why hire a website design agency when i can do it myself

Why Would I Pay a Website Design Agency to Build My Website When I Could Do it Myself?

why hire a website design agency when i can do it myself

There’s something to be said about putting your best foot forward. When you go for a job interview, you take the time to focus on what you wear so that you make the best possible first impression. Your website can be considered a job interview. It’s what people are going to use when they want to learn more about you. If they like what they see, they’ll continue to interact with the site, sliding further down the sales funnel that you create.

Online marketing begins and ends with a good website.

Acknowledge Your Strengths and Weaknesses

You may be great at what you do. Whether that is being the best dentist in town or the best architect, the reality is that you have your strengths. You don’t have to be the best in everything. As soon as you know what your weaknesses are, you can start to do what’s right for your business.

I learned this the hard way a few years ago. The 2016 El Nino storm resulted in my backyard fence being blown down. I figured, “I got this.” I watched a few YouTube videos and rebuilt my fence. It looked fine. About three years later, another big storm came through. This time, I lost almost my entire fence. I admitted defeat and called a pro.

My point to this story is that there’s no shame in admitting your weaknesses. While you can build your website doesn’t mean that you should. It might look okay at the surface, but your competition may be blowing past you because of insufficient online marketing tactics.

Save Money But Don’t Be Cheap

There’s nothing wrong with saving money. The savviest business owners do it all the time. However, you don’t want to be cheap, either. Many businesses should take a DIY approach for their website when they’re starting out, especially when a budget is tight. After all, there are some great platforms that allow you to take a DIY approach and still have a professional website.

However, it’s important that you have a website planning session to ensure that you’re building your website to meet your needs. Once you reach a point where you know you need more, you need to make sure that you’re doing what’s right for your business. Your website is not the area where you want to be cheap. As you grow your business, it’s important to start delegating key tasks, including website development and online marketing.

Focus on More than a Web Presence

It’s important to know what your website is and what it isn’t. It’s so much more than a website.
Your website is:

  • a lead generator,
  • an educational tool,
  • a sales funnel, and
  • an online marketing strategy.

If you don’t treat it as all of these things, you’re missing out on the whole point to a website. For example, how are people going to find you on the search engines if you haven’t thought about search engine optimization? How are people going to connect with you if you don’t have a lead form on your site? How are people going to be converted from site visitors to customers if you don’t have the right marketing tactics in place?

If you don’t know how to accomplish all of these things, don’t panic. It’s all about asking for help when you’re in over your head. What got you here will not get you there. You need a website that will help to automate lead generation and serve as a vital marketing tool for your business.

Market Smarter Not Harder

Your website is a great way to focus on online marketing. You need an SEO strategy in place to ensure that you’re visible. From there, you need to have videos and testimonials attached to your website. You need to explain to people what your unique value proposition is and why they need to do business with you.

A basic website from a DIY platform is only going to cut it for so long. At some point, you have to consider how a professional website design company can help you to start marketing smarter. The right agency will look at your business model and processes, establish your target audience, incorporate your branding, and ensure that you have the necessary calls-to-action.

A user-friendly website with various marketing tactics in place can make it easier for you to market. Once a professional website has been built, you can get more leads and see your revenue grow exponentially. Let us help. Our web design services have helped a number of businesses throughout Monterey Bay and beyond.

You need more than just a pretty website. You need a website that makes you money. We understand that your website is an investment in your business. Let us show you how to get there by contacting us today. A quick conversation can help you to see the importance of a professionally built website.

 

Article by Phil Fisk
CEO Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.


video marketing for local business

How Integrating Video Into Your Marketing Mix Will Crush The Competition

Marketing tactics change regularly. When you want to crush the competition and get consumers dialed into your offerings, it’s important to use video marketing. Using videos within your marketing mix is nothing new. However, there are a number of reasons why it should be prioritized.

Ensure Consumers Understand

You have a unique value proposition, which is great for your brand. However, what if consumers don’t understand what that is and why they should care? The attention span has dropped considerably, so you have to think outside the box when it comes to making sure consumers see what you have on your website.

By using explainer videos, you have a greater chance of having people understand what you’re all about. Rather than filling your website with blocks and blocks of text, you can have a video that tells them everything they need to know. You let the video entertain and educate them for a minute, ensuring that they “get” it.

Before consumers hit the buy button, they hit the play button. This allows you to use a video as one of the greatest conversion tools. Remember, for many, seeing is believing. There’s not enough text in the world that will convince some people that they need to do business with your brand. They need to see it. Video is a great way to accomplish this.

Whether you use animated videos or professional video production, you’re providing a different way to convey your message. Further, approximately 95% of a message is retained in a video in comparison to 10% of what is read in text.

Provide Testimonials without a Shadow of a Doubt

Don’t ever assume that your target audience is naïve. While many people search for online reviews to see what other people are saying about you, there are others who will question the authenticity. You read about fake reviews all the time. Unfortunately, there are companies that use fake reviews in order to promote that they are better than they really are.

Even if all of your reviews are authentic, it can make it hard for people to believe it. This is when you can, yet again, turn to the power of video marketing. You can use video testimonials as a way to prove that people love your product or service. People can see that it’s a real person using their own words to tell others what they love about you.

Testimonial videos are easy to create and highly shareable. You can have them on your website, Facebook, and more.

