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It’s hard to imagine a business today that doesn’t have social media for its customer base. Whether you’re an independent candlemaker working out of your apartment in a suburb or an international corporation with employees numbering in the hundreds of thousands, you need social media. Social media isn’t just how a business gets noticed, it’s how a business thrives in a global market that’s constantly in flux.

Creating trending content that’s fresh and relevant can bring in higher interactions with both returning and potential followers of your brand and is an essential tool for long-term success. However, going a step further by paying close attention to your analytics can be an immeasurable asset to your return on investment (ROI).

Reviewing analytics is the key to gaining a quantifiable understanding of your business’ marketing strengths and needs. Remain a step ahead of your competitors by studying traffic patterns, trending searches, and the daily interactions of your followers. You’ll discover how to influence their purchasing decisions and anticipate trending patterns more effectively. Not only will your analytics help you to create more engaging content, it will lead to more financial freedom for your business to grow!

Not quite sure where to begin? Here at Komaya, we’ve discussed best SEO practices, why social media matters for today’s businesses, and making your social media extra engaging. We take pride in customizing strategies to improve the web presence and marketing reach for our clientele because making the most of a business’ online presence is what we do best. Here are 3 tips for finding out if your social media account is performing like it should be:

1. Learn Which Analytics Program Fits Your Needs

Google Analytics is the most popular resource for studying website and social media traffic and trending patterns, but some social media platforms already have Analytics built-in. Do your homework and find out which social media platforms and corresponding Analytics are best for collecting data towards your marketing goals. For example, if you have a WordPress blog for your independent clothing brand that’s less than a month old and an Instagram account that’s six months old, use your Instagram account and Instagram Insights as an Analytics springboard. For further reading, you can check out this comprehensive list of “Instagram Analytics Tools” by Fergus Baird (Hootsuite). The list begins at the halfway mark and summarizes each Analytics program’s pros and cons.

2. Create Your Analytics Priority List

It’s easy (and totally expected) to be initially overwhelmed by the concept of analytics. The terminology and principles of such extensive data collection can be intimidating. However, to echo point 4 of our blog post, 4 Time-saving Tips for Marketing Your Business, “Measure Only What Matters.” Is your priority to focus on bringing more traffic to your new website? Would you like to compare still photography versus Boomerang interactions on Instagram? Maybe you’re trying to decipher the best time to post on your public figure page on Facebook. The more specific and organized you are about the data you wish to collect, the better you’ll be at prioritizing your time to do so.

3. Let It Go

Last but not least, use analytics to compare different social media platforms and determine which ones rank highest in engagement with your followers. This is an excellent way to not only prioritize data collection but to also achieve your marketing goals more efficiently. You can always reintroduce social media platforms that didn’t make the cut in the future—or not! Once you’ve taken a proper inventory of which social media promotion strategies best serve your business, you can move forward with the knowledge and confidence you need to be exemplary of the adage, “Quality over Quantity.”

Analytics will increase your business’ ability to more effectively anticipate trending patterns and interactions, as well as influence the purchasing decisions of your followers, all while inspiring trust and loyalty to your brand. Should you have any questions about how Komaya can help you achieve your business marketing goals, read more on what we do or just contact us today!

Are you designing your website with SEO in mind?

If you are a business owner that has a strong desire to grow your business, then odds are you know what SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is and how it can help you generate more revenue. But, is your website built for SEO? SEO helps make your business visible when potential customers use certain keywords and terms in various search engines.  If used effectively, then your company name is going to be among the first that pops up when customers do a search for a product or service your company provides.

There is no doubt that SEO is an important tool to guide people to your virtual doorstep. However, are you sure you are giving them all the necessary “directions” so that they can find the correct address? You can’t just plug in some words and pray. In an article for NBCNews, SEO consultant Chloe Spencer lays it out, “you can’t simply create a website, whip up some content, and then sit back expecting to get ranked in the search engines.” Your website is your beacon to lead people to your business. Think of it like your lighthouse, guiding ships in and leading them in the right direction. If the light in a lighthouse burns out, then ships get lost, crash, or well, you get the picture. This concept also applies to your website. If your website has a virtual “burn out,” or in other words, becomes outdated or not optimally designed, then your customers get lost and head out in the wrong direction.

