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Authenticity in Business Relationships

Authenticity in Business Relationships

by Stephanie Lemley

In the world of texting, emailing, and working remotely creating a personal connection can be challenging in our business communities. Yet connections in a technical world still rely on our innate, intelligent, and very human instincts because we all know when Bullshit is Bullshit. It is felt in a cold and self-serving email, the email will take on a tone, a cheesy factor; but integrity, warmth and personality are also indicators that are sensed in the same form of communication. Our ability to read the other person is now done through the filters and veil of technology protecting all from pausing and wondering out loud, “what did they mean by that”

The sales consultants at TSEG know that creating valued and authentic relationships in business begins during the inception of the service we provide, whether its unique web design, discussing creative digital marketing strategies, commercial creation or a social media roll out, experts say you earn the listeners decision to move forward during that first minute of exchange. We are all journeying into the new frontier of a multi-platform communication with emails, Insta this, Snap that or Link it ! We now interpret the response our brains and hearts once processed with a hand shake or eye to eye contact, through a lens of punctuation and tone.

At TSEG we are relationship pioneers, meaning our mission is connection. We mindfully decide first before the communication begins  “Do we have something to say that offers our clients valuable information” and the team goal becomes “How can we help this company, law firm or startup grow”. We know when this mission is the motivation the other party will feel the intention and whether its in person, through an email or a phone call; the feeling is the transactional exchange.

This creates an authentic business-relationship energy; it begins during those first few words and the energy continues to build with the exchange of information creating a visceral growth for all parties involved. The relationship then evolves and morphs naturally into welcomed calls to avoid the emails, because the sounds of shared wisdom, humor and gratitude between colleagues and friends is exactly where the good stuff lives! 


How much money are you losing due to slow website speed?

How much money are you losing due to slow website speed?

by Chris Massaro

While most business owners are either already aware or are just becoming aware of the importance of having a quick loading website, many don’t know just how vital it is. We hear the question all the time: “How much money am I losing due to slow website speed?” The answer, unfortunately, is much more than you think.

Just think of it this way: how do you feel when you visit a poorly-performing website? Are you willing to wait around while a slow site loads? Are you less than impressed when elements fail to appear? If you are, you’re not alone. According to recent surveys, nearly 90% of customers say they are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience. More than 75% of people reported leaving a slow-loading website for a competitor’s site.

To improve the user’s browser experience, Google has reportedly made site speed a factor when it comes to ranking websites. This means that a slow website may no longer show up at all for those valuable keywords that your business relies on.

Calculate Your Losses

So, is there a way to calculate how much business you could be losing due to a slow website? To find the cost, use this formula:

(Monthly Traffic * Estimated Visitor Loss) * Conversion Rate

Let’s say, for example, your traffic is 10,000 and you’re losing 10% of your visitors:

(10,000 * 0.10) * 0.05 = 50

If 20% of conversions become cases and the average case is worth $10,000, then:

(Conversions * Case Rate) * Average Case Value

(50 * 0.20) * 10,000 = $100,000

Cost = $100,000 per month

So, now that you know how much money you might be losing due to slow site speed, how do you fix it? First, make sure that the company that manages and hosts your site performs a site speed test to identify any issues that might be slowing it down.

Your provider will check to make sure that all the images on your site are optimized (or compressed for the web) and sized correctly to make sure that they don’t slow down the load time. They will also make sure that your site passes the scalability test, which means that your site can handle any potential spikes in traffic.

Turbocharge Your Website

If you’re ready to get your site up to speed, contact The Search Engine Guys today. Our web designers have the expertise to boost your site’s speed so you can retain more of your income. Contact us at (512) 806-7955 or online to get off to the races.


How Much Should I Be Paying for SEO?

How much Should I be paying for SEO?

By Jack Turner

When it comes search engine optimization (SEO) services, it can be helpful to understand what goes into a balanced, well thought out campaign before deciding how much to spend on it. Gauging how much to invest in SEO is not quite as cut and dry as calculating your PPC spend. There are several factors that you should think about when determining your SEO investment. Ask yourself the following questions:

How competitive is my market?

Market competition has two factors: your business’s target keywords and what city are you in. Going for the #1 spot as a snow cone shop in Fargo, ND is going to have much less competition than attempting to rank for “personal injury lawyer” in Los Angeles. More competition = higher spend.

