How Long Will It Take To Rank In Local Search?

“How Long Will It Take To Rank In Local Search?” – This is one of those questions we get asked frequently, and is usually answered with a slew of follow-up questions. Why so many other questions? Well the simple answer is that local search isn’t too much different from a typical organic search, and any algorithm-based search is dependent on a multitude of factors.

How Long Will It Take To Rank In Local Search?

So let’s go over some of these follow-up questions:

  1. How competitive is your industry/location? I’ll set the stage for this with 2 examples: In example one, your business is a Philly Cheese Steak restaurant in, yep, you guessed it, Philadelphia. Now I’ve never been to Philly, but I’ve watched my share of the Food Network and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this is an extremely competitive market in a highly populated city. This is going to be tough, doable, but tough. For example two, your business is a vegan bakery in Nacogdoches, TX (yes, that’s a real place). I don’t imagine Texas has too many vegans, and Nacogdoches is a pretty small place, so getting local results here will be much quicker. All in all, you can expect to see results in under 6 months in a non-competitive market and 3-9 months in a competitive market.
  2. What level of optimization is currently in place on your site? There are 3 levels here: A poorly optimized site, a site that stopped optimizing months ago, and a site with some optimization. Site with poor optimization take the longest, as it takes additional time to undo the shoddy optimization that’s currently in place. In competitive markets, it can take over 6 months to accomplish significant results. If you’re in a less competitive arena, it’s reasonable to expect local visibility in 3-6 months. If you’ve previously disengaged in SEO efforts, you can expect recovery time to increase proportionately to the amount of time it’s been since you ceased local optimization – 34% of ranks can be lost after 3-6 months, and over 50% of ranks can be lost if it’s been 2 or more years since your last efforts.
  3. Have you had manual penalty from Google? Maybe you had previously (unknowingly, of course) hired an agency/free-lancer/employee that was utilizing some black hat link building practices, which in turn led to a questionable link profile. Search engines can be tricked occasionally, but the honeymoon will end. Previous attempts to game the system will be discovered, and eventually you’ll get a penalty that will knock you out of the top search results. So what do you do? Invest a lot of time into link take-down requests and get some really high quality links to outweigh the ones you can’t get remove. About 59% of local search gurus believe results can be earned back in under 6 months, with the proper amount of effort.
  4. Is your business brand new? The problem that new businesses are often faced with is history – which means they lack a domain name with longevity and a good set of links pointing to their site. Since you can’t do anything about your domain age, the best thing to do is go after links – good links that have a reason to be pointing to your site, links that will make people say “I’m glad I clicked that link!”. These can be other local businesses in your area, local directories, citations such as Google My Business, Bing Places, etc.. The important thing is to make your site findable by both search engines and people. It can take up to 2 months for Google to even index a website, so the easier you make it for them to find (by way of links), the more likely it is that you’ll be indexed and visible. Of course in this situation, refer back to question 1 as your market will have an effect on the amount of time significant results take.

Local search is becoming increasingly important in today’s world, with smart phone use on what seems like a permanent upward spiral, being discoverable via search engines can be the key to your success. If you’ve still got some questions, comment below!

*all statistics from a recent survey by BrightLocal


Beyond Follower Counts – Social Media Marketing Metrics That Matter

In the digital landscape, where search engine optimization and email marketing can be considered members of the old guard, social networks are still a fairly new channel for many brands and marketers. Given the huge potential reach of these platforms, most organizations know that they need a strategy for the social space, but often have difficulty measuring performance and judging success for these campaigns. For ad campaigns on social media, we can typically use some more established & familiar metrics, but when it comes to tracking “organic” social efforts, everything becomes much less defined. How many retweets should I expect to see? Are Facebook Shares of my posts actually generating anything? What is the value of one Pin?

Like any new marketing channel, there is a tendency to rely on big, high-level metrics that are easily understood – for example, Facebook Fans, Twitter followers, etc. While follower counts are important to monitor, I would urge you to look beyond these numbers and dig a bit deeper in order to identify your true key performance indicators (KPIs). While these data points are not in short supply, selecting your KPIs should be a well-considered and focused process. Based on your organization’s goals in social, you should try to identify one or two KPIs that you religiously attempt to improve with every action.

