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Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing

The year is flying by quickly and before we know it, 2018 will be here.  Top companies have a habit of starting to plan for the next year by Q2 of the year, so many businesses are already looking at trends coming up in the new year.  If you have initiated planning your marketing strategy and budget for 2018, be prepared to face questions regarding tactics you are opting to use that would go best with most of your customers.  And most importantly, which tactics can result in the most efficient conversion. 

To plan a top-notch marketing strategy for your business in 2018, go through the seven trends explained here and incorporate them in your planning process.  From personalized elements and mastering micro-moments to moving visual and analyzing the authentic data, we will go through all the best strategies for acquiring leads, conversions and engagement.

Master Micro-Moments

Mobile gadgets have proved to be a major influence in customer interaction and engagement with brands across the globe. But the surprising thing for most people is the concept of “micro-moments”, which has powered the shift to mobile phones. From long-term goals such as planning to purchase a home, or something as small as acquiring a quick grocery from the nearest store or even locating the ingredients of a dish from your phone, etc., countless of these micro-moments stimulate the impulse to reach out for our mobile phone.

As per Think with Google, micro-moments are highly critical and evaluative touchpoints where customers expect brands to cater their needs with reliable information, regardless of the time and location.

Whenever a customer feels the need to inquire about something, an astounding 96% of users reach for their smartphones to conduct the required research at that very instant. Only successful brands have the tendency to correctly anticipate and address the exact micro-moment needs by providing the right information at the right time to customer in need.

A useful, quick and one-touch access to the needed information becomes the basis of acquiring customer trust and building long-lasting relationships.

Visualization Is More Important than Ever

For all the exciting and informative things found online, whether it is a couple of kittens playing, a baby laughing or a top commercial featuring a popular model, there is always an element of video.  With a video, people tend to accept and attach on a much deeper level due to the usage of visually-rich and interactive elements depicting a proper message or story. And as a consequence, audience is tempted to take considerable action in terms of likes, sharing, etc.

With time, brands have been able to capitalize on the introduction of highly-engaging video features on different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.

For this trend, we are going to focus on video aspect only since businesses are seizing the opportunity to differentiate their brand in the competitive industry.

Mobile users are tending to spend more time than ever with their smartphones, with the excitement to watch videos online being proportionate as well. It is clear from the following stats that online video is growing rapidly in popularity.

YouTube registers more 18 and above years-old audience during peak TV hours than any cable TV network.
Advertisers on prime time broadcasting TV could gain 56% more audience of 18 to 49 years-old through advertising on YouTube.
Plainly from statistics, it does not come as a surprise that Facebook recently revealed the count of 1.65 billion active users (data from April 2016) watching about 8 billion videos each day.

Consumers are more tempted from videos because of the deeper attachment they experience from the visual on-screen elements. Realizing the need, the trend of promoting high-quality video content is very much likely to soar high in future.

The Best Visibility with Native Ads

To grab a plain sight exposure in front of the right audience, native advertising has become one of the most sought-after marketing methods. Most users find interruptive ads frustrating and irrelevant. For instance, browsing a website and instantly an out-of-context ad pops out of nowhere is a big no-no for the user.

This is a common concern, which is best catered by native ads. It facilitates brands to market their offerings in a quite non-disruptive way that blends in easily with the environment a user is most comfortable with.

Native ads blend in such a seamless manner, that customers may not even spot them when viewing let it be advertorial, instant content, search advertising, recommended content or sponsored listings form of native advertising. Rather than approving it as a deceiving aspect, the point is to put the right information in front of the viewer when they actually need it.

As per the data provided by Polar and BI intelligence, CTR rates for premium native ads on mobile gadgets were four times higher, than the count of non-native display ads. The data also stressed that native ads calls for better engagement rates on tablets and smartphones as compared to desktop systems.


Emerging Digital Marketing Trends (2 part series)

Emerging Digital Marketing Trends

The year is flying by quickly and before we know it, 2018 will be here.  Top companies have a habit of starting to plan for the next year by Q2 of the year, so many businesses are already looking at trends coming up in the new year.  If you have initiated planning your marketing strategy and budget for 2018, be prepared to face questions regarding tactics you are opting to use that would go best with most of your customers.  And most importantly, which tactics can result in the most efficient conversion. 

To plan a top-notch marketing strategy for your business in 2018, go through the seven trends explained here and incorporate them in your planning process.  From personalized elements and mastering micro-moments to moving visual and analyzing the authentic data, we will go through all the best strategies for acquiring leads, conversions and engagement.

