Category Archives: Service Providers

Web Development Agencies – Offerings and Services

Web designers, whether creating websites on their own or within an agency, have become developers and more. They have started offering additional services on top of web development to stay competitive. Web development agencies are offering more services as the demand increases for those services.

While a designer can outsource a person with coding expertise, it’s necessary for a person designing websites to understand the basics of code and not have to constantly outsource for small tweaks and additions to the coding structure. Custom web design is the norm rather than the exception these days.

Aside from that, they need to know what can be done with code and what programming language it will be done in. When customers ask questions, it benefits the designer to be able to answer that a solution can be met affirmatively by using certain methods.

Most websites don’t need to be built from scratch with code. With content management systems such as WordPress, developers can use templates to get a design base that they can then build upon and customize as they choose with CSS and JavaScript.

Why are developers offering more services?

The website build itself has become the base from which an agency is built. Custom web design is no longer enough though. Both independent freelance developers and design agencies are morphing into full-service search engine optimization(SEO) and marketing agencies.

A website on its own is not enough to succeed on the internet and businesses of all sizes are looking for one-stop shops.

To succeed in ranking and get traffic, one must use SEO. Sophisticated SEO, from keeping up with Google algorithms to content creation, and technical SEO with backlinks, is a hefty job. When a developer offers these services, they offer crucial value and become more alluring to customers looking for website growth.

Developers often charge a monthly retainer for providing these services to clients who they’ve designed sites for. Typically, this occurs with smaller businesses rather than larger corporations who may hire their own in-house SEO specialist or a separate marketing agency.

To increase SEO and website visibility, some agencies and independent creatives are offering social media management and graphic design services. This can involve maintaining a social media presence, incorporating a unique branding proposition, and being the voice of their client’s company when interacting with customers.

As a special addition, web developers are offering more services, to include hosting. This provides a convenient way for them to make an additional percentage from clients while providing a necessity any new site will require.

Web development is a complex skill and one that requires the use of many related skills to provide full-scale services to businesses looking for a streamlined and growth-oriented approach. As the online business landscape changes, so do web development agencies who stay ahead of the game.

Why It’s Important to Analyze Your Marketing Efforts

If you are a business owner, it is so important that you not only have access to analyze data related to your business, but that you have concrete, measurable analyses that you can use in future marketing efforts. The most lucrative marketing efforts occur when one is well-informed about the targeted audience and product or service being offered. There are several various means to analyzing and utilizing data for marketing, and I’m here to tell you about some of them!

First, it’s worth it to consult with a marketing agency that can tell you how to best proceed with marketing based on the data that you have about your intended consumer for your product or service. Marketing agencies can direct you to the best methods for everything from internal business analysis to ensure your company and its employees are in sync to external business analysis which focuses on understanding the market for your business. A marketing agency can also guide you through establishing goals based on your market’s data and based on the unique advantages and methods of marketing that your business has access to!

Another resource useful for analyzing your marketing efforts is found through consultation with a web design agency. Most businesses make first impressions on potential consumers via online platforms, so why not work to market your online presence with professional guidance? A web design agency can help you to develop a custom web design that is best suited to your company needs. Many of your needs are established when analyzing the data about your consumers and their satisfaction with your service or product. If you can use this data in your consultation with a web design company or a web design agency, you will be better set up for success in your future marketing efforts.

Graphic design is another huge component to successfully marketing your business. What is going to attract potential customers to your business? Font, color, size, and design are all basic considerations to take when working with a graphic designer. All of these preferences should be established by studying your targeted market. If you know the preferences of your potential consumer, then you will know how to best market your service or product to draw them in!

When analyzing consumer data and past marketing efforts, it’s important to utilize the resources available to you if you want to have successful marketing in the future. Marketing agencies, web design agencies, and graphic designers are all potential resources for taking your data and putting it into a marketing strategy that can ultimately lead to the success and growth of your business!

Step into the Era of Digital Advertising with Instagram Ads

Winning Marketing Strategy with Instagram

Instagram is much talked about by digital marketers. With over 700 million active Instagram users, it’s a social network platform that reaches the masses including your current and untapped markets.

With Smartphones coming up with better features in capturing high-resolution photos and videos, it’s hard to resist the urge to share them with the world via Instagram. There’s even a word for it: Instagrammable. When people find every place, pet, or performance instagrammable, we know that Instagram is here to stay.

To get to know Instagram is to understand its great potential to increase engagement with clients and generate traffic that will eventually lead to more sales. Here’s a guidepost to help maximize the benefits of integrating Instagram in marketing:

Share Standout Content 

The goal is to craft posts worthy of sharing and circulating in the Instagram universe, or better yet, will cross to other social apps.

