31 October

Your Website Is Live. Now What?

Your Website Is Live. Now What?

Michael Curia

By: Michael Curia – Bayshore Solutions’ Project Management Team

Launching a new website is great achievement and is typically full of a sense of relief and accomplishment, but what’s next? Your website and the digital assets need to be an ever evolving and growing marketing tool.

Outlined below are five key initiatives to help your website growth strategy:
First: (And foremost!) Be sure your website is configured and optimized correctly.
Configuration

  • No Index turned off
  • Robot.txt file
  • XML Sitemap
  • HTML Sitemap
  • Install Google Analytics
  • 301 Redirects

Optimization

  • Site load time
  • Unique page titles
  • Unique meta tags
  • Alt text for image
  • Schema data/rich snippets
  • Clickable phone number
  • SEO friendly and lower case urls
  • Use of one H1 on a page

Second: Create a Content Strategy

This consists of plan for implementing content updates, content marketing items, and social media posts throughout the course of the next several months.
Content Updates

  • Google places a higher relevance on pages that are regularly updated so be sure that there is a strategy in place to be updated and refining content on your website’s most important pages

Content Marketing

Social Media Posts and Promotion

  • With the creation and release of content items outlined above should be promoted through social media platforms to promote content, present your organization as a thought leader, engage users, and drive traffic.
  • Social media platforms vary based on your target audience, but typically it recommended to engage with at least four of the big six social media networks:
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Instagram
    • Pinterest
    • LinkedIn
    • YouTube
  • Want to learn more about social media platforms and which are right for your business check out How to Grow Your Business in Six Social Media Networks blog article:
    http://www.bayshoresolutions.com/blog/social-networking/six-social-networks-to-grow-your-business/

Third: A/B Testing

This consists of creating multiple versions of a website page and testing engagement to see what is most successful.

Why aren’t you doing A/B testing? In regards to A/B testing (I believe) this is the most underutilized and underappreciated strategies in website development. Most initial website designs are based on assumed user experience. By simply doing A/B testing in Google or within your content management system you can test those initial design assumptions. With this testing you are able to quantify engagement, bounce rate, and/or conversion rate associated with the page layout. These results will ultimately assist you in improving user experience within your website.

Fourth: Chart Your Roadmap

This consists of creating a long term strategy associated with additional website functionality needed based on customer requests, how users are interacting with the site, new technology, or professional recommendations.
Creating a roadmap is really defining what functionality the website needs on a go forward basis. By creating a roadmap and breaking the functionality into future phases you can work with your web development team to create technology solutions and tools.

Fifth: Monitor and Adapt

Things are ever involving in the digital space. If you look at the explosion of use of cell phones and tablets for website browsing as a primary example, this technology was barely an afterthought a few years ago.

It is important to understand that optimization for websites, engaging content, and user experience/conversions will continue to evolve. Be sure to plan to maintain and grow these through constantly monitoring and adapting to what is successful.

By following these five steps you will be able to continue to grow your digital presence and engage your customers.

Interested in learning more about how Bayshore Solutions can create a successful digital presence for your company? Contact Us today!

Michael Curia is a Senior Project Manager at Bayshore Solutions—a Tampa Web Design, Web Development, and Internet Marketing Company.

28 October

‘Tis that Time of Year again..

‘Tis that Time of Year again...

Kevin Hourigan – Bayshore Solutions President and CEO

By: Kevin Hourigan – Bayshore Solutions Executive Team

By: Kevin Hourigan – Bayshore Solutions’ President and CEO

‘Tis that Time of Year again…

Well, yes, the Holiday Season is right around the corner, but, that is not the “Time of the Year” that I am referring to. What my thoughts involve are your annual Digital Workshop, where you can plan out your next year’s digital marketing plan including goals, tactics, paths and desired results.

As we are having annual planning conversations with our customers, we often reflect back on the year and ask “What have we as a team done well, what could we have done better and what have we not done but should have.” As we gather answers to those three questions we ask for people’s opinions, review data analytics and reflect on what we have learned over the year through research, reading and attending conferences.

When we compare the answers that are provided by our customers as well as our team members here at Bayshore Solutions, it is always interesting to see what matches as well as what did not match. At the end of the exercise, we have a list of items we want to continue to stay the course, we have a list we want to adjust and improve upon and we have a final list of what we want to add to our current plan. With those three lists, we prioritize the top initiatives and work down the list; who should be responsible, budgets associated as well as expectations of results, both measured by time and increase in activity.

Here at Bayshore Solutions, we love to “Plan our work and work our plan.” This is a simple exercise you can follow that helps start conversations that ultimately may end up becoming very useful for your digital planning. To learn more about “Planning your work and working your plan” and the results we experience with our customers, please visit us at www.BayshoreSolutions.com.

We have another opportunity for your 2015 Digital Planning and that is our Summit that will feature Google. It will be held November 12th in Tampa, FL and Google will Keynote this educational event, where marketing executives from around our region and across the country will learn essential strategies to compete in today’s and 2015′s digital landscape. To learn more or RSVP, please visit http://Summit.BayshoreSolutions.com

Kevin Hourigan
President and CEO

Kevin Hourigan is the President and CEO at Bayshore Solutions—a Tampa Web Design, Web Development, and Internet Marketing Company.