Master Micro-Moments

Mobile gadgets have proved to be a major influence in customer interaction and engagement with brands across the globe. But the surprising thing for most people is the concept of “micro-moments”, which has powered the shift to mobile phones. From long-term goals such as planning to purchase a home, or something as small as acquiring a quick grocery from the nearest store or even locating the ingredients of a dish from your phone, etc., countless of these micro-moments stimulate the impulse to reach out for our mobile phone.

As per Think with Google, micro-moments are highly critical and evaluative touchpoints where customers expect brands to cater their needs with reliable information, regardless of the time and location.

Whenever a customer feels the need to inquire about something, an astounding 96% of users reach for their smartphones to conduct the required research at that very instant. Only successful brands have the tendency to correctly anticipate and address the exact micro-moment needs by providing the right information at the right time to customer in need.

A useful, quick and one-touch access to the needed information becomes the basis of acquiring customer trust and building long-lasting relationships.

 

Visualization Is More Important than Ever

For all the exciting and informative things found online, whether it is a couple of kittens playing, a baby laughing or a top commercial featuring a popular model, there is always an element of video.  With a video, people tend to accept and attach on a much deeper level due to the usage of visually-rich and interactive elements depicting a proper message or story. And as a consequence, audience is tempted to take considerable action in terms of likes, sharing, etc.

With time, brands have been able to capitalize on the introduction of highly-engaging video features on different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.

For this trend, we are going to focus on video aspect only since businesses are seizing the opportunity to differentiate their brand in the competitive industry.

Mobile users are tending to spend more time than ever with their smartphones, with the excitement to watch videos online being proportionate as well. It is clear from the following stats that online video is growing rapidly in popularity.

YouTube registers more 18 and above years-old audience during peak TV hours than any cable TV network.
Advertisers on prime time broadcasting TV could gain 56% more audience of 18 to 49 years-old through advertising on YouTube.
Plainly from statistics, it does not come as a surprise that Facebook recently revealed the count of 1.65 billion active users (data from April 2016) watching about 8 billion videos each day.

Consumers are more tempted from videos because of the deeper attachment they experience from the visual on-screen elements. Realizing the need, the trend of promoting high-quality video content is very much likely to soar high in future.

The Best Visibility with Native Ads

To grab a plain sight exposure in front of the right audience, native advertising has become one of the most sought-after marketing methods. Most users find interruptive ads frustrating and irrelevant. For instance, browsing a website and instantly an out-of-context ad pops out of nowhere is a big no-no for the user.

This is a common concern, which is best catered by native ads. It facilitates brands to market their offerings in a quite non-disruptive way that blends in easily with the environment a user is most comfortable with.

Native ads blend in such a seamless manner, that customers may not even spot them when viewing let it be advertorial, instant content, search advertising, recommended content or sponsored listings form of native advertising. Rather than approving it as a deceiving aspect, the point is to put the right information in front of the viewer when they actually need it.

As per the data provided by Polar and BI intelligence, CTR rates for premium native ads on mobile gadgets were four times higher, than the count of non-native display ads. The data also stressed that native ads calls for better engagement rates on tablets and smartphones as compared to desktop systems.


Three Effective Marketing Strategies for Your Business

Three Effective Marketing Strategies for Your Business

There are many marketing strategies for anyone running a business or promoting a product. New and improved strategies may become global trends, however most will become a thing of the past before you even read about it. These three marketing strategies will help keep your business fresh and credible. 

 

1. Content marketing

Why content marketing? Content is king. Search engines love content. Content helps to spread the word about your business and your products. Customers are searching for what you offer online. Their search engine searches bring them to videos, blogs, and social media posts. 

Videos, blogs, and social media gives you a platform to show your prospective customers how you can help solve their problem or issue. Hang up the idea of having to constantly pitch and start showing the world how you or your product are relevant to their needs. 

 

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Gain a better reach to your prospective customers with search engine optimization, known as SEO. Once you have produced your content, your next step is to make sure that it is optimized for search engines. Having a SEO specialist optimize your content – website, blogs, and videos – will help you get an advantage over your competitors. This can be accomplished on a local and national geographical level. 

SEO is a very important process in a customer’s research and purchasing cycle. While it may not be easy to find out exactly how a customer decided to walk into your store, SEO tools can help you gather that data for online shoppers. SEO is a very effective tool for learning how to continually target and retarget the customers that actually buy.

