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How to Set Your Association Apart from the Competition

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2020 has brought a new way of thinking, and has presented many challenges, for associations in any industry. The way associations connect with members, provide networking opportunities and encourage professional development now looks very different. Associations are being forced to move all of their services online, and while we all hope to get back to regular in-person events in the future, virtual connection will likely remain a vital way to connect with members far and wide.

Connecting with members and encouraging meaningful conversation is more important than ever before, but all associations are asking the same question: How can we encourage members to engage in the virtual world?

What Are Your Members Interested In?

It’s likely that you have data on where your members are from, the company they work for, their job title, what events they have attended or what topics they care most about. During a period of change and uncertainty, it’s important to reconnect. Survey your members to learn what topics are most important to them. You can also learn more about the times of day they are most likely to engage with your association and how they prefer to hear from you. Take these results and build a new marketing strategy around them to increase engagement with your current members, and to increase future member enrollment.

Not only do associations need to learn more about their members, but it’s crucial to stay on top of industry trends. What do your members need help preparing for within their industry? Based on the answers you receive; your association can take advantage of any gaps by offering support and guidance regarding these new trends.

Survey tip: When collecting information from your members, ask if you can interview them to hear more specifics about their experience. Share these interviews far and wide to promote events, encourage member registration or use them to create fun social media posts. Someone’s personal experience with your association may spark new engagement. Conducting interviews also allows you to gather more in-depth knowledge into how members feel about your association. This is your chance to ask what you are doing well and what can be improved.

READ: LEARN HOW TO MAKE YOUR SURVEYS VALUABLE AND EFFICIENT

What Are Your Competitors Doing?

It’s challenging enough to motive members to attend another virtual event, but even harder when competitors are also sending out marketing materials promoting similar events. A competitive analysis provides insight how your association can set itself apart. Once you have reviewed the competition, you can start to identify gaps in your marketing strategy. 

It could be as simple as this. After conducting competitive research, you’ve discovered that your competitors are offering many networking events in the late afternoon throughout the week. Your association has been wanting to host a networking event, but now you have information to set your event apart. Your association decides to host coffee networking opportunities so that members available early in the day will be able to attend. You may be surprised how simple adjustments, or differentiators, can draw people to your association. 

READ: TYPES OF RESEARCH AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Freshen Up Your Brand

Even though we are all working remotely and adapting to receiving most (if not all) of our information digitally, people want to connect! Current and future members are craving opportunity to discuss pain points or solutions within their industry. Even though the future may seem bleak, now is the time to freshen your association’s image to stand out and reconnect.

A new brand image can speak to a new audience in the future. Modernize your image and marketing strategy to appeal to the next generation in the work force and to continue connect with those that have been with your association for a while. 

An example: Wood Component Manufacturers Association (WCMA) felt like their logo was outdated and didn’t connect with their younger members. They decided to refresh their image to set their association apart. This resulted in a modern aesthetic for their logo and brand perception. 

Finding new ways to connect with your members is more important than ever. As your members adapt to new work styles and trends, your association must do the same. Think through how surveying members, researching your competition and a brand refresh can boost your member engagement to new heights. 

Looking for assistance to help set your association apart from the competition? Learn more about Ingenuity’s association marketing experience.


 

Video header for Christine Nelson's "4 Ways to Maximize Your International's; AEC Marketing" video.

4 Ways to Maximize Your Internal AEC Marketing

Are you feeling limited by how you can differentiate your firm from its competitors? In this video, our Lead Communications Consultant shares four ways to maximize marketing efforts to help your AEC firm stand out. Check out this video or the blog post below to learn more about the importance of research and analysis, how to maximize marketing in proposals and how marketing can support your firm’s reputation.

Architectural, engineering and construction firms have a unique environment for business development, with limitations on how they can approach differentiation. 

Despite these limitations, we’ve found that marketing can be maximized in several ways to help you stand out from competitors.

To really maximize your marketing, here are four ways to make sure you’re getting the most from your efforts.

1. Outsourced Research and Analysis

Sometimes you’re too close to the business to see threats or opportunities. Through branding research, competitive research, market research or search engine optimization research, you can identify strengths to leverage in your marketing and business development.

