spam, marketing, website errors blog

Beware of Spam Marketing Messages: “You Have Errors on Your Website”

spam, marketing, website errors,
Don't be fooled by spam marketing messages.

Periodically we hear from clients asking us about emails they’ve received citing several “errors” on their websites. These are not reliable companies and in most cases the emails are scripted. They’re trying to sell you their services. No matter where the email comes from, it usually mentions several things, so please be AWARE.


We came across your website and noticed the following
…(This is completely random and they’re casting a very wide net hoping they can get someone to take the bait)

We’ve found several errors on your website! (“errors” is a completely inaccurate word. We design your website using best practices & run reports regularly)

We are offering you a FREE website analysis...valued at $200! (we always offer FREE website reports - just ask us anytime!)

Get your business on the first page of a Google search! (Google is a pay-to-play operation where much $$$ is spent on ads. Look at which listings say “sponsored”. If you have a huge advertising budget, you too can get higher in the rankings. If you want to spend more on advertising, we can definitely help you get the most for your money, but this also requires A/B testing for the best results!)

Emails that come from a personal account (These aren't legitimate companies)

I have some quick fixes that can help you start ranking better in just a few minutes! Good SEO takes time & testing! There are a lot of moving parts and there is no “Quick Fix”. (If you believe that, we have some land for sale!)

We’re here to help - just contact us if you would like to discuss some options for improving your website’s security to filter out spam & solicitor emails.


SEO, PPC, Pay per click, Search Engine Optimization

SEO or PPC: Which One’s Right For My Business?

When it comes to driving traffic to your website, both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) have their place. They can be done concurrently working towards different goals, or work together towards common goals. See what the difference is.

SEO & PPC

Download the full infographic here. 


Top 5 B2B Marketing Trends 2019

Top 5 B2B Marketing Trends of 2019

2019 has proven so far to be another great year for marketing. Take a look at top trends you could capitalize on that are dominating the field.

Top 5 B2B Marketing Trends 2019

Download the full infographic here. 


Marketing Through Growing Pains

Using Marketing to Manage Business Growing Pains

Marketing Through Growing Pains

 

Marketing is an investment in the long-term success of your business — but like any investment, how and when we engage in it heavily impacts ROI. One of the reasons continuous year-round marketing is worth the money, especially during busy or difficult times, is because it helps us transition more smoothly through business growing pains. With a consistent marketing strategy, companies can better manage lead flow, employee turnover, and expansion when it matters most.

 

Manage Lead Flow With Marketing Strategy

Continuous marketing, even during busy times, prevents “feast or famine” business cycles and the stress that comes with it. When lead flow is more predictable, it’s easier to make additional investments in new facilities, equipment, and talent with less risk and worry. For businesses contending with the challenges associated with new growth, this particular benefit is key to making that growth sustainable and retaining loyal customers through difficult transitions.

A well thought-out marketing strategy also gives businesses the opportunity to plan ahead instead of trying to market from a place of panic, which is typically when you have the least amount of time and resources to allocate to marketing. Better planning results in better execution — making it possible to increase the return on your marketing investment simply by making it a part of regular business operations.

Another way that continuous marketing eases business growing pains is by streamlining the sales process and increasing the confidence of sales staff. Updated, well-targeted marketing materials can save your sales team time, and helps them take advantage of unique opportunities in the moment. It also enhances their communication with individuals who are more visual than auditory in the way they learn new information. By better accommodating the way potential prospects want to communicate with your sales staff, we can shorten sales cycles and improve the morale of your sales team.

 

Manage Recruitment With Marketing Strategy

Marketing for recruitment is very different from marketing for lead generation, and both are necessary to adequately manage business growing pains. This means that even if your business already has a handle on your lead generation marketing, it’s not time to get complacent. You will also need to put together a solid strategy for recruitment in order to manage the increase in workflow that will likely result from successful lead generation marketing.

