Houston Web Design, Social Media, Online Marketing, SEO, Web Development in The Woodlands, Texas https://www.itvibes.com Web Design, Online Marketing, Business Apps Tue, 14 Aug 2018 16:59:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 3 Social Media Headline Tips to Win Audience Interest https://www.itvibes.com/blog/social-media/3-social-media-headline-tips-to-win-audience-interest/ Tue, 14 Aug 2018 16:54:42 +0000 https://www.itvibes.com/?p=16926   Headlines are powerful — no surprise to business marketers. But how are you harnessing that power? Are you utilizing its influence capabilities? If not, you’re most likely losing valuable clicks and engagement on social media platforms. Writing A Killer Social Media Headline If you aren’t writing content day in and day out, you may not […]

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Headlines are powerful — no surprise to business marketers. But how are you harnessing that power? Are you utilizing its influence capabilities? If not, you’re most likely losing valuable clicks and engagement on social media platforms.


Enticing followers through compelling headlines isn't a fad; it's smart marketing.
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Writing A Killer Social Media Headline

If you aren’t writing content day in and day out, you may not have a grasp on social media content writing. It’s a completely different style and tone than a press release or blog post. Take the term “social” literally. You want to sound like you’re having a conversation with users — casual, and simple. How can you make this approach actionable?

1. Short & concise content

2. Attention-grabbing posts

3. Hashtags

1. Make it short and concise.

No one wants to sift through mounds of copy, nor do they have the time. Give your readers exactly what they’re looking for by writing short yet powerful headlines. Giving too much information away may deter users from clicking, but forgetting about context can cause confusion. Find a happy medium where people are left wanting more but understanding your underlying statement.

2. Give a teaser, attention-grabbing statement, or compelling question.

Simply conveying facts is not enough to stop someone from scrolling past your post. Tease what’s to come, grab attention with a staggering statistic, or ask a burning question. People are more likely to not only read your post but also to click to learn more or make a comment.

3. Include hashtags.

Hashtags can be used not only on Twitter and Instagram but also on Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s an easy way for people to find posts related to a specific topic by using the “#” sign in front of a word. While they should be used sparingly on some platforms, it’s a dynamic way to make content easily seen by those outside of your follower list.

Get More Active

As a business owner or marketer, your calendar is probably full; you may not have extra time for social media marketing. If you can’t fit in a consistent posting schedule, don’t throw it to the curb. Hire a professional Marketing and SEO Agency to do the work for you. Contact ITVibes to see how we can help your business thrive!

 

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The Google Auction 101 https://www.itvibes.com/blog/ppc/the-google-auction-101/ Mon, 13 Aug 2018 15:59:36 +0000 https://www.itvibes.com/?p=16969 If you’ve read anything about pay-per-click advertising or Google Ads (formerly AdWords), you’ve likely come across the Google auction. Now, it may sound strange to you. You may wonder what it is or how it works or what’s in it for you. Most likely, however, there’s a lot in it for you and it’s well […]

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If you’ve read anything about pay-per-click advertising or Google Ads (formerly AdWords), you’ve likely come across the Google auction. Now, it may sound strange to you. You may wonder what it is or how it works or what’s in it for you. Most likely, however, there’s a lot in it for you and it’s well worth understanding.

A Google Auction consists of 5 components, and understanding each of them is crucial to your ad campaign's success.
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Understanding the Google Auction

Pay-per-click advertising done well is one of the most efficient means of advertising available and a stellar companion to a quality organic SEO strategy. At the end of the day, you only have to pay when you get a click. A high click-through rate, however, doesn’t necessarily mean more sales or even more leads. After all, it’s easy to generate clicks with low conversion potential.

The key, then, is attracting clicks from users who are ready to buy your specific offering. While there are a number of factors to consider, a good starting point is understanding the Google auction. It can be broken down into the following 5 components:

  1. User Query
  2. Bidding
  3. Auction
  4. Ad Rank
  5. Payment

1) User Query

Everything begins with a search query. A user opens a web browser and types in a search term. The user may be in the market to buy something or they may be simply looking for information. It’s important to note that search terms and keywords are two different items. The user searches with a search term. The advertiser chooses keywords they’re willing to pay for. The keywords determine which search terms/queries will trigger your ads.

