Higgins Marketing Group https://higginsmarketinggroup.com Small Business Marketing Consulting | Higgins Marketing Group Wed, 20 Jun 2018 17:00:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 5 Great Tools to Help You Monitor Your Online Reputation https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/5-great-tools-to-help-you-monitor-your-online-reputation/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/5-great-tools-to-help-you-monitor-your-online-reputation/#respond Wed, 20 Jun 2018 17:00:27 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4532 The post 5 Great Tools to Help You Monitor Your Online Reputation appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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5 Great Tools to Help You Monitor Your Online Reputation

Do you know what people have been saying about you and your business online?

As a small business owner, you know that reputation is everything. Reviews are one of the first things a potential customer will look at when deciding whether they want to do business with you. Positive reviews will help foster trust and generate new business, which is what you want! But of course, there’s the flip side – a pattern of negative reviews will end up driving people away.

This is why staying on top of your online reputation is essential. But who has time to create and manage profiles across the MANY review sites out there? It can feel a bit overwhelming.

Don’t sweat it, though! Here are some great tools to help you monitor your business’ online reputation.

Google Alerts

When in doubt, turn to Google. With Google Alerts, all you have to do is type in your business’ name and wait for the alerts to come in. Google will scour the web for any mentions of your business and send the results right to your inbox. If you want to be super thorough, you can create additional alerts for all your brand keywords and product names.

Cost: Free

Social Mention

Consumers love to share their sentiments on social media. Whether they love your business or hate it, this is where they’ll go to spread the word. Social Mention is a search engine that monitors 80+ social media sites –– Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. –– to help you track who is talking about your business and what they’re saying. The results gauge:

  • Strength: How likely it is that your business will be talked about on social media
  • Sentiment: The ratio of positive to negative mentions
  • Passion: How likely it is that the people talking about your business will continue to talk about it
  • Reach: The total number of unique consumers who mention your business

Cost: Free

ReviewTrackers

It can be cumbersome to log-in and check on your latest reviews when you’re getting feedback on 10+ platforms. Luckily, there is ReviewTrackers, which brings all of your business’ reviews into one dashboard. It will even send you email reports to keep you up to speed and has great reporting features to help you track any patterns in customers’ feedback.

Cost: $49/month

Complaint Search Box

Just because you don’t see a complaint, doesn’t mean it’s not there. This nifty web tool will help you find them. The Complaint Search Box can search more than 40 complaint websites all at once. It’s quick, easy and, best of all, free. If someone has had a negative experience with your business and aired it out online, there’s a good chance Complaint Search Box will find it.

Cost: Free

Review Push

Review Push is a great all-in-one tool. First, it monitors the most popular review sites, such as Facebook, Google, Foursquare, etc. Anytime your business gets a new review on one of these sites, Review Push will notify you by email. It also allows you to respond to the review, which is pretty handy. And to top it all off, Review Push can help you generate new reviews by sending requests out to your customers. It’s a win-win-win!

Cost: $10/month

For more tips on reputation management, check out some of our other blog posts:

Hope these resources help! If you have any favorites we haven’t mentioned here, make sure and let us know.

 

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6 Simple Ways to Increase Engagement on Facebook https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/6-simple-ways-to-increase-engagement-on-facebook/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/6-simple-ways-to-increase-engagement-on-facebook/#respond Wed, 06 Jun 2018 17:00:00 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4498 The post 6 Simple Ways to Increase Engagement on Facebook appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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6 Simple Ways to Increase Engagement on Facebook

As business owners, we want to believe that as long as we’re scheduling posts on our Facebook page, the engagement will surely follow. Why else do people follow our pages if not to like our posts?

Well, unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

First of all, what does Facebook engagement even mean? Facebook engagement encompasses a lot of things. There’s the obvious — liking, commenting or sharing a post. But it also includes clicking a link, watching a video, etc. Basically it’s any action a person takes on your page.

So how do you get people to do that? We won’t drone on about creating killer content and posting consistently. No question, that’s important, but you already know all of that. So what else can you do to increase engagement on your page?

Here are some ideas that maybe you haven’t tried yet.

Ask a question

One of the easiest ways to get people talking (i.e. engaging with your post) is to ask them a question. The nice thing about this method is that it requires little resources and the possibilities are pretty much endless. Here’s an example — if you’re a real estate agent, you can ask your followers what their #1 must-have in a new house is and why. Keep these posts simple and light hearted to get the best response.

