Monthly Archives: January 2014

Ways to Implement Your Internet Marketing Strategy

An effective marketing strategy is essential in any business plan. Much like traditional marketing, Internet marketing can help to build customer relationships and create brand awareness. However, implementing an online marketing plan is not as easy as a traditional one. It is best to seek professional Internet marketers, like ours at Windy City Strategies, to ensure your strategy is not only effective, but is designed to your specific needs. Here are some types of strategies you may consider for your business:

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)- A good SEO campaign can drive results and traffic to your site, but this happens over time. SEO works to make popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo recognized your website so that your organic search results will rank higher on search results pages.

2. Pay-Per-Click (PPC)- With PPC, you can be provided with almost immediate results. The main difference with PPC is that you essentially pay per click on your ad. This is a very cost-effective way to market your business since you can set a budgeted limit on clicks.

3. Content Marketing- Usually this method is used in combination with a good search engine marketing plan. By producing relevant content you can attract current and potential customers with information that they are looking for. Additionally, content is also effective when attractive images and videos are added to your site as well.

4. Social Media- Nothing is more important these days than being social media ready. By establishing a positive presence on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, you not only are able to promote your brand, but target a specific audience for your business.

5. Blogging- Another way to add more credibility with the search engines, increasing your rankings, is by creating a blog. When blogging about relevant information, your business will be looked to as a go-to professional, further developing long-lasting relationships with your customers.

Windy City Strategies will work with you to create an individualized marketing plan that fits your business needs. Contact us to speak with our team of professional marketers, writers, and designers to find out how we can help your business grow online and stand out amongst your competitors.

By Bjorn Torling

The Advantages of Pay Per Click Advertising

When developing your digital marketing plan, it is important that you stay informed and make decisions based on your business’ needs. When it comes to ensuring you can be found on the search engines, there are limited options to provide you with results. While paid searches, like search engine optimization, takes time to deliver results, using pay per click, or PPC, can help you get the results you need almost immediately.

While every business has different needs, pay per click advertising may not be for everyone, or just a stepping-stone for their future. Here are a few other reasons why you may want to consider using a PPC campaign:

Affordability- Since PPC campaigns are not only tailored to your budget, but you essentially pay per click on your ad.

Faster Results- Unlike organic search engine methods, PPC campaigns show almost immediate results since your ad will automatically receive top placement.

Real-time Tracking- With your PPC campaign, constant monitoring of your campaign will be performed. We will track things like the keywords that are, and are not, working, conversion rates, and which ads are driving the most traffic.

Exposure- Since your ad will be placed on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, your ad will be visible on well-known and reliable search engines, which reaches the vast majority of Internet users.

Target Your Customers- By placing a specific and eye-catching ad, you can directly target your customers and draw in only qualified and relevant traffic to your site.

Pay per click advertising is one of the fastest growing marketing techniques used today. Unfortunately, building and maintaining a successful pay per click advertising campaign can be a difficult task, especially when you don’t understand how to manage these services. By hiring an experienced Internet marketing firm, such as Windy City Strategies, you can rest assured that your PPC campaign is not only managed, but provides your website with your optimal results.

By Bjorn Torling

Social Marketing with Marketing Automation

If you are already marketing on social networks, you know very well that it is a vital part of building and keeping relationships.  Marketing automation can almost double your social marketing effect.  With strategies like these and the help of Windy City Strategies, social marketing can help you build and maintain lasting, personalized relationships with your customers.

If your social marketing is fully integrated with your marketing automation, you can also use it to develop relationships with early-stage prospects, gather data, nurture leads, and turn customers into advocates.  Featured below are ways that marketing automation can amplify the power of your social marketing.

Segment and trigger based on downloaded content.

Marketing automation allows you to segment your leads, enabling you to deliver the most relevant content to each segment of your database.  Once you’ve identified your leads on social, you can use marketing automation to segment and trigger based on the type of content people have downloaded on social media platforms.  Get a strong indication of buying intent by combining knowledge of these interactions with your record of other engagement activities, such as:  Email clickthroughs, downloads, visits to your website.

Publish landing pages directly to Facebook.

With marketing automation, you can publish your own landing pages to tabs on your company’s Facebook page.  These pages don’t redirect users to your site, but allow you to gather data from customer behavior in the same way that you can gather data from a page built on your marketing automation platform.

Use social sign-on.

