Everything seems to be up in the air right now with the spread of COVID-19, but one thing that we know to be true during this time, is that digital marketing for businesses is more important than it has ever been.
Now more than ever, people are relying on the internet and social media for news updates, product recommendations, and human connection in a time that makes it nearly impossible to get these things in any other form. The internet has become a lifeline for those that want to maintain somewhat of a normal lifestyle. And it’s because of the internet that almost everything we need is available at our fingertips.
While it’s not a fun topic to cover, it’s a crucial one to address if you want your business to make it through this pandemic, and possibly others yet to come in the future. The fact of the matter is: this is the reality we are facing today. How is your business prepared to make it through these tough times, and even after? Do you have a digital marketing system in place? How are you still showing up to support your customers in this serious time of need?
Below are few ways you can prepare and develop your digital marketing systems for your business during the ever-changing COVID-19 protocols.
The internet is full of free, easy, and useful tools for marketing online. If your business doesn’t have a Facebook Page or an Instagram Account, now is the time to start one. The important thing to remember about social media is that consistency is key. Show up for your people consistently so that they know what to expect from you! Social media is a great way to connect with customers on a more personal level. People are more likely to purchase from you if they feel like they can trust you. You can use social media to build and nurture that precious relationship between you and your customers.
If you already have active social media channels, give your customers another way to connect with you on a more intimate level! You can invite them to sign up for your email list on social media, as well as on your website. By building an email list, you are creating your very own customer base that no one else has access to while they are reading your emails. In general, people are protective of their inbox, so if someone signs up for your email list, understand that they are actively saying, “Yes, I want to know more!” So do your audience a favor and give them the information they’re asking for. Instead of only showing up in their inbox when you need something, (aka: a sale) you can reach out to your customers and personally let them know the different ways you can help them or solve their problems. You can give exclusive access to certain discount codes, or content on your website to serve those customers better.
If you’re not comfortable with posting on social media, or don’t feel as though you are able to dedicate the amount of time it takes to develop a strong digital presence, allow the professionals to handle it! Team WTI will welcome you with open arms and work with you to create a plan that’s completely customized for you and your business. We offer everything from Web Design & Digital Development, to a wide variety of Digital Marketing Services that include social media management and content development. To learn more about who we are and how we can serve you, visit the Services tab on our website! We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, and we wish you all the very best in navigating these difficult times.
By definition, social media management is “the process of managing your online presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by creating, publishing, and analyzing content you post”. You may also hear the terms social media marketing or digital marketing alongside social media management, although digital marketing has a much broader definition and includes Search Engine Optimization, Google or Amazon advertisements, Online Reputation Management, and much more depending on who you talk to. Whether you have your own employees that oversee your social media or have a business like Team WTI that does it for you, social media can be a very useful tool to increase your presence online, increase conversions, and improve your reputation online.
Once you make the decision to utilize social media for your business, you need to decide what platforms you want to use. The most popular platforms for businesses are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Depending on your business and your goals, certain platforms will be more fitting over others although it can’t hurt to be on most or all platforms. If someone searches your business name or certain keywords, it will list your social media profiles in the search engine results which equals more opportunities for someone to find your business.
Next, a professional social media marketing team will need to make a social media strategy. You will need quality posts–usually photos, videos, or articles–that utilize hashtags and geotagging. Any time you can tag another person or business’ profile in a relevant way is helpful, as well. From there, that person or business can like, comment, or share your post which will increase engagement! The more people who see your posts, the better! Interesting, relatable, funny, cute, shareable or informative posts will accumulate more engagement. If you want to see your business grow online, social media management is one of the best ways to do it.
Team WTI has a dedicated and knowledgeable digital marketing team who can help you reach your goals. We offer social media management, search engine optimization, online reputation management, Pay-per-Click, and more! Contact us to learn more about the services we offer and how we can help you grow your business.
Want to irritate a journalist? Send them a press release riddled with varying fonts, flowery language, and no clear purpose.
Journalists, news producers, editors and online content managers receive hundreds of press releases every week. While scrolling through their e-mail inboxes, they make snap decisions on your news in a matter of seconds.
Like everyone else, journalists want to work with people who make their lives easier. A well written, well-presented press release does just that.
Here are six tips to follow if you want to avoid irritating journalists with your press releases:
Journalists know you want to promote your business – maybe you’ve launched a new product or expanded your company. However, the way to announce that news isn’t through a variety of styles.
That doesn’t stop people from trying. On a daily basis, journalists receive e-mails where words are EMPHASIZED through unnecessary capital letters or products described using seemingly pointless italics.
