Graphic Matter's Fab 5 "Shout Out"

In the spirit of “sharing the love”… here are our favorite blogs for marketing inspiration and technical tips. We like these resources because we feel they deliver information that fulfills our standards of practical, real-world advice and ideas that you can act on today and start seeing results tomorrow. Check them out and share your thoughts with our readers as well as what your favorite blogs and websites are by posting a response here!


   

Technology Therapy, Jennifer Shaheen


   Inklings, Lisa Fahoury, Fahoury Ink


  The Marketing Mix, Ilise Benun, The Marketing Mentor


 

The HubSpot Blog

 

The MacCast

Graphic Matter Client Spotlight – NTSG, Inc.

When Nancy Elberty, President of NTSG, Inc., agreed to sponsor WBENC’s [Women’s Business Enterprise National Council] Women in Business 2010 Annual Conference, she contacted Graphic Matter to provide the visual impact she knew NTSG’s sponsorship booth required. Graphic Matter worked closely with Nancy and her team to incorporate existing and new graphic elements into a striking 8’ x 10’ display graphic that is both versatile and portable. Additional consultation services for supplemental elements resulted in the booth’s compelling “total look.”

Elberty has since been featured in the article, Enterprising Women Stand Out on the Road to Success, about the benefits of certification as a diverse supplier on Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology , a website focusing on supplier diversity in the technical workforce. Elberty believes certification as a WBE opened doors for her company. “Organizations like WBENC provide opportunities and programs designed to help women-owned businesses succeed,” she says. “They show you how to best position and manage your company to overcome the challenges faced by many businesses.” Based in Lebanon, NJ, NTSG delivers a full range of optical network integration services including network engineering, installation, testing, maintenance, and decommissioning of SONET and DWDM networks throughout the continental U.S.

Graphic Matter has been WBENC certified since 2003. The WIB 2010 event marked our fourth year attending the WBENC annual conference, and we know we’ll keep going.We’ve made valuable connections with both corporate folks and fellow WBE’s that have led to new business and project partnerships.

Will your business be represented at an upcoming event or trade show? Are you confident you will be maximizing your investment of time and money at this event? Contact Graphic Matter for expert advice and design services to showcase your business effectively and affordably.

Conversions: Turning Prospects into Purchases

“A Conversion… is when a prospective customer takes the marketer’s intended action. [www.Wikipedia.com]

 

A Call to Action generally initiates a Conversion. We see them all the time: a retail business offers a coupon [call to action] to entice a purchase [conversion]. A service-oriented business may identify a service your business needs followed by an easy solution [contact form]. You may have several actions, or conversions, that are desired for your business. Your website should be able to generate most of them, and it’s likely that the point of conversion doesn’t always happen on the home page. How do you find the right page[s]?

Optimize your website for better conversion rates[#1]: Identify Conversion Opportunities: Generate a list of all the desired outcomes, or conversions, for your business prospects. This could include requests for more information or follow-up, completed purchases, subscription enrollment, or submitting contact information to download a white paper – and there are many more possibilities.

[#2]: Locate Conversion Points: Where on your website does each of these occur? Is there a Call To Action? Make sure the opportunity is easy for the visitor to find and understand what action they should take. This may be a contact page, or a sign up or purchase form, for example.

[#3]: Optimize for the conversion: By embedding metadata on targeted landing pages, that are relevant to the specific search phrase of each visitor, you can create a virtual path to the desired outcome: conversion.

Some additional points to consider:

  • In order to maximize the conversion rate it is crucial to have a well thought out and well developed landing page. See Our 2¢ post on July 15, 2010, and www.activemedia.com.

  • Attempts to improve conversion rates often involve testing different landing pages to see which perform best. See Our 2¢ post on August 10, 2010, and www.thehoneypotbook.com.

When we focus on search engine optimization we sometimes lose site of the fact that increasing traffic to our website is not the only desired result. In the end, if our traffic improved dramatically yet we have not sold more product or service, have we accomplished what we set out to accomplish? Conversions offer us a way to track our progress by creating opportunities for site visitors to identify themselves to us as prospective clients, or to potentially complete a purchase transaction directly.

Are you confident you’re getting great conversion rates from your website? A call to Graphic Matter will help ensure your website is working hard for your business 24/7.

Does Your Website Need An Alignment?