It is no surprise in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world that web marketing is a big factor in a company’s exposure to the masses. However, you need to make sure your web content is matching this pace. You should always be updating and analyzing your website to make sure it is doing everything it can to work for YOU. The main thing is to make sure your website is designed in a way that will work with SEO to bring the right people to your front door. The words you use need to be optimized to work with today’s search engines.

Not sure what people are plugging into those search engines? Then you need to do your research. There are numerous apps and sites available to help you analyze keywords, identify what words people are using when they search for certain things online, and track your success, or lack thereof, with keywords you have used in the past. For example, the free keyword tools found at WordStream can help you track how your landing pages compare to the competition and give you perspective on how the content of your website is working at leading people to you.

Everything, and I do mean everything, about your website should be designed with SEO in mind. Not just the content and the title, but your URL and even the way your site is structured, will have an effect on how your website lands in the search list. You mustn’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to the layout and material within your site.

Knowledge is power. When you arm yourself with the “know how” of how to create a successful SEO fueled website you take a crucial step in making your business more visible. When the visibility of your business increases, it stands to reason that your customer base will increase along with it. So what should you do?

Here are a few do’s and don’ts of SEO best practices to get you moving in the right direction:

  1. What’s in a Name? — Everything! Choose your domain name very carefully and make sure it includes the main keyword you want to rank, is easy to remember and is relevant to your business. If the name you are hoping for is not available, keep these factors in mind when choosing your plan B. Don’t use a domain name that is confusing, has nothing to do with your business or is nondescript. This will not do you any favors when it comes to people locating your business or remembering your business.
  2. Do Your Research. — As I mentioned before, knowing is half the battle. Make sure you have a clear idea of what keywords work, which are dead and which ones are leading people to your competitors. Take this data and use it to effectively incorporate the right keywords throughout your site, and across multiple pages. Don’t work against yourself. Make sure you have a unique target word for each individual page.
  3. Have a Plan. — Map out your site. Think of your website as a pyramid – your homepage on the top and everything flowing down, starting with your most important pages. You want to make sure that your site is laid out in a way that leads visitors easily to your main pages and makes it easy to navigate between them once they are on your site. Don’t go willy nilly with your website and end up with visitors that become frustrated because they cannot find what they are looking for. When a customer wants a simple answer they also want a simple way to find it.
  4. Understand Your URL. Don’t neglect your URL. Understand how important it is for your URL to reflect your website and lead people to you. The structure of your URL is essential. The web hosting service, HostGator, explains that “The URL is one of the most important parts of the page Google looks at to determine what a page is about.”  Make sure your URL references what is on a specific page. Don’t cram a bunch of keywords into your URL, run words together (instead use hyphens to separate) or have disconnects between your URL and what is on the webpage.
  5. A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words. Well, it’s only worth what you put into it. Make sure the images you use on your website are also optimized for SEO. Design the name of your image to include your target keyword and make sure the alt text includes your keywords as well. Again it’s about making sure everything on your website is designed with SEO in mind – so this includes all of your images. Don’t throw pictures onto your site just to fill space or be “eye-catching.” They have to work, too. So don’t miss an opportunity to use your images as optimizers for your site.

Just like everything in the world of technology and business, SEO has many different factors and is always changing. It is important as a business owner to stay abreast of these changes and make edits when necessary. I hope you will continue to familiarize yourself with the important ways in which SEO can work for you and your business, and how the right web design can make all the difference. If you aren’t sure if your website is effective or not — we can offer you a free website review to identify key changes that you might want to make.

Make sure to check out our other blogs for ideas on how to effectively market your business and build your web presence.

Why knowing and understanding your customer is essential to effective marketing

We have looked at why it is important for your customer to understand your business in a previous blog. Makes sense, right? How can you expect to attract customers if they don’t understand what you do and are not sure if they need your product or service? Likewise, do you know your customer? How can you expect to reach your customers if you don’t know who they are or where to find them?

To create and run an effective marketing strategy it is essential to know your target customers. Enterprenuer.com defines target customers as “a specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services”.  Let’s pull two key words from this definition and put them together to help focus your marketing plan – specific aim.

First, make sure to identify the specific group of customers that you are trying to attract to your business. Are they millennials? Women over 40? Teens? You get the picture. Even once you know the group of consumers your product and/or service is geared towards, it can remain a pretty large group. Remember, we want “specific”. What are ways in which you can narrow down the vast number of consumers to a more focused target group?