For example, a recent content audit we conducted identified several ways for a regional engineering firm to leverage the great content they’ve already created and align it with business goals. 

2. Maximize Your AEC Marketing in Your Proposals

Much of your advantage is how you present information. Identify and incorporate competitive messaging, but also communicate with charts and strong visual images to reduce your word count.

Developing better templates can also streamline the process and avoid repetitive copy. 

My third and fourth tips are somewhat tied together because they are about your reputation. This includes traditional and online reputation building.

Your content, social posts, public relations and your visual brand all work together to put your best foot forward – especially with so much of your firm being viewed online these days.

You want to ensure a great first impression. Besides great content, your SEO keywords help new leads find you quickly online.

3. Keep Doing PR Through Industry Publications and Apply for Awards

Those activities attract interest in your team’s knowledge, and they keep your firm’s name in front of people in between projects.

4. Do Research on the Best Search Keywords for Your Firm

Use those keywords as inspiration for fresh articles and social posts. Create buzz around the services you want to be known for.

When looking ahead at your big vision to attract future business, do your research, enhance your proposal process and stay visible through PR and optimized search strategies. That’s it!

I’m happy to answer your questions here at Ingenuity. 


Your firm may have the opportunity to supercharge its marketing efforts through partnership or referrals. Learn more about this marketing strategy!

 

How Are Your Digital Campaigns Performing?

How effective are your digital ads?

You have probably implemented digital campaigns into your marketing strategy, but do you routinely monitor them to see how they are performing? Monitoring results allows your firm or association to keep a pulse on what’s working and what’s not. If you’re seeing positive results, keep doing what you’re doing! But we all usually have areas we want to improve and business goals we strive to meet.

Implement these quick takeaways to improve common problem areas in digital campaigns.

1. Improve Open Rates

Encourage more people to open your email campaigns by grabbing attention with your subject line. The subject line should be a brief summary of the information in your email or newsletter. Best practice is to keep your subject line no longer than six to eight words, or 60 characters.

Try A/B testing to see what subject line resonates with your audience. A/B testing allows you to create two or three subject lines. Your email marketing platform will monitor how each subject line is performing with a small segment of your email list, and then distribute to the rest of your audience using the subject line that performs the best.

Try incorporating numbers or questions into your subject lines to catch the reader’s eye. “Have You Registered for Our Webinar Series?” or “2 Tips to Make Tax Filing Simpler” are examples of how to make your email stand out.

2. Click, Click, Click

In any digital campaign that you have; whether that’s an email, Google Ad or social media post, you want people to click on the links that you’ve included. These links should drive viewers to your website to learn more about your firm or association. But how do we get them to actually click the link? It’s not always as easy as we hoped!

Here are a few quick tips to get people clicking on your digital content:

  • Make your digital campaign and website mobile friendly. We are all on-the-go. Some people clicking on your google ad or reading your email will be on their phone. Having a mobile friendly site ensures your new visitors won’t leave right away.
  • Incorporate images. Digital content with images tends to have a higher click rate.
  • Encourage clicks by offering more information through the link. Use words like “learn more,” “download” or “check this out” in your call to action to spark interest.

3. Follow Up with Leads

The purpose of your digital campaigns can vary, but at the end of the day, we all want our marketing strategy to support new business development.

You loop people in with an intriguing subject line or header, the engaging link makes people click, but now what? Offer a resource to position your firm as a thought leader and to collect contact information. Once you have this contact information, it’s so important to follow through with these new leads. In our latest podcast, Marketing Made Simpler for Busy Professionals, we share tips to make business development a priority, such as setting aside specific time to reach out in your calendar. It’s a task that can’t be passed up. Get to know how you can support them and become top-of-mind when they need your help.

Start incorporating some of these best-practices today and monitor your results to see the improvement!

Integrate Google Ads into your business development strategy. Here's how!

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Generate Leads with Google Ads

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How do you find information about brands or services? When looking for information you probably think, “I’ll Google it!” If that’s you, you’re not alone. We all rely on search engines to help us find information we’re looking for. 

The marketing world has changed dramatically in recent years, and Google Ads is one of the platforms driving this transformation. In fact, Google Ads has become one of the best tools for lead generation. If the ads are set up properly, they have the potential to send extremely targeted leads to your website to view your services or provide lead contact information by downloading a resource.  