Below are a few examples of common social media goals, along with some common metrics that you can use to measure your efforts towards that goal. Remember that starting with a solid strategic foundation should be your first step; you’ll want to make sure that whatever KPI you tie yourself to, it directly impacts your marketing goals (which should, in turn, directly impact revenue)! I’d also urge you to read Avinash Kaushik’s typically-excellent post on the best social media metrics – while the numbers below are platform-specific, all of them can be grouped into his 4 major buckets of measuring social performance: conversation, amplification, applause, and economic value. A very informative read, and highly recommended.

Now, onto the numbers! Note that in this post, we’re focusing on Twitter and Facebook metrics, specifically, but most social platforms provide very similar metrics.

Goal #1: Increase # of Followers on Twitter

This should never be a goal. NEXT.

Goal #2: Increase reach of content posted on Twitter/Facebook/etc.

This is much better! Follower count, in and of itself, does not directly contribute anything to the brand or goals of the organization. What use is 200K followers if they never bother reading your wonderful posts? A goal like this one can be considered a branding effort, similar to many display campaigns, or traditional mass-media ad buys. In this case, the key is simply raising awareness and getting in front of as many eyeballs as you can.

Common KPIs: Impression-based
Facebook – Post Reach is an easy way to judge your organic visibility, as it simply measures the number of people that your posts were served to. This number here is heavily affected by how much engagement your content drives – we’ll talk about that more in goal #3, but keep these in mind for corollary metrics. You should also monitor Shares of your posts – a user sharing your content to their Facebook friends can be a great way to get in front of a new audience. Also monitor your negative actions – things like Post Hides, Spam Reports, and Unlikes can indicate a disconnect between your content and what the user expected, or potentially an issue with the frequency of posts.

Twitter – tracking raw impressions of your Tweets can be difficult. Many tools define this as “the number of user feeds this tweet appeared in”, but that doesn’t mean that the tweet was actually viewed. Instead, more accurate impression metrics can come from using a third-party link shortener tool such as to track clicks on shared links, or an image service such as imgur to see how many times an image was viewed. And, of course, retweets should be closely watched as well – similar to the Facebook Share, increasing the number of retweets is key to building organic visibility on Twitter.

Goal #3: Increase engagement on content posted to social media.

This goal is even better than the previous one! While extending the reach of content shared via social media is ideal for raising visibility and brand awareness, the real power of social networks is the community building element. By driving this interaction with your followers, the visibility of your content can be dramatically extended, you can cross-promote other marketing efforts, and ultimately foster a better connection with your customers.

Common KPIs: Click- and comment-based

Facebook – you have a big incentive to drive engagement on Facebook posts, since highly active status updates are rewarded with better visibility in users’ News Feeds. As such, you’ll want to closely monitor the number of comments, Likes, and Shares that your posts generate. You may find that a calculated metrics, such as “Average Engagement Points” ( [total number of Likes, Shares, comments] / [number of posts] ) is a good way to summarize this data. Don’t forget the power of segmentation here, as well – do your Fans prefer photos, text posts, or videos? What time of day is ideal for driving interaction? Am I doing everything I can do encourage Likes, Shares, and comments?

dennys facebook post

Denny’s is surprisingly very very good at social media. And at food.

Twitter – retweets remain important for measuring engagement on Twitter, but you’ll want to measure post-level replies, and retweets which specifically add a comment or respond in some way. Measuring the number of tweets that contain your brand (either via #hashtag or @username-mentioned) is similarly important, as is your follow up action (you have prepped your customer service team for issues in social, right?). Tweets heavily marked as “Favorites” should be tracked and monitored – similar content should be planned in the future.

Goal #4: Increase revenue/leads generated by social media traffic.

Now we’re getting into the big boy – I want to see what kind of revenue my social media traffic is generating. A great question, but one that is a little bit harder to answer, and one that requires a bit of upfront work. Since the vast majority of revenue or sign-ups or new subscribers or whatever will actually happen outside of your social media networks, you’ll need to plan accordingly – for many businesses, this means setting up an analytics tool on your website, in order to capture visitor information. This would include traffic source data (for example, how many visitors arrived on my website from a link on Pinterest?) but also conversion data – an action that a website visitor takes that indicates a “successful” visit.

