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6 Ways That Neglecting Your Website is Killing Your Brand

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By Tom Snyder, President and CEO of Trivera

Over our 20 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 a digital Marketing Stratgey, 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 responsive site built around user journeys  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 leads/sales/conversions.

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. 

Three Things You Absolutely Need to Know About Mobile

by Tom Snyder, Founder and CEO

Every day, I read articles about the trends and tricks other marketers are using to achieve success with their digital efforts, and post links to the best half dozen blogs and articles on Twitter. By now, smart marketers know enough to take a strategic approach to their efforts, focus on creating user journeys that result in conversion, and make sure their website is optimized for the right keywords. However, because it’s only become important recently, there are a lot of misconceptions about mobile marketing. Here are three you absolutely need to know:

1.) Your lack of mobile traffic to your website is BECAUSE of your non-mobile-friendly website, not proof that you don’t need to have one.

I’m constantly amazed by how many marketers tell me they have no need for a mobile friendly website because they don’t get many mobile visitors! There’s a reason for this. Did you know that Google removes non-responsive sites out of its results when people search on a mobile device? I recently showed a client an identical search on both a desktop and mobile device. Their site was on page one for the desktop search and totally disappeared from the same search done on a mobile device. Companies that have responsive, search optimized sites are now getting 60 - 70% of their traffic from mobile devices, achieving lower bounce rates, garnering higher mobile conversion rates, and getting even better rank for non-mobile searches. A mobile/responsive website should be your highest priority right now.
 
2.) B2B marketers need mobile too. 

A common misconception among many B2B marketers is that there aren't enough members of their target audience using mobile devices as part of their job to demonstrate meaningful ROI. However, research shows 49 percent of B2B researchers who use their mobile devices for research do so while at workWith mobile use for B2B purchase research jumping 91% in the past two years, I can’t believe you’re flushing leads and sales by not providing a solid UX for the purchasers who choose to do business with you on mobile devices.

3.) While you DO need mobile UX, you probably DON’T need an app. 

Building an app is an expensive mistake if a fully responsive website will accomplish your goals. Research shows that a majority of mobile users only use a tiny handful of apps. Unless you are Facebook, chances are your app won’t be one of them. Most of the content and functionality people require (plus SEO ranking authority) can be accomplished with a robust mobile-optimized website. Unless all the functionality you're considering for your mobile users requires an app, please, don’t even consider spending money on one.

Bob Dylan said, "You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." And you shouldn’t need me to tell you that the winds of success are strongly blowing in a mobile direction.  There’s still time in 2016 to get your mobile marketing on the right track.  Don’t make me have to tell you again next year.

3 Major League SEO Strategies to Ensure Your Blog Hits It Outta the Park Everytime!

homerun_opt.jpgby Katie Fleming, Search Engine Specialist

I find myself watching an abundance of baseball lately. Little league has become my life. I'm also doing a great deal of search engine optimization - sometimes at little league. (DON'T tell my kids!) What I've come to realize is that these seemingly very different aspects of my life are actually more similar than I had ever imagined. Baseball - and search engine optimization - are games we play and they have become, in their own respect, "America's Favorite Pastime."

Analyzing the similarities between these pastimes is easy: There are basic rules to be followed in order to succeed in the game and each game has an umpire to determine fair play.

In Search Engine Optimization, the umpire's name is usually "Google." If you're a new player, you're typically stuck on the bench or in the "Google Sandbox" until you've proven you're capable of holding your own on the field. Once you've figured it out, they bring in a new pitcher who throws you a curve ball. In SEO, this would be Google changing its algorithm again.

The most heartbreaking reality is when you're playing well, winning, and your competitor hits a grand slam causing your team to lose despite your best efforts. That indicates it's time to revisit your strategy. In baseball, and in Search Engine Optimization, a good coach is the difference between winning consistently and a losing streak that might ruin your season, or cost you your audience. Here are some major league coaching tips that will have you swinging for the fences every time your blog is at bat...and help keep you and your team in the "W" column!

