Marketing trends feel like they're changing constantly. Sometimes faster than most companies and individuals feel like they can keep up with. Believe us when we say that we can relate to that. But don't get discouraged! This is a new year, and with that comes new and exciting marketing trends that will last the whole year, and help you grow stronger and better than ever before!
It's a new year, which means new things to keep up on! Business doesn't stop for anyone, and we understand that better than most. A new year is an exciting time, but you have to keep up with it or it'll leave you in the dust. With the dawning of 2020 comes the dawning of new social media trends, digital marketing trends, and business trends that are a step or five beyond what we saw in 2019. It might be overwhelming to think about it that way, but at the end of the day - you should be excited! It's time to take new tricks of the trade and see what works best for you and your unique company. Everything in the business world grows and changes, just like we do! It's important to keep up with these changes, just as it is to keep up a strong marketing campaign, a strong social media fingerprint, and not let your social media get pushed into the background. You and your company were made to stand out. You need to keep up with the trends and the times so you're not left behind, or spending time or money on things that just don't work anymore.
There will always be new trends, it's the way of life. But what you do need to be doing is researching what trends are popular, what's working, and what is going to stick around longer than a fad might. A trend will be effective to many groups of people and will influence your business as a whole. A fad will only be popular and affect certain people, and that is something you want to avoid. To get you back on the right paths of trends and leaning away from second long fads, we are going to be sharing and discussing some of the digital marketing trends you're going to be seeing in 2020 and for some years to come!
We hope you are just as excited as we are about these trends. These are just three of the most popular that you will be seeing. Remember to continue your research and to keep learning. The more you can learn, connect to your audience, and understand who you're targeting, you'll be more ahead of the game than you'd expect. Time to hop on board, everyone! Thanks for joining us for another exciting blog. Until next time, stay caffeinated and loving Summerville!
Gaining online traffic to your website can be a little tricky, but the more you understand the different types of traffic and how to get them to your website, the more you can build your business online and off. Take the time to continue learning about the different types of traffic and how it can help you and your company!
February is here! We mentioned how much we love love, and we wanted to continue that with you. In our last blog we started the conversation about what online traffic to your website is and the different types there are out there. Remember, many different types of traffic can visit your website, but we are focusing on the four most popular. In our last blog, we talked about direct and referral traffic. In this blog, we are going to be finishing out with talking about organic and social traffic. These two are some of the most tangible and easiest forms of traffic you can implement into your company and very easy to add to your online advertisement goals.
TRAFFIC TYPE THREE: Organic Traffic!
This type of traffic comes from an online search. An online user isn't specifically typing in your companies name, because they don't know who you are yet. But they are searching for a specific product or service and want a recommendation for something. They type in something that relates to your business, and if you use this type of traffic properly, your company will pop up in the top three website options for them to choose from. The best way to increase this type of traffic is through SEO - (S)earch (E)ngine (O)ptimization. This will place your business at the top of a Google search, so, likely, your website will automatically be picked first by the online user. SEO labels you as being the authority and pro on the topic you're being searched under and helps increase your Google and Online ranking. It is very easy to track this kind of traffic, and the more work you put into it the higher the return you will receive. The big factor in putting work into this and making Google recognize you as an authority is having high-quality content. You need a beautiful and well-designed webpage and Social Media pages, a very safe hosting site, and written blogs posted to your website at least twice a month (AKA what we provide to our clients!). Being very present and active on your Social Media Pages will also help dramatically with this type of traffic too.
TRAFFIC TYPE FOUR: Social Traffic!
This kind of traffic is cultivated by people visiting your website by finding you on a social media platform. They are so interested and intrigued by your brand, that it causes them to visit your website through a link you've provided in a call to action or posted on your social media pages. The more followers you gain on your social media platforms, the more of this type of traffic you can gain. What helps is posting at least once a day on your platforms, being on-brand and consistent when you post, and staying connected with your followers. You need to interact, communicate, and respond to any posts and messages. It can't be a one way street of communication to be successful in this type of traffic. Don't be selfish in this form of traffic. Don't just post to gain followers and traffic. Your goal should be to create a vibrant community that you're proud to be apart of and that your brand is proud to be a part of. This is what social media was created for. If you see that a certain type of social media platform is working better than others for your company, adjust your time and budget accordingly. Post on all platforms, but be realistic in what is bringing traffic to your website and what is not. This reflects the demographics and age range of who is visiting your website, which is ok! Just be aware of these factors.
You not only need to be aware of each of these forms of traffic and understand how they work, but you also need to know how they help and how to achieve them. You need to track the success of each form of traffic that is coming to your website as well. Google My Business does track these numbers for you and you can find them in your information account under the Acquisition Tab. After you open this tab, you can find it in the Overview section. This gathered data can help you see what types of traffic you're consistently doing well with and the ones you're not doing well with. If there is a type of traffic you want more than others, then it's time to switch up your plan on how you are marketing yourself to gain the traffic you want. Have better offline marketing for the direct traffic or perfect your social media platforms to gain Social Traffic There is a trick to each of these types of traffic, and depending on what works best for you and your company, is what you need to put your focus on!
