Why Website Audits are Important

Website Audit

Not a day goes by that I’m not doing a website audit on a site somewhere. There are many reasons for a site audit. It may be for a prospect or client wondering about the specifics of their website’s strengths and weaknesses, a client’s search competitor who is doing better than they are and I need to learn why or simply because I’m down one of the many rabbit trails my day takes me and something about a website has my curiosity piqued.

For whatever reason, being able to quickly assess a website is crucial to me and my clients. So what am I looking for? I’m looking for all the ways that a website can help or hinder its pages to rank high in search results. I’m also looking for ways the content on the pages can be doing the same.

I recently compiled a review of web site auditor tools and for that I used the following matrix of audit information that each tool should be able to report: Continue reading “Why Website Audits are Important”

Reclaim Control of your Website with this Owner’s Audit

website-owner-audit-form-tiltedAre you the owner of a company with a website being maintained by staff or contractors? What would happen if that staff or contractor became unreachable or, worse yet, began engaging in a vendetta against your company on your website? Are you in a position to assert your ownership and control of your website?

Or maybe the staff and/or contractors have moved on and you may need to hire someone else to step in and keep things working from time to time. Are you able to give them the access they need?

You may not know how to update your website but you still need to be able to hand over the keys to others who can. Providing the following information is how you do that. Take the time and locate and record the following information so you’ll never get locked out of your own online assets.

Click the button below to download this simple form to collect and record the different credentials required to assert control and ownership over your website.

How to Avoid the Mobile Website Mistake

mobile website - responsive designThere’s no denying it, your best prospects are researching their next purchases using their phones and other mobile devices (e.g. tablets) more and more than with their desktop computers. Whether looking for a nearby restaurant, gas station or ATM or deciding what features they need on their next grill or bicycle, your prospects are more likely to wipe out their portable device while sitting in their car, walking down the sidewalk and standing in the aisle in front of a similar product.

But what do they see when they visit your website on their portable devices? If you’re like most website owners, they see little itsy-bitsy text and difficult to tap links. In some instances, menus and other dynamic action elements won’t even function, leaving no way for your prospects to drill into your website to find what they want to buy. In short, they don’t see what they can work with and move on to your competitors’ websites.

There are two primary approaches to dealing with this.  Continue reading “How to Avoid the Mobile Website Mistake”

The Truth About Marketing

It’s one thing to do the right things.
It’s another to do them right.

As a marketer, this saying holds great value for me. It was the same for my father, a lawyer. I recall asking him about a do-it-yourself lawyer-in-a-box kit being advertised while he and I were watching TV. “Does that hurt your business?” I asked. He chuckled and said, “No, but I’ll end up dealing with a stressed out client later and have to charge more to fix the mess than I would have if they’d come to me in the first place.” That has stuck with me for decades.

Now as I set out to guide businesses to their optimum marketing positions, I too am seeing far too many do-it-yourself attempts that are messy and often do more damage than good. By the time I get the call, the first things to do are to undo things, to get back to center. Afterwards discovery can be done and then new initiatives designed and implemented.

So in the hope I can spare at least one person from making a mess, here are my truths about marketing (these are for today, who knows what’s going to work tomorrow):

Some painful truths about marketing:

Marketing is more than being noisy and saying nice things about your company and products. There was a time when that’s really all you had to do and whoever was noisiest (bought the most advertising) would win.

Marketing is more than “getting the word out” and “being visible.” Often misrepresented as “branding,” this is the epitome of checklist marketing. Doing something just for the sake of saying you’re doing something.

Marketing is more than building a web site, having a Facebook page or publishing monthly newsletters. None of these items, by themselves, is going to move the needle for your company. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come.

Some painless truths about marketing:

Marketing involves taking time to understand who wants your offerings and why. Knowing this means being able to bundle, price and explain your offerings with extreme accuracy for your best prospects.

Marketing involves knowing you’re not going to be able to tell people what to buy but they are looking for solutions to what pains them. Offering solutions (free and paid) is key to developing relationships with your best prospects today.

Marketing involves learning who your best prospects trust and listen to and then build a relationship with those people so they can know about and share your solutions with their audiences.

Marketing involves measuring everything. You need to then know how to read the data in order to make make changes to do more of what works and quit doing what doesn’t. For instance, low numbers may indicate an incorrect or misdirected strategy. You need to be able to tell the difference.

 

Did I miss any?

Public Relations, Your New Name is Outreach

During the past decade, successful marketing strategies have been rewritten and dramatically so. With audiences moving away from traditional media to ‘new’ media channels, the inexpensiveness of online content creation and the ability to attract qualified leads via search engine optimization it was possible to create ones own marketing ‘gravity’ to attract prospects without relying on the media or anyone else to push them. But, that too, is beginning to change. Continue reading “Public Relations, Your New Name is Outreach”

It’s Pay to Play Time with Facebook

We knew it would happen eventually. They are taking away that which Facebook business page owners have been taking for granted for years. For some marketers it will require no change in execution but a great deal of change in expectation. For others, it will be a crushing blow of the uncontrollable loss of their singular or at least most effective marketing presence.

It has been taken for granted that content posted by a Facebook business page will be seen by all of its fans who visit Facebook within the few hours following and some even later. But that’s all about to changed. Continue reading “It’s Pay to Play Time with Facebook”

Social Media Management Case Study | Boomer’s Drive-In

imageBoomer’s Drive-In is a single location restaurant located in Bellingham, Washington, a small town with a university population nearby. Boomers had enjoyed consistent revenue growth for over a decade but never fully utilized online marketing nor social media. Boomer’s Drive-In had three social media goals: 1) to capitalize on their ever growing sales and market share; 2) to be positioned for the future with regard to the ever-increasing role technology plays in marketing and 3) to offer existing and new customers new ways to become more connected with and part of Boomer’s continued success.