1. Fresh and original content is key! Sometimes you need a fresh arm or a DH to ensure a win. The same is true of SEO and blogging. Don't copy/plagiarize other's content. Make it your own and make it fresh and new. This might seem obvious, but session IDs, URL parameters, and printer friendly pages can all create duplicate content. Make sure your meta tags are different too.

2. Use long-tail keywords. Long-tailed keywords are great for blogs. They can bring valuable traffic to your site with little competition. Do your research and pick one niche topic. You want to be specific and ensure your audience fills the stands. Do not keyword stuff your blog.

3. Finally, monitor your blog. Every good team manager keeps stats on their team. You need to do this as well. Check Google Analytics to get to know your fan base. Where and how are they finding you? Track their interests and behavior and set up conversion tracking. Beware of "spam traffic." They will always have a 00:00:00 average session duration. You can filter those spoilers out of your Google analytics traffic and block them with your .htaccess code. Nobody wants a hater in the stands next to them!

Finally, remember it takes a team effort to create a winning season. We're always here for you and ready to help you get to the Big League, so let us know if you need a new head coach, base coach or even a relief pitcher for your SEO and we'll suit up for YOUR team! Play Ball!

image licensed by adobe stock

About Katie Fleming

katie01.jpgKatie Fleming is one of Team Trivera's SEO/SEM/DIgital Advertising Specialists.  In her role, Katie  has a proven record of success in managing our clients’ successful SEO and PPC campaigns by achieving measurable results  and driving ROI.

6 Steps to Building Your Content Marketing Machine

AdobeStock_78484725.jpgBy Jeff Ganger, Trivera Interactive

You have a problem. The phone isn’t ringing. You need to fill your pipeline and hit your sales goals. You aren’t happy with the the marketing tactics you are using, and you know your website can be utilized as a more effective sales and marketing tool. The solution? Develop and implement content marketing.

What is content marketing? Here is a great definition from Corey Wainright at Hubspot:

Content marketing is a marketing program that centers on creating, publishing, and distributing content for your target audience -- usually online -- the goal of which is to attract new customers.

The most common components of a content marketing program are social media networks, blogs, visual content, and premium content assets -- like tools, ebooks, or webinars.

I’m inclined to just use the term “digital marketing” because content marketing is a component of an overall online marketing strategy. Since most of our time is spent online, either through our phones or our computers, it’s where the bulk of our attention is held and where companies have been experiencing the greatest marketing ROI over the past several years. That trend is only going to grow in the near future.

So, what are the components to a successful marketing plan that is designed to bring in more sales? We have identified the following 6-step process that covers the basics of the content marketing methodology.

1. Create a strategy and identify the tactics to use
Begin by identifying your goals and objectives, your ideal customers, where they spend their time online, and defining key performance indicators as well as how you will measure ROI.

2. Create and maintain a strong website
This sounds obvious, but a great site is one that makes it easy for your ideal users to navigate and interact with you, AND allows you to build new pages or add content frequently. Develop your website using a solid, open source content management system (CMS) such as Concrete5 (our favorite) or WordPress, then apply solid user experience (UX) principles. Once your site is built, constantly monitor your goals in Google Analytics to understand your site’s performance and where your visitors are dropping off.

3. Generate more traffic (Blogging, Social Media, SEO)
This is where the rubber hits the road. Create content that is useful and informative to your ideal clients, and then publicize that content on social media. Blog articles can generate up to 55% more traffic for your site, and two-thirds of internet users are on social media1. Bottom line: if you aren’t publishing content, you are missing out on potential sales. Be sure to use an SEO expert to ensure that your content is optimized. This is important, since 46% of internet searches are specifically for products and services. You can also use PPC, Facebook ads, and other paid methods of generating traffic to your site.

4. Convert traffic to leads (Create an offer, capture email, nurture leads)
This is the heart of content marketing. By offering white papers, buyer’s guides, eBooks, webinars, podcasts, and demos in exchange for email and other contact information, you convert your visitors to leads. This allows you opportunity to connect with these leads to build a relationship.

5. Convert leads to sales (Nurture leads via email and phone)
Add email information to your CRM or your email campaign software, then use your software to connect with your leads and engage with them. By providing targeted, specific information that is of interest to them, you nurture the relationship and lead them further down the sales funnel. By following up and providing helpful information and answering questions, the sales staff can convert these leads to sales.