Analyzing competitors’ sites is a great way to quickly check the market competition. Simply search your top keywords and get the URLs of the sites that are consistently showing up for these keywords. There are dozens of free online tools to check their backlink profiles, and also just clicking through their sites will give you a good idea of how much money they are pouring into their online presence.

If your competition is strong, you need to be stronger.

How quickly do I want to move up the rankings?

Different businesses have different timelines. As an SEO professional, I always tell my clients to be patient, as changes on your site can take months to get picked up by search engines. However, you can move up the rankings quicker if you invest more time/money into the site.

A company that is more seasonal like a landscaper might have a set timeline to get up in the rankings. If it is November and they want to be on the first page for their main keywords by May, they will want to spend more aggressively in the months of November-February to make sure the effects of the SEO boost their website’s rankings in time for the busy season.

SEO involves a mix of several strategies to build your site’s authority and standing in Google’s eyes (I will go into these later). An agency can “speed up” your climb on Google with a higher budget because it allows for two things:

  1. The ability to spend more time on your site. A lot of SEO work is time spent analyzing your site and coming up with strategies to beat out competing businesses/websites. A lot of SEO companies will even charge hourly for their work.
  2. It provides your SEO team more resources to build content for the site, build out local citations, and pay for various other services that increase your site’s credibility.

A knowledgeable SEO agency will be able to tell you exactly what they will analyze on your website and will have a robust plan for improving your site’s important SEO metrics.

What is the condition of my current site?

If a site is already built for SEO, or the site has a healthy backlink profile already, you may have an easier time climbing up the rankings. There are several tools that will give you a quick indication of your site’s SEO health. Website Grader is one of my favorites, especially to show SEO beginners. Of course, an SEO professional is better suited to analyze and explain your site’s health to you, as it is not always so black and white.

When auditing a new client’s site, an SEO professional might simply recommend that the business build a new site. This can be for several reasons:

  1. Cost – It might be cheaper than doing SEO for several months. Sometimes sites need a refresh. If you have had several web developers and companies working on your site it can become a mess. It can cost months of SEO to fix all of these issues. Instead, it may be more cost effective to build a site from scratch that has SEO in mind from the start. Plus, you’ll end up with a brand new, modern website.
  2. Bad Backlinks – Many SEO Agencies will, or at least used to, use poor backlinking strategies that can leave your site vulnerable. They build tons of bad backlinks using strategies that may have worked in the past but are now harmful to your site. Google has cracked down on many common link building strategies, causing numerous sites to be penalized. In this situation, it may be a good idea to change URLs and start over with a clean slate. It’s possible to keep your current site’s appearance and simply change the URL. Moz and Ahrefs are good web tools to quickly check your backlink profile.

If your site is suffering from SEO problems, our team can help you determine their cause and take action to fix the issues.

What are my current rankings?

Your current rankings can also play a big factor in deciding how much budget to allocate to SEO. If you are not ranking in the top 50 for any of your major terms, this is a sign that extensive SEO work needs to be done to get to the first page.

The amount of effort and time to get up the rankings raises exponentially as the site climbs up the rankings. Going from position 50 to position 12 can be as difficult as going from position 12 to 7. This is because as you go up the rankings, your surrounding competition is getting tougher, so it requires more work to outrank them. Think of a sports team going through the playoffs and each round getting more and more difficult to win.

What Are the Costs Associated with SEO?

So you are spending more money on SEO to see expedited results, but what exactly are you paying for? Many people associate SEO with the service that provides you with “free” organic traffic. While you may not be paying per click, there are a lot of costs associated with SEO to ensure you are in a position to get these clicks. These SEO expenses include:

