Social Media Platforms & Their Target Audiences Part 1

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Social media is a key form of marketing that many businesses are (and should be) taking advantage of. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, and Twitter allow your business to reach a wider audience. Let’s start with the original four social media platforms and their key audiences.

Facebook

Facebook these days tends to have a slighter older audience, thanks to the influx of baby boomers to the platform. While it is said that the younger generation, aka gen z, isn’t really on Facebook anymore, is only slightly true. They are still on it, but they don’t use it as much as they use the other platforms. However, the largest audience on Facebook is that millennial and gen x range of 25-34. Facebook skews slightly male and there are about 2.7 billion active users. Facebook tends to be the home base of social media, with everyone having one, even if they don’t use it all that often.

Instagram

Instagram is similar to Facebook in the fact that its largest audience group is the 25-34 range of millennials and gen x, but Instagram skews towards females. Instagram is now the second-largest network but is slowly and surely gaining even more of a following with a billion active users. Now that Facebook and Instagram share the same ad platform, running ads is even easier. Instagram is continuously adding new features to keep up with other platforms and trying to keep a tight hold on the even younger audiences in gen z. Instagram has also basically created the world of influencers.

Twitter

Thanks to memes, and well, certain celebrity tweets, Twitter has been brought back to reality from a slight hiatus. Twitter greatly skews towards males and has a higher age group with the majority being 30-49. Twitter is best used for quick updates, breaking news, and straight forwards facts. Twitter tends to yo-yo in popularity, at the moment there are 187 million active users.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the platform for networking professionals and because of this, takes the top spot as catering to the highest age group 46-55. Linked In is also evenly split between males and females and caters to higher educated individuals.

Those are the four of the social media marketing platforms, but they are certainly not the last. New social media platforms sprout and trend each year, some lasting and some not lasting, but all making an impression. Check out part two for four of the newer social media platforms and the way to reach those audiences.

How Can Increase Organic Traffic to my Site?

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When you have a business, it doesn’t always mean you have the capital to be putting out paid advertisements on a variety of difficult platforms. But don’t think it’s all doom and gloom if you can’t afford a banner ad, a Facebook campaign, or even a print ad. There are different ways to get organic traffic to your website, aka you can get free traffic to your site. How do you ask? Three little letters… SEO.

Here are a few tips to increase your organic website traffic:

Use keywords

There a lot of different tools out there to help you discover which keywords work best for your company by discovering what words people are searching for.

Continuously blog!

A blog is a perfect way to get information to your customers and enhance your website’s SEO. Blogs drive traffic to your site by using SEO tools such as keywords and backlinks. Plus, it allows your audiences to look forward to your next posing. You can even ask influential people in your field to guest blog on your site.

Remember your analytics

Use different analytical platforms, such as Google Analytics, to track your traffic. You will be able to see what customers do and don’t like and can adjust your website and content accordingly. Basically, you can increase your traffic by giving the people (your customers), what they want.

Creative quality content

Just because your keywords are on point, that doesn’t always mean automatic traffic. Your page has to look high-quality so that people stay on your site once they get there. If a viewer gets to your page and doesn’t like what they see, whether it’s because it is lacking well-produced content, photos, copy, or if it looks old, then they will drop off. When people drop off that can negatively affect your ranking.

Get on social media

Not only do you need to share your content on different social media platforms, but you also need to be active on social media in general. Make sure you are active in different ways in your designated community, whether if it’s by joining discussions, using hashtags, and/or by interacting with others in your field.

Now, this the basis of these topics. We can delve so much deeper into each and every one of these topics and then some. Increasing organic traffic to your website isn’t magic, it just takes some hard work and consistency.

Why Photography is Important in your Business

You may think photography may not be an important aspect of your business, but you’d be wrong. Photography can be a key aspect of your business to make you stand out. There are many reasons why photography can make your business even better, but the photos have to be legitimate, thought out, and have a purpose.

Build your brand

Photos can help build your brand and help people get to know you. There can be a somewhat theme to your business, or even give your brand a personality. Especially if your brand is super corporate, photos can give you the opportunity to make your business also feel fun and approachable.

It makes you look professional

Have you ever been to a website or even a physical store and have not seen a photograph? The answer is no… or at least not very likely. Photos not only bring a personality to your business, but it also makes it seem, well, real. It can also give your business a visual representation. It can show your business in action, your products, your employees, and more.

