Management,Website Design, Internet Marketing,
Written by Stu Kushner

In Your Customers’ Shoes – 4 Gripes That Are Costing You Conversions

By Sherice Jacob

 Website Design, Internet Marketing,Management

One of the best ways to improve conversion rates is to identify and eliminate major stumbling blocks that are preventing your users from moving forward. Typically these are common issues like “Not Found / Out of Stock” errors, technical glitches, reducing clutter and removing distractions like third-party ads.

But sometimes the gripes are so common and so pervasive that visitors simply tolerate them (albeit with a great deal of frustration and aggravation) rather than go elsewhere.

But you can bet they won’t be back.

Gripe #1: “Just Copy Amazon”

Amazon is one of the web’s largest and most profitable websites, so it stands to reason that they put a considerable amount of time, money and emphasis on making their site as easy to use as possible (even patenting certain methods, like 1-click-shopping). Knowing this, many beginning website owners understandably assume that Amazon must be doing something right with their layout – so they copy it.

Jumia is Nigeria’s Amazon – right down to the layout, categories and color scheme

Amazon has many things going for it that the average new webmaster doesn’t take into account when designing their own site – for example:

  • Everyone is familiar with Amazon – They’ve been around so long that they’ve practically become a one-stop shop for even the greenest internet user. They’ve got brand recognition nailed down to where they’re a household name. People have come to expect a certain experience when shopping on Amazon, just as they expect superb customer service when buying shoes from Zappos. It has been ingrained into who Amazon is and what they stand for.
  • Amazon’s traffic comes from multiple sources – They’ve built up their markets over time, and as a result, their traffic comes from all kinds of places. People generally search for a specific product on …read more    
SEO, Content Writing,
Written by Stu Kushner

A Beginner’s Guide to Lead Conversion with Social Media

By Sean Work

 SEO, Content Writing, management

So, you’ve been publishing on Facebook, Twitter and maybe a few other social media platforms, and you’ve built up a decent following in each channel. Your audience is starting to engage more and more with your content.

Maybe you’re wondering, “Okay, what’s next? How can I take this to the next level? How can I use social media to drive leads for my business?”

Done right, social media can be an extremely powerful tool for lead generation, but getting there takes time, patience, a lot of testing and the dedication to post highly-valuable content for your audience.

This guide focuses on how to generate leads with non-paid content in social media. Social ads are also an excellent for leads, and maybe it’s something I’ll talk about in a future post. For now, we’ll learn how to create content for Facebook and Twitter that inspires clicks and conversions, and how to measure the results of your social lead gen efforts so that you can show your boss just how valuable social media can be for your business.

Here we go.

Optimize How You Link to Your External Content

In order to be effective at generating leads with social media you need to treat it as a key part of your overall content marketing machine. This means that social media becomes a place where you distribute high-value content to your audience––content found on your blog, the resources section of your site or on landing pages.

But it’s not just about the value of the content you’re linking to; what really counts is how you format the posts in each channel.

Before diving into how to optimize your posts for lead generation, let’s take a look at three possible lead generation paths for social:

  1. Social channel > Blog post with link to a relevant landing page (gated content) > lead
  2. Social channel > …read more    
Written by Stu Kushner

The End of Link Building as we Know It

By Gryffin.com

Posted by Gryffin.com

The entire online marketing industry is still up in arms after Matt Cutt’s post on his blog title: The Decay and Fall of Guest Blogging for SEO. Guest Blogging was one of the last horizons that people considered safe for  White Hat  link building. So what now? Is guest blogging truly dead?

Part One

What I’ve learned from being a Link Audit Junkie

Before we can talk about guest blogging, I have to share with you what I’ve learned from two years of deep-diving into link audits and detailed competitive research.

After the first Penguin hit on April 24, 2012, I focused on performing in-depth research to identify patterns in penalized sites. What I quickly noticed was that most people who were penalized had very clear footprints in their backlink profiles. These were not easy to detect if you only looked at the profile of the individual sites, but when you ran a competitive link audit and established averages for the keyword sector as a whole, this became a  meter  from which to judge a specific site link footprints.

Later I incorporated private tools that allow you to search for patterns within a site’s backlink profile. These patterns include links on the same IP address or C class, links with similar or duplicate text, links with the same anchor text, links with the words articles in the URL, even link patterns that are two levels removed (the links to the links).

