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10 Steps to Digital Marketing Success

iStock_000023903000XSmallIn our last blog, we listed the 6 ways your neglected website is costing you money. If you are one of the rare businesses whose website is producing piles of revenue even though you haven't updated it in years, this isn't for you.

But, if you can use additional sales revenue from your digital channels, read on.

Our mantra has always been that a web site is not an event, it's a process. That process requires ongoing effort, attention and investment to maximize revenue and value.

As a digital marketing firm, having clients who hire us to build a website, only to let it languish in neglect and produce mediocre results does neither us nor the client any good. So here at Trivera, our focus is taking responsibility for our clients' total online success by having all new clients sign annual contracts, where the website development is only the fourth element in a ten point plan for success.

Here are the steps that we believe are necessary for success, and the reasons we include each:

1.) Discovery

Your success begins with defining your goals. What specific results do you expect your digital marketing efforts to produce? If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there? Whether it's increased sales for an e-commerce site, new leads for your sales staff to cultivate, heightened awareness for your brand or more traffic to improve ad revenue, it's only by setting specific goals that will give yourself a target to hit. And as your partner, we need to make sure we're all on the same page.

2.) Development of a Marketing Strategy and Tactical Recommendations

Even thinking about tactics before you develop your strategy is a waste of time. Things like "Getting on Twitter" are just tactics. Achieving the goals you defined in step one requires a broad and deep plan. Understanding your brand in a way to be able to communicate your value proposition and personality to your current and future fans well enough to determine is what helps you decide if ANY Social Media is an effective vehicle. That's your strategy. It's your guide to determine what tactics will be appropriate and effective in helping you achieve your goals.

3.) Search Engine Optimization Plan

Guessing at a few keywords and trying get on page one of Google for those keywords is the recipe for SEO failure. Unfortunately, it is the "plan" most businesses and organizations are using. Is your target audience even searching for what you offer with those keywords? Do you know which keyword phrases will produce results, and which will bounce people back to Google to find another result (something actually causes search engine rankings to decrease)? Do you know the difference between branded and non-branded traffic and why it's important? Do you know how to uncover which keyword phrases will produce the number of non-bouncing visitors you'll need to achieve your specific success goals? If you don't know the answers to these (and a half dozen other basic questions most SEO specialists understand instinctively), Google will be nothing but a constant frustration and financial albatross.

4.) Creation of a fully optimized website

The creation of a website is the sum total of what many web design/development firms do. But optimization is the necessary ingredient to a successful digital strategy that many of them miss. Turning visitors into customers requires an understanding of conversion rates and what affects them. Will your site create sales or discourage them? Will people coming on tablets and smartphones be comfortable or frustrated? Will the transactional goal of the site be easy to find regardless of how, when and where visitors enter the site, or will they get lost in a maze of unnecessary information, steps, clicks and questions?

Within a fraction of a second, most visitors have judged you and made up their mind about your brand. Virtually every element of the site... the choice of content management systems, home page layout, order and depth of the navigational choices, words per page and whether they are paragraphs or bullet points, size, position and quality of images, color choices...impact the visitor's opinion of you. Unless your approach is strategic, and your developer understands how all of this impacts your visitors' perceptions and decisions, you won't get a successful digital marketing tool, you'll get a website. Nothing more. Certainly not success.

Here's where many people stop, thinking they are now done and success will just happen. Actually, this is where the real work begins.

5.) Execution of website content marketing efforts.

Your site is tested and launched, but almost immediately your blog, press room, content, product details, demonstration videos and other content will require ongoing effort to maintain their freshness. Keeping the site updated is only a part. Keeping the rest of the places out on the web that drive traffic to your site updated is even more important. That means email newsletters and promotions, outbound PR, commenting on other sites' blogs, and legitimate link building.

6.) Execution of ongoing SEO and SEM tactics

Just as your website is not an event, neither is your SEO. The algorithms that determine who makes it to page one of a search change frequently. What worked last month probably doesn't work this month. Knowing what has changed and what you need to do to take advantage of those changes requires effort and expertise. And it never ends.

7.) Execution of Social Media tactics

Here's where agencies and gurus who only do Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, fail. Sun Tzu said "Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." I've dealt with this topic enough that it doesn't need to be repeated here other than to say this step will only help your digital marketing plan become successful if the tactics are being used as part of a larger strategy.

8.) Execution of traditional marketing tactics

Just because this is a digital marketing plan it doesn't mean you need to stop doing traditional marketing. If your strategic target can be effectively reached via direct mail, print and traditional electronic media, you hurt yourself by regarding them as obsolete or irrelevant. You'll just want to make sure you're tracking your efforts to make sure you only continue the ones that result in demonstrable results.