Post at the right time

It absolutely matters what time of day you schedule posts. You’ll find plenty of articles online that say they’ve figured out the optimal time to schedule posts on every platform. These are great guidelines to follow, but take them with a grain of salt. The best way to find out when you should share your posts is to look at your analytics. Just go to Facebook Insights and click Posts to see the days/times your followers tend to be online and schedule your posts accordingly.

Include compelling visuals

We can’t say enough how important visuals are when it comes to social media marketing. And they have a big impact on your engagement numbers. Social media posts that include an image get a whopping 650 percent higher engagement than those without. Investing time into finding or creating high-quality images for your posts is a must. You can find free stock photos on sites like Unsplash and Pexels, and Canva is a nice basic tool for designing graphics.

Host a contest

Who doesn’t love winning free stuff? The answer is no one. Hosting a contest is a great way to reward your loyal fans and create buzz around your brand to bring in new ones! Again, there are a lot of possibilities with contests. The most important things to remember here are 1. Don’t go overboard. Host them once a quarter at the most to keep yourself in the green. And 2. Make sure the prize is relevant to your business and your followers. Pro tip: Include in the contest rules that followers have to tag a friend in the comments to increase engagement and your reach.

Reply to comments

Now that you’re putting all this effort into boosting your engagement, chances are more comments will be coming in. Please, please, please don’t let them just sit there with no response. Remember, you started the conversation, so don’t just get something going and walk away. Replying to comments makes your followers feel heard and appreciated, which will foster brand loyalty and encourage more engagement in the future.

Show off your personality

People come to your Facebook page to get to know you and your business better. So show them who you are! Are you a little sarcastic? Incorporate a post every now and then with some dry humor. Is your brand bubbly and motivational? Make sure the tone of your posts matches that. The more you show off your personality, the more authentic your posts are going to feel, and that’s what resonates with people.

Looking for more tips on how to get the most out of your Facebook page? Check out some of our other blog posts on using Facebook for business:

Keep Marketing!

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5 Web Pages that Every Small Business Website Needs https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/5-web-pages-that-every-small-business-website-needs/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/5-web-pages-that-every-small-business-website-needs/#respond Wed, 23 May 2018 17:00:45 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4493 The post 5 Web Pages that Every Small Business Website Needs appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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5 Web Pages that Every Small Business Website Needs

When it comes to web development, one of the biggest things we see small business owners get stuck with is CONTENT.

  • What should be on my home page?
  • Do I really need a blog?
  • What about testimonials, where should they go?
  • How do I even start writing all this stuff?

These are just a few of many questions we tend to get, and you absolutely need the answer to all of them if you want to create a website that converts casual visitors into sales leads. The best place to start is simply figuring out what type of pages your website needs. While this varies a little between businesses, generally speaking there are five web pages that every small business websites must have.

Let’s start with the most important one.

Home

Without a doubt, your homepage is going to be the most visited page on your website. More often than not it’s also the first page a potential prospect visits.

Think of it as the doorway to your business. Your home page should provide a brief overview of who you are, the product or service you provide, and most importantly, how that product or service can benefit your prospects. You want to be engaging, but keep it simple. Nothing turns people off quicker than an overcrowded home page. In today’s “mobile-first” world, visitors do more scanning than reading!

About

After digesting the home page, prospects will likely want to know a little more about you and the history of your business. This is where the About Me/Us page comes in.

Step out of that “big picture” mentality you took for the home page and really get down to the nitty gritty. Really tell your story. How did you get your start? What is the passion that drives your business? What makes you different from all the other businesses that do what you do?

Ever heard this quote by Theodore Roosevelt? “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” You’re story matters, and your About page plays a key role in helping people relate to you and/or your company on a personal level.

Contact

Sometimes visitors have questions. Other times they’re just really excited to do business with you and they’re ready to get started. Either way, they’ll need your contact information to get what they want.

Make sure your contact page includes all of the following information: mailing address, phone number, fax number (if applicable), email address and links to social media profiles. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, it’s a good idea to put your hours of operation here too.

We highly recommend including some type of contact form as well. That way, visitors can send you a direct message if they have a particular question/concern. (I know, sounds basic… but you’d be surprised of the websites we see that don’t include a form, or where you really need to dig to find contact info!)

