How Google’s Change to Local Search Impacts YOU

Organic SEO has never been more integral to successfully marketing your business online.

Organic SEO has never been more integral to successfully marketing your business online.

Just when you thought your search rankings were safe…Google’s latest update has slashed the local results display from seven business listings to only three! By eliminating over half the number of businesses on the traditional map layout, this recent change has increased the importance of search engine optimization by tenfold.

“This is a very significant update, as the margin for error on local SEO is now razor-thin,” said Chris Ramaglia, BroadBased executive vice president. “In addition to showing just three results instead of seven, the new format now makes the user click through to get the business phone number. The bottom line is that organic SEO has never been more integral to successfully marketing your business online.”

Another key component of this change is the added prominence of user reviews. With the phone number removed from the display, the five star icons that appear underneath the business name are now the “star” of the show. This means that for a company to stand out, it needs to have a favorable star count as well as a high number of reviews.

“Online reviews have always been a bit of a moving target for our Internet marketing campaigns, but now it’s critical to have high quality reviews in addition to high quantity,” Ramaglia said. “Studies have shown that up to 90 percent of buying decisions online are influenced by user reviews, so we’ve made this a key part of our clients’ digital strategy.”

A review strategy consists of two parts: customer outreach and real-time monitoring. The outreach can come in the form of postcards displayed in common areas at a business, mailed to customers or sent via email blast. Other options include phone outreach or an item on the company’s website.

Monitoring can be done automatically with tools that alert key personnel the instant a review is posted and allow for immediate response to all reviews, whether positive or negative. As reviews are compiled, reports crunch the data and lend insight into what’s working and what needs a course-correction to elicit more positive reviews.

If your company doesn’t make the top-three cut in a Google search of your main keywords, it’s time to give BroadBased a call. We can help push you past your competitors to the top of the new display. Give Chris a call at 904-398-7279, ext. 17, or email chris@bbased.com to set up a time to talk.

Digital Printing Grows in Market Share and Quality

A recent study from Smithers Pira – The Future of Offset vs. Digital Printing to 2018 – shows how the issue of direct competition between digital and offset printing is a daily occurrence for print buyers. In 2008, digital printing accounted for less than 18.5% of the market. By 2018 it will total nearly 50%.

At BroadBased, we cut our teeth on print production and still LOVE to get our printed materials groove on. We select our printing partners based on Client needs primarily including quantity, budget and production values. Below are a few pieces we’ve had the recent pleasure of designing for Clients.

A Design/Build Web Project For Auld & White

AWC_WebsiteBroadBased and Auld & White Constructors cut the ribbon in July on an eye-catching new building project — a redesigned website. Built with an easy-to-use content management system, the new site includes a robust projects section that showcases the Jacksonville firm’s growing portfolio of award-winning work in the commercial, healthcare, institutional and industrial sectors.

How To Set A Marketing Budget (And What To Include)

MarketingSmall and medium-size businesses often wonder how much they should spend on marketing plans. This can be a tough question for seasoned businesses, and even tougher for startups.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for calculating how much you should spend, BroadBased can offer you some guidelines. One thing to note is B2C (business-to-consumer) budgets are generally higher than B2B (business-to-business) because reaching the much wider B2C audience typically involves higher costs for advertising. B2B budgets are often lower due to smaller target audiences and sleeker niche-marketing solutions.

The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) define the variable for a proper marketing budget to be between 2 percent and 10 percent of sales, noting that the total for B2C, retail and pharmaceuticals can exceed 20 percent during peak brand-building years. As an example, at 5 percent of gross, a company with $3 million in revenues would consider allocating $150,000 a year for marketing.

Nailing down a number

Although many companies determine their marketing budgets as a percent of gross revenue, that doesn’t mean they pick an arbitrary number within the recommended range. So how do you arrive at a percentage that’s right for you?

Often, the percentage is determined by industry and size, so it’s smart to reach out to industry associations for benchmarking information. Additionally, many CPAs subscribe to research software and may be able to help you with your industry information.

What items belong in the marketing budget?

The fictional $150,000 budget set for a company with $3 million in revenues might sound like a lot initially, but not when you consider all that goes into it. The budget will support in-house marketing salaries, agency and public relations fees, media buys, printing, mailing, postage, trade shows, memberships, website, and more. The costs add up quickly. SCORE provides a handy worksheet on its website to help you tally the numbers and make sure you aren’t surprised by something you overlooked.

Regardless of how you arrive at the final figure for your marketing budget, it must be one that realistically supports your sales plan and generates an appropriate return on investment. Depending on corporate goals, your budget may be 4 percent this year and 8 percent next year. And if you are new to the marketplace, you have to spend more aggressively to establish your business objectives.

CEO Jan Hirabayashi has more than 10 years of experience designing marketing plans for clients with budgets from $50,000 to $2 million. Email Jan to start collaborating on your 2016 marketing plan.

2015 is Half Over. Do You Know Where Your Leads Are?

CRMWe’re often asked how to measure the success of individual marketing efforts, either traditional or online. It seems to be a simple enough question, and the simplest answer can be to track the number of leads generated by the campaign. If the end game of your marketing campaign is to generate a large number of leads, that might be the end of the story. But, the ultimate objective of a marketing campaign isn’t just generating leads it’s increasing sales.

And that’s where the tracking question gets more complex. “Extracting the greatest value from each lead requires sophisticated tools for tracking digital marketing leads based on the funnel and desired outcome,” said Chris Ramaglia, EVP of BroadBased. “We believe that best way to track and close Web-generated leads is by understanding and exploiting the capabilities of an effective customer relationship management (CRM) tool.”

