Three Steps to Get Publicity for Your Business

April 9th, 2014

Woman holding megaphoneGetting media coverage helps to build awareness of your business, increase credibility and possibly even get the phone to ring. Getting the attention of reporters and then having them be interested enough to cover a story takes time, persistence and creativity.

With media outlets short staffed, it takes time to get stories in print or on the air, but can be achieved by taking the following three steps. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s the Best Choice for Your Website? WordPress vs Custom Website Design

March 31st, 2014

WordPress site for real estate development firm in the San Francisco Bay Area.

WordPress site for real estate development firm in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Most of the sites we design for clients are done completely from scratch, using the client’s branding blueprint as a starting point for ideas, and often using our proprietary content management system, ELF or Drupal to run the back end for clients. But sometimes clients are on a tight budget and the better option is for us to create a quick site using WordPress for content management by tweaking an existing theme with the client’s photos and color palette.

While the sky’s the limit with what we can do with a completely custom, hand coded site, there are certain limits to tweaking WordPress themes that may be cause for concern if what you really want is complete control over every detail of the site’s layout.

Here are some things to consider when making the decision about which choice is right for your website.

Read the rest of this entry »

SEO Best Practices

March 19th, 2014

iStock_000016321920XSmallSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) is an art and science. The art is in writing SEO content, tags, and metatags that the search engines use as part of their ranking process. The science is understanding through many evolutions of hands-on experience how the algorithms of the engines, that actually do the ranking results, work. (This is something that no human does).

When very well researched, analyzed and written, a SEO campaign can achieve a remarkably high ranking on the engines in a surprisingly short time. Even though you are working with the algorithm mathematics of Google and the other search engines, it is possible and even oftentimes predictable to see high rankings for a site in a brief amount of time. This means within a few days, or a couple of weeks, your site could be successfully advertising to a targeted audience that is actively looking for your products or services. As in all business prospects, competition does dictate and shape the SEO results the engines display for visitors.  Read the rest of this entry »

Five Tips for Better Results with Email Marketing

March 12th, 2014

iStock_000016389299SmallIt’s a jungle out there in the world of email marketing. Creating an email that will make it through spam filters is a challenging trek and getting your customers to open your email can be as difficult as finding a rare rainforest bird. Here are several ways we’ve found to improve email marketing success.

1. Use a reputable email service provider that keeps up with email technology and trends.

There are lots of companies who offer email marketing. Many haven’t kept their services updated to avoid the spam trap.  Current players such as iContact, Campaign Monitor and Constant Contact get good marks for easy interface and avoiding spam. Check out this website for a very thorough side-by-side review of various services.  Also, don’t send a mass email from your work email address.

Read the rest of this entry »

Twitter Can Keep People Involved, Especially with Visual Content

March 3rd, 2014

How can Twitter help you further your marketing goals? Everyone’s talking about it! Ellen DeGeneres’s selfie with the group of movie stars around her has been retweeted over 2.5 million times already, in less than a day. And that’s what the Academy Awards sees as the use of Twitter. It’s a way to get lots of attention fast. Twitter is now the way to get people to participate with TV at an immediate pace. The whole thing is based on the visual content; this time it’s the selfie!ellen-oscar-selfie3

When we’ve talked about the uses of Twitter, the main point has been that it’s a specific tool. If something very news-oriented is going on, whether it’s the Olympics or the Oscars or some famous person caught in an embarrassing situation, Twitter is the vehicle that people are using to get their thoughts out. And TV has figured out how it can benefit them. TV advertisers have, also.

One of the big uses of Twitter has been the ease of finding things via #hashtags. Twitter has always been good if you are famous and you want people to stay involved with you on a minute by minute basis. TV networks have realized that this can work for them by keeping people emotionally involved with their show.

Twitter has accommodated this need by making it possible to tweet photos as well as links (which it has always been able to do). Now with photos, advertisers and TV shows can get a visual marker out there. In the case of Ellen DeGeneres, her picture is exploding through the world of Twitter.

So, the question is– how can you use Twitter to further your marketing goals?

How do you get your company or product in the media?