Change Up Your Marketing Strategies

99% of businesses don’t market in the year that they actually live. Essentially, I’m referring to the idea that most businesses are using outdated marketing strategies. Video is the ultimate way to stand out from the competition. It’s great for search engine optimization, too, because your website is more likely to be on the first page of Google when there’s video content on it.

By switching up your marketing tactics, you can start to see more traffic to your website, more leads, and higher conversion rates. You may also be able to tap into new demographics because of giving people what they want to see.

Marketing videos can be as creative as you want them to be. More importantly, they can be branded to your business. You can use them to give people a “behind the scenes” look at your operations, be entirely promotional, as well as be a tutorial of how to use a product.

You can use marketing videos in so many exciting ways, too.

  • Have them on the landing pages of your website.
  • Incorporate them into blogs.
  • Load them onto your YouTube channel.
  • Post them on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.
  • Add them to email newsletters.

Many brands grow 49% faster on an annual basis when videos are integrated into their marketing strategy. With more and more businesses figuring out that video is where the future is, you owe it to yourself to get in on the movement. The results may shock and pleasantly surprise you. The best part is that you don’t have to do it alone. Rather than winging it every step of the way, you can have a professional marketing team guide you through the video marketing tactics.

Video creation services provide you with the opportunity to get above your competition. 30 to 60-second animated videos can entertain site visitors. 3-minute professional production videos can also be used to educate potential consumers and increase conversion rates. We’re already starting to offer these services to Monterey Bay Area businesses and look forward to showing you how they can work.

Start a conversation with us at Coastline Marketing Group by contacting us today. We’ll talk to you more about marketing videos so that it can have the biggest impact for you.

Article by Phil Fisk
CEO Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.


Setting and Smashing Your Online Marketing Goals

Online marketing is a necessity when you want to grow your business. It ensures that consumers can find you and customers don’t forget about you. Setting marketing goals will make it easier for you to have a plan of attack so that you’re not wasting marketing dollars. With a little help, you can learn how to smash through those goals, too.

Set Goals

The only way for you to smash through goals is to set them. We’re always surprised to find out that many businesses that are spending good money to launch online marketing campaigns have yet to sit down and write out the goals that they want to achieve.

SMART goals can make it easier for you to know that you’re setting goals that are capable of being reached.

  • Be SPECIFIC with your goal.
  • Ensure that you can MEASURE your goal.
  • Ensure that your goal is ATTAINABLE.
  • Keep your marketing goals REALISTIC.
  • Have your goal set in a TIMELY manner.

It might take some time to set goals that will work for you. However, any campaign that you launch should be focused on a specific goal. Follow some digital marketing tips so that you don’t fall into the same mistakes that you may have made in the past.

Implement Different Types of Online Marketing Strategies

Not all consumers respond to the same types of campaigns. Additionally, you’ll find that some of your target audience is on Facebook while others are not on social media at all. It only makes sense for you to have different online marketing strategies using some of the different platforms that are out there.

  • Facebook advertising
  • PPC campaigns
  • Content marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Email marketing

By taking the time to get to know your target audience and what motivates them, you can decide which campaigns will get the job done. You also have to look at why you’re marketing to them. For example, are you looking to increase your leads? Are you trying to keep your existing customers? Do you want your leads to convert? Once you can identify the ‘why’ behind your reason for marketing, you can decide what method is best to use.

You may also want to have several campaigns running at the same time. This will allow you to drive more traffic to your site, engage your existing leads, and keep your current customers engaged so that they don’t forget about you.

Track Your Progress

Tracking your progress is an important part of the puzzle. If you don’t know how you have improved, is it possible to know if you have improved? This means that you need to set some benchmarks for yourself. As we mentioned before, SMART goals can make a big difference. If you’re focusing on attainable and timely goals, you will have a timeframe associated with a goal. You also need to be able to measure that goal.

Let’s talk about search engine optimization. You may not have any SEO keywords on your website right now. As a result, you’re not showing up on enough search engine result pages. The website traffic being generated from Google is low because of all of it. As you put campaigns into motion, track what happens. You can start to see your rank for different keywords improve. You will also see the traffic to your website start to increase.

Don’t be afraid of analytics as they can help you to stay on track. Otherwise, you could be wasting marketing dollars because of not knowing whether something’s working for you or not.

Constantly Adjust

If you ran a sale that no one responded to, you would work to make adjustments, right? The same thing is true about internet marketing. Adjustments are needed based on how people respond and how things change over time.

Remember that there are different types of digital marketing campaigns. You will need to adjust based on what your current goals are.

  • Generate new leads
  • Monetize existing customers
  • Build engagement

As your business changes, your marketing goals have to change, too. Additionally, some campaigns may stop working for you. Rather than continuing to pay for a Facebook ad that’s no longer resulting in traffic, change it up. You don’t want to waste money simply because you’re not engaged in what’s going on with your marketing.

Marketing would be a lot simpler if you could set it up and forget about it. Unfortunately, it’s an ongoing process. When you’re more actively involved in the online marketing campaigns, you can set more effective goals and smash through them on a regular basis.

If you need guidance, a digital marketing agency can help you to set various marketing goals and campaigns for you. Contact us to set an appointment.

Article by Phil Fisk
CEO Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.