Common KPIs: The ABCs of Analytics – Acquisition, Behavior, Conversions

Acquisition – the first stage of the visitor’s experience on your website/mobile app/service platform, acquisition metrics help determine not only the quantity of traffic you’re receiving from social platforms, but also some important data about visitor frequency & recency. A common question is, “I have X% first time visitors to my website, is that good?” This really depends on your business model and product or service – for content-driven websites, or for products/services with a long buying cycle and lots of research time, you may want to see this somewhat lower, as it indicates that your website/content/product is compelling enough to pull users back in. For simpler, transactional products, you’ll likely want to see a higher percentage of new visitors – knowing that if users don’t convert on the first visit, they probably won’t later, you can focus your energy on driving new prospects instead.

Behavior – in this group of metrics, you’re really focused on how visitors react to your content. A great number here is bounce rate (the percentage of users that viewed only one page and then immediately left), since it’s a great indicator that whatever the person saw on your website, it wasn’t what they expected. I usually like to see this number around 35% – 40%, with some leeway for certain kinds of content (e.g., blogs and customer service articles may have a higher bounce rate, but hopefully it’s because the visitor immediately found what they were looking for!). Average pageviews and session times are helpful as well, but try to think relative here – for example, is a session time of 6 minutes good? Is that better than 4 minutes? I certainly don’t know, but if I notice that users from Reddit spend 3x as long on my blog as the average social media visitor does, I may start looking at that particular channel a little more closely

Conversions – If you ever find yourself looking at a report that does not directly measure outcomes, please stop and lay down for a minute. Conversions, revenue, transactions, outcomes – these are all ways to judge the quality of any given visit to your website, and ultimately boils down to, “was the person able/willing to do what I wanted them to do?” While of course you’ll want to monitor the major conversion points on your site (purchasing a product, signing up for your newsletter, filling out a demo request form), don’t forget that other actions can be great signs of intent as well. These micro-conversion points might be downloading a PDF, adding a product to a wishlist, sharing a product to their Facebook feed, or Pinning a photo. Remember that whenever possible, you’ll want to assign a value to these actions. While this is easy for things like transactions, others require a little more research – for example, if your business typically signs clients to $10,000 deals, and they close 50% of the leads, the value of one lead is $5,000. Don’t worry about getting this absolutely right! Ballpark metrics are better than nothing.

Example Insights and Wrap-up

It bears repeating that whatever metrics and KPIs you ultimately end up selecting as your primary focus, you should be able to directly relate these to organizational success and marketing goals. Tying digital metrics back to broader, C-level numbers is a great way to prove your own value as a marketer, and ultimately helps convince people that analytics is more than just reams of data. To close, let’s take a look at a report straight out of an analytics tool, and see what data we can extract.


google analytics social media report

(Click to embiggen) The social media channel report from Google Analytics, divided into acquisition, behavior, and conversion metrics.

The Google Analytics report above is taken from the website of a high-end grocer that has a fairly small ecommerce section. The date range is the first half of 2014, and even at this high level there is some interesting data here!

  • Users coming from Urbanspoon view almost twice the number of pages as other people, but don’t convert – why? What can we do to capture these people? Are our landing pages ugly?
  • Yelp users love you! It is extremely hard to get a bounce rate that low, plus that conversion rate is nicely trouncing the site average. You should make sure you’re doing as much as you can to increase volume here
  • And holy cow, look at that bounce rate on Twitter users. What is our social media team doing here? Clearly there is an issue with whatever website content we’re promoting on Twitter, since it’s not effectively driving people further into the site – our conversion rate for Twitter users is nil!
  • And finally, the white elephant in the room – that ecommerce performance. The average order value isn’t great (about $50 for social media traffic), but an even bigger factor is the ecommerce conversion rate. We like to see this between 2% and 3% for ecommerce websites.

