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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Local Marketing for Professionals

Thursday, June 29, 2017

There are so many professionals out there looking for guidance on how best to market their services - but simply don't know who to start.  When thinking about a local marketing strategy for your professional services firm, knowing where to start can be one of the toughest parts.  In this post I'll share some key areas that local businesses, specifically professionals like Dentists, Doctors, and Attorney's should consider when promoting their business locally.

The first step is focusing on your Google My Business profile.  Google maintains the largest local directory on the planet and there are tons of professionals that either don't know how to verify their listing or simply don't understand the positive impact of having a verified Google My Business account.  When users search for a local professional, your profile will appear in search results and serve as a huge billboard promoting your practice. These listings also include a link to your website, hours of operation, and reviews.

The second step is to optimize your own website.  With the advent of do-it-yourself website builders like GoDaddy, Wix, and WordPress, making your own website doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. You can easily find a freelancer who can quickly and easily develop a good looking website for your firm. Make sure it is easy to navigate, is optimized from a search engine optimization perspective, and gives users an easy way to get in touch with you to set an appointment.

The third step is to think about local search directories.  Local directory services like Lizard Local can help to optimize your business information and distribute across large, powerful local directories like Yelp - improving exposure and helping to build your online reputation.  Professionals that invest the time and effort in expanding their online brand not only grow their practices faster, but increase retention among existing patients and customers.

The final step for increasing you local presence is to "keep it local".  Work with your community and encourage online coverage for your office.  For example, a number of my customers do free screenings or provide a day of free legal advice. This type of promotion can easily be picked up online from local newspapers and radio stations. These connections bode well from a local optimization standpoint and help you increase your reputation.

Don't make local optimization harder than it needs to be.  If you create, optimize, and verify your Google My Business profile, you'll be ahead of about 80% of businesses who fail to see the value in the verification process.  Once you've set up your Google profile, optimize your own website and then begin promoting it using local online directories.  And lastly, start making local connections that can help you and your business rise above the crowd.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Malvertising is a word that has been bouncing around the internet for a while now. It refers to an increasingly common type of online hack, which involves infected links hidden in advertisements online.

However, many marketers fail to realize the significance of this seemingly simple and common hack. In reality, if you aren't versed in the risks and security elements around malvertising, then it's possible that all of your future campaigns could be affected – and not in a positive way. 

Here's the basic scoop that will allow you a good understanding of this nasty type of malware and keep you and your work safe in the future.

What Is Malvertising?

Simply put, malvertising is what is says on the tin: malicious advertising. It takes the visual form of an advert for a website or service that, when clicked, will redirect your computer to criminal servers. From here, there may be a virus which finds its way into your computer or a malicious hacker on the other end trying to farm your bank details.

While some cases of malware, such as the classic porn pop-up, are easy to spot as they seem obviously out of place, some are not so blatant. Often, cybercriminals will use legitimate channels to ensure their advert is placed on a website. Because the infected code is so well camouflaged, site owners and visitors will regularly not be aware there's even a problem until it's too late and the damage has been done.

Malvertising and Me

For bloggers, marketers and small businesses, being aware of the potential effect malvertising could have on your online endeavors is essential. While many of us find ourselves procrastinating when working and clicking on obscure links to quench our boredom, this simple practice could secure your role as a victim of malvertising.

Here's why you don't want that to happen: once malware has accessed your computer, particularly when gaining entry unnoticed, it can cause havoc in your files. A worst-case scenario could include important work documents corrupting or even sensitive customer and client information finding its way into the public domain.

 As well as the frustration and stress required to put right these situations, there's even the possibility of financial loss. This could be via the infiltration of your bank details or through having to pay compensation to a business affiliate whose data you also lost during the attack.

Malvertising & Marketing

Unfortunately, it's not just in terms of our own personal security that malvertising can become a nuisance. If you're running any type of online marketing, promotion or sales campaign then it's also imperative that you take steps to secure yourself from one of these ads jumping on your operation and causing problems for both yourself and your customers.

The main reason for this is to protect the face of your brand. Online reputation is a powerfulthing and companies who fail to properly harness the power of an expansive and positive online presence very often fall short. So when a customer is alerted to potential malware on your website and they subsequently avoid your domain and company like the plague, this is bad news for business. Once the message spreads, it could be enough to bring down your whole brand.

How To Stay Safe

Fortunately, there are several layers of protection and security practices you can apply to every element of your internet use to ensure that all your hard work doesn't become insignificant thanks to a full-blown malvertising attack. These few steps will take you on your way to securing yourself from any significant problems, both with your personal systems and your visible marketing campaigns.

·         Be stringent with clicking. By far the best way to avoid contracting a virus from a malvertising link is not to click on it. When surfing the internet, be sure only to click on trusted sources.
·         Pick the right security suite. There are many great antivirus packages out there that will give you strong automatic protection from infections trying to enter your computer. Picking the right one for your needs is essential so be sure to do some research. 

