Portland SEO: Lousy Design Elements that Lead to Underwhelming Success

 

You’ve injected a healthy stream of funding into your pay-per-click and Portland SEO budget. You’ve got your email marketing completely dialed in. Your Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and AdWords are all streamlined and you are getting fantastic traffic to your site. This is where the momentum stalls and dies, and you’re not sure why.

 

As a Portland SEO, web design and digital marketing firm with a focus on strategy, implementation and conversions, we’re constantly running site audits to check for conversation rate issues. That is: a site’s ability to funnel traffic into goals (sales, leads, etc.).

 

For the purpose of this short post, we will visit six common mistakes, and how we will help you fix them.

 

1) Missing Phone Numbers 

 

In this mobile-centric generation, every website needs to have a clickable phone number front and center on its web site, ideally at the top of all pages. More and more people are ditching computers and using smart phones and tablets as their main tool for surfing the web. Having a clickable phone number prominent on the site saves your future customers a step when they need to phone you.

 

2) No lead-capture forms

 

Paired with a prominent phone number, a lead-capture form is a great way to connect with people who are comfortable submitting a web form. Saving customers from the added step of having to navigate to a “contact” link in your menu is crucial.

 

Even a simple web form will boost conversions.

 

We recommend that we create a variety of forms for your site and perform A/B testing on them to make sure you are using a form with the best conversion rates possible. We’ll also test your forms on a regular basis to ensure that they are working as expected.

 

3) Being nosey

 

When asking for personal information, you need to be direct and concise. Whenever possible, only ask for the basic contact information. The minimum information you absolutely need will differ from industry to industry, but you don’t want to make a user jump through a lot of hoops in an effort to contact you and you don’t want to make them uncomfortable with your form.

 

4) Bad UX

 

Lousy user experience (UX) shows itself in user flow, bounce rates and low conversion rates.

 

Recognizing underwhelming UX can be tricky, which is why we want to do this for you.

 

Some of the things we look for include: navigation, user flow, readability, content clarity, call-to-action and the site’s ability to direct the user to act.

 

 

5) Impotent call-to-action

 

Your business has a goal. Your online properties need to have goals too. Goals can include more traffic, online purchases, lead-gen, or phone calls. Your site needs a goal and you have to convey that goal to your users immediately upon entering your site. We call this a call-to-action. And we make these awesome for you. We’ll make sure your call-to-action stands out on the page, offers value, and makes it easy for the user to take the desired action … Boosting your conversions and your bottom line.

 

6) What’s in it for me? What about my needs?

 

Your visitors need to clearly and immediately see why they should do business with you and what is in it for them. Think: money back guarantee, free shipping, no obligation quotes, and so on. Knowing your customer and what appeals to them will make identifying their bottom line and your proposition easier to craft.

 

In Conclusion

 

As you can see, there are several reasons why your website may not be converting traffic. Take a moment to reach out to us, we would be happy to run an audit on your website and start the conversation on how we can help.

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Portland SMM: When and where to post to get the most mileage from your Social Media Marketing

Your social media marketing efforts can really fuel your marketing strategy if you know when and where to use your gas. Here is a list of the average ideal frequencies to post across all your social media platforms to get the most mileage out of them. From our friends over at SumAll.

We know you, like anyone looking to market your business socially online, have wondered:

  • How do I get more followers?
  • What should I share?
  • When should I share it?
  • And how often should I be sharing?

Social media marketing includes a strategy that addresses how many times per day you should post. Read on (click to enlarge)…

Portland SMM

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Google: Facts (not links) are the future of PageRank

It’s been a year since marketing agencies started hearing buzz about Knowledge-Based Trust, a Google research paper outlining a proposal to score web sites according to the accuracy of facts. It didn’t take long for Knowledge-Based Trust to earn the nickname the “Truth Algorithm” due to its method of assigning a “Trust Score” to filter sites with erroneous or misleading information.

While the title of this post may be a little misleading (“Trust Score” plummets), the paper at least hints that trustworthiness might help sites rise in Google’s rankings if the algo begins measuring quality score by facts, not just links and content.

Here’s the problem: The internet is famous for gossip, untruth and misdirection. Discount Viagra websites make the front page of Google, and gossip sites touting “news” stories are a dime a dozen.

Google currently measures incoming links to a web site as a factor for ranking. Sites with lots of backlinks (among other factors) are ranked higher. The problem with this method is that it can be gamed to make websites like those mentioned above rise in rankings.

Now Google is testing a method to measure the trustworthiness of a site, rather than (solely) its inbound links and content. The model measures sites based on the number of incorrect facts. The outcome is a “Knowledge-Based Trust score”.

Currently, links are a huge reputation signal implying authority. Knowledge-Based Trust may be a direction the algorithm is heading in, focusing more on veracity of content and less on link signals.