So! Imagine your instant promotion if you said to your boss, “Ms. Boss, our goal for the first half of 2015 is to monetize social traffic. We propose two primary objectives: raising the average order value 50% to $75, and increasing the ecommerce conversion rate to 1%. Assuming 200,000 visits, by achieving these goals we stand to generate $144,700 in revenue – a 733% increase over last year.

At this point you may drop the mic and walk off stage.



Outlook: Making It Work For You

Outlook Best Practices – Outlook Productivity Tips

When used properly, Outlook can really work for you to help manage your day. Many people install it, configure a few custom settings and then they’re off and running. Using Outlook the way it’s intended versus a default out of the box setup can easily equate to an hour saved each day. Knowing Outlook will keep track of all those things you need to remember to do can be quite liberating and can free up your mind to focus on the big stuff.

Does any of this sound familiar? Your inbox constantly looks like you just got back from vacation. Colleagues frequently ask you if you’ve received their message. Sticky notes plastering your desk and walls. Try these Outlook strategies below for a couple weeks and you’ll see a big difference.

You’ll need to spend some time setting up your Outlook Dashboard and perhaps cleaning up and organizing previous Outlook carnage. This may take a couple hours, but it’s well worth it. Your Outlook Dashboard is where you will view your calendar, email, email boxes and tasks. The goal will be to end each day with your inbox empty and all tasks assigned for today “handled”. Note that this doesn’t mean you’ll get everything done, but it will be “handled”. You’ll manage your email, calendar and tasks instead of feeling like they have the best of you.

Let’s get things staged using some Outlook Best Practices for Setup

  • Inboxes: Many people have a lot of inbox folders. Things get misfiled sending you on a game of inbox-hide-and-go-seek. Also, with lots of inbox folders, it’s not always clear which folder an email should be filed in. Eliminate these issues by using very limited subfolders within your inbox. Seriously, it seems daunting, but give it a shot. Try this approach … have one subfolder called Archive (so it shows up at the top) to file most all email once you are done with it (Outlook has great search), one called Follow-ups, and maybe a Read Later folder and perhaps a couple others for very special situations. Creating a “favorites” list can also help simplify your dashboard – Outlook has so many standard folders that even leaving it as-is can be too much. Setting up a favorites list enables you to hide everything except what you need to see.
  • Setup your Outlook Dashboard to have easy access to everything you need to see to manage your Outlook activity. Try this dashboard configuration … Use the View Command > Layout options.
      • Folders on the left pane
      • Reading Pane in center
      • Preview Pane next
      • To-do Pane on the right to show the tasks and email follow-ups needed. Arrange the task pane in a custom manner: Filter to show only those not complete; Sort by Due Date, Priority and Alpha; Group by due date; Columns to display include Icon, Priority, Task Subject, Complete, Start Date, Due Date. This will display your follow-ups nicely organized – sorted and grouped by date. Then as you need to change due dates, it’s easy to drag and drop between the grouped dates. Note: the to-do section will also show you emails you’ve flagged for follow-up.
  • Setup quicksteps: Quicksteps are a great little function in Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013. Setup Quicksteps to do multiple actions with an email based on clicking one button or command. Quicksteps you’ve created appear in your command ribbon so they are always at easy reach. To use one, you’ll highlight the email or task, select the desired quickstep and those actions will be taken on that email. Using the Home // Quicksteps menu options, try setting up these Quicksteps to start with.
    • Read, File, Done Quickstep – marks an email as read and complete and files it in the Archive inbox folder you created above
    • Reply, File – brings up reply dialog box, marks original email complete, and files email in Archive folder (++)
    • Forward, File – brings up forward dialog box, marks original email complete, and files in Archive folder (++)
    • Follow-up today – sets follow-up due date as today and files in the Follow-up inbox you created above
    • Follow-up tomorrow – ditto as above but due date of tomorrow
    • Other follow-ups that are pretty easy to configure with Quicksteps include Follow-up this week, Follow-up next week, Follow-up this month, Follow-up next month
    • (++) Note that these Quicksteps sometimes bring up the dialog box behind other windows, so you may have to look for them. Also, if you use these Quicksteps and hit cancel if you decide to not send the reply, the rest of the steps in the Quickstep still happen (aka, the original email gets marked completed and filed).