2) Bidding

The advertiser must determine a Cost-Per-Click(CPC) bid they would be willing to pay for every keyword they choose. As we’ll see in a moment, this isn’t necessarily the amount you will pay should you win a bid, but the maximum amount you’re willing to pay to win the bid. Your bid is also used in conjunction with your Quality Score to determine your Ad Rank in each auction. Your Ad Rank determines if your ad will show in a given query and where it will appear if it does. Ad Rank is also used in determining your actual CPC when your ad shows.

3) Auction

Every time a user searches on Google, Google determines if there are any advertisers bidding on keywords relevant to the search term. If there are 1 or more, an ad auction is triggered. If there are none, there is no auction and no ads will show. When an auction is triggered, Ad Rank determines which ads will appear in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) and in what order they will appear.

4) Ad Rank

Getting a better Ad Rank is key in improving your position in the SERP, so understanding Ad Rank is essential. Ad Rank is made up of primarily your Quality Score and max CPC bid. Originally, the formula was simply Ad Rank = Max CPC Bid X Quality Score.  However, in recent years, Google has enriched the Ad Rank by also taking into consideration the use of extensions and the ad format. Without going into a lot of detail, what this basically means is 1) Aim for a Quality Score of 7 or better, 2) mind your bidding, and 3) always use all relevant ad extensions.

5) Payment

Winning the bid only means your ad will show in the SERP. You won’t be charged until a user actually clicks on your ad. A common misconception concerns the actual CPC you pay when an ad is clicked. Your actual CPC is often less than the max CPC of your bid because Google takes into account your Quality Score and Ad Rank to determine your actual cost. The formula is

Actual CPC = (The Ad Rank of the Ad directly below you / Your Quality Score) +$0.01. In this way, Google ensures you only have to pay the minimum amount necessary to hold your Ad Rank.

Beyond Winning the Ad Auction

Understanding the Google Ads Auction is the first step in running successful PPC campaigns. In order to smash your competition and leave them ever trailing behind you, you’ll need to do more than simply win the bids, though. You’ll need to win bids and attract the kind of quality clicks that will lead to solid conversions. You’ll need to master your Quality Score, maintain a quality keyword strategy, optimize your Ad Copy & landing pages, and keep it all going. It requires a lot of time and careful attention, but rewards are more than worth it. Get started today!

ITVibes is your local agency for PPC Management and organic SEO. To learn more about dominating the Google Auction, Contact Us.

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6 Ways to Plan a Team Building Activity Your Employees Will Hate https://www.itvibes.com/blog/business-news/6-ways-to-plan-a-team-building-activity-your-employees-will-hate/ Fri, 10 Aug 2018 13:30:09 +0000 https://www.itvibes.com/?p=16929 When most employees hear the words “team building” the prevailing emotion is that of dread. Mandatory fun just isn’t really much fun for anyone, and certainly doesn’t foster feelings of camaraderie. Where Team Building Goes Wrong   One of the biggest reasons businesses provide team building opportunities is to get results. Through a series of […]

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When most employees hear the words “team building” the prevailing emotion is that of dread. Mandatory fun just isn’t really much fun for anyone, and certainly doesn’t foster feelings of camaraderie.

Spending time together outside of work can bring employees together, but in a busy workplace, that time away has to serve a purpose.
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Where Team Building Goes Wrong  

One of the biggest reasons businesses provide team building opportunities is to get results. Through a series of fun, casual group events, teams build skills like communication, problem-solving and conflict resolution. Effective team building activities help foster genuine connections and mutual respect. So where does it go wrong?

  1. Disorganization
  2. Over-Scheduling
  3. Disregarding Employees
  4. After-Hours Activities
  5. Making More Work
  6. Ignoring Employee Limitations

1) Disorganization

The only thing worse than a trust fall activity is a disorganized trust fall activity. If you haven’t carefully planned the day’s events, your employees will know it. Waiting around while someone figures out what’s going on is no one’s idea of fun.

2) Over-Scheduling

On the opposite spectrum of team building preparation is over-scheduling. When every moment of the day is planned for, there isn’t much time for employees to relax and mingle. Your event should be a balance of scheduled activity and casual, unstructured time.