There are a couple of things to consider when it comes to knowing your customer

Know Thyself

You know your product or service better than anyone, so who do you think is going to use it most? Think about your product and what it does. What is it used for the most often? How is it used? Where is it used? Take your answers to these questions and use them to assess who needs this product and/or service the most? Consider multiple factors like age, gender, marital status, income bracket, etc. when narrowing down your answer. For example, a working mother of four children is going to have very different needs than a young bachelor that enjoys the single life.

What does your product do? Who is going to have the strongest need for your product? For example, a teenager is probably not going to have much interest in an upright vacuum with steam clean technology, but that mother of four? Big difference. Identify the specific need that your product or service answers and then match it to the group of consumers that possess that need. Start out with a broad spectrum, and then narrow it down until you reach your particular niche of consumers. This is referred to as the “funnel approach” which is suggested by Chuck Cohn in his article for Forbes. He uses the example of starting with gender, then narrowing it down to an age group within that gender, and then narrowing it down even further by income bracket to arrive at a more focused target group of consumers.

Look Around

Take note of other businesses that offer similar products and/or services to yours. Who are their customers? What demographic tends to use their service or product? This can provide valuable insight as to who your target group will be. And can help you figure out some ways to make your business stand out against the competition.

Look within your own network as well. What do your friends and family of varying ages and backgrounds like to do? What sorts of products do they use? Ask them questions about why they use the product and what they like about it. Find out what they are drawn to when they see different marketing plans for the product. Use their answers to help you develop your own marketing plan for your product.

Analyze

Conduct a market analysis for your business, suggested by Mike Kappel. Go back to the basics of information gathering- who, what, when, where, why and how. Look for the answers to these questions to help you narrow down the majority of consumers to your target audience. Know who your potential customers are, what they like to do, when they are most likely to see your marketing and purchase your product, where are they located, why do they purchase from you (or someone else) and then, based on all of these answers – how can you best reach them

This “how” is important. Once you have identified who it is you are directing your business towards, you need to understand them. The only way to successfully create a marketing strategy that works is to design and develop your marketing tools in a way that will speak to your target customers. You need to learn what makes them tick, what catches their eye and what is important to them in the products and services they purchase. Once you have an understanding of your customer you can effectively aim your marketing in their direction.

Get to know your target group’s interests, hobbies and how they like to shop. Take note of things that will help direct your marketing strategy. Does your target group listen to the radio? Spend a ton of time on the internet or watching TV? Do they go on social media? It will do you no good, for example, to center a marketing campaign around social media if your target group does not spend a lot of their time on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. On the other hand, if your target group are young consumers that are always on the go, then social media and internet-based advertising could be very powerful.

All in all, knowing your target customer group and then understanding them is a key factor in determining the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. I hope this has helped give you some ideas of what to look for as you bring more focus to your target group of customers and work on developing your marketing plan to specifically aim your product and/or service to them. Make sure to check out our other blogs for ideas on how to brand and market your business and build your web presence. Wishing you many happy and satisfied customers!

It’s hard to imagine a business today that doesn’t have social media for its customer base. Whether you’re an independent candlemaker working out of your apartment in a suburb or an international corporation with employees numbering in the hundreds of thousands, you need social media. Social media isn’t just how a business gets noticed, it’s how a business thrives in a global market that’s constantly in flux.

Creating trending content that’s fresh and relevant can bring in higher interactions with both returning and potential followers of your brand and is an essential tool for long-term success. However, going a step further by paying close attention to your analytics can be an immeasurable asset to your return on investment (ROI).

Reviewing analytics is the key to gaining a quantifiable understanding of your business’ marketing strengths and needs. Remain a step ahead of your competitors by studying traffic patterns, trending searches, and the daily interactions of your followers. You’ll discover how to influence their purchasing decisions and anticipate trending patterns more effectively. Not only will your analytics help you to create more engaging content, it will lead to more financial freedom for your business to grow!