Let’s talk through how your firm can offer a resource through Google Ads to support your lead generation strategy. 

Create a Valuable Resource

Every effective Google Ad will lead interested visitors to an engaging landing page on your website. One way to make a landing page engaging is to offer a downloadable resource that your target audience would be interested in. Maybe a case study, white paper, industry insider tips or a checklist for a new process related to your niche focus area. 

Offering a take-away shows your firm’s thought leadership and expertise in a certain area. It also makes a visitor feel like they found what they were looking for, or better yet, they found a firm that can help support them. 

Collect Contact Information

The best part about offering a free resource is that you can ask the lead to provide contact information to receive it. When you collect contact information, make sure you require the lead to provide:

    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Email Address

What other information would be important for you to know about the lead? Maybe the company they work for, their location or job title. When designing this landing page, you can make these requirements tailored to your firm’s lead generation strategy, but don’t ask for too much information right away. Each click or required field on a landing page increases the chances for someone to opt out and leave. Keep the information needed to receive the resource simple, clean and quick. 

READ: LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO DIRECT PROSPECTS AND CLIENT ATTENTION ONLINE.

Monitor the Results

Don’t rush online advertising. It takes time to find your mojo. Until you find your rhythm and see desired results, frequently monitor your ad and landing page. You can see how many people visit the landing page, if they are downloading your resource and if visitors from your Google Ad explore other areas of your website. All of this information can be tracked through Google Analytics.   

If you notice that people are not downloading your resource, you may need to make the landing page more engaging to persuade and encourage. If you want more people to visit the landing page in general, try tweaking your Google Ad to better reach your target audience. 

With a little patience and an open mind, your Google Ads will become an effective lead generation tool for your firm or association.

Follow Up

Your ad is running smoothly and you’re starting to collect lead contact information when visitors are downloading your free resource. Now what?! 

Reach out to these new leads in a timely manner. Send a friendly email thanking them for visiting your site and learning more about the services you provide. Offer to answer any questions they have regarding the free resource they received. Are there any other questions they have that weren’t answered? Build the relationship and learn more about them. What types of services are they looking for? How can you support them?

Set aside time to contact these new leads. Following up is a critical piece to build your business development strategy, so set firm calendar reminders to incorporate it into your routine.  

Google Ads can be inexpensive and target people specifically searching for the services your organization provides. An effective ad will drive potential leads to your website. An engaging landing page and resource will position your firm as a thought leader in the industry. Follow-through builds great brand recognition and turns these potential leads into future clients. Incorporate Google Ads into your SEO and business development strategy, and be prepared to be wowed by the results.

Listen to our most recent podcast for busy professionals! Learn tricks to easily incorporate business development into your busy schedule.


 

How to Leverage Virtual Events in 2021

With fewer opportunities to connect face-to-face with clients, prospects, referral sources and coworkers, many firms and associations have found ways to connect virtually. Thanks to modern technology, we are able to continue reaching our target audiences online and just as effectively as in-person interactions.

If you have already started to incorporate virtual events into your marketing strategy, you know how much time and effort is needed to make these successful and worthwhile. Let’s talk through how you can continue to promote past virtual events to further expand your reach into the new year without having to reinvent the wheel.   

Share on Social Media

Utilize your firm or association’s social media channels to spread the word about previously recorded virtual events, trainings, videos or podcasts. The content you have already recorded can still be an engaging way to connect with leads well into the future. Sharing these recordings showcases your teams’ expertise on social media. It will also encourage your followers to learn about the work that you’ve done in the past and keeps your firm or association top-of-mind moving forward.

By posting these previously recorded events on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, you’re creating a library of resources for your target audience to reference in the future. What better way to stand out as a thought leader and provide accessible information?!

Social media tip: Ask the individuals presenting at your virtual events to share the recordings on their personal social pages. Their followers will be interested in this content which can expand your reach even further.

Utilize Other Creative Outlets

Your target audience is consuming information in new ways because of this virtual environment. It’s important that you stay up-to-date with how people are learning about your services, upcoming events and where they go to find new information.

