Category Archives: Content Marketing

SEM or Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing is one of the things we do best here at Windy City Strategies.  But sometimes, people don’t exactly know what that is.  So this blog post is to help explain it to our clients who may not know for sure.

A search engine is something going to www.google.com and putting in a search term like “Chinese Food” in the search bar, or searching for something on the web on Yahoo, or Bing.  Google is the most popular search engine, so we will use this as our example.

According to Google:  “The primary objective of any search engine is to help users find the information, products or services they’re looking for online, quickly and accurately. When the user types a word or phrase, called a query, into the search engine, a set of results that are relevant to the query is displayed.”

So- if you wanted to find a law firm in Crystal Lake- you might type in the search field “Law Firm, Crystal Lake”.

Windy City Strategies provides consultation and services in all areas of Search Engine Marketing-

The shaded area at the top of the page is called Pay-Per-Click advertising- this is a paid section, where your advertising will be posted to the top of the search engine.

The paid results are in the pink area, and the organic  (or Google selected) results are in the green area.  You will notice that there are local listings first in this green area.  That is the location portion of Google’s results- which displays local results from where your computer is searching from.

Windy City Strategies will help your business soar in the ultra-competitive web marketplace through our proven Internet marketing campaigns. We manage Google, Yahoo, and Bing accounts and we offer pay per click campaign management services as well as search engine optimization, website development, and internet marketing consultation. Please contact us for a free proposal and analysis.

Facebook Earnings Increase

Facebook has had a major increase with many people using this website, but it still has to grow in both numbers of users and revenue. The major reason Facebook has seen a decrease is from people accessing Facebook on a mobile device, rather than using it on a desktop computer.

Facebook recently released their second quarter earnings for the year and the findings reveal that the number of active mobile users have increased by 51% over the last year to 819 million monthly users. Ever since Facebook updated its strategy in mobile advertising, there have been more that 1 million active advertisers, many of them including local businesses. This creates a great opportunity for not only these companies but a little bit of hope for our economy.

As for advertising, the numbers shot through the roof with an astounding $1.8 billion in revenue, which is a 61% increase from last year.  Almost half of the money that was earned from advertising, which was $1.6 billion, came from mobile advertising.

According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “People on average are spending more time on Facebook than ever before.” The numbers are there to prove it, showing that users spent over 20 billion minutes on Facebook during the month of June.

For more information about Facebook for your business, contact Windy City Strategies.

How A Marketing Campaign Is Effective For Your Business

Setting up an Internet marketing campaign is essential to every business plan because it can help you build customer relationships and awareness for your company. When implementing an effective marketing campaign, there are a few important factors that can increase potential customers and let your brand be known.

Having valuable content with relevant keywords and phrases on your website will make other businesses within your industry work harder to compete with what is on your site. Everyone’s end goal is to show up naturally on Google in the first spot.  To start achieving this goal, review the content on your site and make sure you are staying competitive with other businesses.

PPC & SEO Campaign :  A PPC or SEO campaign will allow your company to be found easily and increase your rankings in popular search engines. With a PPC plan in place, you are able to set your own budget to control your costs and see results immediately, unlike waiting for your organic search to show up. Certain SEO techniques can drive more traffic to your site, and help give your company better search results.

A successful marketing campaign will require you to separate yourself from your competition.  Think about what is unique about your company or why your customers should choose you over other brands. Take that information and use it to your advantage so people will remember you. Grabbing the attention of your viewers will make you stand out in the crowd.

Contact Windy City Strategies for more information about how you can get started with an Internet marketing campaign today.

Do You Have An Effective Content Marketing Strategy?

An effective content marketing strategy is an essential factor in delivering your business’s message to your customers. By developing a strong content marketing strategy, your ability to attract and retain the attention of your targeted audience will significantly increase, which will provide you with optimal end results, allowing for the success of your business.

 

Who Is Your Audience?

Your content marketing strategy must start with your targeted audience. By determining what you are selling and who you are selling your products or services to, you can have a better understanding, allowing your content to be relevant and effective. Also, you should consider things such as your customers’ demographics, their particular needs, as well as their online behavior. Our Internet marketing team can create content designed around both your business’s needs and your customers’.

What Kind of Content Is Your Audience Looking For?

It is important to consider the type of content your audience will be looking for. Do they prefer the use of videos or articles? It is important to ensure you are including relevant forms of content on your website, which will ultimately help drive traffic to your site. You can also use a variety of forms of content, especially when your targeted audience is composed of various types of buyer personas.

Do You Have A Blog?

One of the most popular content marketing strategies today is blogging. Blogging provides your business with the opportunity to not only create more index-able pages but also provide you with more credibility within the search engine rankings, increasing your ranking amongst your competitors.

In order for your business to be successful in today’s technological world, it is important that you implement an effective content marketing and Internet marketing campaign. For more information, or help developing your content marketing strategy, contact Windy City Strategies today.

