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Monthly Archives: February 2015

 

One of the most commonly cited explanations business failures is that owners couldn’t get the word out about their business.

keyword-illustration

Get found on the internet

Word-of-mouth advertising tactics are excellent ways to encourage local clientele, but if you need to extend your customers to people who don’t drive past your storefront every day, a word-of-mouth approach might lead to low sales and closed doors.

 

So you have a website. Well, that’s a great first step. But you need to make sure your website reaches the people you want it to reach. Otherwise, they won’t even know your site exists, let alone buy something from it.

 

KEYWORDS AS MARKETING TOOLS

 

You can add keywords to your content to ensure prospective clients become actual clients. But how do you decide which keywords will launch your website and grab your audience’s attention? Well, the first thing you need to understand is the difference between short- and long-tail keywords.

short-tail-long-tail-keywords (1)

You have a basic understanding simply by knowing their names: short-tail keywords contain only one or two words while long-tail keywords contain longer phrases. But let’s get a little bit more in depth for a better understanding.

 

SHORT TAILS: KEYWORDS

 

Let’s say that you want to find a new restaurant in Chicago. A short-tail keyword like “Chicago restaurant” or “deep dish pizza,” will garner thousands, of results. That’s because nearly every restaurant in the Second City and its deep dish pizza dispensaries want those keywords. They know that when people Google material, most use just a few, obvious words to request information, and “Chicago restaurant” or “deep dish pizza” represent popular search terms for the area because they are so simple and direct.

However, as you know all too well, it’s easy to find popular keywords. The much more difficult task is to find a keyword that will rank your website higher on those search results. Since so many people search for them, short-tail keywords can represent a wildly competitive market. While you may use the most popular keywords, the hundreds of other websites that use the same keywords may drown you out.

 

LONG TAILS: KEYWORDS

 

On the other hand, long-tail keywords have a lower search volume because they add specificity. For example, “restaurant Chicago,” would shift to “affordable Chinese restaurant Chicago.” These additions do two things for you:

 

  • Ensure that the people who search for your service want your specific service. People who search for general restaurants may want Italian fare, French cuisine, or Spanish tapas. With the long tail’s new information, people who crave Chinese food will find your restaurant more easily.
  • Rank your website higher. Because you target a smaller market with the long-tail keyword, you face less competition. This makes your search results closer to the top of the search engine’s results—where more people will see it.

 

However, long-tail keywords do have drawbacks. In addition to the smaller pool of searchers, they can be too specific. Most people use as few words as possible as they search, so if you require too much from them, you may not get their online traffic.

Additionally, the longer the keyword, the more awkward it can sound when you use it in your content. Nothing is more important than your website’s quality content, so consider how the keyword will affect readability before you implement it.

Whether you choose a short- or long-tail keyword, you take a gamble. While more people search for short tail keywords, your site may get lost in the search result melee.

 

SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO? THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

 

Don’t just contemplate popular search terms. Instead, take a moment to think about your business. If you were a client, what would you search for? Are they searching for your services when they face an emergency? If you offer environmental clean-up services, you may want to use keywords such as “clean up gasoline spill” instead of “environmental company.”

long tail Keyword-research

Clients tend to use search terms that reflect how your business impacts them, not necessarily what your company is. Ask what they need from you, and the answer may be your best keyword.

 

WEAVE YOUR KEYWORDS SEAMLESSLY

 

As we mentioned in the Long Tail section, content is essential to your website. Place your keywords so they sound as natural as possible. If your online visitors can spot awkward keywords from a mile away, they might not continue reading.

 

MIX IT UPlong-tail-keyword seo_thumb[1]

 

Remember that you don’t have to choose between long- and short-tail keywords. Use both. Track your statistics to see which keywords do the most work for you, and adjust your web strategy accordingly.

 

You may need an SEO specialist’s help to complete this task. When you speak with them, they can give you advice on the keywords will give you the best return on investment so your business can stay successful for years to come contact the Mosaic Team we have experts is Search Engine Marketing.

Mosaic logo only_with_color_circle2-150x150The SWOT Analysis process must have a solid framework to be useful for your marketing strategy.  Each element of the SWOT analysis is based on answering questions that are grounded in reality and in the experiences that your business has had over the last year. Instead of just listing a bunch of items or points of interest, you are answering questions that will actually give you insights into the next appropriate action to take inside your business. This isn’t the complete set of questions; however, it will get you started in thinking about new ways that you can grow your company.

 

Strengths: Build upon strengths and weaknesses will take care of themselvesStrategy-management-diagram-SWOT-Analysis-Color-Arrow-Blocks

 

Strength Questions:

  • In what areas does (YOUR COMPANY) perform exceptionally?
  • What important bids or proposals did (YOUR COMPANY) win this year? Why did (YOUR COMPANY) win them?
  • Which target markets or customer groups created the most sales? Which created the most profits?
  • What did (YOUR COMPANY) do best this year? What were (YOUR COMPANY) greatest triumphs?
  • Which customers or market segments grew the most? What caused this “success”?

