If you haven't implemented an SEO strategy yet, it's time to start thinking about it. Here are six surefire signs your business needs to invest in SEO.

6 Signs You Should Invest In SEO

If you’re running a small business, SEO is probably not on the top of your mind every day. You have too many other things to worry about, too many other tasks and details to take care of to keep your business running. And let’s face it, SEO isn’t exactly sexy.

However, just because it’s not top of mind, doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. SEO is a crucial strategy that will help your business succeed in the long-term. If you haven’t implemented an SEO strategy yet, it’s time to start thinking about it. Here are six surefire signs your business needs to invest in SEO, pronto.

1. You’re Operating On a Budget

If your business is running on a tight budget and your ad campaigns aren’t seeing a significant ROI, it’s time to shake things up and change your approach to finding new customers.

Many small businesses are hesitant to start paying for SEO services because of the initial cost. This is an unfortunate outlook, as search engine optimization will deliver high-value traffic for less money than ad campaigns over time.

SEO is a long-term investment that pays for itself many times over.

Once your website starts dominating search results for terms specific to the products or services your company sells, you will get a virtually unlimited supply of free, targeted traffic driven to your website. It might take some effort to get to the top, but once you’re there, the traffic flows in and you are exposed to an entirely new source of potential customers.

2. You Need More Leads

Your website is your #1 sales tool (and your cheapest employee). Think about it… it is always on, it says exactly what you want, and can meet with an unlimited number of prospects at any given time. Your website is an indispensable sales tool.

If your website isn’t generating new leads and customers, there are one of two issues that need to be addressed. First, the content needs to be high-converting copy and designed to drive signups and opt-ins. Second, you need to have targeted traffic landing on your website. After all, how is your #1 sales machine supposed to sell if nobody is interacting with it?

If you’re not getting organic traffic (people find your website from search engines), you’re missing out on a valuable source of new leads.

The beauty of SEO is that when searchers find your site, they are pre-qualified as prospects based on the very fact that they were searching for your product or service.

People are trying to do business with you. Are you ready to welcome them?

3. People Can’t Find Your Website (Your Website Isn’t Ranking For Your Brand Name)

Believe it or not, ranking for your own brand name is not a sure bet in the complex world of SEO. If you search for your company name, and you don’t show up in the #1 spot, you have a problem on your hands and it needs to be fixed ASAP.

If people can’t find you online by searching for your company name, how do you expect them to find you when they are searching for the products or services your business offers?

Fortunately, SEO companies can help!

4. The Cost of Click Ads (PPC) Is Overwhelming

A lot of internet marketers like to polarize SEO and PPC (pay-per-click advertising), telling you it’s an either/or strategy. This is the wrong approach.

SEO and PPC are meant to complement each other.

PPC is great for getting immediate results, driving targeted traffic to your website. But those results come with a pretty high price tag, and over time, a PPC campaign can get costly.

If you manage an AdWords account, you’ve probably looked at your monthly invoice and thought, “I spent how much on ads last month??” on at least two occasions. It’s not a good feeling. PPC costs can get out of control, and your business in a certain sense can become addicted to paid traffic.

Fortunately, there’s a way to wean a business off the PPC habit.

An SEO campaign is a sustainable, reliable source of traffic that will in the long run deliver organic results that you don’t have to pay for.

Together, PPC and SEO make a winning combination. You’ll spend less on AdWords every month, and supplement your traffic with organic search results.

All while getting more traffic, more leads, new customers and growing your business.

5. You Need Higher Quality Traffic

Is your conversion rate stagnant in the low single digits? Or worse, is it falling from a once-healthy 15%?

Is your website traffic just not rolling in like it used to before?

Are your visitors leaving your website (bouncing) before they opt-in or sign up?

These are common issues facing many small and local business owners. If your metrics are suffering, a boost of organic search traffic can get you back on course.

A search engine optimization campaign will introduce a new level of quality traffic to your website, and ultimately increase your conversion metrics and earn you more leads.

Don’t settle for stale website performance. Get new eyes and new traffic on your site now!

6. Your Competitors Are Showing Up Ahead of You In Online Searches

I might not know you or your business personally, but I can say with 99% certainty that you face at least some level of competition in your niche or industry. If you don’t have any competitors, consider yourself blessed. For everyone else, going head to head with your competitors is a daily grind.

An easy way to get an edge on your competition is through SEO. If your website shows up behind those of your competitors for search terms related to your offerings, you’re losing the online battle. You are losing money every single day your site is behind in search rankings. Stop it!