3) Disregard Employees

What do your employees want to do? If you haven’t asked, you’re doing it wrong. Give your staff several options, and ask for suggestions if they have something else in mind. Taking their interests into account when you plan your activity will only help make it a success.

4) An After-Hours Event

Don’t take it personally, but your employees do not want to hang out with you or their colleagues after-hours. They want to be at home, watching Netflix. Make sure your team building activity is during working hours.

5) Making More Work

Don’t mask work with the label of team building. Ordering pizzas during a rigorous brainstorming session is a nice gesture, but a team building activity it is not. Don’t bring work into the equation at all unless it comes up naturally.

6) Ignore Employee Limitations

Not all your employees can (or want to) participate in physically demanding activities. Make sure you take the limitations of your staff into account when planning a team building event. Not sure? Refer to point 3.

A Positive Experience

Getting your employees to collaborate, communicate and get to know each other better is a noble goal and a smart business move. Don’t overthink it, plan but don’t go nuts and above all, get feedback from your employees to ensure they’ll actually want to do.

Contact Us to learn more about building a strong company culture. (Just don’t bring up the last ITVibes laser tag competition. The author maintains that the points were incorrectly tallied.)

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5 Essential Tips to a Successful PPC Campaign https://www.itvibes.com/blog/ppc/5-essential-tips-to-a-successful-ppc-campaign/ Fri, 03 Aug 2018 13:07:03 +0000 https://www.itvibes.com/?p=16651 Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising is a dynamic and exciting medium for advertising and marketing. Unlike organic SEO, PPC can generate immediate results in many cases, and that means money in the bank. However, it’s also an extremely competitive auction, especially if you want to be at the top of the first page consistently. It’s […]

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Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising is a dynamic and exciting medium for advertising and marketing. Unlike organic SEO, PPC can generate immediate results in many cases, and that means money in the bank.

However, it’s also an extremely competitive auction, especially if you want to be at the top of the first page consistently. It’s well worth it, by the way. The top 3 ad spots on Google will generally take 40% of all clicks. Even still, there’s several moving parts and pieces to understand that may prove daunting to many business owners. For that reason, many never take the plunge and eventually pay the consequences. Don’t let your competition pass you by. Get started with these quick tips.

Building a Successful Pay Per Click Campaign

PPC Advertising is your opportunity to get your products and services in front of potential clients at the moment they search for them. It’s essential to national and local search marketing. There’s never been anything quite like it in the history of advertising. It can produce results like you’ve never imagined, but you can also lose a lot of money if you’re not careful. As you generate and run your PPC ads, keep the following 5 essential tips in mind:

  1. Be Specific
  2. Utilize Extensions
  3. Track Conversions
  4. Make it Easy
  5. Review, Revise, & Repeat

1) Be Specific

If you offer a wide assortment of products or services, it’s tempting to make general ads that cover as much ground as possible. As much as you may not want to leave anything out, fight the temptation! For the most part, ads that are very general or broad in scope tend to perform poorly with consumers. It makes sense if you think about it.

Consumers who are executing extremely general search queries are typically just gathering information. They’re far away from making a purchase. The closer they get to making a decision, the more specific their search becomes. If you know you’re in the market for an outdoor kitchen, for example, you’re probably not going to search for outdoor living or backyard upgrades. You’ll likely search for outdoor kitchen or backyard kitchen or something similar. The closer you get to making a purchasing decision, the more specific your search becomes. Knowing this, organize your keywords into small, tightly organized groups. Generate AdGroups and ads as granular and specific as possible. Give consumers who are ready to buy ads specific to their queries.

2) Utilize Extensions

Google provides an assortment of ad extensions that not only give you more real estate but an opportunity to showcase more of who you are and what you have to offer. You don’t have to include extensions to get your ads to show at the top of the page. However, consumers’ eyes are always drawn to the ads that take up the most space. It’s natural.

Explore all the extensions Google offers and make good use of the ones that make sense for you. Almost all ad campaigns should include the following extensions:  location, call, callout, structured snippet, and site link. Many could benefit from other extensions as well. There are many, many payoffs for taking advantage of ad extensions. In the least, your ads will take up more real estate and people will be more likely to click.

