Setting up an Ideal Digital Marketing Budget

Setting up an Ideal Digital Marketing Budget

Advertising plays a huge part of the American economy. As technology grows, along with the goods and services that come with it, so does the number of advertisements as well as marketing tactics. Digital marketing tactics have taken in the lions share of the advertising budget.   In fact, marketing is a growing service industry, based on the growing demand for advertising. In 2018, “digital ad spending has surpassed the $100 billion mark.” So, if anyone wants their business to grow, the business owner needs to invest in a proper marketing budget with digital marketing added in the mix. But how much are business owners are expected to spend on their marketing budget? Where should they allocate the funds, and how effective can a proper marketing budget be? Let’s investigate.digital marketing budget

What is an Average Digital Marketing Budget?

There is no specific cap on how much a company spends on advertising or marketing. It often relies on different variables such as the size of the company, how long it has been participating in the market place, its current financial situation, and the audience they are targeting.  There are also different methods that businesses can determine their marketing budget.

Percentage of Sales Model

One way to determine it is by allocating a specified percentage of sales revenue to the marketing budget. This is more popular with corporations and businesses who are firmly established, but the basic principle is easy to understand.

The CFO or Financial advisor for the company allocates a percentage of funds from last year’s profit back to the advertising budget.

Smaller businesses range often from 12%-20%. On average though, the allocation for larger businesses run from 9%-12%.

This is because larger company brands are often so well known, that they do not need to spend as much money on advertising.

If your company makes more money in sales, then more money is added to the budget by default of the percentage. This tactic is often utilized to prevent the depletion of the sales budget from unnessecarry spending.

Flat-Dollar Approach

If you are starting independently, or you just don’t want to deal with difficult math, then the dollar approach might be for you.

These dollar amounts come from the mindset of what a business can afford. This is good for one time expenses, or short term marketing plans.

Digital marketing, as a rule of thumb, shouldn’t cost as much as traditional avenues. However, it is not hard to spend a lot of money on paid advertising. The dollar amount will help you keep track and put a cap on what you are willing to pay.

Matching Competition

This method of creating a marketing budget based on the business plan of a competitor. While it is useful for comparison, it is often a terrible idea when scale is not taken into account.

For instance, if a small store tried to compete with Walmart’s advertising budget, they will go bankrupt quickly. You need to not just look at what your competition is spending, but how it is being used.  Check for effectiveness more than dollar signs.

If you want the right amount of bang for your digital marketing buck, you want to invest in these three things:

 

Where Should the Money Go in a Digital Marketing Budget?

digital marketing sales chart

Content Marketing: I have seen it time and again. A website that makes no content for their audience is going to be virtually ignored by everyone and Google. If you want to be seen on the first page of any search engine, you want to at least invest in giving people a reason to view and enjoy your website.

If you don’t think you can blog yourself, you can always hire a blogger to do the writing for you.

Social Media and Influencers:  I am not talking exactly about Facebook Ads. Just like content marketing, people want a reason to see a social media account. They want to fall in love with a personality, not be sold a product by a complete stranger. The more open you are about your business on social media, the more likely you will get a lot of engagement. Especially from future customers. Invest in Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media brand that you think your business can benefit from. If you want to do it yourself, that’s great! If you don’t, you can hire other influencers that might like your brand.

Tracking: If you know what works, and what doesn’t, you are more likely able to gain and keep more customers. And the best way to do that is to keep track. If you keep track, you can know what was most effective, and when to stop or keep promoting a product or an event.

If you want to know about this and more, contact us or visit our site @ www.purpletieguys.com

By |2019-04-16T15:21:47-05:00April 16th, 2019|Post|0 Comments

Why Do Some Local Businesses Hate Digital Marketing in Huntsville, Al?

Why Do Some Local Businesses Hate Digital Marketing in Huntsville, Al?

Have you ever tried to convince someone to see your point of view about a subject? Maybe you found yourself in a position of convincing someone to buy a product or a service. It certainly isn’t an easy prospect. It is doubly hard when a person or a group of people have a preconceived notion based on a reputation behind your product or service. Sometimes that reputation is a deserved one from previously poor business practice. Other times, potential clients might have been burned by other people in your profession some time ago. Nevertheless, you find yourself in an uphill battle trying to change their negative perception of you. Digital marketing in Huntsville, Al, while new and exciting to larger businesses, is skeptically perceived by the local business sphere. Especially if they have been established for a long time.

Why? What is it about digital marketing, or any form of new marketing, that sounds threatening or disadvantageous? In order to crack the mystery, we need to look into the mindset of these people who perceive digital marketing as a threat.

 

The Perceived Threats Behind Change

According to The State Of Local Marketing Report 2019, a study by BrandMuscle, “A disappointing 11% of local retail partners “aren’t interested in marketing and don’t make it a priority,” What’s more, few partners rank very high on the marketing maturity scale. Of those polled, 47% are disengaged, 42% are developing, 8% are equipped, 2% are executing and 1% are optimizing.”That is a little less than half of the local business sphere. What gives? Why do a lot of businesses not feel the need to engage in a form of advertising that is cheap, fair, and gets results?

Some of it has to do with a very fundamental human fear. The fear of sudden change.

technophobia, digital marketing in huntsville, alabama

Loss of Familiarity

Whether people realize it or not, we are creatures of habit. We like the familiar because we find it comforting, safe, and keeps us in control. While we do crave a variety of things once in a while, the basic standard for human behavior is to crave the familiar. According to Psychology Today, “Generally speaking, things that are familiar are likely to be safer than things that are not. If something is familiar, we have clearly survived exposure to it, and our brain, recognizing this, steers us towards it.”