Stock vs. native photography

Stock photography is okay in certain situations. But not most. It is best if the photos are on brand, firsthand, and native. Native photos also give your business a professional edge, showing you are willing to go the extra step and get genuine photos from a photographer. It shows that you are willing to taking the time, effort, and even the cost, to make your business look perfect. Stock photos tend to look inauthentic and can make it look like you don’t care enough about your business to invest in real photos. However, quality stock photos come through in a pinch, especially if it’s something simple like a quick shot of someone driving or something at a computer, something that doesn’t directly relate to what you are trying to promote.

Displays your business

Photos are very important, especially when your business relies completely on them. For example, if you are selling products. If you are selling shoes and purses, it is critical that your product photography looks on point, so that people will want to buy it. Shoddy photos can really break your business because people won’t trust that your products are legitimate and are instead a scam.

In any case, the style of photography has to look professional and should be done by a professional. A quick snap with a finger in the frame or a blurry photo won’t do the trick. Good photography includes editing in posts to make it perfect. As simple as photography may seem, it’s not. It’s a skill that takes practice, precision, and a creative eye to get the job done. A website design company typically has a photographer on staff or has a referral process to send you in the right direction. Bottom line, don’t treat photography like it’s beneath you when it could actually bring you up.

WordPress .COM vs .ORG

WordPress is one of the most popular website platforms to get your business up and running. But what many novices don’t realize is that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two very different platforms. This is why it is always beneficial to work with an experienced website designer to pick the right platform for you and to help guide you and your business in the right direction.

Here are the key differences between .ORG and .COM

WordPress.ORG

WordPress.org is what some professionals would describe as the true WordPress. It is the one you imagine when you hear about it and it is open-sourced and free for anyone to use. WordPress.org is completely your site; you are in full control of all the fun features. You or a website designer can customize the site exactly to your needs. If you want to use a premium theme, you have that option as well.

Best of all, you can make money by running your own ads and collecting all the profits. You can use Google Analytics for tracking, you can have an online store that accepts credit card payments, and even have your own way of delivering the items. You have unlimited space, your own URL and you can utilize the use of plugins.

There are some cons when it comes to WordPress.org, but not many. First off, this version of WordPress is not for beginners and it’s best to work with a professional to get the job done, so it is important to add that into account when you are deciding on a budget. You will also need web hosting, where prices can vary and it will get more expensive the more pages you have. You will also be responsible for maintaining any updates and keeping track of all your backups.

WordPress.COM

WordPress.com is a little different, but the same concept. With this version, you don’t have to worry about hosting or maintaining your site. It can be free or you can get the upgraded version for a fee. This version also has more themes available, if you pay for it. You can also have e-commerce capabilities and remove ads… with the paid version. Basically, the paid version has all the bells and whistles, but you are limited with the free version.

However, like most things, WordPress.com, has some cons. The free version limits your data space and will also include ads and subdomain in the URL… Meaning your URL will look like this… mysitename.wordpress.com. So, for many people using the site for simple purposes like a nonprofessional blog, a portfolio or you are just testing the waters with a website, these cons may not bother you. However, for well-established businesses or other professionals looking to make a splash, these factors may truly be a con.

You also won’t be able to use plugins, which will make customizing your site even more difficult.

All in all, these two versions (three if you include the paid version of .com) suit different needs. Depending on the type of website you are looking for, the level you are looking to be at with your business, your website building knowledge, and your budget, you will have to make a pro-con list of your own to decide what you are in need of. No matter what, a professional designer will help you pick the one that suits you best.

The Six Best Email Marketing Platforms to Enhance your Business

So, you want to send some emails? That makes sense as email marketing is one of the most effective ways to bring traffic to your website and money to your business. Emails give you a way to connect with your audiences, can help target specific audiences, and are cost-effective. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that people are constantly checking their emails.

But you can’t just put any email out there. It has to be carefully planned, designed, and analyzed. It may sound scary, but a top-notch website designer will know what to do. But not only do you need a good website designer to help with the process, but the whole thing goes a lot more smoothly with an easy-to-use email marketing platform.

Here are six to get you started!

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is a template builder, that allows you to put together newsletters with an easy drag-and-drop process. Some templates are pre-made, but for the most part, it’s pretty simple to design yourself. Constant Contact also features an event management tool.

MailChimp

MailChimp is one of the more popular platforms. It features templates, third-party integrations, transactional emails, and even analytics. Bonus, you can start using it for free. Use it free until you have 2,000 subscribers! This is very helpful for new businesses.