  1. Labor/Time – This is probably the largest cost associated with SEO if you decide to go through an agency. Time has to be spent looking through keyword rankings, creating content plans, analyzing data and reporting. Even if you decide to try and take on SEO in house, you will either be spending your valuable time to learn SEO, taking away the time of another one of your employee’s to learn it, or you will end up hiring another employee to manage it. No matter what you will be spending money on labor for your SEO efforts, so it would be advisable to hire an SEO professional who is trained and has done this kind of work for dozens of other sites.
  2. Content – Great SEO takes great content. We recommend adding new content to your website on a continuous basis to keep the site fresh and show Google that the site is being updated. Whether you write the content in-house or outsource it, this will cost you money and/or time.
  3. Backlink/Citation Building – Building out business citations and doing outreach to build backlinks can be one of the most costly, recurring monthly expenses for SEO. There are many online services which build out citations for you, however, they all have a monthly cost to maintain them. You can build out citations yourself, but again this costs time. Many online directories charge a monthly fee, especially for premium directories that generate a lot of traffic, such as Avvo for attorneys.
  4. SEO Tools and Resources – There are plenty of great free online resources for SEO, but you do get what you (don’t) pay for. SEO Agencies rely on paid tools to get great insight to improve their strategies. Moz, Ahrefs, SEMRush, Keyword tracking programs, Website crawlers, review monitoring programs, and reporting programs are just a few examples of the tools used by SEO agencies and businesses to create and implement their SEO strategies. All of these tools can become quite costly if you are only paying for them for one site. That is why SEO agencies are very cost effective, as they can spread out the cost of these tools across all of their clients.

It can be hard to quantify how much doing all of this on your own would cost you. An SEO agency, however, understands what is needed to plan an effective SEO strategy and put it into place. We can help you determine how much all of this would cost for your business.

Get a Quote on SEO Services

Many of the big online SEO services and even some smaller SEO agencies will give you a menu of services and their prices and you pick and choose what you want. This system works fine and makes their job easier, however, it is more beneficial for you to speak with an agency that will give you a custom quote on services. This allows them to build you an SEO package that fits your needs and leaves out items that you may not. This means you are only paying for what benefits you.

Contact The Search Engine Guys today if you are interested in receiving a custom quote on SEO or a website build. We can walk you through the SEO process and explain exactly what you should be paying for. Call us at (512) 806-7955 or reach out to us online.


How do I know if I’m spending my PPC budget wisely?

Pay-per-click marketing is difficult to master. It can either boost your company’s profitability or drain its resources (if the campaigns are not optimized correctly). There are also so many variables to consider, like how much to spend on search versus display, and whether your PPC is focused on e-commerce or lead generation. To avoid losing money on PPC, it is worthwhile to take a careful look at how you are spending your PPC budget and what you can do to improve it.

Start with the Basics

The first question to answer in figuring out the best PPC budget for your company is what do you need to generate more quality leads? To determine this, consider the essential elements of leads:

  • The frequency of visitors: How often are people coming to the site?
  • The cycle of buying: What is the typical buying cycle of each visitor?
  • Location of visitors: Where are the visitors located geographically?
  • Quality of leads: How well do the leads translate into measurable results?
  • CPL (target cost per lead): What is the cost for each lead?

Starting with these questions can help you paint an accurate picture of what your site’s activity currently looks like. Before you can envision a goal and create a path to get there, you need to know where your beginning point is.

Calculate Target Lead Goals

Once you gather this necessary information, you can distinguish your leads in terms of profitability and define your target lead. Some factors to consider in deciding what your target lead is includes the following:

  • What is the ideal number of leads for our company’s goals?
  • What makes a lead valuable?
  • What is our CCR (current conversion rate)?
  • How much money can we spend on each lead?

These are more difficult questions to answer but taking the time to do so will pay off as you enter the answers into formulas designed to make the most of your PPC budget. For example, you need to calculate how many new clients you need each month, what your close rate percentage is, and how much your cost per lead is. Using these numbers, you can figure out what your PPC lead goal should be and how much you need to spend to reach it. Let’s break that down into five steps with an example:

  • Step one: calculate your goal cost-per-lead–$50 per lead
  • Step two: decide on your new client goal—500 new clients per month
  • Step three: calculate the close rate of leads—30%
  • Step four: figure out your PPC leads (divide step two from step three)—1667
  • Step five: establish the amount your company needs to spend per month (multiply step one and step four)–$83,350

Final Considerations

Fine-tuning your company’s PPC budget is an excellent way to ensure that your company is in a fiscally responsible position, as well as to analyze its marketing strengths and weaknesses. Rather than just looking at how many leads you’re generating, for example, you can break down the quality of those leads and hopefully discover ways to improve not only the quantity but also the quality of the leads. Some of the considerations that can help you do that include the following:

  • Do leads from certain areas consistently result in higher conversion rates?
  • Do certain times of the day produce more leads than another?
  • How much time do visitors typically spend on our site?
  • How user-friendly is our website concerning the number of clicks that a user has to make?
  • Which search engine makes the most sense for us to use?
  • Would negative keywords winnow out the leads that don’t lead to conversion?
  • Should we adjust our bids according to traffic and pay more for leads during more profitable times or days?
  • How well does our site perform on a range of devices such as tablets, and laptops?