There is no reason you can’t be #1 in search results for keywords related to your business. When you show up at the top of Google, you get a leg up on your competition and you start winning.

If you’re ready to start winning and being at the top of the search results, contact us today. Let’s do this!

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5 Simple But Effective Ways to Improve Web Traffic for Your Local Business

5 Simple But Effective Ways to Improve Web Traffic for Your Local Business

In today’s increasingly tech-savvy world, the online presence of your business is of utmost importance. Without generating any web traffic, it’s nearly impossible for a local business to grow, let alone survive.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to improve web traffic for small businesses. With just a little bit of knowledge, you can spend an afternoon working on your website and see some drastic changes in incoming traffic over the next few months. Here are 5 simple but effective ways to improve web traffic for your local business:

#1 – Conduct a Simple SEO Audit

Making sure your website is on point from an SEO standpoint is the #1 way to drive organic traffic to your landing pages. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it essentially means making your web content easy for Google to understand and categorize. Your website consists of HTML, which search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing read.

There are several key elements search engines look for in your website markup that will give the strongest indications about your site’s content. Some of these elements include:

  • Page title – make sure the page title is specific to what your landing page is targeting.
  • Header tags (<h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc.) – place important keywords inside header tags to show search engines that these topics are the main point of your web page.
  • URL slug (the text in the url that comes after .com. For example: example.com/this-is-the-url-slug) – use keywords that indicate what the landing page is about. Do not use strings of numbers or symbols as they won’t help search engines understand what they can expect to find on your page.
  • Site navigation – your site navigation should be easy to follow, and break down into categories and sub-categories where appropriate.
  • Internal linking – it should be easy to get from one piece of content on your website to another. Search engines use internal links to understand how your pages and content are related, what the site hierarchy is, and general relevance for search queries.
  • Site performance and speed – this is a big one. If elements on your website or landing pages take long to load, Google and other search engines will view your site unfavorably (and so will your visitors… in fact, if a page on your site takes longer than one second to load, visitors are likely to leave before they even see the content).

These are just a few of the hundreds of factors that determine SEO performance. WP Hatch offers free SEO audits, which will show you specifically where your website excels with search engines, and where it could use some work. Contact us today for your free SEO audit.

#2 – Build Your Email List

Building an email or newsletter list is an important way to not only improve your web traffic, but also to get new sales and customers.

Having a robust email list is an easy way to drive traffic to your website, call attention to a new product or piece of content, and to make special offers to people who would otherwise most likely not be visiting your website regularly.

Creating an email list is easy. WP Hatch usually uses MailChimp, but there are dozens of other email service providers available at an affordable rate (including Campaign Monitor, EmmaConstant Contact, and many more).

Once you’ve created an account with an email service provider, you’ll want to implement an email capture tool on your website. Several new tech companies make this easy for you (we recommend HelloBar or SumoMe). These tools link to your ESP account and implement popups and on-screen messaging that encourages readers to join your email list.

As you grow your email list, you can send them friendly reminders about your services, products, web content, and special offers… all pointing back to your website, increasing your web traffic and sales.

Creating and connecting accounts with an email service provider and lead generation tool like HelloBar is simple, but if you just don’t have the time or have any questions, shoot us an email! We’re here to help 🙂

#3 – Make Sure Your Website Design is Responsive (Mobile-Friendly)

Did you know that the majority of Internet browsing is now done on smartphones? According to Smart Insights, 51% of digital media consumption is now done on mobile phones, compared to desktop computers (which comes in at just 42%). The crazy thing is that mobile phone Internet browsing is rising drastically, every single day.

What this means for you is that your website needs to not just work on mobile phones, but it needs to look great for your visitors. In fact, it’s so important that search engines like Google look at whether websites are mobile-friendly (or “responsive”) as a key SEO factor. If your website is not responsive, you’re missing out on some serious web traffic, and your search rankings are suffering!

Fortunately, Google has a great tool that will help you determine if your website is mobile-friendly called Mobile-Friendly Test (clever, huh?). Run the test to check whether your site works for mobile devices. If not, you should strongly consider updating your site to be mobile friendly. (Hint: if you don’t have access to a developer or web designer, WP Hatch can help!)

#4 – Use Explainer Videos

Slick landing pages are awesome, but a recent web trend for small businesses is to incorporate videos onto websites to describe offerings. You’ve probably seen some already—they’re often animated or sketched drawings that explain the core offerings from a business.

The key advantage of explainer videos is that they capture your visitor’s interest, and explain your product or service in a way that is easily digestible. Further, online video consumption is growing at a rapid pace, with many web surfers preferring to take info in the form of a video rather than text. If that’s not enough motivation, videos actually improve SEO for most websites.