Hammering out a marketing strategy for recruitment before crunch time hits is key to funneling qualified team members to your business as needed, without suffering through periods of being under or overstaffed. Just like lead generation marketing, giving yourself time to develop a recruitment strategy improves the ROI of your investment in talent acquisition, streamlines overhead, and avoids sinking resources into failed campaigns.

Continuous recruitment marketing during busy times also helps increase your capacity to take on new customers — but finding the right talent is often easier said than done. When competition in the labor market is high, businesses need to work that much harder to reach the talent they desperately need. The smarter and more calculated you are in creating and executing a recruitment marketing strategy, the more sustainably you can grow even when economic barriers and labor market conditions create roadblocks.

Business growing pains are a natural part of building a successful company, but that doesn’t mean we have to completely surrender to them. To learn more about using marketing to manage growth, connect with a 360 Direct team member via our Contact page.


Successful Marketing Campaign

How To Make Your Next Marketing Campaign Succeed

Successful Marketing Campaign

Launching a marketing campaign doesn’t have to be a nail-biter. Set yourself up for success by covering fundamental campaign bases using a little preliminary market research, tactical coordination, and strategy.

Employ Multiple Tactics To Achieve Your Goal

Every campaign needs to start with a focused goal. Not all of your marketing campaigns will necessarily have the goal of immediately resulting in new sales. Many are designed to help prospects a little further down the sales funnel, making them easier to convert. Motivate your prospects to move down that funnel by providing value to them at each touchpoint using a clear call to action. For instance, if your goal is growing your email newsletter, offer coupons or free downloads when they provide their email address. Or, if you’re trying to get their emails in store, offer them a free Custom Water bottle and the coupon, as well as your brand logo, can be on the water bottle’s label. Nearly all customers love freebies so using them is a great way to attract attention.

Whatever your goal is, you aren’t likely to reach it without taking a multi-tactical approach to a marketing campaign. It can take up to seven touchpoints for a lead to convert, meaning a one-off radio ad or single sponsored social media post will not generate overwhelming results on their own. Instead, stay in front of your audience with a series of corresponding tactics for better total ROI.

Know The Audience Of Your Marketing Campaign

The success of a marketing campaign can be dictated by how well you know your target audience. Narrow down your demographic and craft language, imagery, and offers that speak to their needs and values. The preliminary research is worth the effort, because dollars spent on anything ineffective is still wasted resources, even if the marketing tactic is low cost. To ensure your marketing efforts aren’t going to waste you’ll want to deeply understand your audience insights and play to the requirements and behavior of your existing customers.

In that same vein, choosing ad platforms and mediums that your audience frequents or will respond positively to is essential to the success of a marketing campaign. The tactics you choose depend entirely on how your target market wants to be approached, which may require mixing both traditional and digital marketing tactics in the same campaign.

Follow Through On Your Marketing Campaign Tactics

It isn’t enough to simply execute your tactics and expect your leads to convert. Following through with your marketing tactics requires coordinating each one in a timely way, tracking them, and touching base with new leads at the end of the campaign.

Following through also means staying the course. Don’t change tactics mid campaign, even if results are slow to trickle in. Remember that it takes several marketing touchpoints for a lead to convert, so don’t get discouraged by low response rates early on. Wrapping up before your marketing campaign has run its course only deprives you of useful data.

Whenever possible, measure the efficacy of your tactics by checking analytics, recording the number of inquiries received, or emails collected. This valuable insight can be used for a retargeting campaign, or an entirely new campaign down the line. The more data we have, the greater our chances for success.

For more information on how to craft a successful marketing campaign, connect with an expert here.


Shareable Evergreen Content

What Makes Content Shareable?

Shareable Evergreen Content

How can we be sure that the blogs, newsletters, videos, and case studies we produce will get any traffic? In marketing, ROI is everything, and time and talent spent on ineffective content creation is money down the drain. The good news is, valuable, shareable content doesn’t have to go viral, it just has to connect with the target audience, and be both immediately and continuously useful to them.

