The first week in August is National Simplify Your Life Week, a week to get organized and de-clutter for a more stress-free lifestyle. Negative clutter can invade every area of your life—not just your closets. Relationships, finances, kids, jobs, health and spiritual well-being are all adversely impacted by the unnecessary and harmful stuff we accumulate and hold onto. With crazy schedules and growing responsibilities, we are all looking for ways to simplify our lives.
Here are six top tips to 'simplify your life':
At Crawford Designs, our motto has always been, "Keeping it simple. Web. Graphics. Print." We know that these three areas of marketing are definitely not simple, but if you have a game plan, everything falls right into place. Let us help you simplify your marketing. Contact us today for a free consultation on your upcoming web and print projects.
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Ask yourself these questions:
Why Keywords Are Important
The nuts and bolts of SEO marketing are keywords. They are important for one reason and one reason only. They allow businesses who seek search engine rankings to target their rankings by using the correct language.
If you think about it, this is what good marketing has always done. Marketers deploy language for the purpose of persuasion. They hope to get their target audience to think about things by using the correct language and getting them to think and take action. SEOs do this using a specific type of language that is intended for two audiences.
The first audience is the human audience. You want your online content to speak to your human target audience in a way that your human audience takes action. That action, you hope, is to do business with you.
Your second audience is the search engines. Or their spiders. Search engine spiders are computer programs that crawl the Web through links and analyze the content on the pages. Today's search engine spiders are very sophisticated compared to the spiders of fifteen or twenty years ago. They analyze keywords, links, images, and a host of other on-page and off-page factors to determine the rankings of web pages for specific key phrases.
Because search engines have a ranking system, search engine optimizers try to target their content to the spiders in order to influence them on that ranking system. The goal is to increase their chances at getting good rankings.
Keywords are the nuts and bolts, the basic building fundamentals, of good SEO. If you want to rank well, start with good keyword research.
If you have a small business and you're wondering where to start in terms of marketing your business online, I've uncovered at least 15 places online you can start marketing your business. Here are the 15 best online marketing channels for small businesses. Try them all and see which ones work best for you.
These are not all the online marketing channels you have, but they are some of the best ones for new businesses. I encourage you to check 'em out.
Talk to some online marketers and SEO is everything. Talk to others and they know nothing about it. My philosophy is somewhere in the middle.
I think SEO is important. It isn't everything, but it is important.
Let's look at domain names, for instance. Many successful online companies have built solid brands without keyword-based domain names. Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, Bing, eBay, Facebook ... just to name a few. Have you noticed that all of these companies are in the top 10 most trafficked websites online? Facebook is No. 1 and Google is No. 2.
That's not to say that these websites aren't SEOd. They have certainly considered SEO in their overall marketing plan online, but they don't put SEO as the point to emphasize against all other points. There is something to be said for branding as well.
When you build your online presence, think about SEO, but don't think about just SEO. Think about your overall marketing goals and how SEO can fit into that.
E-mail, Blogs, Or Social Media?
Here in Adams County, there are still small business owners who think that Internet marketing doesn't apply to them. But there are a growing number of small business owners who are taking an interest in online marketing. And they're starting to ask questions.
Which is more important - blogs, e-mail marketing, or social media?
That's a good question, but the answer isn't so simple. All three have their places and to what degree you engage through each channel depends on your own marketing goals, the type of business you own, and where your audience is. In many cases, a good mix of all three is the best approach.
E-mail marketing is a mainstay of online marketing. It was an early channel and is still strong. I highly recommend an e-mail strategy for most businesses - especially retail businesses.
Blogs are good marketing tools for a number of reasons. First, the search engine optimization benefits are incredible. Secondly, there are the huge branding opportunities available for serious business bloggers. Then there are the social benefits involved in having a blog that is highly trafficked and elicits a lot of direct reader feedback.
Finally, social media is good for building relationships and driving traffic back to your own Web properties.
Which of these tools is right for you? Maybe we should talk about it. Give me a call and I'll consult with you on a strategy that makes sense for your business.
For all that we hear about online marketing - and I agree that it is becoming more and more essential every day - there is still a place for traditional marketing and high class print design.
Print design - what is it?
If you've ever used or have seen brochures, flyers, business cards, billboards, newsprint ads, etc., then you've seen print design in action. Someone had to design those marketing materials. Logos, which you use for your print marketing collateral as well as your online marketing materials, are usually created by a graphic design expert. Most graphic designers built their skills on print design projects and then later applied them to online marketing strategies.
The best marketing today is an effective integrated strategy involving online marketing tactics alongside print design and traditional marketing methods. That includes, but is not limited to, having a website, a set of business cards, brochures, letterhead and envelopes, online display ads and pay-per-click advertising, a newsletter (maybe a print edition as well as an e-mail edition), and more. When you incorporate print design into your overall marketing strategy, you are saying to the world, "I still operate in the real world; I'm as brick and mortar as you are."
When planning your next marketing strategy, don't leave out print design.
With so many businesses interested in Internet marketing, is traditional marketing still effective? With so many consumers looking online for the services and products they are interested in, is traditional marketing still worth pursuing?
I wouldn't abandon traditional marketing just yet. There are some very good reasons to continue using the methods of reaching customers that you have always used. But in today's business climate, you must use some wisdom in determining which mix of traditional marketing tactics and Internet marketing tactics for your overall marketing strategy.
Yellow Pages - I'd say they're out. People use their cell phones and online sources to find phone numbers and addresses these days. Even in Adams County, Pa.
How about brochures and business cards? If you meet people face to face, then I'd say these are still useful.
Traditional marketing has not gone by the wayside. Just because you are now using a website doesn't mean that you should abandon every form of traditional marketing you have used. Radio and TV still have their places. In fact, if you have a traditional marketing method that is still effective for your business, then you should use it. But don't be afraid to replace the older methods that no longer work with more viable online strategies.
How Do You Promote Your Blog?
When it comes to promoting a website online, and that includes a blog, there are more than one way to skin a cat. In fact, there are more than a dozen ways.
For starters, you can add an RSS link to your blog, which encourages blog readers who know what that means to subscribe to your blog in their news reader. You can also add an e-mail subscription link, which does the same thing except that readers will receive updates by e-mail. You can promote your blog through various social media websites. Search engine optimization techniques are always nice. And the list goes on.
One of my favorite ways to promote a blog, however, is with a newsletter. If you start a new blog and post to your blog three days a week, you can promote your new blog to your existing clients through your newsletter. This works especially well if you have a loyal list of clients and a good list of their e-mail addresses. There is no substitute for a responsive list!
Blogging has become the 21st century promotional tool. E-mail marketing has become the new century's direct mail marketing. You can combine these two marketing tactics into one very powerful marketing strategy that not only drives traffic to your blog, but encourages interaction and closes sales. I highly recommend a blog promotion newsletter.