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New Client Announcement: Jeff Cowan’s Pro Talk

Steelsmith Group is pleased to announce a new client, Jeff Cowan’s Pro Talk, offering the number one service advisor training programs in North America. Jeff Cowan is committed to helping professionals maximize their automotive service sales opportunities, and he does so through online videos and webinars as well as in-person seminars and workshops.

When we first met with Jeff Cowan’s Pro Talk to understand their business and company needs, we identified quite a few areas in which our services can help Pro Talk to further succeed. The number one thing that Jeff Cowan’s Pro Talk needs Steelsmith Group’s help with is increasing quality traffic to their website. They also need a more current and well-built website design to convert the traffic on their site into leads. Other priorities for our work with Jeff Cowan’s ProTalk include promoting a visible, impressive and trustworthy professional reputation as well as an active and engaged social media presence. In addition to these efforts, Steelsmith Group’s team will produce regular, high quality, informative articles as blog posts in order to establish more quality partnerships with other industry leading websites.

For Jeff Cowan’s Pro Talk, we’re excited to redevelop their website, adding in SEO and PPC efforts to gain better online customer retention as well as better search engine rankings. We are also going to revamp the company’s email marketing campaign to keep their current and prospective clients informed on upcoming events, webinars, workshops, and deals.

The Steelsmith Group team is thrilled to work with Jeff Cowan’s Pro Talk to help them reach their business goals. Please feel free to learn more at AutomotiveServiceTraining.com, and check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

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The 5 Keys to Content Marketing

Content marketing can be tricky, but it’s well worth the time and effort. Content marketing isn’t so much about promoting your products and services, but it’s about communicating with potential and current customers and providing them with useful information. There are various ways to present content for your company, including blog posts, videos, white papers, e-books, case studies, infographics, and photos.

If you successfully curate compelling content for your company, you’ll build brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, and establish your business as an industry leader. When content marketing is correctly executed, companies can better engage with their target audiences in order to generate new, qualified leads and drive sales.

1. Engage your audience. If you’re producing content for your company, your main goal should be to engage both current and potential customers. Focus less on promoting your business and business news, and focus more on providing your audience with content worth reading and sharing. Understand your customers–who they are, what they do, what they care about, and why they need your services/products. Think about what questions they might have and what interests them. Your company’s content should provide useful and purposeful information. A way to be creative about producing your company’s content is to identify personas for your target audience. For instance, maybe one of your customer personas is Businessman Bob, who is very serious, gets straight to business, and only wants the facts, whereas maybe another customer persona is Indecisive Izzie, who gets overwhelmed by too many choices and needs to know how your services/products benefit her. Give it a try. Not only will it help you more fully imagine the audience of your content, but it can be a lot of fun too!

2. Make your content as easy to find as possible. When people visit your site, they should be able to easily and quickly find relevant content. If not, they’re likely to leave your site unimpressed and disappointed. That’s why the navigation of your website is so important. Your menu bar should be able to direct visitors to relevant information regarding your business. It’s also important that your website works properly on all platforms and devices, as it’s becoming much more common for consumers to not only search on their mobile devices but make purchases on them as well. In order to get visitors to your site in the first place, ensure it is optimized for search engines. Correctly executed SEO will help your site gain more relevant and organic visitors to your site, increasing your chances of conversions.

3. Ensure the sharability of your content. Make your content social. Not only will shared links to your content increase site visits, but it will increase your brand’s authority, making site visitors more trusting and open to purchase. Add social share widgets to your site, write compelling titles, share your own content across social media content, and most importantly, create quality content. Entertain your audience, and give them useful information. When you make it easy for visitors to share great content, you should also make it easy for them to interact and connect with your brand through your website and social media accounts. Ask questions and respond to your audience in a timely manner.

4. Remember to be consistent in your content. Your content needs to align with your company’s brand. Your content should be a reflection of your company’s goals, policies, and most importantly the image you want your company to have. Tell people how you do your job–it’s okay. The more you explain, the more you show your expertise, and customers will be more likely to hire you for the job. Content can make or break a client’s impression of your business, that’s why it needs to be engaging and informative.