6. Measure your website data. Adjust monthly.
Google Analytics can help you set goals for your website and measure its performance. Some metrics to include:

• Traffic to leads
• Leads to customers
• Cost per lead
• Cost per customer

Telling your story and offering valuable information is the basis for a solid digital marketing strategy. By understanding the basic concepts of the content marketing process, you can build a powerful sales tool that will position you as a trusted expert and help you target and land clients you really want.

Was this article helpful? What else would you like to know about? Let us know!

If you’d like to know more about the process and how we can help, drop me a line or connect with me:

Twitter: @jeffraaay 
Instagram: papa.gang 

1 Source: Hubspot 
2 Source: Hubspot 
image licensed by adobe stock

About Jeff Ganger 

jeffcrop.jpgJeff Ganger is one of Team Trivera's Digital Marketing Strategists.  In his role, Jeff assists our clients by creating digital marketing strategies that include websites, social media, and inbound marketing tactics to reinforce their brands and drive ROI.

 

How Much Time Do Most People Spend Online?


How much time do most people spend online?

Did you know July is National Anti-Boredom Month. And what do most people do when they’re bored? They go online! According to a recent Pew Research survey, one-fifth of Americans report going online, "almost constantly."

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Christina Steder Becomes Newest Member of Team Trivera

christinabiopic.jpgTrivera Interactive has added Christina Steder as V.P. of Client Strategy. In her new role, Christina will provide strategic direction for our clients - linking their ongoing online and content marketing needs to business goals and ROI. 

Christina possesses 15+ years of experience in consumer product, professional service, and nonprofit marketing as well as brand strategy and client service, beginning her relationship with Trivera as our contact person for one of our clients in 1999. As the former President of Clear Verve Marketing, Christina continued her relationship with us, building a leading content marketing firm that specialized in providing marketing services to professional service providers, nonprofits, and community organizations. At Clear Verve, Christina partnered with Trivera to provide the web development and technology elements for her agency's client engagements. Most recently, Christina served as V.P. of Integrated Marketing at Zizzo Group. We're delighted to finally have her here as a key member of our leadership team.

When she's not helping our clients, she's busy driving the "Mom Limo" for her three daughters who keep her busy with their activities. She's also enjoying the sunshine and fresh air that comes with her new daily commute to work, which is now just a short walk away from our office in the Falls.

Trivera President Tom Snyder featured in Opentopic’s Content Marketing Spotlight Series.

Spotlight-Photo[1]Trivera President Tom Snyder was recently featured in Opentopic’s Content Marketing Spotlight Series. Here is that article:

OpenTopic: Content marketing is currently a hot topic among brands, though the use of content to engage and acquire customers certainly isn’t a new practice. What is it about today’s environment that has transformed content into such a central component of customer engagement and acquisition?

Tom: Corporate decision makers are under intense pressure to produce demonstrable results from their efforts. As they search for the resources either to educate themselves and their internal teams or to select an outside vendor, it’s critical for them to find a source they can trust to give them relevant, accurate and substantiated information. Creating RSS feeds and monitoring Social Media for great content, provides them with the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge, and identify potential vendors. Reviewing content those vendors are posting on their site, their blog and Social Media has become such a valuable part of the vetting process, it’s almost expected these days for every “expert” to be providing content of some sort, somewhere.

OpenTopic: Content marketing can be approached in many ways. How can a company that’s tackling content marketing for the first time best gauge what approach will best serve their business goals?

Tom: They need to really know their audience. And by “know,” I don’t mean generally, but specifically. Generally, my agency’s target audience is “people who need to choose a digital marketing firm.” But that is really so broad that it’s not a target at all.  If I used that as my guide, I’d be blogging or curating just about anything anywhere that would have to do with digital marketing. However, if I’ve learned that my “bull’s-eye” is a slightly more left-brained 42 year-old primary marketing decision maker for a $50 million dollar a year Midwest manufacturing company who is currently looking to hire a digital agency that will make them look like a rock star to their CEO, CFO, CIO, peers and potential employers then I know exactly what kind of content I need to provide. It will be content that will help them create a web presence and digital marketing strategy that will make their CEO proud, produce demonstrable ROI to their CFO, be an ally not an adversary to their IT department, and be the perfect candidate for their next gig. As I talk to my existing clients who fit that description and find out what kind of content they are finding helpful, and where they found it, I can base what I write, what I share and where I post, on their answers. As I demonstrate the experience, service and passionate commitment that they can trust to make him/her look like a rock star, I position my agency as the one they need to choose to make that happen.