Explore each extension and its associated benefits to understand how to best use them. It’s important to note that none of your extensions will necessarily show every time your ad runs. However, many will show up a good amount of the time and it’s just plain senseless not to use them.

3) Track Conversions

Unless you’re running strictly a brand awareness campaign, it doesn’t matter how many people see your ads or even click on your ads if they’re not turning into conversions. Most ads are intended to generate sales and make money. For that reason, it’s imperative you have conversion tracking set up and you’re tracking and monitoring all meaningful conversions.


Regardless of all other metrics, PPC optimization without conversion tracking is just guesswork.
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Again, you can create ads and even run them without utilizing conversion tracking, but you will have no way of ever knowing how well they’re actually doing. You cannot improve what you don’t measure and, for most campaigns, the only measurement that matters is conversions.

4) Make It Easy

Once a user clicks on your ad, you want to make it as easy as possible to complete the specific action you want them to take. It should be easy and intuitive, not confusing, hard to find, or overly complicated. This is all about your landing pages.

A landing page is a page your user lands on directly after clicking on your ad. It will typically include ad copy and a call to action(CTA) and may include other information as well. The ad copy at the top of the landing page should mirror the content in the ads. It should be concise, catchy, and compelling. The CTA should be immediately accessible and intuitive. Below the main ad copy and CTA, you can also include other information for users who aren’t quite ready to make a decision. Keep it simple and focused.

5) Review, Revise, & Repeat

Running paid search campaigns is an art and a science. Your goal is to find the language that will resonate with your target audience and get your ads in front of them when they search. This requires a process of research and experimentation, analysis, and revision. Create your ads and run them long enough to gather meaningful data. Monitor your click-through rates(CTR), cost per click(CPC), impressions, impression share, conversion rates, budgets, etc. Maximize your bidding strategies.

Run at least 4 ads with slight variations in each AdGroup to test what resonates and refine your ads over time. Keep an eye on the quality score and aim for at least a 7. Anything less than that and you’re paying a lot more for your clicks than you should be. Don’t forget- let your conversion rate guide your optimizations more than any other metric. Otherwise, it’s just guesswork. Overall, there is no set-it-and-forget-it approach to successful PPC management. It requires diligence, patience, and constant careful attention.

Killing It in the Google Search Network

Pay Per Click advertising offers the most efficient and effective forms of advertising available. You don’t have to pay to run ads. You don’t even have to pay to have people see your ads. You only pay for clicks. However, it is no fly by night endeavor. You can’t haphazardly throw some ads up and expect amazing results.

You may not have the time it takes to keep your paid advertising optimized and producing the results you need. You really can’t afford to neglect this powerful sales and marketing tool, however. Your competition is ripe for a beating-  crush or be crushed. Your time is now.

ITVibes is your local resource for organic SEO and PPC Management. Gain the edge you need over your competition- Contact Us today!

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7 Brilliant Applications of Data-Driven Marketing https://www.itvibes.com/blog/digital-marketing/data-driven-marketing-applications/ Wed, 01 Aug 2018 01:59:55 +0000 https://www.itvibes.com/?p=16638 Data is a powerful tool. Marketing without data is like shooting blindfolded. You may hit your target but it’s more likely that you’ll miss and waste all ammunition. Data-driven marketing defines your target and gives you the focus and vision you need to hit the bullseye  – every time. OPTIMIZE YOUR STRATEGY WITH DATA-DRIVEN MARKETING […]

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Data is a powerful tool. Marketing without data is like shooting blindfolded. You may hit your target but it’s more likely that you’ll miss and waste all ammunition. Data-driven marketing defines your target and gives you the focus and vision you need to hit the bullseye  – every time.

OPTIMIZE YOUR STRATEGY WITH DATA-DRIVEN MARKETING

A data-driven marketing strategy uses customer data collected to continuously update and improve marketing efforts and processes to attract and engage a target audience.  Digital marketers collect and analyze data to enhance marketing messages and customer experience for higher conversion rates.