5. Track and measure your content performance. Use on-site analytics to review user activity on your website. You’ll see what content your site’s visitors spend the most time reading as well as what content they skip over. This can help you understand what kind of content your potential customers want more of as well as what content can be improved. On-site analytics allow you to determine what keywords bring in the most traffic, have the longest view times, and convert the most traffic. Look at the difference between overall visits and unique visits to see how many different people are viewing your content. You should also use social media tracking to see when your content is shared across the web. Pay attention to who shares your content, so you can better understand your audience.

There’s a lot that goes into making sure your company’s content is effective. However, good content generally brings in good business. That’s why at Steelsmith Group we take the time to ensure the content we produce for our clients is tailored to their company’s industry and audience. Our goal is to create content that shows off their expertise, so our clients are perceived as the industry leaders they are.

If you have questions about content marketing or want to hire Steelsmith Group to do it for you, give us a call today at (888) 245-4177 or fill out the contact form to the the right.

Why Your Business Needs a Google+ Page & How to Optimize It

Google+ is commonly overlooked by small business owners, but it’s actually vital for your search engine (specifically Google) rankings. At Steelsmith Group, one of the first things that we do for our clients is ensure that they have an optimized Google+ business page.  

5 reasons why you and your business need Google+ pages:

  1. When people search on Google, businesses with Google+ Local pages have higher page ranks than companies that don’t.

  2. Having a Google+ page ensures that your business appears on Google Maps and that the listed information is accurate.

  3. Google+ is a great way to connect with other people in the industry and present yourself as an industry leader.

  4. Have you ever Googled something and seen someone’s picture next to an article?

That’s called Google authorship, which you can set up once you create your own personal Google+ account (by linking your Google+ account to your business’ website). Learn how to set up Google authorship here.

      5.  Google Places officially no longer exists, so if you’re still relying on that listing, you need

           to switch it over to (or combine it with) a Google+ Local page.

      ** Check out these two separate studies from SearchMetrics and Netmark for more evidence as to how a Google+ page can boost your business growth.

 

7 tips on how to optimize your Google+ page:

  1. Fill out as much information as possible. In addition to your business name, location, phone number, and email address, you should fill out your business hours, business category, business description.

  2. Add pictures, including your company’s logo. Make sure that you have a profile picture as well as a banner photo. Videos are great too.

  3. Use an actual address for your location rather than a P.O. Box or UPS store.

  4. Actually post on your Google+ page to make your business appear as an industry influencer and build your company’s online authority with +1’s and user reviews.

  5. To further increase your company’s online authority, join industry-related Google+ communities and +1 other industry leaders.

  6. Make sure the website you put on Google+ is verified as your company’s official Google+ page.                                                                                         

  7. Add a link to your Google+ on your website. Learn how here.

 

We hope that these tips are helpful. Follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page for more small business internet marketing tips.

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The Fundamentals of Internet Marketing

It’s more important than ever to market your business online, as consumers usually turn to the internet to find and purchase services and products. In this post, we’ll break down the basics of internet marketing for small businesses likes yours.

The first step of internet marketing is competitive analysis. Learn your industry. Learn what your competitors are doing. Pay attention to who’s beating you in on search engine rankings. What are they doing differently? In the rest of this article, we’ll explain what you need to look out for.

Make sure you have an awesome website design that’s not only easy to navigate, but that’s also engaging with its content and images, specifically infographics. Look at how your competitors’ sites are set up.

Today’s consumers are using mobile devices on a regular basis, and on top of that, Google has recently begun to penalize website’s search rankings if they aren’t mobile friendly. That’s why it’s extremely important to make sure that your website is designed to work on both smartphones and tablets as well as internet browsers.

Landing pages are one of the most important parts of your website. Landing pages are pages that people go directly to via a search engine result, sponsored ad or other advertising. Your landing pages are where traffic converts into sales.