Why Online Reviews Are Critical for Your Local SEO

It’s important that your business gets the attention that it deserves. More importantly, you want consumers to feel comfortable reaching out to you. Online reviews can enhance your business and your local SEO. Understanding why you need them will make it easier for you to focus on getting them.

Boost Your Rankings

Your goal is to become more visible in the search engines, and online reviews can help. If a consumer is searching for a product or service that you offer, you want to come up at the top of that search. SEO algorithms are put in place to establish who gets to be at the top. When you have a lot of positive reviews it establishes positive sentiment.

Additionally, you want to make sure that you’re in all of the local directories. Yelp and others are localized. People may go right into Yelp to find a restaurant or into Angie’s List to find a contractor. As such, you need to make sure that you’re pushing people towards those sites to leave their online reviews for you.

It Establishes Trust

When people do a search for a business, they actively look for online reviews. People love reading reviews before choosing a business because it establishes a level of trust. You want people calling you because they’re already confident in what you have to offer. They’re getting this trust because of what past customers have said in the reviews.

In order for you to establish trust, you need to know how to get reviews. The simple answer is to ask. Don’t hesitate to ask customers to follow a specific link (that you provide) to leave you a review. If they really loved the service or product, they will be happy to leave you a review. If they didn’t, it might be a time to find out what happened so that you can turn it around.

Positive Sentiment is Established

The search engine algorithms are constantly searching for positive sentiment. Essentially, they don’t want to recommend websites at the top of their search engine result pages with negativity because consumers will, then, lose their faith in Google, Bing or another search engine. Where do they get the sentiment from? Reviews.

One of the top questions we’re asked here at Coastline Marketing Group is, “How do I get more positive reviews?” This comes down to the kind of service that you provide. Your goal should be to actively become customer-centric so that the customer feels as though they come first. It will lead to a better experience that they will want to share with others.

If you notice that there are negative reviews about your business, use it as a teaching lesson. Reputation management is critical when you want to manage your reviews. If you don’t know what’s being said about you it’s impossible to change. Read into the reviews so you know what is going on. If there is an employee that needs additional training, train them. If there are constantly poor reviews about a particular way that you do business, look at making some adjustments to the way that you do things.

As you get more positive reviews, it will push the negative ones down to the bottom. When you have more positive sentiment available for the search engine spiders, it will allow you to rank better in local SEO. You may, then, start to see more traffic to your website and more leads pouring in.

You’re Actively Involved

Another way that online reviews can help with your local SEO is to be actively involved. People want to know that you’re active in your business. If they go to your website and see outdated information or can’t find you on Facebook, they may assume that you’re not active. The search engines want up-to-date and relevant information out there to help you rank, too.

When it comes to digital marketing, you want to have plenty of reviews in place. Facebook advertising can get you a significant amount of visibility. However, it’s all for nothing if you don’t have a lot of reviews on Facebook.

Additionally, if you see negative reviews, respond. It’s okay to acknowledge that something negative happened. It shows that you’re active. Simply don’t get into the habit of fighting with customers or constantly defending yourself. Apologize. Others will see that you have at least acknowledged that a person had a bad experience and that you’re willing to do something about it.

It’s easier to reach your marketing goals when you have a digital marketing agency to guide you. If you’re feeling lost with reputation management or local SEO, let us help.

Enhance your online reputation today by starting a conversation with us. You can set an appointment for a consultation so that we can get to know your business a bit better. From there, you can be on your way to building trust with potential customers.

 

Article by Phil Fisk
CEO Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.


5 Reasons Why Your Company Should Have a Solid SEO Strategy

You want your company to succeed, just as we all want our companies to succeed. In order to be successful, we need sales. That requires a constant source of leads. Search engine optimization or SEO delivers the traffic to our websites so that we’re able to push content, advertisements, and more in front of them.

Without the traffic, it’s hard to stay afloat. A solid strategy will help you to reach your goals by allowing you to be more visible. You don’t want to linger in the shadows because people won’t be able to find you. Without having traffic to your site, why bother having a website?

First, you have to understand something. What is SEO? It’s a process where you increase the quantity and the quality of traffic that visits your website. Organic results allow you to be seen naturally as a result of keyword research, keyword density, backlinks, the amount of content, where your content is located, and a number of other variables. SEO allows you to be seen in the search engines without spending money to get the traffic, as you do with PPC marketing.

  1. Organic Search Delivers Traffic

Consumers use search engines. Approximately 4 billion searches are conducted on Google every day, which accounts for 75 percent of the market. That’s a lot of people looking for things. If someone searches for a product or service that you offer, you want your website to appear. Because it’s organic, people trust it. They know you didn’t pay to get your website in front of them.

  1. The Return on Investment is Undeniable

Digital marketing can get expensive. However, search engine optimization is something that you can do for free. Even if you do pay for things such as a custom web design and search engine optimization services, it’s a lot cheaper than some of the other digital marketing campaigns that you may pay for, such as spending $10,000 per month to have ads shown to people who visit YouTube.

With a lower cost of marketing, the return on investment is going to be impressive. This allows you to get a significant amount of traffic to your website without spending a significant amount of money.

  1. You Build Trust & Credibility

You want anyone visiting your site to trust you. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Building trust and credibility take time. However, when you have a great-looking website and the right SEO in place, you can provide a better user experience. Trust and credibility are built with quality backlinks, positive user behavior, and various on-page elements and content that has been optimized. When people trust you, they’re more likely to do business with you.

