visitors can keep going back to. This is your chance to explain how your brand came about, what its mission is and your vision for its future. Take the time to creatively, and concisely, explain your brand’s purpose, values and personality. 

Don’t- Forget to use the tool’s at your disposal 

Don’t forget that your website comes with tools so you can continue promoting your brand far after your go-live date. For example, your blog can be used to continue the business of branding and should match its personality and goals. Which brings us to our next section… 

  1. Content 

Your site is a platform that can showcase what your brand is all about and what better way to do that than with fresh content that keeps visitors coming back. One way to produce new content is through your blog, but you can also use videos, infographics and other creative tools to take your site to the next level. Here are some dos and don’ts to content development.

Do- Create fresh content

Don’t let your site get stale. Create a content development calendar and keep it coming. Fresh content engages users, gives you something you can share/promote via email/social media, drives visitors to your site and keeps them on your site for longer. Not to mention keeps them coming back.

Don’t- Publish big walls of text

Believe it or not, people don’t like to read that much. Or at least don’t want to feel like they have a huge amount of reading to do. It feels like homework. So when you publish a post, make sure it’s broken up into easy-to-read sections. That way if a reader is just looking for a certain topic within the overall topic, they can find it easier. This also encourages people to keep reading and is flat-out easier on the eyes.

Do- Have a trove of evergreen content

What are some topics you can cover that you know your audience is interested-in and will keep coming back for? Delve into these topics with quality, evergreen content and publish, and re-publish. This will save you some work and the increased traffic to these pages tells Google your site is an expert on the topic(s). Which also increases your SEO. 

Don’t- Try to cover too many topics at once 

Hone-in. You’ll need all the ideas you can dream up, so don’t spend too much time on a wide array of topics. Think of something really specific, create a great headline and work on fleshing out that one thing. You’ll have plenty of time for all the tertiary topics later, and you’ll be happy to have the content. 

  1. SEO 

Last but not least, SEO. You need to be thinking about search engine optimization from the get-go and create a site that supports your SEO-goals from the beginning. There’s a plethora of things that go into making a site good for SEO, including: keywords, backlinks, traffic, alt tags, regular new content and metadata. For example, metadata is information you can insert into the bones of your site at the design level that increases SEO. You should be thinking about metadata during the creation process. Here are some things you need to know about metadata and why it’s so important for SEO. And, here are a few more dos and don’ts you should know.  

Do- use keywords

Keywords are popular words and phrases that your target audience searches for. You’ll want to sprinkle these keywords throughout your site, so Google identifies your site as a leading expert in the topic and pairs your site with the searches, leading to increased search engine appearances. You can use Google Analytics to find searches your audience most uses, and create keywords based on that data.

Don’t- use too many keywords

But, you don’t want to use too many keywords or too often. This is considered keyword stuffing, and actually has the reverse effect of increasing SEO. Google bots identify the overuse as unnatural, and you’ll appear lower on search appearances. So find keywords and use them where they make sense, but don’t overdo it.

Do- Create a network of links

Linking to other pages on your site, and linking to other reputable sites, is a great way to increase SEO. One thing you should remember: if you’re linking to an external site then it needs to be a good source. Linking to sites of disrepute will have a negative impact on SEO. But, when you’re creating content, keep linking in mind. Always try to add some internal and external links within your content to give it an added boost.

Don’t- Have broken links on your site

While linking is great, having broken links is not great. Google bots aren’t fond of broken links. So, be sure to make a habit of checking links to make sure they still work. Need some help? Check out these tools that will help you scan for broken links. 

SEO is a complex topic, one we can’t cover in a single section. We recently delved deeper into the top of SEO and what you can do to improve your site’s search appearances. To learn even more on the topic check out 13 Ways to Improve Your Site’s SEO

Creating a website isn’t a simple task. There are many things you can get wrong, and there are a lot of steps that go into it beyond the obvious. Remember we’re here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out for advice and be sure to check out our collection of tips and resources, here.

