Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Beginner's Guide to SEO - Part 2

Are you new to search engine optimization? We're detailing some of the key strategies you'll want to consider when auditing your website for Search Engine Optimization performance. This is part two of a series. If you haven't read it already, be sure to start with the Beginner's Guide to SEO - Part 1.

Why should you concentrate on SEO? Because when consumers are searching for a specific product, business, or service, they don't venture past the first page of Google. If your website isn't appearing on the top page, then your competitors are edging you out, which means you need to take proper measures to regain that lost traffic. So, what can you do to boost your SEO health? Take note of the following tips and contact the CC Communications team. We've been tailoring successful SEO campaigns for clients for over 22 years, and can provide an in-depth assessment to help get your site back on track.

Internal Links
Most SEOs and businesses focus on link building to websites outside of their own, but it's often forgotten that it's also important to link between pages on your own website, too! Internal link building provides an information trail through your website for users to easily navigate, and creates a hierarchy of information. Creating links from your more popular website pages to your sub-pages also gives you the opportunity to share your SEO 'juice' and increase the visibility of linked pages on your website.

Page Titles and Descriptions
One of the bigger errors you can make is generically titling your pages. For example, titling your homepage 'Home' does absolutely nothing for your SEO health. What does 'Home' tell the search engines? Consider page titles that speak to who you are and what you offer. Take for example, the CC Communications page title for our homepage: Charlotte Web Design & Development | CC Communications. It outlines our location, targeted keyword terms & main service offerings, and the company name. Be mindful to keep all of your page titles to 70 characters or under.

Your page description allows you to go more into detail about what one will find on a selected page of your website. Do not simply copy and paste a generic message onto all pages of your website. Duplication will not serve, but hinder, your On-Page SEO campaign. Write descriptions that are no more than 155 characters and uniquely speak to the content of the given page.

Become Social
Social Media has become increasingly important to SEO. Not only does social media activity show the search engines that your website hosts authority and is valuable, it also increases your opportunity to become indexed more quickly. The more fans, followers, likes, and friends you have on your social networks that interact with your business, the more authority you create, meaning you have a strong possibility of showing in their social media news feeds and personalized settings in the major search engines. Social Media is viral and the more 'shareworthy' content you provide, the better chances you'll have of having the word of your business spread like wildfire.

Ensure Your Website Has a Site Map
Though it seems minor, implementing a site map hosts bold benefits, such as easier website navigation and better visibility on the major search engines. Each time you make changes to your website, or add pages, your site map alerts the search engines of these updates for proper indexing.

CC Communications has been helping our clients thrive online for 22 years... How can we serve your business?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Project Spotlight: Stone Truck Parts

CC Communications recently launched a redesigned website for Stone Truck Parts, a provider of parts and service to commercial vehicles across North Carolina. The new website incorporates the latest in responsive design technology and was built using DotNetNuke (DNN), a powerful Content Management System platform we recommend for it's ease of use and enhanced security features.
CC Communications recently launched a new website for Stone Truck Parts.
In addition to creating this new website, CC Communications also provided an in-depth SEO (search engine optimization) analysis, added an interactive calendar to promote events like Stone Truck Parts' "Tech Nights" series, and expanded the online job application to streamline the recruitment process.

CC Communications also added an employee intranet to the website to service the needs of Stone Truck Parts' growing workforce across the Carolinas. The intranet is a special feature of the DNN platform, making it an easy platform to manage internally.

Is your website starting to show it's age? Contact CC Communications for a free site review and analysis.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Is Email Marketing Worth It?

CC Smart Strategies for email marketing.
Are you on the fence about using email marketing for your business? You're not alone. Many companies have so many moving pieces to their marketing mix, that they're unsure of adding anything else to their to-do list. Many believe that blogging and social media are better alternatives to an email marketing strategy. However, we know full-well how challenging the Facebook algorithms can be, and we know the sheer volume of tweets that are sent on Twitter each minute (over 100,000), which can quickly hide your messages. While social media is a crucial piece to the marketing pie, email marketing should not be shunned.

In fact, e-mail marketing should be viewed in the same vein as social media. They are all tools in the inbound marketing arsenal. You should house all content on your blog or news section of your website, and then push that content out through as many channels as possible - Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and yes email. Your goal is to pull these readers back into your website or blog where they'll find all of the content you've worked so hard to create and ultimately learn more about your business.

The key to email marketing is to be realistic. Having open rates of over 80% are not normal. In fact, the average open rate for an email campaign is close to 20%. Why are the statistics so low? Well, think about how your inbox operates. How often do you delete messages to get to the core messages that need your attention? Have you ever looked at your spam folder? How often have you abandoned email accounts? Have you ever blocked an email from contacting you? The list goes on.
Once you dial into your evangelist base of email subscribers, and provide them the content and information they yearn for, you can expect to see the interactions and hopeful deep ROI of your investment.


Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you evaluate email marketing for your business...

Keep the content engaging
Don't just send out an email campaign to 'touch' your email subscribers. Consumers are well conditioned and can tell when content is forced. Care for your email subscribers as you would your sales contacts and take the time to create lists within your subscriber base, so you can best 'speak' to your segmented audiences. Also, remember that nearly 75% of the over 140 billion emails that are sent each and every day are viewed as spam. Craft email campaigns that do not mislead your subscribers, but rather ask for their engagement, whether that is a sales touch point or the like. Make the email subjects catchy or clear and save the email fluff. Most people skim through their emails and asking a subscriber to invest their time into a detailed email is not feasible. Instead, invite a user to click to learn more or engage further in a trackable way.

Watch how often you send emails campaigns
In some business industries, it is acceptable to send an email campaign 3 or more times per week (news outlets and subscription based platforms), whereas for a B2B businesses, bi-monthly email campaigns are quite sufficient. There is a fine line between not 'touching' your email contacts enough and doing so too much.

'Earn' your email subscribers
Though it can tempting to buy a list to boost your subscribers or trade lists with another company, it's not an ethical practice. Please, please, please consider not doing so. As a business, I'd rather have 250 email subscribers who truly engage with my email campaigns than have an email list of 5,000 who barely eek a 10% open rate.

Email Marketing meets Social Media Marketing
Many of the top email platforms, like MailChimp, offer the ability to share your email campaigns as they're sent to your social media platforms. You may notice some users unsubscribe from your email list because they follow you on social media, but do not let this alarm you. Consider sharing your emails to your social media accounts as another touch point. HOWEVER, make sure that when your emails are auto-shared to your social media accounts, that they're translating well and include copy that speaks to your connections about what they'll expect in your email communication.

Track, track, track
What's great about many email platforms is that they offer extensive tracking and avenues to truly dial into and diagnose your email lists. Take the time to weekly, or however often you send emails, dig into your email tracking to see what your consumers click on in your email campaigns, and what gets ignored. You can learn a lot by email subscriber and consumer email traffic patterns. Let their behavior guide your content marketing strategy. If certain topics resonate well with your audience, then produce similar content for future emails.

Comment below and tell us what your thoughts and experiences are with email marketing? Have you enjoyed great successes or found that email marketing does not bode well into your business? As always, feel free to contact us here at CC Communications if you need help with setting up or managing your enewsletter strategy.