How Website Optimization Can Help Grow Your Business

Remember the first days of the Internet, when it felt as though every single person had a Geocities page, full flashing graphics and crazy clip art-inspired interfaces? This was in an era when search engine technology was miniscule, which most of us now rely upon.
In this day and age, there are many more options for businesses to build impressive web pages. But all the features in the world won’t necessarily make for a better website: the key lies between optimized design and optimized content. The team at our Florida marketing agency is ready to break down ways for business owners to do both – here, BIGEYE brings you a few thoughts regarding web optimization, and how it can help grow your business:

Website optimization:

Designing a great website requires a calculated mix of graphic design and user experience design. Most companies that have great graphic teams may be lacking in the UX department, meaning that even if a website looks beautiful, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy to navigate.

One solution to this is to enact user testing on your website, both throughout the development process and periodically after the site launches.[quote]Google Analytics offers powerful tools to help track users’ behaviors once they reach a website.[/quote] A high bounce rate may mean that your Google AdWords strategies are misleading, or that your site takes too long to load. Business owners can also test website functionality by asking about user experience through survey data or even informal questioning. Collecting qualitative and quantitative data as to friction points can help business owners find ways to ease user concerns. Some small businesses note massive increases in conversion to sales after installing quick and easy fixes such as a call to action on the front page or seamless shopping cart functionality.

Business owners can also optimize their websites using tools like Optimizely, which helps facilitate A/B testing to see which website designs work best within a given user base. Additionally, data mined using Moz can help boost the SEO ranking of your website through design optimization in accordance with Google’s search algorithm.

Content Optimization:

Even the most beautifully designed website isn’t going to gain search engine traction if the content isn’t optimized. Website content optimization doesn’t just depend on the actual text on a website, but also is contingent on metadata, tags and a whole host of other facets that content writers can read about at Moz.

The number one rule of SEO website optimization is to avoid tactics that seem slimy, such as linkbaiting practices and poor-quality, keyword heavy content. These will seriously damage SEO rankings, and it may take a long time for a domain name to recover after losing rankings due to bad practices.

Companies can also improve SEO rankings by blogging. Focusing on a few keywords and posting about relevant topics pertaining to that field can give companies even more opportunities to appear in organic search.

Site content is just the start of search engine optimization; Moz and a host of other companies offer packages to help optimize the backend of your website using a variety of tools and facets, many of which are updated frequently to reflect constantly-evolving search engine ranking algorithms.

Our Florida ad agency hopes you can use these tools to help optimize your site to get more money for your dollar. While website optimization in some cases may be a large investment, it can have a major payoff when it comes to the bottom line.  For more information as to how your business can optimize its website, please contact BIGEYE’s Florida advertising agency.

How You Can Better Understand the Customer Journey

I’m always baffled when I learn about marketers who don’t have a full understanding of their customers’ behaviors. To me, the customer’s journey is the first place marketers should turn when trying to analyze ways they can improve their business. From a theoretical perspective, understanding the journey helps the marketer understand the business itself. Oftentimes, marketers who instinctively look to the customer journey don’t have a specific name for it; at our Florida marketing agency, we think clarifying why customer’s take a certain journey is a huge step in growing a business.

Analyzing a customer journey offers an opportunity for marketers to learn about how awareness leads to a purchase or other action. Assessing the customer journey helps determine whether, for example, the client should spend more money on awareness efforts or should stick to optimizing a website.

[quote]The customer journey first involves looking at where people get most of their information about a company’s products or services.[/quote]Years ago, marketers could create conversions after connecting with a customer approximately seven times, typically though print or television advertising. However, because of the rise of social media, these various touches don’t always create as much impact, and now marketers suggest that it requires between 20-30 touch points to gain a new customer.

In the digital space, social media steers these touch points, driving the first step in the customer journey: awareness. Be it paid or owned social media, this is often the first line of contact. However, it can also come from paid or organic search. Understanding where customers are finding out about your product or service helps target your advertising efforts to where you’re more likely to drive traffic to your website.