13 Ways to Improve Your Site’s SEO

Let’s face it. For many companies appearing high on the list of search engine appearances is make or break. Search engines, namely Google, can have a tremendous impact on brand awareness, industry influence and your bottomline. So, what does this mean? Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, should be a priority for most, if not all, competitive businesses. Sure, your product is better than the others, but no one is going to know about it if it’s not in front of their face. That’s why SEO is at the top of the list for most digital marketing strategies, and that’s why even mom-and-pop businesses are getting in the SEO game, making it that much more important to be at the top of yours. Sure, you can hire an SEO expert, or a marketing company, to take the burden of your shoulders. But, there are some things you can do for yourself, and it’s not as hard as it sounds. We’ve put together a list of some changes you can make today to help your business get the attention it deserves. Here are 13 ways to improve your site’s SEO. 

  1. Help search engines find your site with a sitemap 

First and foremost, the best way to make sure Google can find your site is to submit a sitemap. A sitemap is basically a profile on your site that tells search engines about your site and updates them when you add new pages or update existing pages. Confirming whether you have a sitemap, and submitting one if you don’t, should be your first stop on your SEO improvement journey. 

Need a little help? Lear more on building and submitting a sitemap here

  1. Become a Google Analytics pro

If you aren’t already tracking your website traffic with Google Analytics, you need to start doing that right away. Why? Because it gives you a glimpse into the mind of your site’s visitors: what they’re interested in, what they’re clicking on and when they choose to exit the page. Google Analytics can reveal if there are challenges with your site’s navigation, when and where visitors get bored and leave. On the flip side, it also shows you what’s working. 

For example, if you have an explainer video on one of your pages that is keeping visitors engaged and on your site longer, you might not know it but that does more than educate potential customers, it tells search engines that your site is relevant. Using this tool will help you identify what’s working, so you can do more of it. 

You can also customize Google Analytics to track different conversion points on your site, that way you are getting the data you need to support different campaigns you’re testing out. In short, Google analytics provides you confirmation on whether your SEO efforts are actually working. Essentially, it’s important to track your website traffic. Over time the data will be your guiding light, revealing what’s working… and what needs work. 

Don’t let this overwhelm you, getting started isn’t rocket science and Google provides free courses to show you how. 

  1. Make sure your website is SSL certified

Whether or not a site is SSL certified is one of the top ways Google ranks websites. Hundreds of millions of websites on the internet don’t have a SSL certificate installed which means it’s dropping their search ranking dramatically. So what is it?

An SSL certificate authenticates a website’s identity and authorizes an encrypted connection: basically meaning it secures your internet connection and prevents cyber-criminals from modifying information or exposing sensitive data, like customer or transaction details. 

You need to get a SSL certificate and ensure it’s installed on your website for more reasons than one, but SEO is on the list. Here’s a guide to securing and installing a SSL certificate

Quick tip: to tell if your site or others are SSL certified, look at it’s URL. If it begins with https instead of http, then the site is secured.

  1. Optimize your website

Next, make sure your website is running at an optimal level. What we mean by that is, is it loading fast? Does the user interface (ui) make sense? Does it have a streamlined user experience (ux) design? 

Website conversion rates drop an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time, according to Portent. Focus on load speeds, navigation, and easy-to-understand content. Don’t insult your visitor’s intelligence but also pretend you’re making the site for a person with a 5th grade education. That’s because even adult users don’t want to have to think about their next click, they want, rather need, it to be easy. 

Think about it like spring cleaning, just make a habit out of reviewing your site for unnecessary code, updating your site to look clean/modern and easy to scan and replace content, like images and videos that are optimized for the web (more on this later). This will tell Google your site is user-friendly and naturally retain more visitors for longer… thus improving your SEO. 

Here are more tips on how you can get started on optimizing your website today. 