WP Hatch offers affordable animated explainer videos. Our videos start at just $99 per minute, but act fast: prices are about to go up as demand increases.

#5 – Establish a Social Media Presence

Social Media is by no means a new trend, but the staggering amount of user engagement continues to surprise industry experts.

Social Media Statistics

Mind-boggling social media statistics from BrandWatch.com.

Establishing a social media presence is a great way to grow your business. It will allow you to engage with your existing customers and fans, turning them into repeat buyers. Having a strong social media following will also enable you to find a new audience, and convert them into loyal customers.

While having a strong social media presence is important for businesses of all sizes, it’s worth noting that not every social media platform makes sense for every business. It’s best to be selective and choose 2-3 social media channels to dive into, and do them well. If you aren’t sure which social media platform makes the most sense for your business, drop us a line! We’d love to help you figure out a social media strategy to grow your business.

Conclusion

The idea of making proactive changes to a website to increase performance and traffic can be daunting at first, but if you follow the steps above, you will notice significant changes in your web traffic in the following months. And this is just the tip of the iceberg—there are hundreds of more ways for you to improve search rankings, organic traffic, and online presence.

Are you on a mission to improve web traffic for your business? What’s working for you? What are your hangups? Let us know in the comments below!

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Sales: Measurable Results

Sales: Measurable Results

When advertisers consider what to offer in their promotion strategy, there’s almost always a conversation about the value of the type of person that responds to a special offer or giveaway.

Using the power of incentive (coupons, discounts, free gifts, or a chance to win) are all important tactics in a marketing strategy. It provides an introduction to a brand or product, leading to sampling, sales and long-term loyalty.

Giveaways and contests are easy and fast to implement, provide results in real time, are cost-effective and deliver measurable, accountable return on investment (ROI).

Sandra Fathi, President of Affect Strategies, says:

I have yet to find an organization — business-to-business or business-to-consumer — that would not benefit from some type of online contest.

One of Sandra’s clients, Cedarlane Natural Foods, increased brand awareness by raising Cedarlane’s visibility on their website and on Facebook. Matthew Gillespie, Director of Trade & Sales Planning, explains:

Our goal was for Facebook feedback to help generate leads and for Web visits to build awareness of the variety and advantages of the Cedarlane product.

They ran two types of promotions, a simple contest with a small prize, and a more complex contest with larger prizes. The result?

[We] more than doubled our email database, and, social media and Web traffic increased both in frequency and engagement by allowing customers to sign up to receive updates about future contests via their newsletter.

In other words, they increased awareness, introduced their brand directly to new contacts and identified new leads. Entrants participated for selfish reasons (to win a prize) and in the process, new customers came into the sales channel!

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Leads & Customer Acquisition

Leads & Customer Acquisition

Traditional marketing is hard for your advertiser to measure. They run ads in print, radio and TV and hope business increases as a result. They know they need an active mass-media presence, but how can they know it’s effective?

Especially in the digital frontier, the fundamental measure on the effectiveness of advertising is how many new customers you are attracting and how much those customers cost.

Here’s a tool you can use to help your clients. In the process, you become much more important as you help them sort through some important challenges:

  1. What percentage of sales volume comes from repeat or referral customers? These customers are driven to by past satisfaction. Don’t read any further until you’ve decided on a percentage. Give it your best estimate.
  2. What percentage of sales volume is triggered by location and its exterior signage? These customers come to you because of visibility. Again, write down a percentage, a best estimate.
  3. Add those two percentages together, then subtract from 100. This is the percentage of new customers who come because of advertising or external forces.
  4. Now, how many unique customers have been served in the past 12 months? Write down a specific number. They will probably need to consult records.
  5. Apply the percentage of ad-driven traffic to the total number of unique customers in the past 12 months. This will show how many new customers were served because of advertising. (If ad-driven traffic was 20 percent and Unique Customer Count was 5,000, then you had 1,000 ad-driven customers.)
  6. Divide that number into the annual advertising budget. This is the Cost of Customer Acquisition by advertising. It’s how much they actually spend on advertising to gain one new customer.Note; The formula doesn’t calculate the cost of referral customers because these customers don’t have a direct cost. They are an indirect cost of customer service and relationship management.

Warning: Their cost of new customer acquisition will likely be much higher than you expected. Don’t let this scare you!

Here are the obvious questions:

Q1: With the high cost of new customer acquisition, why advertise?