This one’s sneaky.  Marketing automation makes it easy to insert a social sign-on or single sign-on, which current and potential customers can use to access gated content.  The individual chooses a social profile to sign-on through, and that information automatically populates the form.  If you’re using marketing automation, these forms will also capture demographic information from the user’s social profile.  For example, if a person signs in through their LinkedIn profile, your marketing automation system can collect their contact information directly from LinkedIn.

Integrate intelligent share buttons.

These are social sharing buttons that can be added to web pages or Facebook tabs.  Visitors can click on them to share a page on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.  When a visitor shares, your marketing automation system can capture data about the sharer, which networks they used, their social reach, and the share messages they used.

By Bjorn Torling

How To Approach Your Content Strategy

A content strategy is an essential factor in delivering what you have to say. By developing a strong content strategy, your ability to attract and retain the attention of your targeted audience will significantly increase and provide you with optimal end results. Your content strategy is your plan, and your plan needs to be in place in order for your business to succeed.

Your content strategy must start with who is your targeted audience. By determining who you are selling to and what your are selling, you can narrow it down to ensure you only have relevant and effective content. By taking things like customers’ demographics, needs, challenges, and even their online behavior into consideration, marketers can create content designed not only around your customers’, but your business’ needs as well.

Another important factor to consider is the type of content your user is looking for. Do they prefer the use of videos or articles? By tracking the types of content you put out, you will have a better understanding of what is successful or not. By ensuring you are including the more highly used forms of content on your site will help to drive traffic to your site. Switching things up isn’t a bad idea either…especially when your targeted audience is composed of various types of buyer personas.

In order to keep leads coming in, you must develop a content marketing strategy. A good way to do this within content marketing is by creating a blog. Blogging provides your business with the opportunity to create more index-able pages, provide you with higher credibility with search engine rankings, in turn increasing your ranking with your competitors.

Most importantly, don’t forget your SEO. This can be easy to overlook when creating content. By identifying keywords and phrases that cater to both your business and your targeted audience, you can ensure you will be found in search engines and by your potential clients.

It is essential for your business’ success to consult with an Internet marketing firm that is comprised of a team of professional marketers, content writers, and bloggers. For help or questions in developing your content strategy, contact Windy City Strategies, Chicagoland’s leader in Internet marketing.

Understanding the Basics of Building an Online Marketing Strategy

Building a successful online marketing strategy is just like building anything – it starts with a solid foundation. That foundation comes from understanding three basics of online marketing:

But knowing what each facet does for your website isn’t enough. As many people discovered after the certain Google updates, applying even well-established marketing techniques incorrectly way can hurt your ranking. To maximize their benefits, you also need to understand their shortcomings.

Search Engine Optimization

When people think of online marketing and the search engines, SEO is usually the first thing that comes to mind. SEO is used to create a site that the search engines will rank as one of the most relevant pages for a given term. The fact is, 95 percent of searchers click on a page that appears on the first page results for Google, Yahoo! or Bing. You can see that search rank is a big deal!

Building a solid SEO strategy consists primarily of selecting relevant keywords and providing valuable content related to those keywords. In the past, SEO was driven by factors like keyword placement, keywords density, and even how many times a keyword was used to link to that page.

But the search engines quickly discovered that keywords could be easily manipulated. A page that had nothing to do with a keyword could be ranked in top three, just by optimizing the page. Today, this means that sites who rely solely on keywords are often ignored by the search engines.

Instead, SEO should include:

  • Relevant Keywords

  • Valuable Content that is Shared

  • A Website that Loads Quickly

  • Both Images & Content

  • Backlinks from Respected Websites

Find an expert

Windy City Strategies specializes in SEO, PPC, internet marketing basics, and much more.

What to Look For in Your SEO Agency

When it comes to marketing your business on the web, nothing is more important than deciding on the right search engine optimization, or SEO, company. Unfortunately, there are many supposed Internet marketing companies out there that make promises that they simply cannot keep. In order to ensure you don’t fall victim for their antics, here are some things to look for before making that big decision.

What are your business’ needs? Since most SEO firms offer a wide variety of services, it is important to decide what your business needs. Are you looking for an SEO audit, content marketing, pay-per-click advertising campaign, or link building? Be sure to have a set goal in mind when consulting with an Internet marketing firm and know how they can help you achieve that goal.