 

3. Customer Relationship Manager (CRM)

A CRM is a Customer Relationship Manager. This database keep a list of your customers and prospective customers (also known as leads) contact information that you ask for such as: name, phone, address, birthdate, and/or email address. People willingly provide this information in order to find out more about your business via a contact form on a landing or capture page. Their information is kept in a CRM for you to maintain and follow up with them. 

CRM’s are the lifeline for your business. The size of your business has no relation to whether or not your need a CRM. You can use a CRM to send out newsletters, informational emails, email marketing of sales/promotions, follow up after a sale, or even generate a winner for a contest. 
These three effective strategies will help you to drive more traffic to your business and website, increase sales, and keep customers coming back. Content, SEO, and a proper CRM are things that must be continually updated and monitored. 

This can be a lot of work for someone who is trying to run a business. Fortunately, there are companies like BIS Designs who can help you manage these things effectively. BIS Designs is a small, but powerful firm with some of the top specialists on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Mississippi, and the Pensacola panhandle. 

Contact us for a consultation to find out the best marketing strategies that will be the most effective for your business and niche. 
BIS Designs is an internet marketing company serving the Mobile, Alabama area. Our content, development, social media marketing and search engine optimization specialists have years of experience in targeting custom audiences for the B2B community and would welcome the opportunity to help your business grow.

 

Why Your Website Needs to Switch to HTTPS
Http SSL Secure Website

This is the year for websites to become more secure. Since 2014, Google has given search engine ranking boosts to sites that use https://, also known as SSL or Secure Socket Layer, for their web addresses instead of http:// alone.  As of this year, Google’s web browser Chrome is taking huge strides towards making the internet a safer place by labeling all HTTP pages that take payment information or collect passwords as non-secure. This is part of Google’s long term plan to eventually label all HTTP sites as non-secure. Other web browsers are said to soon follow suit.

Switching to encrypted SSL certificates, meaning sites change to https:// rather than http://, is now more important than ever.

 

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS is the acronym for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It is a protocol used for secure communications over the internet. Communication over HTTPS is encrypted between the end user and the server so the data cannot be tampered with and listened in on.

 

What is SSL?

SSL is the acronym for Secure Socket Layer and is another type of protocol that helps encrypt data transferred over a computer network. Through purchasing an SSL certificate, an encryption key is placed on the server to protect your communication via your website.

Why should you care about HTTPS and SSL?

This gets back to the main reasons why Google is calling for all websites to switch to HTTPS. The beginning of your URL (www.example.com) begins with either HTTP or HTTPS. By remaining on the unsecured HTTP, the data transferred between the web server and the browser on your computer or smartphone can be compromised. 
 

Even if your website is not an eCommerce site or doesn’t have login capabilities, it is still at risk. User behavior has become a very hot commodity for cyber criminals. The best course of action is to get a fully encrypted SSL certificate on your website so you can continue business as usual without feeling any ramifications from being viewed as an untrusted website. Implementing SSL on your website is definitely a direction all websites should be headed in as it helps keep everyone a little safer.

It no longer suffices to make certain pages https:// and not others. Your website has to be fully encrypted or it will lose search engine placement, and anyone who views it will soon see a warning sign that they may not understand. This might deter them from ever visiting your site again. 

Since most of BIS Designs' websites are easily editable by our clients, we include a login in the footer on each page. As a courtesy, we are moving all non-SSL certified sites to a secure encrypted SSL server.  

Here’s an example of how a secure SSL certified site appears:

Secure website https

And here is an example of what a website’s address in a web browser might look like without an SSL certificate starting this year:

http secure website 

Here is how the http:// web pages are said to soon be displayed:

HTTP secure website 

BIS Designs is a web design and marketing company based out of Robertsdale, Alabama with clients spanning from Gulfport, MS to Pensacola, FL. With our clients’ best interest as our top concern, we take every effort to ensure their online presence accurately communicates their mission, produces results, and engenders trust among their customers. If your business is in need of an online makeover, contact us for a free website audit and marketing evaluation.

 

Top 6 Tactics to Convert Visitors into Customers on a Landing Page

A landing page can be your business’ biggest advocate. By creating high-converting and SEO-optimized landing pages, these pages can effectively run your business while you’re away by having the convincing power to appeal to your customers in your absence.

In marketing terms, a landing page is any web page that a visitor can arrive at or “land” on that is focused on a main objective, or website conversion goal.