9.) Monthly measurement of key performance indicators

Remember those goals you outlined 7 or 8 steps ago? How are you doing? Tools exist to measure site traffic, bounce rate, conversion rates, popular navigational paths, transaction values, SEO ranking, social media sentiment. You don't have to be using them daily. Weekly or monthly may be adequate.

10.) Adjustment of efforts to continue to produce maximum ROI

Because targets and goals are part of your strategy, and you're measuring your results, you know what you need to do more of, and what to do less of to produce the results you're striving for. And you're in the zone of increasing your results, and reducing your costs.

Sound like a lot of work? It is. If success was easy, everyone would be successful. Whether you hire a firm like Trivera, or handle it internally, the steps to success are still the same. How many of them are you neglecting?

Wes Pals Joins Trivera's Development Team

W_Pal.jpgTrivera has added Wes Pals to its team as an internet applications developer and backup system administrator.

Before Wes joined the Trivera family, he worked at Corivisa where he built a work management platform integrated with a web client softphone. He also worked at Fox World Travel for seven years where he built business applications, intranets and a travel search engine.

Says Trivera founder and president Tom Snyder, "Because we are an agency founded on the proposition that no technologically-based solution to a brand's needs should be too difficult  or out of reach, we have to have a team of the best web developers in the market. Wes' incredible attention to detail and a zero tolerance for error make him a great addition to our team. His ability to help manage the datacenter that hosts client sites and email was a bonus. The fact that he's a nice guy who's great with clients was frosting on the cake."

Lindsay Nalbert joins Team Trivera

Lindsay NalbertTrivera has added Lindsay Nalbert to its team as project manager.  Lindsay's role will be to continue Trivera's long track record of making their clients look like rock stars by completing website and digital marketing projects successfully: on time, on scope and on budget.

Prior to coming aboard at Trivera, Lindsay held a similar position at Zizzo Group Marketing + PR + New Media. Prior to that she was a project and media manager at Hill Aevium, a Colorado integrated marketing firm.

"As Trivera completes its next step in our evolution from a web development firm to a full service marketing agency, Lindsay's previous agency experience in integrated marketing makes her a critical addition to our team, said Tom Snyder, Trivera President and CEO Tom Snyder.  "With long time Project Manager Jen Jones going on maternity leave, we needed someone who could step into the role to replace her in the short term, and provide us with the additional resources we'll need as a larger company when Jen returns."

 

6 Ways That Neglecting Your Website is Killing Your Brand

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By Tom Snyder, President and CEO of Trivera

Over our 17 years in business, we have seen most of our customers fall into one of two categories. The first is the type that make their web presence a focus of their activity, by constantly updating, supporting, measuring, analyzing, improving and investing in it. The other type are the ones who contracted us to build their site, and despite our recommendations that digital marketing needs to be an ongoing process, and not just an event, still treated their launch like a drive-by.  The very vehicle that was supposed to help their business flourish in the growing digital economy now stands as a testimony to four, nine and even thirteen year old technology.  What may have been state of the art brand re-reinforcement at one time, is now the brand killing equivalent of a dilapidated building in a bad neighborhood.

When pressed to consider an update, a new focus, or additional inbound marketing efforts, the typical response is "we just don't have the money."  While that might seem like a justifiable and economical approach, it's short sighted. Your neglect is actually costing you money.

Here's why:

1.) Not regularly updating your website's content causes it to drop in ranking in search engines. Lower ranking means less traffic, resulting in fewer sales.

2.) Not executing a sound inbound marketing plan reduces the number of potential visitors who even know your site exists. That means less traffic, resulting in fewer sales.

3.) Not having an organic search engine optimization plan puts you behind all of your competitors who do. That not only means less traffic and fewer sales for you, but also more traffic and more sales for them.

4.) Not keeping up with the current best practices for navigation and visitor expectations for functionality reduces the number of site visitors who become customers. That means traffic is coming, but leaving without buying, resulting in fewer sales.

5.) Not keeping your Content Management System and operating environment up to date leaves it vulnerable to hacks and hijacks, causing things to not work in your site that you may not even be aware of. Sometimes it means your site is offline entirely. That means traffic is coming, getting frustrated because your site doesn't work properly...or at all...resulting in fewer sales (and maybe even thinking you've gone out of business).

6.) Not having a site that mobile users can use (either a responsive design or a properly directed mobile site) loses the growing number of customers who use smartphones and tablets as their preferred web device. That means less traffic and more visitor frustration, both of which result in fewer sales.