Boomers turned to a new marketing service, Whatcom Marketing, who was providing social media management services. Whatcom Marketing assessed the situation and advised not to expect any significant benefit from a social media effort for about three to four months.

imageWhatcom Marketing began managing Boomer’s presence on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as well as building out their profiles in online directories and on customer review sites. The Boomer’s Drive-In web site was also optimized for better search engine performance. Initially, Boomers did not expect many people were searching online for “burgers” or even for “boomers.” But once traffic monitoring had been put in place, they discovered two-thirds of their web site visitors were coming from search engines.

imageIn just the second month, Boomers reported sales up more than 13% from the same month the previous year. This also beat the record for that month for all years prior by 8%.

After five months, Boomer’s Drive-In realized a return on their investment with Whatcom Marketing of more than 6000%. Their fan bases on Facebook and Twitter have more than quadrupled and are engaging (commenting, sharing, etc.) with the content being published. Boomers made no other changes to their marketing efforts during this time.

Knowing online marketing channels tend to be quickly replaced by others in the future, Whatcom Marketing is currently working with Boomers to capture customer contact information and implement a strategic email marketing strategy.

 

Whatcom Marketing was able to create real results for Boomer’s Drive-In and other businesses in other industries. We would welcome the opportunity to help you take your business to the next level. Contact us today.

 

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(360) 223-1438
info@WhatcomMarketing.com

Product Launch Case Study | On Water Designs

On Water Designs of Bellingham, Washington, led by Tim Niemier of Ocean Kayak fame, came up with a high-quality and high-performance yet low-cost solution for paddle board enthusiasts limited by the portability and storage requirements of paddle boards that are typically longer than ten feet. The Origami Paddler is a solid board uniquely designed to fold when not in use. When folded, it is easy to ship (conforms to UPS and FedEx shipping requirements), transport (take in your car, not on it), carry and store. When unfolded, it outperforms inflatable boards, its only real competition.

imageSince the folding boards could be shipped directly to the customer, there was no need to create a reseller network. That meant Niemier needed to be able to market and sell the Origami Paddler direct to the marketplace. Something he had never done before.

Niemier came to Whatcom Marketing seeking marketing ideas to directly reach his best prospects and generate awareness of and interest in this new product. It also needed to be accomplished with the least amount of cost. Whatcom Marketing developed a strategy utilizing online marketing channels in order to garner a sufficient number of “pre-orders” to fund the initial production run. In essence, a self-funding bootstrap product launch was planned.

In anticipation of the expected attention this campaign would receive, a marketing and sales support infrastructure was created across multiple social media platforms and a web site was built. This provided the means for prospects to learn about the Origami Paddler, discover its unique benefits and start sharing and discussing it.

A press release launched via PRWeb’s online distribution platform marked the launch of this campaign. News outlets worldwide covering sports, water sports, gadgets and inventions were attracted to the press release and began writing about this game-changing new product. Tim Niemier quote A 2-minute product video produced by Whatcom Marketing received over 2000 views within the first month and over 6000 views after only four months.

Email addresses of interested prospects were collected via social media channels and the product web site. Monitoring the online chatter and making contributions to discussions about the Origami Paddler in online forums worldwide fostered additional interest, ensured accurate information was exchanged and enabled immediate collection of market feedback about product messaging and design.

After creating pent-up interest and demand for a product no one knew to even ask for previously, emails and social media announcements were sent out announcing orders were being accepted. No one had actually seen the product, outside of the videos and a pictures. But enough interest had been created that the orders submitted were enough to cover the expense of the initial production run and product delivery. The product was successfully launched with minimal expense and time and the sport of stand-up paddle boarding revolutionized.

 

Whatcom Marketing was able to create real results for On Water Designs. We welcome the opportunity to help you take your business to the next level too. Contact us today.

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(360) 223-1438
info@WhatcomMarketing.com

Owning & Protecting Your Company’s Online Assets

This week was an interesting one for online marketers. Two earth-shaking, paradigm-changing revelations occurred.

  1. We discovered that Google isn’t perfect as their “new” personalized search results are poop (hello Bing?).
  2. We discovered that Facebook is registering declining numbers in some global markets.

Whether you agree or disagree about the importance of these specific points, they serve to remind us that what works today for online marketing isn’t necessarily going to be what works tomorrow. As the steward of your company’s online assets (blog posts, pictures, videos, etc.), it is crucial that you create an infrastructure that takes this into consideration.  Continue reading “Owning & Protecting Your Company’s Online Assets”

The “Been There, Done That” Social Media Dilemma

Social Media trapsI came across a wonderfully succinct article recently about the ways companies have been known to sabotage their own social media efforts. Now, I don’t want to scare you and provide yet another excuse for not making an effort (or hiring WM to do it for you !!), but having the knowledge of what to avoid should provide you with a sense of comfort and encouragement. And if you already encountered these and bailed as a result, maybe knowing you’re not alone will give you confidence to stick your toe back in the water.

The article provides 6 ways to go wrong. I want to revisit these with my own basis for why you may find yourself falling into these traps and how to recognize and avoid them.  Continue reading “The “Been There, Done That” Social Media Dilemma”