·         Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). To avoid third-party injections of malicious malvertising code on websites that you run, be sure to use a VPN when away from your office to stop remote hackers gaining access to your admin panel. SecureThoughts provides VPN reviews if you want more information on this. 

·         Employ website specific security. There are several great plugins available, particularly if you have built your site with WordPress. These will provide dedicated antivirus protection and will alert you to suspicious code. 

It's true that malvertising is on the rise and there is a significant threat to all those who use the internet to promote or share content. However, it most certainly isn't anywhere near a doomsday situation just yet. By employing these simple strategies, you can markedly reduce your chance of contracting malware or hosting it on your website or blog.

Have you encountered malvertising while working on your own projects? How did it affect you? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author: Caroline is a technology blogger and internet security expert who has their fair share of marketing experience. She knows how closely connected security and promotion can be and wants to share all she knows to help make the internet a safer place! 

Monday, August 29, 2016

I was recently talking to a friend by the name of Evett Shulman about publishing information online. We started talking about specific types of information and how it becomes distributed across the web.  As Google continues to update their algorithm, professionals of all kinds are seeking to enhance the information provided to prospective donors and employers and learning how to do so.

Evett Shulman is a development professional, skilled in the planning and implementation of a comprehensive philanthropic program, bringing new avenues for collaboration between the nonprofit organization and community businesses. As a result, she was seeking a few basic guidelines for managing information about her accomplishments and background.
The days of simply having a resume online are long gone.  The majority of donors, philanthropic organizations, and potential employers now rely on the internet to collect their information.  Here are some guidelines for helping professionals like to create a strategic, responsive approach managing information online.

1. Be proactive. If you want to put your best foot forward, you must proactively manage your online information.  For example, having a well built out Linkedin Profile is a great place to start. (ex: This is ideal because with a site like Linkedin, you control the information that's published.

2. Think about your audience.  Who are you positioning yourself for?  Is it a future employer, mate, or class that you're teaching. Be mindful of your audience and craft messages that work for them.

3.  Stay active. It's not enough to publish a few things and walk away.  Get active on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  By having an active network, you're continually building mentions and other information online about who you are and how others should perceive you.

Managing your online reputation, whether you're Evett Shulman and John Doe, doesn't have to be a chore.  Start small.  Build a few social media accounts, and get active.  If all else fails, go out and buy a URL with your name in it.  Build your own website and point to other online assets from that resource.  Over time this will build in authority and come out on top of local search results.

Don't forget to link all of your resources together.  Also, be sure to link to sites that have already published your information.  Evett Shulman has done so and you can too.  Google the names of other professionals in your space. Take notice of the sites they've published their information on a do the same.  In not time, your online reputation will be stronger than ever before. D

Thursday, April 21, 2016

People who have been in the internet marketing world for years know how dynamic SEO marketing tips can be. In 2016, the keyword-stuffing habits of the past are more than obsolete; they can actually destroy your search engine rankings and leave your small business website lingering in obscurity on some never-seen results page.

Although SEO marketing has changed considerably since the early days, it is still one of the most powerful ways to get targeted traffic to a website, page or blog. These SEO quick tips can help you regain or retain those high SERPs for your small business site and continue to improve traffic, conversions and profits.

SEO Small Business Tips

These tips for SEO use evergreen techniques that focus on the searcher or site visitor instead of the bots and spiders that crawl pages for search engines. The main goal of modern SEO is to provide value for real people.

1 - Keywords still count, but current keyword trends really focus on phrases that people actually type in search engines. Many more people type, "How to get my dog to roll over" rather than simply "dog training."

2 - Find these phrases by exploring the intention of your small business website. Are you trying to sell a skin care product or get people to sign up for a newsletter so they can learn more? Instead of doing SEO for words or ideas, do it for purposes that benefit visitors.

3 - Get social. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram have become big players in the search engine optimization world. Interactions can boost rankings because when people talk about a site or something posted there, it rises in importance in the industry or subject.

4 - Go local. Directories and review sites that focus on local businesses improve search engine rankings these days. This is especially true for companies that have a physical, brick and mortar location, but virtual businesses who want to market to their community can also benefit.

5 - Focus on new popular technologies like mobile computing and voice activated computer usage. Every website needs to be mobile ready because an ever-increasing number of people access sites from their smartphones or tablets. Also, voice commands from systems like Siri or Cortana mean people are searching in different ways than ever before.

6 - Create content that excites search engines and visitors to the small business websites. Although you never have to be a world-renowned writer or videographer to create content for a site or blog, knowing how to do so effectively will do more good than other SEO small business tips.

SEO Writing Tips, Content and Video Creation

1 - Do not stuff a particular keyword or phrase into page content, an article or blog post. Major search engines are now working with algorithms that can recognize synonyms and related terms just as easily as a particular keyword. Write naturally and use plenty of words that all have to do with the specific topic. For example, if you are writing about dog training, you will also include terms that describe tricks you can teach or synonyms for training.

2 - Write long. Search engines and people value in-depth coverage of a topic more than a quick blurb about it. Most people use searches to find answers to questions or solutions to problems and the people who create the SEO rules know this. Web pages on your small business site and blog posts should be at least 1,000 words to make the most impact.

