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Digital MarketingGoogle
December 7, 2017

AdWords vs SEO – What’s the difference and why both are important

What’s the difference and why both are important.   SEO Search Engine Optimization.   You get your website all set up and running. You list your services, products, and all…

social media marketing Content MarketingSmall Business
November 20, 2017

Content Marketing Fundamentals

Creating content for Social Media Creating content for Social Media with the purpose of marketing your product or business? Here are a few fundamentals… First thing’s first. You need a…

social media employee policy Small Business
November 10, 2017

Social Media and Your Employees

Social Media and Your Employees   Do you have a Social Media Policy for your employees? If you don’t, now is the time to get one. Don’t react and scramble…

AdWords vs SEO – What’s the difference and why both are important

By | Digital Marketing, Google | No Comments

What’s the difference and why both are important.

 

SEO Search Engine Optimization.

 

You get your website all set up and running. You list your services, products, and all the reasons your potential customers should be using you over your competitors. You launch and wait, no one comes or the ones that do bounce off your page.

 

The problem is probably with your SEO or search engine optimization. You need to let search engines know who you are, what you do, and do it in a way search engines can understand.

 

Things like Metadata, Schema, and backlinks are important and having a good handle on them or hiring someone who knows how to use them is important. You may get lucky and Google will crawl your pages and you will rank well, if you are in a non-competitive niche, however for most of us, that is not going to happen without some work.

 

AdWords and PPC

 

If you don’t know what AdWords and PPC are, it’s how businesses advertise on Google and other websites on the Google Search Network. You probably see these ads every day and don’t even notice.

 

search engine marketing

 

These ads can show up all over the internet, anywhere the Google Search Network is, and are a great way to target customers and potential leads. AdWords is an amazing tool for reaching your potential customers.

 

Not only can your ads be customized to fit your needs and business, you can also track conversions and other metrics. This allows you to get a better picture of not only who is looking at your ads, but also what devices they are using, where they are, and if they are your intended audience.

 

With AdWords, you can tell if your ads targeting people looking for high-end area rugs are actually attracting people looking for carpet cleaning in Tampa Fl. You can also see if you are paying too much or not enough in the bidding process. Maybe your keywords are going to cost too much for what you’re selling?

 

AdWords VS SEO

So what’s the difference and why are they both important?

 

Imagine your website is located in a city. Your “store (website)” is new to the neighborhood. No one really knows you, what you do, or if you are even trust worthy. On top of that, you couldn’t afford prime real estate to the point that your store is 20 miles from town with no roads, just a dirt trail leading to your store.

 

As you can see from the situation you would need serious work if you ever hoped to be successful. You need some roads, a reputation, some advertising, etc. Your product is really good, and the dirt road going by your shop is adequate that advertising will get customers in the door. However, as soon as the advertising stops the new customers stop as well. This is the picture of why SEO and AdWords/PPC are both important.

 

AdWords and PPC are like sticking up a billboard in the middle of your “town” and a flier in your potential customers pocket (in a non-creepy way). AdWords will work as long as you can afford it money and is probably going to work well if you invest enough time into learning what you’re doing (or hiring a company like Prairie Giraffe Marketing ;). However, as soon as you stop, the billboards and signs come down and the next person willing to buy those spots get put up. It’s the Pay-to-Play option. It gets people in the door and it does it well, but if AdWords is your only strategy, you will pay forever.

 

SEO, on the other hand, is building roads to your store, larger, faster, smoother than your dirt trail. Gaining trust from those in your “town” and a good reputation (Links and Domain Authority). The more search engines know who you are, what you do, and that you are the best person for their (the search engines) customers needs, you will get traffic and people coming to your store. The best part is once your SEO has been taken care of and is in good shape, you don’t have to pay as much to keep it up.

 

Granted you should always be working on your SEO, but unlike AdWords, you don’t have to pay per click or impression. You start gaining more and more organic traffic.

 

Both are important, but which one should I start with?

 

Short answer, Both!