I've said before...ad naseum...that your brand is not your logo, it's the promise of an experience, and everything you do either reinforces or erodes that brand. And a crappy old website erodes your brand just as badly as letting your building get run down, not being able to provide the product or service your customer expects or making them put up with a  poor salesman or CSR.

With your website, you're either moving ahead or you're falling behind. Thinking that doing nothing keeps you where you are is a delusion.  The time to begin getting serious is long past, but before you start executing a hodgepodge of tactical efforts, the better plan for long term success is to take a strategic approach. I'll outline the steps to that strategic approach in my next blog.

Menomonee Falls Patch Pays Trivera a Visit

Menomonee Falls Patch editor Carl Engleking stopped by this week to see what's new at Trivera. The answer was "a lot."

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Catch his entire article here:

http://menomoneefalls.patch.com/groups/business-news/p/trivera-plans-to-double-its-size-through-acquisition

 

Trivera and Concrete5 Shine at Local CMS Showdown

Billed as a no-holds-barred Content Management System Showdown, a group of Milwaukee area developers met on May 10, at Bucketworks for a Web414 panel to discuss...and demonstrate...the comparative benefits and shortcomings of 6 major CMS platforms.

Trivera VP of Business Development and Client Strategy Chris Remington invited Trivera customer Chris Graham from Potawatomi Bingo Casino to tag team the presentation on the capabilities of Concrete5. Among the contenders were ModX, Wordpress, Sitecor, Drupal and Joomla!. While the other presentations focused on developer-focused feature sets and perecentage of market, Trivera's approach focused on the client experience.

While no CMS "won," the fact that, with a depth of experience in Concrete5, Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla!, Digitalus and Expression Engine, Trivera is able to dig deep to discover every client's needs and create a web presence in the CMS that makes the most sense for them.

See the presentation here (cue in to 51:00 to see the Trivera Concrete5 Demo):

Social Media: What’s That Sound?

iStock_000014305728XSmall-300x199[1]For years, clients have been asking us if they needed to get on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Google Plus. Now everyone’s asking about Pinterest. Our answer has never changed: “Don’t even think about any of them until you define your strategy."

In his timeless book “The Art of War," Sun Tzu wrote: “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." Those ancient words perfectly describe the all-too-common sound we’re hearing these days: the din of multitudes of marketers’ failed Social Media efforts.

It’s the sound of businesses getting on Twitter not knowing what they’re supposed to be doing there. Market awareness, brand reinforcement, lead generation, public relations, media outreach, reputation management, customer service, coupon code distribution and consumer research are all possible tactical uses for Twitter. But until a strategy has been created to determine the right tactics, those tweets are just the noise before defeat.

It’s the sound of businesses creating Facebook fan pages, not knowing if their brand supporters are even there, investing huge amounts of time and effort to try to create results they have not defined, and buying display ads that nobody sees or promoted posts that people hate. Just more noise before the inevitable defeat.

It’s the sound of websites dropping off page one of Google searches because of blogs being written solely as a “Social Media" tactic or Google Plus being ignored as just “that Social Media tool no one uses." And it’s the sound of huge Pay-per-click expenditures because they don’t know how Social Media contributes to their organic SEO.

It’s the sound of missed opportunities as many consumers opt for YouTube and Pinterest over Google as their preferred search engines, and businesses with no clear strategy have no clue what to do with either of them.

As the lines continue to blur between all media: traditional, digital and social, a disjointed tactical approach to any of them is just the noise before defeat. The sweet sound of success will only be found in all of them as tactical elements of a larger integrated marketing strategy.

(this article also appeared in the April 1, 2013 edition of the BizTimes)

CBS58 Social Media Feature Includes Trivera President

packerscheerleader1-300x169.jpgAs the recent controversy regarding a Chicago Bear Facebook fan site bullying a Green Bay Packer cheerleader began to go viral, the news team at Milwaukee's CBS affiliate needed a Social Media expert to interview for their 10 O'Clock news. So to find the right person, they did what any self-respecting media organization would do: They Googled it. The search for Milwaukee Social Media Expert brought up Trivera on Page 1, position 1, and after a quick phone call, the reporter and cameraman were on their way to Menomonee Falls to interview Trivera's resident Social Media go-to guy, Tom Snyder.

542705_10200673998198617_1942508108_n[1]Trying to meet a tight deadline in the middle of a snowstorm, the crew didn't even have time to take off their coats, hats and mittens. That caused the realtime tweets and Facebook posts from the team in the office to be met with accusations that we don't pay our heating bills.