Marketing without data is like shooting blindfolded. You may hit your target but it’s more likely that you’ll miss and waste all ammunition.
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Here are 7 ways you can use data-driven marketing to enhance your processes and better optimize your strategy:

  1. Build Buyer Personas for Your Products/Services
  2. Speak the Language of Your Targeted Demographic
  3. Boost Social Media Engagement
  4. Monitor Your Industry for Opportunities
  5. Build Targeted Seasonal Marketing Campaigns
  6. Reach Niche Audiences Before Your Competitors
  7. Test Landing Page Variations

1) BUILD BUYER PERSONAS FOR YOUR PRODUCTS/SERVICES

Do you know who you are selling to? When you first launch a new product or service, you may have a specific audience in mind. But without data, you are shooting in the dark. Use data to identify the individuals most likely to want or need your product or service. Where do you get this data? You can start with marketing insights gathered by similar businesses in your industry, but the best way to gather insightful data is to survey your actual customer base. Find out what they like, don’t like, what they’re looking for and how your product or service helps meet their needs. Compile the data and build a fictional buyer persona based on the most common characteristics and preferences of those surveyed. You can also gather data from using tools like call tracking, live chat, and sales automation. All of these tools come with actionable insights that will help you further analyze your customer base. 

2) SPEAK THE LANGUAGE OF YOUR TARGETED DEMOGRAPHIC

Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and other methods of reporting help you identify your audience’s demographic. You can find out whether men or women are more interested in what you have to offer. You can segment your audience by age and interests. You can even determine which device they are more likely to use when visiting specific pages of your website. All of this data can help you narrow down an audience and speak their language in every aspect of your marketing efforts. If your ideal audience is lower income, for example, you may include words like “affordable”, “cost-effective”, or “cheap”. However, if your audience has more income at their disposal, they may react better to marketing messages centered around “high-quality” or “luxury” products or services. Speaking the right language is crucial to the success of your campaigns.

3) BOOST SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT ACROSS VARIOUS PLATFORMS

Where does your audience hang out? We know that Facebook is still one of the largest social media networks in 2018. But where else does your audience frequent? Instagram has become increasingly popular with both younger and older generations and new social media platforms are on the rise. Make data analytics a key piece of your social media marketing strategy to pinpoint which platforms you should invest your time in, what time of day you’re more likely to engage your audience and the content they like best.

4) MONITOR YOUR INDUSTRY FOR OPPORTUNITIES

Every industry has cycles – some more obvious than others. Buying trends may be way up in certain months and at a low in others. You need to know this information in order to successfully time your campaigns when buyers are most likely to be searching for your products or services. Your data analytics will show you these trends so you can tailor your marketing solutions to your industry.

5) BUILD TARGETED SEASONAL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS

Buyer activity varies from season to season. Which season is the busiest for your business? Which products or services are most popular during each season? Use data-driven marketing to promote the right products/services during the right times of year for the best results.

6) REACH NICHE AUDIENCES BEFORE YOUR COMPETITORS

Are you in a competitive industry? It may seem hopeless at times to stand out among your competitors. Keyword data and competitor analysis can help you target specific variations of your keywords to reach niche audiences your competitors may not know about yet. Instead of throwing all of your marketing dollars towards a very competitive keyphrase, invest wisely by targeting niche phrases others are not already chasing.

7) TEST LANDING PAGE VARIATIONS

In paid advertising campaigns, your landing pages are just as important for conversions as your ad text. Once you compel a user to click on your ad, they must be satisfied with where it leads. Use A/B testing on 2-3 versions of each landing page and gather data to learn which landing page performs best. Increase your conversion rate by learning more about your audience’s preferences.

LEARN MORE ABOUT DATA-DRIVEN MARKETING

Digital marketers have an enormous amount of data at their fingertips today. Used strategically, data can help you enhance your marketing processes and hone in on strategies that work. But compiling and dissecting this data does take time and energy that you may not have. At ITVibes, we use a data-driven approach to create marketing strategies that will propel your business to new heights. Contact us to learn more about how to use your data as a springboard for a successful marketing campaign today.

 

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Maximize Online Exposure By Integrating Social Media On Your Website https://www.itvibes.com/blog/social-media/social-media-on-your-website/ Tue, 31 Jul 2018 17:09:53 +0000 https://www.itvibes.com/?p=16628   While you may be working hard to optimize and promote content on social media, there could be an integration aspect that is missing — your website. Incorporating social media on your website is an essential part of brand awareness. According to a 2017 BrightLocal study, Facebook is one of local consumers’ top most trusted places […]

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While you may be working hard to optimize and promote content on social media, there could be an integration aspect that is missing — your website. Incorporating social media on your website is an essential part of brand awareness.

