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6 Online Marketing Articles You Should Read Heading Into 2019 6 Online Marketing Articles You Should Read Heading Into 2019

As 2018 comes to a close and you're ramping up your marketing plans for 2019 we wanted to share our top 6 marketing article picks with you of things that should be on your radar for 2019:   14 ranking signals you need to optimize for in 2019 If you're looking to step up your search rankings for 2019 make sure you're looking at these items. Facebook B2B Advertising Comes of Age Thanks to its retargeting and similar audiences features, Facebook has become a powerful tool for B2B advertisers seeking new customers who are similar to their existing customer base. 9 Analytics Insights to Help Grow Your Business Analytics data can go far beyond the number of visits and time on ...

Posted in: General, SEO by Jon Ballard on December 31, 2018

How to Manage Negative Comments on Facebook How to Manage Negative Comments on Facebook

We get it at Foremost Media – you want your business on social media, but you are concerned about negative postings. Maybe you are thinking a Facebook page isn’t worth the trouble. You may need to re-evaluate that line of thinking. A lot of millennials do their shopping and their sharing on Facebook where their family and friends are paying close attention, and you need to be there. Comments can get pretty lively on Facebook – even on business pages – but you shouldn’t shy away from that. Debate, conversation and even some disagreements are good because it shows your business audience is engaged. There are ways to control the conversation on Facebook, even if it’s an unhappy customer posting. On the plus side, you have some control over comments on your Facebook versus people expressing their dissatisfaction on some other site that you have no control over. Remember, a slam against your business on a ...

Posted in: Reputation Management by Jon Ballard on November 26, 2018

15 Minutes Away From Better Local Search Visibility 15 Minutes Away From Better Local Search Visibility

I developed this series of blog posts because I want to help small businesses get more from their website in 15 minutes a month or less of work. If you're like most small business owners, including myself, it can be very difficult to work on your business vs. in your business, but I urge you to consider spending a few minutes each month implementing these tips as they can have a big impact on your business. So here is this months tip: Claim Your Google My Business Listing Google makes it pretty easy to claim and verify your listing. To get started visit: https://www.google.com/business. Make sure you complete the phone or postcard verification process as well. You're on a roll... don't stop now. Many local businesses just claim their GMB listing and forget about it. complete all the information Google asks for. Even the part about public parking etc. The more complete your listing the better ...

Posted in: Local SEO, Online Advertising, Reputation Management, Search Engine Optimization by Jon Ballard on October 19, 2018

Google Reviews - The Best Defense is A Good Offense Google Reviews - The Best Defense is A Good Offense

No matter how hard you try, sooner or later your business will face a negative online review.  Former employees, competitors, or unreasonable customers all have instant access to leave unwarranted feedback about your business. It's time to get proactive about collecting positive online reviews in preparation for drowning out that occasional negative review. So what is a business owner to do? Go on the offense and generate an avalanche of positive reviews. A good rule of thumb is that it takes about ten positive reviews to offset one negative review. I know this sounds like a lot of work for a B2B business that doesn't generate a lot of reviews organically. But if you follow the steps below, you should be able to get this done in an hour or less, and the return on investment is great!   1. Craft a letter to your personal contacts. Here is one that I used: “Subject- Need Your Help or Big ...

Posted in: General, Local SEO, Reputation Management, Social Media by Jon Ballard on October 11, 2018

NOP Commerce Customization FAQ's NOP Commerce Customization FAQ's

NOP Commerce is one of the most flexible and customizable aspdotnet shopping carts available.  With so many built-in features, it handles most companies' e-commerce needs out of the box.  But one of the real selling points for this code base is its ability to build out additional customized functionality. For this blog post, I thought we would start a list of customization questions that we receive from time to time along with our answers to customers. This blog post will be updated as new questions come in, so please check back.  Question - Can we configure a price list in NOP that’s different than standard pricing?  Out of the box, NOP Commerce has the ability to do different tiers of pricing. For example, you could set up a "Distributor A Price List" and then set discounts off standard rates by category or all the way down to the product level. Once this is set up you can then apply this ...