Even if the entire word isn’t capitalized, trying to Draw Attention To Your Product by randomly capitalizing or making words bold is a frustration.
Newsrooms across the nation have faced cutbacks and layoffs. With fewer people available to cover the news, press releases increasingly fill a content gap. However, the time-saving potential of a press release goes away if a journalist has to re-format and retype the entire release to rid it of strange styling decisions.
Often, style choices you may think help emphasize your news are simply viewed as extra work for journalists.
You may know your product is “the best thing to ever be developed” or that it features “a stunningly beautiful design.” What a journalist sees is “unnecessary opinion.” Who, they might ask, says it has a stunningly beautiful design? Everyone in the entire world?
Journalists strive for “Just the facts, Ma’am.” Flowery words and phrases or an excess of opinion in press releases means the release strays from the “news” category to the “advertisement” arena.
However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for opinion or superlatives, you just need to follow the next tip.
News articles have quotes, and you want your press release to be viewed as news. As a result, you need quotes.
Quotes give you the chance to showcase your expertise. They also offers a way to express opinion because that opinion can be attributed to an individual.
“We’re proud of our new product’s stunningly beautiful design,” said company president Mark Smith.
In that quote, it’s Mark Smith’s opinion the product is “stunning beautiful.” It’s a statement tied to an individual person, not a broad generalization.
When faced with a piece of information, journalists have to ask themselves, “Why is this important? Why is this newsworthy? Why now?”
Journalists ask those questions because they know their readers and/or viewers will ask the same questions. Why is this story being shared at this moment?
A press release falls under the same criteria. When issuing a press release, always ask yourself, “Why is this release important at this moment?”
In many cases, the answer is because the press release is timely:
Issuing a press release just for the sake of issuing a press release can confuse journalists. Because journalists are the ones who determine what’s newsworthy, make sure they understand why it’s important your release is shared.
We live in a world where there’s a 24-hour news cycle, but that doesn’t mean journalists are always prepared to react to events at a moment’s notice.
Journalists will tell you all too often they learn of an event or are asked to cover a news item at the last minute. In cases of “breaking news” this is often unavoidable.
But in many cases, last-minute notification is the result of poor planning. If you’re having an event on Tuesday, a good way to ensure the event goes unnoticed is to send the press release only hours before the start time.
If you want your event to receive media coverage, be considerate of a journalist’s time and their schedule. Send the release far enough in advance (usually one or two weeks prior) to allow them to properly plan for your event.
A good press release includes contact information a journalist can use if they have questions or need additional information.
Make sure that contact information matches the person who can best answer a journalist’s question.
It’s frustrating for a journalist to call a contact person listed on a release only to have the contact say, “What press release?” or “You’ll have to talk to someone else.”
Or worse, to have a journalist call on the day the release is issued only to be told the contact “is on vacation for the next two weeks.”
If you’re listed as a contact, make sure you are available when the release is issued and are the best media point of contact.
At Team WTI, we understand that creating a press release can be difficult. Writing an effective press release may feel like an overwhelming or daunting task. We’re here to help! At Team WTI, we can write and distribute your press release to local, statewide or national audiences.
Eighth graders at Geneseo Middle School had the opportunity to learn about a number of different jobs – including digital marketing and web design – during a career fair in the school gym and cafeteria on Friday, Jan. 10.
Team WTI members Holland Block, a digital marketing specialist, and Hunter Draminski, a web specialist, joined other Geneseo business professionals to speak with the more than 200 eighth-grade students at GMS.
“I was impressed with how the students all dressed up. They’d walk up to you, say ‘Hi my name is,’ and then shake your hand,” said Draminski. “They did a good job asking us questions.”
As part of the State of Illinois’ new Career and College Readiness Standards, schools are required to have a career exploration day, said GMS counselor Amy Feely.
The career fair capped off a career exploration unit in which eighth graders participated in a career survey, learned how to present themselves professionally and created a series of questions to ask employees attending the fair.
Though Geneseo Middle School has hosted career fairs in the past, GMS Principal Nate O’Dell said the last one was more than a decade ago.
“They’ve been excited about this career fair,” said O’Dell. In addition to learning about career opportunities, the fair gives students a chance to work on what O’Dell called “soft skills.”
“They say ‘thank you’ and make eye contact and all those other interpersonal skills that are vitally important,” he said.
Geneseo Superintendent Dr. Adam Brumbaugh said he applauded the teachers at GMS for organizing the career fair and preparing students for the day. Each took a survey in advance to see how their skills matched jobs and industries.
“Students are able to see what jobs are available locally. Ideally, we’d love our students to stay in the community. This helps them learn about the local workforce and what skills are needed to meet the needs and be good employees for local businesses,” said Brumbaugh.