Did you know that if you record a webinar, video or even a meeting, you can turn that content into a podcast? All you need is an audio converter software program, which transforms your video into a MP3 file. Once you have the audio file downloaded on your computer, you can edit this file to add an intro, outro and make any other audio edits.  Display the finished product as a podcast on your website, share on social media and make available on other podcast sharing platforms.

It’s also possible to transform videos into blog content! Viewers who would rather skim through the content of your video or don’t have the ability to access audio can read a new blog with the same content instead. Take your video and create a transcript using a tool like Rev.com. After reviewing the transcript for any errors, you have already created a new blog post for your website with minimal extra effort. 

Encourage Virtual Business Development

All of the content you work so hard to create (trainings, videos, blogs, podcasts, social media posts, etc.) prove that you’re a thought leader within your industry or niche. Encourage new business by sharing these resources far and wide. Share these resources during a sales pitch, display on your website and use them to encourage future speaking engagements. Showing that you have experience communicating your industry knowledge through these virtual platforms will expand your reach and business development opportunities.

Looking to boost your digital marketing efforts in 2021? CONNECT WITH OUR TEAM TO INCREASE YOUR VISIBILITY.

Stay in-the-know. Give Ingenuity Marketing Group a follow on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to stay on top of emerging marketing trends in 2021!

Find Quality Engineering Leads Using Social Media

Have you ever wondered how people are searching for information about your firm online? One of the most powerful ways to share your firm’s story is through social media! When someone decides to search Google for your engineering firm, chances are your social media channels pop up right away. Because social media is becoming increasingly popular, these platforms are a powerful tool to allow firms to connect, generate leads and position themselves as thought leaders.

Let’s talk through four reasons why your engineering firm should be using social media and how to incorporate it into your regular content marketing routine.  

Social Platforms Boost Brand Awareness

Social media is a powerful way for brands to maintain client relationships while having the opportunity to be found by new leads. Your firm’s social pages can become a way to engage with clients at every stage of their journey with you. Whether they are prospective leads or current clients, your social media visitors can engage through comments, ads, video and firm updates.

As your firm gains followers on social media, routinely posting allows your brand to stay top-of-mind. Your followers are interested in your content, and more likely to engage with you as you post more frequently. Social media is also a great way to connect visually with your followers! Create videos and images that represent your brand and specific projects you’re working on.

Incorporate Social into Your Routine

Let’s not sugar coat it. Your firm creates a lot of valuable content to highlight your work. Use social media as a space to share blogs, videos and other content you’ve worked hard on, such as project updates and information about your firm’s culture.

Sharing information regularly (we recommend 2-3 times a week on your selected social platforms) makes it easier for people to see it on their feed and find information they are looking for on your pages. Most importantly, active social media pages encourage your followers to share the content you post! By creating something “shareworthy,” your firm can extend its reach.

Maybe your firm dabbles in social media, but you’re not posting regularly. Make a plan to consistently keep these platforms updated, keeping your followers in-the-know and to position your firm as thought leaders within your industry. You’ve already made the content; now how can you make posting to social part of your normal marketing routine?

READ: LEARN HOW THIS ENGINEERING FIRM USED SOCIAL MEDIA TO GET MORE CLICKS TO ITS WEBSITE

Utilize Social Media to Satisfy Business Objectives

Your firm has big goals! Now more than ever, social media is a way to help you achieve them. Looking to generate more leads? Wanting to connect with employees in the new virtual age? Hoping to become known for your construction, engineering or architecture work? Want to stand out in niche areas? Be more social!

You have the ability to focus on certain topic areas on social media, helping you stand out against competitors. Social media platforms are a great resource for your firm to connect with other thought leaders in the industry, reach new clients/project partners and engage with referral sources. Use these platforms to highlight your firm’s experience in creative and engaging ways.

In addition to better supporting your firm’s social media pages, encourage leaders of your firm to engage with important prospects or clients through their personal pages. Use social as a way to remain connected and aware of what your potential clients care about and how your firm can support them in the future.