A: The primary goal of advertising is to acquire new customers. Repeat and referral business depends on it. Good customers move to other towns, or die, and you never see them again. Additionally, new people move into your market and have no idea you exist. Maintaining top of mind awareness is important.

Q2: If they can’t stop advertising, how can we at least reduce the Cost of Customer Acquisition?

A: What if the advertising message were adjusted to drive response to a specific offer or promotion? A specific call-to-action that results in reaching contacts on a personal level. Wouldn’t it be easier to convince a new contact to enter a free promotion than to come into their store? And, when they’ve learned more about them through their profile and embedded survey data, added insight can lead them through the engagement cycle.

Q3: If referrals are the most efficient way to grow, how can I increase sharing?

A: By marketing directly to respondents (email, text, etc.), your investment in promotions yields recurring value. By incentivizing each entrant to share the promotion with friends and social networks, advertising is leveraged far beyond direct responses. This “snowball” effect gains momentum and future promotions and offers have more impact with less reliance on traditional (expensive) advertising.

Lead generating promotions are one of the most cost-effective and efficient methods of marketing. Combined with creative messaging in existing advertising, marketing expenses become measurable and customer acquisition costs reduced.

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Online database sales lead calculator

Sales Lead Calculator

Many businesses struggle with how to measure the value of their advertising. This tool will help you show advertisers how to evaluate campaign effectiveness based on real dollars earned!

First, let’s define what is and isn’t a “lead.” Not every entrant is a lead. Some just enter to get a prize. We define them as “contacts.” They have value, as some may become interested prospects at some point, but they’re not as valuable as someone who is ready to buy now!

Some promotions generate more leads than others. For example, there will be more entrants interested in trying a new sandwich at a chain of delis than those interested in pursuing a career at a school specializing in nursing. But the value of a new student is far more valuable than someone who wants to buy a sandwich. So how can you figure out your campaign’s success?

The formula is: (TL x CR) X APP X PM / TL

Here’s what it means

Total Number of Qualified Leads generated (TL)

Multiply by Conversion Rate (a percentage) (CR)

This produces the total number of expected sales from this campaign.

Multiply by Average Purchase Price (APP)

This produces the gross revenue generated by the campaign. But now we need to figure out how much it’s worth:

Multiply by your company’s Profit Margin (PM)

Now you know the gross profit expected to be realized. Note: if you subtract your cost of the promotion from this number, you have your net profit for the promotion.

Divide by Total Number of Leads 
(TL).

Now you know the Lead Value (LV), how much each individual lead is worth.

How it works in the real world

A furniture company ran a four week sweepstakes to win a patio furniture set that attracted over 3,000 entries (contacts). Based on the embedded survey questions, the company found:

TL (Total Leads): 689 (homeowners interested in remodeling at least one room, and were interested in meeting with the company’s interior design team)

CR (Conversion Rate): 15% (689*.15=103 expected customers)

APP (Average Purchase Price): $10,000 (103*10,000=$1,033,500)

PM (Profit Margin): 46%

GP (Gross Profit): $475,410 ($1,033,500 * .46 = $475,410)

LV (Lead Value): GP / TL (475,410 / 689) = $690

After adjusting for leads that don’t pan out, they could afford to pay nearly $700 per lead based on immediate value, but there are other considerations.

Lifetime Value: What percentage of the leads become repeat customers? For some businesses (Dentists, for example) the majority of customers return again and again.

Referrals: If new customers refer others to your business, the lead is even more valuable, as one new customer brings in more.

Latent Value: Some leads will convert into customers later, and some contacts may become leads as their interests and situation changes.

If you want to get even more detailed, you can calculate contact value by simply dividing your expected profit by the total number of entries. In this example:

$476,410 / 3000 = $158.47 per entry!

Lead generation is one of the fastest growing areas of marketing and promotion, and once you understand how it works, it’s easy to see why.

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How to Get More Radio Listeners: Bribe 'em & Buy 'em

How to Get More Radio Listeners: Bribe ’em & Buy ’em

When we’re talking with programmers about the value of contests and sweepstakes in their promotion strategy, we inevitably have a conversation about the value of the type of person that enters to win.

The concept of Bribe Them and Buy Them is a marketing technique to attract customers beyond that which the product can generate on its own.

Incentives (coupons, discounts, free gifts, or a chance to win) are important tactics in a marketing strategy. and no business is better at providing incentives to take action than radio.

A giveaway is easy and fast to implement, provide results in real time, are cost-effective and deliver measurable, accountable return on investment (ROI).

Sandra Fathi, President of Affect Strategies, says,

I have yet to find an organization — business-to-business or business-to-consumer — that would not benefit from some type of online contest.