Campaign Monitor

Another template builder, Campaign Monitor is newer on the market. What’s great about this platform is that you can exclude multiple segments and make advance rules before sending any email, making it super personalized. Plus, they offer great customer service and even work with third-party apps.

Listrak 

Listrak features an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor, as well as, in-depth analytics. You can even see how your e-commerce aspect is doing through analytical tools. You can try A/B testing, multi-passes, and more.

Bronto

Bronto works with Oracle, which means a lot if you plan on being a big e-commerce company. With this bridge, you can easily connect your online store to your emails to see which emails are making you money and for what reasons. The template builder is not as in-depth as others but gets the job done. The analytics are highly detailed!

HubSpot

HubSpot is probably the platform to offer the widest range of tools. You can create, personalize, and optimize your emails all in a drag-and-drop template builder. There is A/B testing and in-depth analytics to see how your emails are truly doing. HubSpot includes many features that go beyond simple emails.

In any case, there are many different email marketing platforms, and depending on need, different ones may serve different purposes. It’s best to consult with a professional to see what they think is best for your business and your budget.

The Importance of the CTA

If you're unfamiliar with the world of website design, marketing, or maybe even acronyms, then you probably aren’t all too familiar with the term CTA. CTA stands for ‘call to action’ and believe it or not, you experience CTA’s every single day. They are in our magazines, newspaper articles, advertisements, commercials, and of course, our websites.

Like the name would suggest, a call to action, is a phrase that is going to make you do something, it’s calling you to make an action. When it comes to websites, this could be something as simple as a button. If you think you haven’t seen them, think again. Have you ever seen a button that says, “Click Here”, “Shop Now” or “Learn More”? It’s practically guaranteed the answer is yes and because it is, you have seen a call to action. But it can also be more than that. It can be the option to share the webpage, it can be a submission form or service/product discovery section.

Without a CTA, the average viewer, may not know what to do. It may seem simple, you are on a clothing website, you are obliviously there to shop. But without a CTA, it doesn’t make whatever you're promoting an urgent or important enough need to click through to. Assume the viewer doesn’t know what they want, you want to tell them what they want. They want to “Shop the Latest Spring Sale” or “Find the Best Orlando Hotels”. Believe it or not, viewers want a CTA. They came to your site and they want a reason to engage further and continue to click through.

But besides just having a CTA, it’s important that they are catchy. It doesn’t matter what you are selling or promoting, you can make the CTA compelling enough so that viewers can’t help but click through. It’s more than just coming up with “Shop Now”, you have to make that button sing. Give it some juice, but leave them wanting to find out what kind of juice it is, by making them click through. A content writer (and a good one at that) can help you come up with the best CTA for your site.

Besides the common button, a CTA could also be a ‘continue reading’ option. Many news and blog websites use this as a tool to get them to the bigger site. They use a snippet of the story to get people hooked and then a “continue reading” option to get them further into their site, where hopefully they see more things they like. A submission form may be another form of a call to action, by converting people who submit the form into new and continuous viewers. And then of course, in the world of today, social media reigns supreme. Most if not all websites have a “share” option, which allows the viewers to take the action of sharing a website page to their social media platforms. And in today’s world, that’s the best free promotion you could ask for.

All in all, don’t think of calls to action as just three words or CTA as three letters. Think of them as the closing argument to your website. It can be the make or break of your website, causing your viewers to make an action to bring them further into your website and therefore further into your overall business, or it can cause them to make the decision of clicking that tiny ‘x’ in the corner of their screens, which no one wants.

What Types of Advertising Can I Use for My Business?

When it comes to advertising in the digital days, you have a lot of options. Depending on your type of business, certain ads may work better than others. Also depending on your audience, certain ads may reach more people than others. Once these ads are placed, they can be monitored and then analyzed to see which ones did the best and areas in which they can be improved.

But what are those types of ads? Here are seven types of ads you can use to promote your business.

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Display Ads:

Display ads are ads that are visually appealing enough to get the user to click through to the designated landing page or take an action. These ads are typically are campaigns based on cost per click (CPC) routines. These types of ads are also referred to as banner ads, which you will see them commonly on websites. The good thing about these banner ads is that they reach a large and diverse range of people, with measurable results. Unfortunately, people can sometimes become numb to this type of ads and some people have technology that blocks these ads.