Loss of Personal Pride

Another reason that might make local companies hesitant about addressing digital marketing in Huntsville, AL is personal pride. This is the sort of thing that we are all guilty of from time to time. If we already feel like we are handling our own business, we are less likely to want others to interfere. Because someone from the outside is urging a change in business habits, they are, in the minds of the business owner, discrediting their past accomplishments. “When change involves a big shift of strategic direction, the people responsible for the previous direction dread the perception that they must have been wrong.” Explains Harvard Business Review “Change is resisted when it makes people feel stupid … [People] might express skepticism about whether the new software version will work or whether digital journalism is really an improvement, but down deep they are worried that their skills will be obsolete. ”

Increase of Perceived Challenges and Threats

Change is not easy. It is an uncomfortable process that requires a lot of excess work and mitigated risk-taking. “Change is resisted because it hurts. When new technologies displace old ones, jobs can be lost; prices could be cut; investments could be wiped out. ” This puts people into a very uncomfortable situation. Especially when digital marketers introduce new technology to a client. This is where the utmost patience is required from people pitching digital marketing in Huntsville, Al.  That combined with complete transparency is crucial if you want people to get on board.

 

The Negative Reputation of Marketers

Another reason that local businesses are more hesitant to embrace the concept of digital marketing in Huntsville, AL, is the stereotype surrounding marketers and advertisers. It is not easy to get people to buy your line of work as a necessity when the people you are trying to convince thinks you are the devil incarnate.  This obstacle is a byproduct of several things all of which winds up hurting business owners, target audiences, and marketers alike.

 Abuse of Outbound Marketingpyramid scheme, digital marketing in Huntsville, AL

As someone who receives at least 7 or so bot calls a day, I absolutely understand why people hate it so much. It offers little to nothing for the client, it is an invasion of privacy, and it distracts you from the rest of your day. Outbound marketing is a marketing technique in which a company advertises to everyone under the sun. This includes cold calling, trade shows, email blasts, and purchase lists. Companies, advertisers, con artists, political campaigns, robots, and all sorts of other groups invasively interrupt thousands of people just to get maybe one or two solid leads, and even then, it isn’t a guarantee that it will work.  Thanks, but no thanks.

Abuse of the Term Marketing

If you were to ask any layman about the definition of marketing, you will get varied responses. There are a few older generations that think of door to door salesmen. Others think of telemarketers right off the bat. Then there is the Mary Kay and Lu-La Roe companies that do famous Multi-level-Marketing or (MLM) schemes. For stores, it is setting up a table or window display.  Usually, though, people think of salesmen who are slick, dishonest and are certainly willing to con a dollar or two off of friends, family, and complete strangers.

This is because both laymen and salesmen, marketing has become a catch-all term to mean sales. This is thanks to the need for shady businesses on both a corporate and local level to clean up language for their personal benefit. A “pyramid scheme” for example becomes “multi-level marketing” because it disassociates itself from a terrible business practice through rebranding.

 

Conclusion – Con Artists and Personal Insecurities are Getting in Our Way

This is what makes the job harder than usual. Convincing someone to embrace something new is difficult, sure. However, combining that hesitancy with our reputation smeared by con artists, and you get a cocktail of difficulty.  There is something we can do, however, to change the mindsets of local businesses in regards to the presence of digital marketing in Huntsville, AL. We will cover it soon. If you like this and you want to know more about our company you can check out our site: https://www.purpletieguys.com

By |2019-04-03T15:50:37-05:00April 3rd, 2019|Post, SEO|Comments Off on Why Do Some Local Businesses Hate Digital Marketing in Huntsville, Al?

Internet Marketing Talk : What is a Marketing Mix

Internet Marketing Talk: What is a Marketing Mix?

While Purple Tie Guys are mostly disciplined in the form of internet marketing, we do acknowledge that there is an appropriate time and place for traditional marketing formats. But why? Shouldn’t we, as a digital company, discourage or at least underplay the use of traditional media marketing. Honestly, to dismiss a traditional avenue of marketing promotion entirely would be shortsighted. That is because any marketer worth their paycheck knows to keep their options open when coming up with a compatible marketing mix. What is a marketing mix, and when does a traditional marketing format come into play over the internet marketing version?

marketing mix, internet marketingThe Basics of a Marketing Mix

A marketing mix is a combination of 4 “P’s”.  They are product, price, place, and promotion. While there are oftentimes debate over just how many p’s to add in the term, the average consensus is just the 4.  In a perfect world, a marketer will have control over all four of the “p'”s. But, oftentimes, the job of the marketer is limited to the demands and resources that the client has available to them.

Aside: In my experience, marketers have little control over the actual product or the price because that is oftentimes already determined by the client. Unless you are in charge of creating your own products or are working with a company from concept to execution, marketers might not even have any control over 2 of the 4 P’s in place. However, I will still include product and price, because they are still viable strategies when it comes to adjustment in the marketing mix.

 

Product

This part of the marketing mix can range from a tangible good to an intangible service. It is the feature that is going to be promoted. And if you have any hope of promoting it to the right people for the right purpose, you need to understand it inside and out. That means a thorough examination of the product or service itself. Usually, it is best to apply a Socratic line of questioning to at least get a grasp of what it is and who it is meant for.

A few of these questions include:

  • What can a customer expect to get from this product/ service?
  • What features does it have to meet customer needs?
    • Are there any features you’ve missed out?
    • Is there a reason why that feature is missing in the first place?
    • Are you including features that the customer won’t actually use?
    • Is it breaking the bank for both the customer and the manufacturer?
    • Did the development of the product or service go through the proper legal channels and regulations?
  • How and where will the customer use it?
  • What does it look like? How will customers experience it?
  • What size(s), color(s), and so on, should it be?
  • How is it going branded?
  • How can you differentiate it from the competition?