Used properly (and following up with respondents) can help you:

  • Accelerate social media participation
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Generate “heat” on your station
  • Increase tune-in
  • Drive listening occasions
  • Reward existing customers

How To Conduct Your Own Giveaways & Contests

1. Create the Contest. Sweepstakes are a random drawing, but for contests, there are many ways to choose a winner, including video, photo or essay submissions. Public voting is an especially popular choice, as it involves entrants to spread your promotion to their friends. When setting up your contest, be sure to observe laws that may affect entry eligibility. c.saw media + promotions can advise you and help you develop a campaign that fits your needs.

2. Choose the technology. You have many choices here. Choosing the right one is key to your campaign’s success. We bring you alternatives that fit your budget and accomplish your goals.

3. Allocate Resources. It’s highly likely that the marketing department, sales department, legal department and PR team will all be involved in a successful contest. Your campaign will require attention, time and promotion. If you don’t have resources in-house, you can outsource management. We can offer contest administration and management services, and can operate your promotion with no disruption to your team.

4. Prizes. The incentive that drives your audience to act is an important consideration. If you know your target audience, you should be able to design an attractive prize that appeals to them. It’s important to match the offering to your objectives as well as consider the effort required to enter, which is especially important for contests.

Sandra says:

If I just have to provide my email address to enter to win a free ice cream cone, that might be enough of an incentive. However, if I need to create a commercial for an ice cream brand, including write a script, create a video and solicit votes, my prize better be at least a truckload of ice cream.

5. Harvest the Leads. Attention is only valuable if you act on the new contact you’ve acquired. How you follow up to turn a contact into revenue is the most important part of any campaign. For best results, respond quickly, succinctly, and provide an additional incentive for taking another action. In all communication, deliver a specific, targeted message based on the intelligence you’ve collected in the entry process.

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Advertiser-Centric Promotions

Advertiser-Centric Promotions

It’s no secret that advertisers are changing the way they allocate ad spending, directing more of their budgets to interactive digital media. Radio sales managers have found this a challenge, but should be celebrating!

Borrell & Associates Local Promotions Forecast notes that local marketers love promotions. The report shows that advertisers are spending more and more on contests, promotions, discounts and coupons and

“…there appears to be no turning back… (Advertisers are) collecting more email addresses. In 2012, they spent 81% more on promotions, and should reach $176 BILLION in 2013.”

Find out why radio is the ideal medium to capitalize on this exciting trend. Contact us to learn how we can help you:

  • Proof that ratings respondents are contest players. That’s one of the key reasons that promotions matter to radio programmers.
  • Why building a smart database is a key to your ratings success… and can deliver hundreds of thousands of non-spot revenue! If you’re not doing it yet, let me help you get started!
  • How to get advertisers to pay you to find ratings respondents – and steal listeners from your competition!
  • Tactics that will ensure success of your next promotion before you ever run a single promo on the air!
  • How to generate real non-spot revenue… by generating sales without adding promos!
  • New ways to deliver accountable results including hot leads in real time—directly to your advertisers!
  • New routes to revenue-generation, including promotions that generate real-time hot leads for advertisers… and ring your cash register with each qualified entry.
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The value of hot leads

What are Hot Leads?

And why are they important to your clients

Every business wants more leads. Leads are potential customers who have expressed at least some interest in a product or service. But not all leads are created equal. Expressing interest doesn’t mean they’re ready to make a decision.

A hot lead is a prospect that is ready to become a customer. They’re sales-ready. We help you determine how hot the lead is based on:

Their Profile. With your criteria of what makes an ideal customer, we will help you find consumers that match. For example, consumers who rent apartments aren’t leads for a landscaping company. We can eliminate them from your lead list.

Demonstrates Interest. With the right information, we can profile their interest level and readiness to make a purchase decision. Knowing that the prospect is interested in a cruise in the next six months adds to their hotness for a cruise company.

Fits Their Budget. Knowing if a prospect plans to shop for a used economy car is much different than someone in the market for a high-end luxury sedan.

Are they Motivated? When do they plan a purchase? Have they already made a decision to buy, and are now investigating where they will purchase? And do you know when they plan to buy?

Sales Readiness. Are they interested in meeting with, or speaking to, one of your representatives?

Hot lead criteria vary by industry. With a lead-generating interactive promotion and using our embedded surveys, we can deliver hot leads to your sales channel in real time. When a prospect matches your criteria, you can be in contact with them in seconds, greatly increasing the chance of turning contacts into customers.

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