Content Marketing: Tell Your Story
Wesley* had given the last of his cash to the mechanic who had fixed the engine in his van. Wesley now sat inside that van parked in the Janesville Walmart parking lot wondering how he could afford gas to drive the van anywhere. Cancer and its treatments had sapped his strength. Medical bills had emptied his bank account and taken his home.
He lived in the van.
Careful budgeting of his monthly military pension had helped Wesley survive for a good long time. His next check was just one week away, but in order to receive it, he needed to attend a meeting with his counselor in Madison. He had left a message for his counselor explaining his financial/fuel situation, and now he waited for a return call hoping he had enough minutes on his phone to complete the conversation they would have.
He was out of money. He was out of gas. ...
Posted in: Inbound Marketing by Rose Stricker on June 8, 2016
Foremost Media Launches New Website for BCI Burke
New website features product catalog display module for distributors
Janesville, Wis - Foremost Media, Inc., a Janesville website development company, has launched a new website for playground equipment manufacturer, BCI Burke. The new website (https://www.bciburke.com/) features a product catalog module for distributors that displays real-time updates and an interactive product picker helps customers visualize completed play structures.
Each product on the website includes a photo of the component placed in actual parks and school yards or a digital rendition of the product. Product pages for complete playground structures have an interactive feature that allows visitors to choose from different components and colors and instantly view those options in place. Being able to swap out individual pieces and color schemes helps streamline the customized design process for both the customer and the manufacturer.
Jon Ballard, President of Foremost Media, explains how the product catalog module benefits companies like BCI Burke. "BCI Burke sells through a network ...
Posted in: News by Aaron Jach on June 3, 2016
Foremost Media Places In Top International Award – 2016 Summit Creative Award
Janesville, Wis - Out of more than 5,000 submissions from 21 countries, Foremost Media is named a Silver winner in the 2016 Summit Creative Award® competition for its creative website design for WEA Trust (https://www.weatrust.com/).
The Summit Creative Award (SCA) recognizes and celebrates the creative achievements of small and medium-sized advertising agencies worldwide with annual billings under $30 million. Entries in 20 major categories are judged against a stringent set of standards. During its blind judging, (entering company names withheld), the Board of Judges search for and identify innovative and creative concepts, strong executions and user experience, and the ability to communicate and persuade. Winners were selected in a wide-range of categories from print and broadcast, to online advertising and social media.
"WEA Trust was a fun project to work on,” says Foremost Media’s Lead Graphic Designer, Adam Zellmer. “We got the opportunity to use some new and modern design techniques. The feature landing video and ...
Posted in: News by Rose Stricker on June 2, 2016
Old School SEO Practices That Penalize Your Manufacturing Company
In recent years, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices have changed a lot. Between Google algorithm updates such as Hummingbird, Panda, and Penguin, new technologies, and shifting trends in the way prospective customers search for and find information online, it can be difficult for even those highly experienced with SEO to keep up with all the changes, let alone B2B marketers working for today’s manufacturing companies. To help today’s manufacturers understand which SEO tactics they should stop using as part of their overall SEO strategy, here are some of the most common old school SEO practices that are no longer effective.
Low Quality Content
You may’ve already heard that “content is king” in relation to SEO. The more content you have on your website, the more information search engine bots have to determine what your website is about and match it to what prospects are searching for online.
Because of this, a common old school SEO tactic ...
Posted in: Local SEO, Search Engine Optimization by Online Marketing Team on June 1, 2016
LinkedIn Abandons Professional Organizations
I have nothing against individual freelancers in any profession, but the freelancer market is flooded with individuals who misrepresent their skill level and who are unresponsive. This is especially true in the digital marketing space. It seems that LinkedIn doesn't understand this, and prefers users to work with freelancers over professionals.
A week ago I received an invite for the ProFinder beta. According to the invite, this is the way it works:
"Through LinkedInProFinder, potential clients looking for marketers will request services they need. We'll send the relevant requests to you, and you can choose to respond with a lightweight proposal. Best of all, participation in the pilot is totally free."