According to a 2017 BrightLocal study, Facebook is one of local consumers’ top most trusted places to get online reviews. With this impressive statistic, why wouldn’t you do everything possible to put channels like Facebook at the forefront of your business?

Everyone who visits your site should be able to easily find Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn channels and quickly share your content while getting the latest updates. Maximize your online exposure by getting started with these top three fundamentals.

Embed live feeds.

You have probably seen websites that display social media snippets with the latest updates. Usually located in the footer or sidebar, these live feeds give visitors a snapshot of what you’re posting. There are functions that make it easy for users to reach your page with one click or simply scroll through posts.

If you still aren’t swayed, consider this bonus — streaming social media on your website improves organic SEO growth. Google notices when content is updated and picks up on your profiles to determine specific factors for ranking on search engine result pages. Although highly recommended, if you aren’t keeping up with regular updates, it could be a negative mark for Google. In short terms? Don’t skip out on this crucial combination of tools.

Include share buttons.

If simple and easy are the keys to a pleasant user experience, then social share buttons must be included on your website. Choose a plugin that allows people to share your company’s content with one button click — a powerful action!

Make sure share buttons are placed in smart locations, instead of seemingly random spots that don’t correspond with the content. Some examples include:

  • At the end of a blog post
  • On a landing page promoting a specific product/service
  • Sign up pages for ebooks, newsletters, or webinars.

User logins through social media on your website.

Does your website have an account creation feature for users? Maybe you have an e-commerce site or are a real estate agency with listings. If consumers are making accounts through your website, allow them to log in through their social media. It’s a seamless process because most people will already be logged into a Facebook or Twitter, so it’s one less step to complete. Make the user experience as effortless as possible to ensure fewer leads are lost along the buying path.

Get help from an SEO Agency.

As a marketer, you are most likely tied up with coordinating events, ordering marketing materials, and developing branding strategies. We understand the dedication required to market your business, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. Contact ITVibes to learn more about social media marketing and SEO techniques catered to your industry and company’s needs.

 

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How to Improve Your Business Marketing in Less Than a Day https://www.itvibes.com/blog/business-tips/how-to-improve-your-business-marketing-in-less-than-a-day/ Fri, 27 Jul 2018 13:46:18 +0000 https://www.itvibes.com/?p=16575 Did you know that in less than 24 hours you can complete a few simple tasks to greatly improve your marketing plan? It’s true, and if you aren’t doing these things, rest assured your competitors are. So take a few minutes to read on and then get started. How to Improve Your Business Marketing Marketing […]

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Did you know that in less than 24 hours you can complete a few simple tasks to greatly improve your marketing plan? It’s true, and if you aren’t doing these things, rest assured your competitors are. So take a few minutes to read on and then get started.

How to Improve Your Business Marketing

Marketing is crucial to the survival of every business, whether it’s the local coffee shop up the street or a  global corporation with an established reputation. Unfortunately for the smaller businesses, marketing is often put on the back burner as you have so many other things to deal with. But even in a day, there are plenty of ways to improve your marketing plan.


A little effort can go a long way when it comes to improving your brand's marketing strategy.
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  • Check Out The Competition

There’s no need for a fake mustache or disguise to see what your competitors are doing. A quick online check can show you what they’re offering that you aren’t, or even better, what you provide that they don’t. Then you can capitalize on that to provide more value to your customers. Tools like SEMRush and SpyFu also offer valuable insight into competitor SEO and marketing strategies.

  • Ask For Reviews

How are your online reviews? If you haven’t already, urge satisfied customers to review your business. All it takes is a quick email or phone call politely requesting two minutes of their time. If even one person complies, that’s one more 5-star review than you had yesterday. Potential customers lean heavily on the experience of other people, so this is a crucial aspect of your brand reputation.

  • Network

Look up local networking events in your area and go. Networking is a great way to get your brand (and name) out there. It can also provide valuable connections with other business owners that can help you in the future. You’re busy building your business from the inside – out, but it pays to have connections in your community.