Video Ads: 

These ads are becoming more and more popular by the day. Just look at the ads you are being fed on places like YouTube, Tik Tok, or even as pop-up’s that you find on your daily webpage searches. Video ads can play on their own before another video plays or even in the middle of another video. Just look at Hulu and their commercials. These ads will lead viewers to another landing page where they need to take action. These ads tend to reach younger viewers, who are constantly on video-related apps like Tik Tok, Instagram, and Facebook.

Mobile Ads:

Mobile ads are also becoming more popular with everyone being on their phones. These ads can vary in a variety of ways, but each one is best suited to being used on mobile phones. One way would be the ever so popular push notifications… you sign up for an app or newsletter, you get an automatic notification about a sale. The click-to-call/message ads, work so that when you see something you like, it’s a one-two-step to contact the business right away. Then there are the click-to-download ads, where you could easily download the company’s app.

Native Ads:

Are no so much ‘in your face’ ads as they are almost subliminal. These types of ads are done by writing blogs, using excellent SEO, creating videos, and posting high-quality content on social media platforms.

Social Media Ads:

These are simply ads placed on social media. Now that Facebook and Instagram are one, it is easier to manage ads and analyze them after. They can be photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, product ads, the list goes on. Depending on what you are promoting, you can decide what ads would suit your business best. These types of ads reach a wide audience since almost everyone is on social media, but certain platforms may tend to skew younger.

Pay Per Click Ads:

Also known as PPC, this at its simplest is paid advertising. The business pays a fee each time the ad is clicked, in essence, buying visits to your site. There is nothing wrong with this and it a quite common practice. Businesses place a bid for an ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links and then when someone searches that same keyword that is related. The hope for the PPC is the cost of the click for the business is minuscule compared to the profit they will make from that customer clicking and visiting the site.

Email Marketing Ads:

It’s important that your company have a newsletter so that the business has an email mailing list. This newsletter can not only be a source of good content for your consumers, but it could also be a great way to send your customers special promotions and deals. When you are part of a newsletter, one of the benefits is to get the special offers that the new, one-time customer may not receive.

As you can see, there are many, many different types of ads to choose from. As a business, you can try them all and see which one garners the best results for you. A/B testing is always a good option to see which ad did best and how to tweak it even further to make it do even better. When making ads, just make sure it is quality content, catchy yet informative, and is meeting the correct audience.

Making Websites ADA Compatible

If there were ever a time to hire a professional, it’s even more necessary when it comes to making a site ADA accessible. An ADA compliant website is one that is accessible to people with disabilities. To put it officially, the ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act which means that a business must make accommodations for those with disabilities.

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In 2010, a new act was passed stating that all ‘electronic technology’ must be accessible to those with vision impairment and/or hearing loss. Not every website is compatible with these rules, but if your website is, you can put it up and above the rest.

There are many parts of a website that need to be compatible. They have to be accessible in their links, forms, images, videos, podcasts, tables, infographics, copy, and just about everything you can imagine. There are many programs that can help make your website ADA accessible, especially certain third-party plugins.

But before even getting to that point, there are certain things you can do on your end to make things easier for people with disabilities. One way to do this is to avoid using color as a ‘target’. For example, CTA’s don’t use the color red to show they need to take any action, instead, write an easy to understand action (the CTA).

Speaking of which, you should always use full sentences to explain what to do when it comes to CTA’s and links, for example, use “Click here to Shop Men’s Summer Clothing” instead of “Shop Now”. Other accessibility factors are making the fonts larger, testing background/foreground colors to see they are contrastable, make sure all photos have alternative texts and make sure all videos have captions. It is also very important that your website is able to be used by screen readers, so even PDF forms have to be accessible.

Granted, there are many rules, yet not clear guidelines on website accessibility. For this reason, in the end, it is best to hire a trained professional to help your website become ADA compatible.

Why Your Website Could Use a Newsletter and How to Make it Work for You

Nowadays, a website isn’t complete without a newsletter. Newsletters are almost a reminder to bring visitors back to your website. Newsletters can provide updates about the business as well as sales, upcoming events, and more.

There are a lot of tips and tricks to making a newsletter work, here are a few to get you started.

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Target an audience:

With newsletters, you can target a specific group of people. You can target your audience, even if you assume your audience is the same. For example, if you have a clothing or retail store/website, you can target your mailing list to what customers have bought in the past. You may have a group of people that recently bought swimwear, you can target them by selling them similar beach or pool clothing.

Affordable:

One of the best parts of newsletters? They are super budget-friendly! All it really takes is an email platform to send your newsletters out. These platforms range in ability and price, but you are guaranteed to find one that suits your needs.

