8 Tools for online marketing & How to use them to bring traffic to your website

In 2018, online marketing will be the number 1 way customers & clients will discover your business.

Using the right online marketing methods depends on what your business does, and how far along your business is established or ready to move on to a particular marketing method. If you're just starting out, Email Marketing & Google Adwords are the best methods to begin with. And if you're getting lots of traffic to your website, and your business is growing, doing regular SEO, blogging, and Social Media can compound your online marketing effectiveness.

Google Analytics

The first thing you should do before setting up any online marketing is to get a Google Analytics account hooked up to your website. This will help you track all data coming into and away from your website to see what marketing methods are most effective. One of the most important metrics to use is to track "Conversions" on your website, which means tracking how many people enter their email address, fill out a contact form, or place an order on your website.

Email Marketing

For most businesses, an email marketing campaign is the lowest hanging fruit for online marketing. Even if you only have 20 people on your email list, this is the best way to test out ideas with an audience and link people back to your website. Even if you just have a list of only friends & family, any email list is better than no email list. And, in my opinion, Mailchimp is the best email marketing tool for small businesses. If you don't have one yet, here is where to sign up for a free account: www.mailchimp.com

Google Adwords

Google Adwords can get expensive. And it is better for service-based businesses that sell more expensive services or service-related products. A good starting ad budget is about $300 per month on Adwords, or about $10 per day. Because Google.com is the number one website in the world, this is where most of the action is, even above Social Media. But if you sell inexpensive products, Google Adwords is usually not the right place for your business. Also, Google Adwords helps jump-start your SEO ranking, which will quickly boost the amount of people who visit your website through natural, unpaid keyword searches. Get an account set up at adwords.google.com and don't do the dumbed-down version called Adwords Express, which is a waste of money. 

Google Business

Just like Google Adwords & Search Console, the Google Business tool helps people find your business through a Google Search much faster. Google prioritizes businesses that give their phone number, address & website publicly, because Google wants to build personalized trust online and de-rank websites that seem anonymous. This tool is also free and easily helps your website rank higher in SEO. So setting this up is a must for businesses who want to be found more easily online. To get started, simply go to business.google.com

Yelp

Just like Google Business, Yelp helps give credibility to your business, especially through real customer reviews. Having a Yelp profile is free, and also helps you rank higher in Google SEO searches. In smaller cities, Yelp isn't as popular. But in major metropolitan areas like Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle & New York, Yelp is a trusted source for many online users. Even in smaller towns, setting up a Yelp page will still help establish you as a professional business and get you additional attention that your competition is likely missing out on. Get a free Yelp Business account at biz.yelp.com

Google Search Console (SEO)

This is a free tool that allows you to see what keywords are working best to capture people and bring them to your website. Once you start to get even a little bit of data from the Google Search Console, you can use this information to write blog posts specifically on topics that people are searching for. As you write new blog posts on those trending keywords, Google typically will bump you up even higher, giving you more insights into what people are typing into Google. And from there, the cycle continues. After about 3 months of doing this, I typically see the average business pull in around 500 visits per month to a client's website, and it typically grows steadily from there. So optimizing your SEO, keyword and blogging content can typically have long-term positive impacts for your business.

Blogging

A good blog does two things. First, it helps educate and inform your visitors about the expertise you have learned over many years and can share with others freely. You can tie all of your email newsletters, social media and other online marketing into your blog to regularly drive traffic back to your website. The second is to build a collection of valuable posts and pages that will be eventually indexed by Google to drive even more traffic to your business, which also helps your SEO ranking. While most of my Clients don't enjoy the idea of blogging, if you can write about topics that you are passionate about that you've learned over time about your own specific industry, eventually you'll find blogging to be much easier. Blogs don't have to be super long. They can be just 1 paragraph and a few bullet points. And not all blogs need to have images either. Blogging regularly can help you develop content for all of your other online marketing, so it's something that every business should think about and put together a plan to implement. Even just 1 blog post per week will be enough to build a lot of sustainable traction over time.