We hope these past two blogs have helped you understand a little bit more about online traffic and the importance it can bring to your website and company. Understand that each of these types of traffic is important and necessary to grow your businesses. You need to add goals of gaining traffic to your website to your goals of online marketing, and you need to understand your audience and the demographic you are wanting to target. Once you can harness these ideas and understand what type of traffic works best for you, then you'll be unstoppable.
Keep working hard, driving forward with your goals, and staying caffeinated!
Small businesses, be warned! Two of the most important tools in your online marketing toolbox sound very similar but they are two VERY DIFFERENT tools. It's time to break down their differences and pick the right choice for you and your company.
Happy New Year Everyone! We hope you had a wonderful holiday with your loved ones, and you're just as excited as we are to jump into 2020! One of the biggest things we were focusing on before the holidays set in was the challenges, changes, and inconsistencies of online marketing across many social media platforms. If you spend as much time as we do studying and working with advertising on places like Facebook and Instagram, you are very familiar with the fact that it changes constantly. It's hard to keep up with each change and how it affects your advertisements daily. These advertisement tools can determine your business growth and popularity online, so if you don't understand the changes in trends or are unfamiliar with the tools available to you, you could be in serious trouble. One of the biggest things we have been digging into is Geofencing and Geotargeting. This behind the scenes marketing tool can make or break an advertisement campaign without even trying. The names look so familiar, they much basically be the same thing right? Wrong! Although they are connected, you need to understand their main differences. When you understand the differences, you will be able to choose which option is best for your company. The best choice will help you gain more customers, followers, and supporters. First off, let's get down to the definitions.
GEOFENCING: Geofencing is when you draw an actual virtual fence with a predetermined chosen radius. This is used to target and connect specific people in a certain area to your advertisement. It is known to be more accurate than geotargeting. It uses GPS to make sure the audience you have targeted is being tracked and followed based on the coordinates of where they are in that exact moment they're online. When this chosen group of people is online, geofencing collects data and studies how long this chosen group of customers stays within the virtual fence and if and when they come back. This tool helps improve the engagement of local customers for your company and it can help attract customers away from your competition. The disadvantage of geofencing is that it can only target audiences based on physical location. Hand-picking demographics and certain groups of people based on anything besides location have nothing to do with who sees your geofencing advertisement.
Who is the best for? If you are interested in advertising to populations of all interests and ages in your local area, then it is a perfect tool for your company.
GEOTARGETING: This tool is very similar to Geofencing at its base. It does draw the same invisible fence, BUT demographics are included in its makeup. You create your virtual fence, and then you pick who exactly (based on age, interest, gender, etc.) will see your ad. One of the main disadvantages is that you have to open up your advertisement geographic to a much larger area. You are being very specific about the type of people you want to see this add within a particular area So, to get as much of a result as you would with geofencing, the location needs to be larger to attract the same number of people in a geofencing situation.
Who is this best for? If you are interested in advertising to a very specific group of people inside a certain demographic or niche, then this is a perfect option for your company.
Spend time studying both options. I have just given you the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to using these tools, and there is a lot to dig into when choosing which to use. Understand how each could affect your company for the better or worse. Spend time understanding the consumers you have and those you're trying to attract. This might be the perfect opportunity to step back and define your company and who you want to serve. If you have the time and the means, experiment with both and see which outcome is best. But make sure to decide on one in the end, stick with it, and plan your advertising campaign accordingly. The work put into this decision could lead to a more dedicated consumer base and a fast conversion rate. All of us social media people love to see those numbers jump high and jump quick!
Here is to an exciting 2020, we can't wait to build a better business world with you one day at a time!
We know it might seem a little early to already be prepping for the holidays, but it's always best to get a head start on planning. From prepping your decorations to your ad campaign, take the time to make this year the best year yet!
Hello everyone! We hope you had a wonderful September, and that you are so excited for October and the fall season to take over. For everyone in the small business world, stepping closer into fall also means starting to prepare for all of your holiday sales, offers, decorations, ads, images, and products. It's A LOT to plan for. Believe me we can relate. We have already started to plan for our fourth quarter, which also happens to be the busiest part of the year. If there is one thing we can recommend right away, it's to start early. That is a huge headache saved, believe me! No matter the size of your small business, you deserve a strong plan and marketing agenda for the holidays. Smart planning for the holidays isn't just for the big box stores or giant corporations. If you employ 1 or 1000, it's time to get started.
We are so excited to share these few tips of the trade with you. Each of these tips can be used for any holiday, but with everything from Halloween to the New Year approaching, we will be focusing on those holidays and each in between. These tips span everything from social media to your digital footprint on Google. You won't want to miss out on these!
