Website Request For Proposal Process
Get through the hassles and headaches of finding a web developer by having a well thought-out Request For Proposal or RFP. If you haven’t been through the process before, this article should get your wheels spinning on how to begin.
“We need a new website!”
So, the boss just asked you to head up the project for a new website. Super! Depending on your business’ market, it’s going to be time consuming. Hiring the best web design and development company isn’t as easy as searching Google for “best website designer”. It’s important to understand who you are investing time and money with. A web design company worth their salt will know how to respond to a Request For Proposal (RFP).
Start With The RFP Process
Starting out a new web development project using the RFP process sets the ball rolling for success. An RFP helps your organization evaluate your actual needs, timeline and budget you have to allocate. ...
Posted in: General, Web Development by Noah Lamson on July 1, 2019
Your site is not ranking like it should on Google? Here's why...
Have you ever gone to Google and typed in a keyword that your business should be ranking for but your site is nowhere to be found? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many businesses spend a lot of time and money building an amazing looking website but don’t give much thought to getting traffic to that site. If you could use some help fixing your rankings, keep reading as we walk you through 10 things you can do to rank higher in search results:
Does Google know you exist? If your website is new, it can take time for Google to find and index it. To help speed up this process, it’s important to let Google know you exist. Register your site with Google Search Console and submit your sitemap so Google can easily find all the pages in your website.
Posted in: Online Advertising, Search Engine Optimization by Jon Ballard on June 24, 2019
What is a conversion worth?
When working with clients, I often ask - "what is a conversion worth to you?" The response I get is typically "We don't know." You are probably asking yourself why this is important.
First, let's start by defining a conversion. A conversion is an important action that a user takes on your website, such as downloading a pdf, filling out a contact form or clicking on a phone number or email address to get in touch with a business. These are very important metrics to track. Let's use a "Request for Quote" form as an example. To begin measuring how much a conversion is worth, you need to know the following variables:
How many Request for Quote forms are filled out over the course of a year?
How many of those Request for Quote forms end up as sales?
What was the average dollar amount for each of those sales?
Total Sales from Request a Quote?
How much profit from ...
Posted in: Conversion Rate Optimization, Inbound Marketing, Online Advertising, Search Engine Optimization by John Anderson on June 4, 2019
Best Practices for Manufacturing Websites
Your company’s website acts as an online storefront. It’s your chance to make a great first impression with potential new customers. Having a great website can be the difference between a growing business and spinning your wheels. Our recent post, Five Pillars of an Effective Digital Marketing Campaign for Manufacturers, introduced you to the five most important elements of growing a manufacturing business online. The first, and probably most important, is a mobile-friendly, responsive website.
Today’s buying process is complex, even in the B2B marketplace. Buyers, product developers, engineers, and even marketing staff may have input in the buying process. Designing a manufacturing website that informs and appeals to a range of backgrounds is imperative in 2019 and beyond. Prospective customers are looking for a website that performs well, is easy to navigate, and is loaded with helpful information presented in an easy to digest manner.
Your Website Beyond Web Design
Website performance is vital to getting a ...
Posted in: General, Online Advertising, Search Engine Optimization, Web Development by Jon Ballard on May 7, 2019
5 Pillars of an effective digital marketing campaign for manufacturers
It’s no secret that building a digital marketing campaign for manufacturers or B2B companies is different than marketing for consumer goods. We often hear from clients that say their product isn’t “sexy” or doesn’t translate well to common marketing practices. Many of the same tactics used in B2C marketing are effective for B2B businesses, they just need to be tweaked. A B2B company is still selling to a person or group of people. In the next few weeks we’ll go into more detail on each of these points, but this five pillar plan for finding those people and helping them make a decision to buy from your company is a good start to an effective digital marketing campaign.
MOBILE FRIENDLY, RESPONSIVE WEBSITE
People are becoming more and more dependent on their smartphones. We’re not just talking about checking Facebook. In a 2017 survey by Boston Consulting Group, 60% of B2B buyers said mobile played a significant role in their purchasing ...
Posted in: Conversion Rate Optimization, Manufacturing Marketing, Marketing Automation, Online Advertising, Search Engine Optimization by Jon Ballard on May 7, 2019
What is remarketing and how does it work?
Have you ever been to the Home Depot website to look at a lawn mower and then realized that every ad you see on the internet is about Home Depot and their fine selection of lawn mowers? That’s not a coincidence, it’s remarketing.