Social Media

Instagram
Right now, the most popular Social Media platform - especially for visual-based businesses like Interior Design, Photography, Art, Architecture & Custom Home Building - is Instagram. The big downside to this marketing method is that it typically requires regular posting, usually 4 times per week, Monday to Thursday, in order to be effective. Also, people on Social Media typically convert to clients & customers at very low rates. That's why it's crucial to have a strong on-boarding method that brings people from Instagram to your website and captures their email address quickly to later get them into your regular, weekly email newsletter. I only recommend Instagram for businesses that are prepared to take custom photos daily or have a staff person who can regularly put together graphics to keep their account up-to-date every single business day.

Facebook
Facebook recently downgraded their preference for showing Business pages because of widespread criticism. However, companies that are able to stay socially engaged and lead great conversations and community projects can do even better on Facebook than before. Facebook also gets ranked by Google for Reviews. So, in addition to Yelp & Google Business, this is an important part of SEO. For posting, it's likely best to post one very good, socially-oriented post per week on Facebook that will drive conversation with your followers. Avoid sales pitches, promotions, and posts that feel too business related.

Pinterest
In my opinion, Pinterest is one of the best places to grow your business over the long term - especially for visually-based businesses like interior design, custom furniture, artwork, photography, and custom homes. That is because Pinterest is less socially-oriented, and is more based around keyword searches and helping people "Pin" their visual ideas in a single place. While it can take a while to get traction on Pinterest, this can be an extremely effective long-term strategy that most businesses should keep on their radar once other online marketing methods are put in place.

Twitter
Twitter is primarily a place for people to keep up to date with news and very short, rapid-succession conversations. For this reason, it's typically not the best place to promote your business if you do things like Architecture, Interior Design, or Photography. However, if you keep up with the progress of your industry, especially if those topics are newsworthy, Twitter is a great place to help educate people who follow you on academic or news topics. For instance, if you are an Architect in Malibu, California, and the City of Malibu recently change the laws on residential architecture and zoning, Twitter would be a good place to post that sort of thing, as well as on your Blog & Email Newsletter.

 

Branding

The last thing to think about for your online marketing is to create a consistent and compelling branding message. What is your business about? How can your products & services solve your customer's problems? What information do you know in your industry that is going to greatly improve the lives of other people? If you keep your business's vision in mind and how to serve your customers well, then online marketing on Email Newsletters, Google Adwords, Blogging and Social Media will come more easily, and you'll see better long term results. Remember that most people will need anywhere between 5 and 15 impressions to your brand before they're ready to buy from you. So building a long-term online branding strategy is extremely important in order to create a healthy, stable business in 2018. 

Successful online marketing can only be done one step at a time. And doing all of these methods, or even some of them, all at once is going to be overwhelming for every business. So make sure to only choose 1 or 2 methods at a time that will bring the most Return On Investment for you. And, at some point, you're going to want to hire your own online marketing assistant to keep up with these things daily for you. Remember than online marketing is the best way to drive long-term sales. So a sustainable business will definitely want to plan to shoot towards doing all of these online marketing methods roughly over a 12 month timeline.

Website Optimization & Marketing Checklist To Grow Your Business

Using the right tools to capture leads on your website is crucial. 

The primary goal of your website is to capture leads through email addresses, form submissions, phone calls & to clearly call people to take action on your website.

Every website needs to accomplish this in order for your business to grow and thrive. And as you collect email addresses and leads, you can continue to follow up with ongoing marketing & other ways to engage and lead your clientele to take action and become more educated in the areas they are struggling most. 

One of the most successful 'Call To Actions' I've done for my own website is by making a free downloadable PDF Checklist to help my visitors learn how to use their website effectively and create marketing tools online that will help them grow their business faster. 

I'd like to make this marketing checklist available to you for free as well so you can see how it works. You can also use this tool to help guide your business & ensure that you're addressing all the online marketing you should be doing in order to have a successful presence online.

Click here to get the free Website Optimization & Online Marketing Checklist.

Why Hire A Squarespace Designer?

In my opinion, Squarespace is the best platform out there. It's incredibly easy for my clients to use. Making simple text and image edits is easy, for just about any generation of people. It's like editing a simple Word Document. 

Not every business needs to hire a Squarespace Designer. If you're just getting started out, and you're on a super tight budget, Squarespace is a great platform to try and learn on your own, and get a really basic website together. 