Your landing pages need to be specific to what you do, informative (but not overly so), and have obvious calls to action, whether it’s a contact form or your business’ phone number with text saying, “Call Today.” Look at your highest competitors’ landing pages to see how they’re set up.

You’ll also need a great “Contact Us” page that’s linked to from every other page of your site. Ensure that your contact page contains your phone number, address, business hours, a contact form, and a Google map. In addition to an optimized “Contact Us” page, it’s important to have your phone number and address at the bottom of each webpage on your site.

Good content is vital to having a good website with high search engine rankings and a high conversion rate.

The most important part of your content is that it must include natural keywords. What’s a keyword? A word or phrase that people enter on search engines to find what they’re looking for. You need to do keyword research. Don’t worry, there are plenty of tools on the internet for you to use, such as Google Adwords’ Keywords Planner and the Bing Keyword Research tool. Your keywords should be specific to what your company does, the services/products that you offer, and where you are located. Take a look at what words your top competitors are using to rank higher than you, and see how you can individualize keywords to be specific to your niche.

Your company’s keywords are going to be the foundation of your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts. To learn more about SEO, check out our last blog post, The Essential Small Business Guide to SEO.

The next step of internet marketing is blogging. You need to first make sure that your website has a blog, where your readers can subscribe to your posts as well as share them to various social media sites. Blogging creates original content for your company, and it allows you to update your website consistently, which together improve your site’s search engine rankings as well as your reputation.

One of the best ways to promote your website and blog is through social media marketing. Find out which social media platforms your potential customers use most. Establish a social presence online and connect with potential customers like never before.

Online business directories are yet another fundamental to internet marketing. Make sure that all of your company’s listings are up-to-date, correct, and complete. This can be a time consuming task, but the difference it makes in your search engine rankings is well worth it.

Lastly, do not forget to use analytics and tracking tools. There are many free tools out there, such as Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster Tools. They are vital to tracking your success and seeing how effective your internet marketing tactics are.

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The Essential Small Business Guide to Local SEO

The most essential part of internet marketing is local SEO. The first step, when starting a local SEO campaign (or really any internet marketing campaign), is to determine the keywords that you want to rank for, keeping in mind the competition and search volume of those keywords when choosing one. It’s important to be specific to your niche, but feel free to use synonyms and other variations of your keywords (this will help you avoid keyword stuffing). And don’t forget that your location is part of your keyword phrases.

Once your keywords are determined, you can start on the most important part of your website in terms of SEO — the content! Ever heard “content is King”? Well, nothing could be more true when it comes to SEO. So it’s very important to fill your website with relevant, quality content, and to update it often. The easiest way to keep your site’s content moving and changing is to blog regularly. And most importantly, although robots rank your website, remember that you are writing to people that you hope to convert into customers. Also note that search engines take the quality of content, including its grammar, into high consideration when ranking your site. And don’t forget to include your location in your content, so you will rank locally!

Finally, make sure to do basic on-page SEO. This includes creating original title tags and meta descriptions for each of your pages and posts. Make sure your tags and descriptions are accurate, helpful, and include your location. This will help to make your site super easy for search engine crawlers to read. The most commonly overlooked on-page SEO is making sure that all the content on the site is rooted in text, including images and videos. Your keywords should be in all image and video descriptions, titles, and captions. Search engine crawlers can’t read images or videos, so these text anchors help them understand what’s on your site. Finally, make sure that your page URLs are easy to read. So instead of having a URL like www.steelsmithgroup.com/2013/83930jsk94738/htm, which reveals nothing about what’s on the page, try something like www.steelsmithgroup.com/internet-marketing-san-diego/local-seo/.

 

Extras:

  • Make sure your business listings in local directories online are up-to-date and accurate.
  • Create social media pages for your business. More importantly, create personal and business Google+ pages, and claim Google authorship for your content. Use social media marketing to educate and engage your customers rather than try to sell your products/services.

  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

  • Ask clients to review your business online, to like your Facebook page, follow your business on Twitter, check in on FourSquare, etc.