  1. Create a network of links

Creating a network of links throughout your website is a great way to improve your SEO. When a website links to yours it’s called backlinking. You want this to happen because Google will view the information as important and that improves your SEO. You also want to link to other, reputable sites. But be careful because some sites are not considered reputable or secure and linking to these could be counterproductive because Google will see it as a negative. 

Make a habit of linking to reputable sources, checking those links regularly to ensure they’re still working (having links that no longer work is bad for SEO) and adding internal links throughout your site too. Internal linking happens when you link from one page of your site to the next. 

For example, here’s a blog we recently published on how to select the right marketing company. That’s an internal link. It helps SEO and makes your website more user-friendly. 

Quick tip: you can use tools like Dead Link Checker to scan your website for links that are no longer working. 

  1. Focus on quality content 

To become relevant and remain relevant you need to rely heavily on the quality and quantity of your content. Compelling content will attract visitors and, even better, repeat (or even regular) visitors. 

One way to do this is by creating an engaging blog series that interests people. This gets people on your site, keeps them on your site for a while, may get them to come back later and builds your reputation as a category expert. 

Few things to keep in mind: make sure you’re creating simple, engaging headlines (take the extra time to really make your headline pop), divide your articles into sections so it’s not a big block of words (this will make it easier for readers to find what they’re looking for and encourages them to keep reading), and choose evergreen content. Not all content is evergreen content but creating a reliable cache of content you can go back to, revamp and re-publish will save you time and helps to build your brand without a whole lot of extra work. 

Quick tip: blogs are a great way to practice your new skills on optimizing your website. I.e. linking and optimizing images/using headers. More on that in our next section. 

Extra tip: you can use tools like this one to help you optimize your headlines. 

  1. Optimize your images

Visuals are, of course, great for your site. But you need to make sure they are optimized if you expect them to improve your SEO. This means you need to format and size them correctly. Huge images might give you the pop you’re looking for but actually are bad for site navigation and slows down your page loading time. Resize/compress images to optimize them. 

Quick tip: images are a great opportunity to sneak in some key words and phrases. Name your image something you think your customers might search for, like “best forklift rental in west Michigan.” More on keywords later!

Extra tip: you can use tools like this one to make sure the images you’re using are optimized. 

  1. Headers, headers, headers 

We touched on this already but it’s worth an extra mention. Adding extra headings on your pages is always a good thing. You want to break up your content into easily readable nuggets so it holds people’s attention. This helps your user interface/visual appeal and encourages visitors to stay on your site longer. Thus improving your SEO ranking. So in short, no big blocks of information, break those suckers up.

  1. Include videos and infographics 

Good content doesn’t necessarily mean blogs and articles. People process visuals 60,000x faster than words. Videos serve the same purpose as an article and can be a great way to get your message out effectively. Think about ways you can add compelling multimedia to your site. Animated videos have been shown to increase conversion rates by up to six times. 

Think about other ways to increase multimedia use on your site. Informational videos from industry experts in your organization, slideshows and infographics are just a few of your options! 

Consider infographics. This is a phenomenal way to increase traffic to your site. Creating a compelling infographic that interests your audience will keep people on your site, is easy to link to and is very popular when it comes to backlinks. Think hard about a topic you can create an infographic on and then spend time on creating a really good one. Hire a freelance graphic designer if you need to. The goal is an infographic that captures people’s attention and is well-designed. This could result in a huge boost to web traffic, not to mention industry influence and brand awareness. 

Quick tip: pair your multimedia with an article for an extra-EXTRA boost to your SEO that really beefs up your web content while you’re at it. 

  1. Use keywords like your business depends on it 

You’ve probably heard it before but one of the best ways to improve your SEO ranking is by using targeted keywords and phrases that are relevant to your target audience. This basically means words and phrases that your potential customers or audience regularly search for. For example, “best bakeries in Charlotte” or “fine dining open for dinner on Sundays.” First you find the phrases you need to incorporate, and then you sprinkle them throughout your website, so that Google (or other search engines) notices and ranks your site higher. 