 

Price

This part of the marketing mix can be determined even less by an internet marketing company or a traditional one. This is simply due to the fact that value is determined by the consensus of the market place and the inclusion of tax fees from the local and federal government. However, the adjustments can be made to affect the clientele’s perception of pricing appropriateness.

For example, you might want to charge a little lower if the target demographic you are aiming for is a bargain bin hunter. Or, you might charge more, just to increase the perception of importance/ necessity to a potential client. What’s more, some people are more willing to buy an item that visually appears cheaper.  In spite of the fact, it is objectively the same price across the board. $12.99 just looks better to some people than $13.00.

Also, if you are just dying to move product because there is damage to the packaging, then you can clearance it out, and still have a shot of moving a product that you previously had little chance of moving before.

This is because price sensitivity changes from client to client because their mindsets vary according to the situation. Just be observant and figure out the behavior of your buyers for a more effective sales tactic.

 

Promotion

This one is the one that most people come to marketers for in general. Promotion is about: What the message is, the way it is given to an audience, and the likelihood it is to entice a person.

Most marketers utilize something like demography to figure out what medium their target audience is most likely using. There is also the matter of timing, which is the right point the message should be heard, and how often that target audience should hear it.  After all, people get annoyed FAST when they start seeing Christmas promotions around August on their television screens. It is a delicate balance of finding where your target market is, analyzing their habits, and relaying the message in the correct way to garner a positive result.

Aside: If your client is unwilling to budge on timing, avenue, or even the message, especially if you have shown them your research, then there is really no point in working for them. There is at least a fiscal argument to Price. The argument for Product comes from the fact that it’s already mostly developed to the point of inflexibility. However, if the rigidity extends to the point where they are insistent that they know what they are doing, there is no point in leading that horse to water anymore.

 

Place

This one is about product distribution more than anything else. After all, you don’t want people just to see the advertising. You also want to make sure the product is just as easily distributed.  Even if the product is abstract, like a web service, if you are unable to provide what you claim to have or keep channels of communication open about its development, you are going to look like a con artist.

So, take the time to figure out where your target market is getting the stuff from. How easy can you distribute the product to other people? What is a cost-effective way to distribute your product?  Should it appear easily available to a large public, or should it appear specialized and scarce? This is the part where the magic happens. If you can’t give your customers a good impression of your product or service, you are not going to be able to keep their money for long.

 

Conclusion

Whether you are an internet marketing company or a traditional entity, the best you can do is to look at the situation from all angles.  The 4 P’s are certainly a good start. However, you need to go above and beyond if you want serious results. That usually involves putting yourself in the shoes of your client. Or humbling yourself to ask questions and get insight from others.

www.purpletieguys.com

By |2019-03-22T17:39:16-05:00March 22nd, 2019|Post|Comments Off on Internet Marketing Talk : What is a Marketing Mix

Digital Marketing -What Are You Really Selling?

Digital Marketing -What Are You Really Selling?

As someone who has immersed themselves in a world of traditional and digital marketing, I have certainly picked up a few surprising things. I have learned to glean over data, look for retention, find what works and what doesn’t, and look into the latest in how technology is playing a role in things like implicit and explicit advertising.

But what intrigues me is the core of it all. What are marketers, digital or not, really selling? A lot of people assume that marketing and sales involve just getting the product to the consumer. From point a to point b. But if it was that easy, we wouldn’t have an entire study industry devoted to the concept. So, what is digital marketing? What makes it part of our culture on the Web?

 

Digital Marketing is Accessibility

digital marketingI might be showing my age a little bit, but I remember a time before the Internet got big. My only access to the world before then was through documentaries on television and books, usually encyclopedias. Those pictures of faraway places like China, Argentina, and Kenya were more or less limited to my imagination.

But when the internet was becoming more mainstream, I was giddy, if not outright enthusiastic, because I was able to talk to people from so far away. I made friends, got into arguments, and offered support to people that were literally on the opposite ends of the country. I even talked to people from other parts of the world that I always wanted to go to. It was risky, very risky. But it still opened a whole new world of possibilities.

And I will be forever grateful for it.

Now, if some random person can gain access to people, places, and ideas that they have never heard of, what do you think the possibilities could be for an advertising group? If a digital marketing company makes it big, chances are, they not only had financial backing but also the flexibility of time, location, and new ideas on their side.

However, involvement is no guarantee of success either. After all, the internet is a ridiculously critical place, because EVERYONE has access. Meaning…

 

Digital Marketing Demands Creativity and Willingness to Keep Pace

One of the most frustrating thing that seems to butt heads with traditional marketing groups that have long been established, is that they can’t rely on the same tactics and messaging over and over again and expect different results.

While people are for the most part, habitual in their day to day activities, that does not mean that they don’t get sick and tired of being told to buy the exact same thing, at the exact same place, in the exact same way over and over again. Even though people in groups may be easily lead, individuals are getting smarter. They work harder to pick up on when someone is selling to them, and what is actually in it for them.  What’s more, software, hardware, and algorithms are constantly changing in the world of technology. If you cannot catch up to any of it, you will be left behind.

Successful digital marketing cannot rely on laziness or complacency. The only thing that a company or a marketing group can do to shake things up is to at least alter the message, the format, or the product.

If you can do all that and keep up with the changes in technology, you will no doubt be ahead of the pack.

But how does a digital marketing company, miss the mark completely? What if they are missing the mark in communicating with the primary users of the latest technology, the youth? How do you even communicate with those Millenials and Aught’s anyway?