Typically, it is a standalone page not available to access from the navigation menu. It’s created to fulfill a single purpose to get visitors to take a particular action on the page.

 
Example goals for landing pages include:
Capture email addresses for future leads
Get attendants to an event or seminar
Promote a special offer
Make an announcement
Build your brand 
Make a profit

We believe that every marketing promotion needs its own landing page.

 

Since landing pages are separate from your website’s visible pages, they are the perfect platform to send all campaign traffic. This separation makes testing and measuring through web analytics incredibly easier to track.

Here are the top 6 tactics for landing pages that experts across the globe value as instrumental in turning ordinary website visitors into actual customers:

1. Find the perfect headline.

Headlines serve the most important purpose on a landing page: to convince a visitor to stay.  There’s a famous quote by advertising legend David Ogilvy that says, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” Since your headline is the first thing people see when they land on your site, it’s imperative to make a good impression. That’s why we always suggest A/B or split testing to figure out which one will get higher engagement.

Some elements you can test for are: (This is something we love to do!)
A short versus long headline
A headline that states benefits versus features
The color scheme of the headline
Headline transposed over a background image versus negative space
 

Landing Page Vivino
Source: Vivino

This wine news and review site uses an appealing solution-oriented strategy in their captivating headline.

 

2. Create a compelling, clearly stated value proposition.

A unique value proposition (UVP) should be the first thing your visitors see when they land on your landing page. It is not a slogan. It’s a promise you’re telling customers about what your product/service will do for them while also conveying how it is better than the competition. It can be a single statement or 2-3 lines that hit home with your target audience. 
 

Landing Page Karma

Source: Karma Mobility, Inc.

 The unique value this brand offers is clearly stated in the byline letting viewers know they can get online anywhere with their product with affordable data plans.

 

3. Reinforce your value with an effective Call to Action (CTA)

Even though you now have a compelling UVP and an impactful headline, visitors often still need that extra push, and a CTA form or button can be exactly what gets them on board. An effective CTA should be prominently placed, not too small, and placed above the fold so visitors won’t need to go searching for it. 

Our client Magnolia Dental was looking for web design services in Mobile, Alabama and their home page illustrates how sometimes depending on your service, it’s beneficial to use multiple calls to action on one page. 

 Magnolia Dental Call to Action

 

4. Include benefits and/or features in digestible chunks. 

Because web visitors are scanners by nature, your text should be simple and minimal, using images as much as possible while ensuring the relevant features or benefits are succinctly highlighted. 
 

Landing Page H. Bloom
Source: H. Bloom

This flower company does a lovely job in illustrating the simple process for their subscription service.

5. Provide social proof 

Potential customers want to know they’re making a good choice in choosing your business. Social proof can help seal the deal by reinforcing trust and establishing credibility. This can often create an emotional response, ultimately turning visitors into customers. Examples of social proof can include:
Testimonials from clients (with images and names)
Social media share buttons (showing the number of shares)
Logos from well-respected businesses that use you
Business or product reviews
Trust seals, i.e. BBB, VeriSign, TRUSTe (see image below)
 

One client of ours in Daphne, Alabama does a great job of providing social proof on their landing page for a new program they’ve launched. The Mar-Kee Group uses testimonials, video demos, and social media icons that play well with their call to action sign-up forms and buttons.

6. Make sure the message matches the promotion

This is especially important when using PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ads as the link associated with your Google ad will need to direct users to a page built specifically for that service or promotion being offered. 
 

Landing Page Promotion
Source: Frank & Oak

If someone who clicked on an ad in Google that advertised a “30% off your next purchase promotion” but ended up on the home page, they likely would get inundated with way more information than they wanted, get a bit overwhelmed that they didn’t see that coupon, and leave the site out of frustration.

Conclusion

By no means do landing pages need to include all of these elements, and in some cases, the more minimal a landing page is the more results a site can see. Figuring out what kind of landing page your marketing campaign needs will depend on many factors. Above all else, research into what types of personas make up your target audience should be the first step. This article is meant as a general overview, as there are many more components to a successful landing page that are not mentioned here, such as the need for an integrative design (see BEOPLAY’s experiential design) or adding video, which can lead to 86% more conversions.

 

At BIS Designs, our goal is to create a website and subsequent landing pages that will support your goals and accurately reflect your brand for businesses not just in Baldwin County and Mobile County, but also extending to Biloxi, Gulfport, and Pensacola, Florida. From our pre-project meeting to content development and design, we keep your website goals at the forefront of everything we do. Through combining search engine optimization, social media marketing and cutting edge web design, our integrative approach for your business provides successful results. Contact us today to hear more about our new comprehensive packages!