 

Get customers to your site using PPC advertising. But, your long-term strategy should include incorporating SEO best practices into your website from the beginning. Start including the right headers, metadata, and schema where applicable. Start getting local citations with websites like Yelp, Angie’s list (if applicable), Google My Business, Apple Maps, etc. Use content marketing and blogging to show your audience and Google what you do and that you know what you’re talking about. 

 

Look for opportunities to get links to your business. If you have a business where you are an authority on something and not just selling a product, see if other complementary businesses would be open to guest blogging opportunities. Also if you aren’t already, start blogging on your own business website. Nothing tells search engines and audiences that you know what you are talking about better than talking about it.  

 

Start building those roads and authority today for the long term while getting customers to your site with AdWords and PPC.

 

If you need help getting started with any of the concepts we have talked about here, or if they sound great, but you just don’t have the time, feel free to reach out. We would love to help you get started or take it off your hands.

 

 

social media marketing

Content Marketing Fundamentals

By | Content Marketing, Small Business | No Comments

Creating content for Social Media

Creating content for Social Media with the purpose of marketing your product or business? Here are a few fundamentals…

First thing’s first. You need a Marketing Content Strategy. Just posting willy-nilly without a plan isn’t effective and doesn’t help you accomplish your goals. A little bit of planning will help you convert followers into customers. The first step in developing a Content Strategy is understanding your business goals as a whole. Here’s a Content Strategy Walkthrough from Hootsuite that could help you get started. 

Starting from there you can begin to brainstorm how Social Media can help you accomplish those goals. Then comes the planning – who is the audience, what do they want to see, what are we going to say and when should we post, what is our budget for boosting these posts? Finally the execution of actually creating the post and scheduling them. If you need help with creation, design or scheduling we can help.

 

Reviewing your results and process is a must!

A key part of your strategy should be a review of the process and the results of your posts. Ask your team question like how did the process go, what could have made it easier or faster for the next time, and analyze that data. Did your content create sales, did you gain new followers, did it generate dialogue between you and your followers? From what you learn, adjust your strategy accordingly.

Also, remember is that you want to have variety so your followers aren’t seeing the same format over and over and tune you out. You can mix up the medium you use – you can use videos for one post and a great image for another, or maybe a link to your blog for another. While you want to make sure you have brand consistency you don’t want all of your post looking cookie cutter.

 

Content Types

Another way to add variety to your content marketing is the type of content you post. Three great content types to rotate through are:

  1. Relevant – Is what your marketing important for the now (Do you sell candy and they make great stocking stuffers? That would be a great post for November or December)
  2. Valuable- Do you have a special going on?
  3. Educational – Why does your customer need your product or service? How can you educate your followers?

By rotating through these content types you can make sure you are creating and maintaining value for your audience. Providing value is what lets you keep their attention, build trust, and eventually sell your product. People will naturally gravitate towards the businesses that have helped them out in the past, especially when that business didn’t gain anything from the transaction (immediately). If you help someone or attempt to help someone, by providing valuable information, they are far more likely to return to you for more solutions and pay for them, than if you just tried to sell to them.

 

social media employee policy

Social Media and Your Employees

By | Small Business | No Comments

Social Media and Your Employees

 

Do you have a Social Media Policy for your employees? If you don’t, now is the time to get one. Don’t react and scramble to fix a bad situation, prepare and protect your online reputation through a simple employee Social Media Policy.

When it comes to thinking of a Social Media Policy for your company there are two types of policies that you want to consider. One for employees posting/managing as your company on your various channels and one for your employee’s personal Social Media activity. Let’s talk about the about the employees posting/managing your business on various channels first.

As with any contract/policy consult your legal team.

Delegate but don’t abdicate

As your business grows chances are you don’t have time anymore to manage your business and your social media accounts. If you have a team you need to delegate some of those social media responsibilities to trusted staff (or a trusted contractor, like Prairie Giraffe ;)).

First and foremost you should limit the number of people that have access to your business social login information to a few trusted individuals. These should be limited to people who understand your brand and your company’s social media goals. It’s also wise to set up policies to make sure you and your staff are on the same page. 