But once your business starts to get established, you're making some income, and paying your bills, a professional website design is one of the most crucial ways to stand apart from your competition, and establish yourself as a leader in your industry.

In 2018, almost all businesses need a website in order to appear professional, credible and reliable. Even if you've been in business for 20 or 30 years, and you've been using a basic website from the 90s or 2000s just to get by, in the near era of business, your website is the cornerstone of your marketing plan.

Word of mouth is great, and repeat customers is awesome for businesses to maintain their business income. But if you want to grow and thrive your business, a properly designed professional website is the very first step in growing your business in 2018. 

So while start-ups or low-income businesses probably shouldn't spend the money on a custom design website, a business that is pulling in over $100,000 in revenue per year or more will find a lot more value in hiring a professional Squarespace website designer. 

Here are the main pros to hiring a Squarespace specialist: 

  1. Expert Knowledge: A Squarespace web designer will have an extremely in-depth knowledge of all the tools available for a business
  2. Marketing Techniques: A good website designer will understand how to use a website as a marketing tool that will bring in more leads through email address submissions and contact form submissions
  3. SEO Integration: A good Squarespace designer will understand how to properly set up SEO on a blog or other pages of your website in order to drive more SEO traffic from Google searches
  4. Page Optimization: A Squarespace specialist will know how to use Google Analytics and other tools to learn the best page layout and optimization of your website to make it easy and productive for your visitors to use
  5. Ongoing Marketing: A Squarespace web designer will understand how to use outside marketing tools like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Social Media and SEO to bring more people to your website.
  6. Training: A good Squarespace specialist will teach you and your team how to effectively use your website to help you grow your business online.
  7. Aesthetics: Above all, a good website designer will understand minimalist & modern design techniques to make a beautiful website that will impress your visitors and give your business validity.

With the right website design & marketing expert, your website will become your best marketing tool. A beautiful website helps you establish your business as a leader in your industry.

Talk to our design team today about growing your website through a beautiful website design

Here's Why Simplifying Your Website Home Page Is Important

Minimalist websites don't just look good and trendy. They function well for business. That's because a simple home page design clearly communicates your business message, tells visitors what action to take on your website. A simple website also loads faster and is preferable by Google for indexing in their Search results for SEO.  

Aside from aesthetics, here are 3 reasons why a simple home page for your website is important for your business.

 

1 | Faster Loading Time

In 2018, one of the most important things Google will be looking at is page loading, especially on mobile. Google requires that websites should load within 3 seconds or less on mobile in order to be ranked higher in Google Searches. According to their data, over 50% of website visitors will leave your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. That's because people think their time is wasted on a slow website, when they can likely just go to another website that might load faster and be more worth their time. The more complicated your home page is, with lots of photos scrolling and moving all over the place, the more likely people will leave your site. It doesn't matter how cool the website looks. It just matters that it loads quickly. That's why a minimalist home page for your website is so important. 

 

2 | Most people wont read all of the text, anyways

People only spend about 5-10 seconds on the first page of a website they visit for the very first time. So if your home page is not super clear, super simple, easy to read, and easy to understand, then they will leave and move on to your competitor's website.

There are only 3 things your website's home page should address clearly:

a) What is your website about? This should be in less than 5 words. Not a paragraph.
b) How does your website solve a problem I have? Visitors have problems they are trying to solve. If they don't think your website addresses their needs, then they will leave.
c) How do I take action? Do visitors need to book a call? Do they need to download a PDF? Fill out a contact form? The call to action is super important. If you don't make it clear what to do on your site, then people will leave out of confusion.

Everything else on your home page should be about experience, value and design. So a beautiful photo helps, or maybe a customer review, or information about a free, helpful PDF download. Your website is a visitor's first impression, so it must absolutely be your best position on your website.

 

3 | Google no longer cares about SEO on the home page

In order to make the internet a more enjoyable place to find content, Google cares more about good, quality content. Not keyword stuffing. In the 2000s, Google allowed people to keyword stuff (putting tons and tons of text) on their home page. Today, Google ranks almost no pages on your home page. Instead, they want you to focus on getting your marketing message across, with more valuable text and images in other pages. So your home page should focus clearly on your website's purpose, and not on cluttering keywords. Make your website beautiful, interesting and helpful. That is what helps get your website ranked high in 2018.