 


Intro to Video Marketing for Your Business
Video marketing

By now, you’ve probably heard that video marketing is all the rage. It’s evidently more impactful and can engage many more people on social media networks than a post with an image alone could. You may be saying, “Yeah, that sounds great, but I don’t have the time and the resources to make a video!” Well, don’t throw the idea away just yet.

 
What if we told you that within just a few hours, you could have enough video content for almost a whole year to dole out each month? There are many styles of videos for marketing and some will take much longer to make. However, a simple Q& A style video can be done relatively quickly and provides numerous beneficial results to your marketing. 

by addressing topics you believe are important to your audience, your business value is increased and deeper relationships are developed as you’re looked at as a trusted expert in your field.

 

Before you take your first stab at making a video, keep in mind the following pointers to get the most out of your work:

1. Grab attention early.

Ideally within 1st 10 seconds or less, appeal to the viewers’ emotions by addressing particular pain points, concerns, or other impassioned viewpoints.

2. Establish a clear Call to Action (CTA).

Determine what your ultimate goal is for the video, i.e. visiting your website, sharing the video, etc. and incorporate that into a straightforward CTA usually toward the end of the video, such as “Learn more at (insert url).” 

3. Don’t forget about the post text.

What you write about in the text for the video post is very important and should be used as the bait & hook to the video. Be sure to not spam it with hashtags.

4. Set it to autoplay with subtitles.

One study found that 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. The video needs to be able to attract attention without sound, meaning an aesthetically pleasing background and camera quality is important, but so is the need for subtitles. Facebook offers this as an option now. Contact us if you want more specifics! 

5. Know how to measure your success.

Depending on the platform the video is posted on, make sure you know how to read the metrics, i.e. the number of shares, the amount of engagement, and the number of clicks to your site.

6. Follow the golden rules.

Make sure you have a good audio (lavaliere wireless microphone), a clear and aesthetically pleasing, but not distracting background, and that you’re discussing something that you are passionate about.

7. Upload the video individually into the social networks rather than sharing a YouTube link.

While it would certainly be easier to share the same link across all channels, Facebook’s algorithm favors videos placed directly onto their platform more than links. Doing it this way will create greater organic reach, especially on Facebook. 

8. Optimize for search.

The text you include in your post about the video won’t be searchable, but the headline and descriptions you post with your video will. Try to include those keywords or phrases you think viewers would be searching for to help them find your content, and include a couple relevant hashtags on platforms like Twitter and Instagram to boost search results.

Now for the director & producer in you, here’s a list of ideas for topics:

 

1. Share a how-to video.

It’s important to keep the video short, so if it’s a visual “How-To”, use the speed-up feature in your video editing software to shorten the duration. 

2. Answer questions.

Give brief answers to a few of the main questions you know your audience is interested in. This is a great way to establish your business’s expert credibility.

3. Take viewers behind the scenes.

This is a powerful brand-building tool as users on social media follow companies typically because they have an affinity for the business and want to learn more about what the brand really is and what it stands for. Show viewers how something works or how something is made and this can lead to major increases in brand loyalty.

4. Tell a story.

By creating a story with a beginning, middle, and end that fits into a 30-second video, you’re bound to easily connect with viewers. Telling stories about real people is ideal, but even telling a story about your customers, your business, or a cause you want to raise awareness on are dynamic tools to build and sustain loyal relationships.

Are you ready yet?

If you’re pressed for time, but feel video marketing is an excellent strategy you want to give a try, start out with the Answering Questions format. 

  • Develop a list of 10 questions that your clients and prospects most frequently ask you about your business. 
  • Then brainstorm another list of 10 questions that you think your clients and prospects need to know, but rarely ask.
  • Rehearse the answers so you can keep the videos short and sweet, ideally within the 60 sec range. This way, you don’t even have to worry about editing except for the start and finish. Doing them all at once can be filmed in just a few hours. 

If you schedule a day on your calendar that you can sit down and record 20 videos back to back, you can have 10 months of videos ready to go that get posted online every two weeks. Pretty efficient, right?

Once you have a video created, cross promote it on your blog, post it on YouTube so the link can be embedded into an email newsletter campaign, and add it as a video post to your social media networks.