Eighth-grade students will register for high school classes later in the spring. Thinking about jobs and careers for the future helps students plan their high school education track.
“This offers a starting place for students to see if they’re on a college track or a vocational track. We realize that college isn’t for every student, so we also look at career readiness. We want them to know what their options are,” said Brumbaugh.
Team WTI’s Block and Draminski were good examples of each education path. Block attended a junior college before graduating from a four-year school, while Draminski entered the job market after high school.
“They were interested in how we got started and what our backgrounds were,” said Draminski. “They found it interesting that I started to learn to code when I was around their age. I enjoyed explaining how I got into the job.”
“A lot of the students were very curious about what we do,” said Block, explaining that digital marketing included Search Engine Optimization, blog writing, online reputation management, social media management, and online advertising.
“They were interested to see all the types of things they could do in this field,” said Block.
Though the students had a set of questions they could ask participants, they were also able to expand to other questions.
“Most were nervous and started off with the questions they had, but as we spoke and joked with them, they’d get less nervous and branch out to ask other questions,” she said. “They all took the career fair very seriously.”
Both Block and Draminski had laptops at the career fair in order to better demonstrate their jobs to students.
“Some of the kids really wanted to see more, and to look at some of the sites and pages we’d created,” said Draminski.
The 2020 Geneseo Middle School Career Fair was attended by approximately 20 companies, representing everything from the military and education to human services and technology.
When you want to try something new, where do you start? Maybe you are looking for a restaurant, a service company, or a hotel to stay at. Do you ask your friend or maybe you Google it?
Did you know that Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day? This means that there are 5.5 billion people searching for anything and everything through their Google Search Engine. This is exactly why you need to worry about your online reputation.
Considering how many searches get done on Google every single day, your image online is very important. What comes up when you Google your page? Will Google produce options for your product or business on your own page? Perhaps it will show various review pages stating why a consumer should or shouldn’t go to your business.
One important item that will appear during a search, if it is set-up, will be your Google My Busines Listing. This will appear on the right side of the webpage for the consumer that is searching your page.
The image we have shown here is what is known as a Google Business Listing. On this listing, there is a lot of information concerning the business. This listing is very important to your online reputation management. Not only can they see your address, hours, and phone number, but this is where reviews can be found.
Please note that if this does not show up, it simply means it has not been set up yet. The process is relatively simple through Google My Business.
On the listing, there is a section right below the company name that shows your Google reviews and ranking. For example, in the image, our Google ranking is a 4.4/5. This consists of 5 reviews. On the bottom of the image, you will also see a section that says “Reviews from the web.” This section will include reviews from a lot of different sources. We use BirdEye to maintain our reviews, so that is what appears on ours.
There isn’t a magic number of reviews that you need to have, but the more you have, the more trustworthy your company will appear. You may be thinking, “ Are reviews really that important? Does anyone actually look at them?” The answer to both is yes; 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34).
Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business. Along with reading the reviews, 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews. This is why it is essential to respond to both positive and negative reviews.
The way your company responds to issues will show your potential customers that you care.
What do all of these statistics mean? Basically, what we are trying to get across is the fact that most individuals will use Google to look up a business they have never been to or Google a service they have never used before. Not only do all these people look you up, but they are reading what other people are saying about you.
Along with that, they are looking to see how you (the business owner) are responding to your reviews. Now, let’s answer our big question. Is Online Reputation Management Important?
This is where we can come in to help. A lot of online reputation management is time-consuming. One of Team WTI’s specialties is online reputation management. We have access to software and the expertise to keep your reviews managed and maintained. To all of our clients, we offer advice, tips, and strategies to manage and improve your online reputation.
If you take advantage of our social media services, we are also able to tackle any issues at the forefront of social media and broadcast your good reviews as they come in. If you’d like to learn more about how Team WTI can help manage your online reputation, give us a call.
We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and discuss how online reputation management can help you.
Amazon is a behemoth in the world of online shopping. Nearly half (46.7%) of US internet users started their product searches on Amazon. Help them find your brand.
For sellers, utilizing Amazon Advertising to capture a customer’s attention. Studies show that when customers visit Amazon, they’re already “in a buying mood.”
Capturing the eyes (and wallet) of a customer already inclined to spend money is huge.
Amazon offers product photos, descriptions, Q&A, and customer reviews in one place. As a result, customers use the site as a product research resource.
In fact, 80 percent of Amazon customers say they use the internet retailer as the place to identify new products or a new brand.
Annually, Amazon ships more than 5 billion items. More than 100 million people in the United States alone pay for Amazon’s Prime membership.