Earn Quality Leads

Social media is a way to engage with quality leads because your best followers will care about the topics you share and post regularly. Potential leads are people who follow your firm or who follow the leaders at your firm. They engage with your content and maybe they have already sent a direct message to your firm through social. Here are some ways to make sure quality leads can get in touch:

    • Provide contact information. Your contact information should be up-to-date and readily available on all of your social media profiles, highlighting how your firm prefers to receive inquiries—whether by phone, email or a link to a contact page on your website.
    • Add direct links. Wherever possible, make sure each post has a clear link and a tempting call-to-action. The majority of the links used on your firm’s social media channels should be encouraging followers to visit your website for more information, and they should align with the firm’s business objectives.
    • Take advantage of lead gen forms. Certain platforms offer a paid ad format that’s specific for lead generation. Anyone who clicks on your ad can submit their contact information with the click of a button. Your firm can reach out and connect with these quality leads in the future. 

 

Other ways to find quality leads on social media include joining Facebook or LinkedIn groups, following hashtags and industry influencers, and monitoring who regularly engages with your content.

Now you know more about the power of social media! It’s time to take advantage of this tool in constructive ways to increase brand awareness, meet business objectives and generate quality leads.

Want more content marketing tips? Check out our Create a Content Marketing Strategy That Keeps on Giving blog for ideas to boost your strategy.

3 SEO Boosters for Accounting Marketing

Let’s geek out for a moment, and we promise that it will be a great benefit to your accounting marketing success. There are three SEO boosters for accountants that we see firms miss all the time – but you don’t have to!

Page Titles

Let’s talk about page titles

There seems to be a misunderstanding about the difference between “page titles” and web page headlines. Too often, the page title is just a duplication of the headline on a web page. This is a disservice to ‘bots and humans. Here’s why.

The tabs at the top of a web page show your page titles. They should tell the viewer what the page is about and should be 60 characters or less, including spaces, so that it’s easy to read the tab

Your page title also shows up in search results (the purple headlines below), and it helps the search engines determine if the content you promise matches what the visitor wants. It also helps humans quickly scan their search results and choose to click. The right page titles encourage clicking on your site.

SEO Booster Tip #1: Write a page title that is different from your content headline when creating new blog copy or web content marketing. Make sure that it “sells” your content appropriately and uses the right number of characters to convey your topic. Build the page title into the back end of the web page, so it is unique to that page.

Keywords in Web Content

Keywords aren’t just for the back end of your website. Where appropriate, you should include your top keywords in the body copy of your web content such as introductory copy, blog posts, bios and careers pages.  

Don’t assume that search engines will organically find your services without some keyword bread crumbs. But also, add the keywords so they make sense when reading the copy. To prove our point, we’ve highlighted keywords in the body copy below because you wouldn’t notice them otherwise. They just blend into the story we’re telling.

Also, while you may rank for a keyword that is misspelled, don’t misspell it in your body copy. And don’t “stuff” your copy with keywords so it becomes a mess of terminology with no value to the reader.

SEO Booster Tip #2: Be clear on the keywords you want to rank for based on your web analytics and business goals. Brainstorm topics that match those keywords. Write your content, then proof it for areas where a keyword makes sense to include in the body copy. This approach is easier than trying to write around your keywords in draft 1. Give yourself SEO bonus points if you can use a keyword in your headlines, too!

SEE OUR COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTING SERVICES

Calls to Action (CTAs)

Too many accounting websites entice visitors with good information, then miss the business opportunity to invite visitors to explore further. Think about the things your buyers want. How should your web pages lead them to take action? 

You can use your standard CTAs:

  • Contact us!
  • View our services.
  • Sign up for our newsletter.
  • See our work.

Now let’s get creative. As more people use their mobile devices to “scroll” your pages, you could offer several calls to action throughout one page:

  • Related video to view
  • List of hyperlinked services
  • Related blog posts
  • Downloadable resources

How do you make the exploration easy and interesting? Emphasize page design just as much as your SEO integration. Include a mix of copy and relevant visuals that make a positive impression.

SEO Booster Tip #3: Ask your website users to get to know your firm better and get connected for a continued conversation offline. Your website can do that with the right calls to action integrated throughout your site, persuading your audience that you are the accounting firm for them!

VIEW INGENUITY'S DIGITAL MARKETING SERVICES

You may also enjoy our video about important technical updates to improve your website’s visibility and performance.


 

 

What’s a Social Media Brand Ambassador Program?

Your long-term clients know the ins and outs of your services, and they may serve as referral sources. But have you thought about how your dedicated clients can support your brand on social media?