Next comes consideration. This is where it becomes important for a marketer to convince a person that a product or service is right for them. This requires having a strong understanding of your target demographic, complete with user personas. Having a firm understanding of your target customer can help guide all brand decisions, and the results of these decisions should be able to push people into the next phase of the customer journey: intent.

While good UX should always be a strong consideration when building a website or virtual shopping cart, it’s most important in the intent phase. Think of Amazon.com’s shopping cart feature. Sometimes, people who drop off at this point may have intent to purchase, but forget or drop off for some other reason. This is where strategies such as ad retargeting can be helpful, reminding the user of their intent to purchase.

Citing Amazon again, think of “1-Click” ordering. A person can choose to purchase in a single click, making the user experience as flawless as possible… and giving people fewer chances to change their minds between the intent phase and the next phase: the purchase.

Finally, the customer will make a purchase, resulting in a sale for the business. However, this is not necessarily the end of the customer journey; some marketers link this back to advocacy, such as when a person writes a glowing product review or shares it with friends.

Understanding your customer’s journey can help marketers find ways to simplify the process by cutting out friction in the purchasing or conversion phases. For more information on ways to simplify the customer journey, contact our Florida marketing agency for a consultation.

Know The Importance of Embracing Seasonal Marketing

Each year as the crisp fall air starts to deepen into a winter chill, people across the country don their snow boots (or just boots for us Florida folks) and head out to Starbucks seeking the type of warmth that can only come from a seasonal Starbucks Christmas blend. The team at our Florida advertising agency loves these tastes – even when it’s still a balmy 70 degrees outside!

Starbucks’ Christmas coffees are insanely popular, and fanatics often endeavor to collect and sample these flavors year after year. The national coffee chain, which does very little advertising through conventional media such as TV advertising or print, managed to build this community through word-of-mouth – plus clever tactics that get people buzzing from more than just the caffeine in their tasty beverages.

For example, in 2011, Starbucks released an augmented reality mobile app tailored specifically to the Starbucks Christmas coffee experience. The reality app encouraged users to interact with their Starbucks-branded Christmas goodies, and offered them unique images and interactive graphics upon viewing.

How has Starbucks been able to so cleverly tap into the consumer psyche, causing positive associations between seasons and products?

We all know that holidays drive sales. But that’s only part of it. The other part is the authenticity of a company’s marketing efforts. Efforts geared towards seasons reflect life experience; and therefore, the most successful seasonal marketing efforts are ones that connect with the consumer’s emotions.

Beer marketers have known this for years, often releasing summer ales and winter lagers, made up of differing compounds to help correspond with the season. [quote]Rather than focusing on a one-off seasonal event, seasonal marketing becomes part of the company’s overall strategy.[/quote]

Therefore, a company’s “holiday” plan becomes a 365-day endeavor, with the most successful companies plotting their holiday strategies months in advance. Any company can do this by initiating a seasonal marketing calendar, and preparing for seasonal events months in advance.

For businesses that specialize in digital technology, it is easy to monitor website analytics to learn more about consumer’s habits through the seasons. Retooling the year-long marketing plan to conform with consumer tastes and spending habits can help marketers identify trends and capitalize on consumer actions.

Companies that rely on seasonal marketing efforts can stretch their efforts further by finding ways to piggyback off of seasonal campaigns. As discussed above, Starbucks keeps people coming back year after year with a line of limited edition items. However, other businesses can offer incentives for consumers to return after the holiday season, or can even start offering Valentine’s Day promotional materials just after the New Year.

Our Florida marketing agency wants you to remember that the important thing about seasonal marketing is its appeal to customers’ emotions. In particular, the holiday season is a time when families make happy memories, and therefore changes in the weather evoke feelings of happiness and adoration. By tapping into these emotions and consumer behaviors, marketers are better able to connect with their purchasers.

So, the next time you walk into Starbucks and smell the fresh-ground dark roast coffee with a kick of cinnamon in the air, look around, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by seasonal marketing at its best. Let our team help your company embrace the seasons and take your marketing efforts to the next level – contact us today!