 

BIS Designs is more than happy to come to your location or schedule time in our studio to record video tutorials, testimonials, or any such video as described above. Our comprehensive marketing services can integrate your video marketing with your website, social media, and print marketing endeavors, all the while ensuring your videos are efficiently optimized to help your search engine rankings. Contact our Designs team to learn more about our video marketing services and how we can increase your brand’s recognition, reinforce your business’s credibility, and boost both your search rankings and social engagement


 


6 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2017
Digital Marketing Trends

 

At the end of each year, we like to pull together the marketing community’s top digital marketing trends to look out for in the upcoming year. By keeping our finger on the pulse, we hope to be able to provide our clients with valuable insights that will sustain their growth and keep them ahead of the curve.


So what’s the meter showing? There are many advances on the horizon that will impact marketing in a big way in years to come, such as virtual and augmented reality devices, applications and games, but we’re going to keep this article’s focus on practical strategies that can be implemented right away should our clients request it.

As you embrace the idea of a new marketing strategy for 2017, here are the top digital marketing trends to consider and hopefully capitalize on:

Cross-Device Marketing Optimization
Longer Sales Funnels/Increased Content Marketing
Live Video Streaming, e.g. Facebook Live
Big Data: Consumer Behavior Analytics
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
BLE Beacons


Cross-Device Marketing Optimization 

Most companies understand by now the value of having responsive website designs that are mobile friendly. The key term here is cross-device or multi-platform. The majority of web users are still using multiple devices for their web searches. When purchasing something online, often users will want to see the details on bigger screens such as their desktops or laptops. This means we need to adopt strategies that engage the “multichannel majority” and not just our smart phones.

Longer Sales Funnels

Understanding the sales funnel is crucial to developing successful marketing campaigns. A big trend that we’re seeing is that companies are investing in marketing pursuits that provide a high level of value upfront, long before asking for an email address or moving into the Calls to Action that prompt users along the sales process. By providing valuable content will ultimately establish a strong level of trust, which is needed for someone to choose you over a competitor. This may take longer than the traditional sales funnel, however, the rewards will come in easier sales when you do ask your visitors to purchase from you.  They will already have developed a sense of trust because you’ve established yourself as an authority on certain subjects.

Live Video Streaming, i.e. Facebook Live

Your fans and social media followers want an immersive experience that connects them with your particular brand. No longer can you rely on static blog posts or images alone to impact your audience.  Whether Facebook Live, the Twitter-owned Periscope, or Google’s YouTube, mobile live-streaming has a captivating power that can spread a company’s message into the far reaches of social networks.  Curious on how to get this started for your business? We’ll guide you through it!

Big Data: Consumer Behavior Analytics 

Website analytics is by no means new, but the full potential of this kind of reporting and analysis is continually emerging. As consumer decision behavior is growing in complexity, companies will soon start using web analytics for more than the 20% the majority of us access today. The Affinity and In-Segment reports in Google Analytics is just one hidden gem that can demystify the types of customer personas that makeup your intended audience. The more we know about what makes our target audience tick, the more successful we’ll be at marketing to them.

Google Analytics Affinity report 
Image: Kaushik, 2015

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Compiling user behavior facts from a global population–and in a timely manner–is an enormous feat beyond human ability. This is why the biggest research companies in the world use AI to establish patterns for this kind of pre-emptive marketing. The type of automation we see in establishing the ideal audience for Facebook ads, for example, is one way this is already being used. In the coming years, we believe this process will heavily increase, and we are bound to see major advances in customer behavior, user experiences (UX), and profitable outcomes for businesses.

BLE Beacons

Beacons are another hot new trend that is expected in increase heavily in 2017.  BLE Beacons are used within brick-and-mortar stores to “hypertarget” customers through new levels of proximity awareness. They are low-cost transmitters that use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to provide smart devices with valuable location-based information. Beacons can be installed throughout entire buildings and can be used in a variety of ways. These include: 

Sending coupons and notifications when someone is near a specific retail display.
Serving as a store guide by providing a virtual map of a store.
Educating visitors on specific exhibits as they tour a museum.
Alerting people of the arrival and departure times of specific bus routes or plane delays. 

Beacons are already being used by 85% of the top US retailers, and it’s estimated that 500 million beacons will be in use by 2021. 

With all of the fascinating advancements in technology and the pervasive infiltration of the IoT lifestyles, 2017 looks to be a year that will go down in history as marketing tactics take a giant leap forward and hit their stride.