Creating An Award-Winning Website

When creating a website, web design has five key tenets: content, appearance, usability, standards compliance and feature functionality. An award-winning site must be easy to navigate through, no bugs, visually-stunning, seamless to use, and must be filled with information that is worth consuming. Follow the 4 secrets below if you want to have an award-winning website:

  • Using White Space To Your Advantage: When your audiences view your site, the website should be user-friendly and sophisticated. Utilizing white space throughout your site can highlight key elements and make the content pop. Having a simply-designed website that has plenty of white space will make your audience want to stay and explore.
  • User-Friendly Homepage & Navigation:  Make sure your products/services are accessible on the homepage and ensure the navigation bar is intuitive and conspicuous to use on both mobile and desktop platforms. The 3-second rule is one way to test your website and to see if it’s top notch! Make sure all text is clear and easy to understand. Only show a few quality graphics on each page and content that will catch your readers’ attention.
  • Having Customer Reviews / Offers & Promotions: When having an e-commerce site it’s wise to have a few positive reviews your customers have left for you. You could also have a few specials going on, and have coupons/ promotions posted to your site. This gives your readers that extra incentive to take things to the next step in wanting to purchase a product from you.
  • Responsive Design: Having a responsive design allows you to have content to be viewed on any screen; this includes both desktops and mobile devices.

If you have questions on how you can have an award winning website, give Windy City Strategies a call!

Starting An Internet Marketing Campaign? Follow These Helpful Tips

An effective Internet marketing campaign plays a huge role in attracting potential clients to your website. This not only increases business and potential revenue for you, but it also enhances the branding and validity of your business’s products or services.

Starting an Internet marketing campaign may seem intimidating, however, our professional Internet marketers at Windy City Strategies have some helpful tips to help get you started:

Tip #1: Consult with an Internet marketing firm. Not only will they help you start an effective Internet marketing campaign, but they will also have the ability to implement a plan that is right for your specific business and needs.

Tip # 2: Understand the importance of SEO. Search engine optimization (SEO) is important in creating an effective Internet marketing campaign. By improving and promoting your website amongst search engines, you can better drive traffic to your website.

Tip #3: Create a blog. Blogs are a great way to not only interact with your current potential customers, but it also helps you to become an expert in your industry. Blogs are also beneficial in creating more pages for your website, which also helps you to be found easier amongst the search engines.

Tip #4: Write a press release. Another great way to gain exposure is through a press release. Online press releases about your business are also a great way to be found in the search engines. This is also helpful in announcing any news or partnerships that you may have.

Tip #5: Have a user-friendly website. By ensuring your visitors can access your website from any device, you can produce a positive and user-friendly experience, which will bring your customers and potential clients back to your website.

For more information on how we can help boost your business with our customized Internet marketing campaigns, contact us at Windy City Strategies today.

Pay Per Click Advertising: Explained

One of the most successful online marketing techniques utilized by businesses these days is pay per click marketing, or PPC. You may be asking two things right now: what is pay per click advertising, and how can it help my business?

Windy City Strategies has some helpful information about pay per click advertising campaigns, which will help you to decide if PPC is right for you and your business.

What is pay per click advertising?

Pay per click marketing is, in essence, a paid keyword search campaign. Your business will pay to have an ad posted on search engines, making you easier to find. Then, when an internet user clicks on your bussines’ ad, they will automatically be directed to your website. You, the advertiser, will only pay a fee when your ad is clicked.

In order to have an effective PPC marketing campaign, it is important that you have the right keywords; otherwise, your campaign will be less effective and will result in a loss of potential traffic to your site. This is why PPC is not something that can be done once, but will take time, thought, and effort in order to ensure success.

How Can Pay Per Click Advertising Help My Business?

An effective PPC marketing campaign will drive more traffic to your website, which will often result in increased business for you. Here are the ways a PPC marketing campaign will drive traffic to your website:

  • Change and improve your campaign ads
  • Expand your keyword lists
  • Organize your keywords and ad groups
  • Analyze the data, improving your actions based on these results
  • Filter unwanted keywords, create a negative keywords list to refrain from using these again
  • Continually monitor your campaign’s progress

How Do I Run a Successful Pay Per Click Advertising Campaign?

Pay per click and search engine optimization (SEO) require continuous updating. Not only is it critical to understand the importance of staying on top of your PPC campaign to reduce waste, but it will also help you to stay ahead of your competition as well.

In order to do so, it may be essential to hire a PPC and internet marketing firm, like Windy City Web Designs. We not only manage your AdWords account for you, but also help you to ensure you are using the most effective and affordable keywords to drive traffic to your website.

Windy City Strategies is Chicagoland’s leader in internet marketing and web design. From custom web de designs to successful internet marketing and PPC campaigns, we are available to meet your business’ specific needs.

Website Consistency is Imperative to Success

Imagine you are traveling the world and are hopping from country to country every week, spending your time exploring the cities and lifestyles. This trip would be great if it were not for the fact that every country has a different currency. This one, minute discrepancy poses a large issue that can potentially halt your entire adventure and destroy all your plans.

