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Why Now Is the Time to Develop Your Marketing Strategy

As the nationwide lockdown continues to devastate the economy, a strong marketing strategy may be the last thing on your mind. Millions of businesses across the country have made deep cuts to their marketing costs in an effort to combat the quarantine’s strain on their profits. For those unfamiliar with marketing, it makes sense - why focus on marketing now, when customers can’t leave their homes to buy your product?

This line of thinking can have lasting negative effects on your company’s future. While saving money on marketing may seem like a quick fix, it will ultimately hurt your business when the economy rebounds. In fact, the current business climate provides a few advantages that make marketing right now easier than ever!

If your marketing strategy is weak, ineffective or even non-existent, now is the time to start ramping it up. Here’s why:

You’ll Get Ahead of the Competition

The best time to get ahead of the game is when there aren’t as many players. Right now, many businesses have taken their foot off the gas when it comes to marketing, making it easier for you to get several laps ahead. Think of it like the tortoise and the hare - while the competition is taking a break, you have the opportunity to blow right past them.

Take this example from Forbes:

“During the 1990-91 recession, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell took advantage of McDonald’s decision to drop its advertising and promotion budget. As a result, Pizza Hut increased sales by 61%, Taco Bell sales grew by 40% and McDonald’s sales declined by 28%.”

It’s clear - those that employ a strong marketing strategy right now will come out on top financially.

You’ll get a Strong ROI

Less competition for your business means less “noise” in the industry. As competing businesses go silent, the constant race for attention from customers and search engines slows down. Ultimately, that leads to a better ROI on your marketing strategy. You’ll find that it’s faster and easier right now to show up in search results, grab consumers’ attention, and turn your market spending into increased profits. Developing a strong marketing strategy now means getting more results for less money!

Maintain (And Gain) Customer Relationships

It’s no secret that consumers buy more readily from brands they can believe in. Right now, consumers that feel isolated are desperate for connection - with people and brands. Failing to market effectively right now may sever valuable connections with current and future customers that could help you weather the economic storm.

A strong marketing strategy does more than make quick sales - it connects with your customers, increases awareness of your brand and creates a long-lasting business image that will remain long after the country has reopened.

Come Out Of This Stronger

We’ve shown how brands that increase their marketing efforts during a recession come out stronger financially than they were before. But it’s not just a matter of profits - businesses that employ a strong marketing strategy during this challenging time will also come out stronger in their customers’ minds.

Businesses and brands that are ineffective at marketing - or worse, radio silent - during this time will find themselves scrambling to do damage control with their customers when it's over. They’ll have to recapture their audience’s attention, explain their vanishing act and regain their trust. That’s going to make regaining their profit margins even harder.

Businesses that keep a strong marketing strategy will save themselves that daunting hurdle. By building a strong brand image and staying active in your customers’ minds while things are slow, you’ll be able to hit the ground running with promotions and CTA’s as soon as possible.

If you need to develop a strong marketing strategy, we can help! We offer expert marketing solutions in a variety of areas that will take your business to the next level, both now and in the future. Contact us today!


How to Utilize Social Media to Promote Your Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The coronavirus made its way into the U.S. fast and abruptly. Businesses across the country are being forced to limit their hours or even close due to restrictions set by the government. In such uncertain times, small businesses must think quickly and efficiently. Social media is a powerful and cost-effective tool to advertise your business and maintain revenue. Your services or products may be limited but utilizing social media in a variety of ways can bring in customers and boost your online presence.

Stay Consistent

Although your business may not being able to offer your normal services or products, it doesn’t mean you have to come to a complete stop on social media. Remaining active on your social channels lets your audience know you are still around. Also, posting consistently gives you the chance to increase your brand awareness, resulting in potential new customers!

Educate Your Audience

Use this time as an opportunity to educate your followers about your business. A great way to do so is by highlighting parts of your business most don’t know about. Make sure you’re focusing on something that will benefit your audience. For example, an HVAC company could make a post about how to change an air filter. Educating your followers and offering tips and tricks not only provides knowledge but also shows them you’re reliable and extremely qualified in your industry which builds credibility.

Highlight How Your Business can Help

Market your services on social media while keeping COVID-19 in mind. Most people browsing social media don’t know they have a problem until you present it. Address a problem your customers may have and explain how you can solve it. Right now, the biggest problem is social distancing. Inform your audience on how your services can be performed without direct contact. A great example of this is the restaurant industry moving to curbside take-out or delivery. Verizon reported a 20% increase in online traffic, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to advertise your business.

Take Advantage of Social Media Features

Facebook Live

Facebook Live is a feature available to all Facebook users and business profiles. It can be used for many industries, all it takes is a little creativity! Let your customers and clients know you are still available virtually. Retail stores can use Facebook Live as a “Virtual Live Try-on Session”. Gym owners can offer “Live Morning Workout”.