A few points that could be added to your Social Media (Manager) Policy

Do-

  • Proofread post to make sure there are free of errors
  • Stay on brand
  • Make sure you log out on any personal devices after posting (DON’T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF POSTING PERSONAL UPDATES ON BUSINESS PAGE)
  • Keep logged in devices password protected
  • Respond to comments in a professional and timely manner

Don’t-

  • Be offensive
  • Share login information with others
  • Go off brand voice

We will post on defining roles and responsibilities of Social Media management in your company in a future post.

 

Employee Personal Social Media Policy

As far as employees Personal Social Media Policy you have the opportunity to set boundaries and expectations and more importantly empower employees to be ambassadors for your business. Employees need to realize in the digital age we live in they represent themselves 24/7 online and well into the future. As an employee of your company they now also represent your brand all the time. Here are a few simple do’s and don’ts for employees on social media.

Do-

  • Recommend our products/services to your Social Media audience
  • Share our status updates on your personal pages
  • Report any negative comments you observe online to a designated person within the company
  • Consider what you post about and how it could affect our company
  • Remember how you present yourself publicly on Social Media can follow you the rest of your life. Be Cautious
  • Change your passwords often and report if you have been hacked if it could in some way affect the business or brand (example: Someone hacked your account and sent pornographic images to all fellow employees)
  • Report to your boss if another employee sends you inappropriate content

Don’t

  • Reveal any personal customer information
  • Get into arguments with unhappy customers – don’t even reply, and let the person in charge of Social Media know what you say if you do find yourself defending the company, or not defending the company.
  • Reveal private company information (If your company hasn’t made it public knowledge on Social Media neither should you)
  • Endorse illegal activity of any kind.
  • Send inappropriate content to fellow employees

 

Social Media is an ever-changing platform and your policies should be reviewed and updated as it changes. We hope this has given you an idea of where to start.

social media management

Using Social Media to connect to your community

By | Small Business, Social Media | No Comments

Connecting to the community around you.

 

If you own a local business where the majority of your customers are located in one area you should be using Social Media to connect to the community around you. Making yourself a part of your community is simple and easy. If you live in the community you know what things are happening around your community.

What things are important to your community and what types of things affect your community? Just by taking that knowledge that you already have and sharing it with your audience you will seem more engaged and a part of your followers lives. Remember you are people selling to people (read more about that).

So what are some things that you could post about?

Weather– As simple as posting about the good weather or a warning to prepare for bad weather.

Community Events and News– Special concerts, festivals, parades (many of these events will have Facebook pages or events you can share) Human interest stories shared by your local paper. Is your town rallying around a certain family or event show your support (Look for hashtags and utilize them).

Local Sporting Events– Did the local high school win State football? Congratulate them! Can you post the schedule of games? Does your business sponsor a team?

Local Charities If you support local charities or are going to participate in their events sharing a photo on Social Media is a great way to show your commitment to your community. To make sure you don’t come across as bragging make sure you highlight the charity’s good work more than your donation/participation.

Some things that you should avoid posting about

Personal Politics– people are passionate about their political views and taking a stance only opens up your business page as a platform for debate. It is best to avoid it all together.

Bashing Other Businesses– This comes across as desperate and unprofessional and opens you up for criticism and retaliation.

Other Topics? There are a variety of other issues that could offend (sexual content, coarse language, etc) filter what you post through who your audience is and the community you are in, to avoid losing followers and even worse creating enemies.

 

Moving Forward

As you make your business more present and active on Facebook or other social media channels it is a good idea to come up with a Social Media Policy for your employees. They way they represent themselves in the community on Social Media will reflect on your business. We will write more about this in a future blog.

social media management

Why should your business have an active Facebook account?

By | Social Media | No Comments

Facebook is the way people share their lives.

They share their interest, hobbies, and opinions. They stay in touch with friends and family they use it like a scrapbook they share with the world. They use it to get news and find out what is happening in the world around them. They use it to connect to the world around them. Your customers are there doing life your business should be there too.