Follow that approach for your industry and the decision maker you are trying to influence, and you’ll know exactly what to do.

OpenTopic:  Can you explain the role of third-party curation in content marketing strategies? How do you practice curation and what are its benefits?

Tom: When I began blogging in 1997, I was one of the few “experts” in the digital media field. Finding topics to write about and share was easy. However, as time marched on, I started to find that anything that I was thinking about writing had been written about hundreds of times already. I set up RSS feeds to provide myself with a daily summary of blogs and articles that I could use to educate myself, and see what holes might be available to fill with my own blog. When Social Media began to emerge, I realized that, in addition to posting links to my own blog on Twitter, LinkedIn and my company’s Google Plus page, I could also post links to the things I was reading.

The curated links that I post in Social Media to the blogs, articles and whitepapers of others, are those that I pick specifically to resonate with my target. Oftentimes, I’ll even change the titles of the article in the post to make my target audience more likely to click on the links. While the only measurable results I can track are the click-throughs, I know that the steady stream of 7 or 8 posts every day over time builds my credibility (and that of my company) as someone who always seems to know what they need to succeed, corporately, professionally and personally as a Digital Marketing decision maker.

OpenTopic: What are some of your techniques for demonstrating the value of content marketing? Does your approach differ for original content versus curated content?

Tom: When I speak to audiences about my efforts I show them my click-through reports. I am always blown away by the fact that, since I’ve been tracking my metrics, I’ve had over 850,000 click-throughs on my links posted on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Google+ and articles published in digital publications. Amongst those links of curated information are thousands of click-throughs to my own blog. When I link to my blog, I make sure to point that out in the post. I’d like to think that those who watch my posts for useful content pay special attention to the things I write myself, thinking that if I had to write it, it’s because I couldn’t find an existing source for that information that could bring as much value as I could by writing it  myself.

OpenTopic: What are 2 or 3 things that forward-thinking content marketers should have on their to-do list today?

Tom: Number 1: Narrowly define your audience so you know who you are writing for and what they expect to learn from and about you.

Number 2: Measure your results. Ideally you want have statistically-valid metrics to determine what works and what doesn’t. But even anecdotal evidence can be helpful. Make sure you’re producing results. Content without results is just a journal.

Number 3: Don’t think you always need to be groundbreaking or cutting edge with everything you write or post. Years after I began, some of my most clicked-through links are to some of the most basic topics. Over time, even if your target doesn’t change, your individual audience members will, as people move into and out of your target. Make sure you regularly demonstrate your core expertise. That will reinforce it to longtime readers, and make a great first impression to people just discovering you.

OpenTopic: Do you have any words of warning for content marketers?

Tom: If you’re using Social Media to post content make sure you’re using the appropriate channels at the appropriate times for the desired results. Professional content is all I ever post on LinkedIn and Google+.  I’ll post links to my own blog on my personal Facebook page to let friends and family know what I do, but those posts are set to post publicly in case anyone in my target audience who isn’t a friend ever decides to check out my personal page.

I use Twitter personally and professionally, and so I also Tweet a lot of the typical stuff people post there. However, I do take a break from the “business” posts on evenings and weekends. There’s nothing worse than being on Twitter during a Packer game on a Sunday to watch the interaction and armchair quarterbacking, when suddenly the marketing guru that can never “turn it off” posts a link in the middle of it all on to how to craft the perfect SEO strategy, or increase your e-commerce site conversions. I never want to be “that guy.” The person that I’m known as, by my clients, my peers and the community at large is that really smart and helpful digital marketing expert who is also a friendly person you’d want to work with.