Instagram and Facebook Stories

These social features are another great way to reach your audience. Neglecting to use them can cause you to miss out on reaching parts of your potential audience. Not only can Instagram and Facebook stories be used to keep your followers informed, but it also increases engagement. Use these features to interact with your followers by asking questions, creating polls or designing fun challenges. Look at stories as a way to spread positivity and also get to know your audience.

Adjusting your current social media strategy during this challenging time can help your business in more ways than one. Use your spare time to take advantage of these simple yet effective tips. BIS Designs understands the impact COVID-19 is taking on your business and we are here to help. We are offering a free business consultation to go over repurposing your digital marketing strategy during this time. Visit https://www.askbisdesigns.com/ or call us at 251-405-2535 to schedule your consultation.


How to Dominate Your Industry on Google

The concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technically applies to all online search engines, but let’s face it - with over 70% of online searches in its corner, Google is king. If you’re budgeting for SEO in your marketing strategy (and you should be), you should be doing it with Google in mind.

Google is a large ocean, and your website is one of the millions vying for its attention. So how do you get noticed? Google’s algorithms exist to fairly crawl and index all websites, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to get ahead of the game and rise through the ranks.

If you’re looking for a first-page Google ranking, use these tips to dominate your industry on Google.


Narrow Your Niche

When you’re asking “How do I dominate my industry on google?”, what you’re asking is “How do I out-rank the competition?”

If you’re going to out-Google your competitors, you need to know who those competitors are. That’s why the first step of dominating your industry is to define it as a specific niche. The more specifically you define your business, the better. You’re not just a law firm - you’re a personal injury lawyer. You aren’t a financial company - you’re an accounting firm that specializes in corporate tax. 

Ask yourself what product or service you want to be known for and keep your focus on dominating that niche. Think about it this way - the more narrow your industry, the less competition you have.


Optimize Your Site with The Right Keywords

Once you’ve defined your niche, it’s time to find the keywords that will help you rise to the top of those search results. The point of using targeted keywords is that it will make your content relevant and easily searchable on Google, which is exactly what your SEO goal should be. 

In previous days, keywords were all it took to dominate Google rankings. Companies turned to stuffing their content and websites with as many keywords as possible, and it worked. As expected, Google has gotten smarter, and now websites that keyword stuff are penalized, so choosing the right keywords takes a bit more work.

Many keyword tools on the market can help you research keywords for your niche and narrow down your options. Your keywords should be as specific to your business as possible. Don’t automatically choose the most-searched keyword in the list (remember what we said about competition!) Long-tail keyword phrases and those with lower search volumes can help convert users more easily than trying to compete in the most popular searches. 


Write Well - And Often

Content is extremely important for Google rankings - as long as it’s relevant, high-quality and authoritative. Your content should be optimized with on-page SEO and keywords, but it’s even more important that it makes sense, is engaging and keeps your audience’s attention. Many businesses fall into the trap of writing for search engines instead of for humans, and while that may get you an initial boost in your rankings, it’s ultimately bad for your business. Be sure to write with your audience in mind; avoid keyword stuffing, irrelevant links or badly re-spun content.


Use On-Page SEO

On-page SEO means optimizing the content and HTML codes of an individual webpage so it gets noticed by Google. On the technical side, on-page SEO includes optimizing your headlines, images and HTML tags (header, meta, and title tags). On-page SEO is a great way to rise in the ranks from behind the scenes instead of strictly through content, and it’s a must for any website wanting a first-page ranking. For more information on how to dominate with on-page SEO, check out these great tips.

Getting your website optimized to dominate Google has many moving parts. To take your business to the top of Google, utilize these tips. If you’re feeling lost in the SEO jargon, don’t worry! BIS Designs offers SEO services that are guaranteed to move you through the ranks and top your industry on Google. Contact us today to learn more!


Email Marketing and Social Media: Better Together?

If you’re active online, you likely have an email. You also probably have a social media account (or several). And, you’ve probably seen ads, promotions, and content from businesses on both. Email and social media marketing are both very popular ways that businesses use the digital sphere to market themselves to customers. And for good reason - they’re both effective. But many marketers focus on one or the other and they’re missing out on the benefits of using them both.

Much like salt and pepper, email and social media marketing are good apart but better together. To understand why, let’s first look at them separately before we explain how they can work together to strengthen your marketing efforts.


Email Marketing


When you checked your email this morning, did you scroll through a few email promotions from businesses? Of course you did! Email marketing is the most heavily used form of digital marketing - so much so that it can sometimes become an annoyance (how many times have you clicked “no thank you” today?). But the fact is that email marketing is so popular because it works. In the simplest terms, email marketing is the act of sending marketing materials via email directly to customers who have signed up to receive them. 99% of people check their email every day, many of them first-thing, so marketing there is a lucrative and worthy activity for any business.