 

Digital Marketing Demands Sincerity in Message and Practice

The values of these two market demographics are vastly different if not outright incompatible with the messaging tactics of yesterday. For starters, these two generations are demanding something gen z, digital marketingthat exists way outside of the realm of traditional advertising sensibilities, authenticity. In the latest complaints about Instagram ads from its primary users, (ages 25-34), the biggest included:

  •  62% of those displeased with adverting in survey stating that, influencer content ‘takes advantage of impressionable audiences’.
  • 55% stated that aspirational posts were ‘too materialistic’.
  • 54% of that group said influencers ‘misrepresented real life’.

This is a far cry from the assertion from older generations that claim that the latest generation is more narcissistic than ever. If anything, they are the exact opposite. And they put their money where their mouth is.  According to Mckinsey.com, this implies three things that are up and coming for the digital marketing world with Gen Z as their target audience, “Companies should be attuned to three implications for this generation: consumption as access rather than possession, consumption as an expression of individual identity, and consumption as a matter of ethical concern.” This means that brands should expect to share a level of authenticity and demonstrate a level of ethics that is far past the comfort zone of previous generations.

 

Digital Marketing Belongs to the Young

So just tying a brand to an event or paying lip service will not cut it anymore. Especially not to the first generation that grew up as “digital natives”. This probably outright terrifies brands and marketers who are very much used to navigating a traditional landscape in Gen X territory. Because it is vastly opposite to Gen X-er values.

It means doing an exact 180 degree turn around in digital marketing strategies and even branding. And not all companies are going to be willing to adapt. That is probably why there is so much negative pushback between established forms of marketing and media vs newer formats today. They both embrace the opposite values. Because the old values of status, materialism, and competition are slowly dying out in favor of uniqueness, authenticity, and cooperation, they know that their days are numbered.

 

Conclusion

And it is certainly interesting to watch as the field of digital marketing keeps growing.  We have seen so many changes in the past two decades alone in both the technological and marketing landscapes.  Either way, Digital marketing has become a lot of things to a lot of people. It is accessibility. It is creativity and the spirit of change. Most importantly, it is diversity and sincerity.

 

If you want more advice or are looking for a Digital Marketer in the Decatur, Alabama area, give us a call!

www.purpletieguys.com

By |2019-03-17T12:49:55-05:00March 17th, 2019|Post|Comments Off on Digital Marketing -What Are You Really Selling?

Local SEO and Service Based Companies without Physical Locations

Local SEO and Service Based Companies

Marketers, search engine wizards, and techies alike understand the concept of search engine optimization or SEO. As a practice, SEO is an organic, long-term set of consistent actions that increases web visibility for specific sites. However, when it comes to local search engine results or local SEO, it can get a little hairy. It comes with the key word of that phrase, “local”. Small service-based companies, especially ones that don’t have a ‘brick and mortar’ base of operations, or have multiple locations, often find themselves frustrated with lack of acknowledgment as a legitimate business by everyone. If you aren’t in a business bureau listing or if you don’t have the brand recognition of a franchisee, it is all too easy for a small service-based business to look illegitimate. Especially to someone like their customer base.

That is why so many small service-based businesses, rely on the internet for connections, advertising, and revenue.  However, because there are so many people who are relying on the internet as they are starting out, it is far too easy for broken promises, lousy service, and outright scammy behavior.

So, what can a legitimate service-based business do to gain awareness from their potential clientele locally? And, what is the right/ wrong way to go about it? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

local seo

Be Mindful of Presentation

First impressions are everything, whether we like it or not. You cannot claim to know or have something without some sort of evidence to back it up. So, if you want to make sure your clients, and Google are less likely to turn you away, you need to put the extra effort in the visual aesthetic of your promotional materials. Whether it is a website or a printed out sign, you want to give a unified and comprehensive message about what service you offer.

So, don’t be sloppy when you are trying to advertise your local service based business on and offline. Ask a professional, or someone who is good at spotting details to make sure the message you want to send is the right one.

In terms of Local SEO, make sure that your information is relevant to what you offer in the immediate area. Talk about what your business entails and show visible examples of your training. This will increase the likelihood of a client picking up your company for a job.  Also, check to make your your website and social media is updated, and easy for others to navigate.  Google give you a small boost in both local and non-local search rankings if your site is easy for people to both navigate and understand.

 

Aside:

It is absolutely important that you want to put your best foot forward. But you also don’t want give off the impression of inauthenticity. If you are trying to promise something that you can’t deliver, or if you are trying to “cheat” the system both on and offline, you will pay in the long term. That can look like a Google penalty online, or a lawsuit/ out of business sign offline.

 

Keep a Constant Online and Offline Presence in the Local Sphere

The advantage of not having a physical location, is that you can go anywhere. You can make appointments at any place, with any person, at any time. The world is your oyster. However, the minute you stop meeting with people, networking, and making yourself visible, you are much more likely going to be completely and utterly forgotten.  The same principle works online as well as offline.  If you keep your website updated, reach others through social media, and keep your information updated, you will receive a higher priority for Local SEO rankings. However, if you leave it sitting on its own and do nothing to draw attention to your business site, and avoid listing your location to match for relevant searches, you are going to be much less likely to get a positive rating or attention from google algorithms.

 

Pay Attention to Accuracy in Local Listings

local seoIf you are working from home with a P.O Box, or if you have multiple locations and only one building, do not attempt to add a listing for a location that isn’t there.  Google Maps is first and foremost about the accurate indexing of physical locations. If Maps sends direction to a location that is not there, it looks bad for them. Especially, to anyone who is relying on Maps for credible information. Because Google wants people using it to trust them for information, it cannot afford to send out bad information in the name of advertising.  So if you go out of your way to falsify a location listing you will not only be penalized but will also lose out on the time and money that you spent trying to get it on there in the first place.

Some of the things that you can do instead, according to Miriam Ellis at MOZ is :

 1) Go after organic rankings for that city via the authority you build surrounding website content+links for that city.