Shareable Content Is Evergreen Or Topical

What is “evergreen” content? It’s digital marketing in the form of blogs, case studies, white papers, ebooks, infographics, podcasts, videos, or Q&As that is perpetually relevant long past its publication date. Evergreen content is indefinitely reusable and recyclable, increasing its total ROI over time. Evergreen content can also be indefinitely linked to or referenced in new content, providing additional context and educational information for the audience.

Beyond its recyclability, shareable evergreen content with smart SEO strategy deployed throughout will continue to build your digital footprint with Google over time as more visitors accumulate.

Topical content, though not evergreen, is also powerful when deployed in a timely way. Marketers can take advantage of current events or new technology featured by mainstream media to increase their own visibility for a finite amount of time. As long as your contribution to the conversation is relevant to your business and your target market, providing your business’ take on a hot topic can pull in a wider audience for a finite amount of time.

Shareable Content Is Practical

In a study by the NYT Insight Group, 94% of of content consumers assessed the usefulness of the content before sharing it. Shareable content is such because it provides the target audience with immediate value, prompting the audience to spread it around to others who might also find it helpful. So what makes content useful or practical? Shareable content provides action items, tips, or tools that require little additional research and exploration. Product demos, video tutorials, reports, or step-by-step guides are great examples of this.

Additionally, shareable content needs to be industry-relevant in order for it to draw in an audience with the potential to convert. Instead of producing content you think will go viral amongst general internet users, create content that your specific target audience is most likely to appreciate.

Shareable Content is Easily Digested

If a given article or web page doesn’t immediately provide internet users with information relevant to their search query, they are likely to exit that content without having read or viewed the majority of it, which doesn’t bode well for your marketing ROI or conversion rate.

To create well-organized content, use bullet points, lists, explanatory headings, and bold or otherwise visually isolate important takeaways. Concise, organized content helps your audience to quickly glean more of the information you want them to know about your product, company, or industry.

For larger pieces of content like in-depth blogs, articles, white papers, or case studies, highlight and organize the most valuable nuggets of information with descriptive headings, chapters, or content pages. For the right target audience conducting technical research into a product or service, they will expect to spend more time with your content and appreciate content organization that makes their research less tedious.

Bottom line: the more time a digital content consumer invests in your content, the likelier they are to find it useful, leading to a higher number of shares and exposure for your business.

Creating shareable content doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it should always have a strategy behind it. For more information on maximizing the efficacy and ROI of your digital content, connect with one of our content marketing experts.


SEO and How to Build it Up

SEO: What It Is & How To Build It

SEO and How to Build it Up

We’ll start with the bad news first: there is no silver bullet tactic for getting found on Google. No one can become searchable overnight with a single widget, tool, or paid service. The good news? Leveraging Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the organic process by which a business can increase the number of unique visitors to their website using keywords, can absolutely help the right people find your business over time. Many companies specialize in SEO, for example, someone like Victorious covers SEO for a variety of business types. There are also companies who specialise in SEO for more niche businesses. For example, MarijuanaSEO are the cannabis seo specialists and they focus on marketing for cannabusinesses.

What is SEO Strategy And Why Do We Need Keywords?

SEO strategy is how marketers make Google your friend. For example, when a web user searches for “Milwaukee pet grooming,” all web pages with a keyword strategy for that search term will pop up in their results. Google’s bots use keywords to find and index your digital content, raising the SEO, or search rankings, of the highest quality, keyword-relevant content. What keywords a marketer chooses depends entirely on the business and their target market.

Unfortunately, legitimate SEO building does not provide instant gratification. With a multi-faceted SEO strategy, it can take several weeks to months to see a substantial impact on your web traffic. This is because Google’s bots (known as crawlers) need time to find new web content and index it. SEO building should be a process that marketers engage in continuously, adding new relevant content over time using keywords the target market is most likely to search for. This is why, if this is something that you are unsure about, then it might be a good idea for you to check out something like this seo audit guide.