Depending on your Instagram Marketing strategy, create a post with links to all social accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+. This will make sharing right away easy. An Instagram account can also stand on its own as long as standard content such as logo, tagline and profile description, useful links (website, map, other social accounts), the color scheme is observed for a unified branding look and feel.

Images and one-minute videos are the lifeblood of Instagram. Deserving a second look are high quality, well-composed, uniquely conceptualized images. Fast-paced, focused, with minimal text for Instavids. It works differently for every niche. One can use top-down flat lay shots for food or scenic long shots for places. In short, what you share should be visually delightful and relays the brand’s character.

Give the image its voice by partnering it with equally compelling captions. Good captions say, first, what the image is all about in a creative way. It can be inspiring or funny or show how a problem is solved. Emojis, those cute facial expressions, and ideogram add life to captions. They somehow substitute for the warmth in a face-to-face interaction. Second, there is a call to action. Ask Instagrammers to sign-up, share the post, or tag a friend. Ask a question and encourage them to answer in the comments section.

After the structure is the approach. You can pique the interest of Instagrammers’ just enough with a teaser, so they’ll be enticed to click the link to your website to read the rest of the story. If you choose to tell the whole story in the caption, be reminded of the 2,200 character limit, so start with the most important details.

Boost Content Sharing

Posts in an Instagram feed are arranged, not chronologically, but based on the number of likes and comments. Instagram assumes that more likes and comments mean audiences will find the content interesting. Thus, these are the posts visible at the top of followers’ home stream. The effect ripples up to a higher search engine ranking.

Keep conversations rolling in the comments section. It is a way to nurture relationships online. Comments are feedback, too and it is worth taking note what your audience has to say about your company or product/service.

Consistency is key in growing Instagram followers. Decide how often new content will be uploaded. There are studies even saying when is the best time to post on Instagram. See what schedule suits your brand.

Hashtags, the # plus keyword combination, is another way to expand connections. Every click on a hashtag exposes all posts with such keywords including your posts. It helps to get found by prospective clients. The more relevant and specific the keyword, the better.

Reach Out to Influencers

Consumer behavior is changing. Consumers are no longer content with print ads or television commercials. They want to do their research and check how true a brand’s claims are.

Enter an influencer, a credible, respected, and dependable person in a specific field with massive online presence, and a substantial number of loyal followers. What an influencer has to say – a product review or endorsement – is an expert opinion that an Instagram follower trusts and considers in decision-making. This makes influencer marketing one of the most effective ways to retain and attract more customers online.

Be sure to follow industry influencers on Instagram. They come in various sizes, from micro-influencers to the more popular account names. Micro-influencers are like relatable peers to consumers while big time personalities represent characteristics that people aspire for. Among them, who can you work with collaboratively? Working together can mean content sharing and recommending your brand.

Step into the Era of Digital Advertising with Instagram Ads

Take your campaigns to the next level with Instagram Business starting with Instagram advertising. Sponsored Instagram ads gain more likes and followers compared to a regular post. Some of the added features include a shop now link that takes the user to the product page. The contact button will allow users to call or email the business owner.

With Facebook acquiring Instagram, your marketing campaign can cover both platforms seamlessly. For one, your Instagram account can link your Facebook page instead of design separate content for each social network. Creating a campaign on Facebook and Instagram is purposive with the objective, audience, schedule, and budget identified.

After campaign launching is performance tracking. Instagram Business tracks analytics called Insights and offers significant data to digital marketers. Insights are focused on two areas: follower demographics (location, age, gender, new followers) and Instagram post analytics (reach, impressions, website clicks).

Insights help measure the results of marketing efforts in tangible terms to determine a campaign’s success. How near or far are the results from the set targets? Is Instagram driving the results a campaign aimed for? The answers to these questions will prompt new trials, tracking, and tweaks to a campaign.

Final Note

As far as marketing is concerned, Instagram is for all kinds of businesses; from start-ups to global brands. While modern businesses have taken the plunge and uses Instagram in their digital marketing strategies, a deeper dive can show unexplored advantages to further raise profits.

Three Days of Thanksgiving!

In celebration of Thanksgiving this coming Thursday, I’m going to write a series of gratitude posts starting today.  Please feel free to share what you’re grateful for in the comments, or link me to your own posts about Thanksgiving.  I’d love to see what everyone else has to say on the matter.

Without further delay:  Today, I am thankful for technology, and more specifically, for the Internet.

Call me a nerd if you wish, but just think for a moment about all the wonderful things we can do thanks to the world wide web.  Consider all the information we can access with just a few keystrokes and the click of a button.  Have a question?  You can bet Google has an answer for you!  Need to do your banking?  Get your furnace serviced?  Make travel plans?  Buy or sell your condo?  Buy a gift for a friend?  The Internet is there for you, simplifying all your daily tasks.