As part of its discovery, the team: “…evaluated each website according to the following 4 criteria”:

  • Triple correctness: whether at least 9 triples are correct.
  • Extraction correctness: whether at least 9 triples are correctly extracted (and hence we can evaluate the website according to what it really states).
  • Topic relevance: we decide the major topics for the website according to the website name and the introduction in the “About us” page; we then decide whether at least 9 triples are relevant to these topics (g., if the website is about business directories in South America but the extractions are about cities and countries in SA, we consider them as not topic relevant).
  • Non-trivialness: we decide whether the sampled triples state non-trivial facts (g., if most sampled triples from a Hindi movie website state that the language of the movie is Hindi, we consider it as trivial).

The research paper goes on to explain five reasons why KBT isn’t yet ready to go live. What will happen once the team solves the five outstanding problems? As a Portland marketing agency, we will watch and report back… But watch out TMZ.

Can’t figure out what the heck this article is about or why it should matter to you? Call, click or come into our office and we will walk you through the details and how an updated marketing strategy will boost your bottom line.

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Before and After Website: Parrot Creek Child & family Services

It was a great pleasure to help Parrot Creek Child & Family Services with their new website.  We are launching the new site early November 2015.  We wanted to share with you the great things they do and to give you a sneak peak to their new site!  If you or someone you know works in a non-profit and need help on branding web design or anything in the realm of marketing, contact Spot!  We happily offer discounts to licensed 501c3 entities.

Mission

Parrott Creek Child and Family Services, in partnership with others, helps families and youth identify strengths and develop skills that build stronger families and safer communities.

Values

  • We are a place of great hope and care.
  • We believe in the capacity for troubled youth to change—and change starts with accountability.
  • We never quit on a child and his or her family—we’ve seen too many lives transformed, futures secured and dreams attained
  • Clackamas County is our home, too. And like all who reside here we want our communities to be safe and healthy

Belief

One of the most important things we have learned over the last 40 plus years is that it is not just the child or individual family member in crisis who needs support and care. It is the entire family. That’s why our programs are built to support the whole family—including parents, siblings, grandparents, or any other significant individuals involved in your family dynamic.

We believe that with whole family involvement, our chances of helping any individual or family experience lasting change are exponentially greater.

We also recognize that some families may require assistance that is beyond our doors.  The bottom line is this: if we can’t help a family, we’ll help them find someone who can.  Once they call us, they are not alone.

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Spot Color Marketing explains the ‘HOW’ and the ‘WHAT’ in creating a 2016 marketing plan for your business

Marketing plans (how) and strategies (what) are important for new and established businesses alike.  For the new business, it’s pertinent to map out how and what you are going to accomplish as it pertains to attracting prospects and closing them as clients.  For the established business, you’ve probably taken a whack at a marketing plan or strategy.  What were the results?  It’s so important, and easy with social media, to monitor traffic to your site, and track the quality of your strategies.  Are you creating work that is not giving you results?  Even worse, are you not doing anything at all?  Spot likes to cut out the things that don’t work and learn from the things that do, and to make them even more efficient in your return.  We craft plans and strategies for your team to execute or we can execute for you.  We can also build plans and strategies that are a hybrid of the two.  Let’s face it, time is money.  Wouldn’t it make sense to invest in a plan with veterans in the realm of marketing?

These are some of the important questions that we ask or you should ask your team:

  • What are your business goals?
  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • What does an optimal transaction look like in your business?
  • What are you doing now to attract your ideal client?

With this information and more, we create a plan or strategy that makes sense for your business.  Our marketing plans typically cover an 18-month calendar.  Our strategies map out the tools you use and the means in using them that maximize your return.  With the up-front good effort in working with Spot, your return ends up being high quality leads who become great clients.  And, guess what?  The best clients refer others that have similar profiles! Once you have referrals from your best clients, you’re really enjoying your work.  Contact Spot today to get started with a marketing plan or strategy for 2016.

Spot@spotcolormarketing.com
503-477-4355

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Making Strides To Fight Breast Cancer

Spot color marketing is making strides to fight breast cancer in Portland!!

As most of you know, we have a “Soft Spot” for non profits and giving back. We are super excited to announce that The Spot Team will be participating in “Making Strides of Portland” October 10th.

Making Strides of Portland, a noncompetitive 3.1-mile walk, begins promptly at 10 am, Oct 10th.  The more money we raise to fight breast cancer, the more survivors there will be!

The American Cancer Society helps people understand what screening tests they need and the steps they need to take to protect themselves from breast cancer by developing prevention and early detection guidelines that are the industry standard.

Our goal for Spot Color Marketing is to help raise $2500 for The American Cancer Society and with your help we know we can reach it.

Why do you walk? Maybe you walk in honor of a breast cancer survivor – the memory of their journey still fresh in your mind. Maybe you lost a loved one to breast cancer and you are walking in their memory. Maybe the memories of your own breast cancer experience motivate your efforts. Or maybe you walk to make sure no one ever has to hear the words “you have breast cancer.”

Whatever your motivation, when you join our family of supporters, you help the American Cancer Society finish the fight against breast cancer. Because of the dollars you raise and the steps you take, the American Cancer Society is able to help those touched by breast cancer in every community today and work to find cures to end the disease tomorrow.

Please join Spot by donating here and/or walking with us on the 10th! Please email us here, or give us a call at 503-477-4355 to RSVP…everyone walking gets a pink Spot Color shirt!