So how exactly does it benefit you? People subscribe to your emails because they are interested in your company and want to be kept up-to-date on the latest news and promotions. When your email marketing is done correctly, you’re providing those customers with useful, interesting information each day, directly to their inbox (so they don’t have to search for it). This keeps your business fresh in their minds and helps you stay relevant, strengthening your relationship with them. It also pushes your promotions directly in front of interested customers as opposed to appealing to the masses.

As a business, we all want new customers - but keeping the lines of communication with your existing ones open is equally important, and that is done through email marketing.


Social Media Marketing

We all have a favorite social media business. They may appeal to you because they are funny, innovative, inspiring, or heartfelt; the point is, they do appeal to people, and they keep you coming back for more. This is the result of a well-done social media marketing campaign. Businesses use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube to market themselves to the public, often very successfully. Social media has 3.2 billion daily users, making it a very big pond full of many waiting fish.

Social media is so important because it allows your business to reach new customers by connecting with your current ones. Through shares, likes, and comments (especially tags), a business can boost its organic reach and get in front of new consumers on a daily basis. It’s also one of the best ways to build your brand, as the tone and type of content you post on social media helps visitors understand and connect with your business. All around, social media marketing is a crucial part of your marketing campaign.


Integrating Your Social Media and Email Marketing

At first glance, it may seem like email and social media marketing are at odds. After all, email marketing only connects with current customers, while social media marketing engages new ones. How do you choose just one?! The strongest marketers don’t. The two can actually co-exist quite nicely, and when integrated they take your marketing efforts from meh to marvelous.

So how do you do it? It’s easier than you think. Think of this as a kind of fishing pole (there’s that fish reference again). Your social media account can get new customers to bite, then your email marketing reels them in and keeps them hooked. Here are a few examples.


Entice Social Media Followers To Sign Up

Social media is a great place to promote your emails! Use your social media accounts to give teasers about your email content or promise exclusive email-only offers to entice followers to sign up. By promoting your email subscription through your social channels, you can increase your mailing lists and then turn those casual followers into loyal customers. It’s like having your coffee and drinking it, too!


Include Social Media Links In Your Emails

Don’t assume that your email audience is aware of your social presence! The next time you send out a marketing email, try including links to your social media pages. You can do this by simply adding clickable widgets to your layout and pointing your viewers in their direction. Add a helpful call-to-action to point them in the right direction.


Promote Your Social Media In Your Emails

Better yet, take it a step further and encourage your email readers to tune into your social media accounts for specific or ongoing information (like promotion or event details). Letting them know that you’re active on social media and giving them a reason to tune in will both boost your social followers and increase your brand awareness.


Use Social Media To Find What Works

Crafting email content can be hard, especially if you’re sending them frequently. Social media can help you decide what types of content your audience is looking for, and it also lets your content play double-duty. Use content that has high engagement from your audience in your emails! This can be facebook posts, Instagram photos, or even follower’s comments. You’ll already know that your audience is interested, and you can promote your social accounts at the same time. Win-Win!

If you aren’t a marketing whiz, this may seem a bit overwhelming. The good news is, we can help! Bis Designs helps businesses just like yours create killer marketing campaigns through email and social media (and more). Contact us today to get started!


Video Content for Social Media (Yes, You Need It)

Most of us have fond memories of watching grainy, embarrassing home movies on large VHS tapes in our childhood living rooms. Video has come a long way since then, but its impact on our lives has only grown. These days, videos are used as a powerful marketing strategy to help businesses increase their profits and connect with consumers. In fact, video content is the most powerful form of social media marketing and businesses that aren’t using it to their advantage are falling behind. To stay on top, hiring a professional videographer to handle your video content should be a key component in your social media strategy.

But do you really need a video content strategy? Here’s what social video content can do for your business:


Videos Boost Engagement

Digital marketers agree - there is no medium more engaging to an online audience than video. To begin with, users are more inclined to actually watch videos than other types of content. According to a survey done by Animoto, 60% of users say that they watch branded videos on social media every day. And when it comes to sharing, video content is shared 1200% more than text or image content! In the numbers game, video content will always come out on top.
So why are they so engaging? Videos are able to capture your audience more effectively using two things that always grab our attention: movement and sound. And once your audience is ensnared, video content can use things like facial expressions, tone of voice, and sounds to convey and evoke emotion. This is much harder to do in text content, which requires punction or visual cues to suggest tone. Emotion is a driving factor in purchasing decisions, so you want to hit your audience where they’ll feel it the most. And speaking of purchasing...