Suffice it to say, I was excited. I like LinkedIn...a lot. I do a tremendous amount of B2B digital marketing and felt that this could help our team connect with more companies looking for help with their digital marketing and help our existing client's with their ...
Posted in: General, Social Media by Online Marketing Team on May 6, 2016
Essential Design Features For Lead Generation
What’s the purpose of your company’s website? If you’re like many other companies, the answer is simple - to generate leads.
But it takes more than just having a website to convert visitors into leads. If your company’s website doesn’t engage visitors or direct them to take your desired action, it’s not going to generate leads for you. To generate leads, every page of your company’s website needs to have a specific purpose and provide visitors with an exceptional user experience.
To generate leads, your company website should have:
A Professional Design
Most of us already know that first impressions are important, but did you know it takes 0.05 seconds for visitors to decide to stay on your website or leave it.
According to Stanford Web Credibility Research, 75% of visitors use a company’s website to determine how credible the company is.
A recent article from Kinesis reports that “studies of user behavior have found that visual appeal and website ...
Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation, Web Development by Online Marketing Team on April 29, 2016
Responsive Design: The Time Is Now
For many years, tech analysts have predicted mobile usage to overtake PC usage. According to the 2015 GlobalWebIndex® Device Report, 80% of internet users own a smartphone. At only 11% less than the percentage of internet users who own a PC, there's little doubt that the Mobile-First Era is upon us.
Whether your company is business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C), more and more internet users are browsing your website using their smartphones or tablet. They're not just using their mobile devices to supplement their desktop browsing, they're browsing on mobile devices almost exclusively instead.
"[As a result, many businesses are beginning to] understand that not being present in results for people searching on their mobile device translates into missing out on a huge slice of the business opportunity."
- Smashing Magazine
Which is why digital marketing experts like Dan Bosomworth, Co-Founder and Creative & Strategy Director of First 10 are saying that "it's no longer a case of ...
Posted in: General, Search Engine Optimization, Web Development by Online Marketing Team on March 29, 2016
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
Foremost Media, Inc. Wins Silver Addy Awards For Two Website Designs
Janesville website development company earns accolades in first tier of national advertising competition.
February 29, 2016 - Janesville, Wis - Foremost Media, Inc., a website development company in Janesville, Wisconsin, won two Silver Awards in the 2016 American Advertising Awards (ADDYs) competition which was held Saturday, February 27 in Madison. Foremost Media won in the categories of Online/Interactive Websites-Consumer and Website-Microsites.
The mission of the ADDY competition is to recognize and reward creative excellence in the art of advertising. The Madison competition represents regional market talent in the first of a 3-tier national competition.
Stephen Cardwell, Art Director at Foremost Media, Inc. says, "The ADDYs are particularly special to us because we are competing against local talent, and we’re being acknowledged by our peers as one of the best in our industry.” On the entries, Cardwell remarks, "The Academy of Cosmetology (http://www.cosmetologycareer.net/) one of our winners, is an attractive, edgy, user friendly experience. Our other winner, the ...
Posted in: News by Rose Stricker on March 1, 2016
Visual Content The Pros Can't Live Without
It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Few know the truth of that saying or understand that humans are visual creatures better than today's digital marketers. But what does this mean for today's Business-to-business (B2B) companies?
It means, in the words of American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, "that the times they are a changin."
According to a recent content preferences survey conducted by Demand Gen Report, 95% of B2B buyers prefer shorter content formats and 86% of B2B buyers want to access and engage with visual content more than lengthy, detailed text content.
The data from the content preferences survey also indicates that visual content is becoming more popular with B2B buyers, specifically infographics, slideshows, and videos. Between 2013 and 2014, the use of infographics, slideshows, and videos increased from 9% to 52%, 21% to 28%, and 8% to 58% respectively.
Most digital marketers recognize the shifting trend in favor of visual content, but many ...