However you want to be specific, identify just a few words and phrases that best match the audience you’re targeting. Overdoing it with too many keywords is actually counterproductive because sometimes Google notices it as “keyword stuffing,” and your SEO ranking will suffer. 

Quick tip: need a little help determining what keywords you should use? No problem, tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner were created to help you and your site thrive. 

  1. Pay attention to on-page SEO 

Now that you’ve selected your keywords, it’s time to hone-in on your on-page SEO, which, essentially, is how you use target keywords throughout specific webpages. 

Areas you’ll want to incorporate keywords include your actual URL, your title tag (the heading that appears in search results), within the body text of your site, in the meta description of your site (the summary describing your site in search appearances), main headings on your webpage and even your image alt attributes (this is the text you put in to describe your image in the event visitors can’t view it). All these small things can play a big part in improving your SEO ranking. 

Quick tip: use tools like Yoast SEO to see how your on-page SEO stacks up, and how you can improve.

  1. Get set up on Google My Business

This might be obvious but it’s worth a mention. You need a business profile on Google and all other search engines so potential clients will find you if they search for a business like yours. For example, if you’re a shoe store in south Tallahassee and someone searches for “shoe stores in south Tallahassee.” That way search engines can connect you to the customer without much work from you at all. 

There are other features to creating a business profile, which can help your SEO, like sales offers and reviews. More, and better, reviews also (you guessed it) improves SEO ranking.

Quick tip: make sure your business is listed on all relevant sites (Yelp, Facebook, Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, etc.) and ensure business information (address, phone number, etc.) is consistent across the board. Google bots will take notice and this gives your business an extra boost SEO-wise.  

13. Have a strategy

Last but certainly not least, have a strategy. As mentioned previously search engines rank websites higher that are regularly updated with fresh content, so you need a content strategy. Don’t just approach it with a “let’s throw content at the wall and see what sticks” kind of method. Think it through. What’s going to get people’s attention while also aligning with your ethics and the kind of reputation you want to build for your business while improving your SEO? These things aren’t mutually exclusive. Take the extra time to be intentional.

Learn more about the marketing world, here.

How to Choose the Right Marketing Company 

How to Choose the Right Marketing Company 

Choosing a marketing partner may seem daunting. You need to understand your marketing goals, the needs of your company and select the agency best positioned to help you accomplish your objectives, usually within a set, predetermined budget. What company you choose, greatly depends on a series of factors, including: the media best suited to support your organizational message, the scope of your needs, your budget and whether you’re looking for a short-term solution or a long-term relationship. It’s an important decision, and one you shouldn’t rush into. Selecting the wrong marketing team can be an expensive mistake in terms of your actual bottomline and stunted growth. So, first we want to talk about what the beginning stages of finding the right marketing company might look like, then we want to delve into how you can make it all come together.

Baby Steps: The Initial Stages of Finding the Right Marketing Solution For Your Business 

1.) Deciding An Outside Solution is Best for You

There are times when you might not actually need to hire an entire marketing team for your project. Your other options are assigning projects to existing team members, hiring a freelance specialist or creating an internal position designated to the task at hand.

If you need help with a smaller project, a freelance marketing specialist may be your best bet. If you have a small business and you will need consistent marketing needs, hiring someone internally who can learn the ins-and-outs of what you do might be the ideal option for you. You’ll want to consider the possibilities and ensure that agency support is best for you before taking the leap. Once you’ve decided on hiring a marketing partner, it’s time to get to work.

2.) Do Your Homework

This probably won’t come as a surprise, we advise that once you’ve determined outside marketing help is necessary, that you do your homework on all potential marketing partners. You’ll want to do a little extra digging when it comes to testimonials. Although positive testimonials are good indicators of a good experience, they don’t provide the full picture and are, sometimes, illegitimate.