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Email your clients a virus (just kidding)

How a negative email turned into a positive experience.

A few months back one of my employees sent me an email with an attachment saying, “I can’t open this, can you? Is this from one of our clients?” I glanced at the email, saw it was from one of our valued clients and opened the doc. Uh-oh!

Thank god it wasn’t a terrible destroying type of virus, but it was a “phishing” email trying to collect as many emails as possible. It started sending the same email to all 3000+ friends, family and clients in my in contact list.

Within two hours my phone was ringing off the hook and my email was jammed. “Why are you sending me this? Did you mean to send me this? How do I open it?” On and on for the next 48 hours, argh!

Ok, so this experience was annoying and embarrassing, but it was also delightful! I heard from clients and friends that I haven’t heard from in years. We were reconnected! We set up lunch appointments and happy hours, I had past clients wanting new work, referrals were passed, the list went on and on.

When was the last time you reached out to your clients?

In a way it was one of the best “mistakes” I had made. Marketing 101: Reach out and stay on the top of people’s minds. We tell our clients this all the time. Why? Because it works. You don’t want to be selling to your clients all the time, that would get annoying and become of the best reasons for them to unsubscribe from your list. Instead, reach out to say “Hello” and see how things are going. Send along a cool article or give them some nugget of information that may help them with their business or personal life. That’s the good stuff! There are six types of emails that you can send to stay connected to clients without overwhelming their inbox. Let them know you value their opinion by sending a short survey, you can even offer an incentive to encourage a response and thank them for their time. Another great way to keep in touch is by sending a holiday email, this type of email is a great way to connect on a more personal level and build relationships. Those little touches can make a huge difference, please don’t send them a virus, but do stay in touch!

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Internships in Marketing

Is it time to find an intern?

If you are a small business owner, at one time or another you may have thought “I have no time for marketing or social media, maybe I will hire a marketing intern to do it for me!” How did that go? I laugh because I have had that same thought. Over the 14 years that I have owned Spot Color Marketing, we have brought on several interns. While none of them took over our marketing, they did help.

We have had design interns, marketing interns, and even development interns. Some of them lasted for a couple of days, others did their 3 month internship and became full time employees that stayed for a couple of years. A few have even turned into our top employees.

A couple of things to think about when hiring an intern:

Don’t think of an intern as “free labor”. The internship isn’t really supposed to help the company as much as it helps the intern. Internships are best if there is someone in your office who will take the time to teach and train. Some interns can be very time consuming and will ask 20 times a day how to do something, while some just ask my favorite question, “What’s next?”

The best marketing internships we have had are the ones where we took the time to create a detailed plan for them before they started. For example, if you want someone to write Facebook and twitter posts, write up the content calendar for them ahead of time and have the topics decided upon. Definitely review all their work before anything is posted. Jeff Selin, agency owner and friend, says an intern could easily ruin your business and reputation in 5 minutes by posting something inappropriate. OYE! That might be the worst case, but it could happen! Do not let your intern run your marketing.

  1. Be prepared for your intern
  2. Be available to teach and train your intern
  3. Don’t expect them to be a social media genius just because they are young!
  4. Pay them if you can. We pay a daily stipend for parking and lunch.

There are a lot of ways to attract marketing interns. Reach out to local colleges or Barefoot Student, I put ads in the “gigs” section of Craigslist. The best interns we have had are smart, eager to learn, show up and do what they say they will. They are go-getters. Sort of like your best employees, right? Entrepreneur has more tips on the qualities to look for in a great intern.

For some of our favorite clients we have set up marketing plans and then helped our clients find interns or junior marketers to implement the work, when done correctly, it can be a win/win for everyone! Who doesn’t want to help a young person start their career, or help a person get into a new career? One of our favorite interns was 45! She was an awesome intern and we have hired her several times since to write marketing copy.

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Website Hosting

So you have your own website… now what?

You can teach yourself how to use WordPress to update your website every few months, but how often do you honestly remember to check up on your own website?

Without regular updates and check-ups, your website becomes vulnerable.  Your site could contract a virus or get hacked without you knowing and your customers could be receiving strange spam mail. On top of that, your website will not function properly and it will deter your clients. Continuously needing to modify your website may be a burden to some, especially for those who own and run their own business.

Need help?

Introducing, Spot Care Website Hosting and Protection Plan

Spot Color Marketing’s new Spot Care Website Hosting & Protection Plan is only one of the many services we provide for our clients.

This new plan includes:

  • Automatic daily backups
  • Proactive security and performance monitoring
  • WordPress base version updates
  • Quarterly advanced security scans for viruses and other malware
  • Annual list of miscellaneous site recommendations: such as mobile friendliness, content, branding/messaging, etc.

We know viruses can spread, and how quickly it can happen, which is why we require all of our hosting clients to participate in the Spot Care Protection Plan. This plan guarantees full coverage and ensures that no client in our shared servers is in danger of accidental infection to another.

We deal with the boring stuff, so you don’t have to! Continue to stay connected to your clients and remain hands-on with your company while we host your site for you.

Contact us at spot@spotcolormarketing.com, or call (503) 477-4355.

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