This same issue is found in web design all the time. Website owners and designers seem to enjoy letting their “creative juices” flow too much, making for a difficult and unpleasant user experience due to large variations in design.

To avoid this catastrophic issue – lacking consistency – there are several things your website should incorporate into its design to make for a fun and pleasant user experience.

Verbiage/Wording

When you are advertising for your business, it’s important to stay consistent with the titles of your products and services you offer. If you are selling a simple, wooden door, call it just that. Perhaps throw in the type of wood and of course the dimensions, but stick with that naming. Do not veer away from it; a “majestic opening and closing mechanism” is not a proper name for that product.

Menus and UI Elements

Typically, web designers try to create the most visually appealing website they can, which often means they will have to “spice up” the drop down menus and UI elements, ultimately making for sluggish loading times and a laggy user experience.

The choice to enhance the elements is rarely a good one, so be sure to consult your designer and web designer and ask for their opinions prior to adding these elements to your website. You want a fast website that keeps its visitors, not a website where the visitors are driven away due to a poor element.

Layout

Similar to the menus and UI elements, your website’s layout plays an integral role in attracting customers. Not only does it have to be a smooth design, but it also has to look similar and follow the common website design rules: navigation bar at the top, title/company name in the upper left, search bar in the upper right, content for the main page, and contact information with a general sitemap as the footer.

General Consistency

Putting all the nitty-gritty bits and pieces of websites aside, it’s important to maintain an overall feeling of consistency. If you have a modern home page, then the rest of the website should also be designed with a modern aesthetic. Maintain the same color palette, open links that take the user to a third party’s site in a new tab, etc.

Ensuring your website’s visitors have an enjoyable experience and are able to easily navigate throughout your website is crucial, yet an area that is often overlooked by designers. Humans like consistency – it’s wired into our brains – so take advantage of our instinctual traits to leverage your business. If you would like assistance developing your website, be sure to contact us at Windy City Web Designs to make for a beautiful and elegant website.

How to find the Right Keywords

Perfecting your client base is crucial to your success and the overall growth of your business. The best way to do so is by consistently updating your keywords used for your advertisement campaigns and SEO titles and descriptions. To properly ensure you are going about the process correctly, there are a couple tips and tricks you should keep in mind.

  • Test Keywords with PPC: In order to properly understand how your keywords are being looked at and processed, you should use some of your pay per click campaign budget towards keyword testing. When you do this, you will spend a little now to gain a lot later.
    • To properly do this, you should begin with broader terms you feel might apply to your business and then slowly work your way into more narrow and specific terms. If your business sells fake flowers, begin with broad flower terms and work your way into more specific names and colors.
  • Compare Keywords: One thing many advertisement campaigns fail to do is compare keywords against one another. Once you have a list of relatively effective words you plan on using, begin to sort your advertisements by playing with the synergy of the words and their context.
  • Know your Audience: Understanding what demographics your advertisements and business is targeting is crucial to determining which keywords will be most effective. If you are selling professional grade laptops, you will likely not want to have children or the elderly viewing your advertisements.
  • Control the Websites: When you are running advertisement campaigns, you will typically have control over which websites you do and do not want your advertisements to show up on. This is known as whitelisting and blacklisting, a technique that proves time and time again to be very effective in more efficiently targeting possible clients.

Having the ability to control who sees your advertisements and when they see it is crucial to building an effective advertisement campaign. If you have any questions or would like to become better versed in developing a powerful advertisement campaign, be sure to contact us at Windy City Strategies.

How Efficient Is Your Ad-Targeting?

The best way to get your business name out on the internet is through direct ad-targeting; it is imperative that you push your services and products towards the correct audience, however, it is very common for your ads to be targeted toward the wrong people.

To ensure your business is not wasting money trying to attract the wrong clients, you should take several steps to better target your advertisements.

  • Keywords: Nearly all advertisement agencies enter keywords into a complex algorithm to identify which websites your ads should be posted on. The keywords you submit are the MOST important part of your ad-targeting campaign, a detail that cannot be stressed enough. You must evaluate what your business is, what services or products you are trying to sell, and whether or not your pricing is appropriate for the audiences you are targeting.
  • Advertisement Efficiency: If you use a service such as Google’s Adsense, then you have access to a wide array of unique tools to better target your advertisements. One of the most important tools focuses on the efficiency of your campaign: the number of people clicking on your ads versus the number of people not clicking or viewing your ads. This number is the best way to determine whether your ad-targeting is working or not and should be looked at on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Whitelisted Websites: Finally, it is crucial to your business’ advertisements’ success that they are being displayed on the proper websites. If you are a technology company, it is unlikely you would want any of your ads being displayed on a website promoting the Amish way of life, it’s that simple. You must ensure your advertisements are being displayed on appropriate sites for your goals to be met.

If you or your business have any questions, be sure to contact us to begin your business’ successful future.