You’ll want to check any other reviews, like Google reviews and Yelp. They may not exist given the nature of the service, but checking won’t hurt and, if some do exist, those can provide valuable insight. You’ll also want to check out sites like, a tool specifically designed to connect companies to the agency best suited to their needs. It can also provide information on what it’s like working with your top-candidate agencies.

3.) Consider the Case Studies

One of the best ways to see if a marketing company is a good fit for what you need is through reviewing their case studies. These will show you how they’ve helped other companies, should provide the numbers to back up your investment and should showcase how their specialties may (or may not) match the demands of your operation.

For example, if you’re needing help with your website, seek out agencies that have case studies showing they’ve created websites that are user-friendly and designed to help their clients track business metrics and the success of the website itself. There should be an attitude of continued improvement, so you want a partner that is willing to look under their own hood to see what’s working and how they can improve the service they’re delivering.

Another thing to keep in mind: seek out agencies that have 2-3 focused specialties parallel with what you need. The best companies know their strengths and sell their strengths. No company is the best at everything so choose one that sells their best services and, of course, those should be in line with your objectives.

Bottomline, reviewing case studies is a great opportunity to see how your potential new partner delivers results to their existing clientele. It’s also a way to compare their strengths against what you’re looking for. If case studies aren’t readily available on their website, reach out to a representative and request the studies or other RIO reports.

4.) Consider the Bill 

Just like other products and services, pricing structures in marketing can run the gamut. Much like anything else, if marketing agencies are offering services at suspiciously low costs, then it’s likely that there’s not a high demand for their services, or they’re cutting costs in ways that may affect the quality of their goods and services. Or, worse even, they don’t have adequate experience in the industry.

Likewise, some agencies have prices at the opposite end of the spectrum, which will leave you wondering: is it worth it? Well, sometimes but not always. And you definitely want to feel confident that you’re getting your money’s worth. Our advice is to go in with a set budget in mind, and only deviate from your initial plan if you’re blown away by a company’s offering, thus justifying expanding your budget somewhat: more bang for your buck.

Essentially, you need to start negotiations with a plan in place, and reasons to back up your spending.

5.) Vet Your Options

You want to treat your potential new marketing partners, much like you’d consider your options when hiring in-house. Along with experience and services that meet your needs, you want to choose a partner that you want to work with. This will make the experience more enjoyable overall. It will also make it smoother when there are inevitable roadblocks you have to navigate. Collaborating with someone you actually like is a lot easier than with someone you are frustrated with. Basically, you should speak with each potential partner and check for shared values and good chemistry. You want it to be a good cultural fit, along with matching services and experience to the goals you need to meet.

Making it Come Together: A Guide to Selecting the Right Marketing Partner 

Once you’ve selected a marketing company, or narrowed down the list to just your top choices, there are some steps you’ll want to take to complete the process and ensure the transition from candidate to partner is a successful one. Don’t just leave it up to your new marketing team to establish the success of the partnership. Of course a good marketing partner should do everything they can to make sure they are meeting your needs, but at the end of the day, it’s your organization’s growth that stands to grow (or not), so you’ll want to be the one to set the seal on your success.

1.) Create the Right Budget Structure 

Okay so you’ve decided on a company, or have it narrowed down to a couple. Now it’s time to negotiate. Once you know who you’ll be working with, you need to create a budget structure that works for your organization. There are usually different pricing structures depending on what you need. For example, some companies choose to hire a company and put them on retainer, which basically means you pay a monthly fee for consistent service in the areas you need. While many times you can opt for a project-based structure, meaning you pay a flat fee for a specific project with well-defined tasks to be completed by the marketing team. Here are some of the options out there and the advantages of each.

Flat-Fee Structure

If you need a specific marketing project completed and you don’t have the experience in-house then this option might be best for you.You’ll pay a flat fee for a service specifically outlined without a long-term contract. Basically, if you need overarching support, this probably isn’t the option for you. If you need a specific project done by a team of experienced marketers but you don’t want to sign-up for ongoing services: consider the flat-fee structure.

