My daddy used to tell me to “plan your work and then work your plan.” In the ever-changing and face paced world of online marketing, that can be easier said than done. Often, it happens that a business decides to start building an online presence and then ends up with bits and pieces that don’t really fit together.

Bits and Pieces

Here is how that usually happens: A business owner creates a Facebook page (or perhaps not knowing any better, a Facebook profile) for their business. They start posting a few things and getting “likes” for their page. Now, they hear that Pinterest is the hot spot, soooo, they head on over and create a Pinterest profile and start pinning. Of course, you can’t get found online without including Google, so off they go to create a Google+ account. Now Google wants them to claim their place page and they are asking for a web address. Okay, now they have to bite the bullet and get a website (if they don’t already have one). Someone tells them (accurately) that a blog is good for search engine optimization. Oh, and what about pay-per-click? . . . this could go on and on forever.

Pull it together

If something like the above scenario is how things have happened for your business, it is time to stop and assess what you have and pull it all together in one overall plan. A good approach is to create a hub for your online presence and then build from there. The logical place to start building is with your website. It is really the only online property you own and who knows what the next hot social media site will be or how Facebook or Google are going to change their algorithms next. Think about:

  • Who is your target market - who are you trying to reach?
  • Where does your target market hang out? Are they on Facebook, Twitter or are they searching on Google for your products and services?
  • Be where they are looking and link your accounts together to ultimately draw people back to your website.
  • Create calls to action that will help your visitors convert into leads for your business.
  • Have a plan for following up on the leads you have generated.

If you have bits and pieces out there that aren’t really tied together, the process of pulling it all together may take a bit of time and certainly some effort but it will pay off in the end with leads for your business.

Need help pulling it all together? Give us a call 504-491-0001.

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Some Misconceptions About Pay Per Click Advertising

by Christi on November 27, 2012

Many business owners have misconceptions about Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising. The following is a list of a few misconceptions we have compiled from clients and potential clients.

  • PPC advertising (or increasing your PPC budget) will get you a higher organic ranking on that search engine. The search engines have never made this claim. In fact, they usually deny it. PPC advertising will have no impact on your organic ranking. If it did, the search engine would loose all credibility.
  • It is best to link your PPC ad to your homepage. In reality, you should link your PPC ad to a landing page specifically tailored to the keywords used for your ad. This page should also have a call to action, such as an offer for something free, that the visitor can receive by filling out a form or calling a special number. Answering this call to action converts the visitor into a lead.
  • The best measure of PPC success is the number of ads clicked on (click through rate). Usually, the best measure of success in a PPC campaign is the number of new leads/customers it generates (i.e. conversion rate).
  • Ad clickers become leads or customers on the same day they click on the ad. Not necessarily. It is not uncommon for half of your ad clickers to wait 10 or more days before filling out your conversion form and becoming a lead.

These are just four misconceptions about PPC advertising; there are many more.

If you need help with your PPC Advertising Campaign, give us a call at 504.450.6912.

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A good copywriter possesses the ability the put together exactly the right words to convey your company’s story to your target audience. Good copywriting is important to all forms of verbal communication from blogging to white papers to books. Good copywriting can be the difference in the success or failure of a content marketing campaign. To that end, we have been searching for a good copywriter to join our strategic partnerships.

Annie BleeckerToday, I would like to introduce you to our strategic partner for copywriting, Annie Bleecker. Annie is a copywriter and content strategist who specializes in helping businesses deliver key messages in a way that resonates with their target audiences. She has been writing and editing professionally for seven years, both in print and online mediums. Her passion is B2B web copywriting, and she particularly excels at explaining complicated processes in clear, compelling language.

“My most rewarding challenges are helping service providers clearly explain what they do and how exactly their services translate to results for their clients.”

In 2010, Annie began learning about content marketing and was instantly captivated by its potential. Shortly thereafter, she left her copywriting job at an in-house advertising department in order to go out on her own and help agile, forward-thinking businesses use content marketing to boost sales through increased web traffic and leads.

“Content marketing provides a real opportunity for businesses to build a loyal base of potential customers. People don’t want to be ‘sold’ to; they want valuable information from an authoritative source. The business that can design its content around its customers’ priorities will emerge as the market leader.”

Prior to starting her consulting business, Annie used her writing and editing expertise to drive sales for Laitram LLC, a global industrial equipment manufacturer; increase article acceptance rates for professors and fellows at Tulane Health Sciences Center; and oversee production of educational media for Pearson Education, a world-renowned textbook publisher.

Her career in language began in Santiago, Chile, where she spent two years teaching Business English to executives at companies such as Fluor Corporation, ABN Amro, and Scotiabank. She is bilingual (English/Spanish) and received a degree in International Affairs from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

We are proud to be partnering with Annie and look forward to the vital role she will play in helping businesses connect with their target audiences. If you need help with your copywriting, contact us today at 504.450.6912 or fill out the contact form in the righthand column.