  1. Enjoy Increased Engagement & Conversions

Mobile traffic is becoming more prevalent because people use smartphones and tablets to search for things on the go. Local search engine optimization, therefore, is becoming more popular. It allows people to find businesses within their area. It allows you to have increased engagement from those within your community. You can also boost the number of conversions because people have connected with you.

Local SEO should be a major part of your strategy. Developing reviews on social media as well as Yelp, and others can play a big role in converting leads to customers. It also creates more content, which helps your organic SEO standings.

  1. Google Analytics Delivers Insight

Google Analytics can provide you with the insight needed to know whether search engine optimization is working or not. You can see where your traffic is originating, what keywords people used in the search engine to find you, and even how long they stayed on your website. All of this makes a difference in the end. Without the analytics, you could be doing everything wrong.

You could have the best search engine optimization strategy out there but if your landing pages aren’t professional and engaging, it’s all for nothing. Similarly, consumer insight could be telling you that you’re spending your time on the wrong social media platform.

This is where we want to make sure you have a complete strategy in place so you don’t lose out on the traffic that could be coming your way. A digital marketing agency can be your beacon of light to make sure that you have a strategy that incorporates all of the insight and analytics.

The reality is that search engine optimization is constantly changing. A search engine can change their algorithm overnight, changing the way that websites are shown in the search results. However, when you have a solid strategy in place, you’re less likely to be affected in a dramatic way.

Search engine optimization is so much more than keywords. You need to have a strategy in place that is capable of being updated as new algorithms are made available. Further, it’s an ongoing process. As soon as you stop focusing on SEO, you lose your footing in the search engines.

Search engine optimization needs to be a focus within your business. Set an appointment for a consultation with us today so that we can discuss strategies for your business in detail. Starting a conversation can be the best way to re-focus your energy and start getting more traffic to your website.

 

phil fisk digital marketing consultant

 

 

 

 

 

Article by Phil Fisk
CEO Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.


Content Marketing: The Key to Marketing Smarter Not Harder!

Running a business is hard enough. None of us want to work harder than necessary. This is why it’s so important to focus on content marketing. By establishing a strong content marketing strategy from the very beginning, it’s much easier to market smarter instead of harder.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is all about having content online for people to read. The content can be anywhere: web pages, sales copy, blogs, press releases, and even social media accounts. The content is written in such a way that it gets people interested and shows that you know what you’re talking about.

It’s impossible to know how people are going to find what they’re looking for. They may take a DIY approach at first and look for a guide on how to do something. If you have DIY blogs on your website, they’ll likely find you. Then again, someone could go straight to Facebook to try to find a company that has made a few posts about the subject they’re interested in. If you have an active Facebook account, they could find you.

The more content you have, in various areas across the internet, the easier it will be for consumers to “stumble” upon that content. You, then, drive them to your website where there will be a lead generation landing page. They’ll be interested in the information you have provided and will submit their email address to learn more. This is the first step in generating a lead.

Bring the Customers to You

It’s important to bring the customers to you. Otherwise, you’re creating content that will never get read. How is this done?

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is all about optimizing your online presence so that you’re more visible in the search engines. There are over four billion searches conducted on Google every day. People are looking for things on their computer, on their tablet, and on their smartphone. If they’re looking for something pertaining to your business, it’s vital that you appear in their search engine result pages, and preferably, on page one.

Paid Advertising

If you have ever seen a banner advertising a company on a blog or a shopping website, that is because of paid advertising. You can have banners that direct people back to your website on various other websites. Usually, you pay per click. The cost per click will vary based on the traffic of the website as well as your banner’s position. You can have paid advertising in Google search engines, in Facebook, and on plenty of other websites, too.

Press Releases

Press releases tell people about upcoming news, such as a grand opening, the launch of a new product or something else that is exciting. These press releases are often shared by major news outlets, ensuring that more and more links are created with information about your business. If someone reads a press release about your business, they’ll likely follow a link to land on a lead generation page of yours.

Social Media

Social media marketing is becoming increasingly more popular. Much of this has to do with Facebook having over one billion users. Every audience uses one social media platform more than another. Younger generations rely more on Instagram while older generations focus on YouTube and Facebook. Creating messages and ads can drive people to the content on your website, allowing you to capture leads.

Email Marketing

Every time you get an email entered into the lead form on your website, it can go into a database. This database will store all of the emails. Then, when you’re ready, you can send out an email to everyone to identify a new product, a sale or some other news about your company. Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with customers and potential customers. The emails can also drive people to specific content on your site as a way of giving them more information to push them closer to buying a product or service.

Get Social

Content is designed to help you get social. Although you may not be having many face-to-face conversations with customers (and potential customers) you can socialize through your content. Blogs are written as though you’re conversing with someone, providing them with advice, a how-to or trending news. Social media posts are more interactive, asking questions and listening to feedback from those who follow you.

All of the content is to help you become more human. When you’re more human, customers will see you as more than a faceless website. They’ll be more likely to follow you, listen to your advice, and call on you when they need your product or service.

Keep Content Fresh

When you keep content fresh, you will be able to have a constant influx of leads coming in, too. When you have a content marketing strategy in place, you will have the necessary lead tools on your website. As people read new content from you, they’ll be more interested in what you have to offer. They’ll complete the lead form on your website, entering them into the sales funnel.