Why Great Website Design is Crucial to Your Business’ Success

Meet Johnny. Johnny is a typical guy, and like most typical guys, he loves Chinese food. Johnny goes on Google to find a new place to order his favorite dish, Kung Pao chicken, and finds two Chinese restaurants with similar menus and prices. He clicks on the website for the first, and finds pixelated photos scanned in from the 1990s, alongside a nonfunctional design and numerous typos. He then clicks on the website for the second, and finds an easy to view menu, delectable photos of food that make his mouth water, and even an automated ordering feature. Which one do you think Johnny’s going to choose?

If Johnny doesn’t choose the second, then it’s because he’s nuts, and you probably shouldn’t take Johnny’s advice for anything, ever. Most people would choose the second, because a well-designed website speaks to a business’s credibility, attention to detail and emphasis on creating a superior customer experience. Website one offers none of that, and while the restaurant may still stay in business, it’s losing substantial potential income and new customers based on its owner’s refusal to put a few dollars into a rebranding and redesign of its website. The team at our Orlando advertising agency can attest to the fact that companies that invest in engaging and interactive websites see a high return on investment relative to their competitors.

A website says a lot about a company. It’s an online residence, so to say, where you house everything you believe in about your company. And, like any residence, you can choose to live in a run-down shack, or you can choose to live in an ultra-modern smart home with sleek design and all the fixings. Of course, one might cost you a bit more–but the team at our Florida marketing agency promises you that more people are going to want to visit you at your state-of-the art residence than in a virtual shantytown.

[quote]BIGEYE redesigned Arsenal Venture Partners’ website to serve as an informative and interactive platform for consumers. Check out how their business benefited from the new website design![/quote]

This analogy goes far in explaining why functional website design is essential for the success of your business. It’s your online identity, and for many people who find your business through search engines, it’s their first introduction to your business. And you only have one chance to make a first impression.

If that’s not enough reason to reconsider your website design, then also think about the role that SEO plays. Search engines send “spiders” out into the Internet to track down new websites. These spiders electronically pick up on keywords and phrases to help direct people to sites like yours when they key in words such as Johnny’s search terms: “Best Chinese food Orlando.” Optimizing your website to focus on these words is a good first step, but the spiders also rely on algorithms that look at headings, page location, abuse of keywords and lots of other things in order to make sure that your site is a valid match. The algorithms are constantly in flux, but the best-designed sites hone in on the key drivers to help search engines find their sites.

Does your online residence need some remodeling? Then let our Orlando advertising agency help you build and rebrand your website to help you drive people through SEO and ensure higher click-through rates once they find you. Contact our team of website design experts today!

Keeping tabs on the competition’s ad sensibilities & success rates

The online advertising front has changed drastically in the past 5 years with new and developing platforms such as coupon deal sites, new blogs being born every day, e-commerce websites, Yelp, Google Adwords, etc. offering several advertising avenues. In this sea of the world wide web, it seems overwhelming to keep tabs on your competitors’ strategies and gauge their success rates.  Who are they advertising with? Did their latest advertising campaign perform that well? How big is their advertising budget?
Frankly, it would take the work of Sherlock Holmes to research and find every platform your competitors are using to reach out to customers. Well not to worry my dear Watson, there are some easy ways to track your competitors ad sensibilities and success rates without employing much more than your finger tips and a keyboard. Why, it’s almost elementary!

Below are three simple steps you can take to monitor your competition and learn from their mistakes and successes:

ONE: Sign up for a free beginner account with MixRank, a leading spy tool for text and display ads. Just enter your competitor’s website, a key advertising word/phrase associated with their company or product, or a major advertisers and publishers to begin. In seconds, you’ll have a list of your competitor’s top active ad links, a record of their ad reach, rates from the best performing ads, a link list of their ad publishers, and a listing of both text and display ads.

