Author Archives: SMG

Illustration of computer and maintenance tools.

Website Maintenance: 6 Things You Need to Do on a Regular Basis

So you’ve built yourself a website. Now you just have to sit back and let it work its magic – right? Not quite.

Websites are in need of constant monitoring, nurturing and development. Basically, your site is the equivalent of a technological child. To set that kid up for success, give it the love and attention it deserves.

Why is website maintenance so important? In order to keep your audience engaged with your site, you have to go far beyond the initial build to make it happen. Here are some of the most important maintenance essentials your business website needs.

Website SEO illustration.

Search engine optimization is vital to the success of your website, and to being found on the internet by your target audience.

Benefits of SEO:

  • Help you rank higher on search results
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Boost your credibility on the web
  • Long-term results

In order to be found, your SEO game has to be strong. The algorithms search engines use to rank websites are continually changing and evolving to better serve the consumer. Regularly and actively staying on top of these search engine updates, and adjusting your SEO strategy accordingly, is the best way to nurture your website for long-term, sustainable growth.

Related: 5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve your SEO

Man and woman looking at computer.

Best practices for enhanced user experience are continually changing in our fast-paced technological world, making it one of the most important factors to consider for website upkeep.

Top user experience priorities:

  • Ease of use
  • Fast load time
  • Seamless functionality
  • Responsive design

When users come to your site, you want the experience to be easy, interactive and seamless. Can they find information without hunting for it? Are there visuals that make the site dynamic and interesting? Do pages load quickly? All of these factors need to be considered from a user’s point of view to ensure a positive experience.

Man typing on computer with security lock icon overlaid on photo.

There are several online security threats that can leave your website with unexpected and costly downtime.

Security threats to watch for:

  • Data breaches
  • Ransomware
  • Malware
  • DDoS

As technology evolves and develops, unfortunately so do these types of malicious threats. Routine system updates and consistent monitoring can help prevent attacks by finding potential holes in the security of your site.

Blue cloud with download arrow.

Daily site backups are also an extremely important part of website maintenance. In the event of a crash, when you have recent backups of your site you are able to restore it as soon as possible with all of your content, forms and important information, and any changes you’ve made over time intact.

Computer on desk with charts.

Consistently monitoring your website analytics is an important part of website maintenance.

A few things website analytics show you are:

  • How people are interacting with your website
  • Referrals and traffic sources
  • Top visited pages and blogs
  • Results on paid campaign efforts

In order to better serve your audience, it’s vital to monitor your analytics to see how your site is being used and where you may have room for improvement. Demographics, referrals, most viewed content, mapping out a user’s visit to see what pages they interact with – these are all basic user experiences you can look at and use to improve your site.

Man writing in notebook.

Content helps to create customers and, when done right, helps to make sure your website stays ahead of the competition.

Quality content on your site helps to:

  • Improve SEO results
  • Position your site as a valuable resource
  • Convert prospects into customers

Quality content is the driving force behind good SEO and how Google determines if your website is a valuable resource for users. This makes creating fresh content essential to the long-term health of your website. When visitors come to your site, make sure their questions are answered quickly and succinctly to help position your business as a go-to resource.

In order to keep your website working for you in the long run, regular maintenance is essential to your business. Need help navigating the vast world of website upkeep and improvement? Find a team of professionals to have your back.

At Stray Media Group, we offer website maintenance, hosting and SEO plans that fit your needs and marketing budget. Give us a call to learn more about how we can help you improve your website today.

Digital marketing illustration with technology icons, computer and people.

The Truth About Digital Marketing

Digital, inbound vs. outbound, SEO, web, budgets – oh my! When it comes to marketing, the vast amount of options and ‘things you should be doing’ can seem daunting.

While each option has its place and benefits, it’s wise to look at your unique business and see what makes the most sense for you. This post will take a look at what digital marketing is, how to know if it’s right for your business, and what you can do to make the most of your investment.

What is digital marketing?

‘Digital marketing’ is an umbrella term for numerous tactics used to reach your audience online or in some electronic form. Basically, it refers to any marketing efforts on the web and electronic devices that promote your business in some way.

Digital marketing tactics and examples include:

  • SEO
    • Websites
    • Blogs
    • Infographics
    • Retarget marketing
  • Content Marketing
    • Blog posts
    • Ebooks
    • Online brochures, newsletters, lookbooks
  • Social media channels
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • LinkedIn
    • Instagram
    • Snapchat
    • Pinterest
  • Pay-Per-Click Ads
    • Google Ads
    • Facebook boosted posts
    • Instagram sponsored posts
    • Twitter promoted tweets
    • LinkedIn sponsored messages
  • Email Marketing
    • Email newsletters
    • Social media scheduling
    • Blog subscriptions
    • Follow-ups to site visitors who shared their contact info

 

What is the difference between digital and inbound marketing?