With the right automation in place, you can continue to feed leads information without having to do anything. Let the leads come to you. This is what I’m talking about when I say we all need to market smarter. There’s absolutely no reason to go chasing around leads when there is a smarter way to get the leads. Besides, no one wants to feel as though they’re being chased. As long as we leave the right bread crumbs in place, they’ll find the trail and come right to us.

The only way to generate traffic to the lead generation landing pages, however, is by having content. Creating content doesn’t have to be an all-consuming task. You can hire a company to do all of the content creation and marketing for you, which is certainly something we can help with if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

By getting in touch with us, we can start a conversation to guide you towards a better marketing strategy. It can make it easier for you to operate your business knowing that content will deliver the leads right to you.

phil fisk digital marketing consultant

 

 

 

 

Article by Phil Fisk
CEO Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.

 

 

 


Reviving Digital Marketing

Tough Love Tips for Reviving Your Dysfunctional Digital Marketing

If there's one thing that I've learned in spending 12 years helping more than 500 business master marketing, it's that there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Despite what so-called gurus and experts might have entrepreneurs believe, each circumstance demands unique situational awareness: Regardless whether they're working from scratch or following some premade methodology, marketers have to be constantly on their toes.

Fortunately, outreach doesn't have to be a blind venture into the unwelcoming darkness. Learning from other people's mistakes can make oversights easier to avoid. Why not use some of these tough-love concepts to make wiser marketing choices?

Amateur Marketing Almost Always Falls Short

Feel like a thrifty business champion for getting a relative or friend to build a free web portal? Think it's easy to master Google AdWords with no SEO training? DIY digital marketing never functions the way business owners anticipate, and the small amount of cash they save is rarely worth the longterm revenue potential they sacrifice.

Companies work with digital marketing professionals for a good reason: No matter how clear a business owner's executive vision seems, it takes well-designed, secure, functional sites and brand experiences to convince customers to transact. Companies that settle for anything less suffer because they appear less professional. Tools like AdWords and Google Analytics may be powerful indeed, but when misused, they waste money.

Why not save everyone time by doing things the right way from the start? Although it can be tempting to conserve limited resources as much as humanly possible, smarter marketing expenditures are always more justified than merely trying ideas until something sticks.

Bad Marketers Ignore Their Audience's Preferences

One of the biggest marketing mistakes that business owners make is assuming they fully understand their target users. Even if they have lots of data, experience or intuition to back up their assertions, these leaders commit the fatal sin of not playing to the audience, and this makes it way harder to get the message out.

How do competent advertisers accommodate their adoring public? These tips might help:

  • Research the audience before each campaign to discover common desires and pain points. When using Facebook, Google and other outreach tools, address individual audience segments with thoughtful, keyword-based content that addresses their unique needs.
  • Use UTM codes, which are little bits of extra text tacked onto the end of URLs, to track how people engage with content online. UTM codes can reveal which sites visitors came from, which advertising campaigns and keyword terms they followed, or which kinds of marketing media they responded to, such as social platforms and blogs.
  • Cater to people's device preferences. A prospective customer might engage with a site using their laptop or PC before switching to mobile and eventually wandering back to their computer's browser. Make it easy for them to transition freely by designing a site that offers a uniform cross-platform experience.

The Best Marketing Campaigns Create Interesting Content

Long gone are the dark days of marketing initiatives that succeeded solely on the strength of banner ads and blaring popups. No matter how expertly companies place their keywords on a page or target their social media ads, they can't win without content that makes web users want to engage with their brands.

Fortunately, there's no shortage of ways to make outreach content attention-worthy. A company that sells a cool tech product, for example, might publish a series of blogs that go behind the scenes to explain the inner workings of their devices. Firms that want to make waves on social media might post about topics related to their niches and use clever tie-ins to lead people back to their brands. Discover what consumers have already expressed interest in, and respond with well-crafted marketing materials that scratch their collective itch for knowledge.

Marketers Who Talk At People Instead of Conversing With Them Usually Don't Get Heard

People are more likely to ignore advertisers that shout at, steamroll or talk down to them. Good consumer relationships are a two-way street, so open up a dialogue instead of standing on a soapbox to yell at whoever happens to be within earshot.

It's also way simpler to keep people focused on the message when it's packaged in an intriguing story instead of another boring old ad. Whether this takes the form of an ongoing article series or a cross-platform campaign involving alternate reality games and social media influencers, crafting a tale that takes people on a journey is always a worthwhile pursuit.

Marketing Content Shouldn't Outshine the Main Event

High-impact digital marketing is great, but when the websites that it promotes don't live up to expectations, brands inevitably suffer. Companies that want to attract attention from users must first ensure that they're ready to handle it. In other words, website upgrades, SEO audits and redesigns should all be accounted for in the marketing budget.

Don't think a new site is necessary? Remember that competition is fierce in the digital arena. Companies that want to rise to the top need sites that imbue viewers with a certain level of confidence. Don't skimp on aesthetics, functionality or third-party integrations.

Effective Targeting Doesn't Happen By Itself

Marketing campaigns can be overachievers, and this isn't necessarily a good thing. Ads that only resonate with people who aren't in the demographic, for instance, usually don't generate a positive return on investment, or ROI, regardless whether they produce additional views. Even if an ad is highly visible, it does no good if viewers don't care about what it's selling.