17 October

Simple Steps to Improve Your Online Reputation

Simple Steps to Improve Your Online Reputation

Marshall Slaton

By: Marshall Slaton – Bayshore Solutions’ Digital Marketing Team

More Actionable Takeaways from Bayshore Solutions’ Experience at the Recent Digital Dealer Conference

Many of the clients that engage us as their professional marketing agency usually have the same goal – “How can we improve our online reputation?”. Whether you are an automotive dealer, online retailer, or government agency, your online reputation is typically researched by your prospective customers and buyers, before they engage or buy from you.

To help you get there, follow these simple steps to improving your online reputation today:

The first step to reputation management is understanding whether you are listening to your customers. For consumers, online reviews matter:

  • 86% of consumers use ratings and reviews before doing business with a company
  • 84% of consumers trust other consumers opinions about a company
  • 68% of consumers trust consumer opinions posted online

Given those consumer statistics, it is clear that online reviews affect the bottom line for most businesses. At the recent Digital Dealer conference, Cobalt worked with VW to better understand the impact of online reviews. Their research showed that 32% more traffic visited dealerships that had 4+ star reviews than stores with 2 star ratings. That is significant!

Furthermore, if Yelp is a major influencer for your business, there is a ~20% decrease in in-store traffic with just a half-star decrease in Yelp reviews. However, with a one-star increase in Yelp, businesses can typically experience a 5-9% increase in sales.

Understanding the impact, how can we listen to our customers more effectively? It is easier than you think:

  • Consider using a software tool to monitor reviews – there are even free tool options available!
  • Setup and get alerts from the tool – to your email, via apps, or text messages
  • Look at ongoing scores instead of spot scores – how your score trends over time is a better indicator of your improvement
  • Focus on the right networks
  • Google your own reviews/complaints and focus on those websites that rank well. Perhaps eopinions.com is more important than Yelp for your business or industry.
  • Pay attention to Google+ reviews for the simple fact that Google generates the most organic search traffic to websites. You must have a Google+ page with at least five reviews for ratings to appear next to your search listings.

Now that we are monitoring our online reputation, we must work on our listening skills. Essentially, people want to be heard – and then leave bad reviews. If you are not addressing their needs via email and phone calls, they will resort to posting their experience online. Therefore, taking care of customers before they go online and post a complaint is the best way to manage online reputation.

However, we all have those moments where we failed to execute as designed, resulting in a bad review being posted. Now what? Respond! Show your customers and the online world that you are listening. The faster you can respond (which is easy because you are monitoring), the faster consumers respond with appreciation. Speed is the key, and you have just demonstrated to others researching your products and services that your are responsive and genuinely care about them.

Here is something you may not know about responding and actively managing online reviews – you can simultaneously increase your SEO value! What is this blasphemy? No, really, Google values interaction, and as more interactions are created, the main website will show up in search results with the most active review sites following. So, you can influence which review sites may show for your company.

Now that you are responding to the reviews, you need to make sure you are responding correctly. Don’t get into details or argue position.  Simply acknowledge the issue and suggest contacting you or them directly to resolve. The quicker you move the conversation offline, the more of a chance you have of preventing more negative comments.

A good practice is having some formalized responses on how to handle negative reviews – but, learn to customize them by addressing the individual by name. This will help humanize the interaction and defuse negativity. Lastly, don’t just respond to the negative, be thankful for the positive! When someone posts a compliment on your great product or service, thank them! This goes back to creating interactions to influence SEO value.

Okay, so you are monitoring and responding, now what? Ask for more reviews! Studies show that moderately unhappy people will share their experiences, while moderately happy people remain quiet about their experience. Make it part of your customer service process and train and incent your team to ask for the review in-person or over the phone when finishing the transaction.

Hopefully, sharing these thoughts on improving your online reputation will inspire you to make changes to your online strategy. Reviews are everywhere. Social networks and reputation management have merged and you cannot have one without the other in an overall reputation management strategy. We at Bayshore Solutions are happy to help provide the strategies and solutions to help you implement a successful reputation management campaign, so contact us today. to find out how we can help you!

Marshall Slaton is Director of Digital Marketing at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Company.

9 October

Digital Dealer Conference Takeaways That Every Marketer Can Use

Digital Dealer Conference Takeaways That Every Marketer Can Use

Marshall Slaton

By: Marshall Slaton – Bayshore Solutions’ Digital Marketing Team

For the past several years, Bayshore Solutions has attended the annual Digital Dealer Conference in Las Vegas. The conference is one of the largest gatherings of auto dealers and auto specific software offerings focused exclusively on online marketing.

We attend on behalf of our automotive clients in order to bring them the latest case studies and ideas from the conference, but we also find and discover marketing strategies and tactics that are beneficial to other industries and clients.

Over the next several weeks, we will be highlighting several of the sessions that we found to be of value and provide you with insight as to how it may effect or benefit your current online marketing strategies and efforts.