Products/Services

What do you do? It’s everyone’s favorite question to ask! And the place to answer it is on your products or services page.

Start the page with a summary of whatever your product or service is, and then break down each one in more detail. Bulleted lists are great for these. If you have a ton of products/services, you might want to organize them into categories. That way you can create separate landing pages for each one that gives more information on those specific services of products. It’s a handy trick to keep any web page from getting obnoxiously long.

Also, as mentioned for the Homepage, it’s important that you share information about your products and services in the context of how they help your customers. In other words, this page should not be a “product feature dump.” Instead, it should be a nice balance between features and benefits.

Testimonials

You know how important reviews are for your business. Displaying some of your best customer feedback on your website just makes sense. It will do wonders to convert new visitors!

There are review websites and widgets out there that will automatically populate your testimonial page. We’d recommend checking that out because it will keep your testimonial page updated with new reviews, which looks great to a potential customer. If you want to stick with something basic, simply copy and paste some reviews from Google/Yelp/etc. onto the page and give it some nice formatting.

If you need help developing or updating your website, we’d love to help! At Higgins Marketing Group, we bring together great design and marketing savvy to create beautiful websites that convert. Contact us today to get started on your new website!

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Grow Your Website Traffic with These 5 Solid Content Promotion Tools https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/grow-your-website-traffic-with-these-5-solid-content-promotion-tools/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/grow-your-website-traffic-with-these-5-solid-content-promotion-tools/#respond Wed, 09 May 2018 17:00:25 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4468 The post Grow Your Website Traffic with These 5 Solid Content Promotion Tools appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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Grow Your Website Traffic with These 5 Solid Content Promotion Tools

Question: How much time do you spend promoting all that great blog content you’ve been writing? If the answer isn’t “as much time as I spend writing it,” then you’ve got a great opportunity to better leverage your content!

With the proper strategies in place, content marketing can be very beneficial for small business marketers. It gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as an expert in whatever industry you’re in, to engage with customers — both old and new — and it gives your website a nice SEO boost. It’s a win-win-win!

But here’s the thing… no one is going to magically discover your content. If you want to make content marketing work for your business, you’re going to have to start aggressively promoting your work.

Now, we’re all about working smarter, not harder. So we’ve rounded up some of the best content promotion tools out there for you to check out. These tools will help get your blog posts, videos, infographics and the like out in the world so that potential consumers can 1) Find your content and 2) Click that content and be taken to your website to find out how amazing your company is!

Social Warfare

One of the best ways to get your content out there is to get people sharing it on social media. But you’ve got to make it easy for them. Social Warfare is a WordPress plugin that creates social sharing buttons for your website. That means all a visitor would have to do is click a button and boom! A box pops up with the link and photo all ready for them to post.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a handy tool that can help you discover the top influencers in your industry — a.k.a. the people who are sharing similar content and have built a significant audience. Put these people on your outreach list. Chances are they would be interested in reading and/or potentially sharing your content on their social channels. That can significantly boost your reach and help drive more people to your website.

Facebook Ads

Don’t forget about good old Facebook Ads. They can do so much for your small business you’ll be missing out if you don’t at least give them a try! Find the content you think would most resonate with potential customers and brainstorm potential ads around this content/concept. With more than 2.2 billion users logging into the site each month, you’ve got a great chance of capturing some new leads. Plus, the ability to get super detailed with the targeting of your ads means you can get your message in front of the RIGHT people.

Outbrain

This one is pretty cool. Outbrain is a content syndication tool, meaning it pushes your content out to a bunch of other publishers/websites. It uses all kinds of demographics and behavioral information about web users to create content recommendations for them, which then display on whatever website that user is on. And your content could be on their list! Outbrain’s reach is pretty significant, too. In 2017, they reached an estimated 557 million people each month. Talk about getting more eyes on your stuff!

Hootsuite

There are plenty of tools out there that allow you to manage all your social accounts from one place, and Hootsuite is a pretty solid one. You can easily share content to all your favorite social networks — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Plus, it monitors brand mentions and provides insightful analytics to help you measure your success. The more you get your content out on social, the more chances you have to get consumers clicking through to your website.

So what are you waiting for? Fire up these tools, start promoting that content and watch as your web traffic grows!