Posted in: General, Web Development by Jon Ballard on October 8, 2018

Design Email Campaigns That Get Results: 10 Tips and Tricks Design Email Campaigns That Get Results: 10 Tips and Tricks

Every day we are deluged by emails attempting to get our attention. Cutting through the clutter and getting to the heart of what your customers desire without alienating them in the process is as much art as it is science. Email personalization, robust list management, and a little common sense strategy can make the difference between killer open and click-through rates or ongoing frustration. After years of testing, here’s what we’ve learned: 1. Use a sender your target recognizes. If you want to grab attention, send emails from a name that the receiver recognizes. At Foremost Media, emails sent from key members of our leadership team get the best open rates, as almost all customers know the team and no one likes to risk ignoring a personal contact. No time for your CEO and top management to respond to emails? Using gender-neutral names like Pat or Sam in place of sales@ can help improve open rates. ...

Posted in: Conversion Rate Optimization, Email Marketing, General, Marketing Automation by Jon Ballard on June 16, 2018

Best practice tips for answering online reviews Best practice tips for answering online reviews

Your business or company digital footprint includes your website, social media platforms and – online reviews. At Foremost Media we can make sure your website is awesome; you’re hitting all your social media benchmarks, but we can’t control what other people write about you online. We can, however, give you the best advice and advise you on the best practices for handling online reviews that may or may not put your business in the best light. No one is perfect and no matter how hard you try, how long you agonize over the details and your customer service – you’re going to get a bad review on Google, Yelp or Bing or one of the other sites. It’s our philosophy that you shouldn’t ignore them even though its tempting. It like that person knocking on your door trying to sell you something and you just won’t answer and they’ll eventually go away. That doesn’t happen on the ...

Posted in: General, Local SEO, Online Advertising, Reputation Management by Jon Ballard on April 30, 2018

Facebook B2B Advertising Comes of Age Facebook B2B Advertising Comes of Age

Don’t listen to your kids: Facebook advertising isn’t just for moms in the 35- to 40-year-old age range. Thanks to its retargeting and similar audiences features, Facebook has become a powerful tool for B2B advertisers seeking new customers who are similar to their existing customer base. Today, you can effectively “follow” individuals that visit your website on Facebook and utilize all the information Facebook knows about those people—age, job, location, pages visited, etc.—to identify similar people on Facebook and then reach out to these potential new customers with targeted advertising. It’s a game changer. How it works Customers who are a good fit for your company and are interested in what you do visit your web page. These visitors then return to Facebook at some point, in the normal course of their day. Facebook knows a great deal about these individuals—analytics that include everything from age, marital status, location and job to favorite TV shows, movies, ...

Posted in: General, Inbound Marketing, Online Advertising, SEO by Jon Ballard on March 22, 2018

Now Is the Time To Add A SSL Certificate To Your Website Now Is the Time To Add A SSL Certificate To Your Website

“S” is for Superman – but it’s also for Security, Sales and SEO. You need that “S” on your url address. You need it to say “HTTPS” – and Foremost Media is standing by to help you add that “S” to make your website super, secure and searchable. Here at Foremost Media, we have been telling website owners that a secure certificate, or an extended validation certificate (EVSSL) if you have an e-commerce site, is a necessity for nearly a year now. But search engines are getting a little more pointed about showing the public that your website doesn’t have a certificate. In multiple different announcements over the past year, the team at Google has made it very clear that they plan to start warning Chrome browser users when they are about to visit or fill out information on a site without a secure certificate.  The time is now to get your SSL in place ...

Posted in: SEO, Website Hosting by Jon Ballard on March 19, 2018

Why your business needs Schema markup now Why your business needs Schema markup now

How often have you searched for something online—say a phone number, local business hours or the weather—and immediately found the answer within the search results, without ever having to click through to another web page? Probably pretty often. Today, it’s rare to have to go beyond a search to get the quick hits of information you need, as illustrated below:   Event Mark Up Example In fact, the majority of users searching for information find all they need with a simple Google search. The major underlying reason for this: Schema markup. It may be the biggest thing of 2018, yet there are few websites are optimized to leverage it and even fewer understand it fully. Regardless, the detailed “rich” search results Schema markup supports are defining which brands get maximum exposure.  Schema Mark Up 101 Before we get into why Schema markup is likely to be the most critical SEO strategy of 2018, let’s briefly explore what Schema markup ...