Videos Boost Product Sales

Have you ever seen a cool product online, but you weren’t sure how it worked? I bet you weren’t inclined to buy it to find out! One of the best uses of video content is showing a product in action, especially if the product is new. In today’s busy world, consumers don’t have time to read lengthy product descriptions. Videos are easily digestible and can make new concepts easier to understand. By showing how a product works, you can also show them how it will benefit them in a real-life way. A viewer is much more likely to visualize that product in their hands when they see it in someone else’s rather than in the pages of an advertisement.

If your business relies on product sales to thrive, video content is something you can’t slack on. Animoto’s survey found that one in four consumers lose interest in a product if it doesn’t have video. That’s 25% of your audience!


Videos Build Trust

Ask yourself: are you more likely to trust something pitched to you by a friend or by a hawker on the street? Video content is so effective because it helps build trust between your business and your customers. Though most of the world relies on digital technology, consumers remain more likely to invest in a business that they feel connected to. Videos are inherently personal, especially if the content is authentic, natural, and conversational. That’s why storytelling is such a crucial element in your video strategy - it makes your business feel like a trusted friend rather than an infomercial. When your video content is consistent, your audience will begin to seek out your page to experience your brand rather than just clicking on your videos in their feed. And that is exactly where you want to be.


Videos Build Your Brand

Speaking of the personal nature of videos, it makes them the perfect tool to create and maintain your business’s brand. A brand is a complex concept, affected by everything from your word choices to your punctuation style. When your video content is consistent with your brand, it helps develop your company’s personality and connect to your audience. Quality video content can combine all of the things that make up your brand and deliver it in a ready-to-go package. One way to do this is by inserting appropriate text and graphic elements into your videos. People are strongly influenced by visuals, so creating a consistent look with your videos is one of the easiest ways to make your brand - and your business - recognizable.


Why Do I Need A Professional?

Now that you’re convinced that you need strong video content for your social accounts, you may be wondering how to get it done. Many companies don’t believe they need to hire a professional videographer, and they often assign video content to existing members of their staff. But this isn’t always the best decision - and sometimes it’s a downright bad one. Here’s what a professional videographer can do for your video content strategy:

 

  • Use professional equipment to create high quality, dynamic video content
  • Give you a better ROI than less qualified staff
  • Bring industry knowledge to the table to create content that is successful long-term
  • Help develop your company brand
  • Increase your profits
  • And more!

Our professional videography service can help you create a video content strategy that turns your social media accounts into marketing gold. Using professional equipment and the latest industry trends, we can deliver video content that is engaging, dynamic, and beneficial to your business. Ready to see your social media engagement skyrocket? Contact us for a consultation today!


4 Ways Duplicate Content Hurts Your Site

The words ‘duplicate content’ strike fear into the hearts of marketers everywhere, something akin to cavity search or TV Reruns. Actually, it’s pretty similar - who wants to watch the same show over and over again? It’s the same with content - users don’t want to read articles that just repeat information and don’t bring anything new to the table. More than that, duplicating content hurts your reputation as a website and as a business. But what exactly is duplicate content? And why is it so bad?

What Is Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content can be a variety of things, and not all of them are bad. Google defines duplicate content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” Google actually distinguishes duplicate content by two types: non-malicious and malicious duplicate content.

Non-malicious duplicate content includes instances such as syndication - when a website publishes your content on their own website - or when your website has multiple URLs, such as when you have pages optimized for different browsers, among others. These types of content duplication are not penalized by Google and are actually common, if not unavoidable.

Duplicate content that is malicious is done to manipulate search results. The short of it is that duplicating content occurs when a website recycles old content in an effort to rank higher for keywords or tags (more keywords = higher results). This is not always their intent. There are many other reasons that a website might reuse its own content - one example would be an e-commerce store that struggles to write hundreds of product descriptions, so they reuse what they’ve already created. The distinction here is the intention behind the content, but Google is not all-knowing and can often misconstrue it, so it’s better to avoid duplicating your content as much as you can.

Note: It’s important to distinguish duplicate content with outright plagiarism, which is not only seriously bad form but can carry legal penalties. We know you would never plagiarize, so we’ll keep our definition of duplicate content to the reusing of your own work. Additionally, if someone else has plagiarized your work for their own site, you should report the site to Google.

Of course, you own the rights to your work and are free to reuse it in any way you see fit. But if you’re looking to bring your website high SEO rankings and an engaged audience, it’s a bad choice for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at them.

It Hurts Your Keyword Rankings

Duplicate content hurts your keyword strategy. Keyword placement is a staple of good SEO practices, and getting your content keywords just right can take a lot of time and effort. That’s why some websites recycle old content that has successful keyword rankings - you know they work, so why not use them again? It’s faster and cheaper than writing new, original content!