Posted in: General, Online Advertising by Online Marketing Team on February 26, 2016
5 Things To Consider Before Publishing New Content
We've all heard that "content is king", but with so much content vying for the throne, it can be a royal pain to know how often you should publish new content in the realm of content marketing.
According to a recent study by Wyzowl, 75% of content marketers release new content at least once a month, with over half publishing new content each week. But is this really how often you should be publishing new content? After all, what really matters most, quality or frequency?
These are the kinds of questions that keep content marketers awake at night. Rather than continue counting sheep, we'd like to finally put these questions to rest. Here are five things you need to consider when deciding how often you should publish new content.
Consider your purpose
What is your purpose for writing and publishing new content? If your primary purpose for publishing new content is to drive traffic to your website, generate ...
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization by Online Marketing Team on February 5, 2016
SEO Hackers Targeting Wordpress And Blog Engine
Black hat SEO's are notorious for trying to take the easy route to ranking in Google's search engine, even if it means immoral or illegal behavior. There are many ways they do this. Some of which you've probably seen, but never knew why someone would do something like that. For instance, have you ever noticed really strange comments on a blog that seemed like garbled English? You might've rolled your eyes and said, "Wow, that guy really needs to take an English course.", but the reality is that the person who left that comment wasn't a person at all. It was a robot.
Some "black hatters" will create a piece of content using a simple language called "spintax". Spintax allows them to write a piece of content once, and then "spin" it to make variations in the language occur. Usually, this is done by putting in variant synonyms for particular terms in the content. The ...
Posted in: General, Local SEO, Search Engine Optimization, Web Development by Online Marketing Team on February 1, 2016
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
What the end of SHA-1 support means for your website's security
Have you ever wondered why there's a green padlock icon in the address bar of your browser for many of the sites you visit online? Chances are you're not the only one. The green padlock icon is there to let you know that the website is secured with a Secure Sockets Layer or SSL. An SSL on your site prevents other websites from stealing your website's information and pretending to be you. While SSLs provide an extra layer of security for now, that may not be the case soon.
Since the early 1990's, websites have been using SSLs based on the Secure Hash Algorithm 1, better known as SHA-1. The SHA-1 encryption method has become less effective, and will likely be cracked by cyber criminals within the next couple years. Due to inevitable breach, many internet browsers are discontinuing their support of SHA-1 and are switching over to the SHA-2 encryption method by January 1, ...
Posted in: Web Development, Website Hosting by Tony Reynolds on November 11, 2015
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 ...
Posted in: General by Jon Ballard on November 10, 2015
Google Targets Wix Websites For SEO
If you have ever used a "build your own website" platform, then you have probably heard of Wix. Wix is one of the larger companies in the field, and Google has just dealt a serious blow to them.
In the age of the internet, every company needs a website. This is why companies like Wix and GoDaddy have jumped into website building with "build it yourself" platforms. For some companies, they have been a great tool. You can build your own, albeit limited, website at very little cost (except your time of course). This has been attractive for many that don't want to spend much on a website. However, there are some major problems with these platforms.
The web has become a complex place. In addition to how a website looks, you must now pay attention to its architecture for search engine friendliness. Many of the "build it yourself" website platforms are built on proprietary technology ...
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization, Web Development by Online Marketing Team on October 28, 2015
Checklist: How To Optimize Your Home Page for SEO
It goes without saying that the home page of a website is the most important page, (but since this is the opening sentence of our blog this week, we're going to say it anyway). However, it can be difficult and time-consuming to determine how to optimize the home page of your site for today's search engines. Which is why, as experts in our industry, we've put together a short list of best practices that will help evaluate the effectiveness of your home page, and guide you through the optimization process.
Your home page is naturally going to rank well for branded keywords, (i.e. our home page ranks well for the term "Foremost Media"). Since this is the case, you will want to focus on optimizing the other pages of your site for keywords that are specific to your products and services. For example, if your site has a social media marketing page, that page ...
Posted in: General, Search Engine Optimization by User on October 21, 2015
Do You Know How To Get Backlinks From News Sites To Boost Your SEO? You Should!