Posted in: General, Local SEO, Search Engine Optimization by Jon Ballard on February 26, 2018

The Benefits of Pay-Per-Click Marketing The Benefits of Pay-Per-Click Marketing

The Benefits of Pay-Per-Click Marketing Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is a type of paid online advertising that uses search engine ads to get your website more visitors. Also referred to as search marketing, PPC marketing works by allowing marketers to pay only when someone clicks on their ad. The ads appear alongside the results generated when people search for specific keywords online. If you're intrigued by the prospect of creating a PPC marketing campaign for your business, take a look at the biggest benefits of this online advertising technique. Your Ads Will Be Up and Running Quickly When you set up a PPC campaign, you can look forward to seeing your ads within just a few days or even hours. That's because the ads are simple to make, so you can start directing people to your website the same day you decide to put up PPC ads. You Can Target Your Competitors' Audience PPC marketing allows you a lot of ...

Posted in: Online Advertising by Jon Ballard on August 1, 2017

Grow Your Bottom Line With Conversion Rate Optimization Grow Your Bottom Line With Conversion Rate Optimization

Spending resources on a website design is only half of the battle when it comes to the growing your business online. The real ROI from your site comes down to two things: Traffic: number of visitors on your site Actions: what people are doing once they get to your site Your business may have a great looking site. However, if you don’t have traffic or can’t convert visitors, it isn’t contributing to your bottom line. Website traffic and conversions really go hand in hand. The better you are at converting visitors, whether it’s making a purchase, requesting a quote, or signing up for a mailing list, the more traffic you can afford, and the more customers you can get. Traffic is a matter of search engine optimization (SEO). No one will end up on your site if they can’t find you. Search engines are essentially the gatekeeper when it ...

Posted in: Conversion Rate Optimization, Inbound Marketing by Jon Ballard on July 27, 2017

Increase Sales on Your Website By Optimizing Your Internal Search Increase Sales on Your Website By Optimizing Your Internal Search

Increase Sales on Your Website By Optimizing Your Internal Search I find that it's easy for website owners to overlook a valuable avenue for optimization. Internal search functions are sometimes thrown on as part of a design and otherwise ignored unless there's a problem. However, looking at your website visitor logs and discovering what they're searching for can help you generate more sales. Audit Your Current Internal Search Experience Review top searches on your site and try them yourself. What comes up in the results? If you don't see anything or the results aren't relevant to the keywords, fix the problem. Otherwise, you lose website visitors due to frustration. If you see a lot of searches for a competitive brand consider a strategy to direct those searches to your alternative product. You may need to switch to a new internal search solution if your current one is unable to generate worthwhile results for your visitors. You need to ...

Posted in: Inbound Marketing by Jon Ballard on July 24, 2017

7 Step Plan for Switching Marketing Automation Platforms 7 Step Plan for Switching Marketing Automation Platforms

Change is never easy, and changing marketing automation systems has the perception of being exceptionally difficult. Still, SiriusDecisions reports that every year nearly 10% of B2B organizations that currently have a marketing automation platform plan to switch to a new vendor. There can be a lot of reasons to switch. Whether it is to save money or because of an integration issue, sometimes the best answer is to cut your losses and change platforms. It is easy to find yourself caught up in the hype of marketing automation to a point where you are lured in to paying over $1,000 a month or more on a platform that doesn’t even fulfill your needs. But, that doesn’t mean you have to continue with that system. Marketing automation has the power to provide a substantial ROI, which is why 79% of the best marketers have already been using marketing automaton for years. However, with hundreds of ...

Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation by Jon Ballard on February 20, 2017

Five Things You Must Include In Your 2017 Digital Marketing Mix Five Things You Must Include In Your 2017 Digital Marketing Mix

As 2016 comes to a close, many companies are already planning their digital marketing strategy for 2017. Here are five essential elements to include in your digital marketing mix for the coming year. Website Security Earlier this month, Yahoo suffered a security breach that affected more than one billion of its user accounts. A security breach of this size should serve as a reminder of just how critical it is to ensure that your website is secure in 2017. We provide our clients with server-level monitoring for maximum security. As scammers become more adept at stealing sensitive information, phishing scams are also on the rise. The Anthem medical data breach of 2015 was one of the largest data breaches in American history, and it caused by a phishing scam that targeted Anthem employees. Today’s scammers will go to great lengths to separate you from your money or to access your customer data. In our blog post, Lessons ...