After analyzing these factors, you’re in a much stronger position to create an optimal PPC budget that gives you the most marketing power for every dollar you spend. The investment you make in smarter marketing practices will pay off as your site becomes more productive in attracting and retaining users. Additionally, your site will generate more quality leads, and your conversion rates will increase as you analyze and then adjust the way you spend money on PPC. You will also have peace of mind knowing that your PPC budget is being spent wisely.


Is Your Company’s Website Sending the Right Message?

You have probably visited a company’s website and never completely understand what the business offered or what they were selling. A company can spend a significant amount of time developing a well-designed website or writing tons of content, but you may not understand what it is they do. Far too often, the company has overlooked a crucial component – the message that they need to communicate.

Improving your company’s messaging can make all the difference between getting leads for your business or scaring off visitors. It takes time for a business to develop content, however, it is not effective if it neglects to clearly showcase what you’re offering. Communicating what you do and what separates you from your competitors is something that you must get right from the get-go to attract new business, or it may cost you potential revenue.

Effective Messaging

Your website must solve a problem and create value for potential clients. You have a short window of time to convince visitors to your site that the service or product you offer is what they are looking for or need. If the audience can’t understand your message or understand the website content, they will leave in matter of seconds and move on to another business.

Communicating your company’s message isn’t always easy. Most business owners make the mistake of believing that visitors to their site view the business the same way they do. Remember that visitors don’t know your business inside-and-out, and you need to showcase what you do in the clearest way possible.

There are three relevant questions to ask about your website’s messaging, which include:

1. What Is Your Business About?

It’s important to communicate the value your business creates for your market. Although this may sound obvious, sometimes this is overlooked. You need to think about how you would pitch your business to a total stranger in an elevator. When you meet someone for the first time and describe your business, do you use similar words as your company’s home page? It may be wise to ask people who are not familiar with your business to read your homepage and then ask them to explain what your business is about.

While it may not be easy to describe your business in a brief elevator pitch, you can ask this question to narrow down the focus of your business content and to help visitors see the value your business creates.

2. What Makes Your Business Different from Your Competitors?

Working in a competitive world brings challenges. Regardless of how unique or unusual our product or service is, there may already a similar product or service that is offered elsewhere. If you are unable to communicate on your website how your business is different from your competitors, potential clientele may assume your business offers nothing different and lose interest. You need to highlight the strengths of your services or products on your website homepage and make it stand out.

It is also important to refresh content on a regular basis. Adding new content that includes the latest information about your company and your brand is important attracting more customers and drawing in more business. Remember that the content on your site is also a reflection of your brand and its principles.

3. Have You Set the Right Expectations?

Not only should the message on your website communicate the value the business creates and what makes you stand out, messaging also plays a crucial role in establishing credibility for your business and turning visitors into clients.

Some websites lure visitors with clever messaging, but they fail to deliver on their promises. Your message must set the right expectations and convince potential clients that you will deliver the products and services as stated on your business site.

By effectively communicating what your business offers, how you differ from the competition, and setting and delivering on expectations, you can demonstrate your company’s value to visitors and boost business based upon the message and content listed on your website.

The more content you have, the better the website, but don’t forget that the focus is on quality above quantity. Your business content and messaging can only be useful if your audience finds the information on your web site insightful and valuable in the long run.


Live Video in 2019

There are many different digital marketing strategies that will increase the demand for companies’ products or services. Some of these strategies include social media, chatbots, artificial intelligence, video, and live video. One essential digital marketing trend for 2019 is live video. Live video goes one step further than video in that it instantly allows consumers to connect deeper with the specific brand. Forbes magazine states that, “Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text.” This one fact alone should encourage companies’ to experiment with live video. Companies can easily stream videos through Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Livestream.com, and YouTube Live. The ever increasing amount of live streaming platforms allows companies to easily market themselves with live Q&A’s, behind the scenes experiences, and product demonstrations.