More specifically, is the content of your site in alignment with your searcher’s keywords? Is there a clear path to your virtual doorstep? The sample below will demonstrate the typical process:

1. Keyword or Phrase Searched: A searcher types in keywords into the search engine [google, msn, aol]. In this example: “iPhone 4G reviews”.

2. Results Listed: The search engine results are listed, showing organic search results and sponsored links. Also know as paid advertising or pay-per-click [ppc], sponsored listings are usually called out by a colored background and the words “sponsored link”, and appear in the main list and in the side columns as well.

3. Keywords Matched: The words that were included in the initial search phrase “iPhone 4G reviews” will be highlighted or bolded in each of the resulting search listings.

Click on one of the top sites listed on the first page and notice the keywords that are organically placed on this page. You can reference the SEO terms we described in our post Finding Hidden Opportunities On Your Website, to help you look for the keywords in each area – page title, file name, metatags, alt tags, etc. Note how many times the keywords you entered appear in each of the components of this page.

When the keywords appear in all of the page components listed above, and the content on that page is relevant to the keyword phrase, then you have organically optimized this page by making all of the components align with this keyword phrase.

This aligned page is known as a “landing page” for that keyword phrase. See our post about landing pages to refresh your memory.

Does this landing page have a “call to action”? Does it ask you to submit your information, or call the office, or to buy now? If so, then it is also a Conversion Page.

We know what you are thinking: What is a Conversion Page? This answer is coming soon in our next post, and may be your “aha” moment that puts all the SEO pieces together for you.

How can you be in that #1 spot in your prospect’s search results? By methodically “aligning” the key messages on your website, from the inside out. Your own [keyword] alignment is just a phone call away!

What Is A Landing Page?

 

When we started the Graphic Matter blog, we decided that we wanted it to be a no-nonsense source of information that focused on our most frequently asked questions. Well, this is certainly one of them! Here are ourfavorite answers to “What is a landing page?” and the sources that provided them.

  • In online marketing a landing page, sometimes known as a lead capture page, is the page that appears when a potential customer clicks on an advertisement or a search-engine result link. www.Wikipedia.com
  • The first page that a visitor lands on as a result of a traffic acquisition activity. The landing page can be a stand-alone page, a part of a special-purpose microsite, or a page on the company’s main website. Landing page optimization: the definitive guide to testing and tuning for conversions, by Tim Ash, John Wiley and Sons, 2008
  • The first page that a user views during a session. This is also known as the “entrance page.” www.netstrategies.com
  • A Web page that is the click-through point for an online advertisement. Special landing pages are often prepared that focus specifically on the offer or keywords that the Web surfer clicked on. www.neubertweb.com
What are the landing pages on your site? When a prospective customer enters your site through a landing page, is there a clear path to the information they seek, or the results you would like? We’ve been focusing a great deal on how and where people land on our web site – as well as our clients’ sites. Give us a call for a no-nonsense evaluation today; you may find that just a few small changes can dramatically improve your rankings and results!

Get Pushy With Your Marketing: The Difference Between SEO & SEM

We’ve established that SEO [Search Engine Optimization] can effectively pull traffic to your website through the use of strategically planted “seeds” within your site. Search engines continually send out “spiders” or web crawlers, looking for those keywords that you’ve carefully embedded within your site as metatags, alt tags, page titles, page names and links – each of which is seen and recognized differently by the spiders.

Search Engine Marketing [SEM] pushes traffic to your website. SEM refers to the practice of increasing traffic to your website through the use of paid placements [advertisements, pay-per-click listings] and external directories [trade and business membership listings – Chamber of Commerce and similar networks, for example]. Blogs and social media are essential tools in today’s marketing world.

Search engines like links – both incoming and outgoing. Links from your site to other sites, articles, and resources are easy to add to your site, but the search engines know that. Incoming links carry a little more weight with the crawlers, but finding those opportunities might present more of a challenge.

There’s good news here: you can create your own incoming link opportunity with a blog or e-newsletter for your business. The beauty of these media formats is that they work double time for your business. Done correctly, they will literally push traffic to your site: the reader reads and then clicks – beautiful! But they’re also virtually pushing traffic via the search engines. Not only is your link from your blog to your website [incoming link] attractive to the crawlers, but so is the content of your blog. Search engines love fresh, keyword-rich content, so keep feeding them with regular blog posts [like this one].