While this may seem smart, it’s actually counter-intuitive. Because when you recycle your content and keywords, you’re actually giving yourself competition. As Google algorithms crawl the internet, they collect keywords and index them for searches. So, if you post content that uses the same keywords multiple times, Google is going to crawl both articles and pit them against one another. See the problem? Your original content will now suffer because of increased competition, essentially making all of that time you spent doing keyword research a waste. It’s a lot like hobbling yourself before the big race - just not smart.

It Hurts Your SEO

As we’ve noted, search engines crawl websites and index the results for users. Because they want to give users the best possible experience, they rarely post multiple websites with the same content on their result pages. For you, this means that if multiple websites online have your content, Google may not mark your original page as the best page to show. If your duplicate content is on a different URL that has a higher domain score than yours, this can lead to them getting higher search results for your content. Plus, you don’t want your printing pages showing up as the landing page for users, or your mobile site ranking higher for desktop users.

Syndication is an important part of marketing, so you shouldn’t avoid it. But, be sure that any websites that publish your content link your site as the original page so Google knows which one to index first. Also, there are plug-ins and other technical ways to note your own website pages as the original pages and remove other pages from indexing altogether. If you aren’t sure how to do this, contact us for a consultation. We’re here to help!

Google May Penalize You

Google’s algorithm is constantly learning and evolving, and it can now separate duplicate content that is malicious or non-malicious - to an extent. If Google decides that you are copying or “scraping” old content to increase your search results, it will do a manual audit of your site. If you’re found guilty, they can penalize you stiffly - even so far as removing your site from their results altogether. And getting back into Google’s good graces is no easy feat - it requires that you address and fix all of your duplicate content and then request a new investigation, which can take some time. You don’t want to get called into the proverbial principal’s office, so avoid posting duplicate content when you can.

Your Audience Will Get Bored

Setting the technicals aside, duplicate content will negatively affect your audience’s interest in your site. As we said earlier, nobody likes reruns. Publishing old content that doesn’t add any value to your readership will ultimately lead to a decrease in your website traffic by itself. If you’re posting duplicate content across landing pages, this will negatively affect your click-through and bounce rates as users leave your site for something more interesting. If your published content is stale or repetitive, you may lose user loyalty and sabotage your chances of return visitors.

If you’re having trouble keeping up with your content marketing - or just need some fresh ideas - let us help! We can create a content marketing strategy that’s perfect for your business and then help you implement it!

What do I do?

Publishing content that is new and original is the best way to avoid the negative effects of duplicate content. Be sure that anything you’re posting on your website is authentic, adds value to your readership, and introduces new keywords and ideas. If you have an article syndicated by another site (go, you!), be sure that they are appropriately linking back to your website as the original version so that they don’t beat you in the search results. And be sure to use the correct URLs and tags when creating duplicate pages to make sure that Google indexes the correct one.

Need more help? Contact us today! BIS Designs can handle all of your content marketing and website design needs.


The Top Website Design Trends For 2019-2020

Website design trends are as fluid and changing as the sea (or the internet). What is popular today may be a website faux pas tomorrow, and what was deemed uncool two years ago can make an unexpected comeback. Staying on top of the day’s trends can feel like a full-time job. Luckily, we’ve done it for you!

We’ve scoured the industry’s top leaders for the day’s most popular website design trends. The ones that can make or break your website. The ones that will set you apart from your competitors. The ones you can be sure will stick around for 2020. Check them out below!

 

Mobile-First Designs

 

The days of desktop dominance are gone, and mobile devices are the undisputed king of screen time. Users spend an average of 69% of their media time on smartphones, so if you want to reach your audience then you’ve got to optimize your site for mobile use. Also, Google now ranks mobile sites ahead of desktop sites in search rankings, so focusing on a mobile design will help make sure your site is seen. And studies show that users are 67% more likely to buy a product from your site if it is optimized for mobile use. See the pattern?

 

Mobile devices aren’t exactly new, and they’ve taken up a big spot in web design for a few years. But the new focus on mobile-first designs means that website designers are focusing on mobile templates first rather than creating websites for desktops and then making them responsive to other devices. Because users expect a website to load in under 3 seconds, optimizing a website for mobile loading also means you’ll decrease your bounce rate and increase your user engagement.

 

What does that mean for you? Well, it means a focus on layouts that can be compressed to fit a smaller screen without losing content. It’s also important to keep in mind that mobile screens are touched rather than clicked, so you’ll need to adjust your designs to be accessible by various fingers. In short, simple and direct navigation, adaptive designs, and responsive frameworks will reign supreme.

 

Speedy and Trendy Designs

 

We’ve already discussed optimizing your website for load speed (recap: you should), but doing so involves more than just technical work. The design of your website also plays a big role in how quickly it loads. Keep your design simple but trendy to stay on top of your speed and your relevance. Be generous with your white space - it helps guide users down the page and keeps your site uniform, while also loading quickly. You should also reduce clutter by ridding your site of unnecessary graphics and complex designs to make your site quick and scannable.