Focus on marketing content that connects with the most relevant audiences. For instance, when creating an AdWords campaign, business advertisers should use negative keywords to filter out searches that don't match their target users.

Marketing Campaigns Rarely Come Out Perfect on the First Try

Feeling confused about why a particular campaign isn't living up to its potential? Outreach, like most other business projects, demands continuous improvement.

Marketers who want their efforts to be fruitful never stop working to refine them. For instance, advertisers can use Google Ads' Quality Score ratings to get a good idea of how their campaign keywords perform. Facebook's relevance scoring offers similar information. Audiences are fickle, so it's vital to take advantage of all available feedback.

Marketers That Track ROI Waste Less and Profit More

From a business perspective, return on investment is probably the most reliable indicator of a campaign's success. No matter how viral a marketing video goes or how many page hits a social media post gets, ads need to produce sufficient revenue to sustain themselves as well as turn a profit. If they don't do both, then refine them soon or ditch them.

Getting the Ball Rolling in Real Life

Recognizing that it's time for a marketing shakeup is just the beginning. Serious firms take it further by putting these principles into action with the help of an expert.

What makes a good marketing agency partner?

People's experiences with different marketing agencies vary widely. Nonetheless, there are a few common factors worth thinking about while judging the options:

  • All good marketing is founded on market understanding. For small businesses, this often means getting to know the neighborhood or locale where most clients originate. When picking agencies, it's always a good sign if they have real-world storefronts or physical presences in the target region.
  • Applicable experience trumps all else. Agencies must have proven portfolios of their prior work. In addition to checking out pictures of the ad campaigns and business sites built by each prospect, always take the live versions for a spin. Test out how they function, look and feel to get a more intimate understanding of the agency's work.
  • Ratings aren't everything, but they do mean something. Whether they involve SEO audits, social media integrations or rebranding campaigns, digital marketing projects require time, effort and strong business relationships to evolve healthily. Agencies that accommodate different business models and genuinely care about providing a good client experience are a lot easier to work with. Those with the greatest number of 5-star reviews are generally safer bets.

Did these tips help bring successful marketing philosophies into clearer focus? Subscribe for more insightful pointers that could make it easier to reach audiences.


facebook-advertising

Using Facebook to Advertise Your Business? You May Be Doing it Wrong

There are many ways to market your business online, one of the most common methods being social media. When it comes to social media platforms, Facebook is one of the largest platforms. However, there are a lot of business owners doing everything they can think of on Facebook to market their business but often see no positive return on investment.

There could be plenty of factors to consider when it comes to marketing with Facebook. Often times, a business owner might believe that all he has to do is post an update to his page and make periodic "boosts". This is a common mistake for people who are new to marketing their business on Facebook.

Our recommendation is this; Only "boost" posts when you don't have time to create an ad. This is where the Facebook Ad Manager comes in.

Understanding the Facebook Ad Manager Platform

As mentioned before, most business owners feel that "boosting" their posts is an effective way to advertise on Facebook. However, having a full understanding of the Facebook Ad Manager will allow you to create a highly targeted and highly effective Facebook ad campaign.

Ads Manager is your starting point for running ads on Facebook, Instagram or the Audience Network. It's an all-in-one tool for creating ads, managing when and where they'll run, and tracking how well your campaigns are performing.

One of the biggest advantages of advertising on Facebook is that you can advertise on any budget. This is very useful for people who are a little tight on money while trying to start their own business. However, it is not just the cost-effectiveness of advertising but also the methods of gathering information and targeting that make advertising on Facebook so effective for business owners. Facebook helps you find the best types of people to advertise to so that you can achieve very high conversion rates.

4 Reasons Why You Should Set Up a Facebook Ad Account

1. The Power of the Facebook Pixel

The Facebook pixel is one of the tools that can prove to be beneficial to your marketing on social media. The pixel is code provided by Facebook that you place on your website. It helps you track conversions from Facebook ads, optimize ads based on collected data, build targeted audiences for future ads, and remarket to qualified leads - people who have already taken some kind of action on your website.

2. Create Lookalike Audiences

This is one helpful tool for conversions. The Facebook Pixel is very helpful with this. Lookalike audiences are used by taking a look at the customers that are already visiting your site and gathering information such as likes, demographics, and other traits in order to help you find similar people. This can make it easier for you to expand your reach and gain new customers.

3. Create Custom Audiences

This is slightly similar to Lookalike Audiences. Basically, you look at your current set of customers and build an audience based on your customers. Simply take your current customer email list and upload it to Facebook so that it can use the data for targeting. Once you have created your Custom Audience list, you can develop and target your ads to this group of customers you have built. For those of you that may have small audiences, one of the things you can do is test different aspects of your marketing in order to find the methods people respond to the most.

4. Custom Conversions

With Custom Conversions, you can track events on your site without having to change the Facebook Pixel code. This feature enables you to track your conversions and perform optimization techniques without having to add new code to your site. You are also replacing conversion data on the pages you have set up. In order for this to be effective, you already have to have the Facebook pixel embedded on your page.