Tactics For Building Your Website’s SEO Using Keywords

Choose Keywords Wisely. Simply going with the most popular search terms for your industry may or may not be the best strategy for you. Your chosen keywords should depend on the kinds of content your target wants and the words they use to describe it, whether that’s layman’s terms or technical seo vocabulary.

Write Useful Content. Fill your web pages with informative, helpful content, and intersperse your keyword naturally throughout. Google’s algorithms are designed to punish websites that try to game the system, or awkwardly stuff keywords into irrelevant surrounding content.

Strategically Insert Keywords. We can place keywords in more places than just the plain text featured on a web page. When used in web page headings and URLs, those strategically placed keywords help flag Google’s crawlers in finding the keyword-relevant content featured on the page itself.

Label Your Images. Marketers can make images function like SEO building tools by labeling them using alt tags. Search engines won’t otherwise register images as relevant content if we don’t tell them what they depict using alt tags.

Submit A Sitemap. We can tell the search engine which pages you want it to crawl by submitting a sitemap. This ensures that Google is able to find your newly written content more effectively, and properly index everything else on your site.

Keep in mind that SEO building is a marathon, not a sprint. Results won’t happen overnight, but measurable improvement is possible with the right keywords and the right strategy in place. For more info on SEO and how to build yours, contact us.


Discover Your Marketing Strategy

What’s Your Marketing Strategy in 2018?

Discover Your Marketing Strategy

By now, you already have your fiscal budget in place and have cemented all your major business goals for 2018. You likely have a good idea of how many new employees you’ll need to add to your workforce this year. Major business goals or new equipment investments for the year have been discussed and agreed upon. You have sales and revenue goals. Business leaders spend a lot of time and energy in creating their strategy and goals for the year. Whatever your goals are, if you run a contractor business, you might find a use for consultancy services (visit SGI here) in helping you to achieve those goals, success and further your business’s development.

But what is your marketing strategy for 2018?

Let’s Back Up. First, What IS a Marketing Strategy?

A marketing strategy outlines the approach you want to take to achieve marketing goals and reach your target market. Your strategy can focus on customer retention and cross selling, reaching new audiences, or a myriad of other things. Your marketing strategy works hand in hand with your business goals. After all, marketing encourages business growth – your strategy and business goals determine in what ways you want to focus that growth. You should always keep your goals at the forefront of your mind so that it can help you to drive forwards in your journey. Before deciding on your final marketing strategy, you may want to have a look at these 16 lessons from Russell Brunson (a successful entrepreneur) to get some inspiration about how you can create an efficient and lasting business as he has. Having something to work towards could help you to reach your goal faster.

Once you have a concrete understanding of the type of strategy that makes the most sense for your business goals, that informs all your marketing activities, so they are all working in harmony towards the same objectives.

It can be tempting to say your business doesn’t need a marketing strategy if you’ve never had one before. After all, you are doing fine – growing even – and your business uses traditional sales staff to meet business goals. And a skilled sales team can certainly grow a business. But if you are growing now, imagine what your business potential could be if you gave your sales team better tools! Marketi

Your business goals are a destination, and your marketing strategy is the vehicle for getting there. Sure, without one, you can try to move in the general direction you want to go, but you may not be taking the most efficient route. Twenty years ago, if you were driving to an unfamiliar destination, you needed a roadmap or atlas. Now, nearly everyone uses a GPS or navigation app because they are more effective and efficient predictors of traffic, construction, and other obstacles in the way of getting where you need to go. Roadmaps and atlases still work, but if you want to get to that new destination on time, most people would opt for the option that gives them the greatest advantage.

From Creating a Strategy to Activation

Look at your current situation and goals and assess where your greatest potential lies. Do you often hear from new customers, “I never knew about you guys!” Or do your current customers say, “Oh, I didn’t know you could do that too!” Those are all starting points when deciding where to focus your strategy.