But what if you don’t have a CRM or don’t fully understand the capability of the one that you use?

“Our clients realize that the online environment is extremely competitive, and every lead we’re able to generate through their website is a piece of gold,” said Ramaglia. “If a client doesn’t have an existing CRM, we recommend one that’s a good fit for how they do business and help them make sure that every lead is accounted for and has the best chance of closing.”

CRM systems come in all shapes and sizes, but the good ones have three main components in common:

  1.    Easy-to-use dashboard-style view of all leads and their statuses.
  2.    Automated follow-up tasks and reminders.
  3.    Website analytics integration.

Ever since social media has changed the way we use the Internet, people have come to expect extremely user-friendly interfaces. The same is true for CRM systems. Speed is crucial for sales reps who need to quickly find and efficiently manage key sales data. Like just about every modern interface, leading CRM tools offer smart device and tablet displays, so deals stay hot no matter how they’re being viewed.

A good CRM tool is a salesperson’s best assistant. By enabling the salesperson to set up advanced reminders, create automated follow-ups, document every phone call and email on any lead in the system — and much more — the CRM can be a highly cost-effective part of your team’s sales efforts.

These powerful automation features don’t just help your reps, they also make your managers’ and executives’ jobs easier. All members of the organization can have their own permission levels to instantly access real-time snapshots of all leads in the system. They can also filter the leads by any criterion that are important to their role in the business.

Think of your website as a highway and your leads as the vehicles travelling down it. All the vehicles need to be registered, and they need to stay in their lanes to keep the traffic flowing. Similarly, your leads need to be cataloged and stored securely to give you the best chance to close them. Now, suppose you were able to know something about why each vehicle was on the road and where it was heading. That brings us to the next level of capability for extracting the full value of your leads — analytics integration.

It wasn’t long ago that the only lead-generation tools on a website were a contact number and a form that could be filled out by the prospect and emailed to the sales team. Now, form leads are deposited into a secure database and every move the prospect makes on your website and throughout the Web can be tracked using cookies and other advanced mechanisms, giving you valuable insight into what each lead is looking for and why.

To further support your efforts, Google now offers unique phone numbers that can be applied to specific online marketing efforts, such as Adwords, and email marketing campaigns. Everything is seamlessly tracked within your CRM, effectively “closing the loop” from a prospect’s first interaction with your website right up until the moment they sign your contract.

As the technology that powers digital marketing evolves, your company’s Web presence needs to evolve with it or risk being left behind by more innovative competitors. The digital marketing team at BroadBased can help you hand-pick a CRM solution that’s a perfect fit for your business to start growing your sales funnel. Email Chris Ramaglia to start the conversation.

Building Community With MAA

220RiversideBroadBased has partnered with Mid-America Apartment Communities (NYSE: MAA) since early 2014, spearheading the social media promotion and day-to-day community management for 220 Riverside Apartments in Jacksonville’s Brooklyn neighborhood. The page currently has more than 4,200 “Likes” and targeted Facebook ad campaigns have driven more than 7,000 leads to the MAA leasing website.

“We are very pleased with the results that BroadBased continues to generate for 220 Riverside Apartments and other MAA communities,” said Diane Gilmore, Marketing Development Director, VP at MAA. “The content management they provide on Facebook ensures a consistent, professional tone to our customers, and the targeted ad campaigns drive a significant amount of traffic to our leasing websites.”

Learn more about the digital leads we generate for clients through social media, content marketing, SEO and online advertising on our website.

They do all that? The JAX Chamber Foundation steps out

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BroadBased partnered with the JAX Chamber Foundation to plan, design and develop a new website for the organization. The website launched in May.

A common dilemma of foundations affiliated with larger organizations is whether to rely on the larger group’s website to tell their story or to create a stand-alone Web presence. The answer is often determined by the foundation’s involvement in program delivery, as opposed to focusing primarily on fundraising.

For JAX Chamber Foundation President Sandy Bartow, the choice was clear. Bartow identified a need to raise awareness of the Foundation’s dynamic, wide-ranging initiatives by creating a separate website that reflects the breadth and depth of its mission.

Founded in 1978 and serving all of Northeast Florida, the Foundation funds community leadership, workforce development and entrepreneurial education programs in support of long-term regional prosperity. Its initiatives include the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center and its programs, such as Marketing Matters and Financial Matter$ for women business owners; the Small Business Center’s micro enterprise certification program, including Achieve Your Business Dream workshops; the Earn Up workforce development program to increase the region’s college attainment; Global Cities Initiative to boost exporting; JAX Bridges; Leadership Matters; and more.

Bartow’s vision was to create a website that not only raised awareness of this diversity of high-impact programs, but also comprehensively presented participation, volunteer and partnership opportunities.

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Sandy Bartow President, JAX Chamber Foundation Vice President, Entrepreneurial Growth, JAX Chamber

To turn the vision into reality, the Foundation chose BroadBased.

“Working with Jan and her team was a great experience,” said Bartow, who is also vice president of Entrepreneurial Growth for the JAX Chamber. “Their insights on the creation of our website, driven by hard questions and thoughtful consideration of sharing our story, was engaging and resulted in a site we are thrilled to launch.”

Please visit www.JAXChamberFoundation.org to learn about the Foundation’s mission, programs, volunteer opportunities and long list of corporate and individual supporters.