Now for the Day to Day process of managing your email, calendar, tasks and follow-ups:

  • Outlook Calendar Management: If you have a double monitor setup, open your calendar and move it to the secondary monitor. This keeps your schedule top of mind thru the day.
  • Outlook Email Management: Triage email throughout the day. Some say only check email a couple times a day. In today’s fast pace environment I don’t think that possible or prudent. So check it as often as you feel you need to, perhaps once an hour or so. As you read thru email, you’re going to do one of the following to each one.
  • If junk (spammer) flag as such and delete – taking this a step further, if you see the same sender continually sending you junk, create a rule and automatically delete anything from that person/bot.
  • If can read and handle in less than 60 seconds, do so. Use your Quicksteps to reply/file, forward/file, or read/file when done.
  • Else, flag the email for follow-up later. Use your Quicksteps to flag for follow-up today, tomorrow, this week, next week, etc.. Remember, once you flag an email for follow-up it will appear in your to-do pane based on the date. So if you used a Quickstep that files an email in your follow-up folder and marks it for follow-up tomorrow, it will be listed in your to-do pane with tomorrow as a due date. Due dates can be easily changed by right clicking on the item in the to-do pane.
  • Task Management: As “to-dos”, meeting follow-ups or necessary reminders hit your radar, enter as a task. Easiest to just enter at the top of the task pane in the Outlook Dashboard view and then drag and drop to the “real” due date after the task is created.
  • “Desk Time”: During desk time, look thru the items in your “To-do” pane and handle them by either completing them as needed or moving them to a different day you will work on each item.
  • Goal at the end of each day is…
    • To have all items “handled” from your inbox, meaning you’ve completed it, deleted it, or flagged for follow-up later. Your inbox is empty .. A truly amazing feeling!
    • To have all Follow-ups and To-dos schedule for today in the To-do pane, “handled”, meaning you’ve completed it, deleted it, or flagged for follow-up.
    • Clear out your Junk folder to get that cleaned up daily
    • Make sure you move any tasks from today not complete and reschedule for completion to the most appropriate time.

Again, setting all this up will take a good amount of time, but when you consider how much time it will save you in the long run, it’s well worth the investment….not to mention the organization value added to your work day. Do you have any Outlook productivity tips that we missed? Let us know in the comments!


When Is a Mobile App Beneficial?

I hear/see this discussion all over the place these days: “Should I built an app or a mobile site??” This conversation should never happen! Answering this question properly means understanding the purpose of these two platforms, so let’s go over that first.

Purpose of a mobile site:

  • To be found via search engine by a prospect using their mobile device
  • To provide users an experience that has been optimized for smaller screen size
  • To serve relevant information to that on-the-go user (location specific content, etc..)

Purpose of a mobile app:

  • To engage existing customers
  • To make mobile shopping experiences easier
  • To provide functionality above and beyond what a website can easily accomplish (think location services, push notifications, etc..)

Notice the primary difference here is the point at which people are in the buying cycle. A mobile site, we recommend responsive websites (and so does Google), will help you attract new customers by way of non-branded search engine queries. People aren’t going to discover your company by way of an app store search, they’re going to discover you through search engines.

Now, let’s get into the “when is a mobile app beneficial” part of this discussion. Mobile apps provide functionality that goes far above and beyond what the typical website can do. They can send push notifications for sales/promotions which the user sees instantly and they can use location data to present relevant content to users. For example, let’s say I run a grocery store chain and have an app built to present coupons to my customers, new products, etc. I use my app to notify customers of specials, coupons, and in-store events like wine tastings. One way I might utilize location data is to give users the option that when they are near one of my stores (can even narrow down to just the one they frequent), they get an alert reminding them to check the app for coupons, or to remember to use their membership card. Getting even more targeted, I could install Beacons throughout my store which could fine-tune my coupon serving. Beacons can be installed in stores and pin point exactly where in the store a customer is using Bluetooth. So when you’re in the cookie aisle, your app knows that and we can push you a coupon for cookies you like based on your purchase history (because you’re logged into the app using your VIP info)…talk about serving the right promotion at the right place to the right person exactly when they need it!! This is just one example of app engagement, but the possibilities are endless.