2) Pay for visibility with locally-targeted PPC.

3) Use social media to try to build brand awareness for your work in that city.

4) Do everything you can to encourage word-of-mouth among existing customers. Customers in your location have friends and family elsewhere. Make a superior effort to offer the type of superior service that would cause the your customers to recommend your services to others. Consider how loyalty programs might assist with this. Perhaps every customer who brings you a new customer gets a voucher for a free dinner, free massage, etc.

5) Explore building relationships with related businesses in a nearby local location you are trying to break into. Perhaps your company does everything but bake the cake for weddings. Find the best bakers in City B and see how you can help one another in terms of lead generation.

 

Conclusion

If you are accurate with the information you have, are mindful of your presentation, and are actively communicating with your clientele, then you will no doubt see your service based business and your Local SEO search results grow. Just put yourself out there and make a conscious effort. If you don’t know about something like Local SEO, you can always ask us at www.purpletieguys.com.

By |2019-03-11T17:01:57-05:00March 11th, 2019|Post|Comments Off on Local SEO and Service Based Companies without Physical Locations

Local Citations are Important for your Business

Local Citations are Important for Your Business

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Local businesses are not exactly at the top of the food chain when it comes to profit. With the rise of remote shopping through the internet and the one-stop-shop corporate giants like Walmart and Costco, there is little space for local business models to survive. It also doesn’t help that these sites and large corporations have a financial advantage. In fact, they have the resources to advertise to as many people, through any media format, as much as they want. It almost seems unfair.   Is there even a fighting chance for a local business?

The good news is that with a little creativity, know-how, and patience, there are a few ways that you can spread awareness of your business. And with little cost to you. Businesses can gain notoriety through a combination of local and digital word of mouth. And the best way to do that is to utilize local citations.

What are Local Citations?

According to Moz, “A local citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number for a local business. Citations can occur on local business directories, on websites and apps, and on social platforms. Citations help Internet users to discover local businesses and can also impact local search engine rankings. Local businesses can actively manage many citations to ensure data accuracy.”

So any time a phone number, business name, address, etc are on a website listing, then search engines counts that listing in Google’s favor.

For instance, if you are running an auto repair shop and someone mentions your business on a Facebook post , you are more likely going to show up on a local search for “auto repair shop”.

Are There Different Kinds of Local Citations?

There are multiple types of citations, some of which involve participation from different types of people in different formats. With a few positive interactions and time set aside for listing your business, you can get the ball rolling on getting your business prioritized in relevant Google search results.

 

  • Major Local Business Data Platform- This is the first kind of local citation that I am going to address. This is the kind of local citation that is done by the business themselves. These platforms are websites with the sole purpose of listing businesses for people who are looking for them. Examples of these include: Google My Business, Angie’s List, Yelp, Insider Pages, etc.

 

  • Geo/Industry-Specific Platforms– This is the kind of local citation that delves further into specifics. If the major local business platform like a yellow page phone book of businesses, then this platform would be the white page equivalent.  Listings for a specific business type, like medical treatment centers, or churches fall under this category. It is the same for listings under a specific location like a town site or a chamber of commerce page.  You might need third party approval if you want to make a listing on a site like this.

 

  • Social Media and the Wider Web – This local citation is the sort that cannot be a result of any business owner or financial influence. It is the result of the attention of other independent users. This sort of citation can only be a product of a customer with interest in your business. This can come in the form of blog posts, social media responses, personal reviews, and press releases. If they like or hate your business enough, word will spread on the internet.  If you want to help the process along, you can always communicate with your customers in person.

 

Ways to Make Local Citations Work for You

There are a right way and a wrong way to list your business online. After all, information, whether on the internet or in real life, needs a clear understanding between both parties sharing it. If you want a better chance at local search results for your business, follow this advice.

  • Make sure that your listings and citations are accurate.
    • If you don’t want your customers in confusion about your location or your contact information, keep your information consistent.  If you think there is any chance that there is something wrong with a listing, get it fixed.  Or, if there has been a major shift in location or contact information, get it fixed. Get everything corrected on all of your citation listings as soon as possible.

 

  • Treat your citations as case or symbol sensitive.
    • Machines that have a programming language that is rigid in structure. While a human can see a symbol as a substitute for a word, a computer will only see the symbol and read it as is.  That is why it is important to keep the local citation listings as exact as possible, so the algorithms won’t discount them on accident.
    • Example: “And”, “-“, and “&” are read and translated as different symbols by the machine, even though our brains might all reinterpret it to mean the word “and”.

 

local citations

More Local Citation Tips

 

  • Cite as much as possible in as many different places as possible.
    • There is a fine line between repetition and spamming in the Google Algorithm. All of it has to do with placement. If a listed phone number or business name has been repeated over and over in one location, chances are this will be interpreted as an unwanted repeated message or spam. Diversify where you list your information and you are much less likely to be a subject of Google penalization.

 

  • Contextualize your citations.
    • If you simply offer information without any relevance or context to the subject matter at hand, this will also be a red flag of suspicion by Google algorithms.  You don’t want someone to offer their lawn care service to interrupt a conversation between you and a friend when you tell them you are looking for a baby sitter. It comes out of nowhere and has no context or bearing on what you are looking for. The same applies to citations on Google. Don’t cite your information unless it is relevant to your service, business, or customer base.

 

If you want to read more of this sort of thing, check out our website www.purpletieguys.com.

