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
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
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 ...
Posted in: Conversion Rate Optimization, General, Online Advertising, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, Social Media by John Anderson on April 19, 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
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):
Why Use Them?
Failure to append UTM tags to hyperlinks will do more than simply hinder your ability to do effective campaign ...
Posted in: Conversion Rate Optimization, General, Inbound Marketing, Online Advertising, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, Social Media by John Anderson on December 3, 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
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
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
Get the most out of your YouTube videos.
Big reasons why you should do Video SEO. Did you know that Google Search results are showing more and more videos on the first page? People are spending more and more time watching video.
There are many components to YouTube SEO. Some of these main components are the title, description and tags and a few more we talk about below.
Titles are very important as this is what the user sees. Titles need to be descriptive to catch the user’s attention and get them to click on your video. The title also needs to have the keywords that you are trying to get the video to be found for. So if someone is searching for “YouTube SEO” having those two keywords in your title will help you to get your video to be found for this.
The description character limit is 5000 characters. Now while only the first 100-150 characters will be shown initially the rest ...
Posted in: General, Search Engine Optimization by John Anderson on June 1, 2018
Business Description returns to Google
Two years ago, Google decided to drop the ability for businesses to edit the business description field in its Google My Business listings. Well, you actually could edit it, but it was such a complicated series of steps that many business owners just didn’t bother.
Now it’s “Description From the Business”
This is a great addition to the SEO ranking portfolio that businesses can take advantage of – and if you aren’t taking advantage of your opportunities, the ranking-savvy staff at Foremost Media is standing by to help you out.
But back to the description – the new description block will show up on business listings when your business appears in a Google search. This is different than the Google block of editorial copy that shows up as a summary at the top of the knowledge panels and the map listing, so it’s a new opportunity.
And it’s important to note that by conservative estimates, Google has more than ...
Posted in: General, Search Engine Optimization, SEO by Stephen Cardwell on May 23, 2018
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
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
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
Show Your Story, Gain Customers: How using video can hook more customers
When you think videos on the internet, you think cats. I can’t blame you, it’s what the creators of the internet intended. But what if I told you that video could also be used for marketing on your website? What if you used video to tell a story instead of sell facts and products? Commercials are one thing, hooking the customer and keeping them is another. Video represents a huge chunk of the internet, right around 74%. YouTube itself is the second largest search engine on the internet behind Google. 76% of marketers have said that video has had a direct impact on their business. But, there is a strategy to video and I’m going to break it down by telling you about three different styles of videos. Also, I’ll give some basic “dos and don’ts” when it comes to video on a web page from a marketing standpoint.
The first thing to remember is ...
Posted in: General, Online Advertising by Online Marketing Team on July 20, 2017
What Featured Snippets Mean for Your Ranking: Good for the user, bad for traffic?
What is a featured snippet?
Ironically enough, “What is a featured snippet?” is answered in a featured snippet. A featured snippet is an answer, or summary of an answer, to a user’s query that appears at the top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP). It is an outlined box with the answer and a link to the source site. With the answer to your query right there, why click through to the site? This is where it is helpful to the user, but might hurt the click through rate (CTR) of the site.
Studies have shown that 38% of desktop users do not click on results in their SERPs because they found the answer to their query in a featured snippet. On mobile, this number is 57%. That is a significant amount of traffic that could be on your site.
One of the hardest hit categories by the featured snippet is weather related sites. When you ...
Posted in: General, Search Engine Optimization by Online Marketing Team on July 18, 2017
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.
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
How to Write Content For Your Manufacturing Website to Increase Conversions
As the convenience and popularity of search engines continues to grow, your company’s website is the first impression prospective customers get of your organization. Making sure your company’s website features an appealing design and layout is important, but aren’t the only aspects you need to consider when designing your manufacturing website. After all, your website needs to be more than just appealing. Your website needs to convert.
Today’s manufacturers know that their website needs good content in order to convert, but most aren’t sure of the type of content they should include on their website, or how to write content that generates conversions. To write web content that converts, you must:
Define your call-to-action.
Clearly define the action you want your website visitors to take. Do you want users to fill out and submit a request a quote form, request samples, make a purchase directly from your website, etc.? After defining your conversion action, write content that ...
Posted in: General, Inbound Marketing, Web Development by Online Marketing Team on July 27, 2016
Video Killed The Radio Marketer Video Marketing Strategies That Convert
There are many stats that support the rising popularity of online video streaming. A recent Cisco Visual Networking study predicts that global “consumer internet video traffic will be 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic in 2019." But that does not mean digital marketers should only focus on video content. After all, a large portion of the consumer internet traffic increase will come from viral cat videos, and video streaming services such as Apple TV, Hulu, and Netflix.
So how should today’s digital marketers respond to the increase of consumer internet video traffic? By making sure the video content they create is:
Personalized: Users who watch your videos want to know more about your company, so be yourself, have fun, and let your company culture shine through its video content. Studies show that users want to watch a video before they buy. Your video should tell ...
Posted in: General, Search Engine Optimization by on June 30, 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 ...
Posted in: General, Social Media by Online Marketing Team on May 6, 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 ...
Posted in: General, Search Engine Optimization, Web Development by Online Marketing Team on March 29, 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
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
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
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 on October 21, 2015