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Marketing Blog

Marketing Advice, Tips and News in the world of the web, digital and direct marketing.

Monthly Newsletters including various tips, trends and advice in web development, digital and direct marketing.

Marketing Tips and Trends for 2016, A Big Step Marketing Newsletter

Marketing Trends by Big Step
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Small Business Marketing Tips and Trends


These updates are to keep you informed on major changes in the world of small business marketing. I constantly sit in on webinars, read the industry rags, and try to keep up with the latest trends. I hope that you'll take a brief look and also share with someone else that you think might gain from it. We'll try to get these out more often but also respect your email and privacy. So at most, you'll hear from me monthly. Thanks for reading!
Steve Davey
 
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2016 Digital Marketing Trends

Video

It's expected that you will start to see an explosion of video ads on the internet. Mobile video ad spending tripled in 2015 (venturebeat.com)! It's only natural that as faster internet speeds become more and more affordable, we seek out content that is easy to consume. This means watching more videos for most people. Look to convert important product and service benefits to video and entertain ways to use that better in your website and marketing plan. Concise videos will become more and more popular, useful, and necessary. Learn more about the benefits of short sales videos.

Mobile vs Desktop
In 2015, mobile traffic overtook desktop. If you don't have a mobile-friendly website, you are behind the curve and your site is likely being punished by the search engines in search results. Your mobile ranking and how your site is set up to convert on mobile devices is a concern. If you're not sure if your site is mobile-friendly, visit our website for more info.

Digital Assistant Search is on the Rise
Apps like SIRI are on the increase and automated, voice-activated search will increase. As this trend continues, it's important to start looking at ways to optimize your website for them including the use of rich snippets, schema tags, citation consistency and growth.

Content and More Content
Companies large and small that don't have a content marketing strategy will likely suffer. Even very small companies need to stay active with blogs and social media posts on past jobs, happy customers and success stories.
Changes in Google

Google's search is rapidly changing. The new local 3 pack (where there often were 7) of results is an increased trend by Google to monetize their search results. They are also doing it in the name of a better mobile return as it fits nicely on a phone or tablet. They are forcing more local small businesses to use Adwords and conduct SEO. This makes these top local spots in the 3 pack even more valuable.

Google has removed the search location option in their settings. For many, it makes it more difficult to see how your really rank in different cities. To get a realistic view on how your website ranks, it's still important to log out of google, clear history and cache, make sure that you are not returning private results. You need to use a ranking tool with location options or anonymous browser by city to get location specific result data now.

Another Penguin update is expected soon and it should continue to punish sites for bad links and link structure. See this Search Engine Land article for more information.
CMS Website Security & Back-Ups

There has been an increase in assault on CMS websites like Joomla and Wordpress because of their open source structure. Standard hosting plans with Big Step or virtually every other hosting platform do not protect you from these attacks. Software is available to help prevent them. You can also attempt to block international traffic if your company doesn't serve those markets. You also should have a website back-up plan in place. Hosting generally includes a 24-48 back-up option only. If your site is hacked or damaged and you don't catch it within that time frame and you don't have another backup, the only backup that exists will be the damaged site. Call Steve or your website host if you have questions or need assistance.
Home Service & Google

Google has dipped it's toe in the water on returning results with a partnership with Home Advisor (formerly Service Magic). It's a controversial move by Google since requiring companies to pay Home Advisor for potentially preferred search space raises concerns in the integrity of their search engine. Nevertheless, in several markets they are showing preferential results of "Home Advisor Approved" companies (companies that pass a simple approval test, pay for an annual Home Advisor subscriptions and agree to a per lead cost). In the process, Google and Home Advisor get paid before you get the lead and the contact is run through Home Advisor first. How consumers react to this test will tell Google whether it's acceptable or not to the market. They may look elsewhere to other search engines or home service sites. Here's an interesting analysis of Home Advisor if you are not familiar with them. Home Advisor is spending a lot of money to gain a strong search presence and recently bought Angie's List. It's an important trend to keep an eye on that could affect search results for service related businesses in 2016.
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February Newsletter - Marketing Tips and News from Big Step Marketing

 

Monthly Local Marketing Tips and Advice from Big Step Marketing.
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What's Happening?

It might be easier to state what's not new! 

We've got a new name, new office & new employee! 

It was time for a name change, and helping our small-to-medium sized business clients improve their marketing efforts is what we're all about.  This can be a big step for us entrepreneurial types so hence the name...Big Step Marketing.

We moved 2 doors down to larger offices and kept the same address.  It's amazing how much of a pain even such a short move can be (especially when you mix in a few build-out problems) but after 2 months we are moved in and at full capacity.

We look forward to delivering a useful, monthly marketing email with a focus on local digital marketing news and strategies, and direct marketing news and information.  We constantly watch webinars and stay up to date on the ever changing world of digital marketing and we'll bring you some of the most important information in quick, easy to digest format.  Our blog on our new website is coming soon.  Please check us out at www.BigStepMarketing.com and watch us grow!