Posted in: General, Inbound Marketing, Local SEO, Marketing Automation, Online Advertising, Search Engine Optimization by Jon Ballard on December 30, 2016

10 Marketing Automation Workflows You Can Actually Use 10 Marketing Automation Workflows You Can Actually Use

Marketing automation platforms are powerful tools that create sophisticated automated workflows based on highly targeted list segmentation and behavior. As result, marketing automation has become an essential part of many successful marketing strategies. Whether you are a seasoned marketing automation veteran looking for fresh ideas, or a beginner wondering where to start, the following workflow examples are designed to help you get the most out of your marketing automation platform. 1. New Lead Drip Campaigns New Lead Drip campaigns typically start with gated content, such as a white paper, eBook or webinar, that visitors find valuable enough to provide their contact information in order to obtain. At this time, the lead is not quite ready to buy, but is interested enough to read the information. At this stage, the visitor is referred to as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). New Lead Drip campaigns send MQLs a series of timed emails that are designed to guide them through ...

Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation by Jon Ballard on October 12, 2016

Close the Inbound Marketing Loop with Inbound Sales Close the Inbound Marketing Loop with Inbound Sales

The doorbell rang unexpectedly. As I walked to answer the door, I mentally prepared myself for the confrontation that was to come. Not a physical confrontation mind you, but one filled with the fake pleasantries of listening to another door-to-door sales spiel that usually follows an unexpected doorbell ring. Now, I understand door-to-door salespeople are just trying to make a living, so I always listen politely and hear them out, then respectfully tell them that I’m not interested. I opened the door. “Hi I’m Joel with XYZ Cable Company. I’ve heard there have been issues with our competitor in this area, so I’m seeing if you are interested in switching providers.” he said as he handed me a pamphlet about their services. “Thanks, but we are fine with our current provider.” I told him. “But this is fiber optic, so it is better than what you have!” he said. “That’s nice, but I’m not going to make a switch. I’ll keep ...

Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation by Jon Ballard on August 11, 2016

The Secret to Getting the Cheapest Website Possible The Secret to Getting the Cheapest Website Possible

Looking to get the cheapest website you can? This blog will help you pay as little as possible for a website from a web development company. The only thing you have to do is keep searching for a company to perform the work at a lower cost. That’s it! There is always someone willing to do a job for less money. If you search long enough, you will eventually find the lowest price company (more likely a single person) available! What’s the catch? The catch is that you will most likely end up getting what you paid for in terms of quality, and it will probably end up costing you more when you factor in lost revenue and the investment of your time. Despite how it looks against the budget, cheaper is not always better. I was recently speaking with a new client of ours who is currently redesigning their website for third time in less than two ...

Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Web Development by Jon Ballard on July 7, 2016

Foremost Media Launches JobsInRockCounty.com Foremost Media Launches JobsInRockCounty.com

March 14, 2016 (Janesville, WI) - Foremost Media, Inc., recently launched JobsInRockCounty.com. The website will serve as Rock County's one-stop job information portal for area employers seeking a more comprehensive online resource to strengthen their talent recruitment and retention efforts. Jobs in Rock County features a fresh, modern look designed to meet the needs of Human Resources (HR) professionals, third party recruiters, and prospective job seekers. The website includes: An easy-to-use job posting interface Online job board Options for Social Media sharing Fully customizable, automated applicant communication Pre-qualified candidate sharing mechanisms Inspire Rock County integration Community and workforce information JobsInRockCounty.com is a free talent recruitment and matchmaking tool for employers in Rock County and the Stateline area. Foremost Media developed this custom job portal for Rock County 5.0, a public/private economic development initiative that is advancing ...