  • Update Your Social Media

If you handle your own social media, you have to update it regularly. Otherwise, it’s pretty much useless. Your social media is a great way to provide valuable content, target specific audiences with promotions and ads, or connect with your customers. It should be refreshed and updated daily, if possible. If you’re like most business owners, you simply don’t have time for this. That’s where a marketing agency comes in.

Upgrade Your Brand

You started a business because it’s what you’re good at and passionate about. But no matter how fantastic your product or service is, no one will know about it without marketing efforts. Word of mouth can play a huge role in growing your brand, but without an experienced marketing team on your side, even that won’t cut it.

Contact Us to give your brand a boost and find out how to make your marketing strategy pay off.

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Small Business Budgeting: Where to Skimp and When to Splurge https://www.itvibes.com/blog/business-news/small-business-budgeting-where-to-skimp-and-when-to-splurge/ Fri, 20 Jul 2018 14:00:42 +0000 https://www.itvibes.com/?p=16560 In early 2018 Texas-based restaurant Rockfish Seafood Grill made a surprising menu change. They upgraded their Alaska pollock to cod and their tuna steak to Saku block sushi-grade tuna. The higher quality fish costs the chain more the twice what they had been previously paying. So why did they do it? Because the better fish […]

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In early 2018 Texas-based restaurant Rockfish Seafood Grill made a surprising menu change. They upgraded their Alaska pollock to cod and their tuna steak to Saku block sushi-grade tuna. The higher quality fish costs the chain more the twice what they had been previously paying. So why did they do it? Because the better fish expanded their offerings and menu options and has been hugely popular with diners. Sales are booming.

In business, sometimes it's better to pay a bit more than to save money but sacrifice quality.
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Small Business Budgeting

There are many times when business owners will be faced with the dilemma of whether to skimp on something or pay for better quality.  Everyone wants to save money, but there are instances when paying that little bit extra could result in a better investment. 

Skimp

  • If you don’t plan on using an item or service very often, it’s probably okay to opt for the least expensive version.
  • A beautiful office doesn’t have to be pricey, so if it’s between a $2,000 desk and a similar $8,000, opt for the less expensive of the 2.
  • With more and more employees working remotely, it simply doesn’t make sense for most businesses to lease a large and expensive space.
  • Purchasing equipment that customers won’t see is a good opportunity to save a little money by getting a similar, but a less attractive model.

Splurge

  • When it comes to equipment or materials your employees or customers use regularly or depend on, pay for quality.
  • A product or service that’s complex is usually worth a little extra money to ensure it works well and integrates with your current set up.
  • If you’re a relatively new business, don’t be too cheap when it comes to your marketing budget. You can reevaluate once you’ve established your brand.
  • Most businesses need legal and financial guidance or advice. When it comes to laws, regulations, contracts or audits, splurge on a top-notch service.

Keeping Customers In Mind

There’s a fine line between saving on services or materials and selling your customers short. Can you imagine what would have happened if Rockfish Seafood Grill had opted for a cheaper fish than they were already serving? They would have saved money, but probably lost customers. When budgeting, your goal should always be to get the best possible deal on the highest caliber of service or materials to deliver a winning product. This will keep customers happy and profitability up.

Contact Us to learn more about brand management and marketing for your small business.

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How to Use Social Media as a Brand Awareness Tool https://www.itvibes.com/blog/social-media/social-media-as-a-brand-awareness-tool/ Tue, 17 Jul 2018 21:11:42 +0000 https://www.itvibes.com/?p=16553   Every business marketer knows the importance of being on social media, but some may not understand the advantage. You may hear lots of chatter about actively posting to Facebook and Twitter, but to what extent? And, for what purpose? To use social networks as an effective means of business, you need to know the answers […]

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Every business marketer knows the importance of being on social media, but some may not understand the advantage. You may hear lots of chatter about actively posting to Facebook and Twitter, but to what extent? And, for what purpose? To use social networks as an effective means of business, you need to know the answers to these questions. One vital role in a digital marketing strategy is using social media as a brand awareness tool.

Social Media as a Brand Awareness Tool: Where Do You Start?

It may be astonishing, but there are still businesses living in the dark, instead of choosing to embrace new technology and emerging advancements like social media. To beat out the competition, get ahead of the game, and show your brand off to the world, you need a platform capable of reaching such an audience. Facebook is just the beginning — there are constantly new sites being created for social engagement and thought sharing.