Beyond the education sessions, there were also some great keynote sessions that delved into improving the sales closing process, improving customer service, and transforming your culture.

Here are some of the session summaries to look forward to:

Ways You Can Increase Your Search Engine Marketing ROI

  • Simple Steps to Improving Your Online Reputation
  • Keynote Session – The Wolf Of Wall Street and the Straight Line Selling System
  • How To Maximize Inventory Conversion from Search to Showroom
  • Secrets to Social ROI Success
  • Practices to Engage with Customers via Email, Phone & Text
  • Direct Response Selling on Facebook
  • Getting Creative With Your Content Strategy
  • Website Analytics vs. Shopper Analytics
  • Creating the Perfect Customer Journey
  • Cultural Transformation Experiences
  • Digital Strategy as an Ambassador

Overall, the most significant takeaways from the conference that applies to any business dedicated to increasing their digital marketing awareness are:

Video Content – Engaging consumers via video content is essential. Consumers today do research via video and will refer to videos when getting ready to make their next purchase. It’s easy to digest content for the consumer, so must be part of your marketing plan.

Mobile Devices – The trend continues to show that the mobile phone is today’s Swiss army knife for information and interaction. Are you mobile optimized for generating action?

Texting – More people engage via text messages than email across all age groups. With the growth in mobile device usage, have you considered how texting can provide that extra channel of engagement?

Segmenting – With more data available to businesses, are we still communicating the same standard message across all of our consumers? With technology and analytics, we should focus more on segmenting our messaging and work to improve personalizing our content.

Customer Service – The elements and practice of customer service is imperative in today’s digital world. It is quite easy for customers to comment and express opinions online, therefore, we must have a plan that is communicated organization-wide to care for our customers through anticipation, and not reaction.

We look forward to sharing with you our discoveries and insights, and we’ll update this post with links for each of the sessions we will be highlighting in the upcoming weeks.

If you’d like to get started designing and deploying digital marketing that drives results for your business, contact us today.

 

Marshall Slaton is a Director of Digital Marketing at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Company.

30 September

Video Marketing Ideas & Insights

Video Marketing Ideas & Insights

Valerie Noel

By: Valerie Noel – Bayshore Solutions Digital Marketing Team

Can you believe on February 14, 2015 the video-sharing website YouTube will turn 10 years old? It’s almost unfathomable the amount of videos on YouTube, which boasts over 100 hours of video uploaded every minute.

YouTube may be the biggest, with more than a billion unique users monthly, but depending on the type of video you’re looking for, there is no shortage of outlets for video content, including:

  • Vine – a short-form video sharing site where all videos are 6 seconds or less
  • Vimeo – a video-sharing website that was launched a year before YouTube
  • Wistia – offering video hosting and analytics for businesses, and even sites like
  • Powtoon – that create animated videos for you if you can’t film live action.

How to Incorporate Video Marketing
You may be wondering how video can apply to your brand if you aren’t a celebrity or business that already uses video in some capacity, but don’t over think it. Try re-purposing some existing content to see if it translates to a visual medium. If so, you can use what you already have to start a YouTube channel to communicate in a new way. Keep in mind that video is just another channel to reach your potential customers, just like your website, offline marketing efforts and mass media. Keeping your message consistent across all of your channels is important.

Show & Tell and Instructional Videos
With the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, the ability to watch videos is only going to increase. Did you know that 15% of all online video hours globally are viewed on a tablet or smartphone? Shopping videos can be a great way to showcase your product in a real-time fashion. If you have a product that is complex to understand, an instructional video is a great way to make sure your potential customers have a good experience.

Inside View Videos
For B2B businesses, videos are a way of personalizing your company. Reading about the benefits of your company goes a long way in learning about a business, but what about a video from your last company luncheon showing the people and stakeholders in their element? Videos have the ability to be very influential and persuasive, when done correctly.

Review Videos
Much like learning about your company from the content on your website, customers are also very likely to read feedback about your company from third-parties. Testimonials are very common on websites in 2014, but wouldn’t it set you apart from your competition if you have video snippets of people giving testimonials about your brand?

Don’t Forget Video SEO
Producing a video and adding it to your website is not sufficient, however. The traditional rules of Search Engine Optimization also apply to videos, such as:

  1. Optimizing your website to increase your chances of appearing in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Help make your site easy for crawlers to find your video files by adding to your navigation a directory or subdomain that only houses your videos.
  2. Add a Video Sitemap to your website for optimal crawling and indexing.
  3. Utilize in-file metadata to describe your video, this includes the Title, Description and Keyword tags.
  4. All videos should have individual pages on your site with optimized Title, Description and Keyword tags, like your video metatags.
  5. Opt for embedded video players instead of pop-up players so visitors stay on your site. YouTube provides the HTML code needed to place an embedded video player on your site.

If you’re looking for ways to add video production to your digital marketing strategy, Bayshore Solutions can help you brainstorm, produce and edit videos for your brand. Contact us today for more information!

Valerie Noel is on the Digital Marketing Team at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Agency.

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