The moral of the story is this: Before you ask yourself if you need an app, you need to evaluate how you want to connect with your current customer base. If you’re trying to attract new customers, you should probably abandon the app idea and look at acquisition channels.


3 Tools for Mobile App Analytics

Mobile apps have become such a big part of marketing plans, that to build one and not understand how it’s used is almost criminal. Just like websites in the beginning, the strategy for a mobile app was to built it, push it, then update it when enough users complained. Those days are long over, with the new tools that have rolled out, you no longer have to wait to find something users don’t like.

  1. Google Analytics – just like a website, track how many people use your app on a regular basis, find out which parts of the app people spend the most time on, and which parts people avoid like the plague. Notice a lot of people leaving your app after trying to log in? Maybe the log in button is broken, access to metrics like this can provide you with great actionable insights.
  2. Optimizely – Your A/B test dream come true! Run experiments on different imagery, button color, call to action text, et al. This works the same as it would if you were running A/B tests on your website; create a variation on the original, send half of users to the original, and the other half to your variation. Statistical significance will be automatically calculated based on the goals you establish (actions, clicks, views). The best part, is that it rolls out instantly, no need to update your app and wait on approval from the App Store – just instant testing when you want.
  3. Heatmapping - Heatmaps are basically overlays that show exactly where in the app people click/tap. Building on what we’ve already discussed about where people spend time on your app and which color button converts better, is heatmapping. Sure, it’s great that Google Analytics tells us which pages people visit and how long, but how did they get there? Notice a few buttons on the app’s home page that nobody clicks? Get rid of them, no need to clutter up the page with unnecessary actions. If the heatmap is showing a lot of activity around a tiny ‘search’ feature, or particular link? Run an A/B test where you make that feature more prominent in a variation and see which performs better!

As you can see, running all 3 of these tools in unison will give you a mountain of opportunities and endless variations to test. Don’t have a mobile app yet but looking for a developer? Check out our mobile app development services.


Your Complete Office in the Cloud

You know that flash drive you’ve been carrying around for the past 10 years? Throw it out. “The cloud” essentially made them obsolete. At first, the cloud was just a way of storing documents, but then Microsoft said “hey, we don’t want to be able to just access our files via cloud services, we want to be able to work on those files where ever we are”. So they built Office 365. And the name couldn’t be more descriptive: Access to your Office files anywhere you are.  Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook – your complete Office, out of the office.

On a beach in Fiji? Mountain-top resort in the Alps? No worries, as long as you’ve got internet access, you can work on your documents. With web applications for the primary Office products, you can update that spreadsheet, finalize your PowerPoint presentation, or adjust the wording on that proposal document you’ve got in Word. Now I’m not saying you should spend your Fiji beach vacation working, BUT, in the event that emergencies pop up, or you have an idea that you just have to get down, Office 365 will save your day. Web applications have been developed and work just like the desktop program, so there is no learned curve.

Another key benefit of Office 365 is document sharing and collaboration. Are you tired of emailing attachments around and around just so a few other people can add their input? Are there 14 versions of the same file on your network drive created by way of  multiple people working on the same document? Office 365 has solved this problem with document work flow. You can setup a routing order for the document which will notify users when it’s their turn to review the document, see who made what changes, and even put a target end date on the route. No more passing papers around the office and worrying where they might end up, digitize your work flow process through Office 365.

These are just a few examples of how Office 365 can make you life easier and more efficient, but the possibilities are endless. To learn more, check out our Office 365 Solutions today.


4 Essential Apps for Business Use

Like most people, I have entirely too many apps on my phone, most of them for personal use, a few for work-related tasks. Here are the 4 that I use the most for business, and highly recommend you give them a try if you haven’t already.