 

Weakness Questions:

  • What important bids or proposals did (YOUR COMPANY) loose this year? Why did (YOUR COMPANY) loose them?
  • Which target markets or customer groups created the least sales? Which created the least profits?
  • What were (YOUR COMPANY) greatest disappointments or failures?
  • Which customers or market segments achieved the least? What caused this “failure”?
  • Weaknesses with respect to: Target market needs, wants & consumption trends

 

Opportunities: “If Opportunities do not knock build a door”—Milton Berle

 

Opportunities Questions:

  • What new customer wants can you meet?
  • What economic trends are benefiting?  How can you take advantage of them?
  • What technological factors are creating opportunities for you? How can you profit from them?
  • What niches and opportunities have your competitors missed?
  • What alternatives does your ideal customer have to purchasing what you have to offer?
  • What major changes are taking place in the industry?
  • What are some things that “would never happen” in your industry? How can that become an opportunity for you?Competitive-Advantage

 

Threats: “It is dangerous to exist in the world. To exist is to be threatened. We must live with threats.” ― Adam Levin, The Instructions

 

Threats Questions:

  • Are there technological factors creating threats?
  • In what ways do your competitors threaten you?
  • What scares you most about the future of (YOUR COMPANY)?
  • Are major changes taking place in the industry?
  • Is the government increasing the burden of any previous regulations?
blogging for success

Listen to your Customers

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The drive to gain consumer insights cannot be an occasional endeavor. A company wishing to establish a brand or sell a product cannot simply conduct a focus group or survey, and say it now has everything it needs to know about consumers. It must take some very concrete steps to get a firm grasp of the target consumers’ tendencies, including:

 

  • Showing a genuine interest in what consumers have to say.
  • Going above and beyond to capture insights.

Today’s consumers may like something for years, and then suddenly change their minds. We watch in amazement as Hewlett-Packard twists slowly in the wind, trying to figure out what their printer customers want. Perhaps if they had better insights into their consumers’ needs, they would have realized that relying solely on high-priced ink cartridges was a sure road to failure.

 

The company that does not have its finger on its consumers’ collective pulse may be in danger of falling behind more astute competitors. The drive to gather, analyze and capitalize on consumer insights must be an ongoing and integral function of the entire corporation.

 

The management must review product development strategies, and marketing discussions to ensure that the company remains customer-focused.

 

1. Consumer Insights should be Driven from the Top Down

The decision to be consumer-driven often comes from the very top levels of the organization. Senior executives who lead by example inspire skill sets which allow everyone under them to search for new insights and understandings. Some of the characteristics which these open-minded leaders foster in their organization may include:

 

2. Ask Why

This childhood question has been known to inspire both curiosity and frustration. Corporations which try to understand “why” something happens or “why” consumers act a certain way may find answers they never expected, or that they don’t even like, but those who ask can also learn what they do right and build on it.

 

3. No Limits

Understand your Customers

Understand your Customers

Corporations that choose to rely only on old strategies are a long way from becoming truly consumer-centric. They need to be open to new ideas and insights when the winds of consumer needs change, and have the internal flexibility to be able to adapt quickly.

 

4. Break the Barrier of Conformity

It’s easier to set rules and regulations, or say that a product should be marketed in a certain way, but it’s not always best to do it that way. If consumers are changing so rapidly, what makes corporations think they can still market to them in the same old ways? Where would social media be today if Mark Zuckerberg continued to look at Facebook as “just a dating site?”

 

5. Respect for the Customer

Far too many corporations today view the customer as somewhat of an enemy. The goal is to make the most money possible, and force consumers to use what the company is offering. One only needs to look back at the disastrous introduction of “New Coke” to find out what happens when consumers push back. A far more effective strategy is to find out what the consumer wants, and then move the company in that direction.

 

6. Yes We Can

Many creative ideas that could have taken a product to the next level are stifled from the start by someone who simply says, “We can’t do that. It will never work.” These are the statements which need to be challenged and questioned, not the original concept. Some of the best products and marketing strategies have been initiated by someone who said, “Interesting. Let’s talk about this.”

 

7. The Nitty-Gritty of Consumer Insights

Of course, all of those concepts are more about attitudes and corporate mind-sets. To really find and act upon consumer insights takes some actual discipline and hard work as well. Some of the skill sets which come to the consumer insights table include:

build a good website with seo

Do Your Homework

 

  •  Strong Research

Consumer insights are not formulated by guessing about what consumers want. They are found by going out and gathering this information. Remember the 1990s, when Clairol revitalized its tired Herbal Essences shampoo line by advertising the sensual experience of washing hair? The ‘‘Totally Organic’’ campaign featured women who simulated sexual ecstasy while shampooing their hair, instead of hum-drum shower shots.