Backlinks have always been known to be a big part in SEO and they still play a major role in determining your rankings and the amount of traffic your site gets from search engines.
Keep in mind some backlinks are better than others. When figuring out how to get more backlinks, make sure that you are focusing on getting links from places that make sense. A recent study by Moz suggested that sites that have more links from "news" sites get more search traffic. Here is our advice on how to create "newsworthy" content and get news sites to publish it.
We suggest using the following methods to get a backlink from a news site:
Publish Press Releases
Subscribe to Help A Reporter Out
Engage in Industry Forums
Blog About Current Events
As a part of our regular SEO plan here at Foremost Media, we help businesses create press releases to help promote news within their companies. Some common things ...
Posted in: Inbound Marketing, Search Engine Optimization by User on September 24, 2015
Social Media Does Not Help Your SEO
I hear a lot of sales people always telling business owners that social media helps their SEO. Does it? It CAN, but most of the time it won't. Let me explain.
SEO, or search engine optimization, has become very technical in recent years. There are hundreds of ranking factors that search engines use to determine where to rank your website, and social media qualities are not one of them. Google is the largest search engine, and the only one for the most part that ever communicates anything about its ranking signals. Three months ago at SMX Advanced, Gary Illyes from Google told us that social signals are not used at all as a ranking signal and that they would not be for the foreseeable future. In order to understand why this is, we must walk through 5 years of Google History and understand the technical aspects of social media and how it relates to SEO.
Posted in: Local SEO, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media by Online Marketing Team on September 1, 2015
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
Web Designer VS Web Developer: What's The Difference? [Infographic]
Companies looking for a website or a redesign of their existing site may become confused when the terms "Web Designer" and "Web Developer" get thrown out there.
Website design firms generally have dedicated designers that are able to tap into their creative energy to create the overall look and layout of a site. The designer then hands over the design files to a developer who builds everything from the ground up, keeping a website's experience on the cutting edge. Together, web designers and developers are working towards one goal - to produce a clean, fully functioning site that works in all browsers and devices.
To help understand the difference between a Web Designer vs a Web Developer, Foremost Media has created an infographic that breaks it all down.
What are my next Steps?
SEO For Businesses Website Development Conversion Rate Optimization Marketing Automation Digital Success Stories
Posted in: Web Development by Online Marketing Team on August 19, 2015
7 Ways To Optimize Your Link Building And SEO With Twitter
We all know how important links are, especially for commercial websites. The problem is, sometimes we overlook the most obvious places to get them.
Twitter is an incredibly huge platform full of people who share in the same interests. Which means, it is an excellent opportunity for quality link building! Here are the top 7 ways to utilize Twitter for SEO to strengthen your backlink profile.
1) Take advantage of obvious connections.
Twitter makes it easy to find industry leaders and influencers in any market. The key is to observe these people and pay attention to the content they share. Tweet at them and begin to build a conversation. Over time, this turns into a connection and before you know it, a link back to your site! Acquiring links happens by making friends or making news. Utilize current relationships to build quick links and discover who your competitors are.
2) Draw them in with content.
Build a list of ...
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization, Social Media by Online Marketing Team on August 6, 2015
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 estimated hourly basis to ensure you are getting what ...
Posted in: General, Web Development, Website Hosting by Jon Ballard on July 14, 2015
Update Your Business Hours NOW: Another Google Change
It may seem obvious that online business hours need to be up-to-date. However, Google has recently given local business another reason to keep their online hours updated. According to a recent article written by Barry Schwartz, Google is now notifying online searchers that they will not have enough time to get to a business before it closes.
Here's an example of the message that will be showing users.
The business hours that Google shows are pulled in from your business' Google+ page. If you already have a Google+ page, make sure that you have your hours up-to-date so you do not lose out on potential customers. If you do not currently have a Google+ page, create one and make sure you list your current store hours.
What are my next Steps?
SEO For Businesses Website Development Conversion Rate Optimization Marketing Automation Digital Success Stories
Posted in: Local SEO, Search Engine Optimization by User on June 18, 2015
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