Those who do pay for a Prime membership spend an average of $1,400 a year on the site, compared to $600 for none members.
But what does all this mean for your business? How can you get your products in front of those millions of Amazon shoppers?
The solution is Amazon Ads. For vendors and sellers, Amazon Advertizing offers a trio of advertising options: Product Display Ads, Sponsored Products and Headline Search Ads.
At Team WTI, we’re experts who can help you navigate the world of Amazon Ads to ensure your business connects with customers.
After all, Amazon customers want to discover new brands. Why not yours?
The world of media is changing quickly, newspapers are slowing down, people are cutting the cord on cable and listening to streaming instead of the radio. It seems as if it is getting harder and harder to get your advertising and message out to people.
A website can reach many more potential customers than other forms of media. The ROI of a website is much greater than other methods of advertising. You don’t have to buy airtime, ads in a paper, or billboards and your internet advertising can target exactly the people you want.
It seems today that everyone is online, but what are they doing while they are on their phones, tablets, and computers? Social media is important, but many businesses make the mistake of putting all their efforts into one place or platform.
Many business owners think that Facebook is the only place they need to be present. This isn’t the case (and, honestly, never has been).
Pew Research states that a quarter of Facebook users in the United States have deleted their app and Edison Research claims that Facebook has lost 15 million users since 2017. As internet usage increases, Facebook’s numbers are beginning to drop. That’s not to say that Facebook isn’t a valuable place to advertise, they still have around 214 million users in the United States, so they shouldn’t be ignored at all.
There are so many places that people can get their information online, you have to put your message everywhere. Our Digital Marketing team uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms to spread your advertising. You must use as many social media platforms as you can that are relevant to your demographic and business.
However, if you don’t have a website as your “headquarters”, so to speak, you may be wasting your money. Not everyone uses every social media application, so you must have a main site that people can find. A business website is a foundation that all of your social media should be built on.
Your website is the core of your advertising campaigns. You can advertise your company through traditional methods of advertising, social media, pay-per-click, and other forms, but your website allows a central location that customers can visit to get more information, make an appointment, or buy a product.
When people use a search engine, like Google, to find information, it is more likely they will access your website. Each of the social media platforms has a specific thing they do well, but a website can do them all. Facebook is great at being able to share information with others, Twitter seems to be the more serious form of social media at times, Pinterest allows you to share ideas, and Instagram is all about images.
A good website that uses SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tactics gives you a place where you can provide quick pieces of information like business hours, telephone numbers, and what products or services are offered. Blogs allow you to provide long-form articles about your company and services. Your site should include images on every page, along with galleries that users can view. If you have social media accounts, links to those accounts should be in your site’s header, footer, or both. The social media accounts can be used to cross-promote your site, getting more for your advertising dollar.
A website that is designed by a company that is interested in your success, like WTI, can provide everything a potential customer will need. The user will be able to easily navigate the site to find the information they need. Whether they are accessing the site on a desktop computer, a tablet, or their phone, the site should provide them with a good experience.
A site not only needs to look good, but it needs to load quickly and provide the important information right away. If a user wants more details, they should be able to easily find the menu and get to the pages or posts that interest them without much effort on their part.
Besides, a website provides your company with another level of credibility. A website allows you to tell customers about yourself, provide testimonials, and show reasons why people should trust your company. More and more people are relying on research like reviews, testimonials, and product details before they make a purchase.
So many businesses have websites that NOT having one can be a liability. People may wonder if a company is serious about their business or if they are a fly-by-night organization. It will be tougher for this type of company to overcome having a reputation as being small-time or sketchy.
You can be located anywhere and still have a large reach, bound only by your service areas. Your business may be a small office located in a rural area, but you can advertise to every corner of the world. With good SEO, your small business could rank right up with multinational businesses, depending on what you’re offering. The internet can level the playing field more than any other method of advertising.
People use the internet at all times of the day. They may be night owls, third shift workers, located in different time zones, or a hundred other reasons. Just because your business isn’t physically open, doesn’t mean that people can’t access your website when it’s convenient for them.
No matter where they are, what day of the week it is, or what time of day it is, users can go to your website and get information, contact you, or make purchases. You’re able to bring your business to them, making it as easy as possible to be a customer.
There are many different marketing strategies out there and there are just as many variables that go into deciding which is best for your business. Our Digital Marketing team is experienced and trained in the different methods and customize a plan that fits your website, service, and/or product. If you’re interested in growing your business, contact us and let us help you form an effective marketing plan.