February 10th, 2014

challenges-poll

How do you get your company or product media coverage? That was the number one marketing challenge causing our readers to scratch their heads, according to last month’s informal poll. This is a topic we love to discuss and help our clients succeed at, and here are a few of our previous posts on the subject.

Read the rest of this entry »

Connecting the dots for media connections

January 17th, 2014

HARO_logoPR involves strategy, research, media connections and timing, as well as having the right tools to allow you to connect the dots for a reporter looking for an expert or a great angle on a story. We’ve mentioned HelpAReporter.com (HARO), before—a free service where reporters and producers request specific interview sources and list topics they’re writing about.

We often respond to requests for a healthcare expert on HARO on behalf of our parent company, HFS Consultants. As a healthcare consulting company, HFS employs numerous experts specializing in healthcare management, operations and strategic planning.

With a brief, well-crafted email, we connect our in-house expert with the reporter, and the result is a more powerful and credible story for the publication, and more visibility and perception of expertise for our client.

Read the rest of this entry »

Five Marketing Trends to Watch in 2014

January 7th, 2014

vectorstock_1611257editWe’ve gathered trend-related commentary and editorial from respected sources across the marketing communications sphere.  These voices echo the trends we believe bear watching and acting upon in 2014.

HAPPY MARKETING!

Read the rest of this entry »

Using Web Fonts for a Modern, Polished Look

December 30th, 2013

open sans

Web fonts have come a long way in a few short years, allowing web designers a great deal more flexibility in design than when we were locked into choosing between Verdana, Arial, Georgia, Times and a few others. They’re a great option to improve the look of your website.

Typekit and other fee-based services offer beautiful fonts for display on websites and are a great choice for a custom website design; however, if you’re on a budget, Google Web Fonts offers designers hundreds of typefaces for free. We don’t recommend using multiple web typefaces in a site: stick with a couple weights in one or two families to keep performance speedy.

In no particular order, here are some of our current favorites, along with recent sites we’ve used them in.  Read the rest of this entry »

Content Marketing Can Build Your Business

December 18th, 2013

As we approach 2014, many business executives are asking what they can do to get their audiences to notice them. Of course, there is no one answer for all businesses. The most effective strategy is usually determined by clearly defining the target audience of a business, the demographics of that audience and what it has responded to over time.

Deciding Who To Do Business With
For those companies whose audiences do research in order to become well informed before purchasing a product or buying a service, content marketing is often an important element to include in marketing communication outreach. In a study of over 1,400 B2B customers, the Corporate Executive Board found that customers are 57% through their buying process before they make contact with a company. This supports the idea that companies can benefit by having content that helps customers do their research and reach a buying decision.

Content Marketing Elements for Bay Area IT Company
Creating an effective content marketing program takes thought and strategic planning. With our client, Clare Computer Solutions, a San Francisco Bay Area business technology service provider, offering IT consulting and on-demand IT services to businesses, we developed a content marketing program developed around the company’s service areas that repeatedly drew customer interest. The content marketing program focuses on one service area or topic per quarter.

In the first phase of the Clare Computer content marketing program, the focus was on disaster recovery and business continuity.  This topic was chosen because it was evident that the company’s clients were researching and calling with questions about what to do in the event of a network outage, server crash, malware attack and other scenarios.  Elements of the content marketing program included, a white paper, “Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: What You Need to Know,” several blogs on the topic, including one with video, a blog incorporating an infographic, as well as a press release focusing on the company adding Datto SIRIS, a backup, disaster recovery/business continuity vendor. In addition, the company promoted its content via email newsletters, social media, webinars, case studies and lunch n’ learn seminars.

clar-infographic-web-2

Content Marketing in 2014
In 2014, we will continue with Clare Computer’s content marketing program, focusing on one topic per quarter, beginning with the technology refresh topic, which is very timely as a result of Microsoft no longer supporting Windows XP after April 2014.

Our content marketing work with Clare Computer is an example of how we work with companies to help increase awareness and build businesses. Content marketing will continue to be a hot topic in 2014, and there will be many individuals and companies selling content marketing services.  However, not all of them know how to build and execute an effective program.  Be sure to choose a team that will work with you to define and reach your audience and help your business to grow.

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