 ‘Wait, isn’t that the same as inbound marketing?’ Look at you with all the smart questions! Digital marketing refers to the number of tactics you can utilize online to attract customers, but it is not compelled to focus solely on two-way communication like inbound.

While they may use some of the same tactics, inbound differs from digital in that inbound is a marketing method that focuses solely on pulling an audience in by providing helpful info (think ebooks, infographics, etc.). Outbound is a push method where marketing messages are put in front of the audience whether they ask for it or not (web banner ads, direct mail, etc.). Digital marketing incorporates both push and pull methods into a strategy.

 

Woman and man at table looking at data and graphs on computer.

The lowdown on digital marketing and how to make it work for you:

Digital marketing can be an amazing tool to help businesses reach their audience. However, it’s important to be mindful of how digital marketing plans are presented to you and think logically about what’s right for your business.

Beware of oversold data.

A note of caution: Beware of the companies that are not actually in the business of digital marketing and are just selling plans on the side as an additional service. Oftentimes, these tend to oversell data and numbers that actually hold little weight and can be useless to your business.

For example, if a company comes to you with a retargeting ad campaign plan that shows you can get as many as 100,000 impressions – number of times content is displayed, regardless of whether or not it was clicked – in one month, and convert on average 10% of those, that all sounds great! But if your site gets less than 2,000 visitors a month, this data can be extremely misleading. Oftentimes, unless you have 100,000+ monthly visitors to your website, data of this nature does not apply to you and your business.

Additionally, information on this scale relates best when applied to e-commerce sites that actually sell something. Sites like this are able to ‘convert’ potential customers into paying customers by getting them back on their site to complete a purchase. So how do you increase site traffic, and what if your site does not sell anything?

 

Papers with data and graphs on table.

How to increase traffic to your website.

So, you don’t have 100,000+ visitors to your website and you’re not sure where to go next? We get that. A good place to start is to focus on increasing your site’s traffic organically, in addition to digital marketing, so that both can work more effectively while also setting you up for long-term, sustainable growth.

 

  1. Build site traffic organically
  2. Pay to get people to your site
    • Paid Social Posts
    • Google Ads (formerly AdWords)
    • Retargeting

 

Set your own definition of ‘conversions’.

Conversion rates determine the value of your digital ad, and ‘conversion’ can mean different things for different businesses. Perhaps the nature of your business requires someone from your company to speak with potential customers in order to get their business. In this case, your definition of a conversion could be when someone completes a contact form on your website.

Some types of conversions:

  • Complete purchase
  • Fill out contact form
  • Inquire for ebook or other content
  • Sign up for blog
  • Complete questionnaire or quiz

At Stray Media Group, we primarily work with small- to medium-sized businesses in the country, mostly situated in the Midwest region. We understand the challenges you may be facing in the daunting world of digital marketing and finding the solutions that fit your business best. If you’d like to learn more about how we can build a digital marketing strategy that fits your needs and budget, feel free to give us a call.

Barista at coffee shop handing male customer cup of coffee.

3 Keys to Marketing for Your Audience

You know your business like the back of your hand, but does the same go for your target audience? Learning as much as possible about the customers you want to attract will help your marketing efforts reach their full potential, and in turn grow your business in the right direction. Consider these three tips for maximizing your marketing success:

Crowd of people crossing city street.

Don’t Get Personal

This is a big one, folks. In a sea of people, think about who you want to attract and what draws that person to a brand.

While it’s true that the heart and soul of why you offer the business you do needs to be a core component of your brand identity, it’s vital that you keep your personal preferences in check when marketing to your audience.

Are you part of your target market? Great! Then you’ve got a leg up on the competition. However, if you’re like the vast majority of businesses, you may be one very small – or not even at all – part of the audience that you’re trying to reach with your marketing strategy. If this is the case, what appeals to you personally is irrelevant.

The more you can let this notion sink in, the better off you and your marketing efforts – including the hard-earned money you put into your marketing budget – will be.

How do you know exactly what your target audience will connect with? We’re so glad you asked…

Person’s hand holding pen over sheets of paper with graphs on them.

Do Your Research

It’s elementary, dear brand ambassador. You believe in your company and how it can improve the lives of your customers. Don’t let that passion be wasted by taking shots in the dark for the best marketing strategies – do your homework to find exactly what will connect with your audience.

Excellent tools at your disposal for market research include:

  • • case studies
  • • consumer surveys
  • • focus groups
  • • competitor comparisons (social media channels, websites, branded material, etc.)

One more resource that will prove invaluable in your research efforts? People who do this for a living…

Handshake between woman and man in professional office.

Trust Your Experts

Would you trust your brother-in-law who knows nothing about electrical work to fix your faulty circuit breaker? Well, you could, but chances are you’re going to have a power outage or a trip to the hospital for a bad case of ‘could’ve-been-avoided-burn-by-electrocution’. If you want to save yourself time, money and a headache, you know that professional services are best left to – you guessed it! – professionals.