If you’re ready to explore what makes your target audience tick, give us a call and let’s talk. Our web designers and analysts will work with you to create intriguing and conversion-inducing websites that will be consistently monitored and optimized for the best possible outcomes. Our goal at BIS Designs is your success. Let’s get you back on track! Schedule your free consultation & quote today. 


Top 11 Mistakes To Avoid When Using SEO
search engine optimization SEO graphic

What good is a website if no one can find it? Today, most businesses recognize the need for a website and the importance of ranking well in search. But how can you be sure your website gets top listings in a competitive marketing world? The answer is strategic search engine optimization (SEO)

Well-deployed SEO helps cut through all the noise to get your website found by its intended audience. 


While optimizing for search engines is a crucial component to your business’ success, there are several mistakes that must be avoided. Otherwise, you could actually end up hurting your SEO efforts.

Here’s a quick overview of the top mistakes to avoid when leveraging SEO for your company’s best success online.

1. Keyword stuffing

a. This used to be a regular technique in search engine optimization where a webpage had “keywords” (popular words used in search queries) placed all over the site in metatags or in the content. However, Google soon  realized that the number of keywords on a site did not necessarily equate to a valuable resource for the web user. Currently, keyword stuffing is viewed as a black hat technique and an attempt to manipulate a site’s rankings in search results. This can potentially cause a site to be banned or penalized in search engine rankings.

b. An example of keyword stuffing is below:

 keyword stuffing - bad SEO
Image source: Inklyo.com 

2. Keyword research or lack thereof. 

Many companies these days are telling people to just write naturally and not worry about keywords, but there is a deep value in using the search algorithms to your advantage. Having quality content on a website is the leading factor for making a website useful and popular for visitors. Keywords need to be researched and selected first before any writing begins in order for the content to read naturally. 

3. Not Using Long Tailed Keywords.

Long tail keywords, or descriptive phrases, are keywords too. They are much more likely to rank well in search results than short tail keywords. Why? Because people are getting much more specific in their searches, and keyword optimization should follow suit. You may get fewer hits, but the hits you get will be from web users that are much further down the road towards taking action than those that were only searching for one general word. It’s also much more achievable to get a webpage to rank highly on the search engine listings for long tail keywords because the competition is not as high as it is for general one word terms. Just think about the intention difference between someone searching for “Mobile Bay” versus “Mobile Bay charter boat tours Fairhope AL”. The specific search query is more likely to reflect a shopper who knows what they’re looking for and is closer to a purchase decision.

4. Not adding fresh content to your site.

Okay, so now you have a stellar website with dynamic content and optimized keywords ready to rock the socks off of users. But before you expect to be listed on that first page of search results on Google, and ideally the top three listings, you need to understand the importance of updating the content on your site regularly. If you’re not regularly updating your website, search engines are not going to continually notice you. Each time you add something new to your site, it’s a beacon calling the web crawling search bots to come back around to index your site, which in turn gives you better chances of higher search rankings. 
How can you add new content to your site? Writing blog articles, providing downloads and adding new web pages are good examples. But these content updates need to be on a regular basis, and the content needs to be reliable and valuable information in order to have a better chance of your site ranking higher with each update. 

How often is often enough? Typically, a frequently updated site is considered one that is updated once a day, or at least two to three times a week. These updates can be as simple as making minor changes on your site, but the easiest and most effective ways to get noticed are to add blog articles with images that will get the attention of your viewers. As a bonus, if users comment on your blog, this counts as an update on your site too. 

5. Weak Content

Search engines have begun devaluing the ranking in search results of websites that have don’t have much content. It used to be a common goal to keep blog posts around 300 words, but now the world’s leading brands and marketing analysts agree that longer form content actually boosts SEO rankings because of its added value to the readers. Thus, somewhere on your website, a strategy should be to include content that goes up to 1,500 words, with of course, the necessary optimization of meta descriptions, image tags, and other text formatting. 

6. Duplicate Content

Duplicate content refers to content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. This can be text that copies verbatim content found on other parts of your own web page, but more importantly, found on other webpages. Obviously, plagiarism is highly frowned upon, and the search algorithms are engineered to penalize sites when duplicate content is found. It’s completely okay to quote or insert a block of text from another source as long as you attribute to it in a link, like we do on our blogs all the time. 
Another situation that creates red flags is when you publish guest posts on other sites. For the most part, it’s okay to use the majority of the content, but you need to make sure that some of the content is altered to make what Kissmetrics calls an “evil twin.”