Remarketing allows companies to follow you around the web with ads based on your behavior, in hopes that you will come back to their site and complete a purchase or request a quote.
Milwaukee Journal Website with Remarketed Home Depot Advertisement
Google and Bing both have robust remarketing programs, as does Facebook and LinkedIn. Remarketing is also commonly called “retargeting” depending on the platform but is basically the same thing. Each platform requires you to add a tracking code to your website, called a tag or a pixel, to identify what visitors are looking at. It also writes a cookie in their browser that allows you to serve up the ads as your past ...
Posted in: Local SEO, Online Advertising, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media by Jon Ballard on April 26, 2019
Using UTM Parameters to Capture Lead Source
UTM parameters are tags you add to a URL. Marketers use them to be able to track traffic from a wide range of sources such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, display ads, paid ads and more. These specific UTM tags are sent back to Google Analytics and can track stats such as users, sessions, time on site, number of pages, bounce rate, conversions/goals from those campaigns. These metrics help see the effectiveness of the campaigns and which campaigns are driving the most conversions and assisting in the most conversions.
The five UTM parameters that Google Analytics can register are:
Utm_source (google, facebook, linkedin, youtube, pinterest, etc)
Utm_medium (post, pin, cpc etc)
Utm_campaign (name of campaign or specific promotion)
Utm_term (used for text ads to tell you which keyword)
Utm_content (used to differentiate ads)
You might already be using UTM parameters to track your marketing campaigns in Google Analytics, but are you capturing that information when a lead comes into your database ...
Posted in: Conversion Rate Optimization, General, Online Advertising, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media by John Anderson on April 19, 2019
Foremost Media Accepting College Scholarship Applications
Annual award supports U.S. students pursuing a degree in Marketing or Web Development
Janesville, Wis – Foremost Media, Inc., a website design and development company in Janesville, WI, is accepting applications for the Annual Foremost Media Scholarship Award. This new $500 scholarship will be awarded each year to one student pursuing or intending to pursue an undergraduate degree in Marketing or Web Development. High school seniors and current college students are invited to apply online now through May 1st, 2019 at www.foremostmedia.com/scholarship.
The Foremost Media Scholarship is open to high school seniors intending to attend classes at an accredited university, technical or trade school and to students already attending an accredited university, tech or trade school. Students must be pursuing a degree in Marketing or Web Development and must be a U.S. citizen. The scholarship will be awarded Aug 1, 2019.
Like many small businesses, Foremost Media is constantly looking for well-trained employees to fill job openings. ...
Posted in: News by Rose Stricker on April 2, 2019
The Importance of Technical SEO
Technical SEO is vital to the success of your website, and we can’t emphasis that enough. Think of it as the spine of your website; without it, your website is just a bunch of fluff and mush that won’t stand up to a good or even a mediocre search engine. You can build your own website, but if no one visits it, or if they don’t spend enough time on it to buy something or get acquainted with your business, it’s like a crack in the concrete that people quickly step over to go somewhere else. At Foremost Media, we recognize the importance of technical SEO. So, whether you are setting up a website on your own, or if you want one set up for you, go to a professional to either review it or build it.
It all adds up
Think of it this way, if you are selling Girl Scout cookies, you are perfectly ...
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization by Noah Lamson on January 25, 2019
[Webinar] Testing Your Way To More Web Sales - CRO
Originally presented at the NopCommerce show in Nov. 2018 in Las Vegas By Jon Ballard
CRO is Conversion Rate Optimization.
With CRO we use data, testing, and creativity to maximize the percentage of visitors who convert on a website. These conversions can be purchases, newsletter signups, quote requests, phone calls, or any other action you would like your visitors to take. Optimizing your website to increase the conversion rate (the percentage of visitors who take the desired action) ensures your website is not wasting any of the valuable traffic you are sending to it.
To get a high converting site, you may need to improve numerous aspects including design, content, and overall user experience. Before making these improvements, you must determine what obstacles are causing your visitors to leave and remove those obstacles.
Many marketers remove these obstacles by making opinion-based decisions relying on best practices. This is not CRO. Properly optimizing your site for conversions means ...
Posted in: Conversion Rate Optimization by Adam Zellmer on January 22, 2019
Marketing Tips To Get Engineers Engaging With Your Business
How can industrial marketers reach out to engineers now that communication has shifted to online and content marketing? TREW Marketing and IEEE GlobalSpec partnered to conduct a survey and discovered the best ways to interact with technical professionals. Let’s dive into some key findings.