Related: Friends Don’t Let Friends Do Their Marketing

Getting a marketing team in your corner is not only a resource to tap for invaluable advice, it also lifts a heavy weight off your shoulders when it comes to marketing your business. At Stray Media Group, we offer marketing support and strategies tailored to your unique business, goals and budget.

Intrigued and ready to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing strategy? Give us a shout to learn how we can help you out.

SEO tips for your website

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve your SEO

It’s essential. It’s complex. It can be overwhelming. A search engine optimization (SEO) strategy has a lot of moving parts, but the most important thing is to just get started.

Here are 5 things you can do right now on your website to improve your SEO.

 

Computer showing a loading bar

Speed It Up

Upload times are a big factor. When your website loads slowly, you miss out on conversions. Even having a one- or two-second delay can cost you a chunk of page views.

Remove or optimize large file size items to boost up your load time, and get your developer in the boat with some more in-depth changes.

 

Structure your URLs 

Give your URLs titles specific to the content on the page. Having a random series of characters does nothing for your SEO, isn’t memorable and looks less clean.

Rather than default to “www.yourwebsite.com/p=1&,” put yourself in an SEO state of mind and opt for something like “www.website.com/SEOtips”.

 

Image Name Game 

Make your photo titles, descriptions and alt tags reflect what content is presented on the page to help boost your results. Renaming the file name itself with keywords from your page will help here, too.

 

 

Create Great Content 

All of your SEO efforts are wasted if you don’t start and end with great content. Writing relevant, rich content that resonates with your audience is one of the most important pieces of SEO.

 

Update Often

Your website should be updated frequently to improve your results. It’s not a “set it and forget it” type of marketing tool. Sites like Wikipedia are always ranked so high because they are constantly updating their material. Take a page from their book and keep your content fresh with regular updates.

 

 

Although these 5 tips only begin to scratch the surface, they are things you can do now to get started on improving your SEO. SEO is a long-term commitment – be patient and persistent, and you will see results.

Ready to dive in deeper? There are resources available to you that offer a more in-depth look at your website, so you can discover SEO opportunities and implement them. Learn how our team of experts at Stray Media Group can help.

 

Marketing Strategies – Essentials from the Experts

The many facets of marketing can be daunting. What does your business’s marketing strategy actually need? How much should you be spending on a marketing? How do you get potential customers to connect with your brand?

The answer is there is no ‘one size fits all’ method when it comes to marketing. Your business is as unique as your fingerprint and should be treated as such.

While there is no single method, there are components of marketing that every business needs to think about. Our team has put together their marketing genius to help get your gears turning.

“Having a clear vision of your brand and maintaining that in all of your creative and social content. Your brand identity is the best tool in your sale’s kit. It is what drives customers to want to interact with you. Until that first person-to-person interaction occurs your only goal should be to sell who you are and not necessarily your product or service.”

Tim, Account Manager

“I think the most important part of marketing is adding value to people’s lives. Instead of thinking about how you can sell something, think of how you can impact their lives in a positive way.”

Mariah, Account Coordinator

“Being on target with your message and delivering it clearly. Too many commercials and advertisements make me say, “What the…?” because I have no idea what message they’re trying to get across to me. It’s one thing to be clever but being unclear is another.”

Heather, COO

“Figure out who you want to market to. Once you know your target audience, you can create messages that will resonate deeper with people. Connecting on a more personal level will help to improve communication and build customer loyalty.”

Alexa, Graphic Designer

“Know what the goal of your message is. Are you trying to evoke an emotion from viewers? Inform people of something? Have a clear vision of what your overall goal is so your marketing is continuously working to achieve it.”

Keely, Graphic & Web Designer

“Having your own unique voice and brand persona. The style you write content in, how you interact with followers on social media, the look and feel of your creative material – all these elements give your audience a glimpse into who you are as a business. Use these opportunities to tell your story and connect people not only to your products and services, but your overall brand.”

Jen, Content Creator

The boss of the apple sauce has two must-haves to share:

“First is simplicity. Whether it’s a big billboard or a business card, if your material is too busy or complicated to grasp right away, the chance to connect with your audience will be lost.

Second, and perhaps the most important of all is brand standards and consistency. Too many businesses have an “it’s good enough” attitude which stunts their growth. Consistently holding your marketing to the highest level of standards across all of your marketing mediums and your brand will not only be elevated in appearance, but more trusted by the people you are trying to communicate with.”

Dave, Creative Director

 

Incorporate these essentials into your marketing plan for a well-rounded strategy that gets results. Still not quite sure where to begin? Our team of marketing gurus has your back – give us a call to chat about how we can help build the strategy that fits your business best.