In Summary

If you're running a business of any size, you are probably not going to have time to handle all of your own marketing. Fortunately, there are digital marketing agencies that are available for you to get in touch with. We know of one you might want to consider :)

 

There’s a lot of information here to consider but help is available if needed. Business owners with any questions or who need help on any part of their quest to build a powerful social presence can contact our team at Coastline Marketing Group. We offer a wide range of digital marketing solutions that can help position your business for success.


website-design-salinas-monterey

3 Things You MUST Consider Before Building Your New Website

For the last couple of decades, you've been told that you must have a website for your business both to improve your bottom line and to build a brand.

Still, recent studies show that as many as 46% of all small businesses in the U.S. don't have a website. When asked why they didn't have a site for their business, one common explanation given was that they had developed a website at one time but had received little to no benefit from it.

Developing a website is easier than ever today with the wealth of online tools, content management systems, and web development agencies available. But blindly developing a website for your business isn't likely to result in a successful online presence.

Blindly developing a website for your business is like sitting down at a piano to play, and for most of us, wondering why you can't play as well as Mozart.

A quality website that helps build a brand, maintains a low bounce rate and achieves a strong conversion rate will do much to enhance your bottom line. Such a website, however, isn't tossed together quickly using a free, commercial drag and drop utility. A quality website requires careful planning and consideration before it ever goes live.

How do Websites Benefit Small Business?

The internet is where the consumers are. Small businesses remain open without all of the overhead costs of traditional business. Additionally, giving the ability to market products and services to a global audience. The internet is an invaluable tool for the business owner who learns to use it wisely.

Statistics show that there are currently over 4 billion internet users worldwide. The average American internet user is online an average of 24 hours per week. That's a lot of people connected to the internet who just might be looking for products or services that you offer. And each year sees an increase in the amount of global ecommerce spending.

So once you decide to develop a website, or try again, where do you start?

What 3 Things Must Be Considered Before Building a Website?

Before getting started on the work of developing a website, there are 3 things a business owner must do.

1. Decide on a Strategy

The first question you should ask is what is the objective of your proposed website? Will it be a store where customers can buy your products and you ship to them? If we're dealing in digital goods, perhaps your store will be set up so downloadable digital files are available after purchase. Perhaps you offer a service or information online and you require a website that will allow customers to sign up for a paid subscription to receive your information or services on an ongoing basis.

You must be very clear in understanding the role the website will serve for you and it can serve more than one. A website done well can be your online presence 24/7 to the world, providing information and a way to contact you with any questions. It will also serve a primary purpose whether as an online store, an information site, or subscription service. You just need to be very clear in defining its primary function.

Once you've determined what purpose the site will serve, you need to determine what action you would like for your visitors to take on it. You definitely want them to find and purchase your products and services. If you can also provide fresh, relevant content of value to your audience, your site can be a source of information and an authority within your area of interest. You likely want them to sign up for your newsletter, fill out a form to contact you, or use social media functions on your website to share your content.

2. Focus On The Message:

Your message is a crucial part of developing a website. It's important to know and understand what your message is and how to best present it to the world.

Humans are social creatures of habit. In communication either personal or written, you tend to examine the speaker in a given conversation and you subconsciously try to determine what their intentions are. Are they trustworthy? Are they similar to you?

There is a foreground message you offer. If you sell pool cues and you write a blog about the top 10 pool cue brands, then the 10 brands listed are an example of your foreground message.

There is also a background message which is the "reading between the lines" portion of what you're saying to your audience. What is your audience looking for? They are trying to discern what type of people you are or what type of business or organization you have. The background message is incredibly important because if there are any doubts about you, your business, or your intentions, the visitor will immediately leave your website.

Considerations

You should make time to consider the impression you want to make and what you'd like for your audience to take away from visiting your site. You need to consider the message you want to convey carefully and develop your website around that. Once that's established, You need to ensure all of your communications carry that message.

Some questions you might want to ask:

  • What are your values?
  • What words could be used to describe your business? (Dependable, efficient, energetic, friendly, insightful, responsible, and more.)
  • Which type of people are in the audience you want?
  • What needs does your business serve for this audience?
  • Which problems do you intend to solve for your audience?
  • What do you think your audiences expects from your business?
  • How can your business best connect with the audience you want?

3. What's Your Marketing Strategy?

When it comes to talking about online marketing strategies and search engine optimization (SEO), many would rather not have that conversation. Isn't it enough to build a website with a clearly defined objective and a solid message for your intended audience?

No.

Just having a website, even if it's an incredible website, isn't enough. The audience you want has to be able to find it. The best way for them to find any product or service online is through the search engines.

SEO is a set of techniques used to improve your chances of being found within the search engines when users go to find a product or service you offer. It goes hand in hand with content marketing, social marketing, and email marketing, all effective ways of building an audience and your bottom line.

Many business owners throw their hands up at this point for many reasons. They don't understand what SEO is and expect immediate results when they try it. For that reason, they don't think they have time to be on social media platforms 24/7 to drum up business. They may know a little about how email marketing basically works but not all of the details.

Business owners should understand that marketing strategies are the key to successful online business and they include the following.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is all about increasing your business website's visibility on the search engines. It includes a number of components from creative to technical in building awareness of your site on Google, Bing, and more. Yes, it requires knowing what the search engines expect from your website from readability to structure. Yet in making the website easier to use and understand for the search engines, you're doing the same thing for potential visitors.

The more traffic you receive, the greater the number of conversions. It should be understood that SEO techniques don't work overnight but over a period of time. When it's done correctly, it's absolutely worth any invested time and resources.

