Tips From Our Team

When designing an ad, a lot of people tend to write a headline that includes a laundry list of things about a business or a product.  It seems like a great strategy on the surface, but the problem with lists is that people respond better to precise benefits, not a barrage of information to sort through.  The best headlines include specific benefits, stated outright or clearly implied.

Think of your headline as the first handshake between two people – you only get the single chance to make a good impression. When your headline fails to impress, your chance is missed, and most people will then ignore the rest of your ad. Focus on providing information the potential customer wants – the exact benefits they can expect when they buy your product or utilize your service.  With a precise benefit stated, most people will be receptive to the rest of the ad and many will become leads that will generate revenue.

By Matt Ryan, Web Developer

In March 2012 Netcraft (which does research & analysis on the internet) produced a survey showing that there are at least 644,275,754 active websites. That number is rising by almost 30 million every month and on those websites there are at least 3.81 billion individual pages indexed by Google alone. That's an awful lot of content, and somewhere in that more than half a billion websites is your company. Your website is constantly fighting all of those other pages in an attempt to get in front of the customers that everyone wants.

Search engines like Google and Bing use keywords (amongst many other tools) to sort content and give users the results they're looking for. The majority of sites opt for more general search terms: air conditioning, hearing aids, electronics repair, etc. These are terms that have millions of searches across the country and are therefore a very large target. The cost to get to the front page for these terms is huge and doesn't necessarily translate to customers as they're more frequently used as research terms. When we optimize a website for search engine visibility we focus on what are called 'long tail keywords'.

Americans are the most generous people in the World. When disasters, famine and epidemics strike other countries, the United States and our citizens are always at the forefront of relief efforts. When Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey and New York, we responded enthusiastically and with our checkbooks. The latest fundraising total just from the American Red Cross is in excess on $300,000,000.

At the local level, businesses support a myriad of charities and causes from all sorts of athletics (baseball, softball, hockey, volleyball, basketball, football, etc.), cancer, heart and Alzheimer’s walk-a-thons, Habitat for Humanity, YMCA, Goodwill, Salvation Army, food kitchens, human services organizations and more.

Some of our clients actually include charitable/civic contributions in their marketing budgets. Our Comfort Zone magazine clients regularly include articles about activities they sponsor in the community and profile non-profit agencies with donated magazine space. When we visit clients and prospective client offices we take special note of the many accolades the company has received from its civic stewardship. Their reception area is frequently covered with trophies, certificates, plaques and newspaper articles.

Regularly updating your business' information on social networks improves your ranking in search results on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. There are several articles published in popular online magazines like Mashable and Tech Crunch that mention this, but so few marketing 'experts' seem to heed this advice for the brands they represent. The 'about' section on most Facebook pages, for example, are almost identical each year - that's not only boring, its costly too!

When you update your business'information on social network profiles, those sites reassess the algorithmic value they assign your business' pages, and most often the new value is higher because of your up-to-date information. This attention to the time information was created is often referred to as relevance in search engines such as Google, and are an important part of the equations that are used to rank sites.

Take some time to review the'about' section on any of your business' social media pages. Even if your hours of operation and contact information remains the same, consider changes to the verbage/copy/wording of each sentence. Keywords are important to keep in mind, but your focus should be on relevance to people and not robot algorithms. When a prospective customer clicks on your page, they shouldn't feel hit on the head with search engine optimized words.

By Matthew Ryan, Web Developer

The mobile revolution is here and it’s getting stronger every day. Mobile device sales have eclipsed desktop sales and mobile internet usage is expected to overtake desktop usage in 2014. This could be wonderful or terrible for a business with a web presence. Consider that according to a study by Equation Research that 74% of users will wait five seconds for a page to load before abandoning it. When you have a five second window to capture your customer it’s obvious that all pages are not created equally.

Even if your full desktop site will load in that amount of time on a limited cellular internet connection, what will a user experience when they look at the site? A page that is designed for a big screen doesn’t translate well to a phone that’s a little less than four inches long. A user experience that’s defined by scrolling, zooming in and out, and missed presses is a bad experience and is likely to send a would-be customer to a competitor that has made their experience more enjoyable. This could be a massive loss to a company since according to the same study by Equation Research: 46% of users are unlikely to return to a site if their mobile experience was a bad one.

By Stephen Warne, Media Manager

One of the most important things a business can do to attract leads and generate buzz around their brand or company is to be visible where the target demographic (i.e. consumers/customers/clients) already congregate. Visibility is part of what in marketing jargon is known as brand awareness.

Brand awareness applies to all businesses, large and small. Even nonprofit organizations must factor in the implications of brand awareness into their marketing strategies. Customers and consumers must remember your business or brand, and they must be reminded of it often -- but that is just a first step. The next step includes actively soliciting leads and engaging the target market. This step is where social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. become vital in today's content driven market.

By Michael Winters, Lead Graphic Designer

As a graphic designer, it's my job to pull together information and present it in a visual way. The artistic part of my duties are somewhat specialized, and I have a keen interest in the technology and techniques involved, but I also enjoy working with clients to determine what their needs and options are. Among the top of most clients' list of needs is a 'Call to Action' in their advertisements. 

Simply stated, a 'Call to Action' is a direct appeal to the consumer (or reader/viewer) to perform a task upon viewing an advertisement or graphic. For example, when a display advertisement includes the words 'Call Us Today', it is instructing the reader of what they need to do --  "Call Us. Today." These action words are surprisingly effective when it comes to lead generation. 

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