Not Just Another Sales Pitch

Think of Facebook as having the opportunity to have your customers, like friends, over for dinner. At dinner you share funny stories about what you are doing, you provide value in the relationship, you invest in your dinner guest, caring about the things that they care about. You share helpful information. You share what makes you unique. Posting on Facebook for your business should be the same. 

Your customers are there, doing life, your business should be there too.

People want to buy from people

People want to connect with people. Using your business’s Facebook page connects you to people. If you provide interesting and engaging content, not only sales pitches, you will stay top of mind and will create a connection to people that will translate to customers when it is time or keep your current customers engaged and invested in your business.

If you imagined your Facebook and Social Channels as the storefront of your business, how would you treat it? Would you only open the doors every few weeks to post a sign about what you are selling? Would you let the appearance be messy and unkempt? Would your receptionist ignore people when they walked in and only give out a two-line sales pitch over and over without saying hello or asking about their day?

Of course not! What is your lack of presence and consistency saying about your business?

But who has the time?

If you’re like most every other business owner, there is never enough time. Chances are you didn’t have time to read this article. So how does one reach this lofty goal of reaching all these customer’s and making a connection?

You don’t, at least not alone. You let someone come alongside you and handle the content creation and grunt work. Then you commit to engaging, answering questions, and connecting. Like we said earlier, people want to buy from people. Interest, however, can be created without you. Once that interest has been peaked and someone asks you, “can you help me” you step in and do what you do best.

Let’s Change How We

Manage Facebook

If this is the type of partnership your company has been missing in this new modern era, give us a call or contact us. We would love to help you get back in the game, and engage with your customer on their level where they are looking.

google my business

Is Google My Business Right for Me?

By | Google, Small Business | No Comments

Google My Business is a great way to show up on Google searches. Generally on the right-hand side of the page on the regular search page and on maps. A whole rectangle devoted to you and the details about your business a customer might want to know like your hours, images of your business, link to your website, and a phone number. This is also where people can see your reviews.

 

Getting Started

To get started with a Google My Business account Click Here and click on the ‘Start Now’ button in the upper right corner.

Google will walk you through the signup process collecting important information along the way. You will also have the opportunity to upload images of your products and services, your team, your building/office, and your logo.

Google will verify your location using a postcard. It generally takes 2 to 3 weeks to receive the card and once you receive it simply log into your account, go 

prairie giraffe

down to your locations, click “get verified” and once that’s open enter the code. Hit submit and you’re done.

My Business is a great way to keep up with your customers and has some great features, like verifying holiday hours, My Business Posts, my business insights, and My Business Chat.

My Business Insights

Insights are a great way to see who’s searching for your business, when customers are calling, and other ways customers are interacting with your listing. Here are all of the ways Insights helps you see how customers interact with your my business listing. 

Hours

Holiday Hours change. Maybe you’re going to be open this Veterans Day, but last year you weren’t. Don’t surprise your customers. Use your My Business account to get the word out. Simply log into your dashboard and go to the options pane on the right that says verify holiday hours. There will be a list of holidays for you to choose from and it only takes a minute to record your hours for the next several months.

 

Chat

my business

Google My Business allows you to chat and message directly with customers who find your business listing on Google. This messaging feature is displayed 

beside your other contact information. This is another way for customers to reach you in a place they are already looking.

 

Posts

Go to your Google My Business account and on the left, click posts. You can add a post title, an image, up to 300 words, and have options for a call to action button. This is a great way to announce a sale, event, show off top products, and more.

 

These posts are free to create and are a great way to draw more attention to your business and what you have to offer. Remember though these posts expire after seven (7) days. Google does not want their customers feeds becoming full of expired and useless information. So you will need to plan accordingly.

 

Updates, Changes and Moving Forward

Google is updating My Business all the time. Here are some more ways Google has updated their My Business service in 2017.

 

Google My Business is a great way to show up in search results and doesn’t require a huge amount of time and commitment. However, if you don’t have time to set up your account contact Prairie Giraffe today and let us complete the process for you.

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