Posted in: News by Jon Ballard on March 14, 2016

What The General Data Protection Regulation Means to Email Marketers What The General Data Protection Regulation Means to Email Marketers

Similar to the passing of the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) in 2014, the 2016 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) proposed by the European Union (EU) has caused quite a stir in the digital marketing community. Just last month, the EU finished drafting the GDPR and made the provisions public. Final approval of the GDPR is expected early this year. Once approved, the new regulations will go into effect three days afterward, followed by a two-year transition period. This two-year transition period between approval and enforcement may make it easy to ignore initially, but the GDPR metes stiff penalties that require businesses to assess their current data collection process and implement a GDPR compliance strategy. But what exactly does the GDPR require? Unlike the United States, the EU operates under an opt-in model of informed consent, instead of an opt-out model. Because of this, the GDPR requires explicit consent from consumers for the right to collect ...

Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation by Jon Ballard on February 1, 2016

Lessons Learned From Scamming a Scammer Lessons Learned From Scamming a Scammer

I am sharing this email dialog of a recent phishing scam with the hopes of raising your awareness on how sophisticated online scams are becoming and how much work and detail scammers will put into a online scam. The emails I share here are real and un-edited. This scammer spent time researching our company and key employees. He was trying to get us to transfer $23,460 to a "Client" by the end of business. 1st Contact - Subject Line "Urgent Request" It's important to note that Nick sits right next to me and when this email came in he was on the phone. I didn't think twice about answering his email and at this point I didn't realize it wasn't really him but as you can see in the email above, when I hit reply it went to a strange email address. At this point Nick was off the phone and I recognized that the reply ...

Posted in: General by Jon Ballard on November 10, 2015

You Could Slash Your School's Website Budget in Half You Could Slash Your School's Website Budget in Half

What if you could slash your school district's current website budget in half or more? If your school district is using a proprietary school content management system with large recurring fees each month, there is a better way. School districts across the country are migrating away from proprietary and expensive content management systems and choosing free open source based content management systems to power their district's online presence. The School District of Newark New Jersey has over 40,000 students and 75 websites. According to their Sr. Manager of Website Technology, Cameron Barrett, when Newark Public Schools migrated away from a proprietary school website system vendor they were able to cut their yearly recurring costs from $59,000 per year to $7,200.00 per year. The Janesville School District in Janesville, Wisconsin has over 10,000 students and 27 school websites they maintain. In 2009, Foremost Media helped migrate the School District of Janesville to an open source content management system ...

Posted in: General, Web Development by Jon Ballard on August 27, 2015

Looking to Choose a Web Development Company? Here's How! Looking to Choose a Web Development Company? Here's How!

In today's marketing landscape, businesses live and die by the success of their website. If your business has decided to build a new website, it is important to know how to choose a web development company to be your partner. This document outlines 12 things you must consider when selecting your next web development company:   You received a quote without much conversation- If you filled out a simple online request for a quote and received one back without an in-depth conversation about your goals, objectives and needed site functionality; throw away that quote. Good companies take the time to truly understand your project goals and objectives as well as fully grasp the functionality your website requires. This process often involves several conversations and an investment of time from both parties. The quote you receive should detail all the required work, and break out each piece on an ...

Posted in: General, Web Development, Website Hosting by Jon Ballard on July 14, 2015

9 Reasons You Should Redesign Your B2B Website Today 9 Reasons You Should Redesign Your B2B Website Today

In today's marketing climate, your company's website is one of the most prominent and valuable marketing resources available. When done properly, a website redesign can show quick and significant return on investment for a company making you look like a marketing rock star. Below we have 9 reasons to help you justify a website redesign to your boss: 1. Google Penalizes Sites That Are Not Mobile Friendly. This is costing you traffic If you are like many of our B2B clients, as much as 30% of the traffic to your site comes from mobile devices. On April 21st, 2015 Google begin to reduce search rankings for sites that are not "mobile-friendly." This update could already be having significant impact on your traffic as Google is giving priority to sites that are "mobile friendly" in their search results. In order to restore your mobile traffic, it is important to certify your website passes Google's Mobile Friendly test. ...

Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Web Development by Jon Ballard on June 16, 2015

[Webinar] The Future of Sales Is Changing: Keep Up Or Die [Webinar] The Future of Sales Is Changing: Keep Up Or Die

Webinar presented by Jon Ballard Before hiring another salesperson, you must evaluate online lead generation and marketing automation programs that allow you do more sales volume with less workers, significantly increasing your ROI. Want to keep up? Contact us to learn how.

Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation by Jon Ballard on June 15, 2015

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