Mobile Marketing

More than half of all search engine queries are made on mobile devices and that number is only expected to increase. With more than half of your intended audience on mobile devices, it then becomes vital to ensure your planned website will be formatted for mobile devices.

Often called "responsive website design", mobile optimization means your website looks good and functions well across all devices. Being optimized for mobile is also crucial to your SEO efforts. As of Google's July 2018 update, they switched from rewarding websites optimized for mobile with better rankings to penalizing any site that's not optimized for such. Since Google is the largest search engine on the internet, mobile optimization becomes even more crucial.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the consistent use of fresh, relevant content of value to your intended audience. It's the online creation and sharing of content like blogs, social media posts, video, and more that offers value to your audience without being an advertisement.

Using our pool cue website example, you might offer a blog on your website. Include articles about proper care and storage of cues, pool techniques, troubleshooting, and more. The idea is to offer content that stimulates an interest.  All the while, without being too obvious that you want them to buy them from you.

The content used for this type of marketing gives them a reason to return to your website even if they don't always intend to buy something with each visit. The search engines love such content. This technique allows you to build a reputation as an authority in your given area of interest.

Social Media Marketing

While it's not the overnight success tool some claim, social media marketing has great potential in cultivating an audience on social media. Content is also important here. If you employ content marketing, you already have what you need.  It can be modified to suit the individual platform. There's a learning curve here in understanding each venue and its rules. The great opportunity to increase your brand visibility, reputation, and traffic will be more than worth the time spent.

Email Marketing

Many think of email marketing as old marketing news but it's a very effective and inexpensive method to use. You collect subscribers from your website and social media platforms.  You use them to send simple mailings to remind people about your website and what it has to offer. It's an invaluable tool to use if you have a sale or special offer. You want to quickly inform your targets.

In Conclusion

Unless there's a compelling reason why you don't need more business, developing a website is vital for your business. Your website represents you online and it's important to present the best site you possibly can.

There's a lot of information here to consider but help is available if needed. Business owners with any questions or who need help on any part of their quest to build a powerful website can contact our team at Coastline Marketing Group. We offer a wide range of digital marketing solutions that can help position your business for success.

 

phil fisk digital marketing consultant

Article by Phil Fisk
CEO Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.
SCORE Monterey Bay Chapter Chair


Facebook Ads Home Services to Marketplace: Competing with Angie's List and Amazon Home Services

NOTE: This is slowly being rolled out across the U.S., it may or may not be available in your area at the moment, but be prepared!

In 2016, Facebook launched its Marketplace that gave its users the opportunity to add personal items that they are offering for sale. Facebook Marketplace also enabled them to look for products that they want to buy. The year before that, Facebook opened its Facebook Groups to its users for buying and selling of items. Just recently, the social media network added home services to this platform effectively encroaching on the category of Angie’s List.

The social media giant will now use Facebook Marketplace for its home services section. It has already collected the necessary data through its collaboration with Home Advisor, Handy and Porch. Through these partnerships, Facebook will be able to access thousands of home service professionals. It will provide its users enough information about these home services including their ratings, location and customer reviews.

You Need A Facebook Business Page

So, if you have a Facebook business page, and you want to increase your revenues, you need to adapt it to the new home services of Facebook Marketplace. When your friends and clients are looking for a certain home service professional, they can use your Facebook business page to ask for a quote directly using this tool while they stay on your page. But they need to adequately describe the job that they want to be done in detail. This would make it easy for the home service professionals to respond correctly. You, as the home service professional, will be able to contact the client through your Facebook Messenger.

This Is A Challenge To Amazon Home Services, Angie’s List and Craigslist

In launching home services in its Marketplace, Facebook is practically putting up a challenge to the established players in this category. Amazon Home Services, Angie’s List and Craigslist have been mining this field for years. For instance, Amazon Home Services have been offering house cleaning services, yard work, and so forth. Angie’s List has been a popular go-to website for people who are also looking for home services such as home repairs and related jobs. And so is Craigslist.

Now, Facebook Marketplace home services will allow your friends and clients to search for professional services that are validated by people who have already used those services in their locality. Choosing the right home service professional is very important. Unfortunately, people learn their lessons the hard way.

The Best Referral Network (Platform)

What usually happens is that every time they need a home repair service, people that they know are ready to give their recommendations as to the right person that can do the job. But as it usually turns out, they are not informed that that person is their brother or their nephew. There will be no problem if that brother or nephew is really adept at the job. But more often than not, the job they perform is not up to par since they are not really home service professionals.

Performing home service jobs require a certain degree of professionalism. This is not just referring to the actual work that needs to be done, but in the way the worker relates with the homeowner. A home service professional needs to have the necessary skills to get the job done in ways that would make the homeowner happy. It the worker lacks the necessary job and relationship skills, instead of solving the problem he might even make it worse.

This is the rationale for Facebook Marketplace including home services in its listings. It will lower the odds of hiring non-professionals to do house repairs. Facebook has included honest reviews of every home service professional on its list. Your friends and clients can read those reviews to ascertain if the professional that they are hiring will do the job as they are expected to.

Additional Resources:
[Facebook] List Your Professional Home Services on Marketplace

HomeAdvisor

Handy

Porch

Article Written by:
Phil Fisk
Digital Marketing Consultant
Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.