Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What is 'Quality Content?'

Creating Quality Content With Terrapin Art & Design

Google is the Alpha search engine; your best play is to follow its lead. When stumped, I consult Google tutorial videos, often featuring search guru Matt Cutts. A cardinal rule preached by Cutts is populating your site with “quality content.” So just what is “quality content?”

This vague instruction is like your parents kicking you out when you’re 18; we’ve given you the basics, figure out the rest yourself. Challenge accepted, Papa Cutts. I packed my things and took to the web for answers.

Write for People not Google

Write for People, Not Google
Google has stated: “High quality content is content that you can send to your child to learn something.” “Your child” could be 7 or 40. One wouldn’t write a biting opinion piece for your first grader like they wouldn’t tailor elementary school learning content for your adult child.

What appears to be a non-answer provides some insight; write content for YOUR audience, not Google. Ask yourself; “What would I type if I were looking for my service?” Build out a list of words and phrases for your target audience from there. Distributed evenly throughout detailed written content, these keywords will bring relevant visitors to your site.

Scout Your Competition

Scout Your Competition
Your most successful online competitors are doing something right. Do a little online reconnaissance. Punch up top-ranking sites and skim for keywords or phrases that jump out at you. You know your business, and you’ll know what to look for.

Whether it’s content you’ve already considered or a new revelation, take notes and apply your findings to your own site.

Write It Like You Mean It

Write It Like You Mean It
Running a small business website, your primary goal is to sell your service. What emotion do you feel best sells what you’re offering? Urgency? Sentimentality? Humor? Whatever it is, convey it in your writing.

Visitors are being asked to make an investment in your company; it has to go both ways. Potential customers need to know you’re as committed as you’re asking them to be. Backing your service with enthusiastic content tells them you’re in.

Quality Content Needs Emotion

Don’t Play Fast & Loose with Content
Quality content needs emotion, but don’t let punchy writing turn to aimless haymakers. Stay structured and on point:

  • Is your content focused and informative?
  • Is your content tight and filler-free?
  • Is it applicable to your service and customer needs?
  • Do you present a consistent message and tone throughout the site?
  • Does it accurately describe your company and services?

Get Cracking on Quality
These principles are a starting point. There is no exact science behind producing quality content; there’s a lot you have to find out for yourself.

Every small business is different, as will be their content and websites. Build out your quality content like you did your quality small business, with patience and experience.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Print Media is Alive and Well

Terrapin Art & Design - Print Design

Contrary to popular belief, print marketing isn’t dead. To even say it’s dying is a stretch. Digital media is the younger, spry rookie versus this aging grizzled veteran, but print isn’t set to retire anytime soon.  

Hit the mark Every time with Terrapin Print Design

Hit the Mark Every Time
Print defeats digital media hands-down in efficiently reaching your target audience. Take Terrapin's numerous Dave's Marketplace print projects. We have created diverse print campaigns for this RI grocery staple, as well as numerous other clients looking to obtain the benefits of print marketing.

The print advantage is that Dave's customers are in-store for Dave's products. These materials catch customers' eyes to direct them toward more of what they want. On the other hand, how many ads of little or no interest intrude on your downtime YouTube or Facebook sessions? Your cursor has probably worn a pixelated path to the "Skip Ad" option.

Well-targeted print marketing doesn't encounter this problem, like make-up ads in a fashion magazine or discount subscription inserts in a willingly-delivered publication. Your customers will see your print materials and either pick them up or pass them by. 

Reach all your customers with print design from Terrapin

Leaving No Customer Behind
Let's face it; not everyone has a computer. There's no substantial financial investment or "figuring out this gadget" with print. Customers don't need a smartphone, tablet or any means other than their eyes to absorb your campaign message. 

You have customers who still get their news from the morning paper and only buy products in person or over the phone. They are set in their ways and aren’t likely to take the leap into digital. Print is universal because:
  • It communicates to your valuable digital hold-out customer base
  • It reaches across the aisle to the tech-savvy
  • Anyone who wants print can get it

Print Provides Tangibility & Choice - Terrapin Print Design

Print Provides Tangibility & Choice
A physical item and a sense of customer control are print marketing pluses. For maximum effect, marketing needs a personal tone. Add to relatable content the simple act of holding a printed brochure or viewing a sales event poster and you create this sense of connection. 

Customers are also at the wheel with print, while they are at the mercy of digital campaigns. You can read a product catalog at your own pace or flip past an irrelevant item to the next page. There are no uninvited ads or pop-ups standing between the customer and their content.

Terrapin can help build your brand with print design, brochures, trade show banners and booths, business cards and more!

Building Your Brand
Many of the longest-standing companies still leading their industries today didn't establish their brands with the aid of the web or even television. They relied on consistent printed visuals.

As unique as your content may be from campaign-to-campaign, all of your marketing efforts should be built upon the same foundation of unchanging fonts, colors and tone you have staked to your brand. Print is ideal for solidifying these unique components as your own while incorporating them into your digital marketing product. 

One Two Punch of Web & Print Design at Terrapin Art & Desing

One-Two Punch of Web & Print
Don't interpret all of this print praise as a knock on web; best practice is to combine the two for an optimal campaign. You need to reach the Sunday paper devotees as much as the email newsletter and social media crowds. The key is calculating an effective distribution of your print efforts along with your website, video and other web-based options.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Avoid the Social Media Boneyard

Small Business Social Media Account

Your small business started a Google+, Facebook or Twitter page; now what? What do you do with it? What do you put on it? Little to nothing is the popular trend.

Too many small business social media accounts are neglected and/or abandoned. It is all too common to see half-baked company Facebook pages with 20 likes, mostly friends and family, last updated 6 months ago. Social media is a business vehicle; it needs a driver. 

Using Social Media to Your Advantage

What Are Your Goals?
You likely started your social media campaign because everyone else was doing it. Avoid thinking of it as a formality or some “keeping up with the cool kids” trend. Business social media is not going anywhere and is still in its infancy, so you don’t have that much catching up to do. Use social media to your advantage. 

Think about what you want for your business. Is it increased sales? Maximum buzz surrounding a new product or service? Social media is your partner in these efforts; it can grow your business if you let it. Valuable uses of social media include:

·         Starting conversations with customers
·         Building your brand
·         Social media-exclusive promotions

Building Social Media Ideas
Instant Gratification Doesn’t Exist
The psychology of the failed Facebook or Twitter page seems to be “If you build it, they will come.”  You posted a few photos and status updates, nothing happened, so you threw up your hands and deemed the service useless.

Approach the process with some patience. Sit down with your team and build up your social media ideas. Encourage anyone with a campaign concept to bring it to the table. Look into what your competition or industry leaders are doing on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. It’s a classic team effort applied to a modern forum.

Consistency Wins in the Social World
Consistant Posts for Social MediaBusiness growth is an inherent benefit in starting and sticking to a social media campaign. There are other factors to consider. Inconsistency can hurt your social media presence down the road.

If your Facebook or Twitter updates sputter and disappear from user feeds, then pop up again, you’re not going to be taken seriously. Users will think you’re only interacting with them when it’s convenient for you, or when you need something. You wouldn’t ignore a customer on hold or in your office; don’t overlook them online.

Slow & Steady - Don't get frustrated with Social Media

Slow & Steady
Doing the bare minimum in social media will yield minimal or no results. On the flipside, applying effort to a social campaign will pay off in time as you build your audience and determine what piques their interest. You didn’t give up on your small business after a first trying month; don’t abandon social media because it doesn’t provide a quick fix.