For more marketing tips to help grow your small business, be sure to subscribe to the Higgins Marketing Group blog. Or contact us today to set up a consultation and get started on your personalized marketing strategy.

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Don’t forget to follow HMG on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ and make sure to share this post via the social media icons below!

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Marketing Emails Not Getting Opened? Try These 4 Tips! https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/marketing-emails-not-getting-opened-try-these-4-tips/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/marketing-emails-not-getting-opened-try-these-4-tips/#respond Wed, 25 Apr 2018 17:00:24 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4461 The post Marketing Emails Not Getting Opened? Try These 4 Tips! appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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Marketing Emails Not Getting Opened? Try These 4 Tips!

So you spend all this time writing and designing what you think are creative and informative email campaigns … but no one is opening them. What gives?

Email marketing remains a powerful tool for small business owners like you to reach both current and prospective customers. But if you can’t get people to open your emails, you’re not going to make much of an impact.

Here are some of the most common issues that drive down email open rates.

Your emails aren’t optimized for mobile

Have you noticed that our smartphones are being used more and more for their smart side rather than their phone side? Email plays a huge role in smartphone usage. The latest numbers predict that by the end of this year, roughly 8 out of 10 email users will be checking email exclusively from their smartphones. Unless you optimize for mobile, your email could wind up looking wonky. And when that happens, 70% of people will just toss it right into the trash. Don’t let your emails end up in the trash — optimize those emails for mobile.

Your subject lines aren’t great

Fact: 47% of email recipients will open an email based solely on the subject line. Subject lines are, essentially, headlines for your emails. So they’ve got to be good. Your subject line should do two things. First, it needs to give the user a sneak peak of what they’ll find inside if they open it. And second, it has to make it sound like it’s worth opening. So how do you do that? Well, it just so happens we wrote up an entire blog post about that here: How to Write Email Subject Lines That Will Actually Get Clicked.

Your segmentation is poor

Sending every email to every customer in your list just doesn’t email marketing make. It’s just lazy. Consumers want content that is customized to them. If you keep sending emails that aren’t interesting or relevant to them, not only will your customers not open them, but they’ll probably unsubscribe. That’s the last thing you want! Really take the time to sift through your email list and segment your audience. You can group them by their demographics, purchase history, interests, online behavior, etc. Just watch. The more targeted you get when choosing who gets which email campaigns, the better your open rate will be.

Your emails are landing in the spam folder

This is pretty much your worst-case scenario. Our inboxes are smarter than ever, and they’re all about cracking down on spam. Usually if a user ignores multiple emails from you over time, their inbox will assume they don’t want to hear from you. So to the spam folder you go! You also have to be careful with how you’re managing your list — no buying email addresses! — or you could get blacklisted. That’s a one-way ticket to spam, by the way. Your best chance to avoid getting flagged is to create great content, send responsibly and obey the rules.

Looking for more digital marketing tips to help grow your business? Our blog is full of them. Here are some of our top posts to get you started:

 

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Four Tips to BOOST Your Facebook Following https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/four-tips-to-boost-your-facebook-following/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/four-tips-to-boost-your-facebook-following/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 17:00:17 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4457 The post Four Tips to BOOST Your Facebook Following appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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Four Tips to BOOST Your Facebook Following

It’s true what they say, you know. Follower count really is just a vanity metric — it’s engagement that matters most. But on the other hand, we don’t know many business owners that wouldn’t appreciate a few more Likes on their Facebook page. And while it might be considered “vain,” we think followers still count for something. There is value there!

To many consumers, the number of Likes your Facebook page says a lot about your business. After all, a business with 5,000 Likes has to be better than one with a mere 500, right? Surely they have a superior product or else they wouldn’t have so many fans! We know that’s not true, but it’s not hard to see how and why consumers can jump to those conclusions.

More followers also means better reach. The more page Likes you have, the more eyeballs you can expect on your content. That’s just a fact, algorithm updates aside.

There are 2.2 billion users actively using Facebook each month. Is there something you could do to capture their attention? Absolutely. Here’s are some ideas for you to try.

Add Links to Your Website and Email Signature

Getting more followers starts with driving traffic to your page, and there’s no easier way to do that than to add an icon/link to your website.