Lastly, don’t discount the importance any Internet mention of your business: Has your business been in the news recently? Has it been recognized by a trade organization or received an award? There may be a listing [incoming link] as a result, and if you make mention of it on your site you can create a reciprocating [outgoing] link.

Ready to get pushy with your marketing? Call us, we’d love to help!

Organic Marketing? Really?

In the Internet marketing world, there’s a lot you don’t have control over. However, Search Engine Optimization [SEO] and Search Engine Marketing [SEM] offer you a surprising bit of influence to draw the customers right to your virtual doorstep. To do this you need to identify these things:

Who are the customers you really want?

The ones who want you, of course! They’re the ones most likely to purchase your services or products.

How do they search for and find you?

Putting yourself in the role of your customer, generate a list of words and phrases you would use to search for your products or services. Layering these terms deep within your site will provide a path for the search engines and web crawlers to find you organically. Think of these keywords and keyword phrases as the “seeds” you will plant with the hope of a bountiful harvest [of purchasing customers, of course].

Are you ready to go organic? Graphic Matter can help you to find the hidden marketing opportunities in each and every page of your site. Give us a call – you may be surprised at the potential you have on your website right now!

SEO Unplugged

It seems like everyone is tossing the acronym SEO into marketing conversations.
And yet there are a lot of us hearing it that still don’t know what it means – and are afraid to ask.

Here’s what you really need to know:
Search Engine Optimization [SEO] is a multi-faceted process for improving a website’s ranking in the search engines.
Search Engine Optimization is THE essential tool for connecting you [via your website] with your target audience.

First Place in Google RankingsWhy should you care?
Higher rankings = more [quality] traffic to your website = more potential conversions [purchasing customers].
That’s why everyone wants to be Google’s #1 listing.

How can you be in that #1 spot – or at least closer to it?
By methodically “aligning” the key messages on your website, from the inside out.

For most industries, there’s a huge amount of competition for the #1 spot, and it’s dependent upon which keyword phrases you select. The good news is that placing on the first page in the search results is an attainable and notable accomplishment that will yield a marked increase in traffic to your website. Still confused about SEO? Call Graphic Matter to demystify SEO and begin your rise to the first page.

What Can Your Blog Do For You?

In recent posts we shared information on how best to start a business blog – including tips to help define it’s purpose and audience, and the importance of planning your blog.

This post will focus on the RESULTS your hope to achieve through your blog. Now that you’ve determined your blog’s purpose [see post #7], what result or results, do you hope to see? For example, if your blog’s purpose is to inform about upcoming events, the result you see might be an increase in attendance. But if the blog’s purpose is to promote a service or product, how will you know if it is effective?

By defining WHAT you’re looking for, you will also better understand how to measure it.

For example, while you might not consider a blog to be a typical direct sales tool, you can get a sense of the traffic and conversions that result from your blog simply by tracking the number of visitors to your web site or blog. There are analytic tools such as Google Analytics that provide this service, that are easy to install and use and they are free!

Do you have a newsletter or catalog that you send to your customers, via email or snail-mail? Include a sign up feature on your blog and track the results. Adding a Contact form to your blog, and making a point of asking new contacts how they learned about your business can also give you data about your blog.

So remember: plan, plan, plan before your write, write write!

Now leave a comment on this post to let us know how we’re doing. This will help us to track our results and practice what we preach!

What’s Your Purpose? ..the purpose of your BLOG!

A successful blog needs to have a PURPOSE. Why, you ask? Think about the blogs you follow. Chances are, you are benefitting in some way, correct? Perhaps you like a particular blog because it increases your general knowledge base. Or perhaps it provides entertainment. Or even specific information about a product or service, or upcoming events.

Ask yourself, “What purpose do I want my blog to serve?”

It is crucial to clearly identify WHY you want to start a business blog.

• Will it serve as a focal point for a network of contacts for your company?

• Will it help to position you as an expert in your field?

• Is it to promote a particular service or product – and perhaps in the process, create a group of evangelists for your product or service?

• Perhaps the focus will be internal communications, either for the company as a whole, or for a specific business unit?

While these are ALL great reasons to start a blog, it is important to identify and focus on ONE objective in order to maximize your blog’s potential. Keep in mind though, that you may need to adjust your blog’s focus down the road to adapt to evolving business and audience needs.

Come back next week to find out how to define your target audience. Can’t wait? Assistance from the Graphic Matter Team is always just a phone call away!