Like we mentioned - there is A LOT to think about when it comes to successfully running a business during the holiday season. But we hope these tips help ease some of your stress and kick off the best quarter of the year for you and your small business! We will see you next time!
SSL Certificates. The need to have them has been in debate for some time now - and it looks like Google is going to make the final decision for us all. But what does that mean for the future of your websites and will you be paying for this protection?
Happy July everyone! It's been an exciting month so far for Creative Consulting and we are so excited for the rest of this year to follow suit! There has been an important topic on the back of our minds though - with SEO being our bread and butter, there is one particular topic that has grabbed our attention. The need of an SSL Certificate and what that means for the future of web design, the future of websites SEO, and if you have to pay for this protection or not.
For those of you new to an SSL certificate, or a Secure Socket Layer Certificate, is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server. It serves as an electronic passport that establishes online credentials when doing business or just surfing on the web. It creates a secure connection from a web server to a browser. If a hacker ever gets their hands on information or a website that is protected by an SSL, all they will see is a cryptographic code that cannot be broken. Even with the aid of a computer. It ensures total safety while browsing the web, as long as the pages your visiting have an SSL! When it is applied to your server correctly the application protocol, the HTTP, will change to HTTPs. The "S" stands for secure. Sometimes, depending on which SSL Certificate and web browser you're using, a small padlock will also appear in the browser bar and it might even turn green when visiting a website that has an SSL Certificate installed too. SSL Certificates have typically been used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and login information, and protection on social media websites. But thanks to Google, it looks like it might become mainstream for everyone to have an SSL certificate.
Why do you need an SSL for your website? It keeps all data secure between servers, it increases your Google Rankings, it builds and enhances your customer's trust, and it improves conversion rates. Automatically if your website sells products or services and deals with credit card transactions there is no question that you should have one. If your website is not available over HTTPs you may see a loss in traffic, loss in user trust and your SEO ratings will start to go down. But even if you don't sell something on your website - it is something that you should highly consider. Once you've established an SSL for your website, all traffic to the webpage will be secure. But what does that mean for the future of SEO and your interaction with Google? We all know that drives so much importance in the traffic to your webpage, and Google has been an incredible tool for that. With Google Chrome being the most popular web browser in the world, it's no surprise that they're making the call for the need of SSL Certificates. But let's go back to the beginning.
In 2014 Google created a new algorithm update that automatically favored HTTPs over HTTP. So already, those websites that were going unprotected were getting fewer views. This continued into 2018 when they announced that if you were not an HTTPS website a "NOT SECURE" message would appear either in your browser bar or when you came to a page that wasn't protected. By October of that year, the warning went from being grey to red - they were getting serious. This year Google has made a push on how they will treat websites with and without SSL. The new default that you should expect in Google includes encryption and a secure connection that is required. It is no longer just a feature for online banking and shopping sites. When it comes to SEO ranking if two websites sell similar products or are similar in topic - if one has HTTPs and the other does not, the website with HTTPs will automatically receive a higher SEO rating. It is not a default in ranking just yet, but with the direction Google has been going in, it could become a default in SEO rating in no time.
Good news though! Most Webshots today provide SSL by default. There are also plenty of Certificate Authority companies that you can get them for free, like Lets Encrypt. It makes it easy and simple for most web users - and those making their websites. But there are still some roadblocks. Some of our favorite platforms to build our websites in are Wordpress, Weebly, Madesimply, and Wix!
Some offer SSL certificate protection, but they have two different sets of rules. Wix offers SSL for free as part of their platform, all you have to do is make sure that the SSL option is turned on when you first publish your website. If you already have a Wix website created - all you have to do is activate it!
Weebly and MadeSimply are a little different. You can automatically add an SSL certificate to your websites, but the only SSL certificate that works for the domains attached to these websites are the ones that come from their company. You cannot get a free SSL from Lets Encrypt and then add it to your Website that are run by Weebly or MadeSimply. It has to come directly from Weebly and MadeSimply. But, the SSL protection only comes with the paid website options, not the free options. Even if you decide to go with the free options, the free SSL won't work for their websites and will still have the "not secure" warning when anyone visits your pages. So, if you already have a page made on Weebly or MadeSimply - you will have to upgrade to a paid account for this protection. It is frustrating to pay for something else for your webpage. But it will protect your SEO ranking on Google - and your clients. So those few extra dollars a year just might be worth it. The other options might be more costly in the end. You could be facing a loss of clients, business, attacks from hackers, and more.
If you are using a website builder that doesn't give you free SSL security but does allow you to purchase an SSL Certificate, they can range between $5-$15 a year on the cheaper end - and can become more expensive depending on what kind of protection you're looking for. And don't forget - there are plenty of free options too.
So it looks like SSL certificates are here to stay - the transition might be a little frustrating for you and your business, believe me we can relate. But at the end of the day, the protection is worth it.
By: Maddie Casto