We hope these facts encourage you to take your marketing videos to the next level. The Search Engine Guys can implement live video into your digital marketing strategy and help your brand soar.


5 Reasons You Should Be Using WordPress

Search Engine Friendly

This is pretty plain and simple. SEO experts have performed case study after case study that show that Google ranks sites that use WordPress higher than those built on other platforms. The reason for this is because the WordPress framework makes it easier for Google to crawl and index the pages on the site. The easier you make it for the bots to crawl your pages, the better off you will be.

Adaptability

The adaptability of WordPress sites cannot be overlooked. WordPress is flexible enough to accommodate any plugin, extension, or update you need. There is no easier way to update your site compared to other platforms. Whether you are a small business, e-commerce, or personal blog site, WordPress has the ability to adapt whatever you need.

Mobile Friendly

Google penalizes sites that aren’t mobile-friendly by displaying them lower in their results. With WordPress, you don’t have to overhaul your entire site to make it accessible on tablets and smartphones, since most themes are automatically responsive. WordPress also has an option for websites to be viewed in “mobile view” for themes that aren’t responsive.

Cost Friendly

Whatever the focus of your site is (commercial or personal), it doesn’t cost a penny even when your traffic increases. Any update you need to the site can be done by you or your developer without any additional WordPress publishing costs.

Integration

WordPress has the ability to integrate with popular third-party platforms to help make the site more efficient. There are plugins that you can use for just about anything you can think of that would be useful for a site. WordPress can integrate with just about anything out there, which makes it invaluable for publishers in any industry!


Five questions to ask your digital marketing agency before hiring them

Working with a digital marketing agency can increase the speed and return on your digital advertising investment. An agency most likely has the resources and experience to achieve better results than either an in-house team or the up-and-down world of freelancers that come with widely varying skills and ability.

However, while most agencies will be quick to assure you that they have the capabilities to meet your digital marketing needs, you don’t want to be oversold. Choosing the right agency can reduce costs and lead to faster and more pronounced growth, while choosing the wrong agency for you can mean the wrong fit, a lack of results, and can be costly.

To choose the right agency for you, it is a good idea to ask some specific questions to see how they align with your expectations:

1. What is your process?

You can tell a lot about how well a business understands your digital marketing needs when they describe how they’ll meet those needs.

This slightly less-common question (compared to the standard “how can you help me?”) requires the agency to tell you how they work and how they’ll handle your campaigns. You can also tell how experienced and knowledgeable they are about your specific needs by how well they can describe their process to you.

2. What experience do you have handling clients in my field?

Here, you get more directly into the experience of the agency. While many will claim to be able to meet your expectations, not everyone will have experience in your particular field.

Ask to see examples of their previous work for clients that are similar to your business and your marketing needs. If they can’t produce them, they may not have as much experience or expertise as they claim.

You may be tempted to go with an agency that is unproven in your field, in the hopes that they’ll bring a fresh perspective or new skills to your campaigns. That decision is up to you – and could pay off with the right agency. For other business owners, trusting your campaign to an experienced firm that can show results in your field lessens the risk that you’ll spend money to get little or no return.

3. How do you use digital marketing for your own brand?

Perhaps experience isn’t as important to you as the skillset available at the agency. In that case, you’ll discover a great deal from how they market themselves. You might ask to see how they’ve handled their own campaigns to get a glimpse of the creativity they will show your campaign.

This isn’t the most important factor, however. Many successful agencies do little for their own brands, largely because they are focused mainly on their own clients’ success.

4. When will I see results and what will those results look like?

Agencies can be either too reluctant or too eager to answer this question, and that’s telling in both cases. If they aren’t willing to pin down precisely what success looks like within a reasonable span of time, that may indicate they lack the capabilities to deliver.

On the other hand, a time frame that seems too short with results that sound too optimistic should also make you reconsider.