 

By |2019-02-28T14:40:48-05:00February 28th, 2019|Post, SEO|Comments Off on Local Citations are Important for your Business

Google Penalties

Google Penalties – Prevention and Recovery

Imagine that you are setting up a new website. You worked hard on it, and you want everyone to see it as fast as possible on Google. You might have limited on time, or you might just be ignorant of the SEO process. Either way, you hear that there is a guaranteeable way for your website to be at the top of Google search results within days. At first, everything turns out great! You are at the top of the search results for keywords you want and more people notice your site! Then, you wake up one morning to find that your site is gone.  None of the results are panning out. Y What happened?

Google is a search engine site that exists primarily for the purposes of helping people find what they need when looking for something specific. It relies on a system of indexing that requires accuracy and ease of access for people who are searching for information. If a site is indexed properly, they get higher on the search result list. If a site uses tactics that appear to be “cheating” or playing the system, it will suffer Google penalties. I suppose Google giveth and Google taketh away.

seo marketing, google updatesWhat are Google Penalties?

When Google penalties are afoot, your site will be much lower on Google search results. It is sort of an ironic punishment for people who are trying to “game” the system or take short cuts. Since Google was first created there are countless ways for people to try and cheat the system. At the same time, there are multiple ways that Google penalties were enacted and developed in response to cheaters.

So, what are the ways that Google penalizes cheaters?

There are two ways that Google serves penalties: Algorithmically and Manually.

Algorithmic Penalties

An algorithm is basically a program that runs one or more tasks automatically, based on a set of pre-written instructions on the behest of the person or people who worked on the code. Google is famous for them simply because it is much faster and efficient to use when it comes to checking the integrity of related links vs human intervention. Of course, algorithms still suffer from limitations due to the hyper-specific nature of the code. An algorithm can only work within the parameters that it is given in the first place.

For instance, If an algorithm is supposed to crawl all over the internet for signs of a broken link, then it will only catch and penalize broken links, and not any other violation, like a misdirect. A few famous ones over the years include:

  • Panda: Google Panda is all about vetting content. In this scenario, it checks websites to make sure there is enough relevant content on a website. If the content is not relevant or just bad quality, they will push it down the search result list. If the content is informative and relevant, the site gets more priority on the search results list.
  • Penguin: The Penguin update focuses on the “black and white” viewpoint of policing the internet.  It was released to catch sites that were keyword and link spamming its search results, either through buying and spamming people with unrelated content.
  • Hummingbird: Hummingbird is an algorithm focusing on each word in a query. It contextualizes the definition of words and applies them to the query. This adds a level of nuance to the search engine.
  • Pidgeon: Much like it’s animal counterpart, the homing pigeon, Google’s Pidgeon algorithm focuses on filtering search results based on location.

These algorithms along with others do their jobs with impunity and impartiality.

Manual Google Penalties

Of course, machines alone can’t run Google. There needs to be a level of human oversight in case an algorithm comes across Google Penaltya function it does not understand or people are contesting with their judgment. This is where manual penalization or “manual action” comes in.

The impact a manual action has on your site can vary. It often depends on the severity of the website misconduct. Also, just a side note for those who think large corporations get away with doing said misconduct…they really don’t. Surprisingly, sites like Overstock.com, BMW.com, and even its own company Google Chrome, got penalized for behavior that didn’t seem on the up and up. No one is immune from search engine scrutiny.

There are ways for you to rectify the things that they are looking for. It all boils down to whether or not you are willing to make the changes necessary to fix it.

Google can penalize your website for :

 This would be most likely a scheme on the part of the web developer. Basically, an unnatural link is an outside link to your site that appears unrelated or just exists to artificially inflate your page ranking. If you get caught, they will penalize you for it.

This wouldn’t be the fault of the site owner. However, the measure is a precaution to prevent the spreading of possible malware and computer viruses to visitors to your site. Once you repair the website and you tell Google, they will take back the penalties.

Naturally, this is exactly what it sounds like. If you have little in the way of written content or text, you are not going to be prioritized. This is due to the fact that visitors are just likely not to stick around a page that long with little content.

This one is also self-explanatory. If you are sending unwelcome messages to people and are blocking content access behind advertisements you are harassing users, plain and simple. Just avoid this practice altogether if you want your website to not suffer a Google penalty.

 This one is more for large messaging formats like forums or comment sections. Basically, when users are trolling or are offering inane or dangerous commentary for no reason but the “Lulz”,  your website will pay the penalty for it. If you aren’t up to date on the security behind the comment section or the forums, your site will pay the consequences.

If you disguise your link that will send the user to the wrong spot on a website, then you are cloaking. Just avoid doing this altogether.

Before Google was mainstream enough to start looking into security and algorithms, people would try to cheat the system often. One of their favorite ways to do it was to spam as many keywords as possible, relevant and irrelevant. These days, the algorithm catches it. Every time. This is so old that not even twelve-year-olds try it anymore. Just don’t disguise or spam your content.

No website host is free. And if they say they are, they are obviously lying. They just surround your sites with as much ad space as possible to the point where there is too much spam. Just pay for a simple drag and drop site if you need one cheap.

If you have too much incorrect information, missing data, or broken links, the site will look like the user stopped maintaining it. If you want to be visible again, clean up the site and make sure everything leads to the right place.

www.purpletieguys.com

By |2019-02-19T16:11:41-05:00February 19th, 2019|Post|Comments Off on Google Penalties

Facebook Marketing: Where is the Line?

Facebook Marketing: Where is the Line?

Facebook has seen a tumultuous time for the last couple of years. There has been hearings, investigations, interviews, accusations, apologies, and drama. So, it is understandable that the idea of marketing on any social media platform, including Facebook, would not look appealing. Especially for smaller businesses who do not have a lot of money on their hands for paid forms of advertising. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about marketing your business on Facebook, or Facebook marketing. If you know what to expect from the attitudes of Facebook users, you will start to get more comfortable with using the platform. So, let’s talk about the climate of Facebook, its users, and what is okay and not okay when it comes to Facebook marketing.