7. Broken Internal Links

Internal links are places on your website where you can have content from one of your web pages link to other content on another page on the same website. It should only be used if there is a real connection between the two pages. When done correctly, internal linking is considered good SEO practice. It helps keep users on your page longer by linking to the internally referenced pages, but mainly it is a routine step in SEO because it helps the search engines crawl your sight and verify that your content is valuable to readers because of the linked connections. 
However, when internal links are broken and users and web bots get a “404 Error” page, it’s a red flag that the content lacks value. “404” pages are damaging to your website’s credibility, and search engine crawl interruptions can lower your site’s ranking and decrease its visibility. You can check for broken links on your webpage by using this web validator tool. No one, users or web crawlers, like to see this message:

webpage error 404 meessage

8. Black Hat Backlinking and Lack of Link Building.

Backlinks, or inbound links, are links on outside websites that link to your webpage.  It’s an important SEO strategy to acquire these links that point back to your site, but not so long ago, this practice was tarnished with people buying low quality links to get listed on sketchy website directories. Link farms, as they were dubbed, became so popular that Google made algorithm changes to specifically penalize websites that did this. Finding quality web directories and acquiring citations and reference links from websites in the same industry are the smart way to go about doing this. Search engines can tell if you’re trying to trick them into promoting your website. While it’s better to have no links than bad links, there are still many tools, time consuming as they may be, to help get your site the quality backlinks Google values. But remember, content first, links later.

9. Incomplete On-Page SEO 

On-page SEO refers to items like keywords, quality content, and fresh updates added regularly, as mentioned earlier, but it also includes the technical aspects of filling out the meta descriptions, title, and image tags with a chosen keyword, as well as including your keyword or keyword phrase ideally within the first paragraph. Ensuring you have consistent brand messaging throughout the webpage is also important.

10. Not Utilizing Social Media

For a business to maintain credibility these days, it needs to be online on social media. It’s a great avenue for building brand awareness, retaining loyal customers and fans, and sharing all those wonderful webpages and blogs you’ve optimized on your website. By sharing your website content on social media, search engines discover there are more places to find that content, thus boosting the number of listings that pop up when people search for products or services matching your content. 

Social media icons iPhone 

11. Not tracking or measuring your progress.

It’s important to know how your SEO is performing. Using Google Analytics or other software is essential to monitor the rate of change so steps can be made to amend any low-performing webpages. Conversion goals, keyword monitoring, and weekly reports are invaluable tools to determine if you’re making progress or not.

Customizable SEO Services That Deliver Results

Search engine optimization may seem daunting at first, but the benefits far outweigh the cost to your business versus not using SEO. If your business is not seeing the results you need from your website to stay successful, then it’s time to contact our BIS Designs team for your free quote on our SEO services. Our SEO & Online Specialist will collaborate with you to create the most effective search engine optimization strategy possible, customized to your individual needs. Bring your website into the modern competitive arena with strategic SEO services from your local digital marketing experts at BIS Designs.



Google to Release Penguin 4.0 Update That Could Potentially Hurt Your Website's Search Engine Rankings

Google to Release New Penguin 4.0 Update That Could Potentially HurtYour Website’s Search Engine Rankings

At some point this year, Google will release an algorithm updated called Penguin 4.0. Some might remember the very first release of Penguin where it was compared to “dropping a nuke.” Many websites lost their first page rankings which affected their traffic, conversions and profit even putting some websites out of business.

Google’s goal is to promote high-quality content. When webmasters use blackhat search engine optimization (SEO) schemes like link buying, they can get poor quality sites to rank high on search engines – at least for a short period of time. Unfortunately for users like me and you, it makes searching for good quality content difficult. Google became wise to these unnatural links and developed algorithms to prevent this from happening. As new blackhat tricks are created, Google releases new updates to stop these websites from ranking.

When Penguin 4.0 comes out this year, your website will suffer if you or your SEO specialist:

  • Buys links
  •  Embeds numerous links into widgets 
  • Creates excessive partner pages for backlinking
  • Gives away services or products to someone for the sole purpose of receiving a written review with a link back to your website
  • Participates in large-scale article marketing campaigns
  • Links to articles that are considered spammy

With BIS Designs, our SEO and content specialists will:

  •  Get real, non-spammy links from websites
  • Focus on internal linking
  • Add new optimized content
  • Optimize every page of your site for your chosen keywords

Get your free SEO audit today! Give us a call at 251-410-7601!

 

Sources:

https://moz.com/ugc/what-is-an-unnatural-link-an-in-depth-look-at-the-google-quality-guidelines


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