As the day had gone on the focus of the story shifted. Initially, the story was about a Fan Page featuring a photo and the subject of the photo getting hammered with vicious comments. The woman asked Facebook to remove the photos and the post n the grounds that it violated Facebook's anti-bullying rule. Facebook disagreed an refused to remove it. So the woman struck back with another Social Media tool: a YouTube Video. And the battle raged between the haters and the supporters, free-speech advocates and people who demanded that Facebook relent. Eventually even Mashable picked up on the story, and by the time the crew got to our office, the owners of the Facebook page removed the post.

P1015548The questions from the reporters focused on whether we felt that Facebook should have removed the post. Tom's answer framed the dilemma Facebook had by asking the reporters if they would remove a news story on their site if the comments to that story turned ugly. He felt that technically, the fan page owners probably had a moral responsibility to remove the vicious and hateful comments.

Social Media is admittedly sometimes very anti-social. Bullying goes on there constantly. Fortunately, as proven by this instance, those who are bullied can use the same tool to stand up to the bullies, and get an army of supporters to stand with them.

But once again, whether it's for bad or for good...or both...Social Media is a powerful tool, and in the right instances can create viral buzz for the good to win.

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Happy New Year!

HNY1213As we look back on 2012 we are thankful for all our clients, partners, staff and friends, making it one of the best of our nearly 17 years in business. You've helped keep us busy with so much to do that we haven't been able to blog, send email newsletters or finish our brand new responsive website.

But we did want to send a heartfelt message to thank all of you for putting your trust in Trivera!

In 2012 we've worked hard to develop and launch exciting digital projects. We welcomed some great new website design and development clients to the Trivera family:

  • The Greater Milwaukee Foundation
  • Racine Federated
  • Perlick
  • Bel Canto Chorus
  • Dental Associates
  • Evald Molding
  • Johnson Creek Smoke Juice
  • Amelishan Bridal
  • Genius Supply
  • Storage Systems Midwest
  • GA Precision Manufacturing
  • Husar's House of Fine Diamonds
  • M&M Office Interiors
  • Core Creative (Poblocki Sign CMS)

They all discovered for the first time the joy of working with Trivera's team of talented professionals with new website projects.

We also renewed our commitment to our long-standing client partners with new initiatives for:

  • Potawatomi Bingo Casino (SEO)
  • Mitchell International Airport (CMS)
  • Timmerman Airport (new website)
  • Strattec Security Corporation (Component Solutions website)
  • Usingers (Magento e-commerce upgrade)
  • Rego Consulting (new websites)
  • Zimmerman Investment Partners (hosting infrastructure upgrade)
  • ThermaSys/API Heat Transfer (SEO, API site migration, print marketing)
  • Heroic Media (new microsites)
  • Adelman Travel (CMS)
  • Axiom Properties (CMS and new property websites)
  • Casper Creative (George Webb website)

And thanks to them...and you...2013 will be even brighter. Watch for some exciting news from Trivera later this month as we add even more value to our clients' digital strategies and offer a wider and deeper array of services and skills to make your 2013 successful.

Here's to 2013 being a great New Year for us all!

Trivera Tackles the Elephant in the Room

team-giftsLike most companies, Trivera Interactive has embraced the holiday spirit – adorning our office with festive decorations, twinkling lights and even a handcrafted Mountain Dew tree. For our gift exchange this year, we decided to tackle the White Elephant in the room. Many of our employees had not previously participated in a White Elephant gift exchange which made this event even more entertaining.

rock-emWe followed the conventional rules of drawing numbers and allowing people to choose whether to open a new gift or steal one from a co-worker. The first gift stolen was an antique-looking key which doubled as a bottle opener and tripled as a wine corkscrew. Fantastic! Another popular gift was a singing, dancing, pudgy man holding a beer mug.

Hilarity ensued as we opened gifts such as a programmer’s “survival kit" complete with the oldest software possible, a Joomla shirt and a 6-pack of beer. I’m sensing a theme here …

my-hankeyEveryone ended up with gifts to cherish. You cannot put a value on used firefighter boots and a book about surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. You just can’t. And, one co-worker got the last laugh as I opened the final, unwanted gift, after all of my gifts were stolen. Yes, Kenny G.’s “Duotones" CD is the gift which keeps on giving. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Best Buy gift card Tom had cleverly tucked inside the CD, however. So, all’s well that ends well.

fondueOur team had a lot of fun, countless laughs and we’ll be inviting the White Elephant back to our room next year.

Happy Holidays from Trivera!

Laurie Vogt
Search Goddess and Chief Fun Officer