How Facebook Works

How to get local SEO in Huntsville, Al

On the user side of Facebook, information is freely offered to the platform to create an account. This way, people who may have a pre-existing relationship with this person or may have a similar interest can connect. The amount of information that exists on the profile is determined by the amount of information people are willing to give.  Once they connect with others, they will have them on a friend’s list with recommendations based on mutual friendships.

Facebook also pays attention to the things you like, offers you click on, and what you share. Then, it uses this information to make recommendations or delivered sponsored content. This money that is paid to Facebook by advertisers is what keeps Facebook free charge for users.

When it works, the companies that advertise of facebook makes advertising revenue and everybody wins. Users have a fun, “free” product to use that offers them stuff they actually like, Facebook and its shareholders get money, and Advertising companies get a profit from advertising online to enough people who want to buy their goods and services.

All in all, it looks like there is a three-way symbiotic relationship between the user, Facebook, and third-party companies.

So, what is the problem? Why are users so concerned about privacy and what makes the Facebook marketing landscape more difficult for small and large businesses alike?  The answer to that question has to do with the ethics of data collecting and social media interactions.

Facebook Marketing and Gathering Data for Company Use

If an advertiser or someone in Facebook Marketing isn’t satisfied with just making money from ad generated leads, they will try to compile their own data for ways to make more money. The more facebook marketing surveyinformation that they can get about the people that buy their products or use their services, the better they can outdo their market competition. After all, what company wouldn’t want more success than their competitors with insider knowledge of their demographic?

Due to the sudden boom in technology,  new situations are presenting themselves that haven’t come up before. This leads to a few questions about the role of technology, how much data third parties should be allowed to gather, and respect for user privacy.

The best that lawmakers and ethicists have to go off of comes from the concept of personal autonomy and consent. If someone gives information freely to another person and knows where the data is going, that is an ethical form of data gathering. If someone is taking information from an unknowing party, whether for the purposes of Facebook marketing or for identity theft, it is an unethical move.

Consensual Information Gathering

Sometimes, they go through routes that are clear to the users like outright asking them questions about their preferences in surveys and polls.  This is perfectly ethical among marketers and businesses. This is because surveys and polling rely on the informed consent of the people participating in the survey. If a user doesn’t want to participate or wishes to remain anonymous, they have the right to refuse. There is no foul because the users have been given a choice about what information they are willing to share.

facebook marketing, facebook climateNon-Consensual Information Gathering

The polling and survey process has its drawbacks. Sometimes it is inefficient or too slow for companies to gather everything they need. So, they take it without asking. They do this by scraping. Users take a personality quizzes or some other amusement set up by these data collectors. Then, while that is going on another program that is attached to it gathers the private information of that user and their Facebook friends. Then that data is sold for profit to advertisers or any other willing buyer.

A scraping program that was intended for the purposes of academia gathered all that information and instead of applying it for their personal studies, they sold it to a political firm hired by President Trump.

The backlash was insane when people found out. Facebook some revenue and the number of users dropped quite a bit worldwide. Not enough to end the platform completely but certainly enough to gain attention to the stock market.

The Gray Area

When you make a new account for an app, you get a long contract of stipulations. This is a Term of Service Agreement.  They are made up of long paragraphs with sections and subsections with what the user is agreeing to the moment they sign up for any social media platform or software program. These paragraphs often state things about the information users agree to share. It also usually contains a promise from the user that they will not copy any of the code to make their own version of the program. It also grants the social media provider the right to use and profit off of user content whenever they see fit without compensating the user.  Wait, what?

Most of the time, people don’t bother to read the entire thing, and on some level, it isn’t their fault. The average American reads at an 8th-grade level.  That is about sufficient for reading labels for medication directions, but not for legal and binding contracts.

A lot of those contracts are written at a reading level of at least a college sophomore.  The use of the confusing language in these contracts is outright manipulative on the part of these social media creators. But it is still technically legal. They had a chance to inform themselves and didn’t. At least in the eyes of the law.

But people still agree to it without knowing what it says anyway just to use the platform. The contract is still considered legal and binding. It is still seen in the eyes of the law as legal and binding.

Conclusion

This combined with the Cambridge Analytica incident has created a lot of mistrust between users and the Facebook platform. This is the hurdle that Facebook Marketers will have to overcome. So, what can be done about it? How do Facebook marketers put users at ease? I will explain the series of steps in the next article.

www.purpletieguys.com

 

By |2019-01-31T15:38:28-05:00January 31st, 2019|Post|Comments Off on Facebook Marketing: Where is the Line?

What is Google Guaranteed Business?

What is Google Guaranteed Business?

We know that a lot of people use the internet more than ever before to make purchase and service decisions. Hell, we already know thanks to data available to the public that on average “the number of daily searches on Google – 3.5 billion, which equates to 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.” Google has changed the name of the game when it comes to gathering information and sharing it with the world. However, it has had its hiccups in the past. For instance, a lot of people weren’t thrilled when they were forced to make accounts on their social media just to comment on Youtube videos. Also, does everyone remember what happened to Google Glass?

Despite their failures, that does not mean that they aren’t going to try new ways to make money as any good company would. Their latest venture proves thatgoogle guaranteed business they are still ready to move forward to help their business, and the ones affiliated with them, grow. Google Guaranteed Businesses have been popping up in local maps. They are characterized by a small green shield, almost portraying a sense of endorsement towards this particular business.  It raises a couple of questions, “What is a Google Guaranteed Business?” “Can anyone become a Google Guaranteed Business?” “What sort of benefits and drawbacks does it have?” So, we are going to dig deep and find that out.