Retention via Retainer 

If you want to build your brand and you want a team that can get to know your message and market it well over a significant period of time: then opting to put your marketing team on retainer might be the best option. For example, if you’re looking to improve your SEO, that’s going to take time and knowledge of your industry and what your company offers. By paying a monthly fee, you are allowing your marketing partner to create a long term plan and assign a team of dedicated members to flesh out what your company offers… and get that message to people who need it.


You can also choose an hourly pay structure, which means you’ll pay your marketer based on a set rate and time spent working on your goals. For example, you might be hiring an agency to complete photography needed for packaging on a new product. This isn’t necessarily the only time you’ll work with the agency, but your partnership is such that you shouldn’t consider a retainer structure. You can agree on a rate and what you end up paying will depend on how long it takes to complete. It’s similar but different from project-based because the total you spend can vary from what is initially agreed upon.

You Get What you Pay For

A couple of other budget structures out there orbit around the performance of your marketing partner. For example, a performance-based program may have a base fee with an allowance for continued earning if the project delivers results. You can agree to pay the flat-fee and many marketers will be confident enough to opt-in for the possibility of bonuses if their work meets, and exceeds, your needs. This is a great sign, by the way.

Another example of this is the media spend structure which charges based on multimedia results. I.e. how many times a commercial plays on television or how many times a link is clicked.

2.) Prepare Your Team for Success 

Don’t forget about your staff! It’s critical that your key team members are well-aware of your new marketing partner, what they’ve been hired to do and how they’re expected to support the group effort. You’ll want to include these team members in the initial stages so they have a front row seat to what’s needed from them and have plenty of time to prepare for it. “Team work makes the dream work” and denying access to the talent under your own umbrella limits your own potential and limits creativity you can (and should) tap into.

On a more pragmatic note, every marketing agency is going to need something from you. They’ll be a stream of questions for information and resources and you and your team need to be ready to deliver. Marketing partnerships are marriages, not free-for-alls. Prepare your internal team to support the needs of your new marketing partner: so they can learn the ins-and-outs of your business… and help you take it to the next level.

3.) Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate

When you have your team up-to-speed, you have an agency lined up and you have a budget agreed on, the project will commence. This is no time to zone-out. No one knows your company better than you so you are your most valuable asset. Our point is you should collaborate with your marketing team. Don’t get us wrong, you’ll have to release the reins somewhat and let the professionals do their work, but you also want to pay attention to what’s happening and provide insight when needed. A few things you should take it upon yourself, or members of your internal marketing department, to track:

Learn more about the marketing world, here.

Conversational Marketing

What is Conversational Marketing?

Conversational Marketing is a particular method of inbound marketing that involves engaging with website visitors and converting leads through dialogues. Much of the time this involves automated processes that dialog with the visitor.

What are the Goals of Conversational Marketing? 

The main goal of conversational marketing is to enhance the user experience by a model that uses feedback. This results in more engagement and sales. The goal is to start real-time conversations with potential buyers.

Using Chatbots for Conversational Marketing

People today want instant answers. The old model of getting a lead from a form and then calling them or emailing them to further qualify and answer questions is too slow for the average consumer today. In fact, 82% say that they want an immediate response. Calling people back who have filled out a form is getting more difficult. Only 43% are answering calls. The average landing page conversion rate is now 2.35% and people are only opening 20% of emails.

Chatbots can ask qualifying questions for you. These questions can be similar to what is on your forms and qualifying sales calls. You can use chatbots to engage, understand and make recommendations based on the feedback. Chatbots can help nurture leads to the next stage of buying and can route alerts to the right people on your team based on the responses. It feels more personal to many people than filling out a form without engagement. Rather than one form, Chatbots can ask other questions based on the responses that are given and make necessary recommendations instantly.

People are getting more and more used to dealing with chatbots. You should begin thinking about how conversational marketing can begin to shorten your sales cycles intelligently.