Sparks sales:

Newsletters can be helpful for a myriad of reasons, one of the biggest and most useful ones is sales. Without a newsletter, in what ways would your customers know about sales, discounts, or special offers? Plus, with newsletters, you can track which sales do best and if those sales come from the newsletters themselves.

Now that you know why you need a newsletter, here’s how you make it work. 

Catchy subject lines and CTA’s:

We all get a ton of emails in our mailboxes every day from different websites, some we haven’t even visited. So, what separates those emails that we send directly to our trash, from the ones we actually open and take a peek at? Catchy subject lines! Make those subject lines just pop and make people want to open them. Whether it be for curiosity or for a stand out sale, make those subjects scream. A/B testing will be a helpful tool to see which subject line does best. Compelling calls to action (CTA’s) will also be crucial to finalize the sale. Make the CTA cause someone to take an action and the wording can help that. For example, ‘Shop the Summer Sale’ can work better than simply ‘Shop Now’.

Keep it simple and looking good: 

Sometimes easy does it, at least in the case of newsletters. Newsletters are meant to do one thing, bring eyes to your site. Don’t make the newsletter too busy or too confusing to the point where your readers don’t know what to do. Eye-catching graphics and photography will help. Design your newsletters to fit your brand's style, but make it interesting enough where the readers want to follow through to your site. And remember, quality over quantity! You could send out hundreds of emails and not get one click-thru if it doesn’t look appealing. While on the other hand you can make a handful of great looking ones and supersede your expectations.

Make it mobile-friendly:

It’s as simple as that! Make sure newsletters not only look good on desktop but also on mobile. More people open their emails on their phones and if your newsletter looks good on mobile, then they can follow through right then and there, rather than having to move to a computer or forget about it completely.

Bottom line, take the time and be sure to have a newsletter for your business. It’s an easy avenue to go down and you can get smarter, more creative, and more email marketing savvy, the longer you do it. Who knows? Your newsletter may become one of your highest sources of conversion rates!

6 Ways to Increase Your Website’s Conversion Rate

One of the main reasons anyone creates a business (aka a website) is to make money. The way to make money online is by turning those website clicks into dollars. The money doesn’t necessarily start rolling in once you hit publish, but there are a few ways to help make the process of making money and gaining brand recognition, easier. Here are seven ways to start upping your website's conversion rates.

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Make it easy for the visitor. 

As the owner of the business (and the website), you want your website looking it's absolute best. However, just because the website is designed the way you like, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the most user friendly. It’s important to find that sweet spot between a site looking pretty, but also being easy-to-use. To make it easier for your visitors, keep it simple, even if that means making it a one column site. Don’t overwhelm!

Also useful are customer service chats, optional input fields for questionnaires, and including contact information for both your business email and phone.

Make sure your ‘Call to Action’, brings action!

Your calls to action (CTA’s) are going to be the last thing your visitors see before they decide what to do next. They will either move further into your site or hit the dreaded close button. By making your CTA’s attention-grabbing, while also coherent, your visitors are more likely to go that extra step and click. After all, “Shop This Summer’s Hottest Looks” will yield better results than just “Shop Now”.

Include reviews and testimonials

What better way to show viewers that your product/service really works than by showing examples? Testimonials and reviews from first-hand customer experience will not only build your brand authenticity, but it will show new customers whether or not your product/service does as you suggest. With these reviews and testimonials, you build trust with your audience.

Keep your look top-notch.

Although it is important to keep your site user-friendly, it doesn’t mean your site can’t look good. Make sure any images you have are of high quality and look professional. A grainy image with a finger in front of the lens won’t bode well for your authenticity. Also, colors are far more important than they may seem. For example, there is a reason why Facebook is blue. It is because blue is considered to be calming, and allowing people to stay on the site for a longer period of time. Meanwhile, most sales are done in red, implying a sense of urgency.

Offer free trials and discounts.

Who doesn’t like things for free? When companies offer free trials, it shows that the company is confident enough in their product/service, that they want to give it away for free, knowing that you will stick around once the trial is over. Discounts will keep customers coming back, especially when the discount is on their next purchase.

Test it out!

Not everything works the first time, despite how perfect we think we are in our own minds. Just like your first idea for your business has changed over time, the first headline you think of isn’t always the best. It’s important to A/B test different parts of your website, including (but not limited to) headlines, CTA’s, pop-ups, and even design.

All in all, there are many ways to increase the conversation rate to your business. Some work better than others for different people and is it important that you and/or your web designers find the one that matches your business best.

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