More than that, though, the internet brings people together.  We have massive social networks helping old friends to reconnect, communities like Reddit and Livejournal helping people find those who share common interests (no matter how obscure), and thousands of forums for learning and sharing advice, knowledge, and humor.  And on top of that, we have chatting capabilities and video conferencing so that no matter where in the world your loved ones are, you can talk to them face-to-face, all thanks to the internet.  Sure, there are trolls and flame wars are easy to find, but so are friends, new and old.

As I think about Thanksgiving, I think about the friends I’ve made online, the connections that have been strengthened, and the extra time I have to spend with them because I have the capability to do so many things from my smartphone or computer.

I grew up before the internet became such a widely used thing, but as an adult, I’m not sure what I would do without it!

 

 

 

Business Process Improvement – Learning Something New

One of the things I love about my job in internet marketing is that I am constantly learning something new.  Either I’m watching as tried-and-true tactics change and evolve, or I’m learning about new products or industries from my clients.

Right now, I’m working with (among other things) a software company, a laser tag business, a car wash, an hvac company, and a project management system.  While some of those things are more easily understood than others, I’ve found that the more complex businesses can be equally as interesting.

For example, one of my clients sells process improvement and value stream mapping software.  When I first started working with them, I didn’t know anything at all about their products or who would use them.  Of course, we’d put together a creative brief explaining a lot about the company, but even that was written with a lot of highly technical terms that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

As time has gone on, I’ve had the opportunity to do some writing for them, and as part of that, I’ve come to understand a lot more about what it means to improve business processes.  That isn’t something reserved for giant factories or multi-billion-dollar organizations – just about every company can benefit from breaking down the steps they use to complete various duties and finding a way to do those things more efficiently.  The same with value stream mapping – it’s really just a way to break things down and find a way for companies to work faster, smarter, and better.

What has your job taught you lately?

A Moving Post or A Post About Moving

For about a year now, I’ve been getting ready to relocate.  I’m excited about moving to Northern Virginia, getting my kids settled into a new school, and spending more time at the office.  Due to personal circumstances, things have gotten put on hold much longer than I’d like, but in the meantime, I’ve been doing a lot of research about what it takes to make a successful move.

I don’t have an overwhelming amount of stuff, but I’ve been careful not to accumulate much more while planning my move. I’ve also looked into mobile self-storage companies in case it turns out that I have more than I think.  I can always pack away the toys that my children no longer use, the kitchen gadgets and cake pans that only come out once a year, and of course, the holiday decorations.  Then my moving company can drop off the storage unit when I’m ready, and I can unpack at my convenience.

To be fair, the portable storage container will probably sit at my new house for a few months.  I’m going to have a lot of work to do just getting the three of us settled.

I still haven’t decided if I want to use a full-service moving company, either.  In a lot of ways, it would be so much easier to have the professionals come in, pack up all my things, and relocate us in one quick swoop.  Actually, it would be easier in every way – except financially!  However, I’m hoping that when I get a moving quote, it will turn out to be cheaper than I’m expecting.

If anyone out there has good moving advice for me, I’d sure appreciate it!  I’m hoping to get this all done as soon as possible!

Employee Exit Surveys: Extremely Valuable Tools

I used to work for a blog advertising firm, and while it was an exceptionally small and close-knit company, the CEO used to go through occasional periods of attempting to act like we were bigger than we were.  During one of those phases, he decided to conduct an employee exit interview with  a recent hire who left shortly after taking the position in order to accept a job with a larger company.  She described the entire process as being extremely awkward.  I suppose even after you make plans to move on to greener pastures, it can be difficult to tell your old boss what he did wrong.

However, after that employee left, the exit survey became standard process for everyone who resigned.  Our boss must have found it valuable even if it did make our former-coworkers uncomfortable.

Of course, in larger companies, employee onboarding and exit surveys are standard practice.  They’re usually fairly discrete, and they give both new and former workers the opportunity to share their opinions.  Managers and other leaders can then use that information to implement changes that improve business practices and pave the way for happier, more productive employees.

While answering questions in an employee survey may feel awkward, it’s really important that you be honest.  Companies that conduct these interviews do so because they want to make things better, so you can expect them to take your suggestions and concerns seriously.  Retaining high quality professionals is a huge challenge for businesses, and the insights given by exiting employees are very valuable.

The moral of this story is:  If you’re running a business and you feel like you’re losing good workers, consider asking them for their honest opinions about what your company did right – and wrong.  You may discover room for improvement where you never expected!