For the last 12 months or so, most of the sites that I looked at that were penalized had the following in common:

  • High density of money keywords in anchor text
  • Unnatural anchor text profile
  • Many links from article marketing directories
  • Many links from …read more    
online marketing, SEO. content writing
Written by Stu Kushner

How to Humanize Your E-commerce Business with Personalized Messages

By Sean Work

 online marketing,SEO, content marketing

“Always deliver more than expected” – Larry Page

E-commerce websites are no exception to this working law. In fact, e-commerce is one of the least forgiving areas if you simply meet basic requirements. Elements such as site speed, design, positioning, pricing, categorization, and SEO are vital for efficiency and success.

Fortunately, there are many themes and third-party tools available now that handle most of the basic requirements right out of the box. This gives us more time to invest in maximizing each area of e-commerce.

Today, we’re going to focus on humanized branding with personalized messages and creative content. The following examples show us how to be more than just a store front by going above the basic requirements of RSS promotion or Facebook Offers.

Ditch Propaganda for a Voice

One of the primary shared goals of marketing and branding on social media channels and email campaigns is to befriend visitors and customers.

It’s an idea that has been preached for years but remains minimal in practice. This may be summarized best with a question from our higher-ups, “What’s the ROI of a cat meme?” That’s not to say all of our friends share cat memes, but the general idea is an e-commerce website can share the same content our friends would share, such as:

  • Humorous articles and pictures
  • Opinions on news, pop culture, and society
  • Memes
  • General questions about life
  • Insightful quotes, images, and recommendations

The larger the brand, the more limited the content. We’re not going to see Macy’s tweeting about marijuana legalization, although Ben & Jerry’s will be all over it:

If you know the history of Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, you realize this is almost as expected as Puma tweeting about track runners or Home Depot pioneering a philanthropic campaign to support forest fire fighters.

The magic of humanized marketing happens when the message influences us to …read more    

online marketing, content writing,SEO
Written by Stu Kushner

The Real Truth About Google and Guest Blogging

By Sherice Jacob

online marketing, content writing,SEO

Matt Cutts, Google webmaster evangelist, recently stirred up a storm of controversy by announcing that guest blogging was “done.” He later clarified the statement by saying that guest blogging purely for SEO was done.

But you’re a KISSmetrics reader, and you already knew that – right?

So what’s the real truth behind Google’s newest announcement? Are you going to be penalized for blogging on other sites? Are your rankings going to collapse because you have blog contributors? Not likely. But there are a few caveats you’ll want to keep in mind whether you’re considering guest blogging as a promotional outlet or looking to bring guest bloggers on board to freshen up your site content.

If You’re a Blog Publisher

DON’T: send out waves of open invitations to anyone and everyone looking to contribute. You will get substandard writing, perhaps even content that has been “spun” (meaning words have been exchanged and sentences shifted to give the “appearance” of a new article to avoid Google’s duplicate content penalty).

DO: Take the time to research experts in your niche. Who are the prolific, consistently good writers that attract comments and invite discussion? Assemble your guest blogging “dream team” and don’t be afraid to reach out to knowledgeable professionals in your field to invite them to contribute. By the same token, don’t be surprised if they ask about your budget. You get what you pay for, and high quality, well-researched posts take time to write.

Quora is a great place to find knowledgeable professionals who may be open to the possibility of guest blogging for you. Simply type in your topic to find questions asked (and answered) around it.

Blogging is one broad topic on Quora with thousands of followers

You can then click on the avatar of the person answering to …read more    

Written by Stu Kushner

Web Design Clues

A great web design is an important element in marketing a company or a company’s product.

Make that MORE important: because a web site doesn’t just advertise, it connects with a potential customer, allowing that customer to immediately connect with you.

With so many websites, a high-quality, professional web site is not an option; it’s a necessity. But to have your website taken seriously by web savvy viewers and casual browsers alike, you need to have a design that is both professional and unique.

Web Designing is the new “art form”.  Few company executives or employees are natural Web Designers, so it’s not a task you can assign to just anyone. But many do; and the result is often a poorly designed website that does not promote your company or your business.

So how can you get a professional web design that will be recognized and attract customers? Like all projects, it needs knowledge and hard work.  But you can save both time and money with a few basic rules:

Keep It Simple. Don’t overload it with data – it’s an advertisement, not a catalogue. Simple web designs are easier, cheaper, faster, and more flexible and adaptable to all web environments, “Smartphone’s” or PC’s alike.

Focus on the Key Elements.  Use short, eye-catching statements that show your most important assets, skills or products.

Entice the Viewer to Connect. Make your links obvious, intuitive and accessible; Many websites use a “two-column layout”; with a right hand side bar and a navigation bar at the top.

Make your site appealing, but not “busy”. Use primary colors with only one or two secondary colors for contrast.