Social media is a powerful tool that can help your firm generate quality leads, and it should be part of your business development strategy moving forward. One way to have social media support your firm’s branding process is to incorporate brand ambassadors to further your social reach. Ambassadors speak highly of your brand, services and events on their own social media channels. They can provide quick shout-outs to your firm or association, highlight upcoming events or timely services, and recommend your brand to their social media followers.

Here are three key elements to start building your own brand ambassador network to generate quality leads.

Who ‘Likes’ you?

On your social media channels, you may notice certain individuals who are consistently ‘liking’ or sharing your posts. This is one easy way to identify who is naturally falling into a brand ambassador role for your firm or association.

Check out your @mentions, post likes and comments to see who is already promoting your brand. You can also see who is using any of your company or industry-related #hashtags. If there is a particular client that you routinely recognize on your social media channels, chances are they would be a good candidate to become a brand ambassador.

Maybe you’ve noticed that people who ‘like’ you on social media and share your content are mostly employees of your company. Some of your employees should be brand ambassadors based on their public reputation or status. While you will have employees that you encourage to share information about your brand on social media, it’s also important to have a dedicated client serve as a social media brand ambassador to give a unique perspective to your services and products. Having a mix of perspectives allows you to speak to different audiences, which can help gain new referrals.

VIDEO: WHY YOUR NEW LEADERS SHOULD GET BRAND TRAINING

Remember, when your employees are active on social media, touch base with them to make sure their personal channels are professional representations of your brand with up-to-date competitive messaging. Review your social media policy with them

Criteria for Brand Ambassadors

You don’t want just anyone, even if they do engage with your content, to become your brand ambassador. Think about these key factors when determining who you want to represent your brand on social media.

  • Current Social Media Following Are their followers your target audience? If not, they are not a good brand ambassador for your firm. Also look at the size of their social media following, how their audience engages with their posts and if they naturally use a tone that you think fits your brand.
  • Dedicated Client or Referral Source Can they speak specifically to your service experience? Make sure an ambassador you select knows all the ins and outs. It’s much easier for you and your future ambassador to already be familiar with your brand instead of teaching or training them. This also makes their promotional efforts more authentic.
  • Networking Opportunities ­­– Make sure your brand ambassadors have networking opportunities on social media. Chat with your brand ambassadors about what social media networking groups they participate in and how your brand or service could be shared amongst those groups.

Guidelines to Move Forward

Since the brand ambassadors you’ve identified already understand your firm or association, you may not feel like you have to tailor specific messages for them. But being clear about how you can work with each other will help you avoid misrepresenting your messages or brand on social. Here are a few tips for professional service firms and associations to build long-term relationships with brand ambassadors.

  • Regularly discuss topics or upcoming events that you would like to see brand ambassadors promote. Here are a few examples of how your services or events could be shared on their personal social pages:

“If you missed ABC Construction’s webinar today on land surveying, you definitely want to watch the recording! I learned so much about the process and plan to share many take-aways with my own team. Here’s the link: [insert link to recording]”

“Planning for my individual and small business tax returns was made easy this year because of the counsel I received from 123 Accounting. Check them out for expert advice! [insert link to company homepage]”

  • Clearly identify how often you would like your brand ambassadors to be promoting your brand. Maybe set a standard of two posts a month.
  • Give back to your brand ambassadors! Offer a free service, conference registration or webinar to thank them for promoting your brand on their personal social media channels.
  • Create a ‘thank you’ post from the firm’s social media account to publicly recognize them. This is an easy way to boost brand loyalty for your firm and the individual promoting your work.

Social media is a powerful way for potential clients or members to learn about your brand and services. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to share what’s going new at your firm or association. Learn more about how you can with your target audience through social media.


 

Video title slide for "Four Signs Your Website is Outdated".

Four Signs Your Website is Outdated

Is your website looking a little neglected? Regular maintenance to a website is critical to the functionality of your web pages, but also to your image and brand. Unfortunately, website maintenance doesn’t always happen like it should. In this video, graphic design consultant Robert Wasiluk describes four key areas of your website that should be updated regularly and how an outsourced website consultant may be able to help. Learn how!

Learn more about incorporating SEO into your website strategy.


If you prefer to read this content, the video transcript is below.