Google Local Service Ads

Before we start talking about a “Google Guaranteed Business” we need to understand the context that the term is framed. Without any context, it sounds like a Google-run business. While that sounds like the case and could possibly appear like an endorsement, this is farther from the truth.

It means that the local business has paid for advertising space under Google.

Google has been playing the advertising game for a good while. They launched their Adwords back in the year 2000, with 350 customers.  Adwords is a program that would prioritize businesses that used specific keywords on the top of the search engine page, providing that they paid for it.

Eventually, they started integrating their own map program. This both provided direction for users and offered recommendations based on a cross-section of keywords and what was in their local area.

This expanded into a service known as Google Local Service Ads. Businesses were pushed on the top of the search list for local maps provided that, yes, they paid for space with a specific keyword.

This is a sound business practice on the part of Google. Why? Because it has made them billions of dollars in revenue every year. However, these programs were not without its faults. This lead to frustration for the businesses that paid a lot of money for advertising, only for it to not pan out.

Flaws of Google Advertising

Google ads, at the end of the day, is a PPC (pay-per-click) system. This means that the advertising business pays money for each time a person clicks on their ad. While it does not initially sound like something that could be flawed, it needs to be understood that the customer pays for every click, not every conversion. This means that it is too easy to waste money, paying for people who click on the site. Regardless of the fact whether the business makes money from it or not.

Another issue that crops up with Google advertising is the fierce competition over the same keywords. If you are a small business and the term you are aiming for ,or the area you are advertising in is too broad, you will most likely be swallowed by the competition. The playing field is available to everyone, including multimillion-dollar corporations that can out easily out buy the competition.

It also doesn’t help that the best way to get any sort of ROI is to constantly watch, experiment, and gamble with a lot of time and money.

These have been consistent complaints through many Google Ad users, to the point where smaller businesses just don’t bother or walk away from sheer frustration.

google guaranteed business

But not only businesses have been frustrated.

There have been plenty of customers who have outright trained themselves to not click on the ads. Middle-aged to younger users are kids who have grown up with the internet. They have learned to associate the ads with scams or unwanted offers. There are even some businesses that advertise that aren’t even fully licensed. All a business needed to advertise, after all, is pay for it.  So, to avoid any risk of a virus or any unwanted misinformation, people don’t bother clicking.

But Google has taken notice. Most of their money comes from ad revenue. If local businesses are getting too frustrated by being possibly pushed out by the system, they would need to fix the system in order to get that money from revenue back. This is where Google Guaranteed Business came in.

Google Guaranteed Business

A Google Guaranteed Business is essentially business advertising insurance. This is a way for Google to step in and prevent too many advertising losses and service fraud.

How it Helps Customers

  • How it works is that Google vets the business that pays for their AdWords to make sure that the local business provides legitimate goods or services. They do this through” a strict screening process by Google including a background check, license, and insurance check as well as a screening of reviews and ratings.”
  • Any customer that works with a Google Guaranteed business and is not happy can submit a claim to Google.
  • Any job booked with a Google Guaranteed business has a money back guarantee. The work done by the businesses is guaranteed for up for $2,000.
  • Upon its initial launch, the services were only available for locksmiths and plumbers, the industries where past business fraud hit the hardest.

How it Helps Local Businesses

  • If businesses make it through the screening process then they are qualified to receive even further priority over Google’s traditional ads in the results list.
  • Google compensates any business dispute for up to $2,000. Businesses won’t always be out of pocket if a service goes south.
  • This form of advertising service is a pay per lead model. While businesses are responsible for turning them into customers, businesses are paying for direct results.
  • It creates a level of trust for customers. Google is staking their money and reputation on the behalf of the business.

 

www.purpletieguys.com

By |2019-01-25T13:56:40-05:00January 25th, 2019|Post|Comments Off on What is Google Guaranteed Business?

Gmail is the new AOL (but hear me out)

I was browsing through Medium.com earlier today and stumbled upon an article that perfectly explains what I’ve been trying to articulate for a very long time.

The year was 2005. I was a newly hired computer repair person that went into other businesses to help them with everyday computer stuff. Hook up this printer. I can’t connect to the internet. Why is my screen blank? Things of that nature. And I got called out to a LOT of businesses. And the first impression I had of any of them was their business card.

From that business card I could easily tell how much money the owners of the company put into their business. Here’s the benchmarks. High quality paper? Check. Interesting or memorable logo/wordmark? Check. And then, the last, but very crucial, thing. Email address. cardetailingforyou@aol.com. Nope. That’s a dead sign that either a) they aren’t putting as much into their business as they should, or b) they didn’t think that the internet was going to affect them in any measurable way.

That was 13 years ago.

Now, here we are in 2019, and business cards are, surprisingly, still a thing. And those benchmarks still hold true. Cards are made of a good material (we can do plastic and even metal cards now, woohoo!)? Check. Memorable or interesting logo/wordmark? They’re all starting to look a bit like iPhone app icons, but sure. Okay. Next. Email address. ThisIsASuperCoolCompany@gmail.com. Nope. Sorry. Not buying it.

From the article:

Let’s say you have a company XYZnABC. If I’m a customer, I expect your business card to tell me to contact you on your phone or by emailing you at supercoolperson@xyznabc.com (we can talk about websites some other time). If instead, your card shows an email address of supercoolpersonnotreally@gmail.com, then the deal’s over.

Again, show me through your email you’re invested in your job/business and product/service through putting in a little effort.

I 100% agree.

Take Rusty’s advice. Invest in a domain. It’s less than $100 a year. You’ll reap so many benefits from having it.

There. Now MY rant is done.

By |2019-01-18T15:03:51-05:00January 18th, 2019|Post|Comments Off on Gmail is the new AOL (but hear me out)