Tag Archives: marketing

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.


Target Audiences

Target Audience – 3 Need-to-Knows

Marketing is all about connecting with people – you must listen to what they want or what problems they face that need solving, and be the business to provide the solution they’ve been pining for. Before you can swoop in and save the day, your business must first know who your target audience is, what they are saying, and how to reach them with your solution.


What a Target Audience Is

Target Audience – the demographic of people most likely to want your product or service. Essentially, these are the people with a problem that your product or service can help them with. When you think about it, we’ve all been doing this for ages. Back in your young days, did you ever ask your dad for permission to do something because you knew that your mom would say no? Classic case of targeting your message to the right audience for the best result.

Definition of Target Audience

The scope of target audiences varies greatly from wide to narrow. For example, let’s say you own a specialty dog boutique with high-end supplies for the die-hard pooch enthusiast. Your audience is going to be narrower than that of a general pet supplies store that is geared towards a wider audience of pet owners, from cats and dogs to parakeets and gerbils.

Or perhaps you own a car dealership that specializes in expensive luxury sports cars. This product will need to target a sliver of the consumer population that can afford that price tag, such as business men in their 40s or 50s that make over $250,000 a year, vs. your local pre-owned car dealership.

Regardless of what your company does or produces, every business needs a target audience and a strategy for how to reach them.


Why your business needs a target audience

Why are target audiences vital to the success of your business? To market or advertise your business, you first need to know who you want to reach and where to find them.

If you’re thinking to yourself “Why would I limit my audience to a small group of people instead of sharing what my business has to offer with the entire world?” you are not alone. While on the surface that may sound like the more logical explanation – to include everyone – when you have a defined marketing budget that isn’t labeled “sky’s the limit” (psst…none of them are) you need to work smarter, not harder, to reach people.

Work smarter, not harder, to reach your target audience

By defining your target audience and marketing to the people you already know would potentially be interested in buying (or at least learning more about) your product or service, you are able to:

  1. Craft your message to speak to them directly
  2. Make a relevant connection between a potential consumer and your brand
  3. Focus budget dollars on mediums you know are more likely to reach your audience


How to find your target audience

You know what a target audience is, and understand the importance of defining it for your business. What now? Go out and get it! Thorough market research is key here, whether that means hitting the pavement to do your own legwork or gathering data from research companies or resources.

Ideas for market research include:

  1. Experiments or trials
  2. Focus groups
  3. Interviews
  4. Observation
  5. Product pricing
  6. Social media insights
  7. Surveys
  8. Website analytics

The goal here is to get to know your potential consumers, what problems they experience, what they do about them now, and how your product or service can make their life easier. Learn the ins and outs of where they get their information and outline game plans for how to best reach them.

Is your product an online project management program for small businesses? Chances are your audience is more likely to be reached through digital marketing – website, blogs, online ads, email marketing, etc. – vs. more traditional methods that may be more fitting for targeting a specific area with offers for your local supermarket – print ads, direct mail, TV commercials.

Need a helping hand to define your target audience and develop a marketing plan for how to best reach them? That’s what we’re here for. Our team at Stray Media Group would be happy to meet with you to determine where your business is and what we can do to help you grow. Learn more about our work and how we can take your marketing to new heights by contacting us today!



Just Say No, Stray Media Group, SMG, Friends Don't Let Friends Do Their Marketing

Friends Don’t Let Friends Do Their Marketing

Friends are great — we all love friends! Catching up over a bite to eat, going to see that new comedy in theaters, or taking to the open road for a trip across the country — all adventures are made that much better when a friend is in tow. What might not be the best thing to rely on friends for? Your business’s marketing strategy and materials.

We can’t count the number of times we’ve heard something along the lines of “I asked my friend to help me out, but that was over a year and a half ago and nothing’s been done yet,” or “my cousin took a class on WordPress back in college so I had her build my website, but nothing works right.” What it boils down to is this: having an expert in your corner dedicated to providing you with professional services will prove to be the best route time and again.