There are millions of websites. You want yours to be unique, but accessible. Interesting, but not distracting from its primary purpose – to inform and advertise.

internet marketing,SEO
Written by Stu Kushner

Getting Client Reviews

internet marketing, SEO

Mr. Google and the rest are striving to give great search results. They want to put the best companies at the top of the first page. That is their goal. So, the importance of on-line reviews is critical. Google sees all of them. And a big part of how you rank in search results is based on how your clients express their opinion in online reviews. And your potential customers feel the same way. A recent study showed that 72 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. And if you get a bad review it becomes even more important to “dilute” that with a few (or many) positive ones.

Get Reviews and Track Them

The first step is to establish a presence on the major review websites. Yelp, Merchant Circle, Google+, Yahoo Local, Patch, etc. are established review sites that people trust. You need to have a presence on all of them. Doing this might seem impossible or too hard. But we have a system that automates the whole process. So, let us know if you want help with this.

The next step is asking. Get out on your Facebook Fan Page, Twitter and LinkedIn pages and post a request for a review. Include a link to Google+, Yelp etc. or to a form on your website. And if they leave one, be sure to ask them for permission to use it for promotions. Also ask after you complete a project. That is always the best time. Timing is critical. And that depends on your business and the nature of the work you do. Sometimes you can ask right away and sometimes you need to wait a month so that they are certain things are right with your project. Simply followup with an email that asks them to go to a review website or to your online form.

Once you get a review and you have asked permission to promote it, put it on your website. My favorite method is to have testimonials fade in and out in a sidebar. David Bach has 20+ reviews in his website. So, we were able to create a nice unending random display of them. They add credibility to the website and help create a level of comfort for the new visitors.

Another option is to gamify your reviews. Is gamify a word? Anyway, a system like PunchTab.com enables visitors to earn entries into a raffle for a prize by “liking”, friending, tweeting and sharing your website.

Getting all of this done is something we can help you with. We can get your company into 45 business website directories and we can create a dashboard for monitoring all of your reviews. This is called Reputation Monitoring. Please contact us, if you need assistance or want more information. A free Business Directory Listing Report is available upon request.

Written by Stu Kushner

Marketing Tips for Tight Budgets

Bad websites are like bad movies; if they don’t get any attention, they disappear.

In the internet world, attention is the currency. The more attention you create, the more attention you get. With a highly saturated internet it’s more difficult than ever to attract attention to YOUR website.  You’re selling fruit in an orchard; how do you get a visitor to buy YOUR “apples”? Not only are you up against large companies with huge marketing assets, but you’re also competing with other distractions as well.

But you don’t have to spend a ton of money to connect, just be creative. Here are some tips to help you market your business on the web.

  1. Create a LinkedIn group. A LinkedIn group is a free resource that can steer potential customers to your site and provide information, new contacts and gives a personal touch to your marketing, while also steering traffic and more sales. Avoid the ‘hard sale” however.
  2. Get published.   While it may be difficult to get on the front cover of a major magazine, you can create marketing opportunities by being featured in local papers, TV or radio programs. Make a name by supporting charities and local events, and get featured in a local “niche blog” in exchange for some freebies.
  3. Get on YouTube. YouTube can be a powerful platform for an online business. Just post videos of you and your product. Include:
  • A keyword-researched headline that attracts attention,
  • A short, clear editorial message
  • Offer discounts or prizes when they visit and say “I saw your video!”

You can avoid expensive cameras, lighting equipment and editing by using the cameras built into a Smartphone or the MAC iMovie, etc. You can hire a professional editor for a small fee.

Newsletter,SEO,content writing
Written by Stu Kushner

Blog posts become Newsletter content

Newsletter,SEO,content writing

Our Newsletter

Does this look hard? The thought of creating a monthly newsletter is a huge turn-off for most small business owners. Challenges come up like, “Who has the time?” and “What will I talk about?”. It is the same challenge faced by business owners when we try to encourage them to blog about their expertise on their website. Well, this newsletter is proof that a small business owner can do it. We get it done and we can do it for you.

The most effective use of blog articles on your website are to take those postings and to push them out to your social sites to a Facebook Fan Page, LinkedIn and Twitter. And if you can write just four articles a month, they can be compiled into a newsletter that can be sent out to your email contacts. We use Constant Contact to compose our monthly newsletter. There are a lot of good email systems out there. So, pick one and get to work. You can write just one quick article a week. 350 to 400 words is long enough. Nobody really has the time to read a long story. They want the information and knowledge and they want it fast. So, tell your story, make your point.

And, if you need help, we can write articles, add them to your website, push them out to your social sites and then compile them into a nicely designed monthly newsletter. All you have to do, is send us a check every month. Ha!

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