I have worked on a lot of websites, and one thing I notice is that the technical and visual aspects of websites can be neglected.

Sometimes you have an agreement with your web hosting provider to maintain the site with regular updates and back-ups.

and sometimes those updates don’t always happen like they should.

You need someone inside your firm who proactively reviews your site and makes sure that technical elements are reviewed and updated as needed.

If you don’t have someone inside the firm, then you need to schedule regular meetings with a outsourced website consultant to make sure it does happen.

Here are four areas to keep an eye on and ask about:

Number one. Core, plugins and themes. Your website has certain features that need updating or pages can start to look weird or don’t function right for visitors. You will start getting page and functionality errors, and your website can become vulnerable to malicious attacks. 

Number two. Old content. Do you have pages that no one visits? Check your web analytics to see where you have high bounce rates or outdated content that no one reads. You can hide or eliminate those pages to help with easier navigation and improve site speed.

Number three. Page load time. Sometimes your website will tell you when it needs replacing. It takes forever for pages to load. There are a number of reasons for slow load times, so this needs attention or you will start to lose visitors.

And number four. Overall design and first impression. Does your site use an old color scheme or dated stock photography that make visitors think you’re not modern enough to handle their needs?

With a home page refresh, you can send the right brand signals to new and current clients. Pay attention to your website image. 

It might need a makeover.

There are many other things that keep websites fresh and interesting, such as keyword and meta description updates. Let me know if you have questions about your site’s design and functionality. I’m here to help!


 

Office background with smart phone in orange color.

How referral sources influence your branding process

Office background with smart phone in orange color.

What is one of your favorite brands, and how did you get hooked on the product or service? It’s likely that word-of-mouth was your referral. Think about it! We talk about products and brands with our coworkers, family and friends all the time. Our loyalty to certain brands or products supports business development.

Here’s an example of brand loyalty and how referrals impact the branding process.

You and your family have always purchased Chevrolet vehicles. You decide to look for a fresh perspective and seek advice from a coworker for your next vehicle purchase. Based on their advice and feedback, you purchase a new Ford SUV.

You end up loving the new amenities and low-maintenance fees the Ford SUV provides. Your brand loyalty has changed! You plan to inform your family members of how much you’re enjoying your Ford vehicle, knowing their brand loyalty could switch just like yours did.

This is exactly what Ford wanted to happen! Building reliable vehicles that people want to talk about and share is all part of their branding process. This can be part of your brand loyalty process, too!

How can you build referral sources that ultimately support your business development strategy?

Engage with your current clients

One of the most efficient ways to attract future clients is to utilize your current client base, allowing them to tap into their networks for you. It’s likely that their business connections are also your target audience or potential referral base.

One way to encourage engaged conversation with your current clients is to offer a survey or assessment. Surveys provide an opportunity for you to better understand your clients, but also help your clients give you referral information directly.

READ: CREATE A SURVEY TO RECEIVE REFERRAL INFORMATION.

Make sure to follow up after you have received survey responses. This tells your clients that you appreciate the feedback. During this follow-up step, they may be more likely to make an email or personal introduction.

Tips to connect with referrals

Always collect your referral’s email address to easily follow up and connect. Frequent follow-ups allow you and your business to stay top of mind with your referral sources without taking up too much of their or your time.

Keep the emails focused on what’s new with your firm or association, what services or events you’re offering and the ways you can assist them with their own clients. Your goal is to show your clients that you care and by doing so you will build brand loyalty through these emails and keep your firm top of mind.

What happens next?

You received referral contact information, engaged with those referrals, and now they have started working with you. Hooray! You have reached your goal. Or have you?

The process isn’t complete just yet. Give the referral source a quick phone call or write a personal note, thanking them for their referral. Better yet, depending on the size of the prospect they referred you, you may want to send them a gift such as a gift card, a bottle of wine or something they would enjoy. This is a great way to increase brand loyalty even further and start the referral process all over again.

Ultimately, if you can refer business back to your referral sources, that’s a slam-dunk branding gift that they will remember the next time their clients have a need!

Over time, you will see the trickle effect of your referral program! Your new clients will begin to share their own referrals, which can further establish your brand positioning.

Want to learn more about adding partnerships and referral sources into your brand positioning strategy? Read this blog post for tips.