Save time and Money, Stray Media Group, SMG, Friends Don't Let Friends Do Their Marketing

The most common reason businesses seek out help from a friend, relative, or maybe a student starving for experience is to save money. Maybe you’re just starting up your company and can’t fathom the term ‘marketing budget’ (insert shameless plug on how marketing budgets are essential and can actually be very attainable here), so you opt for the cheapest possible route, be it a $300 website or, dare we say, a “free” site.

What you’ll quickly learn is that nothing is free in these scenarios. As they say, “time is money,” and 95% of the time when you choose to rely on someone who is helping you in their “free time” (see what we did there) your project will collect dust and before you know it, it’s a year later and you’re still at square one with no website. Additionally, the unknown number of potential customers you missed out on the opportunity to reach during that time — waiting on the website that never came (cue tears streaming down face) — is irrevocable.

Keyboard, "Free" Website, Frustrated Man, Stray Media Group, SMG, Friends Don't Let Friends Do Their Marketing

What else can you gain from trusting a professional marketing team with your business? We’re so glad you asked…

Brand Integrity, Stray Media Group, SMG, Friends Don't Let Friends Do Their Marketing

How your brand is presented to the world — your look and feel, what it is you offer, what sets you apart from the competition, and ultimately why the heck anyone should choose your business over the next guy’s — can be the tipping point between skyrocketing into successful growth and “enjoying” stagnant sales year after year (or even failure).

If your company doesn’t give two hoots about whether your free logo a pal threw together is blurry and only found in .jpeg format (face, meet palm), why should anyone believe you’re going to give them the attention they deserve as a customer when you don’t care to give your own brand some much-needed T.L.C.?

Funny Statue, Face to Palm, Vector Logo, kb, JPEG, Stray Media Group, SMG, Friends Don't Let Friends Do Their Marketing

Holding your brand to the highest level of integrity possible is what a good marketing company will do for you. At Stray Media Group, we like to say we’re the guardians of your brand, going that extra mile to make sure your brand is represented the way it should be — sometimes even more than you yourself may think is necessary. It’s what we do best, because we know that’s not necessarily what the typical business owner thinks to do and why they need us most.

Which conveniently brings us to our final point…

Professional Experience, Stray Media Group, SMG, Friends Don't Let Friends Do Their Marketing

You don’t know what you don’t know. Do we as marketing professionals have any idea how to rewire an office building? No — we leave that to the professional electricians. Do the professional electricians have any idea how to manage social media accounts and promote themselves online? Survey says ‘no — that’s what professional marketers are for.’

Professional marketing experience and industry knowledge are invaluable to a company looking to grow their business and stay relevant in the process. Not only do they know what they’re doing from the get-go, but the industry is constantly changing and requires those professionals to stay on top of it.

LinkedIn revamped its company page layouts? No worries, your marketing professional has been in the know for months and already made the necessary adjustments to keep your business page looking fly. Pinterest retiring their ‘Like’ button that you’ve invested hours in while building your boards? Don’t sweat it; the experts are formulating plans for how to change up the game plan to keep your pins on fleek. Facebook page set up years ago by a friend of a friend you no longer have a phone number for? If we had a nickel. Let the pros get you set up the right way from the start.

Computer, Stray Media Group, SMG, Friends Don't Let Friends Do Their Marketing

Hiring a pro marketing team that always has your back is going to save you time, money, stress, and potentially even from throwing your chair through a wall one day because your website has been down for months and your friend/webmaster won’t return your calls. You don’t need that negativity in your life — get a teammate on your side to worry about that stuff for you today, so you can focus on growing your customer base and revenue.