Technical Content Is King
The survey found that engineers preferred datasheets, case studies, and product/how-to videos over other types of content such as trade publication articles or infographics. When creating marketing pieces, consider using white papers and other informational pieces that will engage and inform this technically-minded audience.
Keep It Fresh
Over 90 percent of engineers surveyed are more likely to do business with companies that regularly produce new and current content. Your website is not something you can just set up and forget. You need new content to keep visitors engaged and coming back. However, before you start adding blogs, calculators, and other cool content, here are some things you’ll want to consider.
Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Manufacturing Marketing by John Tillotson on January 3, 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 site. Did you know you can tap into your analytics data to find insights into your customers, your marketing, and your business that you can use to grow?
5 Social Media Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2019
One thing that is constant ...
Posted in: General, Search Engine Optimization by Jon Ballard on December 31, 2018
WHAT ARE UTM PARAMETERS? WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT? AND HOW DO YOU IMPLEMENT THEM?
Have you ever run a campaign and wondered how effective it was at driving traffic to your website? You did append UTM tags to the links in the campaign, didn’t you? If not, Google Analytics reports will not contain the data you need to measure campaign performance.
That’s why UTM codes (also known as UTM tags or UTM parameters) are so important.
UTM Parameters: What Are They?
UTM parameters are attributes you append to hyperlinks (destination URLs) for marketing campaigns sending traffic to your website. When the link is clicked and the visitor arrives on your site, tags are sent back to your Google Analytics Account and appear in your Analytics metrics.
Here is a sample link we could use when this blog is shared in an email blast; the UTM parameters are appended to the URL): https://www.foremostmedia.com/?utm_source=act-on&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=october2018newsletter&utm_content=linkclick
Why Use Them?
Failure to append UTM tags to hyperlinks will do more than simply hinder your ability to do effective ...
Posted in: Conversion Rate Optimization, General, Inbound Marketing, Online Advertising, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media by John Anderson on December 3, 2018
Top 5 Takeaways About Giveaways on Social Media
There’s a lot of information shared on social media. So, your message needs to stand out in a crowd to be successful. In a webinar hosted by SEMRush, social media experts highlighted key points to consider before, during, and after you launch a giveaway on social media.
1. Do it well.
A good giveaway involves more than just getting a “like” or a “follow”. A good giveaway actively involves your social media audience. Invite them to do something interactive such as take a selfie with your product or share a story. This is called user-generated content, and it is social gold.
2. Have realistic goals from the beginning.
Your first step is to determine what you want your giveaway to do for you. A good goal could be to attract like-minded followers who will convert to a purchase or another business goal. Another good goal might be to drive more traffic to your website. A not-so-good goal is to simply ...
Posted in: Social Media by Rose Stricker on November 26, 2018
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
3 Online Review DON’Ts (and a few Maybe's)
We’ve given a lot of attention to online reviews recently. We’ve pointed out why they’re important, how to respond to negative ones, and how to generate more of them.
Now, let’s talk about some of the things you should NOT do with online reviews.
Jamie Pitman at BrightLocal researched Google, Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List, TripAdvisor, BBB, and Yellow Pages, and he assembled a list of Guidelines for the Top Local Review Sites.
We’ve summarized some key takeaways for you to keep in mind as you work on your reviews.
DON’T pay for reviews
Don’t offer cash, prizes, products, or any kind of incentive in exchange for a review. This is a big no-no across the board. All review sites frown on this behavior and they are likely to penalize you for doing it.
DON’T negatively review a competitor or encourage anyone else to do it.
Not only is it against the rules and a conflict of interest, it’s just bad manners. ...
Posted in: Local SEO, Reputation Management by Rose Stricker on November 21, 2018
Tips For Improving Your Website’s Crawl Budget
Optimizing websites for ranking in search engines is an ever-precarious set of tasks. The algorithm Google uses to determine search results is a secret that evolves with each new release. Each time the algorithm is updated, Google gives out clues on what to look for. In a 2017 blog post, Google explained how crawl budget is not a factor in ranking. It shouldn’t be.
In simple terms, the crawl budget is the number of links Google will follow on your site. Your website’s crawl budget may be large or small depending on the size of your site, its popularity and its ease of use to crawl. Given that every site has a different amount of pages, it would be unfair to rank higher a site that gets crawled more simply because of its size.