 

  •  Analytical Thinking

Consumer insights are not all intuitive. Sometimes it requires studying information and formulating theories to make informed recommendations. Numbers need to be translated into actionable insights.

 

  •  Problem Solving Capabilities

When sales are dropping, or brand recognition is fading rapidly, consumer insights can be applied to help point a way out of the dark.

A corporate culture that is consumer-driven is not afraid of finding out what consumers want. Ask yourself these questions to find out if your corporation is truly consumer-centric:

 

When was the last time you really tried to find out what our consumers were thinking and are saying?

 

  • Are we stifling creativity by adhering to formulaic patterns?
  • What is one consumer need we can identify and fulfill using our current product line, or by making a minor adjustment?

 

The great news is that social media and today’s connected society make it easier than ever to mine the gold of the consumer mind-set. The results may not always be what you “want” to hear, but you do want to hear them so changes can be made.

Mosaic logo only_with_color_circle2-150x150I recently had a conversation with an astute Health Care Interactive Marketing Executive about her plans for the year. She mentioned that her current website was roughly two years old and that now was the time to start thinking about a redesign. She had quite a few items on her redesign wish list (upgraded CMS, trimmed down Flash elements, etc.), but one thing that stood out to me was her keen interest in making sure that mobile users were accounted for.

Sure, she wanted the core website to render well on mobile browsers, and for good reason. After all, the balance has shifted in favor of consumers with smart phones as opposed to “dumb” phones.

That’s more or less standard fare, though. (Note: If your site isn’t optimized for mobile browsers, then perhaps a redesign should be on your agenda.)

What really struck me was her insistence on making sure that her core website experience and functionality could be mirrored on tablets.

The following statics are an important consideration:

  • Internet browsing from mobile and tablet devices accounts for 13.2% of unique visitor traffic.responsive-WEBSITE
  • Social networks account for 20% of the time spent online.
  • 70-80% of users ignore the paid ads online. Source.
  • Overall Content Marketing Strategy Leads to 2,000% Lift in Blog Traffic, 40% Boost in Revenue.
  • SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate. source: Search Engine Journal

Redesigning your website can help you capture the shifting tide in the way consumers use technology and use it to your advantage. Here are five important things you need to include in your website redesign.

Fresh Content

You don’t want your website to feel like the waiting room at the dentist’s office with those old and outdated magazines sitting on the table. If you want to attract visitors to your website, there has to be a reason for them to stop by!

Sharing fresh content on your website through a blog is a great way to draw new visitors from search engines and from social media sites.

Mobile Responsive Design

More and more people are using tablets and smart phones to access the Internet. When a visitor comes to your website on their smart phone, a responsive design will resize your website to fit their device. (Mobile responsive design)

new web designCheck this out, if you’re reading this on a laptop or desktop, take your cursor over to the far right side of the page. Now shrink the size of the Internet window. See how this post is shrinking and reformatting. Pretty cool, huh!

If you want to test your website to see how it looks on different devices, check out this site: Studio Press Responsive Test.

Social Media Channels

20% of the time spent on the Internet is on social media sites. LinkedIn, Twitter, Google +, Facebook, and Yelp have become the place where people go to get answers and recommendations.

Your potential customers may feel more comfortable communicating with you with a tweet rather than a phone call. We recommend making it easy for a prospect to connect with you by placing links to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn on your site.

So what’s the takeaway?

In a year that seems destined to further usher in the era of mobile devices as the mainstream computing platform (as opposed to the old desktops and laptops of yesteryear) companies must seriously consider a two-tiered approach to web design. Maybe even three-tiered when you take into account the difference between smart phones and tablets.

If your current web presence is still one-dimensional, focusing only on traditional computing devices, make sure to add these quickly developing dimensions into your overall redesign plan. And if your current design and development agency isn’t properly taking these dimensions into account, well, you know what to do…Please call us we can help you get your site Mobile Responsive..203-483-4598 ask for David on extension 306…You will be glad you did.

Mosaic logo only_with_color_circle2-150x150The point of a SWOT analysis is to help you develop a strong business strategy by making sure you’ve considered all of your business’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats it faces in the marketplace.

As you might have guessed from that last sentence, S.W.O.T. is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis is an organized list of your business’s greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal to the company (think: reputation, patents, location). You can change them over time but not without some work. Opportunities and threats are external (think: suppliers, competitors, prices)—they are out there in the market, happening whether you like it or not. You can’t change them.