If consumers like what they see on your site, they’ll likely want to stay up to date with you. Having the Facebook icon on your website will let them know that’s the best way to do that — and to Facebook they will go!

We also suggest adding it to your email signature. Think about how many emails you send every day to prospective and current customers. Those Likes can add up.

Create Awesome Content, Post Consistently

Let’s say a consumer lands on your Facebook page right now. What’s going to make them hit that Like button rather than just scrolling through a few posts and moving on? Quality. Content.

Your posts should be engaging, visually striking and relevant if you have any hopes of hooking consumers. Make sure you’ve take tne the time to develop a strong content and visual marketing strategy, and then execute the heck out of it.

Keep in mind, though, that it’s not enough to just post every now and then. People follow you because they want to hear from you… and large gaps in your publishing schedule immediately communicates to a consumer that they won’t. So they probably won’t bother to hit Like.

There are plenty of online tools out there to help you create and schedule posts ahead of time to keep your followers happy. Use them.

Run a Facebook Like Campaign

Yep. You can run Facebook ads just to get people to like your page! This is pretty straightforward — just log in to your business manager account and go from there.

We do have some tips for you, though, to help you get the most out of your Like campaign. First, optimize your ad for mobile. Most of your impressions will likely be coming from mobile devices, so you’ll want to make sure the ad looks good even on a tiny screen.

Second, be specific when choosing who to target for the campaign. You don’t just want any Likes, you want quality Likes. Use what you know about your customers and any buyer personas you’ve developed to select the right audience for the ad.

Lastly, consider adding an incentive. Giving people a reason to like your page is going to make them much more likely to do it. Maybe it’s staying up to date on the latest trends in the X industry, or getting the best tips and tricks about Y. Either way, let them know what they’ll get out of liking your page.

Invite Users to Like Your Page

Want more Facebook followers? Sometimes all you have to do is ask.

There are a few ways you can do this. One is by using the “suggest to friends” feature. Click it and start sending invites to everyone you know! (OK maybe not everyone, but people in your life who support you and/or would benefit from the content your produce)

Here’s another great way to invite people to your page, and it’s a little sneaky. Go to a recent post on your page and click the names of people who liked it. A box will pop up that says something like “Invite to like [your page].” Anyone who doesn’t already follow you, click the invite button next to their name. Chances are if they’ve liked your content in the past, they’ll go ahead and follow your page too.

These strategies should help you gain some traction and boost your follower count, but remember — page Likes aren’t the be all end all. There’s much more to digital marketing success than the number of people who Like your Facebook page. Need help getting your strategy in line? Contact Higgins Marketing Group today to set up a consultation and get started on your small business marketing plan.

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Do I Really Need SSL Security on My Website, and Why? https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/do-i-really-need-ssl-security-on-my-website-and-why/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/do-i-really-need-ssl-security-on-my-website-and-why/#respond Wed, 28 Mar 2018 17:00:28 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4441 The post Do I Really Need SSL Security on My Website, and Why? appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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Do I Really Need SSL Security on My Website, and Why?

Over the last few months we’ve been getting a lot of questions about SSL – what it is and whether it’s needed for a small business website. So… we thought we’d write a quick post to ensure all our clients and followers are in the loop!

What Is SSL?

SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer” and it’s a security protocol, which establishes an encrypted connection between the server hosting a website and the browser of a user who’s visiting this website.

An SSL connection always builds on an underlying SSL certificate that requires you as a webmaster to provide details about your business and website to set it up.

No doubt, you’ve all visited and used SSL secured websites before, which you can easily identify by checking for the presence of a green lock icon in your browser’s address bar (after you’ve accessed a particular site) and a https instead of the standard http protocol – and yes you’ve guessed correctly, the s in https stands for “secure”.

This is what the lock icon looks like in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox:

Pic 1 - Blog SSL Security

Pic 2 - Blog SSL Security

The Benefits of SSL + One Drawback

Now I know that adding an SSL certificate to your website may seem like just another task on your already super long to-do list, so you might be asking yourself right now: Do I really need SSL security on my website in the first place, and if so, why?

To answer this question, let’s take a look at the benefits and the one drawback that come with an encrypted website.

Benefits

Encrypted Information (Security)

News Flash: Fraudsters and cyber criminals are everywhere. These people are ready to exploit any opportunity to gain access to confidential information – whether it’s personal information, credit card info, or proprietary website code. Without encryption, you’re making it much easier for these hackers to not only intercept your data, but they can also change the data itself.