SEO requires time and effort. SEO is a long-term investment. With that being said, if an SEO firm is promising you fast results, then you are more than likely being scammed. Unlike pay-per-click advertising, SEO requires work with you and your website over time in order to achieve results. Even then, on-going website monitoring and updating will need to be done in order to keep your search engine rankings higher.

Customized marketing plans- Upon your first consultation, it is important that you are becoming educated in the process. If you walk away failing to have a full understanding of the process and you have unanswered questions, you more than likely should look somewhere else. A good firm will explain each detail, answer your questions, and work with you to ensure your marketing plan is not only individualized to fit your needs, but to your satisfaction.

Ask to see references. With any business nowadays, reviews and references are ultra important in helping to make the right decision. By proving you got the job done successfully with similar businesses, potential clients will be more inclined to see you as the one can provide them with results.

One thing is for certain, all websites need to have a good SEO campaign. Our team at Windy City Strategies not only specializes in SEO and PPC campaigns, but we also offer web design and Internet marketing consulting. Contact us so we can help your business succeed and become a business leader in the ultra-competitive web marketplace.

5 Internet Marketing Trends for 2014

With another year in the history books, it is time to reflect upon the past year and look ahead to see what we can expect for 2014. The last year seemed to have had many hot trends like social media growth, an increase in use of mobile devices and tablets, and the increased importance of relevant content on a website. While I don’t expect to see any of those trends to go anywhere over the next year, I do expect to see content continue it’s reign as king.

Here are a few other web marketing trends to look out for:

1. Mobile is a must. Since the use of mobile devices is on the rise, it is essential for businesses, especially small businesses, to consider responsive web design. By ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, you are able to stay competitive and increase the potential to be found and seen by mobile users.

2. Niche sites are growing. Due to media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, websites will have a harder time being found organically. For this reason, niche sites are going to become more in demand, especially for smaller businesses looking to get connected to a more specific audience.

3. Write a blog. Blogging is a prime example of the use of relevant content and is an effective way to market your brand. Since blogging is becoming more popular, especially amongst smaller businesses, I think it is safe to say most businesses will have developed a blog by the end of 2014.

4. Get a Google+ account. Since the use of social media giant Facebook appears to be on the decline, other social media networks will be looking to take over. Google+ is a rapidly growing network that has added benefits, such as the search benefits that comes from using Google, that all businesses need to be taking advantage of.

5. Include videos on your website. In order to create a more meaningful relationship with your users, the use of educational videos is on the rise. By providing informational snippets, the consumer can better understand what you have to offer.

The way you market your brand is essential to your business. By hiring a professional Internet marketing firm, you can ensure that your users know your value all the while increasing your business’ profitability. Our team of Internet marketing professionals at Windy City Strategies will work with you to develop an individualized business plan that fits your needs, whether it be from search engine optimization to web design, we can help.

How Much is Too Much?

There is a common belief that posting too much on social media networks can annoy a bands customers, ultimately driving them away.  However, hard data on this has not been available until now.

It turns out that although posting more often does have consequences, it is possible to post far more frequently on Facebook than many brands believe.

We start by looking at the response level per post, as increasing numbers of posts are made per day.  The response level at each Posting Frequency is represented as a percentage of the response received when a brand only posts once in a day:  Response Per Post drops off markedly as more posts are made.

When a brand posts twice a day, those posts only receive 57% of the likes and 78% of the comments per post.  The drop-off continues as more posts are made in the day.

Response per Post is important because it impacts your engagement levels.  It is the Response Per Day, rather than Per Post, that represents the total amount of interaction a brand is having with its consumers, and is representative of the total amount of touch-points they have to get across their marketing message.

So next we look at what happens to the total response, or response per day, as the Posting Frequency increases:  There is no significant change in Total Response as the Posting Frequency increases.

Interestingly enough, although the response per post decreases, the total amount of response stays more or less steady as posting frequency increases.

What to take from this:

  1. Be aware that response per post does decrease with posting frequency, and with this your visibility via Edgerank will be decreased.

  2. If done with careful monitoring, it is certainly possible to post quite frequently on Facebook without upsetting your audience.

  3. Regardless of how often you post, your content has to be relevant and interesting to your audience.

  4. Increase posting frequency with care and use analytics to find the posting frequency that is right for you.

Windy City Strategies provides online marketing services for local to large businesses.  Let us drive calls and conversion to your website today.