Is Optimizing for Crawl Budget Worth It?
If the number of crawls on the site does not help rank, is crawl budget worth ...
Posted in: Local SEO, Search Engine Optimization, Web Development by Noah Lamson on November 13, 2018
Google Just Revolutionized GMB Posts
In an announcement from its blog on October 24th, Google announced that users can now follow businesses in the Maps app. This will allow followers to see a businesses’ latest news including events, deals, and more. This information will be readily available for users in the “For you” tab. It is unclear when this feature will be available on iOS, but it’s safe to assume it should be active soon.
This is big news for existing businesses as there is now an opportunity to share information with your customers directly without using social media. Users who follow neighborhoods will also receive personalized recommendations based on their preferences. for mobile-first indexing. Though being indexed mobile-first has no ranking advantage, Google strongly encouraged webmasters to make their content mobile-friendly.
Image Courtesy of Google
"Places that are opening soon can create a free Business Profile that will appear to people up to 3 months in advance of opening—letting trendsetters know ...
Posted in: General by Tyler Reynolds on November 6, 2018
Why You Need To Proactively Manage Your Local Citations
Local businesses need citations to build an online presence. Search engines use citations to build a reputation for a business on the web. If your business doesn’t actively manage these, you will have more than just poor rankings in Google. You will have frustrated customers and poor reviews.
What is a Citation?
Simply put, a citation is any online mention of a business’ name, address, or phone number (sometimes referred to as their NAP). These mentions could be on a website, social platform, or in an app.
Citations can appear on major platforms such as Google My Business, Yelp, and even social platforms such as Facebook. There are also geo/industry-specific platforms such as chamber of commerce websites, professional associations, and guilds.
You want to manage and maintain the accuracy of your citations because odds are, you are already listed in many directories, but it could be with inaccurate information. Not only would your local search ranking suffer, ...
Posted in: Local SEO by John Tillotson on November 5, 2018
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 you ...
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
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 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
SEO Success: What Should You Be Tracking?
When you enter an SEO agreement, what exactly are you paying for? How can you tell that the work is having an impact on your business? It’s crucial to set up and understand what goals matter to you and your business when you start working with an SEO expert. Here are some of the most important KPIs to consider before you jump into the world of SEO for your business.
Whether it is sales, sign ups, or simple leads conversions drive your business. Getting visitors to a website is nice, but engagement is what you really want. If you have an ecommerce site, you can look at sales (more on those metrics in a bit). Most any site should be tracking some version of a sign up or lead. This could be newsletters sign ups, ebook downloads, or request a quote forms. Clearly define these conversions in the beginning with your marketer, and for ...
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization by John Tillotson on September 18, 2018
Speech will help local organizations generate business using the internet
(Janesville, Wis) Jon Ballard, owner of Foremost Media, Inc., will speak during the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce General Membership Meeting at Frederick’s Supper Club at 188 Merchant Row in Milton, WI on Wednesday, September 19th at 5:30-7:30pm. Ballard’s presentation will feature “Ten Tips Your Local Business Can Do Today to Generate More Business Using the Web”.
The goal of Ballard’s speech is to give local businesses actionable tips to help grow their business using Local Search Marketing. Local search marketing can benefit any business with a physical location that meets face to face with its customers at that location. The principles apply equally well to stand-alone businesses and to chain locations. Local search marketing is a service provided by Ballard’s company located in Janesville.
“At Foremost Media, we see first hand how the use of local search marketing increases the website traffic for our clients,” says Ballard. “I’ll be talking about strategies that are simple ...
Posted in: News by Rose Stricker on August 9, 2018
Mobile First Indexing Is Here!
On March 26th, 2018, Google announced that after a year and a half of careful experimentation and testing, they've started migrating sites that follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing. Though being indexed mobile-first has no ranking advantage, Google strongly encouraged webmasters to make their content mobile-friendly.
We thought the most unfriendly thing about browsing on mobile was filling out monotonous form after form when trying to contact someone on their site or when making a purchase. The last thing a user wants to do when making a purchase is to type in line after line of personal information. The tedious process of entering every single letter and symbol when filling out an online form can even cause users to decide not to purchase. A 2017 study by Google Chrome found that disabling the autofill feature on the browser led to 25% fewer form submissions. We saw this as an opportunity to optimize user ...
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization by Tyler Reynolds on August 2, 2018