No matter what the product or service is, every business needs to have a professional website. A good website isn’t something that most people can do themselves through DIY programs. It takes time to build the site correctly and to optimize it for search engines. There are constant changes that come from Bing and Google that need to be addressed as soon as they happen. Many things that are important to search engines occur behind the scenes in the code. A site may look great, but if no one can find it, it is going to be pretty useless.
Everyone at WTI takes pride in every website they work on and will do all they can to make them as successful as possible. From the initial meeting when we figure out what you want your site to look like and other details to the ongoing SEO and Digital Marketing work that occurs, WTI makes sure that you are happy with the results.
Contact us today to learn more about how a website can help your business. If you already have a website, we can work with it to make it even better. We want you to love your website and we can show you how!
Video content is quickly becoming one of the largest growing forms of media in terms of consumption. Studies have shown that people now watch one billion hours of YouTube every day. That averages to about 8.4 minutes for every person on Earth. While not every person is watching YouTube every day, there are people who watch multiple hours each day. This amount of consumption is similar across most platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you are not participating in video creation, you are simply losing view time as well as recognition. Half the battle for digital marketing is getting your content out in front of people’s eyes. That’s why we use as many forms of social media as we can, not just one. So why would you just post text and images? So what reasons should you use videos for your digital marketing? Here’s a handful:
In short, videos are a fantastic tool for digital marketers. Just keep a few things in mind. Keep videos relatively short; they can hold attention, but not forever. Optimize your videos just like you would anything else. Add tags, titles, and descriptions. And create high quality thumbnails. It’s going to be the first thing most people see of your video.
Ever heard of MOZ? If you work in the world of search engines like we do, you know them, and you know them well. They are a giant in the world of SEO, providing free and paid tools for people like us. I read their website pretty religiously as well as consume what they post on social media (although I am sad that one of their leading guys – Rand Fishkin left to start his own business – Sparktoro). So what can the average website owner learn from MOZ?
MOZ has an internal ranking factor that is pretty much taken to heart by all search engine optimization companies called Domain Authority. This is a rank that says how well a website would likely do in search engines based on numerous factors including how long the domain has been online, the content, usability and other factors. Google doesn’t use this as a ranking factor itself, but it is a good indicator of how your website is doing on the whole. You can check yours here. MOZ just updated Domain Authority as well too. Read about it here.
MOZ can give you a great overview of how you are doing on local directories that will affect your local rank on search engines. If you are a service based company or a brick and mortar store, or other local business, this is a must do for you to show up in the Google Local Pack. Visit https://moz.com/products/local to get started or reach out to WTI for help. Our digital marketing packages include local SEO and Online Reputation Management and we utilitize MOZ local tools.
Want to learn more about digital marketing in general including SEO, Social Media, Search Engines, and more? Whiteboard Friday from MOZ is a video series for those that are extra curious about the digital marketing world. They also have a great blog with information that spans the digital marketing world.
Hands down, MOZ is a great source of information about all things digital marketing. I for one am grateful for all their great tips. It’s just another way the team at WTI stays on top of what is happening in our digital world.
Social media is constantly changing. Instagram has been rumored to be testing out several new features according to TechCrunch. These new features could help out your business in several ways. Check out some of the new features to keep on top of the latest Instagram trends.
With over a billion users on Instagram, it is important to keep up on the latest trends. Here are a few rumored features up and coming on the platform.
The hashtag selector tool feature would allow Instagram users to add hashtags to their posts without being listed in the caption. Why does this matter? This allows users to post a smaller amount of hashtags on the actual post, allowing users to not be distracted by all the hashtags.
The hashtag selector tool could also potentially give Instagram users a broader reach with their organic posts. Companies can now add several hashtags without worrying that their post’s caption will be cluttered.
The geo-fenced posts would allow Instagram users to aim their organic content in different geographic areas within a list of countries where the post should show. Ads are able to be targeted by a zip code or mile-radius, but this allows organic posts to have a similar targeting feature by country.
The video tagging feature includes a button on videos that list people who are tagged in it. It is rumored that this feature shows Instagram is moving more towards e-commerce and will allow companies to have better video capabilities on the platform.
Instagram is also rumored to be creating a standalone app for e-commerce shopping. This app will allow users to browse and purchase products directly from merchants. This will allow merchants wanting more of a direct e-commerce stance on their Instagram to directly sell to their followers.
At WTI, we have a team of highly trained Digital Marketing Specialists who keep up with the latest social media trends. Contact WTI today if you are tired of trying to keep you with all the latest social media trends. We offer Social Media Management packages that can benefit your company. Our Digital Marketing Specialists will take care of all of your social media accounts for you, and you can focus your attention on your business. Contact us today to learn about how you can get more leads from your social media marketing and advertising.