You likely already have an idea of where your company needs to grow, but you may not have the time necessary to create a marketing strategy and implement it. If that’s the case, outsourcing your marketing can be a way to bridge the gap. On the other hand, you may have a clear direction mind, but you lack the manpower to activate your strategy and carry out tactics, 360 Direct has a program for that. We call it our “Hands and Feet” program, where we put your marketing ideas into action.

Other times, a business leader is so entrenched in the company that an outside perspective is useful or even necessary to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your brand’s image. 360 Direct offers a Business Marketing Diagnostic for cases like that — with no obligation to purchase any other services.

No matter where your starting point is on the road to maximizing your brand power, consulting an expert strategist can help point you in the right direction. Make the most of your 2018 by giving your team a clear path to succeed in meeting their goals with a marketing strategy.


Lead Generation

Lead Generation Starts in Marketing, Not Sales

Lead Generation

What percent of leads do your salespeople close? That number varies from company to company, but a lot of it depends on the quality of leads your sales people have. Traditionally, companies have bought list, mingled at networking events, and, of course, pounded the pavement to get prospects further into the purchasing funnel. But if you are still doing that, you may not be using their time the most effectively.

The way people consume information has changed drastically, even in just the past few years. As a result, there’s been a dramatic shift towards inbound marketing to complement your sales strategy. After all, who’s more likely to convert — the company who searched for a product you provide, found your website, read your blog, then called you, or the company whose contact information you purchased and then called out of the blue a few times a year?

And what would you rather your salespeople spend their time doing? Having cold conversations with companies who may not know about you or need your product, or following up with prospects that have already expressed interest? Give your sales team a competitive advantage by allowing your marketing department to first warm up their lead bank.

Save Money By Marketing for Lead Generation

Companies that generate leads through their marketing department spend less per lead than those that leverage their sales team as their sole relationship building mechanism. The cost of social media advertising, creating and sustaining a website, producing email newsletters and digital content is less expensive than the cost of time going door to door, making cold calls, networking membership fees, or attending events because it takes a lot more time and energy to educate leads to the point that they are interested in doing business with you without unobtrusive inbound marketing doing all of that work for you. Couple it with some other strategies, such as personalized promotional pricing and other potential deals, and you can have a lot of work done for you very quickly.

Traditional sales strategies force a company to waste its resources on attempting to build connections that more often than not, just don’t convent into sales. In contrast, an effective inbound marketing strategy automates the relationship building process and allows an already warm-ish lead to learn about your business on their own terms, making them much more receptive to your marketing efforts altogether. As a result, starting with a group of targeted, higher quality leads and allowing them a choice in how they engage with your content helps companies to spend less upfront per lead and allocate less time towards building relationships with leads who won’t end up converting. If you are struggling with generating leads then it might be worth checking out these 50 ways to generate leads. That way you will never run out of ideas!

Boost Sales Team Morale and Customer Relationships

Shifting the burden of lead generation from a sales team to a program like the 360 Direct marketing team doesn’t mean your star sales staff will sit idle. In reality, they will spend more productive hours nurturing warm leads with a faster sales process and higher conversion rate from beginning to end. More efficient sales conversion allows your employees to leverage their unique communications skills for success, rather experiencing discouragement and burn-out that is common with the traditional sales beat.

In addition to better conversion rates and more efficient sales processes, companies that begin their lead generation strategies with their marketing departments also benefit from a better brand image. Unfortunately, traditional sales strategies that require sales persons to engage awkwardly with cold leads often leave the impression of a “manipulative” or “slimy” interaction. No one wants to feel coerced into buying a product or service they don’t want, and saving your elevator speeches for the folks successfully funneled into your lead bank via targeted marketing instead allows your potential customers to view your sales team as helpful and educational on products or services they already have an interest in. The resultant positive customer relationships can increase brand loyalty and the likelihood of repeat purchases.

The total benefits of employing marketing and sales strategies in tandem are many, and as inbound marketers, we are passionate about creating action plans that work smarter, not harder for our customers. For more information on using marketing to retool your overall conversion strategy, connect with one of our experts via our Contact page.