3 - Make the content interesting enough that people are inspired to read it, share it with friends on social media sites and comment on it. The more sharing and interaction you get, the better that page will do in the SERPs.

4 - Include photos, graphics and video whenever possible. Multi-media content on websites is ranked higher by search engines than ever before. Using unique graphics, pictures you took or created yourself or self-made videos have the greatest benefit because they are unique and more engaging for site visitors.

When presented with a neat list of SEO marketing tips for modern internet usage, small business owners may think the process can be done quickly and then left alone. In some ways, effective SEO does provide on-going organic traffic for the long term. However, the greatest benefits occur when the site owner or marketing team creates more optimized content consistently, builds brand recognition through social media and local directory presence and keeps tracking, analyzing and tweaking what works and what does not.

About the Author: Riya Sander is a freelance writer and a small business owner. She currently writes for several companies including Andaman SEO. In her free time, she always improve herself by reading the finance and management blog.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Having a proper marketing budget can make or break your business - it's one of those facets of owning a company that is absolutely crucial. This isn't an aspect of running your business where you want to cut corners. Taking the time to consider the cost of marketing for your company is something you'll want to take slowly and with a lot of careful planning and consideration. Let's take a look at a few very important points to successfully dividing and evaluating your marketing budget.

First Things First: Get Organized

Financial organization is the cornerstone of marketing channel management. It's likely that you'll have to estimate your projected future earnings and expenses, but try to be as accurate as possible.

Begin by having as crystal clear of an understanding as possible regarding your net 30 (monthly) revenue. For example, let's say that after expenses, your business earns anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 monthly - what you're trying to determine here is your reliable revenue, which is the term for the funds that you can expect to bring in each and every month.

To determine your reliable revenue, you'll want to use the lowest possible figure. So in this example, that would be $10,000. Anything you happen to earn over that amount becomes additional revenue which can be allocated at the time, but not before.

Think of this as starting your budget from a "worst case scenario" position. If you're uncertain when calculating your monthly expenses or mezzanine debt rates, tools like a monthly budget calculator or the help of a financial manager can be very useful.

Deciding Which Marketing Channels to Utilize

Even if you can successfully apply for loan, you'll want to allocate your funds based on the figures you determined in the first step we discussed here. You'll first want to figure out where and how you'd like to spend your marketing budget.

There are usually three considerations successful business owners make before spending their marketing budget:

      The size of his or her budget

      Where and how the target demographic will be reached (i.e., which marketing channels

      Past experience and expertise

For example, even with the best construction loan, a building company should take these points into consideration. Organizing your marketing budget will likely begin with considering just how much money you have to spend - if your budget is quite small, you'll want to consider relatively inexpensive options like email advertising and lead generation, online advertising, creating a strong social media presence (which can be quite cost effective and, in many cases, cost nothing at all), and even reasonably priced print advertisements.

If your marketing budget is larger, you may also wish to consider marketing channels such as television, radio, or other forms of targeted media. Don't be afraid to find and use a marketing budget template to use as a helpful reference as you work out the details.

Knowing Your Target Demographic

In order to determine the best marketingchannels for your specific needs, the best place to start is to develop a demographic profile of your target audience. Begin by considering some of the following points of your target audience:



      Income level

      Interests, hobbies, and behaviors

      What kind of media they are most likely to consume

The last point is perhaps the most important and often the most difficult to accurately determine, however this will likely shed quite a lot of light on which marketing channels you should be using. Once you know where the eyeballs of your target audience are the most likely to be, you can begin working on developing your integrated marketing communications.

Test, Test, Test

A portion of your marketing budget should be allocated to testing. This should only be money that you can "afford to lose" - however, don't think of losing money on a failed marketing campaign as a hard loss. This is money you spent to gather data - you paid to find out what did and did not work.

If you haven't already, familiarize yourself with split and/or A/B style testing. This means that you'll develop multiple versions of each advertising campaign and test to see which works better. A/B testing involves two versions (A and B). If campaign B yields you a higher return on your investment, it's the "winner" and gets pitted against another variation of the same ad. This process repeats so that you are continually optimizing your marketing channels.

Analyze Data and Adjust Accordingly

The final step to finding the optimal marketing channels for your business is to take all of the data that you've gathered from your tests and analyze it. Ruthlessly cut out the channels that failed and optimize the ones which were successful. By repeating this process over and over, you'll eventually reach a point of peak marketing channel efficiency.

Marketing Channel Management is an Ongoing Process

Understand that marketing channel management is often an ongoing process that will need to be adjusted over time. Trends, shopping habits, and audiences themselves will change over the span of years and sometimes even months, so it is necessary to continually develop new marketing strategies and test new channels. As your audience changes, so should you.

About the Author : This article was written by Tully  with the help of HoldenCAPITAL, a specialist construction finance group in QLD, recognized as a market leader through its successes in deal structuring and the sourcing of debt and equity solutions.

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