 

For the trendiest site on the web, use a good mix of contrasting colors, large and playful fonts, and high-quality images and videos. Grid patterns are becoming especially popular - a good example of this is the block layout of Pinterest pins. Grouping your content and related pages into easily scannable squares keeps your users attention while looking sleek and modern.

 

Video is King

 

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you’ll know that video content is the name of the internet game. Today’s users are more concerned than ever with immediate gratification, and information is often easiest to access and digest in video form. In fact, static pages (those without any animated or video content) are likely to be obsolete by 2020. That’s why the top websites have shifted their content focus away from text graphics and articles and instead use full-screen or embedded videos to boost their site traffic.

 

One of the top ways to do this is to place videos in the header of your website to immediately gain the attention of visitors. Or, you can place multiple related videos along your page to entice users to scroll down. Some websites even choose to display looping videos as the background of their homepage. Whatever method you choose, video content should be your prime focus as we move into 2020.

 

Don’t have video content? Jump on the motion bandwagon with GIFS or animation to keep your page from looking static. 

 

Chat Bots

 

Chat Bots are a new feature in AI that have taken the internet by storm in 2019 and show no signs of slowing down. A chat bot interacts with users on your website through chat ‘conversations’ to provide automated customer service, saving you time and money. They also allow users to access information and engage with your site much more quickly than traditional methods. Chat bots use assigned ‘rules’ and information along with really cool artificial intelligence to allow users to do a multitude of tasks. They can do things such as ask questions, file complaints, make online orders, book flights, buy tickets, and more.

 

There are two types of chatbots: simple and advanced. Simple chatbots use pre-filled keywords to process and respond to customer queries. This type of bot is much simpler (and cheaper) to implement on your website, but it isn’t as good at engaging with your users; it often responds to difficult or unanticipated questions with an ‘I don’t understand’ message. On the opposite side of the coin, advanced chatbots use artificial intelligence to learn customer preferences and enhance conversation. They are able to make jokes, understand sarcasm, and answer complex questions.

 

Artificial intelligence is not yet an art, so there are still bugs in the system. Plus, chat bots can be extremely expensive and they require technical knowledge that many companies may not have on the payroll. However, we anticipate that as technology advances, chat bots will become much more streamlined and accessible for all.

 

Sticky Elements

Sticky elements is a very descriptive name, as they “stick” to your webpage. In other words, as users scroll down your page the sticky elements scroll with them. It’s a great way to keep navigation simple and keep your users engaged.

 

Sticky elements can be a variety of things. Newsletter sign-ups, contact information, and promotions are all good sticky element materials. Many websites create sticky “floating” menus to make navigation easier for a better user experience. Perhaps the most important one is social media links, which allow users to quickly link to your accounts or share your material on their pages. Which is important, because social media attracts billions (with a b) of internet users every day. That’s a huge audience!

 

But, be careful not to over-saturate your site with too many sticky elements. Doing so can make them seem spammy and intrusive, plus they’ll cover your other content. Stick to the sweet spot - no more than two or three at a time. 

 

Well, there you have it. The top website design trends for 2019-2020 focus on increasing speed, keeping your designs simple but engaging, and using technology to stay ahead of the game. Trends evolve, but we’re confident that keeping these in mind will help keep your website relevant and modern through the New Year and beyond.

 

Need more help? We do website design! From consultations to complete overhauls, BIS Designs can transform your website into a stunning reflection of your business. Contact us today!


4 Ways To Use Instagram And Facebook Stories For Your Business

You’ve been using social media to promote your business. Smart move! Social media marketing has taken the business world by storm. You’re making posts, sharing great content, and drawing in followers. Promotion is great, but these days it is not enough. You’ve got to share your business story to really connect with your audience. And that’s where the new story feature for Instagram and Facebook comes in.

 

A story is a relatively new feature for Facebook and Instagram that can help your business connect with your audience in a personal way. Stories are pinned to the top of your followers’ newsfeeds and last for a maximum of 24 hours. Businesses aren’t penalized for stories, so they are sure to be seen (unlike posts, which are quickly lost in the newsfeed shuffle and have limited visibility due to algorithm updates).

 

If you’re looking to grow your audience and increase your brand awareness, then stories are a tool that you can’t afford to ignore. But how do you use them effectively? Let’s take a look at 4 ways to use Instagram and Facebook stories for your business.

 

Post Authentic Content To Engage With Your Audience

 

The stories feature is meant for...well, stories! A story is more personal than a post and it is most effective when it is used for authentic content. Remember that your stories are only seen by your followers, who are already interested in your business, so there’s not as much need for direct promotion or marketing. Instead, use candid content to give your audience a glimpse into a side of your business that they can’t see anywhere else. Making your business seem real and relatable drives engagement and instills trust in your audience - after all, you’re just like them!