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Who Is Your Target Market?

by Christi on September 17, 2012

Before starting any marketing campaign, it is important to establish your target market. Who is the perfect customer for your product or service? At Wharton Marketing, we understand that without first building a strong foundation, any marketing efforts will not be as effective as possible. To that end, we have been forming strategic partnerships with people who have the expertise to ensure that your marketing efforts deliver a measurable return on your investment.

Today, I would like to introduce you to one of our new strategic partners, Cindy Fromherz. Cindy is our go-to person for business research and analysis. She is especially concentrating on helping our clients discover their target market and hone in on the most profitable niche areas for their business. According to Cindy, “In today’s challenging business environment, knowledge is power. And the basis for knowledge is quality, targeted information. Armed with the knowledge to make smart decisions, you can increase your company’s competitive advantage while reducing financial risk.”

Cindy has over thirty years experience in research, economic development, and urban planning. Cindy served as Director of Research for the regional economic development partnership serving southeast Louisiana. Earlier jobs focused on strategic planning, business assistance, community and real estate development, and environmental planning.

Cindy Fromherz attended Vanderbilt University and graduated from Tulane University magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.  She also received a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans.  She is the immediate past President of the New Orleans Women’s Professional Council, and is on the board of a number of civic and professional organizations.

We are proud to be partnering with Cindy and are looking forward to the vital role she will play in helping businesses increase their ROI by really reaching people who are looking for their products and services in a very targeted way.

 

 

 

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Breaking News

by Christi on September 10, 2012

At Wharton Marketing, we have been busy, recently, building strategic partnerships and growing our team. While we used to focus mainly on website design with other marketing services added, we are now moving our focus to a more comprehensive inbound marketing approach.

We often meet business people who tell us they have a website or a Facebook page or a Twitter account but they aren’t really getting good results. Working with our partners at HubSpot and through our strategic partnerships that we have been building in the past few months, we can offer businesses a way to ensure they are getting a good return on their investment of time and money that helps them build their business. In addition to website design, we can help businesses:

  • Set goals using our interactive tools that help you discover how much a customer acquisition cost, how many customers you need to acquire to reach your target, how much the return on each acquisition must be and what time frame is resonable.
  • Identify your target market with help from one of our strategic partners who will provide you with a questionnaire to start the process. This partner has incredible research tools and will work with you to find the right market for your products and services.
  • Create an online presence for your target market. Once you have set goals and identified your target market, we can help you build the online presence to attract visits from those who are actively looking for what you have to offer.
  • Create compelling content. Once you have attracted people to your online presence, you have to give them the information they are looking for. We can help you create compelling content that will help support a purchase decision from your targeted traffic.
  • Create calls to action and landing pages. When your target market finds you online and seesStrt that you offer the information that they are looking for, it is time to give them a way to convert into a lead or customer for your business. We can help you create offers for your visitors that are compelling and helpful to your visitors and that can move them closer to a sale for your business.
  • Analyze your results. By measuring what works and what needs tweaking, we are able to consistently and constantly improve your results and keep you moving towards your goal.

We are very excited about how we can help your business. In the coming days and weeks, we will be introducing you to our new partners and showing you how we can help you through each step of effective online marketing that will get you real, measurable results.

Stay tuned!

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“Are you going to submit our website to the search engines?” That’s a question we often get from clients. They tell us their old website firm would submit their website to 30+ search engines every quarter and charge them $150 or more to do it. Don’t waste your money!

While submitting your website to search engines may have had its place in the early days, the way search engines do business has changed and it is no longer effective. A much more effective way to get noticed by the search engines is the XML Sitemap. Here is what Google says about the XML Sitemap:

Sitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover. In its simplest terms, a XML Sitemap—usually called Sitemap, with a capital S—is a list of the pages on your website. Creating and submitting a Sitemap helps make sure that Google knows about all the pages on your site, including URLs that may not be discoverable by Google’s normal crawling process.

We use a plugin on all of our websites that automatically creates and updates an XML Sitemap and pings the 3 major search engines every time a change is made to the website. We also recommend that our clients go to GetListed.org to claim their businesses.

So our answer is, “No we don’t waste your money or our time submitting your site to search engines; we have a better way.”

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Getting Customers Online

by Christi on August 23, 2012

“We have a website but we aren’t really getting any customers through our online channels.” This is something we hear all the time from business owners who are frustrated that they are not getting leads and customers from all of the time, money and effort that they put into their online presence.

What is interesting about this is that people are searching online and when they land on your site, they are actually looking to convert. They are looking to educate themselves to support a purchase decision. So what is the problem. In most cases, the problem is that there is no mechanism in place to allow for a conversion. If the only call to action on your site is “contact us,” you probably are not going to get a very high rate of people converting from visitors to leads and customers.