  1. Pocket – The mobile bookmarks tool that everyone can/should use. It’s essentially a catalog of different websites or pages that you want to hang on to for later use. I mostly use it as a “reading list” where I catalog blog posts that I need to read. Once read, you can mark it complete and it gets archived for future accessibility. Adding to your Pocket list is extremely easy; most browsers have an extension or add-on for one-click page saving, the app will pick up on copied URLs on your clip-board, and from your phone you can also email an article to be added. Download for iOS or Android
  2. IFTTT – If This, Then That. Their tagline is “Put the Internet to Work For You”…and that’s exactly what IFTTT does. First you create the “This”, or trigger channel and based on that action, you can automatically create another action to happen. Clear as mud right? OK, how about an example: I have a recipe (as they call them) that creates a short-link anytime I add a new item to Pocket. In this instance, Pocket is the “This”, so when this is triggered by adding a new blog post, IFTTT tells (“That”) to create a new short-link for me. There are dozens of channels that you can connect with this tool to automate everything from weather alerts, to business time-savers, to sports notifications. Give it a shot, and share your favorite recipes in the comments! Download for iOS or Android
  3. OneNote – Microsoft’s answer to Evernote. I should mention up front that in order to get the most out of this app, you should be using OneNote on your PC/Mac as well. As a former Evernote user and OneNote convert, I’m here to tell you that OneNote is everything a note application should be. The organization is simple and logical – notebooks > sections > pages. The navigation is familiar because it’s basically the same as any other Office product. The continuity between devices is perfect. The app is extremely handy for those times when you’re not at work and you have an awesome idea that you don’t want to forget – just put it in OneNote and it’s there for you when you get to the office on Monday morning. The app also allows you to add/take photos directly from your phone – I mostly use this to take pictures of hand written notes and add them to relevant notebooks within OneNote – but you probably don’t have to think too hard to find ways you could use it. Download for iOS or Android
  4. Trello – If your desk is constantly plastered with sticky notes of to-dos, or you find yourself overlooking tasks, Trello is your new best friend. This is the to-do list made for business. Not only can you create task lists, but you can setup projects that contain related tasks. The interface is intuitive, which means little to no learning curve. Download for iOS or Android

All of these apps are available for both iOS and Android devices, so give them a try today and start working smarter.


101 Blog Post Ideas

Blogging is hard. Coming up with ideas week after week is hard. Here’s a list of 101 ideas to get you started, feel free to borrow these ideas for your own blog. Here’s a helpful hint, if you want to blog once a month, grab 12 of these ideas and make yourself an editorial calendar. Tweak them to fit your organization then go ahead and write all of them ahead of time. That way when your deadline comes around, you’ve got your post written already. Better yet, if you’re using a platform with a scheduling feature you can set that up too.

[Rather than create a list with fill-in-the-blanks this list is actual topics that we might write about so you can see how we formulate ideas, but you can replace our industry buzz words with your own]