Update your profile.

So, you may have been off social for a while; we get it. There is no better time than right now to update those profiles! Remove old logos, change profile images, and insert eye-catching cover photos or a short video clip. Go to the about section and make sure the business name, about excerpt, web address link, and contact information is up-to-date.

Unique and powerful content.

The best place to start? Crafting original and captivating content. Without catch headlines, teasers, and attention-grabbing graphics, people won’t have an interest. Think about the culture of your company and inject those morals into the personality of each post. Whether that’s a quirky and funny vibe or a professional, industry expert feel, users will pick up on these emotions. Connecting with others is the name of the social media game. Be interesting, say something unique, stand out and make a statement — your followers will thank you.

Ask questions to your audience.

What better way to understand what people want than by asking? Post questions that will entice others to respond with genuine answers. Want to know which product everyone loves the most? Ask, it’s that simple. Try posting a question at least once a week, gather the data, and use it to determine new ways to offer more/better service and product offerings.

Offer something free.

Especially if you’re new to social media, giving away a free item, service, or even just a discount will quickly get people’s attention. Make sure you include a well-designed graphic for your giveaway, use hashtags, and make it fun. After the event, compare the new follower growth and post engagement levels. Try to determine what users like and what could be replaced.

Quickly watch your brand grow.

Using social media as a brand awareness tool means reaching as many people as possible through networks that were designed for sharing and connecting. Keep that in mind when developing a strategy — it’s all about building relationships. If you need help creating a plan that works for your industry, contact ITVibes. Our SEO experts can guide you towards the best techniques that will help your business climb to new heights.

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Benefits and Features: Why You Need to Know the Difference https://www.itvibes.com/blog/business-tips/benefits-and-features-why-you-need-to-know-the-difference/ Fri, 13 Jul 2018 11:54:16 +0000 https://www.itvibes.com/?p=16535 If you’re a business owner, you can probably list the features your product or service provides from memory. That knowledge is ingrained in everything you do because it’s often what differentiates you from your competitors. But do your potential customers care? Features are good, but rattling off a list of them won’t sway anyone to […]

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If you’re a business owner, you can probably list the features your product or service provides from memory. That knowledge is ingrained in everything you do because it’s often what differentiates you from your competitors. But do your potential customers care? Features are good, but rattling off a list of them won’t sway anyone to buy what you’re selling. Unless you understand why your marketing copy needs both features and benefits, you’re not going to see the results you want.

Features tell but benefits sell. Combine them for the most effective marketing copy.
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Benefits and Features

Features are the facts, lending credibility to your product or service. Benefits are a way of translating those facts into benefits for the average customer. Without features your benefits are baseless, but without benefits, your features fail to persuade. Here are some examples to highlight how important a good balance is:

Bad Example

  • Product: Automatic Cat Food Dispenser
  • Feature: Dispenses cat food when levels get low
  • Benefits: Our product refills your cat’s food when it gets low. We offer different colors and sizes. The dispenser has several portion settings.

Good Example

  • Product: Automatic Cat Food Dispenser
  • Feature: Dispenses cat food when levels get low
  • Benefits: No more waking up to a howling, hungry cat. Saves you time by cutting food refills from twice a day to once a week. Match the style of your home with a variety modern finishes. Allows you to automate portion restrictions in case your cat is on a diet.

Bad Example

  • Service: Pool Builder
  • Feature: We design and install custom residential pools
  • Benefits: We can design a pool to fit your backyard. Our builders can install a variety of different shapes. We can add beautiful custom finishes and features to your pool.

Good Example

  • Service: Pool Builder
  • Feature: We design and install custom residential pools
  • Benefits: Cool off on hot summer days right in your own backyard oasis. Be the envy of the neighbors. Host pool parties and barbecues. Add beauty and interest to your backyard. Get great low-impact exercise.

Combine Features and Benefits For Best Results

Features-only copy leaves you sounding like someone who won’t stop talking about themselves while relying on benefits alone can leave customers unsure of the legitimacy of your product or service. It’s a combination of the 2 that’s necessary for good copy and a convincing marketing strategy.

Contact Us to discuss your marketing needs and find out how we can help you reach your goals.

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