Look for a reliable, scientific means of proving positive results and a time frame that gives enough time (but not too much) to start seeing those results. Digital marketing should take half a year or more to start seeing improvements, depending on your industry and area of focus. Make sure you have a way to measure the success of the agency with some data at some point during the working relationship.

5. What will this cost?

Cost is always a significant concern any time you are investing in your business. Before settling on your digital marketing agency, make sure you set some hard numbers, and there’s an understanding of just how much you are willing to invest to meet the results you expect.

Once you’ve received the right answers to these questions from a digital marketing agency, you’ll be in a much more comfortable position to select the team that is right for you. It’ll be easier to decide on the agency with the capabilities to meet your expectations and to deliver the results you are looking for.


Are these valuable leads? Why communication is key to optimizing PPC campaigns

What do you define as a conversion? A conversion, in internet marketing, occurs when a visitor on a website completes a desired goal, such as filling out a contact form, calling the phone number, or engaging in an online chat platform. That is the simple way to look at a conversion. On the other end of the spectrum, a conversion to a business owner may be defined as a purchase or a potential client sign-up. This is what makes our conversion numbers so important and something we always want to focus our efforts on.

Of course, it is not reasonable to expect all conversions will be high-dollar purchases for an e-commerce business or million dollar cases for a law firm, but at some point the conversion must be valued. Too often, I see a disconnect in communication between the marketer and the client when discussing which conversions from a paid ad campaign were worthwhile. This information is important to the marketer so they can figure out what keyword brought in that million dollar conversion and they can continue optimizing their PPC campaign. With this information, paid search experts can really focus on what is worth their time and effort, versus wondering, “Sh*t! Are these actually leads?”

Most marketers find themselves wasting time focusing on conversions/leads that may not be a qualified lead. This stresses the importance of following up with your clients to make sure that the leads you are bringing in are worth their time and money.

To sum this up, it’s important to ask yourself and your client the questions below when considering what to focus the campaign budget on and how to tailor the ads for those big-money keywords.

  • What does an ideal lead look like?
  • What are things that can make a lead disqualified?
  • What are you willing to spend for a qualified lead?

Communication is KEY. As a marketer, we can create pivot tables to analyze our ads and keywords with our conversions to better optimize our campaigns. But if the client says that 80% of those leads were junk, then our optimization is thrown out the window. We must follow up with clients on a consistent basis to make sure our efforts are giving them great return on investment. By implementing this practice, we can set up a pivot table of QUALIFIED leads and focus our efforts where they really need to be.


How Effective are Google Ads?

Spending money to advertise on Google is not cheap, so it’s a smart question for any business to ask how effective paid search marketing is in 2018. Have browsing habits evolved? Do people still click on ads?

In a 2017 study of Google users, 60% of participants responded that they will click on any result that is relevant to their search, regardless of whether it is an ad or organic result. Only 24% of participants responded that they would actively avoid clicking on ads. This means that 3 out of 4 people will still click on your ad if it is relevant to what they are looking for.

Because these potential clients are already looking for your product or service, it’s merely a matter of a click and an action (phone call, internet purchase, email, contact form, etc.) on their part to convert that into a sale or a potential sale.

Inbound marketing strategies like paid search advertising tend to generate a more significant return on investment (ROI) than outbound marketing strategies (email campaigns, scattershot social media advertising, postcards, flyers, etc.) because your audience is specifically looking for your services.

It is important to hire an experienced and reputable internet marketing firm as a resource to handle your online marketing efforts, including creating and managing your paid search campaigns. It is entirely possible to spend (and lose) quite a bit of money if you do not set up and manage the campaigns the right way. By hiring a firm that has experience in running successful campaigns, you can rest easier knowing that your money is being spent the right way.

If you are considering hiring a firm to help you take advantage of the more than 160 billion searches per month on Google, there are a few questions that you will want to ask your rep, including:

  • Have you handled campaigns in my specific industry before?
  • What type of ad spends have you worked with in the past?
  • What is the spend-range that you recommend for my specific campaign?
  • What is the communication process like? What type of reporting do you provide?

Once you have discussed their experience and plans for your particular campaign, you can be comfortable in handing the keys to your paid search advertising over to professionals who do this on a daily basis. As always, make sure to select a firm that you trust, and someone who you know will be looking to maximize your return on investment.

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