Trivera Affiliate Program Creates Opportunity

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Over the years, Trivera has formed informal partnerships with other companies to fill competency and skill gaps.  However, the affiliate program formalizes the relationships to create a more permanent partnership, and also to provide financial incentives for bringing each other into projects and existing vendor relationships. Two of our affiliates have already deepened the partnership to the point of moving into Trivera's offices.

Companies and individuals being chosen and invited into the program meet the following qualifications:

1.) They provide best-in-market services that are complementary, but non-compettitve, to Trivera's core competencies.

2.) They work primarily with the same size and type of businesses and organizations that represent Trivera's target customers (Manufacturing, service, healthcare and/or ecommerce businesses, with $10-$100 million in annual revenue, and the appropriate budgets for companies that size).

3.) Their primary contact within those companies, and the person to whom they will refer us, is the CMO, VP of Marketing or Brand manager.

4.) They understand the importance of "wins" for every party in the relationship.

Under the terms of the program, Trivera pays a referral fee for any new client we acquire that was referred to us by an affiliate. If the affiliate doesn't want to accept a fee, a contribution will be made in their name to the charity of their choice.

The goal of the program is to build an affiliate network that will provide the opportunty for the region's best Digital Marketing service providers to collaborate with us, create new opportunities for each other and produce success for our clients. 

For more information, or to inquire about becoming an affiliate, contact Trivera CEO Tom Snyder ( tom@trivera.com )

Jamie Rinehart Joins Team Trivera

Jamie RinehartJamie Rinehart has joined Team Trivera as Digital Marketing Strategist. Jamie comes to Trivera with 10 years of Digital Marketing and Advertising account management experience, most recently, the Advertising Sales manager at Kalmbach Publishing Company. At Kalmbach, Jamie managed successful sales teams for Discover, Astronomy, Cabin Life, American Snowmobiler, and Art Jewelry magazines. His experience with high level national accounts helped him create and execute successful advertising and marketing strategies in partnership with global companies such as Allstate, Arctic Cat, BASF and Citgo. Jamie was instrumental recognizing and understanding the need for these publications to move from being print focused toward digital focused.

Jamie holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in Mass Communications with a focus on Advertising where he still is an active member of the Alumni Association.

When not working, Jamie is an avid rec league volleyball and softball player. In addition, he enjoys running, from Marathons (has ran 5) to a jog in the neighborhood with his wife and dog. Jamie is also a huge Brewer, Packer and Bucks fan. Whether it’s going to the game, or watching at home or streaming it on his phone, Jamie will always find a way to keep up with the local Milwaukee sports teams!

3 Reasons Your Social Media Efforts are Failing

Social MediaThere are no guarantees that Social Media will succeed for your business or organization. However if it’s not delivering the results you had hoped for, here are 3 possible reasons why:

1.) You don’t have a strategy – Chinese general Sun Tzu is credited with the axiom “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”  Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and the others are all just tactics. Without a solid strategy that defines your brand, target, goals and voice, it’s impossible to determine the platforms and communities where your audience is, and ones in which they would expect you to be, or what to do once you begin. Unless you have a strategy to help you evaluate whether the next rising social network is a real opportunity, or just the next shiny object, you are almost certain to fail.

2.) You aren’t committed to do what it takes – Unless one of your posts becomes the next viral sensation on Mashable, your path to measurable impact will be a long one. Building fans, followers and reputation requires a presence that keeps you top of mind with your target audience. Without frequency, rotation, valuable content, timely interaction, and immediate response over an extended period of time your efforts will likely fail.

3.) You rely on Social Media as a silver bullet – Even a “successful” return from Social Media efforts can be a failure if you’re cutting other, more profitable marketing efforts in hopes of Twitter or Facebook becoming your panacea. Strategic consideration of new vehicles and measuring their success of each against all your efforts will enable you to do what works and discard what doesn’t.  If your website, email marketing, search engine optimization, pay per click, and traditional marketing efforts are producing more return on your investment than Social Media, continuing to use it at their expense could result in the biggest Social Media failure of all. 

This article originally appeared in the BizTimes.com Social Media Strategies Column, in August, 2015