  1. 5 Reasons to Ditch Flash Now
  2. What Will Websites Look Like in 5 Years?
  3. 3 Ways to Wow Your Creative Director
  4. Ultimate Cheat Sheet for HTML5
  5. 7 Easy Ways to Increase eCommerce Conversions
  6. Calls to Action: The Definitive Guide
  7. How to Improve User Experience in 5 Simple Steps
  8. The Worst Advice You Can Receive About SEO
  9. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Remarketing
  10. KPIs You Should Be Monitoring
  11. How Can A/B Testing Effect Your Bottom Line?
  12. 10 Reasons to Budget for Social Media Marketing
  13. The History of Search Engines
  14. 7 Secrets to Setting Up a Successful PPC Campaign
  15. Marketing & Baseball: 10 Surprising Things They Have in Common
  16. 3 Tools To Improve Your Work Life Now
  17. 12 Apps That Will Make Your Life Easier
  18. Lessons You Can Learn From Your Competitors
  19. 19 Ways to Improve Cost-Per-Acquisition
  20. Common Misconceptions About Website Redesign
  21. 6 Quick Tips for Display Advertising
  22. Web Analytics: A Cheat Sheet
  23. 4 Marketing Blogs You Should Be Following
  24. Why We Love Content Marketing (And You Should Too)
  25. Cornerstones of a Solid Marketing Plan
  26. Buyer’s Guide to Email Platforms
  27. How Call Tracking Can Help Your Business
  28. 20 Myths About Email Marketing
  29. 4 Quick Steps to Improve Your Bounce Rate
  30. 5 Keys to Successful Content Distribution
  31. How to Win at Social Media
  32. 9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start SEO
  33. Successful Marketers Do These 3 Things Everyday
  34. What Will the Social Media Landscape Look Like in 10 Years?
  35. How to Choose the Right Social Media Platforms
  36. 6 Insider Secrets to Winning at Email Marketing
  37. Defining Your Audience: Reach the Right People
  38. 12 of the World’s Worst Social Media Marketing Tips Ever
  39. 7 Industry Twitter Account You Should Follow Right Now
  40. How to Solve the Biggest Problems with Your Website
  41. 21 Tips to Make You a Better Marketer
  42. 11 Ways to Improve Your Adobe Illustrator Skills
  43. Web Design: The Complete History
  44. Why Branding Is Limited At The Olympics
  45. Origins of Search Engine Optimization
  46. 8 Compelling Reasons to Use Product Listing Ads
  47. Which Email Solution is Right for You
  48. Rebranding: Do’s and Don’ts
  49. 11 Things House of Cards Can Teach You About PR
  50. 6 Common Social Media Missteps
  51. 4 Quick Ways to Fail at Email Marketing
  52. Increase Your Click-Thru Rates With 3 Easy Steps
  53. Complete Guide to Advertising on YouTube
  54. How to Quickly Build a Social Following
  55. Tips for Winning at Remarketing
  56. Do’s and Don’ts of a Successful Marketing Strategy
  57. 4 Things Top Designers Do Everyday
  58. The Best Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Conversion Rate Optimization
  59. Infinite Scroll Done Right
  60. 3 Secrets to Solid Web Design
  61. Duplicate Content: Quick Remedies
  62. What’s Up With Google Algorithm Updates??
  63. 3 Aspects of Killer Calls to Action
  64. 5 Tenets of Solid Design
  65. Avoiding PR Nightmares
  66. 3 Reasons to Switch Your Email Solution
  67. Considerations for Proper Web Design
  68. Web Analytics: Getting Started on the Right Foot
  69. 12 Ways to do Link Building on a Budget
  70. Follow These 4 Tips to Win at Paid Search
  71. Copywriting: A Complete Guide
  72. Getting Started on Google Adwords
  73. Ask Yourself These 10 Questions Before Your Next Site Redesign
  74. 7 Browser Extensions You’ve Been Missing Out On
  75. How to Write Winning Headlines
  76. Link Building, How Does It Help?
  77. 27 Frequently Asked Questions Answered
  78. The Future of Paid Search
  79. 6 Tips for Engaging Your Social Media Followers
  80. Link Building: 4 Tactics to Stop Using Now!
  81. Optimizing Video for Search Engines: A Primer
  82. Negative SEO: Fact or Fiction
  83. Hashtags: What Are They and What’s Their Purpose?
  84. Keys To Using Twitter To Amplify Your Message
  85. Automated Marketing, Simplify Your Life
  86. Work Smart Not Harder: 4 Chrome Extensions That Will Change Your Life
  87. How to Build a Social Following
  88. Do These 3 Things Everyday to Become a More Effective Marketer
  89. Superbowl Advertising: 2 Companies That Are Winning and 3 That Are Not
  90. SEO: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going
  91. 5 Tools Everyone in Marketing Should Be Using
  92. 9 Things Breaking Bad Can Teach You About Marketing
  93. Redefining Your Target Market
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  95. 3 Things to Improve Your Brand Identity
  96. 8 Things You Should Know Before You Start Paid Search
  97. Link Building: Common Misconceptions
  98. 6 Easy Tweaks to Your Paid Search Campaign
  99. To Rebrand or Not to Rebrand?
  100. Effective Marketers and Dogs: 3 Similarities
  101. Make a List of 101 Things Your Readers Can Blog About

Easy, right? When possible, the important words should be front-loaded in the title; the sooner you tell readers the topic, the more like they are to follow through. Notice the recurring theme of numbered lists – people love lists, it gives them some quantification before they begin reading – “Ok, this post is a list of 3 things, I have time for that now, I’ll read the 20 item post later”. And don’t be afraid to capitalize off of trending things like popular TV shows or movies, global events such as the Olympics, or holidays. Now, stop reading our blog and go write yours!

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