Not quite sure where to begin? Here at Komaya, we’ve discussed best SEO practices, why social media matters for today’s businesses, and making your social media extra engaging. We take pride in customizing strategies to improve the web presence and marketing reach for our clientele because making the most of a business’ online presence is what we do best. Here are 3 tips for finding out if your social media account is performing like it should be:

1. Learn Which Analytics Program Fits Your Needs

Google Analytics is the most popular resource for studying website and social media traffic and trending patterns, but some social media platforms already have Analytics built-in. Do your homework and find out which social media platforms and corresponding Analytics are best for collecting data towards your marketing goals. For example, if you have a WordPress blog for your independent clothing brand that’s less than a month old and an Instagram account that’s six months old, use your Instagram account and Instagram Insights as an Analytics springboard. For further reading, you can check out this comprehensive list of “Instagram Analytics Tools” by Fergus Baird (Hootsuite). The list begins at the halfway mark and summarizes each Analytics program’s pros and cons.

2. Create Your Analytics Priority List

It’s easy (and totally expected) to be initially overwhelmed by the concept of analytics. The terminology and principles of such extensive data collection can be intimidating. However, to echo point 4 of our blog post, 4 Time-saving Tips for Marketing Your Business, “Measure Only What Matters.” Is your priority to focus on bringing more traffic to your new website? Would you like to compare still photography versus Boomerang interactions on Instagram? Maybe you’re trying to decipher the best time to post on your public figure page on Facebook. The more specific and organized you are about the data you wish to collect, the better you’ll be at prioritizing your time to do so.

3. Let It Go

Last but not least, use analytics to compare different social media platforms and determine which ones rank highest in engagement with your followers. This is an excellent way to not only prioritize data collection but to also achieve your marketing goals more efficiently. You can always reintroduce social media platforms that didn’t make the cut in the future—or not! Once you’ve taken a proper inventory of which social media promotion strategies best serve your business, you can move forward with the knowledge and confidence you need to be exemplary of the adage, “Quality over Quantity.”

Analytics will increase your business’ ability to more effectively anticipate trending patterns and interactions, as well as influence the purchasing decisions of your followers, all while inspiring trust and loyalty to your brand. Should you have any questions about how Komaya can help you achieve your business marketing goals, read more on what we do or just contact us today!

Original article published at Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) July 9, 2018.

Tips for a Powerful Web Presence

I recently gave a talk to a group of entrepreneurs on what it takes to have an effective web presence in today’s market. The topic generated a lot of interest, so I thought it would be helpful to share it with a broader audience. In a nutshell, I will be covering four focus areas that are vital for your web presence.

No one can deny that having an effective web presence is key to the success of today’s business. I have discovered that this requires using a holistic approach. It’s not enough to just build a website, it’s not even enough to have search engines crawl your website, it is not enough to pour money into paid advertising campaigns, and it’s not enough to just create some social media accounts. They all need to work together to promote your brand and realize your business goals.

THE PROBLEM: A couple of years back, I was in my previous company office and the Marketing Director called us all and proudly said – “We got approval to spend $120,000 for website redesign and separately another $30,000 for online advisements.” I looked at this approach and thought to myself – what a waste of money! It wasn’t a Holistic Solution, it was what I call “a Webpocalypse.”

The company thought they were not effective on the internet because the website needed a redesign, or that a few ads might turn more people into clients. They used different agencies for each initiative; this is what I call a piece-meal approach.

To me, in the web world, these are the Four Horsemen of the Webpocalypse — Website, SEO, Paid Keywords, and Social Media.  You need to tame all these horses in order to have a sophisticated web presence that goes beyond the status quo.

First Horsemen of the Webpocalypse: The Website

“Conquest” – to me, in the web arena, is your Website. You build it, you launch it, and you are ready to conquer the world. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Will your website experience stick positively in the minds of the users?
  • Do each of your pages tell a story? – Will your customers engage and be able to relate to their own emotions?
  • Is your website content optimized for search discovery?
  • What about the mobile experience? More and more people are using their mobile devices to do business.
  • Is your website running processes efficiently behind the scenes? How easy is it for your website content to be kept fresh and relevant?
  • Is it sitting on a secure platform? It is vital to protect your key web assets – your domain and your website host. Here’s an article that shows how a particular website host, WP Engine, prevents millions (yes, millions) of attacks each month for their customers. At Komaya, we ourselves recommend such host for our customers. Make sure your site is protected.

It’s not all about the website looking good, it needs to stick in the minds of the people who visit. It should have a great user experience, not just by aesthetics, but by functionality, and a feeling that they are invited.  Additionally, your website should be easy to maintain and update, empowering your marketing team to promote events, launch new campaigns, and instantly react to changing markets. If website content updates can only be done by a developer, the inherent latency can result in missed opportunities in connecting with potential clients.