Best wishes for 2014,
Steve Davey
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636.733.0041, ext. 5

Welcome Karin!

We welcome Karin Stawiarski to Big Step.   Karin is helping with social media, blogging and more.   Karin is ridiculously creative and very talented and we're proud to have her.   She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Big Step Services
:

Digital Marketing
  • Local SEO - Search Engine Optimization
  • PPC Management
Current Special (thru 2/28/14)
Local SEO Essentials - 2 Month Program for $980 to get your site in shape for better rankings.

CMS Web Development - Joomla and Wordpress

Sales & Animation Videos

Direct Marketing
  • Postcard Marketing
  • Medical Research Mailings
  • Targeted List Sales
  • Bulk Mail Processing
  • Graphic Design
Digital Printing
  • Business Cards
  • EDDM Postcards - w/ binding
  • Rack Cards & Brochures
  • Flyers
  • Letterhead
  • Folders, Etc
Current Specials: (thru 2/28/14)
20% Off Notepads & Letterhead
10% Off Rack Cards
10,000 5.5"x8.5" 4:4 UV Postcards
...$790 delivered


 

Customer Corner

Website Hosting
If you host your website with Big Step Marketing please remember that your annual website hosting fee is only for hosting and email management.  Website development, website changes, upgrades, etc are not included in the standard web hosting plan.   If you would like to discuss actively managed website plans, please call us and we will put together a program based on your needs.

Joomla Upgrades and Joomla 1.5
If you are on Joomla 1.5, it's is consider "EOL", End of Life, so no security fixes are available.  It is best to consider an upgrade at this time.  Costs to upgrade to the latest version depend on the size of the site and whether the software and template used are available or need to be replaced.  Call us for details.

Referrals Welcome
If you know someone that can benefit from Big Step Marketing's services, please pass along our information to them.  If they utilize us (and spend at least 1,000), we will give you $250 off your next service order!


 

Marketing Bytes

 

What's all the Fuss about Google+?

Facebook is so entrenched in so many people's daily or weekly lives, why would anyone consider using Google+, Google's answer to Facebook?  Well, it remains to be seen if they ever will, but Google+

isn't going away, and neither is the fact that Google is the #1 search engine (and it's a runaway, comScore's stats from 4th Quarter last year:  Google 67%, Bing 18%, Yahoo 11%).  So, it's time to saddle up and take a ride on Google+ and make it part of your business communications (even if you don't know anyone on it!).

Landing Page Tips
Just about daily we talk to clients spending hundreds to several thousand a month on marketing without consideration of how well their website landing page converts.  Here's a quick list of things to consider before you insert that landing page link into an SEO or PPC marketing campaign.  Basic yes, but still worthy of a review every time you spend money in digital marketing.

Guest Blogging is Dying?
Guest Blogging is the latest trend to get squashed by Google.  It was abused by too many so they simply put the hammer down on it.  Read more on Matt Cutts's blog, Head of Google's Web Spam Team.  Even still, guest blogging to help craft yourself as an expert in your field and expand your visibility still has value.   Just don't expect it to be the hot trend in ranking success it once was.

Get Your Info from Google's PPC Platform - Even if you don't want to conduct PPC!
Good, free data on choosing your keywords and digital marketing strategy is even harder to come by now that Google has moved almost all keyword data to "Not Provided" in Google Analytics.  Look to the Google Adwords Platform to utilize their tools there that are still providing useful data. 

Google's "Free" Adwords Setup
Google has considerably beefed up their customer service team.  Gone are the days (at least temporarily) when you're odds of talking to someone at Google were about as good as hitting the last $300 million Power Ball.  Unlike Facebook, they realize where their money is coming from and they are beefing up support to get the small businessman set-up with an Adwords account.   The trouble is, they aren't going to take the time to do keyword research, ad testing, and negative keyword building that is essential to successful, efficient campaign.  There is no way to set-up a succesful campaign and walk away from it - unless your goal is just donate money to Google.com.  Google will help you use the platform, but using it correctly and strategically is where a PPC Management team comes in.   Google's "Free" setup can cost you a lot in the long run so make sure you either know how to run your program to maximize it's effectiveness or you work with someone that does.

Does Facebook Advertising Work?
We are not big fans of facebook advertising, especially for companies with marketing budgets under $3,000 a month.  However, there is an opportunity on Facebook to run relatively inexpensive, targeted campaigns to help build your brand.  Here is a Business Week article from last quarter debating the effectiveness of Facebook advertising.

Top 10 SEO Tools
(according to a recent Moz survey of Industry Geeks)
1. Google Webmaster Tools  2. Moz  3. Open Site Explorer  4. MagesticSEO   5.  ScreamingFrog  6. Bing Webmaster Tools  7.  Yoast  8.  SEM Rush  9.  ahref  10.  Firebug


Death, Taxes and Postal Increases
Yep, another postal increase.  Here's the full rate sheet (scroll to page 13 for standard mail commercial rates). 


 
 
 
 






 
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