One practical and effective ways for a small business website to help prevent issues is by using SSL encryption.

Authenticity Equals Trust

In 2015, a study conducted by Bizrate Insights showed two-thirds of buyers didn’t trust in online retailers and their ability to protect credit card and personal information. And given more recent data breaches, you can bet this sentiment is still alive and well in 2018.

While it’s not a magic bullet to prevent all issues, switching to SSL is one of the easiest ways to build trust with your prospective customers or clients – whether you are actually conducting online ecommerce transactions, or not.

Higher Search Engine Rankings

Google wants to make the web more secure. This is why a couple of years ago the search engine giant announced that it will be “starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal“, albeit a weak one.

→ Check out this case study for a real-life example on how proper SSL migration can lead to better rankings.

One Drawback: Cost

There is really only one drawback that comes with setting up SSL – and that is cost. But don’t fear, we’re not talking big bucks.

For most small business websites, you can expect to pay between $100 and $350 per year depending on the type of certificate and the number of website/subdomains you are needing to protect.

A Few Words of Caution…

The install of an SSL certificate is not always as turn-key as SSL certificate providers claim. And if you fail to install an SSL certificate correctly, or make one or more mistakes migrating your site, it can create some unwanted problems.

Increased Page Load Times

One common issue is an increase in page load speeds – NOT a good thing for users or your search rankings. As part of the install process, make sure you are using tools like GTmetrix and PageSpeed Insights to monitor load times. Be proactive about performing the recommended site optimizations to ensure your users do not experience issues.

Error Messages

There are a number of error messages that could show up in the browser of your site visitors. One of them appears when content, such as an image or iframe, is served from an insecure source. In this case the green lock icon won’t be displayed. Of course, this is something you want to avoid, because instead of adding trust, it will more likely harm your business.

The solution to this problem is usually pretty straightforward, but it will take a bit of research or specialized knowledge on your end.

Hope that helps!

If you’d like to add SSL to your site, but you have no idea how to pull it off, we’re here for you. Just let us know.

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Is Your Website Really Projecting Your Brand? https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/is-your-website-really-projecting-your-brand/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/is-your-website-really-projecting-your-brand/#respond Wed, 07 Mar 2018 18:00:14 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4424 The post Is Your Website Really Projecting Your Brand? appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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Is Your Website Really Projecting Your Brand?

A visually attractive website will definitely score you points with prospects, but having all the design bells and whistles isn’t enough to make your site successful. You need a website that not only looks great but elevates and reinforces your business’ brand identity.

Your website is likely the first touch-point prospects have with your business. It must be in sync with your brand if you want to make a lasting impression. To get started, here are a few simple ways to start incorporating your brand identity into your web design.

Prominence of your logo

It goes without saying — your logo needs to be on your website. While it doesn’t need to be “in your face,” it should appear in a prominent position and be easy to read/identify. Standard practice these days is to place it near the upper left portion of the page, but it also looks nice right above the navigation bar or centered with navigation links on either side. The location is flexible; what more important is size and readability. Make sure that your logo can be easily identified and read. It should be the second or third thing someone notices when visiting your website.

And last – QUALITY! Nothing looks worse than a low resolution, blurry logo. This is all about first impressions, so make sure your logo is crisp and clean. If you can’t get your hands on a high resolution version, it’s worth the money to pay a graphic designer to recreate your logo and provide you with a high-quality version – make sure you ask your designer for the source files from Illustrator (.ai, .eps), Photoshop (.psd) or similar program.

Pro Tip: Link the logo to the home page. That way users can navigate back from any page on the site with ease.

Incorporate your brand colors

Remember all that time you spent choosing just the right colors to represent your business? Well, the colors on your website should match or at least complement them. And when we say “incorporate” your brand colors, we mean “use subtle hints of color to strategically reinforce brand identity.” You don’t need your website to scream “BLUE!” simply because that color features heavily in your logo.

Pro Tip: The navigation bar, heading text, link hovers and calls-to-action are perfect places to use your brand colors. They give just the right pop of color to your page without overwhelming the user.