Why design matters in marketing

Why Marketing Design Matters

Why design matters in marketing

It’s easy to neglect updating the marketing content & design in your materials. Many times, companies use the same design for their marketing materials and just plug in updated specs and product information.

Over time, it’s easy to fall into complacency and lose that critical eye towards pieces that have been working for you. After all, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Many companies are satisfied as long as the information is correct. Unfortunately, that’s not enough! Compete for your prospective customers’ attention, with their shrinking attention spans, by staying on top of your marketing materials. Individuals are becoming accustomed to making snap judgments. Your product information could be saying you are leading your industry, but your marketing materials may be telling a different story.

Print Materials

Most B2B companies understand the continued need for print materials in their marketing mix, but even those marketing staples have evolved to incorporate updated marketing design. People now spend less time than ever digesting what’s in front of them – about seven seconds! Gone are the days when individuals sit and read large chunks of text they are handed or receive in the mail. It’s all about bullet points, sub headers, and an appealing design. So, bare this in mind whenever you need any Promotional Signs or any other marketing materials printed for your business

If you are taking your updated information and plugging it into the same brochure, sell sheet, or postcard template your company has been using for years, your materials likely aren’t as effective as they could be. People have complained about the amount of advertising they are exposed to since 1759, and the advertising clutter continues to grow annually. There are two ways to increase your odds of prospective clients paying attention.

  1. Get to the point. Companies have to assume their materials are only given a cursory glance before a reader decides to put it aside or to delve in and read more. Give your readers the information they are looking for as quickly as possible in a straightforward manner. It doesn’t matter if you’re using 858graphics banners, leaflets or flyers, you need the key information to be bold and eye-catching so that readers know what they’re reading about before they have read any of the fine print. Provide easy options for them to get more in-depth information, should the want it. Your layout should be easy to follow; colours and font should be crisp and clear.
  2. Get creative. How many postcards and flyers do decision makers receive in year? A month? A day? Make sure yours are standing out and not getting lost in the shuffle. This doesn’t mean gimmicky. Some well-placed images, a less common size, or a memorable and fitting cutout or insert could be all it takes.

Use a printing perth service to ensure your marketing pieces are produced to the best standard and quality, once establishing a unique design for your materials. Even with a robust print material campaign, most prospective clients will check you out online before calling to make an appointment or purchase. Which leads us to…

Websites

Even if you don’t know anything about the technical aspects of websites, you know an outdated website when you use one. It’s hard to navigate, it’s difficult to use on phones, and overall takes a long time to find specific information when you have a question. Companies that continue to have a website that is not “mobile friendly” are immediately creating an unnecessary barrier for prospective clients, since 42% of B2B decision makers use their mobile device for research.

In addition to the mobile friendly aspect, load times and content layout dramatically impact how long a prospective customer stays on your site. In fact, if your load time is more than three seconds, many people could leave your site before ever seeing the content. (Remember that 7 second attention span?) Of course, outdated information is sure to be noticed. As prospective customers gain information on their options, they are sure to check you out online. Make sure they like what they see! Current marketing design practices for websites include ensuring your site is responsive and contains relevant images and videos to further engage prospective clients.

Many companies find themselves stuck with a webmaster who built their site, but doesn’t do great updates, or are unwilling to keep up with best practices. This can make it necessary to bring in someone like Apica Systems to do load testing to see just what needs updating to keep things functional. Building a new site can seem daunting and even impossible. That said, it is well worth it to invest in a responsive website that will be easy to update and make changes to in the future. The internet will continue to evolve; if you are already behind, it will only get worse until you make that investment.

Regardless of what industry you are in, the design of your marketing materials matters. Your marketing design is as important as the machinery or materials you use for your products. You wouldn’t go years without considering an update or evaluating best practices, and the same should be said for your marketing efforts.

If you are concerned your marketing materials don’t align with today’s best practices, contact us for a free discovery appointment, where we will evaluate your current materials looking for opportunities – with no commitment from you.