 

Here are a few ideas for authentic content:

 

- ”day in the life” snapshots that show the daily goings-on of your business

- candid photographs of your team or working space

- informal interviews with staff and management

 

Pro Tip: Remember that the goal is to be authentic, so don’t overuse the photoshop or filters in these types of stories. Your audience can tell when your images and videos have been highly doctored, and this can hurt your engagement. Keep it simple to achieve the best results.

 

Use Teasers To Promote Upcoming Events Or Sales

 

We aren’t saying that you can’t ever use promotions in your stories. Your goal is business growth, after all. Stories are a great way to share information about future happenings in your business. Upcoming events, product launches, or sales are all great content for teaser stories that can interest and convert your audience. But keep in mind the 24-hour rule and don’t tease them too early or your audience might forget about it before the big day!

 

Pro Tip: Filters and effects can help make your teaser stories really pop and help you deliver the right message. Both Facebook and Instagram have story editors that allow you to insert text, graphic elements like countdown buttons or coupon codes, and all sorts of other fun designs!

 

Turn Articles And Blog Posts Into Bite-Sized Segments

 

Let’s face it, audiences today have a short attention span. That’s why social media gets more engagement than traditional websites or articles - it is a revolving door of new material. So use that to your business’s advantage by turning your website content into digestible chunks. Research your business content for pieces that can be divided into smaller sections and post them one at a time or in a slide-show story. This will help increase your website traffic if your content (and your story) is engaging.

 

Pro Tip: Graphic design is an important factor in these types of posts. Make sure that your images are relevant, attractive, and clean. Also be sure to hyperlink your story to your article’s URL or reference it at the end so your followers know where to go.

 

Use Stories To Connect Your Accounts

 

The goal is growth, and stories are a great way to grow your account followers. The majority of social media users have accounts on multiple platforms - that means an Instagram user also has a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest account, etc. Referencing your various social media accounts on your stories can drive audience members who may be following you on just one app to follow all of your pages.

 

Pro Tip: Teasing an upcoming Facebook event on Instagram is a great way to convert your Instagram followers to Facebook, and vice-versa. Doing this will increase engagement on both sides of the aisle. And due to social media algorithms, growth begets growth. But be sure to instruct your audience on how to follow you - don’t forget to provide the handle or page name for your referenced accounts.

 

If you aren’t using stories in your business accounts, start today! It’s a great way to up your content marketing strategy. Using the above tips will help you engage with your audience, increase your followers, and grow your business. For more tips on using Instagram to grow your business, check out our post on 5 Tips For Instagram Success.

 

Still have questions? Give us a call to discuss how BIS Designs can help with your social media and content marketing needs!


Tips for Successful Content Marketing

Google and social media platforms (like Facebook) continue to change their algorithms, making it increasingly difficult for a company to reach its audience. Stellar Content marketing can help your company jump some of the hurdles. In fact, Google and Facebook often reward companies with great content. That’s why it’s critical for companies to provide valuable and informative content on their website and social media pages.

 

If you’re struggling to create killer content, follow these tips to help guide you in creating successful content for your company:

Engage with your followers. You’ve probably heard it many times: engagement is crucial for online marketing success. Here’s why: 

 

  • - Part of the algorithm Facebook put in place that decides how many and who of your followers sees a post has to do with how much engagement your post receives. The more people like, comment on, or share your post, the more people will see your post.
  • - Engagement builds trust and loyalty among your audience when you add personality to your company. Add personality by engaging with your audience through conversations and various interactions and not simply posting about your products or serves. This causes people to connect with your brand as if it is a person, and not simply a product or service. You have a much better chance of selling a product or service to someone who trusts you.
  • - Engaging with your audience makes people feel like they’re more than just another dollar in the bank account. People like to feel important, especially by brands they love. So start paying more attention to your audience. Share and like their posts, comments, Tweets, etc.
 

Establish thought leadership. Position your company as a thought leader that provides valuable resources to its audience. Highlighting yourself as an expert in your industry will draw your audience to you. Instead of going straight to Google for information about your industry, people will start going to your website, blog, and following your social media pages to learn industry trends, tips and tricks, and more.

 

Keep it fresh. Keep your content fresh by incorporating new and a variety of content for your customers to read and engage with. Consider mixing up your weekly posts with a guest post or a live product/service demo. Be sure to post on special holidays and incorporate seasonal content into your posts. Use catchy images and high-quality graphics to keep your page looking fresh and not like spam. Incorporate monthly themes, where you focus on certain topics each month, educating your audience beyond their expectations about each topic (thought-leadership!). 