Choose the right font pairings

Typography is crucial to a website’s success, and it all starts with which fonts you choose. This isn’t your college term paper, Times New Roman is not required … unless of course you think that font most accurately represents your brand, then by all means use Times New Roman. What I’m saying is, be creative. Every font has its own personality, and your website should use the one(s) that match the personality of your brand. Usually you’ll pick two fonts — one for headings and another for body copy. If you feel strongly about just using a single font, create contrast for your headings by styling them in a different weight (e.g. bold) or typing them in all caps.

Pro Tip: Not sure if the fonts you like really go together? Fontpair.co is a great resource. It provides suggestions for how to pair Google Fonts and can give you a good idea of what makes a great font pair.

Fill it with killer content

Brand voice is a major selling point for your business. The way you talk about your business and engage with customers says a lot about who you are and what kind of experience someone should expect when working with you. Creating amazing content for your site, from your about page to hero images and blog posts, will let your brand voice shine and reinforce the image you’ve built for your business.

Pro Tip: One of the easiest ways to show off your personality and establish trust with consumers is to start a blog. And it works double time for you by giving you a nice SEO boost.

Be consistent

At the end of the day, what really matters in branding is that you’re consistent. The whole point of branding is to make your business memorable, and no one is going to remember you if you keep changing things (or rarely see you). Each element of your website should come together to present a uniform image. If it doesn’t, then it’s back to the drawing board for you.

Need help marrying your brand and your website? The marketing pros at Higgins Marketing Group have a great eye for design and will work with you to build a site that truly supports your goals. Contact us today to set up a consultation and get started on your beautifully branded website.

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3 Quick Tips for Using Social Media as a Customer Service Tool https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/3-quick-tips-using-social-media-customer-service-tool/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/3-quick-tips-using-social-media-customer-service-tool/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 18:00:16 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4411 The post 3 Quick Tips for Using Social Media as a Customer Service Tool appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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3 Quick Tips for Using Social Media as a Customer Service Tool

Back in the day when you had a problem with a product or service, what you would do? You’d pick up the phone, call the business and ask to speak with a manager. If you were a little more technologically savvy, maybe you would go to the business’ website and fill out a form asking for help. Easy, right?

Unfortunately, too many people have had bad experiences with phone and email support. Nobody likes long waiting times and having to be transferred too many times to count just to get a little help. And impersonal responses via email that come days after your inquiry? No thanks.

Fed up with traditional customer service channels, modern consumers turned to what they knew best — social media. In a survey of more than 1,000 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users, Sprout Social found that 90 percent of respondents had used social media to contact a business directly. That’s huge! Those consumers also voted social media as the first place they would go if they had a problem with a business’ product or service.

As social media continues to evolve as a customer service tool, business’ will need to adapt their strategy to incorporate social customer care practices. Here are our top three tips on how small business owners can provide excellent customer service on social (and by extension – reinforce their brand in the marketplace)

Start monitoring brand mentions and direct messages

Consumers are talking to and about you on social media, so you had better be listening. Make catching up on direct messages and @ mentions the first thing you do on social media each day, then check in periodically throughout the day to stay on top of any new ones coming in.

It might also be a good idea to invest in a brand monitoring service so that you get notified anytime someone mentions your business’ name or branded keywords you specify. That way, even if someone doesn’t tag your business in their post, you still know when your name is popping up in conversations and can respond accordingly.

Try to reply in 60 minutes or less

People are impatient when they have a problem — if something is wrong, they want to know how to fix it and fast. Plus, social media communication was designed to occur in real time, so your responses can’t come days later if a customer has a question or concern. A recent study found that just under half of consumers expected a response within 60 minutes when making a complaint on social media. Some 32% of them went even further, saying they wanted a response in under 30 minutes.

We know you have a business to run and you can’t spend all day sifting through social media messages, but time matters here. Do your best to stay in that 1-hour range if you can, and at the very least get back to them by the end of the day.

Check your tone and be authentic

When it comes to customer service, there are few things that matter more than your tone of voice. The tone you use can mean the difference between reassuring a customer that you have their back and fanning the flames for a user to publicly shame you on social media. And that’s not just a metaphor. Remember that Sprout Social survey we mentioned? Well 36% of participants admitted to using social media to call out a company after receiving poor customer service. Yikes.