Second Horseman of the Webpocalypse: SEO

“War” – to me, in the web world, is SEO, the war of search engines and the fight for your website to climb to the top of their results. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Are all of your web pages ready for the current demand of today’s search engines? What sets your page apart from every other website on the internet? Why would your page climb up the SEO ladder?
  • Have you considered search engine spaces such as Google’s Knowledge Graphs?
  • What about other search channels? Is your web presence dependent upon a couple of search engines, or are you also showing up on the other platforms that people use to search for businesses?
  • By the way, are you for any reason still using Meta Keywords on your web pages? This technique is a bit dated and not effective with today’s highly sophisticated search engines.

SEO is not all about just putting the right keywords on your web pages. Yes, it is very important to consider context and industry-specific keywords when you are writing web page content, but also to understand that there are other aspects to consider, such as Knowledge Graph technology, that you have access to. Is your web page ready to show up in that Q&A type of result that you have seen on Google? Do you make use of all the real-estate that Google has given you by utilizing the Post Knowledge Graph feature when you have an upcoming event or announcement?

Third Horseman of the Webpocalypse: Paid Keywords and Ads

“Famine” – to me, in the web world, is the Paid Keywords and Advertisements. This is the wasted money spent on under-researched advertisements and simply, the wrong keywords. We have seen many companies and their marketing team’s frustrations and wasted resources, month-after-month, with negligible to even nil outcomes. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Are you spending too much for premium keywords, or conversely, not spending on advertisements at all?
  • Have you researched the keywords that your potential customers are searching on, or did you consider the niche your company is in? Check out Google Trends to discover search trends for your products and services.
  • Are these same keywords also reflected throughout your website content and SEO optimizations?

We have seen both extremes that have brought famine to a business’s online presence. Some companies put in enormous amounts of money into extremely competitive keywords that cost very high dollars on each click. In turn, this results in them concluding that online advertisements are too competitive and not very cost-effective.

On the other side of the spectrum, some companies think they do not need online advertisements at all – the internet will just discover and come to them on their own. Yes, some extremely niche companies may have a different agenda for reaching their target audience, but unless you are like Tesla with no advertising needed to-date, you should probably include an ad strategy in your integrated marketing plan. Have you thought about why Coke, Macy’s, Lincoln, or just about any successful company advertises? We find it’s usually best to utilize both an organic search and paid advertising strategy mix for reaching your target audience.

Fourth Horseman of Webpocalypse: Social Media

“Death” – to me, in the web world, represents Social Media. Why the comparison with this horseman? We see so many entrepreneurs and companies create social media accounts, but after just a few posts go silent, deathly silent. The Pale Horse of the Apocalypse took over. We at Komaya call this as lacking the social heartbeat.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Have you contemplated having a social media audit done for your company? What is your current state? How strong or weak is your social heartbeat?
  • Does your branding and website look-and-feel carryover into your social media account profiles and imagery? The user should instantly feel comfortable and identify that they are in the right place.
  • Have you conducted any industry research on which social media channels are appropriate for your company? More so, what channels you shouldn’t even be creating accounts on?
  • What channels are your customers and competitors using? Why Facebook, why Twitter? Is there a specific reason the audience is extremely active on one versus the other?
  • Have you identified what channels the Influencers & Experts in your company’s niche are using? Do you follow and interact with them? This will not only help you figure out which social channels you should be active in, the Influencers may just happen to mention your company to their followers.

There are many other considerations such as what time of the day you should post, the days of the week that your potential customers are likely to be using that particular social media channel, etc. Are you following the “rule of fourths” when posting on social media? It used to be the rule of thirds – one-third of your posts are about your company products and services, one-third you share helpful tips, and one-third you share an industry experts’ posts. But now, the fourth rule has come into the picture – customer support. If you look around, companies like 1800flowers, Zappos, Walmart, are directly providing real-time support to their customers over social media building confidence, trust, and solving issues with minimal delay.

THE SOLUTION: As a start-up or emerging business, consider stepping into today’s internet world with a holistic web presence strategy.  Just a website or a piecemeal approach can likely slow down your business growth potential. All the aspects discussed need to work together to tame the horses and effectively market, attract, and engage your target audience.