3 Keys to Understanding Marketing Budgets.

3 Keys to Understanding Marketing Budgets

Ahh…the age-old questions, “Why do I need a marketing budget, and how do I determine what it should be?” We hear this a lot from companies of all industries and sizes, ages and market share. Figuring out the sweet spot can be challenging, but we can help. Take a look at these three keys to understanding marketing budgets to get you started in the right direction.
Calculate what you currently spend on marketing now.

Many companies have a fixed percentage of revenue devoted to marketing, while others have no clue what they currently spend on marketing in a given year. Whether or not you realize how much you currently spend on marketing, your business is in some way, shape, or form currently putting dollars toward customer acquisition.

Do you have employees? How about an office building? Company cars? Uniforms? All of these are what we refer to as ‘touch points,’ and they are all moving pieces of your business’s marketing budget. Touch points are essentially any encounter a customer or potential customer has with your company or brand.

For instance, let’s say you own a pizza pub and one of your employees goes above and beyond to make sure a new customer has the best experience possible. That customer’s positive encounter with your brand will likely bring them back for repeat business, and motivate them to tell their friends and even become an advocate for your brand by giving a great review on Yelp or sharing a food photo and checking in on Facebook.

Now let’s imagine you own a plumbing business with company vehicles that are rusting all over and always filthy, and the drivers tend to cut people off when driving. When people that could have been potential customers encounter a poor experience with your brand, the chance that they will ever think of you the next time they need plumbing service is slim to none, and they may even go so far as to tell friends or coworkers about their bad impression of your company.

All of these pieces work together to market your brand just as much as a television commercial, website, print ad, or any other marketing medium. Every company should have a marketing line on its P & L that calculates each touch point for your company. Factoring those in when analyzing your budget will help you understand more clearly what you are actually spending each year on marketing.
What the industry says across the board about setting your marketing budget.

From business type and revenue to overall growth goals, every company is unique and the process for developing a marketing budget is no different. While there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to setting a marketing budget, there are industry guidelines and suggestions that should be targeted.

The general rule of thumb is that 10-12% of your annual revenue should be put toward marketing. The Small Business Administration advises allocating 7-8% of revenues for companies less than $5 million. Will this be effective – or even possible – for every business? The answer is no. “Around 10% is the industry standard, but we usually tell people anywhere from 2-15% depending on what their marketing goals are and what type of business it is,” says Dave Gilbert, President of Stray Media Group. “Typically in the immediate area we serve – the upper Red River Valley – we see companies that are much more conservative with their marketing budgets, and they range between 1-5%.”

If you have a smaller company, especially one that’s still heavily in the growth phase, your magic number will need to (greatly) increase in order to create the customer following your business needs to grow in the right direction. When would it be appropriate to decrease the percentage? If your company is a strongly differentiated, well-established leader –Apple, for instance – this number may decrease because you already have a solid, loyal customer base. Even in the case of monster companies like Apple, a non-existent marketing budget or one under 1% won’t work hard enough for your business, so it’s important to think long and hard about the best plan for achieving your goals.
How to find your magic number when it comes to setting your company’s marketing budget.

Ultimately, setting your company’s marketing budget is going to first take some analysis of your current efforts to calculate what percent of your annual revenue you are currently spending. Then you need to do some serious thinking about what your business’s goals are for growth and what you want to get out of your marketing, to help give you perspective on where your budget should be.

When working to find that magic number for your company, realize going into it that marketing is an essential part of gaining new customers and should be a line item on your P & L (if it isn’t already). A <1% marketing budget won’t get you much, and goals like new customers, growth or expansion, and being top of mind in today’s competitive marketplace should be worth a lot more to any business.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Ben Franklin

Are you a progressive company with a strong focus on growth? Hoping to increase customer engagement? Maybe you’re looking to stay top of mind with your existing audience? Regardless of your current company status, start by evaluating your overall business goals and plan your budget to match.
Feeling overwhelmed? Let us help. At Stray Media Group, we recognize that every company is unique. We can customize and prioritize a marketing plan that fits your budget and helps reach your goals. Contact us to help you start growing in the right direction today.