To support conversions, create compelling offers for people who are visiting your site. Your offer might be an educational whitepaper that gives them more information. It could be access to a coupon or free consultation. Think about what visitors to your website are looking for and give it to them through the form of an offer. Link your offer to a landing page with a form. If your offer is compelling and it is answering questions or solving problems that your visitor has, then they are more likely to fill out your form to get the information. Remember, they are looking to educate themselves to support a purchase. Once they fill out  your form, they have converted into a lead! They have given you permission to give them more information.

Create offers and landing pages on your site and see what happens.

Need help? Call us at 870.404.1985 or email us at info@wharton-marketing.com to see how to get started. Also, download the Essential Guide to Internet Marketing to find out 8 essential steps to creating an online marketing strategy.

 

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The New SEO

by Christi on August 21, 2012

New SEOA few days ago, Joe B. wrote an article about Inbound Marketing being the best SEO. Yesterday, we attended a webinar created by HubSpot and SEOMoz that discussed the state of SEO in 2012 which gave detailed information that backs up the claim of Inbound Marketing being the best SEO.

Search Engines are really working to deliver fresh, relevant, and helpful content to people who are searching for answers online. For businesses, this means that you need to be creating that kind of content on a regular basis so search engines can find it, index it and deliver it to people who are looking for it. The easiest, most efficient way to create this type of content is with a blog.

Look at your competition. Are they blogging? Are they creating great content for people who are searching online? Are they distributing that content through channels such as social media? If they are, you have no time to waste, you need to get started immediately. If they are not, you still have no time to waste because this is an opportunity to set yourself not just apart but ahead.

Need help? Contact us at info@wharton-marketing.com and we can help you get started and also give you access to our latest webinar where we help you come up with content types and brainstorm topics for great blog posts.

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Your Website Is Not A Yellow Page Ad!

by Joe B on August 20, 2012

Many businesses treat their websites as nothing more than Yellow Page ads. Remember the Yellow Pages… those yellow phonebooks you’d search through when you needed a plumber, auto mechanic or even a doctor (although doctors couldn’t have more than their name, address and phone number for the longest time). Businesses would buy the biggest ad they could afford. Some businesses even named their companies so they would so up first in the Yellow Pages (AAAA Insurance, for example).

Yellow Pages were very inefficient. They were only printed once a year. If your business started after the deadline for printing, you had to wait until next year. And a business could go out of business between the time they paid for an ad and when the Yellow Pages were printed. So, unlike websites, they could never quite be up to date.

Yellow Page ads are static and usually provide little more than a list of services or products the business offers, the address and phone number. Many businesses have websites that are nothing more than prettier versions of their Yellow Page ads. But websites can and should be much more.

A business website should be a dynamic, interactive lead/customer generating machine. After all, the ultimate goal of a business website is to get customers. A business website can do this by interacting with website visitors, prompting them to download eBooks and White Papers, and providing them with up to date information through a blog. This is all part of the Inbound Marketing Process which uses a business’s web presence to move web visitors down the Sales Funnel into leads and customers.

You can find out more about the Inbound Marketing Process on this blog or you can attend one of our upcoming webinars.

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Inbound Marketing Is The Best SEO (part 2)

by Joe B on August 15, 2012

As we said in our previous post, Inbound Marketing consists of:

1) Content- serving up unique, helpful content
2) Distribution of that content thru:

  • social media
  • e-mail
  • blogging
  • website
  • search
  • others

3) Engagement with users to:

  • capture leads
  • convert leads to customers

Why isn’t the old way of doing SEO effective anymore? The answer is because Google changed their algorithm and indexing system. Google search is about solving problems. When you type something into the Google search bar, you are looking for an answer to something. Google wants to serve up the best answer to you.

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines says, “make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.” So Google is looking for quality, unique content. In February 2011, with the introduction of Panda, Google found a way to identify content that was not good. In the Summer of 2010, Google introduced its Caffeine Indexing System which began rewarding new/fresh content. In February 2011, Google caught and punished JC Penney, Overstock.com and others for black hat link building. In October 2011, Google began limiting Keyword Search Query Information making it more difficult to determine what keywords were used to find your site. And in 2010, both Google and Bing admitted to using Social Signals in their search results.

What does all of this mean?

1) Where you rank doesn’t matter- How many keywords drive traffic to your site does.

2) You must create lots of original, problem-solving, thought leader content and/or entertaining content

3) You must publish content frequently

4) Don’t buy links or use link building services

5) Search results and technical SEO ROI are harder to track

6) Distribute your content thru Social Media and be social

7) Embrace all of Inbound Marketing

Content creation is the new SEO. Make your content helpful, insightful and fresh are reap the rewards.

 

 

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