Take cues from your customer when determining how best to respond. Is he using exclamation points and emojis? Then you can too! Is he upset and lodging a complaint? Crank up the empathy and be sure to include an apology. At the end of the day, just be understanding and talk like an actual person, not a nameless/faceless business.

Remember, great marketing isn’t limited to what you say and do before making the sale. It spans the entire prospect and customer lifecycle. Service matters and your attentiveness to social channels will communicate volumes to current and prospective customers.

Contact us today if you need help! Until next time…

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4 Pay-Per-Click Misconceptions that are Holding Your Marketing Back https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/4-pay-per-click-misconceptions-that-are-holding-your-marketing-back/ https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/4-pay-per-click-misconceptions-that-are-holding-your-marketing-back/#respond Wed, 31 Jan 2018 18:00:59 +0000 https://higginsmarketinggroup.com/?p=4392 The post 4 Pay-Per-Click Misconceptions that are Holding Your Marketing Back appeared first on Higgins Marketing Group.

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4 Pay-Per-Click Misconceptions that are Holding Your Marketing Back 

Back in December, when you were finalizing your 2018 marketing budget, how much consideration did you give paid ads? It’s no secret that pay-per-click advertising (PPC) can be an incredible marketing tool for business owners, and yet so many of them dedicate only minor funds to them, or leave them out of their marketing plans altogether. Why is that?

Well, for as great as PPC ads can be, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Most of it comes from those who have tried PPC campaigns only to find that they spent hundreds (sometimes even thousands) of dollars with little return on their investment. They got burned and they decided that paid ads just don’t work.

But they do work. When properly optimized, paid ad campaigns deliver in a big way. So let’s take a look at some of the most common PPC misconceptions and set the record straight.

“Nobody even clicks on those ads!”

… and…that would be wrong. As a business owner dabbling in marketing, you’re probably a bit more savvy when it comes to search ads. You know what to look for and may even avoid giving ads the satisfaction they’re craving by clicking elsewhere. But an estimated 46% of people can’t identify the difference between a paid add and an organic search result. And when it comes to high commercial intent searches — i.e. when someone is looking to buy a product — paid ads get a whopping 65% of all clicks. People are clicking. End of story.

“I’ve already got an SEO strategy. I don’t need search ads.”

This is one we hear every now and then. For some reason, many business owners seem to believe that SEO and PPC are on opposite sides of the fight for leads. They think they should choose one over the other, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. As marketing professionals, we’ve seen time and time again how SEO and PPC work together to increase brand awareness and maximize conversions. For example, we all know SEO is a long-term play. PPC on the other hand, is known for getting quick results. Adding paid ads into the mix can start generating leads and boosting web traffic while your site works on climbing the search rankings. It’s a match made in marketing heaven!

“I can just set up my ads and go about my business.”

Not quite. Paid ads (especially with AdWords) aren’t just something you set up once and then forget about. It’s not enough to just type in some keywords and set your budget — your ads will need regular monitoring and testing to determine whether they’re effective at driving new leads. Maybe one month you swap out a few keywords, lower your bids or stop an ad altogether at some point. And then the next you’ll find yourself doing the exact opposite. Experimentation is what makes paid ads thrive, so you’ll need a pretty serious time commitment or a Certified AdWords Partner to make them worth it.

If you REALLY want to be successful with AdWords, it’s important that you view it as more of a marathon than a sprint. Top 1% AdWords results come from making tens of thousands of minor adjustments over the long haul (no exaggeration). We know… this is sometimes hard for clients to believe and appreciate until they get a taste of the rewards!

“If I’m not ranking #1, then there’s no point.”

Sigh. Everyone always thinks they need to be number one, but the truth is there are plenty of clicks to go around. PPC and organic search are two very different things, so don’t go thinking that the top spot is going to make or break your business. People like to shop around before they buy, which is why after clicking the top result, they’ll often go back and explore options two and three. So really… you may wind up seeing comparable results for less money by NOT being number one. And to be honest, there’s a chance aiming for the top spot could leave you spending more than you’re generating from the ad.

Ready to step up your PPC game? Higgins Marketing Group is a Certified Google Partner with more than 10 years of experience creating results-driven AdWords campaigns. We’ll work with you to build a personalized PPC strategy that generates leads and keeps you ahead of the competition.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our AdWords experts and start seeing results!

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Don’t forget to follow HMG on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ and make sure to share this post via the social media icons below!

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