[quote]Tip: Take a look at both their text ads and display ad details. Knowing which type of ad and which ad design has been more successful can help you create more engaging advertising content and be one step ahead of your competition.[/quote]

TWO: Check out your competitor’s keywords and how often those specific words or phrases are being sought out by customers using GoogleAds Keyword Tool. For instance, we use a similar service when looking at our competition via a keyword search like: “Orlando marketing and ad agency.” You can see which keywords rank on the hierarchy and drive traffic results as well as the words may be viewed as negative or non applicable. We always discover more about what the customer is searching for and if our competition is incorporating these keywords in their advertising campaigns.

[quote]Tip: Use this competitor information to find out what keywords you should be incorporating in your ad and website content to help boost your chances of customers finding you first. [/quote]

THREE: Become the 007 of advertising and join SpyFu. This web service offers a host of benefits and “spyware” to compare domains, discover new keywords, find the best ad copy and check the quality and success of your own advertising campaigns. You’ll have access to top ads, domain-level numbers, and gain some insight on their SEO traffic and Adwords budget just by typing in your competitor’s company name or keywords.

Tip: Stay ahead of the game and check out which publishers are boosting the success rates of their ads. These statistics can help guide you when choosing the right publishers to advertise with and give you a higher return on your advertising investment.

Our Florida advertising agency hopes you have found these tips useful for your business. To learn how BIGEYE can help you track your competitors and make the most out of your digital campaign, click here to Think BIG!

SEO: Search engine optimization, aka how to be #1 online

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In other words, this is how you get your name to the top of the list. Not just any list, but the list, the one people rely on for quality solutions to their everyday problems. Now, who doesn’t want that? With search engines such as Google driving as much as 80% of todays Internet traffic, SEO is essential to setting your website within the view of potential visitors. But before we get into some details of SEO, let’s talk about search engines.

Search Engines.

Search engines perform two major functions. They crawl the Internet and provide answers. In the crawling, or mapping, process, the search engine explores billions, yes billions, of pages and creates references. Relevant content is stored within databases, patiently waiting to be recalled upon for future searches. When the search engine provides answers, results are displayed based upon relevance and importance.  These dimensions are measured by complex algorithms, which ultimately determine the ranking of websites.

Think popularity.

Contrary to what most of us are taught, popularity, at least in this case, is everything. Popularity equates to importance. The search engine assumes that the more popular the website, the more valuable the information; a method that has proven to be quite successful.

Design & Development

There are several elements to keep in mind when optimizing a website. Primarily, there is content. Containing HTML text on the page enables search engines to read through and index the information. Want to see what the search engine sees? Google’s Cache, SEO-browser and MozBar are some helpful tools to let you do just that.

Then there is the link structure. Search engines navigate pages through the most available pathway, often traveling through links. It’s important to remember to properly link the pages of your website. Otherwise, the search engine will not recognize any of the pages left out, regardless of its relevance and importance.

Keywords are another element of SEO. The results of a search are based on the words entered within the search box, including their spelling, punctuation, and even capitalization. When a word is entered in the box, the search engine finds a relevant database, ranks the documents and then returns a list of results; a pretty big job for less than a second of work. One of the best ways to optimize pages is to include key words in the titles, text and meta data of a website. More specific key words increase the chance of ranking higher. This is due to the fact that more specific key words provide less competition. Search engine optimization can also be improved with the adjustment of other elements such as title tags, meta tags, URL structure, duplicate content and rich snippets.

As a Florida advertising agency, BIGEYE practices and encourages SEO. Everyday, people are using search engines to navigate their way through the Internet. This an opportunity to make your website and your business more accessible to the visitor. When an individual types a query into their search box and the name of your business appears near the top of the first page, there is an intangible quality about it. There’s that comforting sense of reassurance that your business is the right one. For a more in depth look into search engine optimization, check out this informative tutorial provided by SEOmoz or learn how to build the perfectly optimized page.

Ready to get in touch with a team of digital strategists to help you navigate the in’s and out’s of search engine optimization? Contact us today to get started!