Existing businesses can use a SWOT analysis, at any time, to assess a changing environment and respond proactively. In fact, I recommend conducting a strategy review meeting at least once a year that begins with a SWOT analysis.

New businesses should use a SWOT analysis as a part of their planning process. There is no “one size fits all” plan for your business, and thinking about your new business in terms of its unique “SWOTs” will put you on the right track right away, and save you from a lot of headaches later on.

How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis To get the most complete, objective results, a SWOT analysis is best conducted by a group of people with different perspectives and stakes in your company. Management, sales, customer service, and even customers can all contribute valid insight. Moreover, the SWOT analysis process is an opportunity to bring your team together and encourage their participation in and adherence to your company’s resulting strategy. A SWOT analysis is typically conducted using a four-square SWOT SWOT_analysis_exampleanalysis template, but you could also just make a list for each category. Use the method that makes it easiest for you to organize and understand the results. I recommend holding a brainstorming session to identify the factors in each of the four categories. Alternatively, you could ask team members to individually complete a SWOT analysis template, and then meet to discuss and compile the results. As you work through each category, don’t be too concerned about elaborating at first; bullet points may be the best way to begin. Just capture the factors you believe are relevant in each of the four areas.

Once you are finished brainstorming, create a final, prioritized version of your SWOT analysis, listing the factors in each category in order from highest priority at the top to lowest priority at the bottom. Questions to Ask During a SWOT Analysis I’ve compiled some questions below to help you develop each section of your SWOT analysis. There are certainly other questions you could ask; these are just meant to get you started.

Strengths (internal, positive factors) Strengths describe the positive attributes, tangible and intangible, internal to your organization. They are within your control.

  • What do you do well?
  • What internal resources do you have? Think about the following:
  • Positive attributes of people, such as knowledge, background, education, credentials, network, reputation, or skills.shutterstock_32050237-large
  • Tangible assets of the company, such as capital, credit, existing customers or distribution channels, patents, or technology.
  • What advantages do you have over your competition?
  • Do you have strong research and development capabilities? Manufacturing facilities?
  • What other positive aspects, internal to your business, add value or offer you a competitive advantage?

Weaknesses (internal, negative factors) Weaknesses are aspects of your business that detract from the value you offer or place you at a competitive disadvantage. You need to enhance these areas in order to compete with your best competitor.

  • What factors that are within your control detract from your ability to obtain or maintain a competitive edge?
  • What areas need improvement to accomplish your objectives or compete with your strongest competitor?
  • What does your business lack (for example, expertise or access to skills or technology)?
  • Does your business have limited resources?
  • Is your business in a poor location?

 Opportunities (external, positive factors) Opportunities are external attractive factors that represent reasons your business is likely to prosper.

  • What opportunities exist in your market or the environment that you can benefit from?
  • Is the perception of your business positive?
  • Has there been recent market growth or have there been other changes in the market the create an opportunity?
  • Is the opportunity ongoing, or is there just a window for it? In other words, how critical is your timing?

Threats (external, negative factors) Threats include external factors beyond your control that could place your strategy, or the business itself, at risk. You have no control over these, but you may benefit by having contingency plans to address them if they should occur.

  • Who are your existing or potential competitors?
  • What factors beyond your control could place your business at risk?
  • Are there challenges created by an unfavorable trend or development that may lead to deteriorating revenues or profits?
  • What situations might threaten your marketing efforts?
  • Has there been a significant change in supplier prices or the availability of raw materials?
  • What about shifts in consumer behavior, the economy, or government regulations that could reduce your sales?
  • Has a new product or technology been introduced that makes your products, equipment, or services obsolete?

Example of a SWOT Analysis For illustration, here’s a brief SWOT example from a hypothetical, medium-sized health care organization:

Strengths Weaknesses
(Internal)
  • A new and/or innovative service
  • Capabilities or cost advantages
  • Cultural connections
  • Extraordinary reputation
  • Other aspects that add value
  • special expertise and/or experience
  • Superior location or geographic advantage
  • Absence of marketing plan
  • damaged reputation
  • Gaps in capabilities or service areas
  • lagging in technology
  • Management or staff problems
  • own known vulnerability
  • Poor location or geographic barriers
  • undifferentiated service lines
(External) Opportunities

  • A market vacated by a competitor
  • Availability of new technology
  • changes in population profile or need
  • Competitor vulnerabilities
  • lack of dominant competition
  • New market segment that offer improve profit
  • New vertical, horizontal, or niche markets
Threats 

  • A competitor has an innovative product or service
  • Adverse changes in reimbursement or regulations
  • Changing insurance plans and/or contracts for major area employers
  • Competitors have superior access to channels of distribution
  • Economic shifts
  • Loss of key staff or associates
  • New or increased competition
  • seasonality
  • shifts in market demand or referral sources