 

Be authentic. With the growth of the Internet and social media platforms, it has become increasingly important to be authentic. Advertising your product, service, or company falsely will always come to light through reviews and comments from customers. Your audience is far more informed than you think, and they will call out a scam without hesitation. One of the top influencers on the web, Neil Patel, put it best when he said, “Authentic businesses inspire and prosper”. Neil Patel advises people to be authentic by:

 

  • - Being real, charitable, consistent, responsive (See, we told you engagement was part of the key), and accountable (If you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to admit it and apologize to your customer)
  • - Providing statistics and facts to back up what you say
  • - Respecting the privacy of your customers
  • - Telling your true brand story
  • - Highlighting your good reputation
 

Engage with your followers. Establish thought leadership. Keep it fresh. Be authentic. Each of these tips will help you create a better content marketing strategy to help your company grow. In combination, these tips will help your company soar!  So, give it a try, and if you’re still struggling, give us a call! We’re here to help you create content and manage your digital marketing in a way that will capture the attention of your audience.

 

 

RELATED: 

Should You Outsource Your Business Blogging? 

 

Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


Stay On Top: SEO in 2019

Hello, 2019! It’s a New Year, which means it’s time to get ahead of the competition and on top of your search engine optimization (SEO). In the next few minutes, we’ll cover these five topics to get you thinking about improving your SEO strategy: Mobile-first indexing, page speed, thought-provoking content, featured snippets, and RankBrain.

1. Mobile-first indexing

As of March 2018, Google started rolling out what they call “mobile-first indexing”. In 2019, this concept will become even more relevant as mobile users rise and Google adapts mobile-first indexing to more and more websites.

Searches on desktops are declining, driving the pressing need for appropriate indexing based on the mobile versions of websites. Due to this, mobile-first indexing was created with the intention of helping mobile users easily find what they’re looking for. So, what does this mean for you? Should you completely disregard the desktop version of your website and solely focus on the mobile? The simple answer is no. Both your desktop and mobile versions will come into play in the New Year. This is why Google’s new strategy is called mobile-first indexing, not mobile-only indexing.

In order to avoid negatively impacting your rankings, ensure your mobile and desktop versions are developed with quick loading times and optimized images and content. It’s important not to sacrifice your desktop version for your mobile version, or vise versa.  

2. Page speed

In the new mobile-first index, page speed has become a huge ranking factor, primarily impacting pages that deliver the slowest experience to users on mobile versions. Slow loading speeds cause users to bounce from 32-90% as page load times increase from 1-5 seconds. Research has shown, consumers don’t like to wait for content, especially while on their mobile devices.

How can you increase your page speed? There are three easy steps you can take to increase your speed. First, you can conduct a page speed test using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Next, take into account the size of your pages; many sites are loaded down with too much information, making it difficult to process. Cutting down on the bulk will help your speed improve. Third, contact your web/SEO expert, like us! We can help determine what steps you should take to improve your page speed (and overall SEO). 

3. Thought-provoking content

It’s time to stop creating content for the sake of creating content. Focus on creating content that solves a problem by offering advice, motivation, and engagement for your customer. Creating exceptional content shouldn’t be forgotten and will likely always be an important key to improving your SEO. Exceptional content keeps people wanting more, bringing them back to your site.

4. Featured Snippets

A featured snippet is a short summary to a user’s search displayed on top of Google search results. The image below is a snippet, and trust us, it’s where you want your website to appear when consumers search for a service or product.

By using snippets effectively, you can maximize your authority, prove that Google chooses your page over competitors, and increase your traffic. You can earn a featured snippet by analyzing keyword opportunities and implementing them into your site, creating strategic content, having a Q&A section on your website, clearly outlining your subheadings, lists, tables, etc., and polishing up any existing snippets.

5. RankBrain

RankBrain is a machine-learning algorithm that works alongside Google’s current algorithm, Hummingbird, to improve Google’s search engine by learning and identifying patterns and interpreting unknown search strings. Machine learning is what happens when a computer learns by experience, and that’s exactly what RankBrain does. It intelligently gathers users habits and needs to direct them to the most useful content for their search. It works by taking segments of the entire search and relating them to the most popular searches with those related terms, and as people click on their desired result, RankBrain grows in its search knowledge. RankBrain affects how Google ranks search results. It learns which results are relevant and pushes them to the top.

According to Google, RankBrain is the third most important factor in SEO, after content and links. The key to overcoming RankBrain is to provide users with a positive experience through easy-to-navigate, detailed, and quality content to optimize your site.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the slough of information and ever-changing world of SEO, don’t stress! We’re here to keep you abreast of the changes, and help you implement them into your website structure.

 

RELATED: 

Mobile-Responsive Web Design and Why Your Business Needs it

 


Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of  what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.

About BIS Technology Group

BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing,  Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.

You may reach out to us at:
Phone: 251-405-2527
Email: plong@askbis.com


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